Ben Bova: Can’t win for losin’ in this cockeyed world
Published 07/10/2010 at 5:08 p.m.
As the old saying goes, some days you can’t win for losin’. Here are a few examples.
Ben Bova: Candidate’s campaign distorts stem-cell research aims
Published 07/03/2010 at 5:12 p.m.
Every Fourth of July I think of the words spoken by the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, in his first inaugural address: “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can ...
Ben Bova: Humans will have to adapt to the reality of global warming
Published 06/26/2010 at 5:10 p.m.
As anyone who spent the winter shoveling snow off the driveway can tell you, global warming doesn’t mean that every day of the year will be warmer than it was last year, all over the world.
Ben Bova: Science-fiction conventions are nothing to laugh at
Published 06/19/2010 at 5:13 p.m.
I’ve gone to several science-fiction conventions recently. They’re fun.
Ben Bova: Life created in the lab changes
Published 06/12/2010 at 5:09 p.m.
It’s happened. Scientists have created life in the laboratory.
Ben Bova: What Jefferson, Lincoln knew about words we all should know
Published 05/15/2010 at 5:09 p.m.
Words are my business, so maybe I’m a little more sensitive than some people are about how words are used — and misused. For example: Newspapers recently reported on a tough new immigration law that the state of Arizona passed. ...
Ben Bova: National Science Board caves on evolution, big bang questions
Published 05/08/2010 at 5:13 p.m.
True or false? Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. True or false? The universe began with a huge explosion.
Ben Bova: Scientific research makes our lives longer, better, richer
Published 05/01/2010 at 5:07 p.m.
About 25 years ago, on a university campus in New England, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion about science and the arts. As a science-fiction writer, I have a foot in both camps: I have to be ...
Ben Bova: In the news ... global warming, stock market and Earth Day
Published 04/17/2010 at 5:07 p.m.
Some items from the news as I fly to a science fiction convention in Minneapolis.
Ben Bova: Nuclear fusion promises unlimited power for the future
Published 04/10/2010 at 5:18 p.m.
Prometheus will return. Roughly 500,000 years ago our forebears learned to use fire. That transformed humankind completely. We wouldn’t recognize those distant ancestors as human. Anthropologists call them Homo erectus. Although their bodies were much like our own, their heads ...
Ben Bova: The life of architecture ... from the Parthenon to Las Vegas' strip
Published 04/03/2010 at 5:09 p.m.
I’ve just finished reading a fascinating book. It’s “The Secret Lives of Buildings” by Edward Hollis (Metropolitan Books; 352 pages; $28). Hollis is an architect and designer who teaches at the Edinburgh College of Art. As a practicing architect he ...
Ben Bova: How to run a school system without fear of failure
Published 03/27/2010 at 5:11 p.m.
Imagine you are running a multimillion-dollar business. You have a near-monopoly on the services your provide and you can set virtually any price you like for those services, because your customers have to use what you’re selling. Even if they ...
Ben Bova: What we need now are plain, honest members of Congress
Published 03/20/2010 at 5:09 p.m.
I get a lot of e-mail. I don’t Twitter or blog, but I receive plenty of messages on my Web site from friends, family, readers, even complete strangers.
Ben Bova: Baseball? Steroids the tip of the iceberg
Published 03/13/2010 at 8:42 p.m.
Baseball’s spring-training season is in full swing, and so are worries that some athletes might be using steroids and/or other illegal means to enhance their playing abilities. Alas, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Ben Bova: Anti-missile lasers give defensive weapons the upper hand
Published 02/27/2010 at 7:22 p.m.
Since September 1944, the ballistic missile has been considered to be the “the ultimate weapon.” Starting with the V-2 rockets that Hitler’s Germany fired at London and Antwerp, ballistic missiles have been unstoppable.
Ben Bova: With private-sector push, space tourism will come
Published 02/20/2010 at 6:24 p.m.
When will ordinary people be able to buy a ticket to fly into space? Private companies have been launching communications satellites and other payloads into orbit for more than 30 years. It’s a billion-dollar business, worldwide.
Ben Bova: To the moon and beyond
Published 02/13/2010 at 7:28 p.m.
So we’re not going back to the moon. Not yet. Two weeks ago President Barack Obama cut the Constellation program, the program aimed at returning humans to the moon, out of NASA’s budget.
Ben Bova: ‘Avatar’ exciting, even if film’s plot isn’t entirely novel
Published 02/06/2010 at 6:13 p.m.
“Avatar” is the first Hollywood smash hit of the new decade, and deservedly so. I enjoyed the film, even though some of its key concepts are eerily similar to a novel of mine, “The Winds of Altair,” originally published in ...
Ben Bova: Global warming on earth; politics in space
Published 01/30/2010 at 5:05 p.m.
I suppose it’s only to be expected that my column about global warming, published two weeks ago, would appear on the coldest day Southwest Florida has ever seen.
Ben Bova: A ‘theory’ isn’t a guess, and Darwin’s has proven correct
Published 01/23/2010 at 5:02 p.m.
It happened again. A reader sent me an e-mail message in which she complained that evolution “is being taught to my grandchildren as fact, and not as the theory it is.” Whoa!
Ben Bova: From I-75 to the Cubs, the lead is to wasted tax dollars
Published 01/16/2010 at 6:57 p.m.
Our tax dollars at work. Shakespeare’s sonnet number 106 opens, “When in the chronicles of wasted time … .” I look around the region and mutter to myself, “When in the chronicles of wasted money … .”
Ben Bova: Are we doomed to dither and deny as Earth grows warmer?
Published 01/09/2010 at 5:05 p.m.
As the Copenhagen conference on global warming ends inconclusively, I am reminded strongly of the world’s reaction in the 1930s to the rise of Nazi Germany.
Editorial: Science ... closing in on other Earths ‘out there’ in our universe
Published 12/23/2009 at 7:48 p.m.
Astronomers are one step closer to discovering another Earth, a planet that is roughly the same size and at enough distance from its star that it is in theory habitable. It is not far-fetched to say that this will very ...
Ben Bova: Is Santa a Democrat or Republican?
Published 12/19/2009 at 5:03 p.m.
Is Santa Claus a Democrat or a Republican? This may seem like a trivial question, especially since Santa, who allegedly resides at the North Pole, is probably not a citizen of the United States.
Ben Bova: Political correctness has cost us Kipling’s greatness
Published 12/12/2009 at 5:03 p.m.
Over dinner with friends a few nights ago, I mentioned that Rudyard Kipling is a sadly undervalued author in these days of political correctness.
Ben Bova: On anniversary of Pearl Harbor ...
Published 12/05/2009 at 5:05 p.m.
Let’s remember Pearl Harbor. Monday marks the 68th anniversary of the Japanese attack that plunged a woefully unready United States into World War II.
Ben Bova: Intelligent life may be hard to find out there
Published 11/28/2009 at 5:07 p.m.
If we ever find extraterrestrial life, what will it look like? I think the answer is pretty simple: bacteria. After all, bacteria have inhabited our own world for most of its 4.5 billion year history. It’s only in the past ...
Ben Bova: No matter the burdens, it is a season of thanksgiving
Published 11/21/2009 at 5:08 p.m.
With the coming of Thanksgiving, it’s time to look around, take stock and think of what we have to thankful for. This has been a tough year, for the nation, for the world and for me personally. The economic slump ...
Ben Bova: Things are looking up for ground-based telescopes
Published 11/14/2009 at 5:05 p.m.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who will make the biggest mirror of them all? When I was a teenager with a keen interest in astronomy, the Hale Telescope at the Palomar Observatory in California began to give astronomers marvelous new ...
Ben Bova: The 'cannonization' of launches to space
Published 11/07/2009 at 5:05 p.m.
In his 1865 novel “From the Earth to the Moon,” Jules Verne sent his explorers to the moon by firing them from a gigantic cannon from the west coast of Florida.
Ben Bova: Global warming likely to resume — with a vengeance
Published 10/31/2009 at 5:08 p.m. 5 Comments
There’s an old story about a man who fell off the roof of a New York City skyscraper. As he plunged past the 32nd floor he said to himself, “So far, so good!” That’s the way many of those who ...
Ben Bova: No writer is an island, either
Published 10/24/2009 at 5:04 p.m.
“No man is an island, entire of itself,” wrote John Donne, more than 400 years ago. As I look back on my own career as a writer, that truth shines like the sun. No man is an island. No writer ...
Ben Bova: The importance of water; a personal thank-you for condolences
Published 10/17/2009 at 5:07 p.m.
Water, water everywhere. Space probes have found water on the supposedly arid moon and on frozen Mars as well. And where there’s water, there could be life.
Ben Bova: Space, finally, becoming free-enterprise frontier
Published 10/10/2009 at 5:03 p.m.
Last Sunday marked the 52nd anniversary of the first artificial satellite. Russia’s Sputnik I surprised the world and opened the Space Age.
Ben Bova: Moving around
Published 09/05/2009 at 5 p.m.
Most of the vehicles we use for transportation carry their engines along with them. Automobiles, airplanes, ships, trucks, trains, even rockets all are powered by engines built into their bodies.
Ben Bova: One good line can make a movie
Published 08/22/2009 at 5:01 p.m.
Maybe it’s because I worked as an usher in a movie theater when I was a teenager, but I just love old movies. And probably because I’m a writer, I enjoy some of the great lines from those films.
Ben Bova: Tanner's Afghanistan is interesting, informative
Published 08/15/2009 at 5:01 p.m.
There seems to be no end in sight to the fighting in Afghanistan. After all, the Afghans have been battling foreign invaders – and each other — for three millennia and more.
Ben Bova: Wasted opportunity in space
Published 08/08/2009 at 5:03 p.m.
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our first landing on the moon. Forty years. We put a dozen astronauts on the moon between 1969 and 1972. And then we stopped. Washington killed the Apollo program. ...
Ben Bova: Palin, Specter make case for term limits
Published 07/25/2009 at 5:01 p.m.
Sarah Palin’s sudden decision to resign her governorship of Alaska just plain ticks me off. And she’s not the only politician who’s irked me. The people of Alaska elected her governor for a four-year term, but she suddenly decided to ...
Ben Bova: Scientific knowledge the cornerstone to the future
Published 07/18/2009 at 5 p.m.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed in six impossible things before breakfast,” says the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. We all tend to fantasize now and then and to hope that something which is impossible might just somehow become ...
Ben Bova: The end of the world is nigh, once again
Published 07/11/2009 at 5:02 p.m.
They’re predicting the end of the world again. This time the world is supposed to come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012. That’s less than two and a half years from now! Some people think the Earth will be ...
Ben Bova: Baseball ain’t what it used to be, but ...
Published 07/04/2009 at 5:02 p.m.
The Fourth of July weekend typically marks the midpoint of the major league baseball races. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. Baseball was my favorite sport when I was a youngster. It was a game where size didn’t ...
Ben Bova: On Earth, the search for life’s origins
Published 06/27/2009 at 5:01 p.m.
Last week we talked about astronomers’ search for Earth-like planets among the stars. This week we’ll stay right here at home and look at research that has produced the first step in creating life out of non-living chemicals. The quest ...
Ben Bova: Are there other Earths? The search goes on
Published 06/21/2009 at 9:06 a.m.
In all the wide and starry universe, are there other worlds like our own? Can we ever hope to find new Earths? Or is our world somehow unique?
Ben Bova: Maybe leaders should read more science fiction
Published 06/06/2009 at 5:02 p.m.
As I wrote in this space a few weeks ago, I get a fair amount of criticism but I seldom read it. However, my lynx-eyed wife does. And when she spots a letter to the editor about one of my ...
Ben Bova: Astrophysics and the economy
Published 05/30/2009 at 5:01 p.m.
Thomas Sowell’s new book, “The Housing Boom and Bust” (Basic Books, 184 pp., $24.95) is about the economics and politics of today’s disastrous downturn of the American (and global) economy. But first, a little astrophysics, because the way that stars ...
Ben Bova: Today's view of electricity
Published 05/23/2009 at 5 p.m.
In California, in Texas, even here in Southwest Florida, governments and private businesses are turning toward solar energy to produce more electricity for their communities cleanly and reliably.
Ben Bova: Farewell, Pontiac; arrogance doomed you
Published 05/16/2009 at 5 p.m.
General Motors has announced that it will drop the Pontiac division from its line of products. This is part of GM’s floundering effort to save itself from bankruptcy or outright collapse. The first automobile I ever owned was a Pontiac.
Ben Bova: Crazy? Maybe, but ideas are worth trying
Published 05/09/2009 at 10:55 a.m.
Time for some crazy ideas. To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when all the rational ideas have failed to solve the problem, the only thing left is the crazy idea. It might just work!
Ben Bova: Politicians don’t think like you and I
Published 05/02/2009 at 1:34 p.m.
Why can’t Washington solve the problems that beset us? Why can’t the White House and Congress make real inroads on energy, education and the environment — or, for that matter, on the wars we’re supposed to be fighting against terrorism ...