If you're not already familiar with Science Hack Day, it's a weekend event that brings together scientists, designers, technologists and people from all backgrounds together in the same physical space to see what they can rapidly prototype with science in 24 consecutive hours. It remains one of my most meaningful projects that makes science disruptively accessible to everyone and educates scientists on how they can collaborate with people outside of their discipline and learn new ways of prototyping their work. The event is now in over 25 countries around the world and I work on trying to expand it even further year-round, regardless of funding. While I received some minimal grants for it that paid for a month or two of my time in the past, it has now been a few years without any funding for the global efforts. I even was rejected from receiving one fellowship grant because I was told I was already so successful with the project and clearly didn't need their help when I very desperately did (so, I essentially was penalized for doing so well with no money - beyond frustrating). Despite any setbacks, I believe firmly in the mission of Science Hack Day and the most amazing people worldwide who have organized and attended the events. If you want a high level summary of the awesomeness, I produced a report when we hit our first 50 events a couple years ago: http://sciencehackday.org/shd50.pdf
As you've no doubt seen, I've returned to YouTube! This time with my own personal channel . Yay! This is something I stated last year that I wanted to start doing and I'm so happy I can say I delivered on this. This is a one-woman production from start-to-finish for every video, carving out a decent amount of focused time to make each one. It's fun to start something new and experiment! There have already been calls for me to do videos more often, but for now I want to make this a sustainable effort and not burn myself out on it too quick. As you can tell with my videos, I want these to be fun and silly more than anything. I don't yet know what my YouTube channel will lead to, but I'm excited to be reaching a new global (and often times youthful) audience on there.
3. New Book
It has been a year since my book, What's It Like in Space? , came out! It has been an awesome year and I've received so many heartwarming messages from people who enjoyed the book over that time. I've been feeling the itch to try prototyping a new book, so I've been working on drafting some concepts in my spare time over the last few weeks. Hopefully at some point before too long I can share a "sneak peek" to patrons-only so I can share what I'm thinking about. The hope is that eventually this will become a financially-backed project by a publisher, but no idea yet.
4. Ongoing Smaller Efforts
I always have a number of projects that I maintain throughout the year but don't require my time constantly. These are my beloved
http://spacehack.org , a directory of ways for anyone to participate in space exploration
http://spaceprob.es , a catalog of all the human-made machines at the Moon and beyond
5. Projects In Waiting
Last year I mentioned a few projects that were either waiting to get started or were prep for larger efforts. Here's an update on those:
Teaching Myself Microscopy - This was in prep for applying for a grant to go to Antarctica. I am waiting to hear very soon if I receive that grant or not. Trust me, I'll let you know once I hear anything on this! If I get the grant, it will become a huuuuge non-financially-backed project of mine (the grant would pay for me to go, but not for my time, work or equipment).
History of Human Spaceflight - This is a project that I've unfortunately delayed for too long, but I still have hopes to accomplish this year. I can only hope I won't be saying this again next year.
Multidisciplinary People - This sadly is a project I still like the idea of, but I think I realistically have to put it on the backburner for now. It's hard to let go of awesome project ideas but you never know if something will eventually cross your path that will re-prioritize it for you again.
Fashion Line & TV Shows - Last year I mentioned I was in talks about doing a fashion line with Betabrand and maybe creating a TV show that I'd host and produce. Sadly none of these prospects ended up panning out, but I think there will likely be new TV show opportunities in the near future. Fingers crossed!
To all my Space Friends (aka Patreons), thank you SO MUCH for all your love and support of my work. Your patronage helps more than you know. Truly. It's not always easy being independent, but you all make it worthwhile.
If you haven't yet become a patron of my work, you can do so at http://patreon.com/arielwaldman and grab some fun rewards (space probe stickers, signed copies of my book, etc.).
And whenever you have time, help me spread the word with posting why YOU became a patron or what you're enjoying about subscribing to my Patreon so far!
P.S. A reminder that if you ever want to chat about anything with me (from just sharing fun things to asking for advice), write a post on https://www.patreon.com/arielwaldman/community and we can talk! I'd love to hear from you.