Your Soul Food for Friday February 26, 2021: We are All in the Same Storm, but Not in the Same Boat- The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Happy Soul Food Friday!

This week:
We are All in the Same Storm, but Not in the Same Boat

The Good:
Let’s Do Science on Mars with Charles B
Stories for Change- Fostering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Claudette Colvin: The woman who refused to give up her bus seat – nine months before Rosa Parks
The Women (Leaders) Are Coming (Here)!

The Bad:
A Proclamation on Remembering the 500,000 Americans Lost to COVID-19
Trying to Honor the Loss
Interactive Map Tracks COVID-19 total cases hardest hit areas in San Diego County

The Ugly:
COVID-19 is affecting Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other People of Color the Most
The Scars of Solitary

Getting Real-

A Proclamation on Remembering the 500,000 Americans Lost to COVID-19

As of this week during the dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 Americans have now died from the virus. That is more Americans who have died in a single year of this pandemic than in World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War combined. On this solemn occasion, we reflect on their loss and on their loved ones left behind. We, as a Nation, must remember them so we can begin to heal, to unite, and find purpose as one Nation to defeat this pandemic.

In their memory, the First Lady and I will be joined by the Vice President and the Second Gentleman for a moment of silence at the White House this evening. I ask all Americans to join us as we remember the more than 500,000 of our fellow Americans lost to COVID-19 and to observe a moment of silence at sunset. I also hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset February 26, 2021. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-second day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.      -JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Remembering 500,000 And Trying to Honor the Loss:
More than 500,000 Americans dead from Covid. More than 500,000 lives cut short by a pandemic the rest of us will never forget.
Journalists are stretching for words and illustrations and imagery to meet the magnitude of the moment.
Why CNN aired a national memorial service for 500,000 lives lost from Covid-19 – CNN

COVID-19 is affecting Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other People of Color the Most:
Nationwide, Black people have died at 1.4 times the rate of white people
The COVID Racial Data Tracker is a collaboration between the Covid Tracking Project and the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research
The COVID Racial Data Tracker | The COVID Tracking Project

Interactive Map Tracks COVID-19 total cases, hardest hit areas in San Diego County:
Vaccine Inequity holds true locally as well as nationally
HEAT MAP: Interactive map tracks COVID-19 total cases, hardest hit areas in San Diego County (

Stories for Change-
Fostering Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
Stories for Change (

Claudette Colvin: the woman who refused to give up her bus seat – nine months before Rosa Parks:
It was 2 March 1955, and an unusually humid spring day when students at Booker T Washington high school, a segregated school in the heart of the Jim Crow south, had been let off early to make their way home. A group boarded a segregated public bus, which wound through segregated neighborhoods gradually filling up with passengers.
A 15-year-old gifted Black student, with aspirations to become a civil rights attorney, took a window seat near the exit door. She gazed outdoors until the white driver instructed her to give up her seat for a white passenger standing nearby. Claudette Colvin refused…
Claudette Colvin: the woman who refused to give up her bus seat – nine months before Rosa Parks | Society | The Guardian

Feeling Sequestered and Quarantined? Try 44 Years in a Concrete Cell-
The Scars of Solitary:
Woodfox was a member of the Angola 3, a group of men wrongfully accused of murder. Now he marks his 5th anniversary of his freedom.
Five years on from his release, he might chuckle a little to himself at the irony of today. This may be his birthday and the anniversary of his freedom, but he will spend the day in physical isolation along with most Americans who, courtesy of Covid, have spent the past year getting a tiny taste of what life in solitary really means…
The scars of solitary: Albert Woodfox on freedom after 44 years in a concrete cell | World news | The Guardian

Meanwhile, On a Positive Note and Tribute to Innovation & Teamwork-
Let’s Do Science on Mars with Charles B.!

Author’s note: I started the Qualcomm robotics program.  Our goal was to use a cell phone chip for flight control in a commercial drone.
JPL saw our drone demonstration at a CES trade show and asked if they could use our board for a helicopter on Mars.  I thought it was a crank call – until they sent a link to a video of a test rotor lifting a weight in their vacuum chamber. A few years, and a bunch of testing later, that board is now on Mars.
Neville asked me to share my thoughts on the landing

Let’s Do Science on Mars:
Humans want to go to Mars and do incredible science, looking for signs of past life.  So, we find a way to pack a lab full of scientific equipment into a one-ton rover.
The trip to Mars is 480 million kilometers, and we only have enough fuel for small course corrections, so we find a way to measure the exact position of Mars for a precise launch.
When we get to Mars, we are going twenty thousand kilometers per hour as we enter the atmosphere, and need to slow down while still guiding the vehicle, so we build a heat shield that can survive the intense temperatures of atmospheric braking while providing directional lift by changing its angle to the atmosphere, allowing us to control our entry path.
Atmospheric braking will not slow us down enough, so we invent a parachute that can deploy at supersonic speeds in the Martian atmosphere.
Communication from Earth to Mars takes 12 minutes, so the vehicle is on its own to find a place to land.  We want to land near an ancient lake, but it has multiple treacherous obstacles, so we design a new guidance system that performs a “divert maneuver”, comparing camera images to preloaded maps and autonomously selecting a good place to land.
We can’t afford the weight of landing gear and ramps, so invent a “jetpack” that hovers over the surface and lowers the rover gently to the ground via cables in a “skycrane maneuver”.
We have a little unused space, so create a small, four-pound helicopter that can fly autonomously on Mars.  It will spin its twin 1.2m blades at 2400 rpm to provide lift in a Martian atmosphere that is only 0.6% the density of that on Earth.  It will be the first heavier-than-air flight on another planet, a “Kitty Hawk” moment.  We need the lightest computer possible, so take a cell phone chip used in Earthbound drones and find a way to make it survive the trip and work on Mars.    The helicopter is a marvel of engineering.   We call the helicopter Ingenuity.
The rover, a product of the human desire for exploration and scientific knowledge, is a testament to our ability to overcome problems when we work together.   We call the rover Perseverance. 

For more information about Perseverance and Ingenuity, please see:
To see landing video from Perseverance which is time-aligned with NASA commentary see link
For an article about the Qualcomm chip controlling Ingenuity, see link

The Women Are Coming!
A great vid showing us all the amazing women leaders around the world
The Women Are Coming – YouTube

Thanks this week go to Charles B, ABC 10 News, Larry H, Ron M & Ken D.

Please pay it forward this week

“Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it” – Rumi

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