The Black Buzz Light Year

Robert L Curbeam

Most kids either want to be a doctor, cowboy or an astronaut. The problem is, as you grow up you realise that cowboys were mostly drunken homicidal woman beaters and becoming a doctor is a hell of a lot of responsibility. That leaves becoming an astronaut as the only reasonable dream occupation for a child. Children have a wondrous  fascination with the cosmos and due to the shear vastness of the universe that childlike curiosity continues with us until we are adults.

The word astronaut comes from the Greek word space sailor and to become an astronaut you have to have a high level of fitness, acute technological and scientific skills. It’s a risky job which takes copious amounts of courage. I don’t believe any amount of rigorous testing can prepare you for a space expedition, and only a handful of people through out history will ever get this opportunity. Robert L.Curbeam was a NASA astronaut who embodied all of these skills and currently holds the record for the most spacewalks during a single spaceflight, the STS-116.

Robert spent hours as a child designing aeroplanes and rockets but never dreamed he would ever be on the inside of one on the way to space. He graduated from Wood-lawn High School in 1980, earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Masters in Astronautical  Engineering. He’s flown F-14s in the Navy and participated in three space shuttle missions as a NASA astronaut. He’s walked in space a whopping seven times, logged over nine hundred hours up there including forty five hours of space walks.

As of 2016 only six countries have full launch capabilities. Only three countries are capable of human space flight, they are; USA, Russia and China. That number will inevitably grow as the temptation of space travel unravels. As well as bragging rights, the technology that comes along with it is life changing. Memory foam mattresses, Velcro,  and smoke detectors are just some of the technologies born from space technology.

What do you need to do to become an astronaut..?

– Bachelors degree in engineering, maths, biology, computer or chemical science. Three years job experience would be useful also.

– A second language always looks good for potential astronauts. Russian is top of the list for ESA.

– At least 1000 hours pilot in command time in jet aircraft.

– No age restrictions as ESA has considered candidates from 26-46, but you have to be in good shape.

– Nasa candidates have to pass the military’s water survival course and show they can cope with high and low pressure environments. Their vision must be 20/20 and have a blood pressure which is a maximum of 140/90.

We need to re-identify who we consider to be heroes. Rappers are not heroes, sports stars shouldn’t be idolised and we shouldn’t accept that our children aspire to be actors. The scientists, engineers and programmers who have shaped the world we live in today are what we should aspire to be. It takes a high degree of intelligence, drive and  courage to become an astronaut. These are the attributes our future generations to take forward and develop. This is how future generational problems are solved. Especially considering we only have one Earth.

If you don’t leave this earth a conservationist, you will come back as one.’ – Robert L Curbeam

The earth is that beautiful. The nostalgia will catch you off guard and leave you breathless for a few minutes as you soak in the profound perspective that is our earth. The home we are destroying is seemingly still stunning in its decay. Losing eight percent bone density and being lonely for a while seems worth it when the images your eyes take in are burned in your brain forever. Space travel will humble you beyond your core and deep into your soul. Salute to Robert L Curbeam, a true hero.

Robert L Curbeam

Are bullets more Jamaican than Usain Bolt?

 

In 2015 there were 1192 murders in Jamaica. The country had about 45 slayings per 100,000 people in 2015 keeping it ranked as one of the world’s most violent countries. By comparison Chicago, which has roughly the same population as Jamaica, around 2.7 million, had 468 killings in 2015. With the recent Olympics showcasing the physical superiority of some of Jamaica’s athletes, the darker side to real Jamaican  issues gets pushed aside. Usain Bolt has brought a lot of attention to Jamaica but he gets more attention as an individual than the Country as a whole.

Continue reading Are bullets more Jamaican than Usain Bolt?

David Adjaye

David Adjaye & The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

David Adjaye, a British architect born in Tanzania son to a Ghanaian diplomat is working on a astounding building in the heart of Washington DC. The almost complete Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) was a challenging project for the globally recognised architects, and is their most high profile project to date. The architects Adjaye has become kind of an underground celebrity, winning awards and being interviewed by GQ magazine.

David Adjaye

The building is stacked in three volumes which forms the upper portion of the building. It’s covered in bronze plates perforated with patterns which is a reference to the history of African American craftsmanship. In 2009 Adjaye was selected as a team of architects which also include, Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond and Smith Group to design the five hundred million dollar project. The design features a crown motif from Yoruba sculpture.

Smithsonian under construction

Adjaye speaks about having to prove himself to members of the black media community in order to be selected for working on this project. He’s done a hell of a job in projecting the cultural aspects of African art into a fascinatingly meticulous design which I hope will inspire the people of Washington DC to find out more about African History and architecture. DC has absolutely horrendous crime rate statistics with rapes and aggravated assaults happening on a daily basis. For the people of the city to know of a black man who creates art which doesn’t glorify negativity would be a positive change for for the people of the city.

Smithsonian construction

 

Smithsonian cross section

Banking stress tests

What is a stress test in banking

A stress test in the land of finance is an analysis or simulation designed to determine the ability a financial instrument has to deal with an economic crisis. Usually projections are based on the best case scenarios. We’ve all seen Dragons Den for example, where the pitcher is asked about yearly projections, Yr1,2,3. These estimates are based on hitting targets, growing workforce & consistent economy etc. In the lucrative world of banking the following is usually considered in a stress test;

Continue reading Banking stress tests

Why black lives don’t matter to most people

There has been a lot of talk about the Black Lives Matter movement  since extra light has been shed on the unjust killings of black men by white policemen in America. The movement started with campaigning against violence towards black people after the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter became popular on social media when George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin, a black teen, in 2013.

Continue reading Why black lives don’t matter to most people