Notes from Europa

With his life-support system fully secured, Augustus opens the loading dock gate. A frigid plain of blue-white ice, crisscrossed by orange lines of radiated salt, stretches towards the horizon where it meets the dark vacuum of space. He plunges his ice axe into the ground and steps onto Europa’s surface. Since landing on the Jovian moon more than two months ago, Augustus spent most of his time confined within the cramped spaces of the Artemis. The only times he left the spacecraft was to inspect the large antenna, which had stopped working following the gamma radiation blast from extrasolar space. Atop the spacecraft, he opens the control unit to the large antenna. Using a wire stripper, he cuts through the outer plastic sheath of one of the coaxial cables, exposing the woven copper shield.

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Are You There?

“Hey, Spaceman!” I was breathing heavy when Jimmy woke me from my daydream. He was sitting in the driver’s seat of the company’s white Ford Ranger. Beads of sweat were dripping down his round, sunburnt face. “Earth to Spaceman!” he said. It was muggy as hell that mid-August day in Northumbria Cemetery. Harry Belmont, the cemetery groundskeeper who also happened to be Jimmy’s dad, had told Jimmy and I to trim around the Chen monument on Section H. Harry said the “old biddy,” his term for the yet-to-be-deceased Mrs. Chen, was complaining again.

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child on a swing looking at starry night

Why You Should Always Aim for the Stars

A few weeks ago, I asked my 5-year-old son what he wanted to be when he grew up. “I want to be an astronaut,” he replied. “I want to visit the moon, planets and stars in my spaceship.” Like many children, my son lives in an exciting world full of potential. He isn’t afraid to dream big. Unfortunately, many of us lose this trait as we get older, squashed by those who deem such thinking as unrealistic. We are told to “settle down” or to get a “real job”, that chasing a dream will only lead to disappointment and financial ruin.

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Orange Is the New Black logo

“Orange Is the New Black” and the Disruptive Force of Digital Communications

Image source Digital communications has had a profound effect on society. The combined trio of the Internet, social media and mobile technologies has been a democratizing force. These technologies give a megaphone to the masses and provide a formidable counterweight to the media and corporate public relations. The disruptive force of digital communications played an important role in Orange Is the New Black. In season 5 of the popular Netflix series, the female inmates riot and takeover Litchfield Penitentiary, which leads to a drawn out hostage crisis. Though the prison’s dehumanizing conditions were a precursor to the crisis, what’s noticeable to me is how the women successfully used digital communications to change the narrative. Below are a few examples of how digital communications shaped the plot of season 5 of Orange Is the New Black. Justice for Poussey Following the women’s takeover of Litchfield, the prison’s corporate owners (MCC) tried to downplay the […]

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4 Organizational Crises Made Worse because of Poor Communications

This article originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of “Communicator”, the official publication of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Toronto. As communications professionals, we know that a public relations crisis is always around the corner. According to crisis management expert Ian Mitroff, “every organization is virtually guaranteed to experience at least one major crisis.” These words should be sobering for leaders, communications professionals, and anyone responsible for protecting an organization’s brand and reputation. Skilled communicators have the ability to mitigate many potential public relations fires by delivering timely communications that inform stakeholders. However, communications is a double-edged sword, and communicators – rather than fixing the situation – can make matters worse. Much worse. Want evidence? Here are four examples below of recent crises that were magnified as a result of poor communication: Read the full article >

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