Connect with us


Paralympian John McFall joins ESA as first astronaut with a disability




The European Space Agency (ESA) has selected a person with a physical disability to be included in its next generation of astronauts for the first time, in what it hopes is the initial step toward sending a “parastronaut” to space.

John McFall, a 41-year-old British paralympic sprinter who now works as a doctor, is one of 17 candidates chosen from 22,500 applicants to join the space agency’s 2022 astronaut class. The successful candidates will now complete one year of basic training in space technology, science and medicine at the European Astronaut Center in Cologne, Germany, before entering the next Space Station training phase where they will be taught how to operate station elements and transport vehicles.

McFall will take part in the ESA’s “Parastronaut Feasibility Project,” which the agency said in a statement was intended to “develop options for the inclusion of astronauts with physical disabilities in human spaceflight and possible future missions.” While it can’t at this stage guarantee that McFall will be sent into space, the agency has said it will “commit to trying as hard and seriously as we can” to make it happen.

In addition to his medical training, McFall, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident at 19, is a former sprinter who represented the U.K. in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games — where he won bronze.

European space officials have been using the term “parastronauts” to refer to people who are psychologically, cognitively, technically and professionally qualified to be an astronaut, but have a physical disability that would normally prevent them from being selected due to the requirements imposed by the use of current space hardware.”

Through technical studies, space simulations, analogue missions and conversations with the agency’s international space partners, the ESA hopes McFall’s participation in the program will allow the agency to determine what is required to send a person with a physical disability into space.

“As an amputee, I never thought that being an astronaut was a possibility,” McFall said in an interview posted to the ESA’s website.

“I’m extremely excited about using the skills that I have for problem solving, identifying issues and overcoming obstacles that allow people with a physical disability to perform the job equally to their able-bodied counterparts,” he said.

McFall also said he wanted to find the answers to the practical questions posed by sending a person with a physical disability into space: “What actually happens to someone with a lower limb amputation in micro gravity? What happens to their residual limb?”

McFall will join five career astronauts and 11 reserve astronauts. It’s the first time the ESA has recruited a new class of space explorers to join its ranks since 2009.

In an earlier statement encouraging candidates with disabilities to apply for the program, the ESA said “the expectations of society towards diversity and inclusivity have changed,” and that “including people with special needs also means benefiting from their extraordinary experience, ability to adapt to difficult environments, and point of view.”

“Science is for everyone, and space travel, hopefully, can be for everyone,” McFall said.

In an interview with the Associated Press, NASA spokesperson Dan Huot said the U.S. spaceflight agency was following the selection process taking place across the Atlantic with “great interest,” but he noted that “NASA’s selection criteria currently remains the same.”

“For maximum crew safety, NASA’s current requirements call for each crew member to be free of medical conditions that could either impair the person’s ability to participate in, or be aggravated by, spaceflight, as determined by NASA physicians,” Huot told AP.

The list of 17 candidates selected by the ESA this year also includes two women, Sophie Adenot from France and the U.K.’s Rosemary Coogan — who will be bolstering another underrepresented group in space. Earlier this year, the agency announced Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti would become the first European female astronaut to serve as the commander of the International Space Station, 15 years after NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson became the station’s first female commander in its history.

At their two-day council, the ESA also announced its 22-members had committed to increasing the agency’s budget by 17 percent, which its director general tweeted was equivalent to 16.9 billion euros ($17.6 billion) over the next three years. The agency said it plans to focus the next stage of its space exploration on low Earth orbit, the moon and Mars.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


‘Absolutely Shocking’: Fox News Contributor Reacts To ‘Coordinated Effort’ By Former Twitter Execs



A Fox News contributor called the released Twitter documents revealing the social media site’s censorship of a report on Hunter Biden’s laptop “absolutely shocking” Friday.

“It’s absolutely stunning. It’s absolutely shocking to – with what has come out so far with Matt Taibbi’s tweets showing just how much – just what a concerted effort it was behind the scenes in order to help one party over another party,” Charlie Hurt, the opinion editor at the Washington Times, told host Jesse Watters. “And it underscores the extraordinary danger of the kind of power that these people have and they have no reservation whatsoever about using it.” (RELATED: Elon Musk Says Releasing Internal Discussions On Hunter Biden Laptop Story Is ‘Necessary To Restore Public Trust’)


Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi released details about the censorship of an Oct. 14, 2020 report on a laptop Hunter Biden left at a repair store Friday on his Twitter account. The laptop reportedly contained numerous emails and documents detailing the elder Biden’s involvement with his son’s business partners.

Social media companies censored the New York Post’s reports on the laptop, claiming the materials were hacked. The laptop was later confirmed as authentic by the Washington Post and New York Times.

“Let’s step back what we saw with the censoring of that ‘New York Post’ story was an effort by Twitter, companies to trick voters into voting for Joe Biden by suppressing this story,” Hurt said. “And it is absolutely shocking and they literally put this sequestered this story as if it were child pornography. That’s the way they treat it. That’s how desperately they wanted to help Joe Biden get elected.”

Twitter and President Joe Biden did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact

Source link

Continue Reading


Looks like sex tech startup Lora DiCarlo is done for • TechCrunch



Lora DiCarlo, a sex tech startup that made headlines in 2019 after being blacklisted from the Consumer Electronics Show, seems to have shut down. The company’s website is offline and reportedly orders have gone unfulfilled for months.

TechCrunch has reached out to the eponymous founder for confirmation, but it sure looks like the end of the line for a briefly promising high-tech sex toy enterprise.

Founded in 2017, Lora DiCarlo was one of a new wave of tech-forward sexual health companies headed up by women. It won an innovation award at CES 2019 for, as our writer put it at the time, “a hands-free device that uses biomimicry and robotics to help women achieve a blended orgasm by simultaneously stimulating the G-spot and the clitoris.”

But then the Consumer Technology Association, which runs CES, withdrew the award and banned the company from exhibiting at the show. Their explanation at the time was that neither the company nor its devices “fit a product category.”

Predictably, this attracted immediate blowback and allegations of sexism, prudery and generally bad judgment. Everyone was on Lora DiCarlo’s side, and the publicity was invaluable, she later told TechCrunch at Disrupt: “I think they actually did us a pretty big favor.” The company raised $2 million around that time, and about $9 million total over its five years of operation.

But despite a big return to the show in 2020 (and a coveted TC+ feature, of course), the company seems to have faltered during the pandemic — perhaps falling victim to the same chip shortages and manufacturing problems even established hardware makers encountered.

As chronicled by Women’s Health, the last few months seem to have been Lora DiCarlo’s last, as various aspects of a functioning commercial enterprise began to fail: orders weren’t going out, stock was gone at retail partners and personnel have left. The site went down earlier this month and is down still. Although there has not been any official announcement, it certainly does seem that the company is kaput.

It’s too bad, but finding success as a hardware startup is hard enough without a pandemic and the stigma on sex toys adding drag. We’ll update this article if we hear back from DiCarlo.

Source link

Continue Reading


Did Pokemon Scarlet and Violet’s 1.1 patch fix anything?



On Dec. 1, Nintendo and developer Game Freak released their first “Pokémon Scarlet” and “Pokémon Violet” patch since the day one patch. The latest patch promised “other select bug fixes,” according to the official notes released on their site. Players hoped this would address the game’s many meme-worthy bugs.

Currently, though, players can’t agree on whether the patch has done anything to make the game look better. And neither can we. Take a look below and decide for yourself.

Nintendo’s vagueness in their patch notes has caused a deluge of varying reports from players over whether performance — the frame rate, pop-ins, unloaded textures and more — has actually improved. While some claim that open-world areas of the game, notably the earlier areas, have better frame rates, others say it’s a placebo effect, pointing to bad performance in the later areas players encounter.

Nintendo acknowledged a request from The Washington Post for clarification on what the patch had fixed, but didn’t provide more detail in time for publication. We will update this story with their response.

Regardless of what exactly about the game has been fixed, players are having fun trying to sort it out.

It’s unclear what’s causing these issues from a technical perspective. A popular theory, supported by reputable dataminers and speedrunners of the games like Eddaket, is that the game has a memory leak. In short: It’s possible the Nintendo Switch’s memory doesn’t get cleared properly when players enter any city in-game. This means that the city assets never truly get unloaded, so as players continue to play the game, there’s less and less available RAM on the Switch to load new assets. That would certainly explain the lower frame rates and pop-up issues, particularly in later cities the player comes across that don’t have the assets loaded yet.

For now, and without Nintendo’s input, players can’t know for sure if a memory leak is truly the culprit. And unfortunately, they also can’t tell what — if anything — the latest patch actually fixes.

Source link

Continue Reading