Commander Hadfield is equal part astronaut and PR spokesperson. We have just witnessed the best, longest-running, "good news" PR campaign in years. It was designed to promote interest in space aviation, technology, and science, and by extension the STEM subjects -- science, technology, engineering and math -- to our next generation. Here are his communication strategy and techniques, deconstructed.
In an irony as ripe as weird Uncle Willard's bedside denture jar and nuttier than old Auntie Jean's inedible fruitcake, there are whispers that the National Hockey League and its players union are inching toward an agreement to truncate their age-old lockout, and allow a new season to finally begin... right around the time the world is scheduled to end.
During the second mission to the moon in 1969, Apollo 12, the crew brought back a camera that had been sent some two and a half years earlier. When they returned, the camera underwent extensive testing including microbiological analysis. Much to their surprise, they found a colony of earthly bacteria; apparently the microbes had survived the inhospitable lunar environment.
Most North Americans know that human-caused global warming is real, even if political leaders don't always reflect or act on that knowledge. According to a recent poll, only two per cent of Canadians reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth is warming at alarming rates -- a figure that may seem surprising given the volume of nonsense deniers.
Late tonight (for those on the west coast), and pre-dawn Monday morning (for the rest of us in Canada), a scary-looking, laser-carrying, plutonium-powered robot rover named Curiosity will attempts to make a soft landing on Mars. Succeed or fail, it is likely that a good many people are being inspired by Curiosity, including some of whom may aspire to take on similar challenges in all walks of life in the years ahead.