Posts Tagged ‘ Community ’

The Atlantis (thousands of highly skilled US engineers) Gets The Pink Slip

Welcome home Atlantis – you are a national hero and treasure. In honor of this occasion, I have been commissioned with the task of informing you that – you have been laid off.
You didn’t see that coming, did you?

STS-135 Atlantis Landing (201107210007HQ)

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know that I strongly question the wisdom of ending the space shuttle program. Unfortunately, I wasn’t consulted. 🙂

I did find this awesome, incredibly nostalgic video online however. I am really quite sad about this. I nearly cried (teared up slightly – no sobbing). At any rate – I think this is my dormant thirst for space travel coming out. Its afraid it will now go unsatisfied forever (and ever). Click here to see it

I would blog about how mechanical and computer-like the medical professionals I interacted with today were…
Ok, I will – briefly. I told the nurse that I had never had a particular procedure – and she continued to tell me I had. (No, she didn’t have any records to prove that – and I had really and truly never had that procedure). It was like trying to input data in a form where the option you need isn’t there. And then they made me take tests that, based on previous information, couldn’t possibly have been positive.

Big news: TIE Project Update! (imagine me squealing with excitement – while jumping up and down) (no – don’t, I just did and it was a little disturbing)…but at any rate: We’re really getting a summer lab! I can feel it getting closer! I sent in the order for our “Fab Lab Inventory” sourced materials which should start arriving next week. Setup on Monday, lesson plans coming soon. It’s all so exciting how it’s coming together!

Day 23
77 Dayz to go


Help! A Computer Stole My Job! (And My Kid’s Jobs Too)

Computers. They’re overworked and under-payed. It’s like a slave workforce all over again. And for some reason, they don’t say anything in protest – neither do they attempt to escape. Well, occasionally, they do break down, but we never get the message. We just call in a couple of humans with their computer slaves to fix them.

Wait, you say; you can’t possibly want me to believe that you’re drawing this post onto the internet by hand. No. I don’t expect you to believe that. It’s simply not true. I too have purchased a personal assistant. My assistant stays faithfully by my side at most times – remembers everything I tell it, gives me all the latest news that I want to know, lets me see what everybody else says about anything and everything, connects me to my friends, family and colleagues, and helps me look professional. I even bought it a brightly colored suit to wear. I don’t have to pay my assistant – after my onetime ownership deposit, I was home free. My personal assistant doesn’t require room or board. Or hardly any other maintenance fees; and I’m getting a second for school this year. This second assistant, the school will be giving me. This assistant will help me draft and draw wonderful designs – making up for my (nearly) complete lack of artistic drawing ability. It will also help me with advanced mathematics and modeling for topics such as physics and calculus, keeping me from having to expand my brain too much. It even brings an entire library to my desk for research, and I and my friends will probably grumble when our assistants tell us that we must get up and actually go to the library, if we wish to read full length journal articles, deemed too important or sophisticated to be freely available on “the Internet”.

I seem to be incredibly dependent on my personal assistant – why am I complaining?

Here’s a couple quotes from a Forbes article I read today:

What’s that? You’d like to work for my small business? I appreciate your interest. And I, like so many others, feel terrible about how long you’ve been unemployed. We would like to do something about the situation. We’d like to help you. But there’s something you (and the woman from the Rite Aid) need to know. I’m not sure how to say this kindly so it’s best I just say it: many of us don’t really need more employees.

What? you say; but – but, I’m human. I’m intelligent – I have cognitive skills – I’m a critical thinker – I’m personable. How could you possibly not need me? Did you read the last paragraph?

Here it is again:

I know you need a job and I know this is a very difficult situation. And I don’t want to sound cruel because I’m trying to help you. And to get help with a problem the first thing we have to do is diagnose the problem. So here’s the cold, hard truth about why you’re unemployed: most businesses don’t need you any more. We can do just as much, if not more, without you.

Source: Forbes: 9.2% Unemployment? Blame Microsoft

Yes. The computer stole your job. Do you have any idea how much time I spent talking to a computer today? That could have been you I was talking to. All of the computers I spoke with were personable even if they weren’t tremendously informative. They all seemed pretty intelligent – I mean they told me what to do in x, y and z situations and told me what the few humans who were kept in reserve for emergencies could and couldn’t help me with.

Computers even build our cars, sew our clothing, print our newspapers, vet our employees…the list goes on. No. We don’t need you any more. We don’t even need people anymore. You all should move to Mars.
Recently, a colleague of mine told me that their organization’s PayPal account had been shut down. This decision was made by – you guessed it: a computer. According to PayPal: the computer’s word was final.

Wow…did we make ourselves obsolete? Some seem to think so. In truth, it’s impossible to fully replace humans – but until the industry realizes that – or can afford to pay people, many will be stuck at home, on their computers: alternately praising and bemoaning the invention.

There is light however at the end of this tunnel. It’s not realistic to outlaw computers, or set a minimum wage for their use, and the government seems to be having a hard time coming up with things for us to do – that they will pay us for.
The good news is:computers can’t do everything. Maybe they’ve been given many of our customer service and production jobs (all the ones that didn’t find their way overseas) that we were counting on to help us pay for college; but hey, computers can’t take care of the sick, design other computers, or program themselves (I am aware that development is underway for computers to be able to do all of the above).

We will have to reinvent and retrain ourselves to be much more competitive – much more interesting. We can’t just be able to perform well – computers can do that perfectly. We have to train ourselves to understand computers – not just be able to use them. We must push ourselves, as a workforce – to the next level, the level that will make us masters and not slaves of, or inconsequential side-notes to technology.

He who knows how [in our case, the computer] will always have a job – but he who knows why [you] will always be his boss.

Day 20
70 Dayz to go

T-minus one (last time). A tribute to the NASA Space Shuttle Program

I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It was October 29, 1998. Senator and astronaut John Glenn and the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery began their expedition. I remember the sound, the fire, the awe. I remember the inspiration. I was only 6 years old – but John Glenn was my hero. I stood in my grandfather’s living room with my mother and siblings, completely transfixed by what I saw on the screen, I knew what I wanted to be. I would be an astronaut.

The Space Shuttle Discovery being towed off the runway after it's final landing

Seeing the space shuttle launch had a lasting impact on me; an impact that continues to this day and far out lasted my notions of becoming an astronaut. It simulated and fertilized within me, as a small child, a true love for science and a desire to participate in this wonderful world of discovery. That experience of watching the shuttle launch helped deepen a child’s curiosity, into everlasting amazement at what science can do- and encouraged a strong desire to be part of the community that made the Discovery’s voyage possible.

Like it did for so many American kids, the space shuttle program, (along with events such as the Apollo mission to the moon and Charles Lindbergh trans-Atlantic flight,) gave me an enduring sense of patriotic pride, coupled with the responsibility of our leadership on a global level.

As a citizen of the world and member of the upcoming generation, the space shuttle program impressed me with a sense of my duty to receive the torch of scientific and technological advancement and to keep it alive as our mothers and fathers did before us. They used it to explore space. What will we do with it?

Now, a bit more than a decade later, I am an engineer (in training) and have found my passion in inspiring people to purse an understanding of our world (science) and the development and application of this understanding (technology).

Today, it is with mixed feelings that I bid farewell to the space shuttle program. I think of the twin tragedies which claimed the lives of 14 brave explorers and I am glad for the opportunity to seek new methods of space travel. I think of 132 successful missions and I wonder how we will replace such and integral part of our nation, science program and culture (not to mention job supplying workforce).

We all wonder what the future will hold for American maned space missions; as the question “what’s next” has yet to be answered. No, cargo missions are not what we’re talking about.

I hadn’t planned to watch the launch today. I was scheduled to pick up machines for the summer Fab Lab we’re installing. My little brother and I walked into the basement of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms just as the live feed showed the Atlantis “blasting off”. We watched until it’s solid rocket boosters fell off and blew up into flaming balls of fire as they returned back to earth. They had done their job. NASA says the space shuttles have done theirs as well. Now it’s up to us to do ours.

I wish the Atlantis godspeed on its journey and return home; and yes, I will be visiting the Discovery at the Smithsonian.

TIE Project update

I spent most of today at CBA, installing software on the brand new lab computers that CBA is lending us. We’re scheduled to set up next week. We still have to pick up consumables and other supplies/lab equipment which hopefully will include a couple more computers. Here are some pictures:

Boxes and boxes!

(Yep – that’s me!)


My brother installing Windows OS


Day 10
80 Dayz to go

Where’s my pepper?

Apparently, most of you have been using very bad table etiquette. According to various and supposedly reliable internet sources, in America, whenever you pass the salt, you must also pass the pepper as these two are “married”. So where’s my pepper?

Sharing makes life.
Or, sharing makes life worth living.
More worth living.
No, fundamentally, sharing makes life. A friend reminded me of this today during our conversation. By sharing a testimony of how I had overcome difficulty, this friend expressed to me, that they had been encouraged. I know I’m encouraged when I hear of others victories.

Imagine if we were a species devoid of the concept of sharing. I wouldn’t be writing this blog – sharing my life, views and opinions with you. Many of you (possibly me also) would not be alive because those who had made medical discoveries would not have even thought to share them with anyone else. Heck, no one would be alive because it would never have occurred to anyone to share their lives/themselves with another person.

Positive, productive sharing is one of the single most powerful vehicle of change and improvement known to man. You have gained the vast majority of whatever knowledge you have stored up in your brain because someone decided to share something with you. To take it a step further – you owe 100% of your knowledge and ability to people who shared with you. Yes, we learn things “on our own”, but the base of understanding that we use to even learn new things was shared with us.

Often we’re afraid to share. We’re afraid that what we have to share won’t be appreciated and that we’ll be looked on badly. Sometimes it’s good to think of your story from a different perspective. Don’t think of it as just you. This is bigger than you. Your story has a life of its own. It wants to get out – it needs to be told – it wants to take its place in the life cycle of good. Maybe you shouldn’t stand in its way. It has a job to do – it has someone to encourage – someone needs your story to complete theirs.

“And they overcame him…by the word of their testimony…”

So share – share your thanksgivings, share your joys, share your successes, share your victories; and pass the salt – with pepper on the side.
‘Tis the thought for today.

It was positively gorgeous outside today. Boston (and MA) is so beautiful in the summer – especially this year because we’ve had plenty of rain. I’ll have to post pictures sometime. It almost makes me want to be a tree, or a flower, just to be part of this exquisite symphony of color, texture, structure and dimension. Nature is poetry embodied.
(Swoons while gazing upon the Blue Hills.)
(Comes to again.)
Maybe I should marry a garden.

I had a blessed Sabbath. No, I could not understand the elder who spoke. Yes, he spoke for an hour, yes, he gave 20 minutes of “closing” remarks and yes, I started to feel like I was back in Amsterdam due to the communication barrier, but what I did pick up (more than I picked up while I was in The Netherlands) was inspiring. (Good food, cool people and stimulating conversation also helped.) 🙂

Basket ball in the morning. I wonder what injuries I will sustain tomorrow.

Day 4
86 Dayz to go

Hi. Uh, hello world.

Hello World

Hi Everybody.

I’m finally going in. Yes. I’m starting a blog.
My blogging ambition is to blog daily for the next three months (gulp).
I sit here listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered and cringe at the idea. I’ve been considering this for quite a while actually. I use to journal religiously – but that was years ago. This is a bit different, especially as I’m now writing to an audience. I’m afraid that I won’t have content worth reading, or that my writing style will cause reader’s eyes to bleed and I’ll be banned from the internet (or something horrible like that), or that (more realistically) I would just not stick with it and fall off the face of cyberspace. However, you never know if you don’t try it. Besides, I’m on an adventure – and it would be swell to have you along. (Oh, and I seem to have an extra dosage of willpower so let’s put it to use.)

I am a pre-undergrad, independent student, navigating the somewhat treacherous waters of Academia with her sign set for college. I am also a digital fabrication instructor, community Fab Lab “guru”, program developer, progressive education enthusiast, aspiring community organizer and a huge fan of Italian gelato . My academic ambition is to become a Biomedical Engineer and consequential proponent of progressive STEM education for the masses (because knowledge + skill = power).

I’m working with something called The TIE Project We’re just getting started and we’re hoping to launch our first public impact project in July for the summer. We’re tentatively putting a Fab Lab (will do a post on Fab Labs a some point, for now in our local YMCA. We’re working with Fab Central (at MIT) to get machines and materials. I spent some time today putting together a draft program and sent it to our group for review. The current schedule provides 20 hours per week of programming – not including staff/volunteer training time… I’ll be the main lab manager and program coordinator…and I may need to take a job this summer. Something we need to work out. Hopefully we’ll get more staff. 🙂

Yesterday I had my first water tubing and skiing experience. I had the time of my life – it was awesome. I did find out just how out of shape I am, and that coupled with all the bouncing, holding on for dear life and being dragged through the water at 30 MPH amounts to a certain amount of pain. Apparently the amount of pain is proportionate to the amount of fun had. Exercise routine – here I come. As soon as I’m done with this I’ll do some sit-ups :).

Day 1
89 Days to go.


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