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For everyone out there looking for a new job, NASA posted a job opening for their next batch of astronaut candidates.

It never occurred to me that this is the kind of job you could just apply for, but there it is. People don't just wake up as astronauts.


Thinking about busting out the resume?

Here are five things NASA's job description reveals about what it takes to be an astronaut.


1. They'll want to know pretty much everything about you.

Image by tigerlily713/Pixabay.

The position includes a background check, a health check, a financial check, and a drug check. And you have to be a U.S. citizen. Plus you have to have five, yes five, references.

That said, they've tried to make the process at least a little less intimidating.

"We try to make it just as laid back and informal as we can. Obviously, the person will bring a lot of stress and excitement," Duane Ross, manager of the Astronaut Selection Office, told Popular Science in a 2013 interview. "There are no trick questions or equations on a board — the interview is about them."

2. You've got to like traveling.

"Frequent travel may be required," says the job ad. Yeah, I bet.

And you'll need to get used to paperwork. The story goes that the crew of Apollo 11 had to fill out customs forms after returning from the moon!

You'll need to fill some out too, but that's more because you'll be visiting a lot of different nations, rather than any fears of illegal (literal) aliens. Astronauts may need to travel to Japan, Europe, Russia, or really any other space-fairing nation in order to train with their personnel and equipment.

You won't have to pay for it out of pocket, luckily. NASA's got you covered. They even reimbursed Buzz Aldrin after he submitted a travel voucher to the moon. The cost? $33. A lot cheaper than the quarter of a million dollars Virgin Galactic sells their space tickets for.

Plus, you've got to move to Texas.

3. You've got to fit in a space suit.

Image from Christopher Michel/Flickr.

Specifically, you have to be between 5’2” and 6’3” tall. And don’t have high blood pressure. It’s also OK to wear glasses (or get laser eye surgery), but you’ve got to be able to see what you’re doing.

You’ve got to be a good educational fit as well. They want at least a bachelor’s degree for this round of applications, and it’s got to be in science, math, or engineering.

4. Yes, you get dental.

Image from Barbaricino/Wikimedia Commons.

As a candidatem you’ll be making the equivalent of at least $33 an hour, plus benefits, including health and life insurance.

Funnily enough, it wasn’t always this way. The story goes that the Apollo 11 astronauts couldn’t afford the life insurance that something as dangerous as going to the moon would require. So instead, they filled out hundreds of signatures.

"If they did not return from the moon, their families could sell them," said Robert Pearlman, a space historian and collector in a 2012 article from NPR, “to not just fund their day-to-day lives, but also fund their kids' college education and other life needs.”

5. You might have to wait a while to get to space.

First of all, you’ve got to complete a two-year training program before you earn your space wings (side note: Space Wings is my Prog Rock Paul McCartney cover band).

But even then, blast off might take some time. There’s only so much space in the space station and though NASA technically employs 47 active astronauts right now, only two — Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra — are currently orbiting.

But there'll be plenty to do once you get there.

Though the Space Shuttle has been retired, there’s still plenty for NASA to do. There are plans for a new launch system, a mission to Europa — one of Jupiter’s moons — and the capture of a near-Earth asteroid.

Basically.

Capturing an asteroid sounds crazy, but it could be the first step toward mining them. Lifting stuff off the Earth is really expensive and difficult, but if we could actually manufacture space stuff in space itself, we could open up a lot of possibilities. Plus there's the fact that some asteroids are chock-full of valuable or rare metals, which could make some people very rich if they could get their hands on them.

Plus there's Mars. NASA wants to get a human being on the red planet in the 2030s. And Curiosity, NASA’s chattiest rover, just tweeted some new pictures of stuff it found. What a time to be alive!


It's a big ol' universe out there. I, for one, am excited to get out there and see it.

GIF via Discovery/YouTube.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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