Education: August 2010 Archives

Aerospace and Defense Companies Hiring, But Face Challenges Retaining Young Pros, Says AVIATION WEEK Workforce Study

"AVIATION WEEK has released results from its 2010 Workforce and Young Professionals/Student Study, a mainstay for aerospace and defense (A&D) planning and trend analysis since 1997, which show that A&D companies plan to hire 15,500 professionals this year. However, retaining younger employees continues to be a challenge -- the voluntary attrition rate (employees choosing to leave) for young professionals rose to 21%, and 41% admit to looking for new jobs. The study also reviewed industry retirement rates and ranked the top universities for A&D alumni hires, with California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, at number one."

Keith's note: Nick Skytland (now with the Open Gov office at NASA HQ) gave a variant on his standard Gen Y presentation yesterday at the NASA CIO IT conference. Of course, his premise is always the same i.e. that his generation of "digital natives" is special and requires special handling and care. While his predilection for singling his generation out for special attention is a little naiive (all younger generations are special and different (i.e misunderstood), by definition), there are some points to be made as to what it is that younger people have as a world view. If the agency is going to serve this subset of the taxpaying population, it needs to be certain that it has an accurate frame of reference with which to calibrate its interactions. At the same time, an ever-growing population of aging baby boomers entering "retirement" is going to become a large constituency that the agency will need to serve - and they are voratious consumers of information, often as adept at being "digital natives" as are Gen Y folks.

Here is one snapshot of the class of 2014 as provided (annualy) by Beloit College. Again, recall that this is what the world looks like, from the perception of a total life experience (thus far) of someone entering college this Fall:

"43. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space."

Desert RATS 2010: NASA and Challenger Center Hardware Interface Tests (photos)

"Two power interface tests were conducted today at NASA JSC between the GSW7000 solar/wind generator system and NASA's Habitat Development Unit (HDU) and Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). The SEV and the HDU, along with the GSW7000 will all participate in the Desert RATS 2010 activities later this month and into September."

NASA Desert RATS 2010: Challenger Center Hardware Arrives at JSC (photos), earlier post

NASA Desert RATS 2010: Challenger Center Hardware Arrives at JSC

"As was the case in 2009, Green Trail Energy has partnered with the Challenger Center for Space Science Education to provide logistical and technical support for Education and Public Outreach to be done at NASA's annual Desert RATS activity. The GSW7000, whose utilization is being donated to this activity by Green Trail Energy, can provide 2.4 KW of wind power and 4.4 KW of solar power. With its extendable 110 foot tower, it can also serve as a cell phone node and provide WiFi and WiMAX connectivity. This unit can be deployed by one person and be operational 30 minutes after arrival at a remote location. The entire unit compacts into the volume of a standard shipping container and can be pulled by a 1 ton pick up truck."

Why NASA's New Video Game Completely Misses the Point, Popular Mechanics

"Which makes Moonbase Alpha all the more unfortunate. The game serves as an epitaph for what appears to be NASA's lost decade. The agency failed to stay on time or on budget throughout the life of the Constellation program, its highest and most expensive priority. But while manned spaceflight foundered, unmanned exploration thrived. The modern-day equivalent of Aldrin and Armstrong are Spirit and Opportunity, robotic vehicles that survived years longer than expected on the surface of Mars. The rovers uncovered signs of water, and paved the way for the discovery of actual Martian ice by other intrepid bots."

Keith's note: I got an email from an editor at Popular Mechanics asking me to consider posting a link to this article on NASA Watch. I read the article and responded that I thought that the author had used the excuse of reviewing a video game as an opportunity to just dump on NASA, Obama's space policy, etc. Indeed, the bulk of the article seems to have nothing whatsoever to do with the video game it purports to review. Rather it goes on at length about how bad NASA has been. The editor tried again and again to convince me that I was wrong, but in re-reading the article I am now firmly of the opinion I originally voiced.

To be honest I have not played the game since it is not functional on Macs without running windows. So I have no idea if it is as "excruciatingly boring" as the reviewer claims it to be. That said, NASA aimed this game at an audience: students. This review makes no mention as to whether the reviewer is a student or if any students were asked to review the game and provide feedback for inclusion in this "review". So if there is a mismatch between reviewer and intended audience one would expect that the review is inherently flawed, yes?

If Popular Mechanics wants to dump on NASA, by all means, have at it. But trying to cloak political commentary under the guise of a game review is rather misleading to prospective readers.

New NASA Online Game Snubs Macs And Other Operating Systems, earlier post

Centenarians Participate in Challenger Learning Center Mission

"If you have ever seen a photo of someone participating in a simulated space mission at a Challenger Learning Center, odds are it is someone around 10 years old. Recently, however, a group of women, some of them ten times that age, pushed that participant envelope to new heights. One of the women is Gussie Levine. Gussie clearly remembers her 59th birthday. On that day humankind made its "giant leap" as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon. This year, less than a week after celebrating her 100th birthday, Gussie followed in their footsteps and took a simulated journey to the Moon at the Town of Ramapo Challenger Center in Rockland County, NY."



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