Humans Have Lived in Space for a Decade (And Counting)!

Imagine just for a moment; a floating, orbiting and operational laboratory holding several crew members at any given time, weighing over 900,000 lbs.  It's over 350 feet wide, with solar panels spanning more than half an acre—as long as a football field (with the end-zones)—and it's screaming through the Earth's orbit at over 17,000 mph, circling the globe every 90 minutes for a decade.

Yesterday marked the ten-year milestone for the human habitation of space; thanks to the International Space Station. Over the years, billions of dollars in equipment and material have been flown to the station; expanding its size, efficiency, living quarters and ability to conduct various scientifc experiments. The United States' participation alone has been estimated to have cost almost $100 billion; Russia has sent up various modules and equipment of its own; and other countries like Canada have built the commonly seen mobile robot arm extension.

The past decade has allowed the orbiting research laboratory to conduct experiments in a wide range of fields including and exploration of the long-term effects of space on the human system, medicine, biology, chemistry, physics and even astronomical observations. Since it's inception, the space station has been expanding and it will continue to grow as long as there is funding.  

Yet another addition to the station will come in the first months of 2011, with the installation of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-02 (image below) which is designed to research and detect dark matter. After that; who knows? Once fully completed, the International Space Station is expected to be visible by it least 90% of the world's population. I guess we can only hope that as 2011 rolls into 2020, we really start to see some interesting advancements and/or discoveries rain out of the ISS; allowing us to further our reach into space.

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

In U.S. first, drug company faces criminal charges for distributing opioids

It marks a major shift in the government's battle against the opioid crisis.

George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The nation's sixth-largest drug distributor is facing criminal charges related to failing to report suspicious drug orders, among other things.
  • It marks the first time a drug company has faced criminal charges for distributing opioids.
  • Since 1997, nearly 222,000 Americans have died from prescription opioids, partly thanks to unethical doctors who abuse the system.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less

Calling out Cersei Lannister: Elizabeth Warren reviews Game of Thrones

The real Game of Thrones might be who best leverages the hit HBO show to shape political narratives.

Photo credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that Game of Thrones is primarily about women in her review of the wildly popular HBO show.
  • Warren also touches on other parallels between the show and our modern world, such as inequality, political favoritism of the elite, and the dire impact of different leadership styles on the lives of the people.
  • Her review serves as another example of using Game of Thrones as a political analogy and a tool for framing political narratives.
Keep reading Show less