S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Southwest Space & Schools Digest - April 2007

Texas is one of the most populace states among the 50 in the United States. Thus it faces a big educational challenge as a state. And it is also home to the National Aeronautics and Space Agency headquarters in Houston, with its cadre of highly educated astronauts. Today's post gathers a number of current articles on space and education making the news.

From NASA - International Space Station - Status Report of April 7, 2007. Another very rich guy has flown into space from Russia. And he's bringing dinner. To quote from the news release:

HOUSTON – Two Russian cosmonauts and a space flight participant launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:31 p.m. CDT Saturday for a two-day flight to the International Space Station.
Less than 10 minutes after launch their spacecraft reached orbit and its antennas and solar arrays deployed. The Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraft is scheduled to dock at the station at a little after 3 p.m. Monday.
Once they arrive at the station, Cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin, Expedition 15 commander, and Oleg Kotov, Expedition 15 flight engineer, and spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi, a U.S. businessman, will be greeted by the station’s current crew, Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Suni Williams.
More about Charles Simonyi from Reuters - "Software mogul blasts into space," by Maria Golovnina. To quote,
U.S. software mogul Charles Simonyi and two Russian cosmonauts blasted into orbit on Saturday aboard a Russian spaceship watched by Simonyi's friend, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart.
. . . "He had a big grin on his face," said Simonyi's family spokeswoman Susan Hutchison, who was able to see the crew via a live camera inside the cockpit as the spacecraft pulled away from the launch-pad.
Simonyi, a 58-year-old billionaire who helped found Microsoft, is making a 12-day round trip to the International Space Station (ISS).
Simonyi is carrying a special dinner packed in an aluminum container which he will share with ISS colleagues on Russia's Cosmonauts Day, April 12.
Stewart chose the menu featuring quail roasted in wine, duck breast with capers and rice pudding, among other courses. The two Americans have been reported to be romantically linked.
Astronaut will "run" in Boston Marathon - The Boston Globe carried an article with a interesting new twist on specialized exercising to maintain body mass and bone health in space. It is headlined, "Altitude training: Astronaut gears for own Marathon" To quote,
She looks like a typical marathon runner, thin and compact. She sounds like one, too, talking excitedly about her training for the Marathon a week from today and her strategy for completing the race. It goes without saying, Williams will run anything but the typical Marathon aboard the International Space Station.
. . . just the constant pain of the harness that tethers Williams to the space treadmill.
"Thank God, we can't [re-create Heartbreak Hill in space]," said Williams, who is familiar with the course from growing up in Needham, watching the Marathon from the 14-mile mark, and running the race previously. "I remember running that hill on the 100th running and that's a pretty vicious hill. But I have to say the treadmill itself isn't the easiest thing to run on. Not only are we running, but we're held down with a harness and it's a little bit heavy on your shoulders and your hips. So, it's going to be a little bit of a pain as it is. So, I think I'll do just as well [simulating the difficulty of the course] running on the treadmill."

Texas Higher Education - Though they may be eclipsed at times by Ivy League Schools, the southwest region has a number of very fine institutions. But the state's higher education is not available to nearly enough students. "CouldBe True" at South Texas Chisme reveals A college education crisis in the making. with a quote from the Houston Chronicle:
Texas lags far behind comparable states in offering financial aid to college students, and a new report by a Houston state senator warns of a coming crisis if the state fails to increase its number of college graduates.

Cannot go to college? If you cannot enroll at a university, you might at least bone up on the basics. Clipper "friedbeef" provides a great list of books from which to start: 10 Best Places to Get Free Books.
Interesting Texas education links:

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My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Good Second Mondays is about Easter.

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