Category Archives: White House

God willing, this bill will save lives

Last Monday night, forty-four years after the people of Delaware first sent me to the United States Senate, I presided over a Senate vote for one of the last times.

As Vice President of the United States and president of the Senate, I served as the presiding officer as the Senate moved forward on the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill that will harness America’s best minds in science, medicine, and technology to tackle the biggest health challenges of our time. Continue reading God willing, this bill will save lives

How to see the White House on a dollar bill

What’s it like to attend a state dinner at the White House? Or see Marine One land on the South Lawn?

From hosting festivals on the South Lawn to allowing people to explore its rooms via Google Street View, President Obama has used both traditional events and new technology to open up the doors of the White House to more Americans than ever before. Continue reading How to see the White House on a dollar bill

The letter the President carried

Hanging on a wall outside the Oval Office, there’s a framed letter from a woman named Natoma Canfield.

For years, Natoma did everything right. She bought health insurance and paid her premiums on time. But one day, the fear of so many became her reality: She was diagnosed with cancer. She fought for her health and had been living cancer-free for some time, but her insurance company kept raising her insurance rates, year after year. She needed the coverage, but she couldn’t afford it. So she had to surrender her health plan and live merely on the hope that she would stay healthy. Continue reading The letter the President carried

This Is My Shot

I’m a 19-year-old studying at Duke University. I’m the same age that my mom was when she made the sacrifice to drop out of college to care for me and my siblings, so that we could have a shot at a better life than she had.

I was born to an alcoholic father and a teenage mother in a rough neighborhood in South Carolina. Growing up in our three-bedroom trailer, I knew that success wasn’t going to come easy for me. Continue reading This Is My Shot

Can you hear the stars?

If you tilt your head back to look up into the night sky, and then close your eyes, can you hear the stars? I can.

In college, while studying to be an astrophysicist, I lost my sight from an extended illness. As you can imagine, astronomy and physics are very visual fields of study, so I thought I had lost my ability to continue to study the sciences that inspired me.

At that time there were limited ways that a blind person could do what I do, at the doctoral level, in science. But I was determined to find the means to work as an astrophysicist. So I worked to develop techniques in sonification, or how we translate data into sound signals. Suddenly, it was possible to detect subtle changes in data patterns, simply by listening to them. I was able to hear patterns that couldn’t be noticed otherwise, like in the electromagnetic waves emitted by stars. Continue reading Can you hear the stars?