NASA inspires. It always has, and it always will.
I remember President Kennedy’s bold prediction that we would put a man on the moon before the end of the decade and I remember America delivering. I remember NASA delivering.
In my own life, I can distinctly remember experiences I had as a young teacher discussing basic principles of math and science in response to students’ questions about space. An ambitious space program led to remarkable gains in more than space exploration; it directly contributed to gains in my classroom.
This weekend, NASA will launch Americans into space on the final flight of the space shuttle program. Our country owes a debt of gratitude to the thousands of men and women who gave so much to make this program successful, and more so to the fourteen men and women who gave their lives. Because of the satellites launched and repaired from the shuttle and its role in constructing the International Space Station, this program helped rewrite chapters in science books for future generations.
As we applaud those achievements, it is only fitting for us to ask what is next for our nation's human spaceflight program. Where are we going and when? What will it take to get there in regards to government investment and workforce needs? What technologies need to be invented to get there? Will we preserve America's space leadership legacy and exceptionalism?
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made the following remarks at the closing luncheon for the TechWomen Initiative
Being a woman in the field of technology is not always easy. Being a woman in any field is not always easy. But there are so many opportunities in technology that we just have to forge ahead. We’re doing so around the world because we want to make sure that all the tools that technology has made available are just as open to women as they are to men. I also believe that innovation thrives on good ideas, and women have a lot of good ideas. And we don’t want those ideas to just die. We want them to be shared and to help others and to create businesses and jobs and improve lives. And it has a greater impact when technology has access for everyone.
Wherever you live, whether it’s in Silicon Valley or in the Middle East or North Africa, we want to support you. We want to support the software that you design, the engineering projects that you manage, the courses that you teach. We want to help you develop and apply new technologies, and we want to help you spread the word about what is available for all people.
The threat of TV blackouts is never welcome news. For the millions of consumers unlucky enough to have had to worry about their favorite shows going dark, or actually losing their signals, the problem is not only real but frustrating and inconvenient. So what’s being done about it?
Blackouts occur when video distributors (such as cable, satellite and telephone companies) are unable to reach agreement with television stations over “retransmission consent” fees. These disputes frequently blow up into public relations battles with each side blaming the other and consumers getting caught in the middle. At worst, TV stations pull the plug and their channels go dark for days and sometimes weeks.
Why is this happening? Broadcasters say it’s because they need more money to pay for programming, so they have to charge higher rates. Program distributors say it’s because broadcasters have the incentive and ability to play hardball, since there is usually more than one distributor in each local market to keep carrying the station. We see it happen in large markets and small ones.
When President Obama hosts his first Twitter town hall meeting Wednesday, it will mark the latest chapter in Washington’s migration to the Internet-based technologies already fully embraced by Americans beyond the beltway. Cloud computing, in particular, is transforming the way business gets done in Washington, and platforms like Facebook and Twitter are key to understanding voter concerns on hot-button issues like the economy, national security, health care and education.
Over the past half-decade, social media has redefined the way government conducts its daily business. Cloud computing -- services and platforms delivered over the Internet (Facebook, Google, salesforce.com and Twitter are all examples) -- has become more powerful with the broad adoption of high-speed broadband. Stories about building movements, streamlining operations, recruiting followers and launching interactive Web platforms — once the stuff of front page news — have, for the most part, become routine. Stated simply, the cloud is now the most efficient way for government officials to collaborate, broadcast messages (an almost unbelievable 94 percent of all people engaged by an online political message watched it in full according to one recent survey) and directly source ideas that form the basis of public policy.
We have it pretty good in America. When we're hungry, we can run to the nearest restaurant or grocery store for our favorite burger or salad. When we need a snack we head to the neighborhood convenience store on the corner. We live in a country where we enjoy the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply in the world, right at our fingertips.
Our ability to largely find what we want, when we want it is in large part due to the hard work and innovation of America's farmers, ranchers and growers. Today, each agriculture producer is responsible for supplying food for more than 150 people. That's a modern miracle many of us take for granted. However, there's more for them to do.