Is a Subconcious Fear of Space Exploration Behind NASA's Budget Cuts?

Like Galileo, those who advocate a new understanding of ourselves often face persecution. While tight budgets are cited for a lack of NASA funding, there may be something larger lurking. 

What's the Latest Development?


When Newt Gingrich proposed building a Moon base during his presidential campaigning, the response of his opponents' was not to engage in a debate about the future of space exploration, but simply to ridicule the idea. And ridicule, says science fiction author Sylvia Engdahl, "is a convenient weapon against buried feelings that one does not dare to acknowledge." Such a reaction, particularly from would-be heads of state, signals a national subconscious fear about space achievements that are well within our grasp, such as establishing manned bases on the Moon and Mars. 

What's the Big Idea?

Once we realized that sailing over the horizon would not cause us to drop off the planet, space became the next frontier of human exploration. And as successive scientific revolutions challenged religious dictum, shifting our existence from the center of the Universe to an insignificant speck in one of billions of other galaxies, the public has taken its time in overcoming the discomfort that occurs when certainty becomes uncertainty. But each time, we have eventually acclimated ourselves to the new truth. "To me it is reassuring to realize that, barring some major disaster to Earth’s civilization, the present unwillingness to accept the challenge of space will pass," says Engdahl. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


'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