July 6th, 2010
08:26 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

Charles Bolden

Recent comments made by the NASA administrator have become fodder for conservative bloggers and left some space buffs wondering just what really is NASA's mission.

"When I became the NASA administrator, [President Obama] charged me with three things," Bolden said in an interview with Al-Jazeera. "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."

The website NASA Watch reported Bolden's interview comments a few days ago, but they seem to have hit the fan in a larger-scale Monday.

Bryan York of The San Francisco Examiner wrote in response: "From moon landings to promoting self-esteem: It would be difficult to imagine a more dramatic shift in focus for an agency famous for reaching the heavens."

NASA Watch: Charlie Bolden: Stealth Middle East diplomat?

The San Francisco Examiner: NASA's new mission: Building ties to the Muslim world

Noa Baum

The status of relations between Israelis and Palestinians, people with competing allegiances to the same piece of real estate, is on the table as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets Tuesday with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Baum, who was born in Israel and raised in Jerusalem, now lives near Washington. She is a storyteller who performs a one-woman piece called "A Land Twice Promised" in which she adopts two personas, an Israeli and a Palestinian mother. Her message: There are competing narratives and peace is not possible without accepting the narrative of "the other."

The genesis of this piece was born when Baum moved to the United States and developed a friendship with a Palestinian woman.

"Sometimes when someone has lost so much," she says, "there is no room for the story of 'the other.' But those stories are vitally important."

Noa Baum: Peacebuilding: 'A Land Twice Promised'

Max Bergmann

Along with tens of millions of others, Bergmann's attentions will be diverted Tuesday by the first of two semifinals in the World Cup football tournament.

Bergmann is co-proprietor of the blog Association Football, where junkies of the beautiful and sometimes not-so-beautiful game exchange opinions.

Bergmann is a fan of Tottenham Hotspurs, a London team in the English Premier League, and D.C. United in Major League Soccer. Bergmann's day job is policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and blogging for Think Progress. He also has written op-eds for numerous newspapers and magazines.

But Bergmann has his priorities straight. The World Cup is, after all, the World Cup. Incidentally, "Association Football" was an early name for the sport created in England now known as soccer (er, football).

The Netherlands play Uruguay on Tuesday, the winner advancing to the Sunday final. The second semifinal on Wednesday pits Germany against Spain.

Association Football

Cullen Jones

On a sweltering day, nothing cools better than a swim. Jones knows that more African-Americans need to learn that skill.

A study commissioned by USA Swimming and conducted by the University of Memphis found that nearly 70 percent of African-American children and 58 percent of Hispanic children have low or no swim ability. Forty percent of Caucasians are in the same predicament. Black kids are three times more likely to drown than white children.

From nearly drowning at a Pennsylvania water park as a 5-year-old - "I remember how it feels to get lightheaded and that terrible feeling that you are drowning," he told Black Voices - Jones grew to be an Olympic swimmer. As part of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he became to the second African-American to win a gold medal in the sport.

Jones, 26, is the primary face of Make a Splash, a project of the USA Swimming Foundation.

Black Voices: Olympic star Cullen Jones saving lives by teaching black and Latino kids to swim

USA Swimming Foundation: Make a Splash

USA Swimming: Constraints impacting minority swimming participation (PDF)

Mike Pearson

The former Associated Press and Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter is a new member of the Association of Personal Historians and has embarked on a project to record the oral histories of people in the Gulf Coast region affected by the oil disaster.

"The simple mission is to find stories of people who love the Gulf and its inhabitants, who make their living from it, who have grown up with it in their back yards, and to tell and preserve those stories," Pearson wrote in an e-mail to Association of Personal Historians members, who record and preserve family histories.

Pearson has created a website, The Gulf and Me, where he will publish the stories, photos and video from his trip. He also is soliciting nominations for people to interview and stories to tell.

The Gulf and Me


Filed under: Most Intriguing People
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Corners-up

    Serious Star-Wars nerds here today! Only a true SW nerd can tie Muslims, Politics, Star-Wars, fiction, and some guy is giving Yoda quotes.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DFL er

    It took every ounce of energy to NOT vote for Barry at the time. I had been programmed into the Democratic side from day one. Something told me – do not vote for this man....

    At least I am able to say, no, I did not vote for him, with a clear conscience.

    Maybe NASA can do some real Rocket Science again, someday.

    I look forward to the new BAAs, RFPs, etc. that will come from NASA when President O gets booted out of office. Get back to some engineering work for real.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Indians

    It's a shame that the Arabs are credited with the curent decimal system, the numerals, and 0 – the credit belongs to the Indians. The Arabs only improved silghtly on the works done by Indians and Greeks – for a shjort time and that's it.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    Oh yes, and the manned mission to the moon was purely for scientific purposes...

    July 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anlashok Haruchai

    This administration inclusive of the House are all brain-dead and taking us on a fast path to socialism.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jtv

    If that means designing a space ship that can hold all of the Muslims so we cansend them off to another planet like in the movie Alien Nation I'm all for it!!!

    July 6, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andrew

    Almost all these comments are just poor , pathetic ramblings from individuals that couldn't score higher than 90 on an IQ test. The Space program needs reform, plain and simple. It's wasted almost as much money as the industrial military complex in projects and tests that produced useless data/results. Don't just blame this current administration, since JFK challenged the Space Program/ NASA to develop/build rockets to send Americans into space and to the moon, they have accomplished nothing since. The Shuttles should have been scrapped 20 years ago. The United States hasn't been that innovative either.. wow we have cell phones, cheap computers, flat screen tvs.. these are not accomplishments but distractions. The internet has become useful in some respects but has also laid the groundwork for our own demise. We don't manufacture anything in the USA, we've sold jobs to china for cheap crap.. put blame where it truly belongs on the citizens and government officials we voted for, GOP and DEMs .. they all must be voted out.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ED

    WHAT A TOTAL CROCK!!!!!!!!

    NASA'A JOB IS SPACE EXPLORATION, NOT SUCKING UP TO THESE TYPES. GET YOUR HEAD SCREWED ON STRAIGHT OBAMA.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BSD

    From: "pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research." To: "... to improve relations with Muslim world..."

    July 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ben Lonetree

    I am just amazed at this. Here you have Iran a Muslim country getting ready to stone a woman. Since when did they ever put a person on the moon or build Mars rovers? I realize not all Muslims are nasty but barrack Hussein is getting a little carried away here. I have followed the space program since 1960 and I have never seen any special contributions. We can mostly thanks the Germans. It will not mean much to some of you here but Obama is done in my book. He is worse then Carter and selling out America. So my Liberal friends .... get ready for a new dectaturship in this country. I guarentee you you will not like Sharia law or wearing Burkas.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • garc

      Have you ever really noticed why it is that you whack-job rightwingers use phrases like "eggheads" and "intellectuals" in derogatory terms? Because we are educated, and education tends to lead people away from crazy generalizations, i.e. extreme-ring-wing republicanism. Education is actually a wonderful thing–you should try it sometime. It opens up the mind in the most delightful way. Once you realize you are not the center of the universe (nor is the US or Christianity itself, either), you learn this thing called empathy for others. You also, incidentally, learn how to write in your native tongue and spell, so you don't write things like "dictaturship." Incidentally, I know a woman whose middle name is Velveeta (since Hussein is apparently objectionable). Does that make her a cheese product?

      July 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. stinky

    What are we going to do, OUTSOURCE THE SPACE PROGRAM TO THE MUSLIMS. How about bringing some of those outsourced jobs back to the middle class AMERICA.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eric

    Unemployment, sagging economy, record deficits, record spending, and now we have to make sure the "muslims feel good about themselves in regards to science? Gosh, doesn't that send a thrill up your leg? I'm sure all those Islamic extremists out there will lay down their bombs when they hear this.

    July 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BSD

    Arabs and/ or Muslims did not invent math. It was passed down to them!!! Learn history morons!

    July 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. db

    I thought NASA's mission was reaching out to space?

    July 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Grampa49

    Well, it's official! Obama is certifiably NUTS! What the hell do Muslims have to do with NASA and space exploration? Can you say 'one term President'?

    July 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • garc

      I'm sure you can, and will. Maybe we'll all luck out and have Sarah Palin for our next president, you betcha, and we can blow everybody to smithereens instead of accept the fact that the world has changed since you were a kid, Grampa, like it or not.

      July 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11