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Lesson 12 Archive Notes July 19, 2010

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Space Show Classroom Lesson 12:  Program Summary 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

 Archive Notes and Program Information

 The Space Show Classroom Lesson 12 can be downloaded or heard

at:

http://archived.thespaceshow.com/shows/1394-BWB-2010-07-18.mp3

Guests: Classroom featuring Dr. Livingston, Dr. Jim Logan, Dr. John Jurist.  Topics:  This is a summary and critique of The Space Show Classroom Series for this year.  This program will also be archived on The Space Show Classroom Blog, https://spaceshowclassroom.wordpress.com.  Please post your feedback, comments, and questions to the blog, do not send the to the three co-hosts.  Anything we receive will be uploaded to the blog.  We started this summary program with the three co-hosts critiquing the Classroom program.  Dr. Jurist provided was first, followed by Dr. Logan, and then mine which turned into a minor rant.  All of us agreed that the Classroom series was a mixed bag and we graded it and ourselves accordingly.  We thought we missed our target audience, & our feedback so far was insufficient and disappointing given the effort put into the programming.  I also described the rating system which I have mentioned on other shows re archives on Live365.com and noted that exceptional shows got horrible ratings, mentioning again that for the most part, the more fantasy driven a guest or program is, the higher the rating. We spent a considerable time talking about this aspect of the Classroom and our frustration.  We stressed over and over again the need for feedback on the Classroom series, honest feedback, including feedback on the blog, especially if we are to consider another semester of the Classroom in January.  Our co-hosts talked about how ideological we have become as a nation and how little thinking we now do and that critical thinking is not taught to students.  Later in this segment, I asked both co-hosts what their favorite Classroom programs were and the rocket equation and flight dynamics programs were pointed out, mostly because those programs provided the root foundation for most of the others operating and visiting in space is based on those two components.  For most of this session, we talked about some of the shortfalls we saw with the Classroom series and we integrated that into our culture and educational system because the problems that we detected by doing the Classroom were not just limited to space.  Heavy lift was discussed as part of this critique and in talking about the rocket equation, Dr. Logan brought up Initial Mass in Low Earth Orbit (IMLEO) as an illustration point.  We then talked about Congress and the difference between tactical decision making and enabling the strategic.  Life sciences were then discussed and our co-hosts talked about why so many want to dismiss the findings of life scientists because they are seen as obstacles. Even engineers do this.  We had several callers during this segment talking about a specific question, not so much the Classroom summary.  As we started the second segment of this two hour program, all of us again stressed the need for useful feedback, a thumbs up or down on the Classroom programming.  Jim talked about a possible point counter-point format for a future program and I asked about the likelihood of improving our ability to reach the target audience by doing the Classroom with video and webcams.  Gravity became a topic in this segment with questions about going to an asteroid.  We also talked about the ISS and the application of life sciences.  As we concluded our program, Drs. Logan and Jurist said they wanted to know how listeners were impacted by the Classroom.  For example, did anyone change their mind about an issue or subject based on a Classroom program.  We concluded our summary program by reminding people about the written paper opportunity (contact me for details) and that if we are to continue the Classroom series in a following semester, we need meaningful feedback, plus or negative, and information from you that can help us do a better job. Also, what topics would you like covered should we resume the Classroom next semester.  Please post all your comments, questions, etc. on the Classroom blog.

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Comments»

1. Theron Lutz - July 19, 2010

David,

I think that the series has been very informative and a great value. I have listen to many the shows on pod cast because time constraints. And will be listen to them again to remind my self of how hard some of the issues are.

I rate the series as a 8

2. quantumg - July 19, 2010

Did you know that no mice or rats or *any* mammal except humans have ever been on the ISS?

The Russians’ next module is supposed to have animal experiments.. but NASA has no plans for one.. world class science eh?

Apparently the problem is political.. NASA is so afraid of animal rights activists that they can’t even do the fundamental basic life science experiments that are necessary.

Imagine that we discover that humans can’t have children on Mars.. the desire to go there *should* go down significantly – science alone just can’t justify the costs of a human mission to Mars. The reason we go there is to bring life and civilization there, if we can’t reproduce there then that is a hopeless goal.

3. drspaceshow - July 19, 2010

This is an email I received from listener Steven Collins. I am posting it to the comments under his name. DML

From Steven R. Collins:
Hi: my favorite “Space Show Classroom ” show was the one on the rocket equation with Paul Breed, also the show on orbital dynamics. The shows on human factors I believe need to be more quantified. When they say that radiation is a problem, how much radiation ? What Is a sievert and a rad and what is the difference between the dosage on a trip to mars from solar radiation as compared to cosmic rays of interstellar origin and what would be an acceptable amount of damage that we should allow for daring explorers willing to take the risk? I think a debate between Dr. Zubrin and Dr. Jurist and Dr. Logan would make for an Informative and entertaining show . Mars Direct would seem to the most ambitious manned plan that I have heard of that has any real possibility of being successful with near term technology but what I would really like to know is what would a very aggressive unmanned mars exploration plan look like and be able to accomplish? Personally I suspect that robots are the way to go. but I haven’t seen any integrated plans for unmanned exploration that are as ambitious as mars direct. If anyone has such a plan I think It would also make for a great space show.

4. drspaceshow - July 19, 2010

Here is another email I received that I am posting for the sender, Gareth Masefield of New Zealand.

Comments by Gaeth Masefield:

Dear Dr Livingston

I would like to provide you with some feedback about your classroom series.
First thanks for all the effort that you and the others have put into this.

Personally I have got a lot out of these episodes. I am a person that has always followed space since seeing the landing on the moon. I have a very practical background having been an engineer, worked in telecommunications and am now working towards being an accountant. I have a very good general knowledge of space and the difficulties in its exploration however I am nowhere near being an expert.

I have got a lot out of the classroom series in terms of details about the rocket equation and orbital dynamics etc. From my point of view the programme has met its objective in providing me this information.

However I think that unfortunately the hope of yours (forgive me if I have got this wrong) that it would reach the people who are ‘off this planet’ probably didn’t happen. I am talking about the people who just want space so much that they will not be put off by reality.

Personally I don’t think that much can be done about this. If they have that attitude then hearing more facts will not change anything, no matter who tells them this information.

For me I would like the classroom to continue. However if your main reason to educate ‘the Cool-aid brigade’ then I doubt that you will be successful in that.

Thanks again to everyone.
Regards
Gareth Masefield
From New Zealand

jmj - July 20, 2010

Thank you.

jmj - July 20, 2010

That is only one part of the problem.

jmj - July 20, 2010

Information about radiation exposure and dose is readily available on the net. Learning how to do research will be useful long after details about minutiae. Having noted that, perhaps it would be appropriate for David to have another Space Show dealing with radiation. He has had several in the past. As far as debating Dr. Zubrin, I am game.

5. jmj - July 20, 2010

“I am talking about the people who just want space so much that they will not be put off by reality.”

How does this differ from wanting to believe that the tooth fairy is real?

6. Monty - July 20, 2010

I also personally enjoyed the classroom shows. It’s easy to dance the jig when you know the music so to speak. I don’t think you are going to reach people and change their minds if they are already closed. If they live in fantasy land all the time and think Star Trek is reality, there is not much you can do. I haven’t looked at any of the visuals, because I am already familiar with a lot of this. I usually listen while doing CAD work or similar so I can’t look at them anyway. I use pod casts that way a lot. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I enjoy hearing from people who are actually doing things. I think a lot of flame war nonsense is simply from immature types who are emotionally invested in some fantasy. I’m not sure they are reachable.

Where you may perhaps make a large difference is someone like me, still wet behind the ears. When I was in school I had to concentrate on that. An engineering degree does not produce itself. So I did not have time to really look at the ramifications of what I was learning. I did that after I was out of school and had an abortive career in the space world. You would have saved me from making that mistake. I would have been very grateful.

There is a great need in society right now to escape. Escape is so much easier than dealing with the very difficult problems we face here on this planet. I myself would love to go somewhere that filtered for sane, intelligent, fun, capable people. Sounds great!

Don’t take that away from me……

Now I’m getting mad at you guys!

7. drspaceshow - July 20, 2010

This comment is posted on behalf of Robert Tindale in the UK.

From Robert:

Dear David
I’m listening to the Pod cast of show 1394, and you have asked for feed back about the Classroom shows. They have been great, telling me what can/ can’t be done with all of the limitations, as opposed to some of the regular quests that hope for something to be invented in the future.( I agree with you that the human factors show was a real eye opener, and I think the most important one ) I haven’t tried the blog.
Try a “Vote” on the spaceshow.com , say five answers to a question and then vote. this also can involve people who have listened to shows later with the pod cast.
show 1394 was great. thanks dr space and to your co hosts dr Jim and dr John
Robert ( U.K.)

P.S maybe have a think tank, debate, point/ counterpoint. sounds good
R.

8. James - July 21, 2010

I haven’t finished listening to them all, but the shows have been great!

Human factors, rocket equation and flight dynamics have been my favourites so far – mostly because they relate very closely to the projects I am working on currently and presented some real eye opening material in an interesting way.

I’ll comment on the other parts once I have finished.

Thank you very much for the content so far!

9. Jim Davis - July 21, 2010

I really enjoyed the classroom series. I made it a point to listen live when schedule permitted or within a few days if it did not. I commented on some of the lessons via the blog.

My favorite lessons were 4 (Due Diligence), 5 (New Space), and 6 (Capabilities).

I hope there are future semesters.

I do think there is much merit in having two guests with opposing viewpoints. In reference to your comments on the unwillingness for some people with strong convictions to have a civil discussion, have you ever brought this up with your guests that are guilty of this behavior? Some of your guests have made remarks on various online forums that are on the same level as the “Dr. Widowmaker” comment. Have you ever politely asked them what purpose is served by such personal attacks?

Thanks for a very interesting and informative series.

10. drspaceshow - July 21, 2010

This message is posted on behalf of Marcus Volter:

From Marcus:

Hi David,

I listened to the classroom summary episode today. You asked for feedback.

I liked the classroom shows. However, as I said in emails before, I think they were not different enough from regular shows. People still call and talk about whatever they want, and the “didactical structure” often isn’t that great. We talked about the “scripting” thing, and we respectfully disagree 🙂

One more attempt 🙂 You might want to listen to this episode of my omega tau podcast.
It is on satellite buses, and it was “scripted”.
http://omegataupodcast.net/2010/02/26-satellite-buses/
I wonder whether you really perceive it as boring and bad.

From my perspective, video is not useful (I only have time to listen to stuff, no “screen time”). Also, I don’t need the blog. So if that’s too much work, just skip it.

Finally, a Point/Counterpoint schema for some shows would be great!

Cheers,
Markus


Markus Völter

11. Evon - July 22, 2010

John, David and Jim,

I want thank you for taking you time out to do these shows. I have not listened to all of them but based on some of the comments here and yours I will be going back and listening to 2 more of them. Some of the statements are heard were maddeningly frustrating and some thought provoking (most they might be both at the same time).

Thank you

Rating 8

12. Evon - July 22, 2010

Feedback:

Many of the shows, both classrooms and others, bring up real, challenging issues in Space exploration. I feel it would be valuable to take some of these issues and build a show around solutions to the challenges and/or engineering/science. In this way a couple of experts with differening views might interact with the audience to better understand the difficulties and challenges of these proposed solutions/experiments.

Thank you

13. Evon - July 22, 2010

To answer Jim’s question about what impacted me and changed my thinking.

Jim’s almost dour opinion on human traveling/living throughout our solar system was very frustrating for me. As he stated, when he was younger he believed we, humans, would be working in space. This challenged me to think about how work through proving him right or wrong through experiments. I thought about the use of smaller Bigelow habitats to create a baseline understanding effects of radiation in space. And then I thought about multiple habs with different kinds of protection surrounding the scientific instruments. And then how to synergistically create demonstrations of technology, habs, rockets, structures, transportation, robotics, etc… in order to gather the required data.
In another area, I am currently looking into radio astronomy to understand whether another idea might be valid or not.

This has lead to two ideas. The first mentioned in my earlier post. The second being how important the portion of the Executive Branch proposed budget funding of research is to America’s continued success in space.

Again,
Thank you all for host this series

14. Drspace - July 26, 2010

Posted on behalf of tkpickett:

I enjoy the classroom shows and recommend you continue them.
tkpickett

15. Terry - July 26, 2010

I have really enjoyed the classroom shows.

I have followed the space program since the 1950’s but I am not a space or rocket engineer. I wasn’t that great at math and science’ but I enjoy all the topics on the classroom show. I learn a lot from each show on a variety of subjects; more information is what I strive for on space.

A point-counter point program might be of help. You could have two people discuss a topic and then a panel of two or three could bring their view point’s into the mix. A video format might be interesting.

Your last classroom was interesting talking about fuel depots. I have wondered how practical the idea would be. You have to construct the depot, have the depot resupplied with fuel and how long would the fuel be usable in a space environment? I just can’t figure out if it is really practical in the long run. You would still need heavy lift to supply the depot.

16. John Schubert - July 27, 2010

Thank you for the classroom shows. I loved the shows. You increased my knowledge. I have been thinking for quite a while about the feedback that you have requested. This is a long post. I don’t believe that there were any prior admonishments of succinctness vis-a-vis classroom feedback.

These are my opinions.

In the syllabus you state:

Unlike a regular graduate course, there is no academic credit, attendance, no grading, no homework or assigned reading. These panel discussions are designed to be educational, and informative for interested participants.

I have several questions for the hosts:

1. Who are your clients for the classroom shows?
2. What is the purpose of the classroom shows?
3. What is your scope of work?

From the syllabus it seems like your clients are regular Space Show listeners. The purpose of the classroom shows seems to try and be a bit more informative than usual and plug the gaps in the regular listener’s knowledge base.

However, it seems like you have all significantly increased the scope of your work to do the classroom shows versus doing normal space show programming.

Were you making the assumption that we would reciprocate and increase the scope of our work as listeners?

I think that the answer to that question is yes; you did expect a little more from us. When we didn’t increase our scope you wondered why you had increased yours.

Maybe this goes back to the section of the syllabus quoted above. There weren’t any expectations placed on us. Maybe there should have been.

I got to spend over an hour each with Dan Adamo, Paul Breed, Bruce Pittman, Jeff Foust, Henry Hertzfeld, Eligar Sadeh, Brian Weeden, and the hosts.

All of that for free.

I didn’t have any skin in the game. If I did maybe I would have made the time to listen to the show live so that I could call in and ask a question. And could have then provided some timely feedback on each show.

I’m not trying to be Mr. Negative or Dr. Zero here. I’m also only speaking for myself.

My vote is to have another round of classroom shows. I believe that the concept represents the Highest and Best Use of the Space Show.

So if there is some consideration for having another series of classrooms maybe a few things should be changed.

Here are my suggestions:

Money. Is it too delicate a subject to bring up?

1. Maybe we need to pay for being in the classroom. If I run into Dan Adamo at the coffee shop I can run my pet trajectory by him quickly. If I want him to put his day on hold and talk to me and my cadre of starfleet officers for two hours maybe we need to pay him. What’s your hourly rate Dan?

2. I’m listening to the show now about how during the classroom there will be email questions to the panel only. Maybe we need to buy a frequent question card. $5 a question. Maybe the questions would be well thought out and succinct if we had to pay to ask?

Show Prep. Show Prep. Show Prep…

For several of the guests I tried to do some research and listen to a guest’s prior shows. I went through the archives and found the shows. Went to the show’s page. Downloaded the .mp3 (or the older stuff on the mars society site). Imported them to ITunes, created a playlist; moved the files over to the IPhone, and then tried to listen to them prior to the actual show. Usually what happend is that I had 3 hours of prior shows to listen to, but only got about 30 minutes in before it was time for the live classroom show.

Doing that for myself was kind of a pain, a good pain, but a pain nonetheless. Or I could just say that it was an exercise in learning. If prior shows for a guest existed they should have been listed on that classroom show’s page. Links to the mp3s should have been provided.

How about super-cool formatted PDFs available prior to each show? How about links to supplementary videos or news stories? What about links to prior papers? A link to the guest’s web page. Etc., etc., etc..

David why didn’t you that? Don’t you have unlimited free time to do these things? Of course you don’t. You need a TA!

Yes I know quality TAs aren’t cheap. Maybe you need a few volunteers. I’ll volunteer to help out. Maybe someone else will volunteer to help as well. Maybe if enough of us volunteer to help we can make the show prep better.

Again I’m listening to the 27 July 2010 open lines show, so I know that you are going to run another series of classroom shows. I suggest that you analyze what you want to happen at the end of the next series of classroom shows and incorporate that into the planning for series 2. Do you want the end result to be different from this series of shows? Is there going to be something to build upon? Will there be a series 3 of the Space Show Classroom?

Again these are only my opinions. I am prepared to donate my time and money because I believe that the classroom concept is worth it.
I do believe that the classroom should be the Highest and Best Use of the Space Show concept.

I would like to sincerely thank the hosts of the Space Show Classroom and all of the guests for their time, effort, and expense that they all put in for our benefit.

17. paulw - July 29, 2010

I’m a listener from Poland, and I listen to almost every show becuse the subject matter is as close to my heart as it is to yours. I enjoy most of them thouroughly, though I think technical shows are best, space policy is frustrating and economy just sobering. Nuclear propulsion shows are vital because it seems to be the only viable technology for the future of exploration and development. Antinuclear sentiments and uneducated public or not, we will need the technology, an we shouldn’t let ignorant people dictate our future. Coming back to Classroom, I think it was great, John and Jim are levelheaded people from
whom it is an enourmous pleasure to learn, and I think you should continue with it. If not, just keep both men as regular commentators – if they are willing. It’s not worth expending anger and time on people, who don’t want to learn, or change their minds every time data dictates so, as Jim Logan says. I bet there are plenty of people, who recognize that problems are inevitable – as physicist David Deutsch said – and that problems are soluble.

All the best,

Paul

PS I agree Dr Zubrin, John and Jim Logan would make together a splendid show.

18. Tom Hill - July 30, 2010

Fell out of the habit of listening, just got back recently and I’m catching up on the classrooms. Currently on #4, and enjoying them thoroughly so far, though it sounds like I just finished most peoples’ favorites.

Interesting to hear about low feedback on the classrooms, while your more fantastical shows draw better reviews. I think we’re seeing two symptoms of the same phenomenon, and it’s related to why science fiction conventions are so well attended compared to space activism conferences.

A point/counterpoint approach would probably be a good format, though I’d recommend that the two guests talk to each other beforehand to ensure that they’re using the same terms. It would also allow them to research each others’ ideas allowing more thoughtful discussion. Also, even though it’s a bit tedious, there should be time limits for each person talking. If there isn’t, a free form show will favor someone who is comfortable interrupting the other person more than the less forceful personality, even though the quieter person may have a stronger position.

Perhaps more comments as I move through the other classes, though right now I’m working through some questions I have with Dan Adamo.

19. Dan Walt - August 1, 2010

I just started listening a few months ago. I am elated that you have decided (hopefully) to continue the Space Show Classrooms. We need to occasionally hear more instructional-type information so that we can better understand and analyze what some of the guests are saying. Your guests are quite good overall, though a few have occasional leaks in their arguments that you and others usually point out. I want to thank you for all of your efforts in this regard. I really appreciate it!

I will say too, that your guests and are generally good at having their facts straight, though some recent comments regarding government procurement and funding appear to be on shakier ground. One of your callers recently described how an authorization bill can alter what agencies can fund in a Continuing Resolution (CR). I have been working in the government procurement field for over 20 years (currently I write procurement policy in the Office of the Procurement Executive of a major federal government department, and sometimes teach on procurement subjects). From what I know, that is not really true.

An authorization bill authorizes an agency to operate and sets policy (thus the recent House and Senate versions of the NASA Authorization Bill) and gives permission to spend money, but does not actually provide any money. Only an appropriations bill provides money. If no appropriations bill is passed by 12:01 a.m. October 1, then the government (or whatever agencies not then covered by an appropriations bill that has become law) has to cease all nonessential operations until an appropriations bill is passed. One type of appropriations bill is the Continuing Resolution (CR) about which you have been speaking. This is an annual stopgap measure that Congress is forced to do before every October 1 (and a few times after that) since neither party of Congress can meet this very predictable September 30 deadline. It provides only enough money to the agencies involved to tide them over to a future date certain (say, 6 weeks out) when presumably they will have passed the appropriations bill for that agency covering the full year. Often, Congress finds that it still does not have a full appropriations bill ready when it gets to the new deadline, so they pass another CR to give themselves more time. That process can be repeated several times. A CR provides the agency with only enough money to get to the end of the period covered by the CR. More importantly, it also forbids agencies from starting any programs that they were not performing the previous year (“no new starts”). It may be that NASA may be able to redirect some limited funds during a CR, but I do not see how they will be able to start any major new programs (for example, development of a heavy lift vehicle) until a regular appropriations bill is passed covering the full year. In my experience, full appropriations bills do not generally (except sometimes for DoD and perhaps a few others) become law until about January or February. Once the bill becomes law, the money then has to be apportioned by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to the departments, who then apportion the money to the agencies and other subunits, who pass it on down further, etc. until it gets to the funding offices that actually fund the contracts. By that time, it is generally February or March. All this time, contract managers have been spending money only at a pro-rated amount based on last year’s final appropriation. Once the money from the full appropriation finally arrives through the system, if their funding was increased, the contract manager can finally ask the Contracting Officer to add it onto the contract (via contract modification) and actually start to spend it. Worse, if funding was reduced, the contract manager would have to start finding things to cut quickly since they only have six to eight months over which to spread the cut.

On caller made a comment about the Anti-Deficiency Act and the situation in Huntsville. The Anti-Deficiency Act, among other things, provides both civil and criminal penalties for either (1) spending more money than appropriated by Congress or, more importantly, (2) spending money for a purpose other than the purpose for which it has been appropriated by Congress. This has the effect of further restricting what an agency can do with money received through a CR.

For these reasons, NASA may be able to do some nibbling around the edges in a CR (appropriations law has some flexibilities, but not a lot), but any major new programs appear unlikely to really start before February or March of next year. If that is incorrect, I am interested in finding out why, but this has been my experience.

I also noted a guest claiming that no one has ever defined what a commercial launch is. From a government procurement point of view, a commercial launch would be a commercial item, which is defined in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 2.101. Commercial launch services do fit in that definition. Believe it or not, that is a longer discussion. If you want me to explain that, please let me know.

Thanks,

Dan

P.S.

From a Contracting Officer’s perspective, CRs can be very inefficient and a pain in the neck. If the Contracting Officer is using money coming through Congress that year (they sometimes get multi-year money good for 2 or more years so they are not always dependent on every year’s appropriations for a given contract), they have to include a FAR clause that explains that funds are not currently available for a contract, but may become available in the near future. It also explains what happens if funds do not end up becoming available (we basically end up paying for whatever services were performed to that point). With each CR, the Contracting Officer must modify into the contract a statement to the effect of, “Funds are now available in the amount of $_______.” When the full appropriations finally arrive, the Contracting Officer must modify the contract again with a statement that funds are now fully available for the current portion of the contract. In the end, we could be talking about three to six modifications to each individual contract. Your tax dollars at work…

20. Anthony - August 2, 2010

I think they were outstanding and your guests were very good. I thought Jim Logan was a standout guest classroom speaker, who was excellent in expressing very difficult topics in a very understandable way for folks like me! Would Love to see the classrooms continuing in 2011. One classroom that was very memorable was the Rocket Equation which gave a down to earth (excuss the pun!) perspective on how hard it really is to leave earth’s gravity well. Keep up the great work folks.

21. Tom Hill - August 5, 2010

Getting further through the classes, now on part 2 of Human Factors. I’m enjoying them and learning much, but think they may need some more format. It seems like discussions go a little long and sometimes off topic (the artificial gravity discussion in the US Launch Industry segment, while interesting, detracted from time that should have been spent on the US Launch Industry), and after just a couple cases of long discussions/off topic, suddenly the show is over length.

Suggestion: set a plan for the discussion, something more than “zero gravity/countermeasures and radiation.” With subtopics spelled out, and an amount of time devoted to each of them based on the hosts’ opinion of the topic’s importance. Set aside some ‘float’ time (15 minutes?) which can be used to make one section go over its original length, but keep to the time schedule otherwise. This will prevent short-changing topics that come up at the end.

22. Reece Arnott - August 23, 2010

I normally wouldn’t write but it seems my views may make a difference so heres the feedback from a satisfied listener (even if I am more than a month late in getting around to listening).

I have really enjoyed the space show classroom especially the Rocket Equation, Orbital Dynamics and Life Sciences episodes. I don’t have much of an interest in the business or politics side of things but I still enjoyed listening to them. I think it says something about the quality of the speakers and the call-in questions that the most common term I hear is “thats an excellent question” followed by a well thought out answer. Two thumbs up!

As a lot of people seem to be have gotten down on the series for trying to give the actual facts and some idea of the constraints in going into space I thought I should give what I hope is the silent majority view so you don’t get too discouraged. The whole “space frontier” is so big and open ended that I think it is very important to get a handle on the constraints so we have some context in which to formulate plans, whether that be to challenge the constraints by conducting experiments and collecting data that may change initial assumptions, or whether it is simply so we can plan around them.

With regards to the files etc. posted to the blog, my life is full enough already that I am downloading the audio and listening to it at 1.5x speed to try and keep up with everything I want to be informed of. I have not looked at any of the extra material but it was nice to know it was there.

If the effort required to produce this material is so high, I would suggest that it would be better to do without it but to continue the classrom series. I am very keen to see the series continue and while it would be nice if it were as fully featured as possible, having something is better than nothing and I personally wouldn’t miss the additional material nearly so much as the series not continuing.

The point/counterpoint idea: sounds like a really good idea so long as the participants don’t get too hot and bothered and stay respectful. There is a severe lack of such a dialogue in just about any field I can think of, it could only lead to better understanding of the issues, common ground, and reasons for diverent opinions.

drspaceshow - August 23, 2010

Reece, thanks for the comments. Very good and to the point. I sent them on to Jim and John though they might see the blog too. I concur with most of what you have said and we are going forward with the Classroom for the 2011 year. Details of course to follow.

David


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