Category Archives: The Future

Gee Whiz Society

A small group got together at the Dutch Goose in Menlo Park, the burger joint where Gerard K. O’Neill would share lunches with the construction workers and physicists who were working together building the Stanford Linear Accelerator – “The SLAC” – just a short walk away on Sand Hill Road. (And also share breakfasts and dinners too, according to SSI Co-Founder Tasha O’Neill)

At this lunch someone asked where the phrase about SSI not being a “Gee Whiz Society” came from.

We can tell you that there are many recordings in the Space Studies Institute archives; a number of them are not correct for general public release and many of them were recorded by O’Neill personally – he seemed to always carry that little micro cassette recorder that the President of Panasonic gave him as a gift. Throughout those recordings that phrase popped up.

We think that we can tell you at this point that one time in a private meeting with accountants it was pointedly raised that there was ‘too much’ money going out to hardware projects, when some of it, they thought, might be better used for “advocacy.” O’Neill’s response to this was: “Hardware projects ARE what we do” and “Find the money for them.” And in the listening you can hear plainly that: That… Was… That.

In any case there is a place where you can see the “Gee Whiz” being used to a full audience. Unfortunately, we do not have the recording of it, but if you have ever heard the man’s voice maybe on one of the SSI YouTube or Soundcloud Channel releases, we think you can hear it in your head while reading along.

For context, this was one of the last times GKON addressed the full membership, and it is very likely that he knew it would be. That is important to keep in mind. He was, as always, careful with his words *BUT* there is no doubt that in this address, he was speaking with true reason. We can hear that even in the typed words and we hope that you can too.

“As you know, SSI is a low profile operation. That’s by design. We are not a “Gee Whiz” society – we’re trying to do serious, worthwhile, permanent things which are going to be valuable and bring us out into space.”

“They link fundamentally and make dependent the future of the United States space program on a science program. I say that speaking as a scientist. There is nothing more self-serving, there is nothing more conservative, than the scientific establishment. The scientific establishment takes as a high priority the justification of more science, more grants, more funds, more graduate students, and so on, doing basically the same things.”

“To be fair, some of NASA’s worst blunders, the Shuttle and the Space Station, have nothing to do with science. I think we are seeing a fossilization that has occurred in NASA for many years. As long as NASA always looks to the scientific community to justify NASA’s existence, we will always have a very timid though possibly still expensive, space program. It will not tie into the needs of the ordinary person in this country.”

“It will not tie into the needs of the ordinary person in this country.”

“It will not tie into the needs of the ordinary person in this country.”

“It will not tie into the needs of the ordinary person in this country.”

Oh, sorry, I seem to have accidentally typed that same line repeatedly. My bad.

We hope you will read it to the end, it is only three short pages.

And remember that it was a speech, meant to be heard in through the air, so it’s one of those things that really works best when read out loud.

Here is the link: http://ssi.org/a-free-pdf-from-ssi/

Free Presentations from The Space Studies Institute

The Space Studies Institute is sometimes asked if we can provide pre-made Powerpoint presentations so folks can go out and correctly give new minds The High Frontier Concept.  Years ago, way before everyone had a presentation tool on their computers – and their phones – SSI used to do that, we’d work up a 15 or 20 minute talk and lend out the script and the heavy circle gadget of slides and folks would click through the bullet points at their Rotary Clubs or College halls; records show even many High School persons and even a few very advanced Junior High people used those offerings!

Following a ‘Think Tank’ session in the U.K. a few years back, we started being asked if we could give the script and slides away so it could be used, but we thought that it wouldn’t be all that special or effective since it was recorded at the session and it’s up on the SSI YouTube Channel for anyone to already find, and here it is:

 

Yes, I know, that starts with the obligatory Big Picture Of Earth In Space… like every darned Ted Talk about every topic imaginable seems to start with.  In our case, that Earth in Space image makes direct sense, but the Ted Talkers use it because it’s a cheap, fast tricksy way to try to make a connection to a wide audience.  I think it is way overused but I guess people think it still works.

The real fundamental need that folks asking for pre-made presentations think they have is for something adequate to share.  Over the years of SSI,  with the thousands of presentations that have been done by using SSI things, we have found that having a message come from the heart and with the current understanding of the person doing the presentation, is really the key to any message getting across.

A lot of people are under the impression that they don’t have it in them yet, or they have that funny part of that old Seinfeld episode in their brains about the fear of public speaking being higher on the fear list than DEATH! ;-).

But I have to tell you that the actual hardest part of it all is very easy to get over, that’s the part where you don’t have a starter, a common ground point that relates the other person’s current X to your Y.

Last week, right out in front of the Safeway, I was being introduced to a couple of new people.  My friend introduced me as “the guy that can relate anything to freespace 1 gravity rotating habitats.”  Yeah, no kidding, he’s not a Space Person and yet he used the words “freespace 1 gravity rotating habitats.”  It shocked me, but in thinking about it it’s because I’ve used those exact words in that exact order enough while he was nearby that they apparently stuck.

It’s a parlor trick, but freespace 1g rotating habitats are something that has been distracting me for a while now and I’ve found that other people – outside of the little tight space community – hear about them and they can kind of picture them pretty fast for themselves,  and it’s just odd enough that they get a little laugh and  ice starts breaking.  And what’s more, I have found that folks who don’t think about this stuff all the time can come up with angles that us Space People either hadn’t thought of or had forgotten were important.

Like I said, it’s kind of a parlor trick. And I have to admit, just to you, that I can’t always immediately make a connection between a person’s X and our Y.  But those times when I can’t do it right there occasionally turn into great stuck-in-traffic-time distractions and when I make the connection it gives me a chance to reconnect with the person, and that has once or twice resulted in a deeper relationship than just a later passing wave on the street.

Gerry O’Neill did the same kind of thing you know, he wrote about it at the end of chapter 5 of The High Frontier:

“I’ve devoted a good deal of this chapter to the less serious side of life in a space colony – not questions of economics and production, but of amusement and diversion. It seems appropriate to close with an account of one memorable lunchtime conversation: in the years before the topic of this book was well known, I had made a practice of challenging skeptics to name their favorite sports and then always pointing out that the sport could be better in space than on Earth. Finally someone named a delightful sport that, even in these uninhibited days, is carried on only in private. The skeptic instantly became a believer: can anyone imagine a better location for a honeymoon hotel than the zero-gravity region of a space community?”

When you can come up with a thing that you and another person have in common, you have the key to true human rapport.  Start with what they are interested in or, if you don’t know them well or at all, start with something widely in general, like Sports  – instead of A Sport.  The great thing is that unlike a MISSION TO MARS or robot taking pictures of the rings of Saturn, a Freespace 1-G Rotating Habitat will need to have just about everything we have now on the surface of Earth, including amusements and diversions along with plumbing and plants.  So if you start getting people to toss you their starting points you can probably come up with a connection or two, or three.

And that is the start of a conversation.  And a conversation is sometimes more profitable than being on some stage and projecting a sermon down at a bunch of fidgety people who can smell the fingerfood in the back of the hall.

Ok, you get the point, make making connections a game. It’s fun for the other person and it gets your brain a-rolling down the track. After a while you won’t need to ask anyone else for their canned slides, you’ll already have a pocketful of connections already worked out and you can walk into most any group and link their X to your Why.

Try it!

The 2081 and High Frontier Free Giveaway is now over!

Gerard K. O'Neill
Gerard K. O’Neill

The Space Studies Institute giveaway of the Kindle editions of Gerard K. O’Neill’s 2081 and The High Frontier just ended a few minutes ago.

Final tally? 989 total free copies claimed.

SSI Associates: Thank you so very much for spreading the word on this exciting promotion and getting two amazing books into the hands of a new generation of forward looking readers!

New friends: Go read! And as you are reading don’t just take it all at face value, think about it, look for connections and check current resources to see for yourself if the fundamental concepts and opportunities that O’Neill described have real possibilities for creating a better Human future. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised and we look forward to seeing you join us at SSI.

Missed out on this free giveaway? The standard price of just $6.99 USD for the SSI Kindle editions is a great bargain for the information in these classic books so don’t look backwards, just head over to the Amazon Kindle pages for 2081 and The High Frontier and make that investment in your future.

Thank you from The Space Studies Institute, founded in 1977 by Gerard K. O’Neill for the Human Breakout Into Space.

SSI President Gary C Hudson shows the evolution of reading... as predicted in the book 2081
SSI President Gary C Hudson shows the evolution of reading… as predicted in the book 2081

 

2081 Kindle edition pages:
In the US: Amazon.com
Amazon CanadaAmazon UK,
Amazon GermanyAmazon France,
Amazon SpainAmazon Italy,
Amazon Netherlands Amazon Japan,
Amazon BrazilAmazon Mexico,
Amazon Australia and Amazon India

The pages for The High Frontier Kindle edition:
In the US: Amazon.com
Amazon CanadaAmazon UK,
Amazon GermanyAmazon France,
Amazon SpainAmazon Italy,
Amazon NetherlandsAmazon Japan,
Amazon BrazilAmazon Mexico,
Amazon Australia and Amazon India

Right Now 2081 and The High Frontier are FREE

*** This Free giveaway ended September 10th. If you missed it, the price is just $6..99 USD, a minor investment in a major future!***

SSI President Gary C Hudson shows the evolution of reading... as predicted in the book 2081
SSI President Gary C Hudson shows the evolution of reading… as predicted in the book 2081

We broke the news yesterday for SSI Associates to get their jump start and now it’s open for everyone:

For a limited time The Space Studies Institute is giving away the Kindle editions of Gerard K. O’Neill’s 2081 and The High Frontier for free!

2081, an amazing look at the future rising around us, and The High Frontier, the cornerstone book of the NewSpace generation, are both regularly priced at $6.99 USD but right now they are  online around the planet for free download from the Amazon.com websites and Kindle stores.

For details on 2081, just jump down to the previous SSI Blog post and as for The High Frontier, well, if you haven’t heard of it then it’s time you laid the right foundation in your Space education.

Gerard K. O’Neill’s The High Frontier is a landmark book.  A stunning, readable treatise.

Space is the place where there are no limits  and where benefits to ALL of Humanity – everywhere – are free for the using with no need to harm anyone.

Sound far fetched? Sound naively Utopian and absolutely unachievable? Until a person actually reads The High Frontier for themselves, they should be careful about jumping to conclusions.

In The High Frontier, Princeton Nuclear Physicist Gerard K. O’Neill asks the famous question:

“Is a planetary surface, any planetary surface,
really the best place for an expanding technological civilization?”

And then he systematically looks at what it means for a civilization to expand, what such a civilization truly needs for real positive growth, and finds that all of those requirements and more are in no way out of reach.

Professor O’Neill makes this book of real science and real technology readable by most everyone by using fascinating “Letters From Space” followed by clear explanations of the hows and whys.  O’Neill was a world-renowned scientist but he had the gift to make even the most technical information completely understandable.

If you’ve never personally read 2081 and The High Frontier, you are in for a truly amazing experience. If you haven’t read them in a while then now is a great time to refresh your memories!

To get your free copies, log into your Amazon.com account using your web browser or start the Kindle Store in your Kindle app or device to search for the “O’Neill Kindle 2081″ and “O’Neill Kindle The High Frontier”.

Make sure you see that the price of the books are $0.00 (zero).

Click on the Buy Now button.  Note that the Buy Now is not the one for the kindleunlimited subscription program. 2091 and THF free kindle buy now

“Sync” your Kindle device or app to see your new books in your bookshelf and click them to begin the downloads.

They’re all yours so Start Reading!

Read on your Android, iOS or Windows Phone while in line at the grocery then pick up where you left off while relaxing at home with your tablet then start right up again on your Kindle Fire, Voyager or DX and even steal a few minutes at work using the Kindle program on your full Mac or Windows PC.

Pass the word!

The Space Studies Institute is giving away the Kindle editions of Gerard K. O’Neill’s 2081 and The High Frontier.

Twitter the news, Blog it, Facebook it, email it, spread the word and do it today!

These are the expected 2081 Kindle edition pages:
In the US: Amazon.com
Amazon CanadaAmazon UK,
Amazon GermanyAmazon France,
Amazon SpainAmazon Italy,
Amazon Netherlands Amazon Japan,
Amazon BrazilAmazon Mexico,
Amazon Australia and Amazon India

These are the expected pages for The High Frontier Kindle edition:
In the US: Amazon.com
Amazon CanadaAmazon UK,
Amazon GermanyAmazon France,
Amazon SpainAmazon Italy,
Amazon NetherlandsAmazon Japan,
Amazon BrazilAmazon Mexico,
Amazon Australia and Amazon India

The clock is ticking on this limited time offer, get yours now and tell your friends!


important notes: Amazon Kindle promotions may not be available in all countries or areas, as of this writing it appears that all of the Amazon links above are showing the price as zero but the exact countries and timings are up to Amazon. Due to the way eCommerce systems work, Start and End times of free book promotions can not be exactly specified.  SSI Kindle editions are available in many countries but at this time the texts are only available in English.