• Countdown to 12/16/2011…

    3… Space X made some news today. First, there was an announcement that a new initiative funded by Paul Allen would lead to commercial space tourism, all based around a plan to launch a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket after dropping it from altitude with a plane. And on a separate endeavor, SpaceX announced that they’re going to combine their next two ISS docking demonstration missions. Some that have waaay more knowledge about spaceflight than I do remain skeptical about this company’s ability to do things so inexpensively. That said, they keep exceeding expectations, and I hope they continue to do so…

    2… As usual, the pages of this week’s issue of Science include some interesting things. First, there was the unveiling of a beautiful crystal structure of the ribosome from a yeast will help tease things out about eukaryotic life. Next, there’s work showing that humans have influenced the N cycle even in remote areas for at least the last 115 years. Finally, a puzzle related to one of the most important organisms in the history of the planet – cyanobacteria – was solved, as scientists discovered missing links in a key metabolic cycle…

    1… We need FameLab participants! If you plan to sign up, but haven’t yet you should do so. If you are on the fence, you should come! And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, follow the link above to educate yourself. This event is both a competition and a training workshop. So come improve your communication skills, even if you don’t think you’re destined to be a winner. (Besides, that last part is for the judges to judge!) It’s only going to be a 1-day event, and there are travel stipends available for US-based researchers… and if all that’s not enough, you will be able hang out with a couple of the authors of this blog at the event!

    Launch?