Time to move to space?

I didn’t realise that there was such a thing as a space conference. Found this on a Wired article in my RSS feed.

The recently held Space 2006 Conference in San Jose, California was a bit about selling a life (living?) in space. But the problem with living in space is gravity.. if not for anything, it is going to be a big problem keeping your food down.

It is likely that the Moon (one sixth earth’s gravity) and Mars (three eighths) are unlikely space real estate destinations.

For Al Globus, senior research associate for human factors research and technology at NASA Ames Research Center, the most salient issue is one that most people take for granted on Earth: gravity. In low gravity, muscles atrophy and bones loose calcium and become brittle. If people start having children in an off-Earth settlement, those children — being adapted to the moon’s one-sixth gravity or Mars’ three-eighths gravity — may not be able to function on Earth, Globus argues.

“If you are a genius, you can never go to Harvard or Princeton,” Globus says. “If you are a great violinist, you will never be able to play the concert halls of Earth.”

Bad news huh? A bunch of brittle people. Yet in science fiction many portray martians as fearsome creatures. Chopsticks I say!

That’s a deal breaker, in Globus’ opinion. The space researcher instead argues that rotating space stations that can produce near-Earth gravity would be the best bet for long-term human inhabitants. These stations could produce more energy because certain orbits could bring them more sunshine than is possible if they were land-based. And the stations would be hours away, rather than three days for the moon or, at best, six months for Mars. The proximity to Earth makes tourism a possibility and makes resupplying the stations a snap.

So what about a space station? Sounds like a cool idea. But I will not be booking my space trip anytime soon.

But why would people want to stay in space in the first place?

The Human Genome Project completed

I read on the web that the final chapter of the Human Genome Project has been published.

The international Human Genome Project – often described as the “book of life” – was launched with the aim of finding and detailing the genes in our cells that drive all the body’s biochemical reactions.

Scientists envisage using this information to diagnose illnesses and to develop new medical therapies.

The benefits of having what is effectively an encyclopedia of the human blueprint is the possibility of finding cures and prevention for illnesses such as cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases etc.

The completion of HGP marks a new chapter in mankind’s medical progress. The project took about 20 years involving a web of scientists around the world to catalog the human DNA.

Keep an eye out for developments on the medical front.

Apple iPod Video makes waves

Apple iPod

If you’d browse my World News feeds (look for it on the top menu) you’d find some news of my own selection. One interesting news is iPod selling a million videos in 20 days. This is perhaps an important piece of news for the likes of aspiring online media companies. Currently the you can buy & download music videos and TV series like “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” for $1.99 a piece. Not sure how big the one million downloads is in relation to the size of the iPod market.

The iPod is fast becoming an insanely great product from Apple. Competitors and aspirants need to scramble quickly to get a slice of the market pie before Apple or some other player controls the market. I believe even our own local players can get in the game.

check out the slide show.