I have had a beautiful hand crafted, brass and steel, original Fisher Space Shuttle pen sitting unused in its gift box on my home office desk since February, so this week I am giving my readers a chance to win it.

To start with, to those of you that might be fooled into thinking that the Space Shuttle is a small glider strapped to two cylinders of rocket fuel you might want to take a look at this photo… for those of you who are already aware of just how big it is, then while the others are away checking out the picture I want to invite you to take part in a mini competition.  My prize pen comes with two nitrogen filled, gravity independent re-fills which write in zero gravity, underwater, upside down and can produce a straight line of ink, more than 4.5km long! The question comes at the end of this blog.

It was with some sadness that I witnessed the last take off of the gas guzzling Space Shuttles on Friday. Over the past thirty years they have been delivering scientists and equipment into space and bringing them home again, rather like helicopters to and from off shore oil rigs.   This incredibly innovative but now outdated means of space travel, with its roots in 7th century Chinese firework technology, will finally come to and end when Atlantis touches down on the 20th. of July, 2011.  Sure there will be new improved space craft to be amazed at in the future but there was something cute about the Space Shuttles that is hard to put into words.  Perhaps it was because they were only able to glide back down to Earth in much the same way as the very first fireworks, once all their fuel was used up?

In man’s desire to explore and reach to the stars we sometimes stumble across innovations that work so well that for a much longer than originally expected period of time they require little or no further development.  And just like the Fisher Space pen, it is just as good today as it was in 1965 when it was first invented by the US inventor Paul C. Fisher for both The Russian cosmonauts as well as the American astronauts, whose pencils broke in space (the floating pieces of broken lead posing serious risk of damaging the electrical switches on board). 

And while it is nice to hold on to well designed inventions, we must also be prepared to give them up when new circumstances show it to be logical. We all know this but if we are honest with ourselves, how many of us are running our departments or businesses on the tried and tested ways of the past, rather than daring to risk breaking through to embrace the challenges that the latest technologies and trading practices present us with?

Now for the quiz. In this week’s title I incorrectly used the word ‘Era’.  To win my Fisher Space Shuttle Pen and the two Parker runner up prizes, simply put the six different classifications of time into their correct order, starting with the longest, going down to the shortest:

  1. Eon
  2. Period
  3. Epoch
  4. Era
  5. Super Eon
  6. Age

Type the designated numbers into their correct order such as:  1,2,3,4,5,6  in the comments box below this blog and fill in your name, or nick name, if you prefer. If you do not see the comments box, click on the title of the blog and it will appear below the text.  The first correct answer will win the original Fisher pen, and two runners up will both win Parker pen ball point pens with original Fisher anti-gravity refills. The winners will be announced in the comments section of this blog. 

Good luck!

Have a good week,