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Not Very Much About Webcomics, So Deal

As you may know, the day job is teaching for a software company. It’s a pretty good job, and some days it’s amazing. I told the story earlier today on Twitter, which I will now reproduce (with some formatting and links not possible in the original tweets:

Holy crap, you guys, holy CRAP.

Okay, so I’m talking in class about #TheMartian and one of my students mentions that his father worked for NASA in the 60s.

Recently, dad was sick so student was visiting in the hospital and another old guy was there. Got to talking, introduced himself.

Nice to meet you, student. I’m Fred Haise”. Apollo 13 Fred Haise. Dad worked in friggin’ MCC during Gemini/Apollo.

Testified to Congress about Apollo 1. Sat the EECOM controller’s position. I asked, and apparently he could get me John Aaron’s autograph.

I am talking to the son of a goddamn American hero, holy crap. Day made.

I am floating 15 cm off the floor you guys. Holy crap. This encounter with history is maybe even better than meeting @tweetsoutloud.

So, should I mention the part about how an uncle of mine grew up speaking German in Huntsville, Alabama during the 1940s?

On account of all the neighbors spoke German. On account of how his father and the neighbors all moved to Alabama in 1945 with their boss.

(Wait for it)

Yup, uncle’s dad was part of Werner von Braun’s team. I’m a little more conflicted about that one.

Okay, I don’t ask for much around here (okay, yeah, I ask that people look at cool stuff and maybe kick in to a Kickstarter that I’m supporting because I want it to make goal so I can get my stuff), but I ask for very little that’s about me. For example, last Halloween, I asked for somebody to draw a zombie robot and Brandon Carr did and that was cool.¹

So this is what I’m asking: spend a little time today looking up a few of the many controller and directors that wore the headsets, slung the sliderules, stared at the screens, and made our first, tentative stabs at leaving behind the planet of our birth possible. I’ll start you with some names: John Aaron, Steve Bales, Sy Liebergot, Gerry Griffin, Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz, Glynn Lunney, and there are literally hundreds more, working harder and smarter than anybody’s ever worked before.

We’re losing that generation alongside the astronauts they supported (although a little slower, since the average flight controller was 26 years old² during Apollo, and the directors mostly in their 30s); though next following generations of MCC professionals keep us flying and reaching further, they would be the first to tell you they reach for comets and planets by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Spam of the day:

FDA Cleared Hair Loss Solution

Dude, have you seen me recently? In addition to aspiring to be as smart, capable, and cool as a NASA flight controller, I hope that someday my copious mane of crazy-guy hair will be white and I can do a convincing Einstein impression.

¹ Then again, I also asked on Twitter for somebody to please draw Howard Tayler Swift and nothing so far. I mean, look at him! Now imagine him all mashed up with her and tell me that wouldn’t be hilarious. But I digress.

² Sometimes younger. Steve Bales was 26 when he made the call to Go on the landing of Apollo 11 in the face of program alarms; this was based on the advice of 24 year old Jack Garman, the resident guidance computer expert. Aaron was likewise 24 years old when he saved Apollo 12 from an abort with the legendary call Flight, try SCE to AUX.

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