Traffic Congestion in Space?

Sometimes I read about the future and sometimes I feel like I live in it. I read this in USA Today:

Gridlock has come to outer space. Spacecraft now wait in line to dock to the International Space Station, and mission planners sometimes delay one launch to make way for another.

There one sense in which I think it indicates poor planning and another it which it seems pretty cool that I live in a time in which these problems are possible.

Wackier still, this quote:

Even without the Japanese ship, the congestion in space can lead to headaches. The European cargo ship and the shuttle use the same radar frequency for communications, forcing the European ship’s launch to be delayed until Endeavour blasted off.

If I were writing a story about various countries putting a space station together, I’d probably assume that different ships would use different frequencies or at least that it would be easy to switch frequencies. I would be wrong.

The Medical-Industrial Complex

I do work for non-profits. At one non-profit I actually draw a part time salary in addition to my computer consulting. For a while, in fact, I did all my work for that non-profit from my house, connecting via a VPN.

It’s thanks to that, I suspect, that I got a call tonight.

As I was sitting down at my laptop, catching up on email and meditating on how soon I should make supper, I received a phone call that asked for one of my supervisors at work.

The caller wanted to know exactly what we did as part of our AIDS related program.

I told him. I also attempted to make it clear that we weren’t doing much with it at the moment because all our state funding had been cut off.

It didn’t make much of an impression, but it was after that that the call turned a little weird.

He wanted to know if any of our patients were ever cured of AIDS. I explained that no one gets cured of AIDS. At best, your virus load gets down to near impossible to detect levels.

“That’s with pharmacia,” he said, “not God’s medicine.”

Over the course of the next half hour, I learned a number of things:

1. That disease is not caused by bacteria or viruses. It is caused by chemicals, and parasites. For example, people with AIDS have benzene in their pancreas (or maybe their liver? I forget). Also, cancer has been cured in at least one person by removing a tape worm.
2. AIDS has been cured in Africa by using seven herbs plus a little bit of electricity.
3. “Pharmacia” (sp?) is the original word for our current style of medicine and it comes from a word that meant sorcery.
4. The real reasons for disease have been known since the 1930’s and are in every public library.
5. The reason you’ve never heard this before is because the government does not want you to find out.
6. Doctors know all this too, but they’re using the current methods because it will make them more money.
7. That whatever form of medicine this guy is using uses the “qxci.” Search for it on Google. The results are… wacky. Oh and incidentally, qxci is short for Quantum Xeroid Consciousness Interface device.
8. I can learn even more if we get together everyone in our office and watch a videotape. At that point, all will be explained.
9. And we may even make some money…

The end of the conversation left me thinking that I need to learn to be considerably less polite. The guy talked for more than half an hour, needing no encouragement at all beyond “mm-hmmn” and a brief yes or no.

I would have hung up on him if he’d been a telemarketer, but hanging up on him as a salesman would probably reflect badly on the organization. Also it seemed like he was about to wrap up three different times.

He never did.

In the end, I gave him the organizational number, made clear the fact that he was calling my house, and directed that he leave a voicemail for someone that I’m quite sure will be out tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m sending everyone an email…

Space Shuttle/ISS

I just saw space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space station in the sky above my house. It’s strange to think that I just saw human made objects orbiting the planet…

If you want to read more about it, try TV8 and Bill Steffan‘s blog.