My younger daughter is very interested in both medicine and robotics. So she and I were both very interested in a segment on the PBS NewsHour a few weeks ago about advances being made at Johns Hopkins University in developing a new generation in prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by the user’s mind.
I am the father of two girls. I am also the graduate of a college that only educated men when I attended it. Having seen first-hand the issues associated with a campus on which high levels of testosterone were missing the moderating influence of women, I was not especially in favor of the idea when each of my daughters announced that she wanted to attend a single-sex school for middle and high schools.
America has not had a human-rated spacecraft since the shuttle fleet retired. It has not had a spacecraft that could leave low earth orbit since Apollo. Last week, NASA’s new spacecraft, Orion, flew in space for the first time. It was unmanned and only flew for two orbits, but Orion flew well beyond the low-earth-orbit zone that has been the limit for humans in space since Apollo 17 returned from the last moon mission in 1972.
My wife and I had the great pleasure of listening to Bill Nye speak this evening. We subscribe to a speakers series at a local community college, and he was the first speaker for this year’s series. Of course, one of our local teams was playing in the world series while before and during the talk, which caused some consternation on my part. I watched a little over an hour of the game before driving down, listened to the game on the radio during the drive, and was thrilled to find that the facility was showing the game on a large screen on the stage while the auditorium filled. As the Royals scored five runs in the blink of an eye, a 2-2 tie became a 7-2 blowout. The crowd became very quiet.
I am very excited about how healthcare is about to change dramatically with applications of new technologies. Cancer will be directly addressed by medications tailored specifically to attack it on the genetic level. The world’s experts will expand their reach via better telecommunications and telemedicine. A new symbiotic relationship between surgeon and surgical robot will allow precision in surgery to grow by leaps and bounds. Constant monitoring will allow health professionals to know about and treat conditions before they become emergencies.
I was fortunate enough to have been young when Carl Sagan was hosting the original Cosmos. Simply put, I was and remain a fan of a wonderful educational tool. So I was very excited when I learned that Neil deGrasse Tyson was hosting a new Cosmos for a new generation. I recorded each of the episodes of the first season, anticipating watching them with my children. And then . . . nothing. Neither daughter had any interest until very recently.