Monday, January 26, 2009

An Investment in Science is an Investment in the Future

President Obama renewed America's commitment to science and outlined a new energy policy for the future during his inauguration address.
In my lifetime, America has held the dominant position in science and technology, but in recent years the scientific landscape has been shifting. Too many science jobs have been outsourced to foreign countries and although they reap short-term profits, ultimately it costs American jobs and ideas. An investment in American science, and keeping the research on American soil, will reap benefits in the future.

Don't believe me?

Aim for the Stars
When President Kennedy announced his plan to land a man on the moon, there were many nay-sayers. The technology that made the lunar missions possible did not exist when President Kennedy challenged the American scientific establishment, but true to the American spirit, our scientists and engineers were up to the challenge. Nine years later, after many successes and failures, the lunar challenge was met.

Computers are an everyday part of life and the advances that made modern computing possible started long ago. Old computers were huge, they filled up warehouses and could do basic calculations. As research progressed, computers eventually became smaller and smaller, yet they were capable of doing more advanced calculations. Today we have iPods, cell phones, and personal computers thanks to initial research performed long ago.

Our Modern Challenge
Today, we are faced with an energy challenge that affects everyone.

President Obama's energy green energy policy will invest money in new technology that Americans are capable of inventing. Critics say that investing money in this new technology is a waste; I disagree.

The money we spend now in research will come back to benefit society in ways we can't even imagine. All the amenities of modern American life has its roots in research of the past. The telephone, electricity, automobile...the list can go. Americans are capable of great ideas, so let's invest in our minds.

Mr. Obama, science is read to heed your call.

Dr. Dave

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Does an Astronaut's Nose Run in Space? (Part 2)

In an earlier post, I wrote about runny noses in space. Yes, a nose can run in space, but not like it does on Earth. Why? Microgravity!

Out to Launch
This question made me wonder–would I want to send an astronaut into space who has a runny nose?

Consider this–the gradual change in pressure on a commercial flight is enough to rupture the eardrum of a congested passenger.

Can you imagine what would happen to a congested astronaut on a rocket launch into space? Commercial flights are tame relative to a rocket launch.

Astronaut Selection
NASA has very strict health and physical requirements for astronauts. Their website has a section called Astronaut Selection that is worth exploring.

Although the site doesn't outline specific health requirements, I think it is safe to assume that an astronaut must be in excellent condition given the rigorous demands of the job.

If you want to learn more about becoming an astronaut, read the journal entries of from the Astronaut Class of 2004.

Dr. Dave