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Blog » JPL tour

13 Apr 2005

JPL tour

Filed under: Personal — paulcook @ 6:47 pm

I went on a tour of JPL today, with some of the current foreign Fulbright students. Watching the movies of past landings, and interviews with the mission specialists, I sometimes wish I was involved in some of that stuff too. Theoretical physics is great, most of the time, but there’s something about the thrill of working with a team of really good people, to produce a craft that goes and does something that humanity has never done before. Of course, we aren’t seeing all the years of work that goes into each great moment, but still…

Next week’s class-skipping activity is a panel discussion at UCLA (for which I am one of three panelists) on the topic, “What Americans should know about Africa”. So if anyone has something in particular that they think Americans need to know about Africa, I’m taking comments!



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2 Comments »

  1. Paul -
    It’s great to hear about the panel at UCLA. I wish I could come, but I will be in Colorado and Kansas until the 25th. I really want to hear how it goes, so be sure to post about it. =)

    What Americans need to know about Africa? Loads. I’m sure you already know a lot of this….
    I find many people equate Africa with starving people, civil wars and ethnic conflict. I navigate a fine line in my work: How do I talk about public policy related to ending hunger and not use guilt as a mechanism for getting people to care? And, how do I affirm people’s ability to help themselves and not continue this idea of the American rougue savior? Does that make sense? Our media does an awful job of talking about issues related to Africa. Growing up, I watched tons of TV and the only images I saw of Africa were starving children. It’s difficult to break away from these images, because our media does an excellent job (for better or for worse) of indoctrinating us into the status quo. This relates back to our discussion about “poverty porn” on my blog. Anyway…

    Another thing, many people think Africa is a country. I am always shocked that people don’t actually know the various nations of AFRICA. Maybe I am crazy, but most people don’t call the United States - North America or the people who live in the United States - North Americans. It’s kind of ridiculous really.

    Finally, we have a map in our office that shows the size of Africa relative to other continents. Europe, Australia, North America and South America all “fit” into the continent of Africa. That is an insane amount of space. Darfur alone is the size of California. It’s crazy to think about. Apologies for the long post, but I’m excited about your panel. What group is sponsoring the event?

    Comment by Holly — 13 Apr 2005 @ 8:54 pm

  2. Paul, very cool. I’m trying to think of something since I’ve been to Africa that has changed. If I think of something profound I’ll let you know.

    Comment by Griztown — 15 Apr 2005 @ 11:43 am

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