1/26/2001: 

SAT-Practice Word of the Day:
voluble
Intermediate Word of the Day: sangfroid
Difficult Word of the Day: burgoo

Today's Banner News
Update - UN sees faster global warming, humanity responsible
A Futuristic City Rises In The Desert
Small town tests TV, DSL combo via phone lines
UK watchdog recommends three Alzheimer's drugs
Spinal Cord Repair A Reality?
Step On, Strap On, And Fly!
Strategies for reversing, not merely retarding, the degenerative effects of aging
Scientists Discover Supernova May Control Activity in the Center of Our Galaxy
Disk Densities Double to 120 GB-to-200 GB


1/24/2000: Update on Life/Youth Extension: When I wrote the above discussion about life and youth extension, my comments were based only upon my personal reading of the situation. It seemed to me that Advanced Cell Technologies' calf cloning last April was akin to Hahn's and Strasmann's splitting of the uranium atom in 1939 that demonstrated to the cognoscenti of that era the feasibility of nuclear power, and opened the floodgates to the Manhatten Project. It seemed to me that research biologists would grasp the significance of last April's calf cloning in somewhat the same way. I learned today that they did. It was hailed by all concerned as a breakthrough in anti-senescence research, demonstrating that aging can be reversed.

1/24/2000: Update on Computer Disk Storage:  Western Digital has just announced that it is introducing new hard drives that store 30 GB (gigabytes) per platter instead of 20 GB per platter. The article also mentions that later this year, other disk drive manufacturers will begin offering 40-GB-per-platter hard drives, leading to 120 -to-200-gigabyte disks. having twice the capacity of year-2000 disks. Over the past year, disk prices have dropped from about $7 per GB to as low as $3.50 a GB. A year from today, a 60-GB disk drive will probably sell for $120-$130. This will bring disk storage densities up to about 1/4th the level that IBM forecast as a theoretical limit in the early 90's. By 2003, given two more doublings, we'll hit this technological limit, with 3.5" disk drives storing about 500-to-800 GB (at $0.25 a GB). If we should possibly double once more after that, our 3.5" drives would reach 1-to-1.6 terabytes (TB), but after that, we're in no-man's-land. At that point, the magnetic domains on our disks would measure about 0.07 microns across.
    It will be interesting to see whether there are other techniques that can carry disk capacities beyond these admittedly-capacious levels.
1/25/2000: Update on the Update:  Toshiba is launching a 2.5" disk drive that will achieve a storage density more than twice that of the Western Digital drive described below, and about 1.6 times that of the 120-200 GB disk drives that will be sold later this year. There is also the intriguing prediction that disk capacities will double every year through 2005. That would lead us to 3 terabyte (3,000 gigabyte) 3.5" disk drive by 2005.
    
My Recent Promotion:  I've just learned that I've been promoted to former "Head of the Marshall Space Program". Now that's fine with me. I'm just not sure how well it will sit with the real former Head of the Marshall Space Program at the time I was there - Dr. William R. Lucas. (Sorry, Bill and Polly.) During most of my managerial tour of duty at Marshall, I was a Branch Chief. As it says in my biosketch:
    "In the meantime, in 1967, the aerospace engineering drawdown of the post-Apollo era had begun. Reductions-in-Force began rolling over NASA and DoD twice a year. Susan had presented with asthma in the summer of 1967 and Rob had chronic ear infections, so I had to keep my job and our federal Blue Cross Health insurance. Per my management's requests, I gradually withdrew from personal technical work, serving as a Branch Chief and later, as an Assistant to my Division Chief. It was no time to be a prima donna.
    "The next twelve years are a meaningless blur. In 1981, when NASA offered early retirement, I took it, joining the Huntsville Research Operations of Georgia Tech."
    I retired as an assistant to my Division Chief, Dave Aichele. But I enjoyed being the former Head of the Marshall Space Program for an hour or two.
   Oh, well. Easy come, easy go.

     THE THINKER

A strange and breathless thing it is
That he is mine and I am his.
A circumstance of age and race,
A miracle of time and place,
And we who might have lived and died
A world apart are side by side.

The candles of my heart are lit
Every time I think of it.

        --"Window to the South."
                  Vivian Smallwood