The Future And You (general)
Ideas and opinion about the future based on verifiable facts of today.
This week's episode will be two or three days late (due to tech problems). Sorry for the inconvenience.

This week's episode will be two or three days late (due to tech problems). Sorry for the inconvenience.

Category:general -- posted at: 5:58am EDT

There will not be an episode this week. My father passed away on Sunday (March 27, 2011). Next week I will resume the normal schedule. Thank you for your patience.

Category:general -- posted at: 11:47pm EDT

Les Johnson (NASA physicist and manager) and Dr. Gregory L. Matloff (professor of astronomy) are today's featured guests.

Topic: Paradise Regained: the Regreening of Earth. Why the ultimate goals of environmentalism can only be achieved when we stop using the earth to supply our civilization's ever-growing need for resources, and instead tap into the far more abundant natural resources which surround the earth--in space. (First of two parts.

Hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb, this is the September 22, 2010 episode of The Future And You. [Running time: 30 minutes] This was recorded in front of a live audience on July 10, 2010 at LibertyCon in Chattanooga.

Les Johnson is Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In his spare time he writes popular science books and articles. He was the technical consultant for the movie Lost in Space.

Dr. Gregory L. Matloff is assistant professor of physics at New York City College of Technology. He has consulted for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, is a Fellow of the British interplanetary Society, is a Hayden Associate at the American Museum of Natural History, and is a Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics. His pioneering research in solar-sail technology has been utilized by NASA in plans for extra-solar probes and in consideration of technologies to divert Earth-threatening asteroids. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 research papers and eight books, which have been cited about 400 times. One of his books, The Starflight Handbook (Wiley, 1989), was co-authored with MIT science-writer Dr. Eugene Mallove and helped establish interstellar-propulsion studies as a sub-division of applied physics.

In addition to being scientists, public speakers, and friends, Les and Greg have collaborated on a number of popular books. They joined forces with C Bangs for Living Off the Land in Space (2007), as well as for their latest book Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth (2009). With Giovanni Vulpetti they wrote Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (2008).

Direct download: TFAY_2010_9_22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This weeks episode will be postponed due to the host's surgery

Your host's surgery went well. It was performed about 10:00 AM on Monday, March 29, 2010 on an outpatient basis. The only complication showed-up ten hours later when he tried to urinate and could not. His surgeon was on call and said he needed to have a urethral catheter inserted. Unfortunately because of the time of day this had to be done at the hospital's emergency room and so was not completed until well after after 3:00 AM. He is steadily getting stronger each day, but is still on pain medications which reduce his cognitive function and thus his ability to produce the show. Thank you for your patience.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

This week's episode will be postponed until next week.


This week's episode will be postponed until next week. 

I'm very sick and weak and dehydrated. I can't think straight and ordinary tasks are way too complicated. I think I have the flu. I spent 12 hrs yesterday with constant diarrhea and six episodes of vomiting. Yesterday morning (Monday) I weighed 190.2 but this morning (Tuesday) I weighed 184.6 (which means I lost 5.6 lbs). I'm holding my fluids now so I should be back to normal by next week. Thank you all for your patience. -- Stephen Euin Cobb


Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

I've switched from using the prescription pain medicines to using a maximum dose of Tylenol.  I still have to use my left hand for everything but the throbbing pain is gone and only the temporary pains of moving my arm in the numerous wong directions remain. Also I'm getting back more and more range of motion in my shoulder.  The therapist says I'm progressing very well.  On the other hand, it's still a little embarrassing that my sister Peggy had to change my flat tire today while I just stood around and watched with my arm in the sling.  As to the show: I'm eager to get back to producing it.  Maybe I will be well enough to do a show next week, maybe.  We'll see.  I appreciate everyone's patience.


Category:general -- posted at: 11:49pm EDT

My recovery and my therapy are still proceeding well.

I will have to wear the sling and sleep in an easy chair until I see the doctor on December 8. He might let me stop wearing the sling. Although, to be honest, the sling is still very helpful right now.

I've been using my left hand for everything including operating my computer mouse. But last Saturday I made the mistake of controlling the mouse with my right hand. After a couple hours of that my arm was killing me so bad I had to go back to a full dose of pain medicine. The pain didn't returned to normal until Sunday evening.

I haven't figured out how to shave left-handed, so I'm growing a full beard. I might keep it after my right arm gets better. I'm not sure yet.


Category:general -- posted at: 8:14pm EDT

My recovery from surgery (14 days ago on October 29, 2008) is coming along well. My doctor and physical therapist are both pleased with my progress. Though I still take it every six hours, I've reduced my pain medicine to its minimum dose, and I can mostly take care of myself at my own house.

Thank you for the many wonderful messages wishing me a speedy recovery. It's always great to hear that there are people who don't like it when I'm hurting. This little post is to give you a clearer sense of how things are progressing.

I spent the first week after the operation living with relatives. And even though I'm living in my own house again, they still have to come get me to take me to my physical therapy twice a week since it's against the law to drive while taking my prescription pain medicine.

My surgery was an arthroscopic procedure to repair a 'full-thickness tear of the rotator cuff.' I've learned that this is a very common injury. My surgeon does two or three of these surgical repairs every week. The rotator cuff is a sheet of tendon like material that covers the shoulder joint like a hood. But its not there to just to cover it. The cuff is structural. The portion of the rotator cuff in my arm that was torn was the part that curves over the top of the shoulder and attaches the upper end of the muscle which raises my arm, to the bones of my shoulder.

The surgical procedure involves placing two anchors in the bone, then using sutures to draw the rotator back into contact with the bone and roughing up the mating surfaces enough that they bleed and so can begin to heal back together. Later, the anchors will be absorbed into the body.

With stitches inside my shoulder, the things I'm not allowed to do mostly center around not raising my right arm. It's not enough to not raise it often. I have to not raise it ever. I have to protect my arm from moving in any direction that will tear the stitches holding the rotator together. To aid in this they gave me a sling to keep my arm in for a month or two. It's very lightweight, surprisingly comfortable, closes with Velcro and is completely black. And since there might be a danger of rolling onto my arm while sleeping, I'm not allowed to sleep in a bed. I'm required to sleep in an easy chair.

I am extremely right handed, so normally my left hand doesn't know how to do anything. But I'm learning how to eat and brush my teeth and even use a computer mouse with my left hand. I've also learned that by pushing my keyboard back a foot or more from the edge of my desk, and then resting the entire weight of my right arm on the desk, I can type. But I can't lift my right arm from the desk since that is very painful and might tear the stitches. Instead, I have to lift the entire weight of my right arm with my left arm.

Another learning experience involved voting. I'm an American, and the U.S. General Election was just six days after my operation. So I sat in the passenger seat of the car wearing my hospital robe and with my arm in a sling and my head full of medicine while my 72 year old mother walked inside and brought two pole workers out to me with a computer tablet style voting machine. I may have spent less time at the poles than anyone in America that day. We were there ten minutes.

I still don't know how many weeks my show will be on hiatus. One more week, maybe two, we'll see. In the meantime, I will try to keep you up to date as to my condition. One last note: December will be the show's three year anniversary. I'll see if I can't come up with something special. Bye for now.


Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

The surgery on my right shoulder went very well. It was performed seven days ago on October 29, 2008. I am now in physical therapy and on medicines for the pain.

Unfortunately, thanks to the pain of moving my right arm combined with the mental sluggishness I'm getting from the pain medicines, my hope of doing an episode of The Future And You this week is out of the question. Even simple tasks like eating, showering and typing this tiny message all involve huge effort, moderate pain and vast amounts of concentration and cleverness since even the most basic bodily movements have to be reinvented from the bottom up.

I don't know how many weeks of recovery I will need before I can start producing episodes again. Maybe this will be the only week I miss, or maybe it will take two or three. One thing is for sure: I don't like sitting on the sidelines. The future is coming faster every day and I want to be in the thick of it.

I'll be back soon. In the meantime I'll keep you updated each Wednesday.

Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am EDT