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!

One thought on “Free Presentations from The Space Studies Institute”

  1. I had heard that the tv show Seinfeld had become extremely uncool (unhip, un-whatever word currently in the vernacular) to younger citizens but yesterday during a quick stop in Salt Lake City when the freespace 1-G rotating habitat phrase popped up it was a teenager who quickly shouted out “Tuberculosis!”

    Ok, two things came to mind:

    First, Tuberculosis seems like something far removed from our modern world, something terrible from the bizarre days of past centuries when people thought pictures of posing dead relatives were normal things to have hanging on a wall, but even today it appears that tuberculosis is still a big deal. During this conversation I didn’t hit Google for the scary facts (today I did, and they are scary for people in many places on Earth), but I did have a common anecdotal starting point: Work late at night with the television on in the background and set to most any commercial channel and you are inundated with those ads of medical miracles that can cure or control everything from foot odor to crippling agonies… followed by the long sped-up list of things to “advise your doctor of” before you start any treatment. And in a surprising number of those long lists up comes the warning that if you have had or may have been in areas where tuberculosis is possible you should not take product X.

    SO… if you are running a freespace 1-G rotating habitat, a quasi-closed environment where germs can spread among a shared-air community it would make very good sense to include in the emigration and customs checks close looks into the medical and geographical histories of new people before they are let into the habitat with the general population.

    Please, I am in no way trying to make light of a disease that I know, from today’s Googling, really can be a terrible and heartbreaking thing. But there is a connection between that one word being shouted out and the management of a safe and prosperous enclosed human habitat.

    And, of course, tuberculosis is just the beginning of the medical part of working out the details of living in a such a location, there are many, many other biological nasties that also have to be seriously considered for a fully safe environment to be ready for general habitation.

    The young man, I am sure, understood that tuberculosis was not a joke, however he thought that my answer was a bit of a cop-out, something that I could use for any ailment that anyone shouted out. And that is true, so we gave it a bit more thought… again, not yet with any references checked, just using some common sense. Admittedly, the second connection is also not unique to tuberculosis, but it was a good example of where most any starting point can lead.

    Second came the idea that, unlike any current medical laboratory on Earth where the full 1-G can not be turned off and removed from the equation – or possible similar laboratory on the Moon (ever-present approximate 1/6th gravity) or Mars (ever-present approximate 1/3rd gravity) or an ISS micro-gravity location (where the microgravity scientists get antsy to hear you want to start up a working-lab sized centrifuge) – a freespace 1-G rotating habitat provides a full spectrum of gravity options. You have the 1-G at their “equators” smoothly going up to to zero-G at their axis. Full sized project-term labs can be situated at a control of 1-G to test the duplication of medical cure and treatment ideas being worked on down on Earth, and also up a few “lines of latitude” to 9/10ths-G, and another full lab at 7/10ths, and 6 and 1/2 and so on all the way down. Full, isolated test areas could be operated.

    We all work with highly technical people who can immediately get us into weeds, so a medical researcher may completely pooh-pooh this train of thought as being totally silly, BUT strange things have been seen over the centuries once previously impossible options, thought totally silly beforehand, have simply been available for trying. Maybe not tuberculosis but maybe some other cure or treatment could in fact benefit from research being just tried, if only to rule it out and finally know for sure that there is nothing practical at all for any ailment’s treatment down the reduced gravity path.

    It is really hard to say what is 100% impossible when we have yet to have a single real, full-sized reduced-gravity test facility available for easily ‘throwing spaghetti at the wall.’ And we have had, for many years now, all of the technology required to put at least a working-lab sized rotating facility in place so… hmmm.

    I may be wrong but I think that there are more than a few people currently living with real, hard medical problems who would think that testing something completely new, even if it means doing so on some weird freespace rotating habitat, would be worth at least trying if we only could. In some of my own family’s health histories, there have been moments when I have heard far, far stranger ideas being brought up and given actual consideration.

    Until there is a freespace 1-G rotating habitat, we will never truly know all of the benefits that it might, in real fact, have.

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