Zany ISDC Enters Second Day

We (still) don’t have no stinkin’ badges!

Greetings from La Jolla!

The International Space Development Conference is now at the lunch break of Day 2. Most people are currently at the overpriced luncheon waiting for author/scientific thinker/former Prince & Bruce Springsteen publicist Howard Bloom to speak. I skipped the lunch and had a turkey sandwich I made at my sister’s house.

If the short preview Bloom gave earlier today is any indication, they’re in for quite a treat. Bloom spoke about a baby burned over 95 percent of its body American napalm. Or Vietnamese napalm. Or maybe it was Chinese or Russian napalm. Nobody really knew whose napalm it was, or whether it was napalm at all. Which made the entire tangent rather mysterious.

His point — as near as I could tell — was that it was impossible to know from just the photo of the baby what had actually happened to it or why. And that somehow related to the picture of Earth rise taken by the Apollo astronauts from the moon because the caption on that was all wrong because it pointed out how fragile the Earth was and how it needed protecting (presumably from napalm, among other things) and not that humanity was expanding into the cosmos.

Or something. He was a little hard to follow.

And that was just one of several zany thing to happen over the last two days.

At the dinner last night, Rick Tumlinson did his typical Rev. Rick sermon from the mount in he discussed why we’re going to explore space. One of the reasons was for the next generation, which is well represented at the conference. That was true enough, but they weren’t really well represented at the dinner, presumably due to the high cost of it. Organizers had set up rows of seats at the back for the young folks who couldn’t afford dinner so they could listen to Rev. Rick preach to the choir, but apparently nobody had sent them the invitations. So, the seats were largely empty.

Logistics has been a pretty big challenge here. As I write this at the mid-point of Day 2, I am still waiting for them to print my conference badge. And I am not alone.

The other highlight from last night’s dinner was Art Dula’s pitch for Buzz Aldrin’s new book, “Mission to Mars.” Dula said he was going to buy 10 of the books himself for Buzz to sign on Saturday and urged others to buy the book because we might not ever get a chance to have him sign a book again. As the audience contemplated the Apollo 11 moon walker’s advanced age and the relative values of a famous signatures give the status of the signer, Dula quickly added that he hoped that Buzz would be signing books for centuries to come.

Dula got it right the first time. Although I don’t think he should have said it out loud with Buzz sitting at one of the front tables.

More later.