STEM Lost And Found

Discovery

ASPIRATIONS.JPEG

So this was a shirt of a local college campus that I took yesterday. 

It shows aspirations to be all sorts of things…from a doctor and lawyer to a cowgirl and princess. 

However, in this list of  22 professional aspirations there is a noticeable lack of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 

Yes, doctors do have to know science, but not necessarily the type that opens up the world of discovery and innovation like a researcher or scientist!

STEM are the fields that over and over again have been reported as grossly lacking in this country. 

America Desperately Needs More STEM Students” (Forbes 2012)

Americas Lack of STEM Students is Bad News For National Security” (US News and World Report June 2015)

Another article in IEEE Spectrum (August 2013) claims that while the “STEM crisis is a myth,” still “we should figure out how to make all children literate in the sciences, technology, and the arts.”

From my experience, while I certainly get to see a lot of awesome technical talent, I also see and hear too many moans and groans when it comes to a lot of basic skills in STEM.

One colleague said the other day (and in a public forum), “Oh, don’t depend on my math skills for that!”

Others that I know have difficulty with everything from simple spreadsheets, backing up their computer files, or even balancing a checkbook, and other such fundamental skills. 

Growing up with a dad who was a math whiz, a sister with a PhD in bio-medical science, and me majoring in accounting, business, and later diving into IT, I learned to appreciate, on many fronts, how important basic STEM skills are, and I in turn used to drill my own kids with workbooks and worksheets–and they perhaps at the time resented me for it, and maybe only later in life, started to love me for caring and trying.

In school, I found a lot of the education in STEM to be lacking coming across too often as esoteric and disappointingly devoid of day-to-day meaning and application in the real world for the regular people not building bridges or spaceships, so I certainly understand the frustration of young people who while they may be interested in pursuing these critical areas of education, may be turned off at the way it’s being presented to them. 

We need great teachers who not only know the material, but love what they do and know how to make the material come alive to their students. Also, we need jobs that pay commensurate to the value of the talent and not nickle and dime the developers, researchers, and engineers while lining the pockets of the executive suite. Finally, we should focus the hearts and minds of our people on the real meaning of the work they do and how it helps people and society, and not just on what often comes across as isolated tasks or the organization’s free dry cleaning and all you can eat buffet lunches. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Looking For Astronauts – Apply Here

Astronaut.jpeg

So cool!!!


OPM Job announcement today for Astronauts.


Work for NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.


Train for missions to the International Space Station, on two new commercial spacecraft, and for the Orion  deep-space exploration vehicle.


To go where no man or woman has gone before…


Dreams do come true!;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Paul Hudson)

The Flaming Bus

Flame Bus

I took this photo today in Washington, D.C.


This cool bus is painted with flames on the hood and has a guitar at the top. 


No, it’s not the bus from The Partridge Family although it has similar colors!


On this bus, the guitar has the name “Sailing Conductors Jack Mantis” on it. 


When I looked this up online, I found that these are some “music loving dudes” who travel (sail and bus) the world and record musicians across dozen of countries and 5 continents. 


They have music, videos, and a 4-part TV series from their global talent search–although there is only limited material at their site (so not sure where all the recordings from the “hundreds of local musicians” is available for consumption).


Anyway, this is a fascinating experiment in discovering diversity, music and the arts, and culture along their travels. 


As to the specific music–beauty is in the eye of the beholder. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

To The Holy Land

Jerusalem copy
My youngest daughter, Rebecca, left for The Holy Land today.



I am so proud of her courage, love, and determination to visit there and learn more about her Judaism and Israel. 



Rebecca, you are going on an amazing journey, and we are all so happy for you and thinking of you. 



We all wish you nothing but the best time, lots of learning and meaning, new friends, and of course G-d’s endless blessings and protection.



May you go in peace and return in peace–all our love. 😉



(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)

What True Love Means

A Walk To Remember–what an absolutely amazing movie.

This girl with a beautiful soul, Jamie, turns around the life of this lost boy, Landon.

She warns him not to fall in love with her, but he does.

She reveals that she has Leukemia and is no longer responding to medicine.

Landon is head over heels for her and marries her despite the prognosis.

They enjoy one summer of love before she passes.

But she has changed his life forever.

I cried like a baby at this one.

It was a movie of faith, love, and turnaround–it made me believe again. 😉

“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude of selfish. It does not offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.” – Nicholas Sparks

Willy Wonka Wears Google Glass TOO

Willy Wonka Wears Google Glass TOO

I can only say that my fascination with Google continues to grow daily.

Years ago, I used to joke, “What is this G-O-O-G-L-E?”

But now, I know and marvel at how Google is information!

And every type of information from news and facts to shopping and entertainment:

Research is Google.
eCommerce is Google.
Entertainment is Google.

Google this…Google that.

Archive, index, search, discover, access…learn, grow.

Google has quite literally ushered in a new age of enlightenment, no really!

The focus is on information…Google’s mission statement is:

“Organize the world’s information and make it universally acceptable and useful.”

If you believe that knowledge and learning is one of the core underpinnings for personal growth and global development then you can appreciate how Google has been instrumental in unleashing the information age we are living in.

Of course, information can be used for good and for evil–we still have free choice.

But hopefully, by building not only our knowledge, but also understanding of risks, consequences, each other, and our purpose in life–we can use information to do more good than harm (not that we don’t make mistakes, but they should be part of our learning as opposed to coming from malevolent intentions).

Google is used for almost 2/3 of all searches.

Google has over 5 million eBooks and 18 million tunes.

Google’s YouTube has over 4 billion hours of video watched a month.

Google’s Blogger is the largest blogging site with over 46 million unique visitors in a month.

But what raises Google as the information provider par excellence is not just that they provide easy to use search and access to information, but that they make it available anytime, anywhere.

Google Android powers 2/3 of global smartphones.

Google Glass has a likely market potential for wearable IT and augmented reality of $11B by 2018.

Google’s Driverless Car will help “every person [traveling] could gain lost hours back for working, reading, talking, or searching the Internet.

Google Fiber is bringing connection speeds 100x faster than traditional networking to Kansas City, Provo, and Austin.

Google is looking by 2020 to bring access to the 60% of the world that is not yet online.

Dr. Astro Teller who oversees Google[x] lab and “moonshot factory” says, “we are serious as a heart attack about making the world a better place,” and he compares themselves to Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory. (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

I like chocolate and information–and yes, both make the world a better place. 😉

(Source Photo: here by (a)artwork)

3-Bedroom Homes on Mars

I am very excited about Bigelow Aerospace’s BA-330 space inhabiting module.

The BA-330 is an inflatable, expandable habitat that can be launched into orbit or used to colonize another planet.

According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2 May 2013), the space vessels are inflatable–like a football or car tire.

The inner core is an airtight bladder for living. The outer shell is composed of protective layers of foam and bullet-resistant Vectran fabric. In the center is a metal framework of electronics and equipment.

The “space habitat is folded tightly into the trunk of a rocket for launch, and released in orbit, where is inflated with a breathable atmosphere.”

Internal pressure makes the hull rigid and the up to 40″ of layered protective material make the habitat stronger and safer than conventional aluminum modules–and yet can be produced at half the cost!

The modules can be arranged vertically into the equivalent of a three-story home with kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, and gym.

NASA has plans for one of these modules to join with the International Space Station and to test it for future uses.

Bigelow wants to be the 1st space landlord renting out dwellings, work environments, and laboratories to tourists, scientists, and companies. “Bring your clothes and your money. We provide everything else.”

For only $51M you can travel to the Bigelow Alpha Station–it’s first commercial outpost–and enjoy 110 cubic meters for 60 days.

Someday, these early ventures into space will seen as the pioneers crossing the oceans to discover and settle new far away lands, but the difference will be millions of miles and infinite choices. 😉

Love Is In The Air

Love Is In The Air

Love is in the air for these mating penguins.

I love this picture from The Atlantic (8 Feb. 2013) of a penguin colony of 9,000 found in Antarctica–with these two penguins getting all cozy together.

While the penguins were not easily seen from satellites in the “remote icy expanses,” apparently they leave something behind that is observable, and that is their you-know-what–droppings.

What a way to find something so beautiful, but as they say bees do it, birds do it, and it’s not just love they are talking about. 😉

(Source Photo: here)

From Adventure Photography to Lifelogging

Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium-filled balloon lifted space capsule, one week ago today, to set a skydiving record from 24 miles up and reaching the speed of 834 miles per hour.

On Felix’s helmet was a GoPro video camera to capture this memorable event.

GoPro is the leader in wearable, waterproof, shockproof videocameras and has an especially strong market in action and extreme sports.

Their newest helmet-mounted camera is the HD HERO3 (available 17 October 2012), and it continues the significant trend to ever smaller, lighter, and more powerful cameras technology.

I like this video they put out showing the high resolution and exciting video taken while doing activities from surfing to mountain climbing, deep sea diving, flying, kayaking, and more.

I have a feeling that these cameras are going to make a leap from capturing adventure photography to being used for lifelogging and lifejournaling–where people capture major life events on a wearable camera, and in some extreme cases–they try to capture virtually their whole life!

As someone who has blogged now, thank G-d, for 5 1/4 years, I greatly value the ability to capture important events, share, and potentially influence–and lifelogging with discrete, wearable camera technology can take this even further. 

Of course, with this technology, we need the ability to search, discover, and access the truly memorable moment–those that are meaningful to you and can have a deep and lasting impact on others–and let’s face it, despite the rise of Reality TV, most of life is not quite a Kardashian moment. 😉

It sort of reminds me of the Wendy’s commercial, where the old lady asks from a fictitious competitor, “where’s the beef?” With lifelogging, blogging, or other capture and sharing technologies, the beef had better be there (people’s time is valuable)!

There are billions of people to reach–capture, reflect, share…in writing and with pictures–then truly, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

This Fish Doesn’t Bite

Shark_in_building

It’s annual Shark Week–apparently, there is now a dedicated week for just about everything.

Although I am not sure how that works with only 52 weeks a year…unless every week is “dedicated” to multiple honors, rememberances, etc.

Like they say, everyone/everything gets their five minutes of fame.

This picture is of the Discovery Building in downtown Silver Spring.

Yeah, there is a ginormous shark head hanging off the side of the building (and you can see a little bit of the fins and tail hanging off the sides).

This guy, turned around and staring at the shark head, practically missed his ride, but then again this is not something you see everyday on the way to work.

Jaws meet DC commuters/workforce–we’re not running from this gefilte fish. 😉