Who Knew There Was a Plant Pathologist?

Sign for NASA at 60


I went to the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival this weekend, at the Washington Convention Center.

The festival was focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), and more particularly on drawing girls into the sciences.  And it was packed with lots of kids checking out the displays.  This was a huge facility, and people kept coming and coming.  There’s definite interest in science, despite what feels to me like we’ve veered away from it with big companies influencing the results of studies like in the food industry.

Some highlights:

Most popular section:  NASA and space travel.  This was more crowded than anywhere else.  Maybe we’ve got some future scientists who will figure out how to get us off the planet with artificial gravity.  Right now, to leave our gravity well, we have to put a lot of explosives under our space craft.

USDA’s job table was pretty cool.  They had jobs like:

  • Plant Pathologist: They figure out causes and controls of plant diseases.
  • Remote Sensing Specialists: Analyzes satellite images
  • Marine Scientists: Researches problems facing Marine life

I was grabbing those up, and it also told me that I could check on some of the government job listings in the science areas for research.

Probably the most interesting was a visit to a table of a man who had been out in the Arctic three times.  He had on display the boots he had to wear “Big Red,” which was the coat.  The boots were very heavy–you’d get a good workout just from them.  I was also able to put on “Big Red,” which was a goose down coat they wore.  It also was quite heavy.  Between those two, you’d get quite a workout!

Military was also there as well.  This is from the Air Force:

Air Force Plane on display

It was a lot of fun!

Science Fiction Books

After seeing Star Trek and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, I have a special love for adventuring out into space.  There weren’t many women in the science fiction books I read growing up, so I have lots of women having adventures.  Links to pages with blurbs coming soon.


Back of man with digital code on his skin
This was for an anthology call and provided the opening sentence.  Everyone was going to do first person or dialogue, so I wanted to be different and started with a tweet.
Cover for 5 Futuristic Women
A sampler of 5 of my short stories.  All of these feature women having adventures.


Cover for New Robot Smell
This is a dark science fiction story, a legacy of my Desert Storm days.  I knew a person like the character’s friend in the story.
Cover for Alien Traps
People creating cat traps (a box) went viral on the Internet, so I thought why not alien traps?
Tall ship sailing against the sunrise - cover for Men from the Horizon
This was inspired by disability and steampunk. I thought about what it was like for the Hawaiians when the first missionaries came to the island and what they might have offered.
A woman space soldier stretches.
This story started as an assignment from a workshop, inspired by a fuzzy blue pillow. Stranger things happen when creativity is involved
Cover for Theater Ship
A woman actor ages out of roles much faster than men.  So my character takes to space travel to continue doing what she loves.
Brain with lightning
I looked out the window and saw a woman in a bright red coat towing a cooler.  What’s in that cooler?  Read the story to find out.


Cover for Sky Hair
I attended an art exhibit at the Smithsonian’s American Indian Museum.  Wonderful exhibit, and I thought about the stories art tells us, even when we don’t realize it.
Cover art for Curseo of the Cat
I ran across a very old book at the library that mentioned a cursed painting of a cat that had caused all its owners to die.  Oddly, the sketch of the cat looked like one I had growing up, Dum-Dum (my mother named the cat).

Cats and Physics – Who Knew?

This was a scientific study in Japan about how cats use physics to hunt.  Plus plenty of cat pictures!

Touching Space: The Final Frontier

When I was a kid, space still seemed like a very far away thing.  The space shuttle was a really big deal because it could take off like a rocket and land like an aircraft.  I remember when the first one came out, and through a letter writing campaign, NASA named it Enterprise.  Really, I think without the promotion Star Trek gave space travel, we might be in a different place than we are today.  The show made space an exciting place to explore.

The other day, I heard on the radio that Virgin Galactic is doing a flight where the aircraft would go briefly into space.  Ordinary people might one day be able to see what astronauts like Sally Ride have seen!  Anyway, here’s a video of one of Virgin Galactic’s tests.  Would you go into space if you could (and didn’t cost a fortune)?