Daily Archives: January 30, 2014

NASA Memory Lane (34)

Jan. 29, 2014.

Astronaut Candidates Visit White House for State of STEM (SoSTEM) Address

NASA – NASA Astronaut Joe Acaba, center, moderates a panel discussion with NASA’s 2013 astronaut candidates, from left, Christina M. Hammock, Andrew R. Morgan, Victor J. Glover, Jessica U. Meir, Tyler N. “Nick” Hague, Josh A. Cassada, Anne C. McClain, and Nicole Aunapu Mann, at the annual White House State of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (SoSTEM) address, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington.

Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Obama’s big gamble

By Greg Sargent – The current political tug of war breaks down as follows.

Republicans want the Obama era to be seen as one of excess liberal governance thwarting our economic potential, leading to widespread misery. The primary vehicle for this argument is Obamacare — government interference is only leading to lost coverage, higher premiums, and crushed jobs. Only electing Republicans to Congress can act as a check on unbridled liberal governance and restore market-powered prosperity.

Democrats want to persuade Americans that only they have an actual policy program to deal with our primary problems — that the gains from the recovery are not broadly shared, that wages have stagnated, and that there aren’t enough jobs. The Dem case is that the Republican arguments against Obama’s signature domestic achievement are really a proxy for the same old GOP trickle down ideology. more> http://tinyurl.com/o6p8skt

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Hesitate!

BOOK REVIEW

Blink, Author: Malcolm Gladwell.

By Steve Fleming – It turns out the brain has a trick up its sleeve when dealing with noisy samples of information, a trick foreshadowed by the British mathematician Alan Turing [2, 3, 4, 5].

Remarkably, the brain appears to use a similar scheme of evidence accumulation to deal with difficult decisions. We now know that, instead of relying on a one-off signal from the visual cortex, other areas of the brain, such as the parietal cortex, integrate several samples of information over hundreds of milliseconds before reaching a decision.

Putting these findings together, we learn that there is a benefit from being slow. more> http://tinyurl.com/pnpglw6

Study shows how water dissolves stone, molecule by molecule

By Jade Boyd – Boundary layers are ubiquitous in nature; they occur when raindrops fall on stone, water seeps through soil and the ocean meets the sea floor. Scientists and engineers have long been interested in accurately explaining how crystalline materials, including many minerals and stones, interact with and are dissolved by water. Calculations about the rate of these dissolution processes are critical in many fields of science and engineering.

At the boundary layer where quartz and water meet, multiple chemical reactions occur. Some of these happen simultaneously and others take place in succession.

The research could have wide-ranging impacts in diverse areas, including water quality and planning, environmental sustainability, corrosion resistance and cement construction. more> http://tinyurl.com/oj4wr2x

The 1 percent’s frothing paranoia: Tom Perkins is a symptom

By Alex Pareene – People like Tom Perkins are quite good at making a lot of money, but not exactly experts in other fields. Indeed, the modern American plutocrat rarely wastes an opportunity to expose his ignorance of history, political science and even basic mainstream economics.

Numerous authors have become quite successful by making a living out of explaining science and world affairs to the executive class in language so simple that a child could grasp the basic points.

Despite that ignorance, there is an entire industry built around soliciting the opinions of the wealthy on subjects unrelated to their wealth.

Some media companies see this as the prayed-for replacement for print subscriptions and advertising dollars, and have reoriented their business around conferences and similar rich-splaining events. more> http://tinyurl.com/jvl96uo

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CONGRESS WATCH Heller Stands With Veterans in Effort to Repeal Cuts to Military Retiree Benefits, YouTube [VIDEO 3:08] Begich Stands with Veterans to Call for Repeal of Military COLA Cut, YouTube [VIDEO 22:15]

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CONGRESS WATCH Field to Fork, YouTube [VIDEO 2:34] Noem Helps Lead House in Passing the 2014 Farm Bill, YouTube [VIDEO 2:06]