A leak in the solar system

leak in the solar systemThere is a leak in the solar system.

Actually, I discovered recently, there’s more than one leak.

While reading Bill Bryson‘s delightful book, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, I came across this:
leak in the solar system

“The most remarkable part of all is your DNA (or deoxyribonucleic acid). You have a meter of it packed into every cell, and so many cells that if you formed all the DNA in your body into a single strand, it would stretch ten billion miles, to beyond Pluto. Think of it: there is enough of you to leave the solar system.”
—Bill Bryson, The Body

Think of that; a strand of the DNA from a single human being is long enough to escape our solar system.

Then there’s the email Celia wrote to Scott, our yoga teacher, explaining why we hadn’t been on his Zoom class last week:

“We’ve had some impediments—sickness (not Covid!), leaks in our solar system…”

She was referring to this unwelcome development in our solar hot water and radiant floor heating system, which I installed in 1983.

leak in the solar system

To which Scott replied:

“I’m loving ‘the leaks in our solar system’ … I think I know what you mean … But it could be even more of a universal statement describing 2020 in general  :)”

And then there’s the picture at the top of this post, courtesy of NASA: an artist’s conception of the atmosphere leaking into space from a planet orbiting the star DMPP-1, about 200 light-years away. This distant solar system is literally leaking into space.

But let’s go back to Scott’s reply. I’m loving ‘the leak in the solar system’ … I think I know what you mean. 2020 has been a crazy year for just about everyone. We can’t do anything about a leaking solar system 200 light-years away (not that we need to, thank goodness). On the other hand, I can fix the leaks in my solar system perhaps with a plumber’s help.

In between, I hope that, collectively, we can fix the leaks in the world that 2020 has brought us. And, in this, my last post for 2020, I wish you a much better year in 2021.

Photo attribute: NASA — This Four-planet System is Leaking

Three ways to create truly surprising meetings

Three ways to create truly surprising meetings

CoffeeGate
Two hundred people arrived for the opening breakfast at a 2015 Canadian conference to discover There Was No Coffee. The young first-time volunteer staff had forgotten to brew it.

Three days later, people were still grumbling about CoffeeGate. I bet that even today, if you asked attendees what they remembered about the event, most would immediately recall the There Was No Coffee moment. A memorable moment, yes, but not a good one.

Experienced meeting planners know that every meeting has its share of unexpected surprises. While some thrive on the adrenaline rush of dealing with them, most of us work to minimize surprises by anticipating potential problems and developing appropriate just-in-case responses.

Minimizing surprises like CoffeeGate is default behavior for meeting planners. We do not want poorly planned and/or executed events, because the inevitable result will be unhappy attendees and chaos of one kind or another.

Surprising Meetings
But not all meeting surprises are bad. Because meeting professionals want to minimize the likelihood of unexpected surprises during execution of the events, there’s a tendency to unconsciously minimize planned surprises for the attendees. And that’s unfortunate — because planned surprises are one of the most wonderful ways we can improve attendees’ experience of the event!

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