Every so often on twitter I come across a sequence of tweets or ideas that seem to belong together. As humans we are wired for patterns and to make connections.

This is what twitter is great for. A kind of essential randomness but at the same time an idea generator. Serendipity at work.

Here is an example from this morning. The 1962 letter below :

“This is to advise that we have no existing program concerning woman astronauts nor do we contemplate any such plan.”

In my view the NASA spokes person over did the response and should have left that paragraph out.


I spotted the tweet because of an RT by NZ comedian Michele A’Court. I thought it would be good for Michele to know that things have changed by sharing a photo I took of a woman astronaut not so long ago at TEDxDunedin.

At about the same time – another Michelle tweeted a surprisingly related note. As it happens Dr Michelle Dickinson is an engineer and well respected nano scientist and lecturer at Auckland university. That means she gets to inspire a whole lot of smart students including a very high percentage of female engineers.

Which led to a couple more replies

And then we all carried on with our respective days. When I checked in a bit later I found this.

An international honour for Michelle and all the other women in the sciences.

And that – is why I love twitter. An almost frictionless serendipity in action which has the power to transform and change those who can decode the patterns.

Footnote: I was delighted to be able to have my teenage niece in Dunedin meet Stephanie the astronaut. I doubt that Lily will become an astronaut herself but the more savvy and smart motivated women she meets the more likely she is to expand her own horizons.

It is the same for my own daughter who gets to meet lots of smart clever people. I’m so glad that the background narrative of 1962 has changed for the better.Also I had to check but the first woman astronaut was Sally Ride who joined NASA in 1978 and went into space in 1983.

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