Word of the Day:
Word of the Day:
of the Day: burgoo
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
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.
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."