Posts by David Kerley, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps

  • It’s about time! The clock that keeps the entire U.S. ticking

    David Kerley, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 6 mths ago

    Power Players

    You may be looking forward to catching an extra hour of shut-eye this Sunday as most of the country prepares to roll their clocks back an hour for Daylight Saving Time, but have you ever wondered where time actually comes from?

    In this episode of “Power Players,” we ventured to the U.S. Naval Observatory in search of answers.

    Situated atop a hill overlooking much of Washington, D.C., the observatory is perhaps best known as the home of the vice president’s mansion, but it is also home to the nation’s master clock.

    Every time you turn on your cell phone or plug an address into your car’s GPS, you are actually communicating with the Naval Observatory.

    “Everything is tied in to the master clock here,” Naval Observatory’s Public Affairs Officer Geoff Chester explained during a recent tour. “So, if you use anything that remotely touches GPS as a timing source, then you are essentially getting your time from us.”

    Chester explained how the job of keeping the nation on time is a whole lot more complicated than counting up from “one-Mississippi.”

    The 9,192,631,770 atomic intervals that measure a second is the basic building block of time as it is measured today.

  • Drone brain: Inside the psychological costs of pulling the trigger in drone warfare

    David Kerley, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 11 mths ago

    Power Players

    A new military thriller puts its audience in the shoes of the U.S. military personnel who face complex ethical and psychological struggles in waging the country’s drone war.

    “The idea is: Where are we going with drone warfare and what is the cost - not only the cost of collateral damage, but how about the psychological costs to the people who are flying the drones?” Rick Rosenthal, the director of “Drones,” told “Power Players.”

    “Drones” follows the story of two fictional airmen operating a drone from a base in the United States as they close in on a high-level terrorist target in the Middle East. But when the order comes to pull the trigger, one of the airmen resists executing the mission with the understanding that the strike will also come at the cost of killing innocent civilian bystanders.

    “I think that combat's really changed and suddenly we're at a point where we can conduct warfare without risk,” Rosenthal said. “And that's a very, sort of, controversial concept - because if there's no risk, what keeps us from making some very foolish mistakes, because the consequences don't appear to be immediate.”

  • The ultimate honeymoon: Space entrepreneur hopes to send a married couple on a mission to Mars

    David Kerley, Richard Coolidge and Jordyn Phelps at Power Players 1 yr ago

    Power Players

    If you’re over 50 years old, would enjoy a 500-day-long journey to a faraway land, and have a spouse who shares your sense of adventure, then billionaire space entrepreneur Dennis Tito has a mission for you – that is, if you don’t also mind risking your life and being exposed to high levels of radiation.

    Tito’s Inspiration Mars Foundation is working on a goal to launch two astronauts on a flyby mission to Mars as early as 2018.

    Here on Earth, the Chief Technology Officer for Inspiration Mars, Taber MacCallum, sat down with “Power Players” to outline why he believes the ambitious undertaking is important for the United States.

    “When you talk about the science of how you support people for 500 days, people get really interested and inspired to go into the sciences, to go into technology fields, and that's what America needs,” MacCallum said. “We are not going to be competitive as a nation in a global economy unless we are the best scientists and the best technicians on the planet.”

    There are several reasons, MacCallum explained, that a couple in the 50-plus age group is ideally suited for the mission.