NASA technology (95)

SpaceX Dragon Grappled to Canadarm2

NASA – On Sunday, April 20, 2014, the Expedition 39 crew aboard the International Space Station welcomed nearly two-and-a-half tons of supplies and scientific payloads to the station with the arrival of the third SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo spacecraft. This image of SpaceX Dragon grappled by Canadarm2 was sent down by Flight Engineer Steve Swanson to Instagram with the message, “We have a Dragon. All is good.”

With Dragon securely in the grasp of Canadarm2, the robotics officer at Mission Control remotely operated the arm to install the capsule to its port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony module. Once Dragon was in place, Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio monitored the Common Berthing Mechanism operations for first and second stage capture of the cargo ship, assuring that the vehicle was securely attached to the station with a hard mate. Second stage capture was completed at 10:06 a.m. EDT as the station flew 260 miles above Brazil.

Time to stop following defunct economic policies

By Anatole Kaletsky – Can economists contribute anything useful to our understanding of politics, business and finance in the real world?

The “old ideas that have been proved wrong,” including inflation targets, self-stabilizing markets, and rigid separation of monetary and fiscal policy, remain dominant where they are most dangerous — in the macroeconomic analysis of finance ministries and central banks.

Overcoming these old ideas will require new thinking about politics and not just economics. more>

Why “Deep Reading” Doesn’t Happen Online


Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, Author: Maryanne Wolf.

By Annie Murphy Paul – Deep reading — slow, immersive, rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity — is a distinctive experience, different in kind from the mere decoding of words.

Although deep reading does not, strictly speaking, require a conventional book, the built-in limits of the printed page are uniquely conducive to the deep reading experience.

Unlike the ability to understand and produce spoken language, which under normal circumstances will unfold according to a program dictated by our genes, the ability to read must be painstakingly acquired by each individual.

The “reading circuits” we construct are recruited from structures in the brain that evolved for other purposes—and these circuits can be feeble or they can be robust, depending on how often and how vigorously we use them. more>

Updates from GE

You Won’t Believe What This Machine Can See

GE – Two days before Christmas 1895, shortly after Wilhelm Röentgen discovered X-rays by experimenting with a cathode tube in his laboratory, he invited his wife to experience the phenomenon.

Anna Bertha Ludwig put her left hand inside his apparatus and became the first human to be X-rayed.

But when she saw her wedding ring slipped over the bones of her fourth finger, her reaction was far from jubilant. “I have seen my death,” she exclaimed.

Röentgen became immediately famous but it was not until 1913 that X-ray imaging took off.

That year physicist William D. Coolidge, a longtime director of the GE Research Laboratory in Schenectady, NY, invented the X-ray Tube.

Coolidge kept perfecting his tube and received 83 patents for the technology.

The tube effectively started radiology as a medical discipline and launched a series of innovations raging from the X-ray machine to computed tomography. more>

If Capital Grows This Fast, How Come Fortunes Disappear?


Capital in the 21st Century, Author: Thomas Piketty.

By Mark Gimein – 5 percent rate of growth routinely cited by Balzac and Austen is quite close to the mark; Thomas Piketty’s own calculations yield a number somewhere in the 4 or 5 percent range for the period in which they worked.

And that, unfortunately, is a lot faster than most economies grow.

Some of that capital, of course, gets spent to maintain the lifestyles of the rentiers. But the rest gets reinvested.

If the holders of capital manage to reinvest, say, three-fifths of their money (a number that Piketty takes as reasonable assumption), they will see their fortunes grow 3 percent a year.

That’s much faster than economies expanded through most of history. more>