That is really wrong because we should be tracing 'girl' skills. Learning and hacking cooking, for instance, teaching important skills. Learning to sew is much better at teaching hand eye coordination than video games. It is easier to teach if you pander to the boys, but doing so does not make one a good stem teacher.
To answer this specific engineering problem, plutonium is simply too dangerous and costly to use in space. The reason is that plutonium is actually very safe to humans except when breathed in as small particles, such as what might be generated when a launch vehicles catastrophically explodes on launch. In this case, the small particles will tend to be inhaled by animals, pass through the lungs, and pretty permanently become part of the body. The plutonium will then go though the 24,000 half life, which means over the lifespan of the contaminated human almost no Pu will decay. It will radiate and cause health issue for a lifetime.
Again, this is an engineering problem with very smart people working it. All engineering problem result in an engineering solution, and an engineering solution is always a compromise between competing factors, some technical, some emotional.
In hind sight it is always easy to poo poo an engineering solution. People who do nothing but push paper, like the readers or forbes, are the most likely candidate is simply say 'why did we do this'. They can ask that question because they have never created a practical device in their lives, therefore never have been part of the engineering process and therefore have never understood that the result is always a less than perfect but usually quite acceptable solution.
While the nuclear power proponents want us to believe that nuclear power is the solution to everything, history tells us otherwise. Even though nuclear power is very mature technology, there is little private funding for it. In the US Nuclear power plants are not being build because bankers know there is no profit in it, and government should no more subsidize a nuclear power plant than a coal fired plant. Both are mature enough to stand on their own.
Nuclear power cannot stand on it's own because it cannot generate enough profit. For instance, BP generates enough profits so that when the Deep Horizon rig failed it could cover the 13 billion dollar clean up. Fukushima is going to cost 10 times that much to clean up. Who is going to pay for that. They taxpayer. The US taxpayer for contamination that reaches US land and water. It is true that the readers of Forbes loves to make profits at taxpayer expense, but I don't think that it is a good idea. It is only free if you are not the one impacted.
Which is the problem. People want a solution that will not raise the cost of water so they can continue to waste it. We cannot continue to treat water as an infinite resource that can be sold at cost assuming a near zero cost of production(actual cost is a few dollars per thousand gallons). Yes, we should have low cost for the first maybe 1000 gallons a household uses per month, but after that costs should be set by the market.
It is amazing how quickly even the most ardent conservatives becomes a socialist when they asked to pay for water. How the though of losing green lawns and swimming pools makes then forsake their Ayn Rand philosophy. The thing is that tier prices would provide the funds to exactly what so many conservatives want. it would provide funds to acquire additional water rights and build additional infrastructure. As a bonus these things would be paid for directly by those who benefit from them, not the general taxpayer many of whom probably are responsible water users.
Here is another thing that would make conservatives happy. There is water available but it is often being wasted on two profit crops, like Alfalfa hay. As mentioned, tared prices would free up funds to buy water rights. Paying farmer a dollar per thousand gallons of water would mean they would probably make more money than growing and selling the alfalfa.
Instead the socialists are winning because low water rates is forcing states like California to take that water away from farmers, thus threatening their livelihoods. I don't know why applying the solution that Cuba used to solve it's problem is preferable to good old capitalism.
Science, if taught correctly, does not focus on the trivia. It focuses on the process, which sometimes promotes nonsense, like the Aether, but always provides a deeper understanding of the almighty by objectively probing the creation for clues about the nature of the deity, if any.
So no, science is not religion because science does not promote 'facts' as infallible or invariant.
It is useful to note that some real things were discovered simply by applying mathematics with no direct physical evidence. That we revolve around the sun. That the earth is generally round. That the earth has a radius.
Then we begin to validate our experiences under controlled circumstances. We note that things do not fall dependent on weight, and things do not always slow down. We create the mathematical concepts of mass and force. We develop mathematical relations that say if we apply a force to a mass it will accelerate indefinitely. We also wrote an mathematical relations that said if we put a light bulb in a box it would produce enough energy to destroy the earth. This is classical physics, and it had problems, mostly that our experiences are limited.
So then two things happened. First the Earth was not destroyed by a light in a box, and some guy said this was because energy was quantized. It was a beautiful mathematical fix for a unreasonable mathematical prediction. Second, some other guy said that if a magnet was on a table and he walked by with another magnet, it was the same thing as he standing still with a magnet while the magnet on the table moved, and created a bunch of mathematical models that predicted a bunch of other previously unobserved phenomena. You see, the brilliance of starting with the math, developing something nice, then seeing if we can find stuff that is predicted in the those equations. It has lead us to think pretty equations are better, but that is because our observations have validated that more time than not, pretty equations are better.
Of course not everything we look for has been found, or can be said to even exist. Maxwel's equations would be much more pretty if we could find a magnetic monopole. Symmetry would be served it the graviton could be detected. On the other hand, the Higgs Boson does seem to actually exist, which aloows us to consider Newton as someone who simply did not just make a lucky guess, although it still does not explain why inertial and gravitational mass are the same.
Which is to say the job is not easy because the process one uses is going to depend on where you start and where you want to go. In modern physics, there is not always observations, or at least not observations based on our experience. It is true that if you lock a cat up in the trunk of a car all day, you will not know if the cat is alive or dead until you open the trunk and check. It is not true in our experience that the cat is both alive and dead. So pretty equations are another tool in our physics repitore. By investigating all implications of the equations, and if these implications represent reality, we prevent the unfortunate mistake of predicting that we can go as fast as we want.
The telemarketer has already been replaced by robots, but robots are not tolerated so these jobs are still secure. It is the same reason that these jobs are still present in the US instead of completely exported to other countries. Consumer demand.
I still think that lawyers are doctors are going to see the greatest impact in wages and jobs. The salaries for first year lawyers, for example, have been fixed or falling for a decade according to published reports. As more data is collected on patients, and that data is correlated to outcomes, the heuristics and stochastic will reach a level where only the best diagnosticians will remain employable.
The crooning typical of music prior to that came about through the ability of microphones to pick up nuances in tone. Prior to this it was just a bunch of guys playing and singing as loudly as they could to try to get the sound recorded on wax.
The last major fight over the structure of music was 30 years ago when everyone was fighting over the right to sample. This, by and large, was due to the fact that for the first time we had a large archive of high quality recording, and the the technology to mix old and new to create a significantly different product.
I suspect that this revolution will be similar. The structure of music has changed. It has gone from an album format, in which most consumers buy and listen to a compilations of songs, to an a la carte format where listeners buy, or more often just stream, a selected song. This has minimized the importance of creating a cohesive album. While every album had one or two radio songs released as singles, most artists tried to make it part of a whole.
In the future I think software will make it possible to string parts of songs together to make something like a dance mix. Some radio DJS used to do this before it was all computer controlled. So like the album losing it status as the definitive unit, the song will also be a legacy concept, artist getting paid royalties only if a part of the song can be structured to fit in a longer musical composition.