www.whyville.net Jan 25, 2009 Weekly Issue

Science Specialist

The Science of Change

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At the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago this morning, I tried (several times) to listen to Obama's inauguration speech live on the inauguration site; however, I could not establish a connection. From 8am to 2pm today, the inauguration site recorded 4.3 million to 5.2 million specific requests for information, or hits an hour. I was not one of the lucky ones that got through.

President Obama: The New Superman

In Washington DC today, cell phone companies also prepared for a network overload, and suggested people text instead of calling. If the new president, however, wanted to make a call or maybe tweet during his inauguration, he would not have a problem. President Obama uses a Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS), which gives federally approved uses a guaranteed hookup. A special calling card designates their calls as high-priority and routes them in a way that prevents them from being blocked by congestion or network overwork.

A wireless network is like a highway, if millions of people jump on the road at the same time, there is a traffic jam (kinda like the one I was driving in this morning). The word was out about President Obama's inauguration, but the technology was not able to keep up!

Ok that's enough tech talk, now what about the environment? What kind of carbon footprint was left by President Obama's inauguration festivities? Some 600 private jets transported visitors to and from DC for the swearing in ceremony, and this produced 25.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide. Cars created 262 million pounds of carbon dioxide, while inaugural parade horses produced 400 pounds.

The 2009 inaugural balls tonight are also labeling themselves as green this year. Al Gore's event at the National Portrait Gallery will be decorated with tree seedlings; the guest carpet will be made of recycled fibers; waste will be recycled and composted; its carbon emissions calculated and offset with contributions to energy conservation projects. The organic, locally grown food (vegan and vegetarian options) will be cooked by chefs across the street (to reduce carbon emissions from vehicle transportation).

Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United Sates today in front of well over a million people, who packed the National Mall from the Capital to the Washington Monument and beyond. In his inauguration address, President Obama stated,

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do."

President Obama: The Science of Change!

Author's Note: This article was posted to the Science Chicago blog by Heather, one of our correspondents.

http://www.climatecrisis.net/takeaction/carboncalculator/ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/11/al-gore-host-green-inaugural-ball/
http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/wash/dc70.htm http://www.nps.gov/wamo/

Editor's Note: For more blogs from Dr. Rabiah, visit Science Chicago's website at: http://www.sciencechicagoblog.com


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