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                                                                           ​JOURNAL #222

                                                                         December 1, 2016  

 

         The Air Force Academy conducts its Space Forum annually for cadets with an interest in space flight. It is held currently at the Eisenhower Center for Space and Defense Studies at the Academy in Colorado Springs. This year's program is scheduled for December 6.

         Events include "Watching the Skies: Government and Commercial Space Travel Management," "Eyes on Earth: Commercial Imagery and Weather Observation," "Public-Private Cooperation Models in Japan, Europe, China, and Russia," "Private Spaceflight: From Orbit to the Moon, Mars and Beyond," and "Spaceports." The intent is to present discussions between representatives from government and private industry covering topics from managing traffic in orbit to planetary exploration. 

         There'll be a few other events, including a panel of science fiction writers. I've been invited to participate, along with Catherine Asaro, Kevin Anderson, and Les Johnson. I attended last year, and was especially impressed with the cadets, who displayed a level of knowledge, intelligence, and enthusiasm which boosted my confidence that, despite the assorted political wars, the USA has a bright future.

         The program is managed by Lt. Col. Deron Jackson, the director of the Eisenhower Center.

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         The Union of Concerned Scientists has sent a petition to Donald Trump and Congress, asking that they "adhere to high standards of scientific integrity and independence in responding to current and emerging public health and environmental health threats." Twenty-three hundred scientists, including twenty-two Nobel Laureates signed the document.

         More than three hundred faculty members at MIT have signed a document noting that "the President-elect has appointed individuals to positions of power who have endorsed racism, misogyny and religious bigotry, and denied the widespread scientific consensus on climate change. Regardless of our political views, these endorsements violate principles at the core of MIT's mission."        

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         Science story of the month? Science News (Nov 12) reports that researchers are finding evidence that roller coasters can help dislodge kidney stones. Their advice is that anyone trying it should probably ride in the rear car.