What SpaceUp is All About

CraftLass summed up the importance of SpaceUp (and other BarCamps) quite well today:

Modern society is very disjointed. We like to divvy everyone up into little groups and then slice those groups up even smaller, building walls between each time. Companies keep the left-brainers away from the right-brainers who are kept away from the executives and the underlings. This is bad, very bad. The best ideas happen when people who seem to have little in common work together as a real team, even if there are serious disagreements along the way. Actually, especially if there are disagreements – those are needed to kill the inevitable bad ideas that crop up and spark a new direction of thinking. Compartmentalization is bad for everyone and everything, at least, in my opinion, and it’s time to break free of this modus operandi.

This is why SpaceUp is my favorite event. It’s living, breathing proof that people CAN communicate across all the artificial boundaries we put up and find ourselves subject to. Even better, the way a lot of that happens is through actual fun! We have fun debating serious topics, we have fun sharing stories and getting to know each other, and then there’s the actual Fun Time built into the schedule.

Be sure to read more about her upcoming trip to SpaceUp Houston in her post, “Wake Up to SpaceUp“.

SpaceUp San Diego: The Sequel

Good news, everyone!

What: SpaceUp San Diego
When: February 12th and 13th, 2011
Where: The Loft at UC San Diego
Registration is open now

(If you’re new to SpaceUp, read how it works or get an overview from a writeup of SpaceUp DC.)

For our second annual event, the San Diego Space Society is working with the UCSD Astrophysics Club to host the event at The Loft at UC San Diego. The Loft is a comfy venue that benefits from UCSD’s amazing network bandwidth, plus it features a full service café (Zanzibar!) just steps away from Pod One.

The famous five-minute lightning talks will be back again this year, renamed T minus 5 to avoid any Imperial entanglements. Register to get details on giving your presentation. Don’t worry if you’re shy; there are plenty of ways to participate.

Kids have their own activities this year, so children are FREE with a parent registration.

The attendee list already has some exciting names listed, and we expect to see more of the area’s scientists, engineers, educators, students, and rocket nerds sign up soon. Make sure you’re one of them by registering today.

To learn more, visit the SpaceUp San Diego site, follow it on Facebook or Twitter, or email questions to info@spaceup.org. We hope to see you there!

Houston: Register Soon to Get a T-shirt

If you haven’t yet registered for SpaceUp Houston, they just gave you a great reason to do so now:

Early Bird Registration will close on January 19th, 2011 and all early birds will receive a special Space Up T-shirt with the following logo designed specifically for Houston!  So, don’t miss out and register today.

Early-bird pricing is just $25, so that’s like buying the t-shirt and getting an awesome 2-day unconference (with a special session by astronaut Clay Anderson) for free!

[Author's note: Even though I'll be stuck in San Diego that weekend, I registered to get the awesome t-shirt. If you can't get to Houston yourself, you can still register and take part live via Spacevidcast.]

SpaceUp DC Coverage in NASA’s Ask the Academy

SpaceUp DC participant Haley Stephenson wrote about the unconference for NASA’s Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership (APPEL) newsletter, Ask the Academy. In her Aerospace Unbrief, Stephenson captures the essence of how SpaceUp works:

No agenda. No keynote speakers. No audience members in rows of uncomfortable chairs fidgeting through serial PowerPoint presentations.

[...] SpaceUp breaks the typical conference paradigm of mediocre food, large registration fees, and rigid lecture schedules. It engages and motivates all attendees to participate because they want to, not because they have to.

I had never been to an unconference. Quite frankly, the concept made me uncomfortable. But as I discovered, that’s the point.

More importantly, she portrays the sense of fun that we’ve seen at SpaceUps so far:

We fiddled with pipe cleaners (out of which one person constructed the space-time continuum), built spaceships and rovers out of Legos (our “green” ship was powered by Lego conifers), conducted a MoonPie eating contest (beware the banana flavor), and held what is probably the first Tribble war ever (they’re not as soft as they look). If this all seems quite silly, then take a moment to think on what sparked your interest in space and what fuels it now.

…space exploration is fueled by the imagination and enthusiasm of both fifty-year-old engineers and eleven-year-old kids like Caleb Doornbos, whose disarming intelligence and freedom from limitations made us all walk away asking, “Why not?” Why not inspire the next generation about space? Why not go to Mars and back in 80 days or less? Why not launch your own satellite? Why not?

Yeah, why not?

SpaceUp DC is ON.

You probably came here because you heard about SpaceUp DC first, but if you haven’t, here are a few highlights so far:

explaining the session grid

The webcasting provided by Spacevidcast has been fantastic. The morning started with an audio glitch and a few bandwidth hiccups, but the rest of the day had three rock-solid simultaneous streams (one from each active session room) with clear audio. Better yet, the full archived sessions showed up on Youtube within a few hours!

The conversation on Twitter has been awesome, too. (Search for the #SpaceUpDC tag on Twitter to get a taste.) The live SVC feeds helped here; people who aren’t on-site have been able to report on SpaceUp sessions as though they were there. The conversation bounces back and forth between on-site attendees, remote attendees, and other followers on Twitter, as in this exchange between me, NASA, and Dennis Bonilla.

Of course, it isn’t all roses and rainbows; I haven’t seen a single Moonpie yet. Still, there’s a whole second day, so I’ll just have to keep watching.

Phase Change

SpaceUp DC, the second SpaceUp ever, is only a week away. Organizers around the globe are working to put on other SpaceUps, including one near you. SpaceUp is heating up.

It’s time for a change.

OK, it’ll be a small change at first, barely noticeable if you haven’t looked at the SpaceUp site that closely. I’ve scooped out all the San-Diego-specific content from the main SpaceUp site and moved it over to the new SpaceUp San Diego subsite. I also updated the remaining pages to reflect the actual photos, video, and general awesomeness we’ve seen at SpaceUp already.

SpaceUp locations will be added as their organizers announce them. Each city’s team is independent, but we’ll try to bring everyone together on this site as well. If you’d like to help organize a SpaceUp near you, read how it works and contact us to get started.

Onward and forward!

This was a triumph!

[Cross-posted from the SpaceUp San Diego news.]

I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. *

4599 SpaceUp Group Photo cropped

The first SpaceUp was awesome! I’m still recovering and catching up afterward, but the glow from all that concentrated amazingness is propelling me forward. While the wiki is getting filled in, take a look at the photos and videos that have already been posted.

More are available on Spacevidcast and Youtube, with links (as we get them filled in) collected on the wiki.