image courtesy TEDxSanAntonio

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to speak at this year’s San Antonio TEDx conference at Rackspace Global Headquarters here in San Antonio.  To be sure it was an honor to be selected to speak but even more so it was an amazing event to experience.  Being able to work with and interact as much as I did with my fellow speakers made the event all the more profound.  In addition to coming away from the experience with more than a few “ideas worth sharing”, but I also made a group of friends with whom I’m sure I will stay in contact for some time.  The act of crafting and delivering a talk also gave me the opportunity to make connections that had not been made before. 

I spoke specifically about my work on county courthouses and how they helped transform Texas from a mostly poor and rural condition into the modern state it is today.  I had always thought that this interest was wholly separate from spaceflight - another subject I have spoken about in the past.  But a UTSA graduate student I met at the event made me realize that courthouses and spaceflight serve the same purpose even if they did so at different times. 

The power of both comes from their ability to harness our dreams to move society forward.  Courthouses inspired Texans to build a modern state that was civil and just and so was critical to the advancement of Texas in the 19th century.  Likewise, the space program inspired America to become the leader in technology and innovation that it was throughout the second half of the 20th century.  Courthouses and the space program both had an immeasurable ability to inspire that made them so critical to the advancement of society. 

At any rate, I’ll post my individual talk as soon as it’s available but in the meantime, a video of the entire eight hour day can be found here.