Tag Archives: Science

Space Elevators Climbing Towards Reality

Arthur C. Clarke often wrote about space elevators. Space elevators (in theory) are mechanical connections between the surface of the Earth and synchronous satellites.  This concept is pure science fiction – or is it? Great article in Wired that discusses some advances to develop the technology. Even with these developments, I doubt that this will happen in my lifetime.

Should scientists stay out of politics

Interesting post over at “Is It Getting Warmer?“.  It is a discussion of scientists and their thirst for getting too involved in politics.

It is an unfortunate turn of events that most big scientific discussions (such as global warming, in this case) turn into political discussions.  This could include other things such as abortion, stem cell research, and the teaching of evolution in the classroom.  All of these things have a strong scientific discussion which implies that there is a truth somewhere.  However, in these cases, the truth is not clear cut and the science is probably not solid.  In most of these cases, there is some level of gray in the conversation and much of what is discussed as fact is simply hypothesis.

Newt’s list is awesome!

Newt Gingrich wrote a great editorial in the Wall Street Journal recently that includes 7 “achievements” that he thinks should be offered as prizes similar to the X Prize Foundation’s prizes.  Personally, I think the idea of prizes to drive innovation is great and wish that the government would do this on a regular basis.  Newt’s list is a great first start and there are probably others but if we have too many it would dilute the importance of the targeted list.

I do question Mr. Gingrich’s 7th item.  While certainly noble in intent, it doesn’t appear that it is measurable enough to warrant a big prize.  Perhaps a prize for the public school system that gets 99% of their non-special needs kids to some extremely high level of attainment on a standardized test.  If we use the SAT as an example, the school system that can get 99% of their kids to over 600 on the SAT test (the average is 515 out of a possible 700 and that was for college bound seniors – the challenge would be for ALL students in a public school organization).

RANT! What is up with Live Earth – 2 of 2

My last post on this subject was about rock stars not spending enough time on today’s problems but instead they are spending time on a theoretical problem for the future – global warming.

I realize that some stars like Bono have done a great job of trying to use his status to create awareness of issues that he cares about. That is awesome! More big personalities should do this.

So here are some small facts:

  • More than 25 million people have died of AIDS since 1981. Africa has 12 million AIDS orphans. (source)
  • Every year 15 million children die of hunger. (source)
  • Up to 2.7M people die of malaria every year (source) which is incredibly preventable. (source and source)
  • More than 70% of all cancer deaths occur in low and middle income countries, where limited or no resources are available for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease. (source)

RANT! What is up with Live Earth – 1 of 2

The party is over. There were thousands of people in attendance and hundreds of people playing musical instruments. Supposedly, there were millions of people watching the show on TV but who really knows the correct number.

There was a lot of controversy, ranging from trash pickup to the lack of reality for the 90% reduction pledge. There was also some good music played so I am sure there will be a CD put out for the greatest hits (which will use more energy in creating).

Overall, I have a hard time with all of this attention. Yes, there does seem to be some validity to the argument that Earth is getting warmer but the science doesn’t seem to be conclusive that it is being caused by humans (check out Is It Getting Warmer for a bunch of articles on both sides of the subject – for and against).