Education: September 2015 Archives

NASA Is the Unlikeliest 'Design Firm' in Human History, Observer

"Earlier this month, a young maker named Ahmed Mohamed was arrested while wearing a NASA t-shirt after bringing a homemade clock to his high school. Photographs of Ahmed in handcuffs circulated around the globe along with the space agency's logo creating a new context for its design and purpose. NASA tweeted a response to the arrest with a STEM-related message of support and for a moment, the agency's brand became a symbol of social progress."

Let's let Ahmed go back to being a kid, Dallas Morning News

"In the last week alone, he has had star turns at a science conference in California and a technology summit in New York. He has shared the spotlight with the CEO of Google, the queen of Jordan, the founder of Mashable. Ahmed is a social-media phenomenon, a one-word brand, a global political symbol. Ahmed's a star. He's also a 14-year-old kid, and I hope he can return to normal 14-year-old kid life when the Ahmed World Tour 2015 is played out. The last thing he needs that any kid needs is to be a divisive political symbol."

Larry Wilmore interviews Ahmed Mohamed about arrest, USA Today

"After watching Larry Wilmore of The Nightly Show interview 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, we feel the need to up our tech game. And get a NASA shirt. The kid is just too cool."

Keith's note: Ahmed Mohamed brought an ad hoc science project to school. A digital clock to be specific. His (apparently ignorant) teacher thought it was a bomb - because - who knows. Ahmed was taken to the police station in handcuffs and questioned for hours without access to a lawyer or his parents. He was wearing a t-shirt with a huge NASA logo on it when he was taken into custody. How many kids wear a NASA t-shirt to school? He wore that same t-shirt for days after his questioning in various media interviews. Its not like that is the only shirt he owns. As such, one could reasonably conclude that Ahmed is a big NASA fan.

So ... here comes "The Martian" and all of that wonderful rah-rah can-do pro-NASA goodness blasted into a zillion pairs of eyeballs. NASA is working closely with the movie to promote a variety of things to inspire the next generation of space explorers. Great idea (really). Well ... one of those future explorers was taken into custody while wearing a NASA t-shirt because he got creative and pushed the envelope. He has subsequently been offered internships, guided tours, and all manner of things by companies and organizations - and he seems to be totally cool - even gracious - with the opportunities that have found their way to him. Even the White House asked him to drop by next month for an astronomy thing.

Ahmed is a space fan - big time. So what does NASA do? Do they even bother to invite Ahmed to visit NASA or offer access to its activities like so many others have done in other areas? No. All he gets is a couple of tweets. Yet the agency blissfully trips over its collective self to give unprecedented media access for a movie about fake astronauts - while a real future Mark Watney gets the cold shoulder after showing precisely the same character traits that NASA and Hollywood are hyping.

How pathetic and short-sighted.

Kickstarter Success for Xtronaut Game Supports Space-Science Outreach Programs

"Dante Lauretta, Leader of the NASA OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission and University of Arizona Professor, combined his expertise in space mission planning and technology with his passion for strategy gaming to create Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration. The Xtronaut game captures the various challenges and excitement of planning a space mission. Lauretta co-founded Xtronaut Enterprises with space entrepreneur Michael Lyon to increase awareness of OSIRIS-REx and other space missions through entertainment and education programs. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the game on September 12, 2015, and have exceeded their funding goal of $15,000 with over 300 backers."

Kickstarter campaign

Keith's 21 September Update: According to a stament provided to NASA Watch: "NASA is dedicated to STEM education and the engagement of students of diverse backgrounds and interests. We will be looking for opportunities to invite Ahmed and other students to participate in agency activities, and we will extend those invitations privately at the appropriate time."

Keith's 19 Sep note: The following was provided by NASA PAO in response to a request from NASAWatch:

"NASA has publicly voiced support for Ahmed and his interests across multiple social media platforms and reinforced the importance of encouraging students to explore science and technology studies and careers. His is a story that can help inspire new generations of explorers. Individuals across NASA also have expressed their personal support.

"After the President's social media post, the White House extended an invitation for Ahmed to attend the annual Astronomy Night with the world's leading scientists, astronomers, and fellow students in October. A number of NASA representatives along with other science agencies will be there to help support the event and interaction with Ahmed and other students.

"The agency has vibrant Education program that reaches students across the country and we're constantly exploring new ways to engage young Americans."

14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed arrested for bringing homemade clock to school, The Verge

"Police in Texas have arrested a 14-year-old boy for building a clock. Ahmed Mohamed, who lives in Irving and has a keen interest in robotics and engineering, put the device together on Sunday night. When he took it to school the next day, he was pulled out of class, interviewed by police officers, and taken in handcuffs to juvenile detention, after being told by teachers that his creation looked like a bomb. A picture reportedly taken by Ahmed's sister shows him in handcuffs at the juvenile detention center, sporting a NASA T-shirt and an understandably confused expression. Ahmed was fingerprinted, before being allowed to return home, but is still serving a three-day suspension from school."

Larger image

Irving 9th-grader arrested after taking homemade clock to school: 'So you tried to make a bomb?', Dallas News

"Ahmed Mohamed who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High on Monday. Instead, the school phoned police about Ahmed's circuit-stuffed pencil case. So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it's a clock."

Keith's note: Yea this is the right way to encourage the next generation of space explorers, engineers, entrepreneurs. Note that he was wearing a NASA T-shirt. This guy could grow up to be the next Mark Whatney. #IStandWithAhmed



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Education category from September 2015.

Education: August 2015 is the previous archive.

Education: October 2015 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.