I have a long held secret that I have never revealed to anyone. But I'm ready to announce it now. (Let the drums roll!) Here it is:


I have always wanted to be an astronaut.


Phew! I finally got that off my chest. Take a deep breath, Randall. (Now I can relax.)


I grew up in rural Wisconsin during the days of the Mercury and Gemini space programs. As a boy, I was inspired by these early astronauts and I felt space was the greatest adventure of a lifetime. Growing up with these space programs, along with a few inspiring adults who lived in my neighborhood in Hartford, Wisconsin, I always thought nothing was beyond my reach. This positive outlook on life has carried me through the successes and the challenges of my life.


But, alas, I didn't have the right stuff. The closest I got to space was visiting Houston, Texas, and going to the space museum and looking inside a Mercury capsule.  Those early astronauts were truly cowboys in space.


I'm currently reading the history of the Gemini Space program, called "On the Shoulders of Titans." It's very detailed and a very big book that goes through all the science, engineering and bureaucratic machinations of how to get humans to the moon.


What most people don't know about this early history of space travel was all the serious debate of how to get there: do you go by direct ascent, which would require a bigger rocket due to the bigger payload; or do you launch two smaller rockets where the one manned spaceship would rendezvous with the larger orbiting ship? Adding to that, do you rendezvous with an earth orbiting ship, or do you launch a rocket for a lunar orbit which would rendezvous at the moon?


While space rendezvous seems rather simple to us now, it was a big deal and a big risk back then. But they stood on the shoulders of titans (e'g', Isaac Newton) to make it happen.


While I will never be an astronaut, nor will I ever go into space, the idea of standing on the shoulders of titans has influenced me in ways that I have not always acknowledged.


Handling Criticism of Your RoadTest Review: Stand on the Shoulders of Titans


I think we are all touchy about criticism of our work. Writers are perhaps the most critical; some great writers have chosen not to publish or share their work because of a perceived fear of criticism. JD Salinger (the Catcher in the Rye) comes to mind.


But if you live and work in today's world, you have a hard time of getting away from people opining about your work. And science is based on your work or theory that faces the facts. If the facts change, you have to change or the result is what happened the the Flat Earthers.


Now, what about the criticism of a roadtest review? How should you handle that?


In my opinion, one needs to think of a roadtest review as the element14 community's review. Yes, an individual writes it, but community members often provide input, and the review "may" change or go through several iterations because of community input. I think this is good. It makes for a better review.


How do you handle criticism? Well, don't think of it as criticism. Rather, consider it a suggestion. If a member writes a detailed, substantive comment, read it dispassionately. Judge its merits and see if you can work the suggestion into the next iteration of your review.


Don't get defensive and dig in and stand your ground just for the sake of it. Of course, if the criticism is just silly blather then turn it around and ask the commenter to explain him/herself. But if it is a substantive comment, digging in just defeats the benefits you will get by "standing on the shoulders of titans" of the element14 community.


We do have quite a few "titans" here in the community. I don't think I have to name names. But these "titans" are experts in their own right. Some have decades of experience in science and/or engineering. And some are just gifted people and genius technologists such that it would be silly not to benefit from their suggestions.


We all stand on the shoulders of titans to one degree or another.


Personally, I am quite in awe of Michael Faraday and Niels Bohr. These were early "makers" and they are Titans.


I'm also in awe of the astronauts and ground crew of Apollo 13 which brought back the astronauts safely after an oxygen tank exploded.


Allow yourself to stand on the shoulders a titan. And you will see benefits you had not dreamed were possible.