I ran into an interesting linguistic stumbling block.  I'll call it the "It's science, so it must be hard" frame of mind.  I wrote to some friends and family about this project, saying:
I'm launching a satellite for fun, to make music from space.  It's called Project Calliope, and I'm writing about it up at: http://scientificblogging.com/satellite_diaries/feed
It's pretty much just me, with some friends helping with different parts of it, and a couple of sponsors helping cover costs (hopefully). I'll be the first to admit it's unusual, but I've always wanted to be part of the space race.
And I received one particular reply of:
Hi-in English what does this actually mean??Sounds, well , different
In English, what I meant to say is, "I'm launching a satellite for fun, to make music from space..." [etc].  Just as written above.  To me, this is English.

My thought is many people just have a hard time with scienc-y things.  Once they hear something is science, that equals "hard, eek!" in their minds, and they turn off their usual keen filters (that can follow the plot of '24' across a full season or map the stats of an entire Red Sox season without stress.)

If I'm at a party and talking about Project Calliope, I don't get the usual "science glaze" that I might when discussing, oh, the solar Colaninno Minima.  Folks get it.  It's like Sputnik, with music.

However, this is just a theory.  Maybe when I write, it really does sound like technobabble.  But really, what is at all complicated about sampling ionospheric magnetic fields in real time with a MIDI-based sensor array sending HAM signals to downlinks scattered around the rough circle defined by the polar orbit in order to allow sonification of the input data for remixing using synthesizers before an eventual thermal demise due to atmospheric heating?

Is that so hard to understand?

To space,

Alex, the daytime astronomer

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