This week’s curiosity box has

  • Why did NASA and SpaceX’s launch get so much traction?
  • Why do 1.5 billion people continue to use Chopsticks?
  • Do people try to un-think and un-learn?

NASA and SpaceX Launch

I too was one of the millions who tuned in to watch the historic NASA and SpaceX launch. The first commercially built launch capsule for NASA; a test flight to check if the public, like you and me, can go to space. There are many more facts, but perhaps the most inspiring one to me was the cost to launch 1kg payload: Only $1,400!!

Launch Recap

Vanguard, launched in 1957, cost $894,700 per kg of payload. Over the years, advancements in technology have reduced the cost to launch payloads into space. Predictions are that the cost to launch payloads will further reduce by a factor of 20. (Note: All $ values were calculated to current day’s using the Consumer Price Inflation Calculator).

But wait. How much did NASA spend over all these years to come up with this technology?
(note: the price is in Billions)

This is a typical example of an iceberg effect. Of course, NASA had multiple goals. So, you can not correlate these two graphs and question “Did all that billions of dollars over these years result in only reducing the price of launching payloads to space.”

Source: NASA Ames Research

1.5 billion people and chopsticks

My two cents about Chopsticks – inquisitive and pragmatic. In fact using chopsticks makes cooking energy efficient. How you might ask? With chopsticks, you can’t pick up big pieces of meat, and hence you have to cut meat into smaller pieces. And smaller pieces are quicker to cook. Hence energy efficient.

Small Thing Big Idea, a TED series

How do people begin to un-think and un-learn?

The context in which I use unlearn is the process in understanding someone else’s perspective. That someone else could be your customer, your teacher, student, anyone but you. One way is to try to see the world from their position. How to do that is what Paul Bennett talks about in the video.

Design is in the details

We also don’t actively acquaint ourselves with these terms. Below is a Google Trends graph comparing the interest rate of the search terms “learn” in blue and “unlearn” in red.

Trend period: 3 months

Underlying finding: People are not thinking about unthinking 😛

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