Connect with us


NASA, Department of Agriculture Advance Exploration, Science



U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, left, and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, pose for a photograph after having signed a memorandum of understanding, Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at the USDA’s Jamie L. Whitten Building in Washington. The agreement strengthens the collaboration between the two agencies, including efforts to improve agricultural and Earth science research, technology, and agricultural management, as well as the application of science data and models to agricultural decision making. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA and the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday strengthening the collaboration between the two agencies, including efforts to improve agricultural and Earth science research, technology, agricultural management, and the application of science data and models to agricultural decision making.

The agreement affirms the two agencies’ interest in continuing their longstanding partnership on mutually beneficial collaborative activities furthering education, communication, and outreach activities to inspire the youth in America to pursue careers in STEM and agriculture. This partnership will build on NASA’s Bridge Program to foster workforce development partnerships with higher-education partners including Tribal and Minority Serving Institutions and the USDA’s newly launched NextGen program, which invests $262.5 million to cultivate the next generation of diverse food and agriculture professionals.

“From the heavens to the Heartland, NASA and the Department of Agriculture are reaffirming our commitment to getting essential data in the hands of America’s farmers and preparing future generations to lead and strengthen America’s agriculture industry,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “As the climate continues to change, NASA’s Earth observation data will only grow more critical to our nation’s effort to create more climate-resilient food systems, helping our famers develop more sustainable farming and aquaculture practices.”

The agencies intend to explore opportunities to improve crop performance to meet Earth and space-based goals, including activities in support of NASA’s Artemis program, which includes landing the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, and establishing long-term lunar exploration for preparation of human exploration of Mars.

“From ensuring that future generations are able to reach new heights as they pursue careers in STEM and agriculture, to providing producers with critical data and improving global agricultural practices, USDA is honored to strengthen our partnership with NASA,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “We recognize the critical interface between planet-wide food security, climate change, and space, and together we are advancing cutting edge innovation, research, and workforce development to tackle some of Earth’s greatest challenges.”

Space exploration cooperation with the USDA includes plant-related research on the International Space Station and other space and ground platforms that have led to new ways to improve American and global agriculture, protect the environment, and help improve human health.

This memorandum of understanding will build on the partnership between USDA and NASA starting in 2015. Examples of recent and ongoing efforts include:

  • USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and NASA, along with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an 1890 land grant university, partnered to send 16 young people to NASA Space Camp in 2022. Held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, these week-long camps give youth the chance to learn robotics, teamwork, leadership and critical thinking skills and experience real-world STEM applications.  
  • USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and NASA created a free online tool called Crop-CASMA to help farmers and researchers use soil data to track droughts and floods, plan crop planting, and forecast ag yields. USDA incorporates the data into NASS’s weekly crop progress reports to inform farmers and farm managers operational decisions and strategic plans.
  • USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and NASA scientists are developing a hyperspectral imaging system to monitor plant health for astronauts to use in plant growth chambers for their pick-and-eat crops – such as fresh salad greens – to eat during future space missions. ARS and NASA are also teaming up to discover other ways to grow sustainable, fresh food during space travel, such as plants that have the potential to continually flower and produce.

Learn more about NASA Earth Science initiatives and impact at:





Ahead of the Biggest Week in Toys, The Dr. Lisa Company and Composition Media to Bring Entertainment Content to Diverse Audiences



ORLANDO, Fla. /PRNewswire/ — Rocking to the rhythm of authenticity and diversity, The Fresh Beats Dolls, Doll of the Year Finalist at this week’s 2023 Toy of the Year® (TOTY®) Awards, will come to life in an animated short series from EPI, the toy and publishing division of The Dr. Lisa Company, founder Dr. Lisa Williams, and Carl Reed’s animation studio Composition Media.

Being honored as a Doll of the Year Finalist with the biggest names in the toy industry is monumental for EPI

2023 TOTY (Toy of the Year) 2023 Doll of the Year Finalist

“From being honored as a Doll of the Year Finalist with the biggest names in the toy industry, showcasing our diverse line at Toy Fair, and preparing for our first animated series, this is a monumental week for EPI,” said Dr. Lisa Williams, The Dr. Lisa Company, CEO and Founder.

“We’ve been working to expand into content behind the scenes for some time,” Williams continued. “Carl’s extensive experience and mission to highlight minority and underrepresented communities perfectly align with our vision – to ensure Black and Brown children see themselves reflected in toys and entertainment, to embrace their beauty and build their self-esteem.”

“It’s an honor to be working with Dr. Lisa Williams, a pioneering leader in the toy industry who shares the same commitment to bringing diversity to young audiences,” said Carl Reed. “By bringing The Fresh Beats Dolls to life, we’re expanding the opportunity for kids to experience these relatable and captivating characters in a new way.”

The Fresh Beats Dolls is an animated series of six, three-minute shorts and centers around a titular girl group forming over the course of a EuroVision-type singing competition. The short series is set to debut later this Fall on YouTube.

Each 10″ doll in The Fresh Beats Dolls Collection features custom-blended skin tones and premium rooted hair with authentic textures, including patent-pending locs. From pop princess Bao BBY, to non-binary hip hop queen Beigne au Lei, and rock star Loxx, each embraces diverse and relatable personalities and stage-ready fashions. Dolls are available now at Target for $17.99 each.

Dr. Lisa Williams is also a 2023 Toy of the Year Finalist in the Champion of Diversity and Inclusion category and recognized as an individual who has made outstanding contributions or acted as a change catalyst to develop purposeful, environmentally friendly, and mission-driven programs that lead the way in creating a better future for the toy industry. The 2023 Toy of the Year Award winners will be announced on Friday, September 29, in New York City ahead of this year’s Toy Fair®.

EPI won Doll of the Year in 2022 for Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Fresh Fierce Collection. The company will be showcasing The Fresh Beats Dolls and more at New York Toy Fair at Booth 2779.


Carl Reed, producer of the Academy Award-winning short “Hair Love,” founded Composition Media to present universally themed stories to audiences seeking elevated content. Earlier this year, the company announced a major anime production partnership with Black Sands Entertainment, a leading force in Black comic book publishing. Additional projects in development include a feature film co-produced alongside Steve Harvey’s East 112; and “Sky & Luna,” the first movie in an eight-picture slate partnership with Labid Aziz’s PoC Studios and Man of Action Entertainment. Reed most recently served as a producer on Max’s “Young Love,” the “Hair Love” spinoff series starring Issa Rae and Kid Cudi.

About The Dr. Lisa Company:
The Dr. Lisa Company is a Black Woman-Owned multi-million dollar powerhouse, incorporating EPI, a leading multicultural toy manufacturing and design firm, including an animation division. Since establishing the company in 2003, to create dolls so children of all ethnicities can grow up seeing their beauty reflected back at them, Dr. Lisa Williams has since been recognized as a pioneer and leader in the industry. Dr. Lisa was named the 2022 Women in Toys Wonder Woman Rising Star Manufacturer and 2023 Toy Association’s Finalist for Champion of Diversity and Inclusion.

EPI brands include The Fresh Dolls (named Oprah’s Favorite Things), The Fresh Beats (2023 TOTY Doll of the Year Finalist), Positively Perfect Dolls, Fresh Squad, Simply Fresh Dolls, Fresh Fashions and Accessories. The sculpts are one-of-a-kind pieces of art, with unique facial features, custom blended skin tones, and a variety of hair textures, reflective of ethnicities found around the world – African American, Afro-Latina, Latino/Hispanic, Caucasian, and Mixed-Race/Bi-Racial. EPI dolls are priced for every budget, so every child has access and can be found in stores across the globe, including giant retailers like Target, Walmart, Meijer, Amazon, and Macy’s. https://thefreshdolls.com/

About Composition Media: 
Founded by Carl Reed, Composition Media is a diverse and forward-thinking animation studio with an innovative approach to making animated film and TV content for a global audience.

As an organization that embraces and embodies disruption in the entertainment ecosystem, Composition Media presents universally themed stories to audiences looking for elevated content. Adopting a transmedia approach to seed and develop IP through collaboration with storytellers around the world, Composition Media brings fresh entertainment properties to audiences globally.

Prior to launching Composition Media, Carl Reed co-founded Lion Forge Comics, and later co-founded Lion Forge Animation, serving as its President and Chief Creative Officer. While with Lion Forge, Reed produced Matthew Cherry’s “Hair Love,” which won an Academy Award® for Best Animated Short, “Rise Up, Sing Out,” an Annie Award and NAACP Image Award-nominated animated musical series featuring music by The Roots for Disney Junior/Disney+, and the Emmy-nominated animated musical series “Rhymes Through Times” created by Nick Jr./Noggin featuring music performed by Christopher Jackson (“Hamilton”).

SOURCE The Dr. Lisa Company

Continue Reading


Nigeria National Day

The United States and Nigeria have developed a robust partnership founded on shared values and the pursuit of a more peaceful, prosperous, and secure world.



WASHINGTON, 30 September 2023 / PRN Africa / — Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the United States of America, I congratulate the people of Nigeria on the 63rd anniversary of your independence.

The United States and Nigeria have built a strong partnership based on our shared values and common pursuit of a more peaceful, prosperous, and secure world. The United States is committed to strengthening our partnership and continuing to work together to promote inclusive economic growth, safeguard human rights, and combat insecurity. We commend Nigeria for its regional and global leadership, including its efforts to protect and advance democracy.

I send my best wishes to the people of Nigeria. I look forward to deepening our close partnership and advancing our shared goals in the year to come.

SOURCE US Department of State

Continue Reading


International Day of Non-Violence: Embracing Gandhi’s Legacy

International Day of Non-Violence: Embracing Gandhi’s legacy, promoting peace and non-violent action worldwide. #NonViolenceDay



Today, on the International Day of Non-Violence, we commemorate the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, a man whose teachings have left an indelible mark on the world. Gandhi’s unwavering commitment to peace and justice continues to inspire millions to this day. His philosophy of non-violence, or “ahimsa,” showed the world that there are just means to achieve just ends.

To honor this day, we can reflect on Gandhi’s wisdom and learn from his life. Familiarize yourself with his teachings and seek inspiration from his quotes, reminding us that violence only begets more violence.

International Day of Non-Violence: Honoring Gandhi’s Legacy

Participating in events organized by the United Nations or local communities is another way to honor this day. These gatherings provide opportunities to celebrate Gandhi’s life and principles while fostering a sense of unity and non-violent action.

Alternatively, engage in a random act of kindness. Let Gandhi’s spirit guide you to make someone’s day brighter, whether through a small gesture or a selfless act. By embodying kindness and compassion, we can contribute to a world that echoes the change we wish to see.

On this International Day of Non-Violence, let us remember Gandhi’s profound impact and strive to cultivate a culture of peace, empathy, and understanding. Together, we can create a world where non-violence is the catalyst for positive change.

Continue Reading