Devon Island Expedition

Devon Island Expedition
This blog features educational updates on my Devon Island Expedition of July 14-20, 2007. Other sites:,

Monday, March 17, 2008

Have Spacesuit Will Travel

I am the new Heinlein Prize Trust spokesperson and leader of the Have Spacesuit Will Travel program (HSSWT). The idea is to inspire young people to be interested in space exploration. Robert Heinlein wrote a series of stories for young people. The quintessential story is called Have Spacesuit Will Travel. It is about a young man who enters a contest and wins an old spacesuit. He fixes it up and embarks on an accidental series of adventures. It is a wonderful story and remarkable, because Heinlein got most of the spacesuit technical features essentially correct many years before the first spacesuit was made!

We plan to create a lesson plan of sorts for school kids and have them read the book. Following a learning activity, they will be rewarded with a Sokol pressure suit in their school for two weeks. They will be allowed to touch the suit and try on the gloves.

What do you think? Please let me know your suggestions on how to make this program a success!


Leroy Chiao

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Does Anyone Else Wonder About Microsoft?

Reluctantly, because it was offered to me free (since I am a professor at LSU), I "upgraded" my MS Office Suite to 2008. Then the fun began.

First, every time I hit a return in MS Word 2008, it double spaces for me. I could not for the life of me figure out how to make it stop. Finally, after searching on the internet, I found the solution was to edit the normal style settings. Why was something that was default Ok, "improved" for this version? Frustrating and silly. How about a little consistency?

Similarly, I am now stymied about the automatic link creation. In Office 2004, MS Word would create a hyperlink when one typed ".com" or similar ending. Now, I can't figure out how to make MS Word do it for it's 2008 version. Maddening. This time, an internet search was fruitless.

Does anyone have an answer for me? Oh, how I long for the days of MacWrite. I wrote my doctoral thesis using it and a Mac 1MB back in 1987!

Oh, and Office 2008 takes noticeably much longer to launch.

Leroy Chiao