SVCC 2.0 17 Panels

This is one of the few conventions that I really get out there and sit in on panels. At most cons, it’s usually actors telling a quip or story and laughing with the panel host. It often seems rehearsed, repetitive and fake.

But this convention was different. The people speaking at the panels were passionate and knowledgeable. Especially in their areas of expertise. It all began last night.


The first panel I went to was hosted by Seth Shostak of SETI. He was memorable and amusing in how he explained his vision for how we look for extraterrestrial life.  I learned a lot about where mankind has gone wrong (lack of funding much?) and where we should be looking to the skies in the future.


The second panel I went to was earlier today. It was about emerging technology. What was neat about this panel was the fact that it seemed like four friends were on stage. There was a venture capitalist, a board memeber at Spacex/Tesla, a member of NASA, and Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry (son of some guy who created that sci-fi series that wasn’t Star Wars…) The discussions were about the technology advancements and speculation on where mankind will go in our search into the stars.

The last panel I attended was titled “Droids and Death Stars: The Science of Star Wars”. It involved a panel of a founding member of the 501st Legion from California, a lady who is a psychologist that deals with PTSD victims, and another female panelist from NASA who also loves Star Wars. The two ladies in the panel surprised me in many ways.  First- the comparison of PTSD of the Star Wars universe that is often overlooked.  (Chewie needs a hug after his loss in the last film…) And the other lady was being a realist about how the spacecrafts really wouldn’t work well.  Even though she is a fan, she also has a better scientific grasp on how things should work.

There was far too much knowledge shared in the past 24 hours for me to write about.  But now I have some topics that I can discuss with my other nerd friends when we return home.

The News Today

I stopped watching the news reports on tv a few years ago.  I found most reports are made for shock value.  Inflated numbers about “possible” injured and casualties.  Sensationalized terror attacks breeding fear into the public.  All followed up with some story involving celebrity gossip.  

I still pay attention to the news.  In fact, I get most of my news from NEWS 1130 on the radio as I drive to work.  In the 45 minutes to an hour it takes me to get to work, I usually hear a full cycle of the most important news of the day.  Plus traffic reports and weather every ten minutes.  I like this style of reporting because they need to give facts and not show videos to get their story across.  Sure, on their website there are pictures and video clips, but during my short drive- none of that distracts from the story.

Social media outlets do not share news.  People share “clickbait” and motivational images.  Of course there are things like Kony2012, The Ice Bucket Challenge or changing your profile pic to have the colours of a flag to show “support” to a country that spread like wildfire.  Again, very sensationalized for a brief moment.

Fireball


Yesterday, SpaceX had an unfortunate setback.  I shared a video from CNN on my Facebook profile of the explosion.  Guess what?  It received a few comments & likes, but really no one else shared the footage.  Why?  Most likely because no one died, no one was injured.  Nothing more than a rocket exploding on a launchpad into a fireball.  Not news worthy to most people.  But I have questions. Hard hitting real questions.  


How did it happen?  What does this mean for commercial space travel?  How soon until they try again?  What kind of insurance did SpaceX need? Travel insurance or vehicle insurance?  

Turns out, Wired also asked some of those questions.  Click on the Wired link: The answers will astound you. (Clickbait joke)

The short answer: Nobody knows.  It’s only the day after the incident.  Science and business fields are waiting to find out about the future of SpaceX and the future of commercial space travel.  I’m waiting to find out.  My friends?  Some may be curious, but most likely do not care.  Part of that reason?  The idea of space travel to regular folks like me still feel out of reach.  As if it’s only for the wealthy elite.  At this point in time, it kind of is.  But one day, we may get off this rock and find a new rock.  

I hope I’m around for that day.  

I also hope SpaceX bounces back quickly from this set back.

I also wonder what their insurance deductible is.