The Most Depressing Statistic of the Last Ten Years

There was a lot of great information presented at the National Weather Assn. conference. But, one statistic, presented by Ed Maibach of George Mason University, was horribly depressing:

65% of Americans cannot name a single living scientist.

Let that sink in a moment.

Kim Kardashian, check. Paris Hilton, check.

Barry Marshall, who? Gerhard Ertl?  Dan Shechtman? You can see bios of those people here. They recently won Nobel Prizes. Each of these men (especially Marshall and Shechtman) have fascinating stories about overcoming overwhelming scientific opposition to bring their discoveries to the fore.

Science teachers: Please introduce your students to these heroes in our time. By adding some personality to science courses, you can generate enthusiasm for the more technical aspects of what you teach.  

Jessica Cox: One of the Most Amazing Persons I Have Ever Met

When I saw this on Instapundit yesterday afternoon, I knew immediately who it was:

I had the pleasure of having lunch with Jessica Cox in Phoenix in 2009. She was born without arms but that has never stopped her from pursuing her dreams. Take a look at the photos below from her web site:

In the photo above, you see her putting on eye makeup with her foot. As we conversed through lunch, she used a knife and fork that way, as if it was the most natural thing in the world!

She is an absolutely amazing woman and a testament to the human spirit.

If you are considering hiring a motivational speaker, I hope you’ll consider her. Just click on the link above.

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Time Out to Congratulate..

…my brother Phil on a great story about his amazing work in Kansas City and Guatemala.

Al Robinson and Phil share a conversation. Kansas City Star photo. 

Thanks to The Kansas City Star for an upbeat, “good news” story.

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Clear Creek sheriff’s deputies on Thursday arrested a rafting guide for swimming to a stranded young rafter who had tumbled from his boat on Clear Creek.

Ryan Daniel Snodgrass, a 28-year-old guide with Arkansas Valley Adventures rafting company, was charged with “obstructing government operations,” said Clear Creek Sheriff Don Krueger.
It seems Mr. Snodgrass thought the sheriff’s rescue operation was taking too long. I guess the sheriff didn’t like being upstaged. The full story here
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A League of Their Own

I really like the movie “A League of Their Own.” Brilliantly cast, written and acted, I still enjoy seeing it 18 years after its release.

I didn’t know that Dotti Hinson (the Gina Davis character) was modeled after Dottie Kamenshek, the star player of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.  Kamenshek passed away last week. She was so good that a minor league mens’ team tried to purchase her contract.

Here is the kicker:  Unlike most star athletes who are one-dimensional, Kamenshek was anything but.  Time magazine picks up the amazing story:  Kamenshek retired in 1953, just a year before the league folded. She went on to graduate from Marquette University, practice physical therapy, and become chief of the Los Angeles Crippled Children’s Services Department.


UPDATE:  It is playing today on Encore West at 2:30pm Central and Monday at 8:25am and 3:15pm on Starz.

"The Right Stuff" — 2010 Style

“There’s a demon out there, at Mach 5″ so the character of Jack Ridley might have read the script yesterday. In what looked like video from The Right Stuff a B-29 B-52 took off from Muroc Edwards AFB and carried aloft the Bell X-1 X-51 for a supersonic hypersonic flight reaching five times the speed of sound. The aircraft was dropped from the plane…

The test got off to a great start…
But, the engine shut down prematurely at Mach 5. It was supposed to reach Mach 6. Is Mach 5 where “the old demon” resides? They’ll find out when they try again after what was called a “95% successful” test.
No word as to whether any Beeman’s was involved in yesterday’s exploits.

The step-by-step process of learning by doing continues in today’s world of science and technology, just like it did sixty years ago. Computer models and flight simulators (a more realistic computer model) are useful, but, eventually the thing has to fly!

[for those who are not familiar with the story, there was supposed to be a demon that lived at Mach 1 -- the speed of sound -- that caused every attempt to break the sound barrier to end in disaster until Chuck Yeager finally did it in 1947]

55th Anniversary of the Udall Tornado

The Town that Died in its Sleep” was the headline used to describe Udall after an F5 tornado struck in darkness without warning. Eighty-two people (out of 505) were killed and 260 were injured. Twenty died in Blackwell, OK earlier in the evening from a tornado spawned by the same supercell thunderstorm that caused the Udall storm. There was no warning of any kind.

Two years later, a tornado warning system inauspiciously began as a tornado approached south Kansas City on May 20, 1977.  The tornado death rate started dropping and it continues to drop today.

Blackwell-Udall would be the last time more than 100 people were killed in a single tornadic supercell.

Photos courtesy of the Udall Tornado Museum

Nice Work if You Can Get It

Congratulations to the new Miss USA, Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih.

Last month, I blogged about Phil Ruffin. Turns out he was a judge at last night’s Miss USA Pageant. That’s Phil on stage immediately after the Pageant, no doubt thinking about how far he has come in his remarkable life.

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