Monthly Archives: July 2007

Dinner with Barack

My aunt and uncle have recently had several opportunities to go to DC to speak with Senators and Congresspeople about the issue of asbestos. As a result, they’ve gotten a chance to meet many of the personalities we see in the news, including Barack Obama. Thus, I’ll let my uncle describe this video of Senator Barack Obama in his own words:

The video . . . provides a great sampling of Obama the man, consistent with the two personal interactions that [we] have had with him. In our judgment, he’s genuine, intelligent and exemplifies integrity. If you’ve been waiting for him to state the specifics of his plans, be sure to click on [this] link. . . which will take you to his campaign website, where you can read his policies and plans on various issues and offer your own ideas.

The idea was simple: invite some “regular folks” out to dinner, have a conversation, tape it and use it on the campaign website. But it’s more than that; Senator Obama is actually talking to these people. He could be sitting there pandering to the camera, but he’s actually paying attention to his dinner guests and having a conversation. And listening. It’s enough to give one hope in this jaded day and age.

MIT team designs skintight spacesuit

BIOsuitGolden-age sci-fi fans, rejoice! The future is finally here. Your skintight spacesuit has arrived:

Dava Newman, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems at MIT… is working on a sleek, advanced suit designed to allow superior mobility when humans eventually reach Mars or return to the moon. Her spandex and nylon BioSuit is not your grandfather’s spacesuit–think more Spiderman, less John Glenn.

Newman’s prototype suit is a revolutionary departure from the traditional model. Instead of using gas pressurization, which exerts a force on the astronaut’s body to protect it from the vacuum of space, the suit relies on mechanical counter-pressure, which involves wrapping tight layers of material around the body. The trick is to make a suit that is skintight but stretches with the body, allowing freedom of movement.

Key to their design is the pattern of lines on the suit, which correspond to lines of non-extension (lines on the skin that don’t extend when you move your leg). Those lines provide a stiff “skeleton” of structural support, while providing maximal mobility.

Let’s see… private spacecraft, check; personal cleaning robots, check; skintight spacesuit, check; wrist computer with videphone, check; bionic limbs, check; OK, who’s working on the jetpacks?