Skip to main content

The Prime Directive

Can I be honest with you?
I feel I must say this gently...especially since my blog has "Nerdy" in the title...
I only recently finished the Star Trek: The Next Generation series.

I know, I know. Crazy right?

Growing up I always just flipped right past the channel when Star Trek was on - it looked too hokey, the makeup was terrible and don't get me started on the "special effects". But that all changed when Zara was born. I understand that sounds strange, but anyone who has cared for a sloppy-eating newborn while sleep deprived can sympathize with the need for some form of entertainment to stay awake. For Chris and I that entertainment became Star Trek.

Maybe my brain was focused on the baby and therefore less critical of it's previous issues with Star Trek, or maybe I realized that I actually really liked the premise of the story. Whatever the case we watched and watched and watched and watched. All 176 episodes. And we finally finished last week! Over the course of that 100+ hours I grew to love Captain Picard and the stellar social issues the crew faced.

Enter real life physicist and science fiction writer, Les Johnson. Les has an incredible ability to take some of the far out concepts in Star Trek and explain them in a way even this Aerospace Engineer can understand. ====>

This weekend I was able to attend one of his talks here in Houston and host him and his lovely wife for dinner! I learned so much!! I'm especially impressed with the breadth of his knowledge - even though his talk was focused on travelling interstellar - the questions he received afterward spanned the gamut from mining the moon to manned travel to Mars; he answered every question with a wealth of data and rationale. It inspires me to read more and collect nuggets to share with others.

When preparing for their visit Chris and I were brainstorming topics to discuss at dinner - warp drives, Dyson spheres, micro satellites, etc. While we did talk about a few of these, our conversation was mostly about our common 'Earth bound prime directives' - family, friends, travel, parenting logistics, Type 1 Diabetes! It is always refreshing when people you respect so highly turn out to be real people! We even took a walk in our neighborhood after dinner - if only Zara knew who she was hanging out with!
Swapping Prime Directives with science fiction author Les Johnson!
PS - check out some of Les's books - they are great, and actually science-based, since you know, he IS a physicist and all ;-)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution?

On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there is b…

Hot OJT

Last week I had the chance to mentor a newly certified ADCO trainee - the NASA process is called "Hot On-The-Job-Training", or Hot OJT. What makes it "hot" you ask? Well, essentially I am hands off - he is sitting at the console, working all the plan reviews and updates, making calls to other flight controllers and to the flight director, reacting to anomalies and preparing material for the shift handover. My job is to act as the fault tolerance - a backup ADCO of sorts.

Tuesday was his last official day and by Wednesday morning he was in the backroom sending commands to ISS in preparation for the docking of a three-person Soyuz.


The beauty of this system is the gradual buildup in responsibility. There is a subtle shift from student, to subject matter expert, to fresh operations trainee to advanced trainee and finally to certification and real-time operations flight controller - the process takes two years on average and is considered by many to be enough specializ…

Dolla-betes

Healthcare is such a tricky subject. Ironically, it seems the conversation has shifted away from health CARE in favor of divisive politics with a healthy side of cash. But I'm here to tell you there are real people dealing with real diseases behind all those numbers. And with a laser focus on the rising cost of insulin lately and advocacy groups like #insulin4all making waves, it prompted me to take a look at my own T1D cost breakdown.

**Please keep in mind I have (pretty good!) private insurance through my husband's employer and our income allows us to absorb these costs without pinching too many pennies. We have also been graced with good health (diabetes notwithstanding) and rarely order any prescriptions outside of those for my T1D. But its clear only a slight shift in this delicate equation can make for a dire situation.

Here's what my out-of-pocket looks like to cover type 1 diabetes annually:


The numbers above reflect simply the "baseline operating costs"…
01 09 10