Friday, December 20, 1996

I Was Awarded a Medal by NASA

A picture of the medal I was awarded by NASA.

OK, I admit it. I was one of hundreds of high school students who participated in NASA's "put an experiment aboard the Space Shuttle" contest. Each of us got a cheap plastic medal, a certificate, a copy of the group photo and an all-expenses-paid trip to a regional NASA conference for ourselves and our science teacher. Most of us in the West went to NASA Ames Research Center (in Mountain View, California).

Since NASA Ames Research Center is about fifteen miles from the high school I attended, the free hotel room and the "mileage expenses" seemed kind of silly, but the people there from North Dakota seemed to appreciate it. It was a lot warmer in California.

My experiment came right out of a Carl Sagan book I had read: it was basically to take some aluminium and lead and try to heat them up and make alloy out of them. In fact, the whole thing was pretty silly. I was taking biology at the time, and I didn't like biology, so when I was given a choice -- to do some regular biology assignment or to do a Shuttle contest entry on any area of science -- well, I decided a shuttle contest entry on metallurgy was a lot less boring. It was, as it turned out.

So I went to Ames, got advice on redoing the project for the Next Level of Competition, resubmitted it, and was told I didn't make the next cut. Oh well. I got an A in biology that semester. And I get to tell people I was awarded a medal by NASA.

Tuesday, December 3, 1996

Roger Sage and the New York Times

When I was a sophomore in high school, one of my fellow students wrote several different letters to the school newspaper, and they would get printed even though everybody on the newspaper staff thought they were less than valuable. As I recall he was the only one who had any letters printed over a period of several months.

This is the first parody I remember writing. I thought I had lost it but it turned up in a box of mementos. It's not really very good (the meter is awful) but I think if one is defaming someone named Roger Sage one could hardly pick a better song to do it with.

Roger Sage and the New York Times

Are you going to print that letter?
Roger Sage and the New York Times
Sage's ideas: Our readers will scare
Drop our circulation to nine.

Please don't print old Sage's letter.
Roger Sage and the New York Times
For sanity don't you have a care?
This will lose us zillions of dimes.

Don't ask me again, Sage, about that letter.
Roger Sage and the New York Times
Sage, your ideas will open our wounds bare.
Save the riots for another time.

Oh, no, they printed Sage's letter.
Roger Sage and the New York Times
I'm getting out, right now while I still dare.
My reputation: can I save it in time?