+
Heroes

A NASA scientist designed a ship that could theoretically travel at 'Star Trek' speeds.

In 1957, Soviet scientists launched Sputnik — the first man-made satellite to successfully orbit the Earth — inspiring children around the world to grow up and become physicists and astronomers.

Photo by NASA.


In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took humankind's first steps on the moon, again inspiring children around the world to pursue careers in rocket science and engineering in order to follow them to the stars.

Photo by NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

And ... while the U.S. space program has certainly seen some great success getting probes to take pictures of Pluto and stuff, in the 47 years since, we've sorta kinda hit a wall when it comes to sending actual live humans into space. The Challenger and Columbia disasters, the end of the Cold War, and periodic budget futzing have largely closed space off to the explorers and dreamers of America...

....unless they happen to be ridiculously rich adults.

In 2001, investment manager Dennis Tito paid $20 million to have exasperated cosmonauts fly him to space aboard the Soyuz TM-32, inspiring precisely no children anywhere to do anything.

Nyet, sir, please do not touch butto— NYET! NYET! Photo by NASA/Wikimedia Commons.


And a trip to space — which once felt obtainable by any child in America with enough gumption, hard work, and grit — suddenly seemed accessible only under the ever-so-slightly less meritocratic condition of ponying up tens of millions of dollars.

Now that we've transformed space from "the final frontier" of our collective imagination into a playground for eccentric millionaires, how will we ever get the children of the world fired up about manned spaceflight again?

Enter NASA engineer and physicist Harold White with a brilliant, out-of-the-box, and totally sci-fi-worthy idea.

Photo by NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

While Elon Musk and Richard Branson have been working on ways to send more hedge funders into low-Earth orbit, Harold White has been working on plans for an actual faster-than-light warp drive.

White, who's been working on the project for several years in his role as NASA's advanced propulsion team lead, asked artist Mark Rademaker to help design a prototype for a potential real-life warp ship.

And boy did they ever design a prototype:

Photo by Mark Rademaker, used with permission.

The name of the (theoretical) ship? The IXS Enterprise, after the "Star Trek" ship of the same name.

(I know. I didn't think there were any "Star Trek" fans at NASA, either. Who knew?)

If it works, and it's a pretty big if, the ship could send humans to distant solar systems within weeks, rather than the current working timeline of centuries or millennia.

White's proposed warp drive is obviously a total moonshot, but there is a way it could possibly sorta kinda maybe work.

From The Washington Post:

"A warp ship such as the IXS Enterprise could allow travel to interstellar space in a matter of weeks rather than, say, centuries. And the science behind why it might be possible is truly mind-boggling.
An over-simplified explanation is that the concept seeks to exploit a "loophole" in Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that allows travel faster than the speed of light by expanding space-time behind the object and contracting space-time front of it."

While the research is legit, White told the Post that he and Rademaker released the prototype image primarily to help convince kids that jobs in STEM fields are actually awesome and totally not boring.

Photo by Mark Rademaker, used with permission.

And, well ... mission accomplished. Justlook at that thing.

Is it enough to give young people hope that they might yet witness a space travel breakthrough of the kind their parents and grandparents were lucky enough to live through?

Even if the IXS Enterprise is still science fiction, it's grounded in serious math and physics (you can watch White explain it in greater detail here — and he's way better at it than I could ever be).

Perhaps more importantly, it gives us — kids and adults — something to actually legit aspire to — something the U.S. space program hasn't really had since JFK's moon challenge over 40 years ago.

And that aspiration is more than just the dream of one day having slow-motion punch fights with scaly aliens in leopard print togas, though it definitely includes that too.

GIF from "Star Trek."

The IXS Enterprise prototype is a symbol for the hope that one day, in our lifetimes, humankind will travel between the stars at incredible speeds.

And we better hope that day comes to pass! Because the alternative ... is only this guy gets to go to space:

Ach! Who opened the borscht packet in the life support module?! Who ... oh ... No!!! Photo by NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

And space is for all of us! Not just rich guys (though once we get warp drive, the rich guys are invited too).

For the love of God, Harold White, and NASA, science on.

Science. On.

GIF from "Star Trek."

Internet

Relationship expert tells people to never get married unless you're willing to do 3 things

"If you and your partner (both) are unable or unwilling to do these 3 things consistently forever, you won’t make it."

Relationship expert gives people advice on getting married.

Being in a relationship can be difficult at times. Learning someone else's quirks, boundaries, and deep views on the world can be eye-opening and hard. But usually, the happy chemicals released in our brain when we love someone can cause us to overlook things in order to keep the peace.

Jayson Gaddis, a relationship expert, took to Twitter to rip off people's rose-colored glasses and tell them to forego marriage. Honestly, with the divorce rate in this country being as high as it is, he probably could've stopped his tweet right there. Don't get married, the end. Many people would've probably related and not questioned the bold statement, but thankfully he followed up with three things you must be willing to do before going to the chapel.

Before going into his reasons for why he tells people not to get married, Gaddis explained that he is a person that "LOVEs being married." I mean, it would probably make him a pretty weird relationship expert if he hated relationships, so it's probably a good thing he enjoys being married. Surely his spouse appreciates his stance as well.

Keep ReadingShow less

Tater Tots, fresh out of the oven.

It’s hard to imagine growing up in America without Tater Tots. They are one of the most popular kiddie foods, right up there with chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. The funny thing is the only reason Tater Tots exist is that their creators needed something to do with leftover food waste.

The Tater Tot is the brainchild of two Mormon brothers, F. Nephi and Golden Grigg, who started a factory on the Oregon-Idaho border that they appropriately named Ore-Ida. The brothers started the factory in 1951 after being convinced that frozen foods were the next big thing.

According to Eater, between 1945 and 1946, Americans bought 800 million pounds of frozen food.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

10 years ago, a 'Stairway to Heaven' performance brought Led Zeppelin's surviving members to tears

Heart, John Bonham's son and a full choir came together for the epic tribute.

Led Zeppelin got to see their iconic hit performed for them.

When Billboard and Rolling Stone pull together their "Best Songs of All Time" lists, there are some tunes you know for sure will be included. Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is most definitely one of them.

It has everything—the beauty of a ballad, the grunginess of a rock song, the simple solo voice, and the band in full force. "Stairway to Heaven" takes us on a musical journey, and even people who aren't necessarily giant Led Zeppelin or classic rock fans can't help but nod or sing along to it.

Of course, it's also been so ubiquitous (or overplayed, as some would claim) to become a meme among musicians. Signs saying "No Stairway to Heaven" in guitar stores point to how sick of the song many guitarists get, and when Oregon radio station KBOO told listeners they would never play the song again if someone pledged $10,000, Led Zepelin singer Robert Plant himself called in and gave the donation.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Developmental scientist shared her 'anti-parenting advice' and parents are relieved

In a viral Twitter thread, Dorsa Amir addresses the "extreme pressure put on parents in the West."

Photo by kabita Darlami on Unsplash, @DorsaAmir/Twitter

Parents, maybe give yourselves a break

For every grain of sand on all the world’s beaches, for every star in the known universe…there is a piece well intentioned, but possibly stress-inducing parenting advice.

Whether it’s the astounding amount of hidden dangers that parents might be unwittingly exposing their child to, or the myriad ways they might be missing on maximizing every moment of interaction, the internet is teeming with so much information that it can be impossible for parents to feel like they’re doing enough to protect and nurture their kids.

However, developmental scientist and mom Dorsa Amir has a bit of “anti-parenting advice” that help parents worry a little less about how they’re measuring up.

First and foremost—not everything has to be a learning opportunity. Honestly, this wisdom also applies to adults who feel the need to be consistently productive…raises hand while doing taxes and listening to a podcast on personal development
Keep ReadingShow less

A guy with road rage screaming out of his car.

A psychologist who’s an expert in narcissism has released a telling video that reveals one of the red flags of the disorder, being an erratic driver.

"Most people, when they tell the story backwards of a narcissistic relationship, are able to see the red flags very clearly,” Dr. Ramani said in her video. “However, seeing them forwards isn't hard. But if you see them too late, it means you've already been through the narcissistic relationship, you're devastated and have likely wasted a lot of time."

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, Professor Emerita of Psychology at California State University and author of several books, including “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist.”

Keep ReadingShow less
www.youtube.com

Man hailed 'Highway Hero' for running across four lanes of traffic

Holy cow, Bat Man! You're always supposed to be aware of other vehicles when you're driving but what do you do when you notice someone has lost consciousness while speeding down the highway?

It's a scenario that no one wants to see play out, but for Adolfo Molina, the scenario became reality and he didn't hesitate to spring into action. Molina was driving down the highway when he spotted a woman in a blue car who lost consciousness as her car careened down the shoulder of the highway. The concerned driver quickly pulled over in order to attempt to rescue the woman.

But there was a problem, he had to cross four lanes of traffic on the highway just to make it to the woman's still moving car. That obstacle didn't stop him. Molina sprinted across the highway, crossing right in front of a black pick up truck before running at full speed to attempt to open the woman's door and stop her car.

Keep ReadingShow less