Tuesday, September 27, 2016

In the Nick of Time

In the Nick of Time: just in time, just before it is too late, the last moment.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Jupiter! We are almost there.

As most Americans get ready to enjoy the fourth of July long weekend with barbeques, fireworks, or traveling to new places, NASA is getting ready for their own celebrations and fireworks, and exploring new worlds! Juno mission is expected to enter Jupiter's orbit after a five year journey! It will then orbit the gassy planet for a year to achieve many scientific objectives like mapping Jupiter's magnetic field, looking for its solid core, understanding its origins and evolution, and as a result origins and evolution of our Solar System.

No spacecraft has ever got this close to Jupiter. Jupiter poses many dangers and risks to Juno among it is the high levels of radiation so deep in the radiation belt. Juno orbit insertion (JOI) is challenging.  In fact, Juno spacecraft will risk Jupiter's fireworks for Science.  Here is our 4th of July movie trailer:


So this 4th of July, when gathered with friends and family, if you want a SciFi thriller movie to watch, watch the real deal!

p.s. I cannot believe I had started this blog exactly 5 years ago on July 5 and even wrote about Juno's launch.


References:

[1] http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/juno/main/index.html
[2] https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/
[3] http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-announces-coverage-media-activities-for-juno-mission-arrival-at-jupiter
[4] http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6538

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Starchips!

Finally advances in technology is making it possible for big minds like Stephen Hawking to achieve their big dreams, not by building larger and larger instruments, but by fitting as much technology as possible into smaller and smaller gadgets. For the first time, it is becoming plausible to consider interstellar travel that can happen during one's lifetime not thousands of years. The approach sounds simple: build thousands of small smart chip instruments. starchips, and set them on their way.  Do not worry if many gets lost or do not reach the destination, you can afford this risk. But if only one succeeds, you are unlocking mysteries never known before. And that makes all the difference. Learn more here:

Forget Starships: New Proposal Would Use 'Starchips' To Visit Alpha Centauri





Sunday, September 13, 2015

Moral equivalence

Thanks to Facebook discussions, today I learned a new term "moral equivalency":
  1. "Moral equivalence is a term used in political debate, usually to criticize any denial that a moral hierarchy can be assessed of two sides in a conflict, or in the actions or tactics of two sides."

    Reference:

Monday, August 25, 2014

What is ALS?

These days social media is full of #IceBucketChallenge videos, aiming to raise awareness about ALS disease.  Eventually, I was challenged by a good friend of mine.  If it was not during such a busy time for me, I probably would have also joined the fun and would have a video of ice water poured on me, in addition to donating for the cause.  I did donate to ALSA for the cause, and I encourage you to do the same for ALS or other research areas related to human body and health.  Instead of pouring ice bucket on me, I decided to do something from behind my desk, like I mostly do.  I thought to myself, how much do I really know about ALS? Not much, I realized.  So, I figured let that be my lesson of the day today and help raise awareness and spread the word.   Here are a few things I learned by a quick search.  Would you like to add anything?

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.  It is also referred to as Motor Neuron Disease (MND).  However, there are five different motor neuron diseases.  ALS is the most common among the five.  In the United States it is also called the Lou Gehrig's disease.  Lou Gehrig was a major league baseball player who died of ALS in 1941, and his fame made the public learn about this disease.

ALS is a neurodegenerative disease, causing  "progressive loss of structure or function of neurons functions".  Initial symptoms include weakness of muscles where neurons are damaged.  75% of people with this disease experience muscle weakness in their arms and legs.  Other symptoms may include difficulty swallowing or cramping. "Over time, patients experience increasing difficulty moving, swallowing (dysphagia), and speaking or forming words (dysarthria). "[2]

The average survival time of this disease is 39 months.  Only 4% of the patients survive more than 10 years.  The exceptional case is that of Stephen Hawking who has lived with the disease over 50 years!  His survival seems as exceptional as his science!

 References:

[1]http://www.alsa.org
[2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amyotrophic_lateral_sclerosis
[3]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Gehrig
[4]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Hawking

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Business communication

Would not it be nice if people acknowledged receipt of emails, even if they do not yet have answers to them? Would not it be nicer if they actually read the text of work emails, without quickly hitting reply and answering an unrelated assumed question?  Sometimes I find myself repeating the same thing five different times and ways before the message is really received and understood by the other side.  Do you have the same experiences? Do you find yourself in unnecessary email chains that could have been avoided if the initial recipient had first carefully read the text of the email?  What are your solutions? I think sending short emails, with one question and a different subject line for each, make it harder for recipients to get confused.  At the very end, it seems to boil down to how responsible is the recipient, and how much s/he cares to take care of business.  I understand scientists and engineers not being the best communicators.  However, when someone's job is to provide customer service, especially for life changing matters,  I cannot grasp their non responsiveness.  Change your job for God's sake if you do not want to provide service to customers and answer their questions.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Being green

Today I learned an English term. Someone said in an email that someone is "too green". Considering the context of the message, it did not make sense to me. What did caring about environment and nature have to do with her message? So, I searched for the term. When you say someone is too green, it means they are inexperienced, new to their job, not able to navigate and handle issues as good as an experienced person would. It all makes sense now.