D. None of the above

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By Daniel Dunaief

In the course of a month, two events have occurred that, perhaps some time in the next several decades, may help people make that incredibly long journey to Mars.

First, Scott Kelly went up in space. OK, so, that’s not such a shocker. Kelly is an astronaut and that’s what astronauts do. What makes Kelly’s trip different, however, is that he plans to spend an entire year at the International Space Station, setting an American record for the longest time away from Earth.

Kelly’s identical twin Mark, a retired astronaut and husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will of course spend that same year on Earth. Having identical twins in two places for the same period of time presents an incredible opportunity. Mark is in reality the “control” in the experiment, giving NASA, doctors and anyone else interested in the effects of prolonged periods of time in space an opportunity to see how the two brothers react differently to different environments. Identical twins present that rare opportunity to rule out the nature part of the nature-nurture dynamic.

Some day, the information NASA records from the Kelly twins will help us understand the kinds of preparations necessary to safeguard any would-be space traveler from the harmful effects of higher radiation and no gravity for a journey to Mars that by current technology would take some 250 days. After all, our genes have evolved over thousands of years to life on Earth. Just because we’ve figured out to send ourselves deep into space doesn’t mean we can suddenly fine-tune the gift of our biological systems the way we might raise a heat shield on a space module.

A month after Scott Kelly returned to the ISS, where he’d spent considerable time on previous missions, a team of scientists, led by Javier Martin-Torres, a Spanish researcher who is a professor in Sweden and used to work in the United States at NASA, published a study based on a year’s worth of meteorological data from the Red Planet.

As it turns out, Martin-Torres and his team have determined it is highly likely Mars has liquid water — today. It’s not enough water to open a super-exclusive pool club or to plant a couple of dozen grape trees to cultivate a deep-space vineyard for the elite and refined palates of the world’s wealthiest wine lovers.

The scientists recorded readings through the Mars rover Curiosity of water that likely evaporates during the Martian day and forms again during the cold night as perchlorate salts melt any frozen water vapor.

This study, Martin-Torres suggested, may have implications for planetary protection policies. The Committee on Space Research may look carefully at places where spacecraft couldn’t land on Mars out of concern that any vehicle might contaminate the planet by introducing new organisms.

The presence of water speaks to us because it makes up more than 60 percent of our own bodies. Water also is a key element to life on our blue planet, raising the question about whether life, even in the form of small microbes, could use it to survive.

This Martian water, however, isn’t exactly a refreshing stream. It’s probably up to three-and-a-half times as salty as the water in the Dead Sea, Martin-Torres said.

The saltiness, radiation and numerous other factors make that water inhospitable to life, even on a microbial scale.

“The conditions are terrible,” admitted Martin-Torres. Still, “it’s better to have water than not to have it.” Besides, while it’s likely that any life on Mars would struggle to survive in that water, “nature always surprises us.”

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By Daniel Dunaief

What Hillary Clinton needs is a slogan. Now that she’s declared that she is, indeed, running for president, she needs to let the world know what she’s all about.

The problem is she’s spent the last quarter of a century in the public eye. How can someone who lost the presidential primary in 2008, whose husband’s peccadilloes provided endless fodder for the late-night TV hosts and whose every move, comment or speech let us know who she is and what she’s all about?

I have a few suggestions:

• “Campaign Clinton IV”: The first two were about Bill, the third one was a dress rehearsal and the fourth time is the real thing.
• “She’s nicer than you think”: That’s not hard to imagine. She doesn’t exactly come across as warm, fuzzy and relatable. She has the opposite public persona of her husband, whose charm and hospitality play so well on TV.
• “25 years in the making”: A woman who has written two autobiographies and who was the first lady for eight years may finally make it out of the primaries.
• “Long day’s journey into the White House”: Borrowing from Eugene O’Neill, Clinton has gone through many dramas, subplots and struggles on her way to running for the most important job in the land.
• “About Time”: Did you see that charming movie with this title with Rachel McAdams? This slogan could suggest it’s about time a woman became president. Then again, maybe if, like the movie, she could travel back in time, she’d change a few things.
• “Let the first family back in”: The Democrats seem to love her these days. Why not suggest that she and her biggest fan, largest supporter and No. 1 asset and liability, return to the White House together?
• “We’ll be back”: I know Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Republican, but wouldn’t it be cool if he introduced her campaign in his Austrian Terminator accent? (Or, perhaps, borrowing from “Jaws II”: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the White House again.”)
• “Interns need not apply”: OK, that’s a cheap shot.
• “The ultimate battle of the sexes”: Let’s see who runs the country better, a wife or her husband? We’ve had fathers and sons — the Adamses and the Bushes — and the Roosevelt cousins. How about we try a married couple?
• “Time for new revelations”: Every so often, it seems as if there’s a new revelation about the Clintons. Think about how many more revelations from staff members, former cooks and the U.S. Secret Service we might have if the Clintons once again occupy the White House?
• “The publishing business needs this”: Book publishing and publishing in general don’t seem to be as profitable as in the past. Bookstores are closing and small publishers are struggling to keep up with the endless space in the Internet. Surely a Clinton campaign and, possibly, a presidency would give new life to an industry that desperately needs a few more blockbuster political books before it finds the next Charles Dickens?
• “It’s time to watch late-night TV again”: “Saturday Night Live” and late-night talk show hosts must be cheering the possibility. They don’t even need to create new characters or find people who can look and act like the Clintons.
• “Grandma knows best”: Forget about her role as first lady, senator or secretary of state, who would dare argue with a grandma?

Let battle commence but it’s going to be a long, drawn-out affair. There are still 572 days to go, whatever the slogan.

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By Daniel Dunaief

Every defeat, rejection, or failure can be like a drop of ice water on the back of our necks. We often can’t brush those droplets away and they seep into us, weighing us down, causing our feet to shuffle and shoulders to slump.

The self-esteem bashing moments in a week, month, or year can build up, turning us into a balled-up, wet rag in the corner of a dark room.

Certainly, the sunlight and warmth of spring can dry some of that out, as the chirping of newly hatched birds, the sight of children chasing after a ball on a playground and the scent of fresh flowers can evaporate the dreaded droplets.

And yet, that’s often not enough. We sometimes need more to turn ourselves into ice-water-resistant creatures who can tackle any assignment, avoid obstacles, or remain undeterred in the face of significant opposition.

Where do we find this relief? Some get it from exercise, where they perspire out those metaphorical drops of ice water. As they push themselves along the pavement or across glistening fields, they generate momentum, release endorphins, and become like the Little Engine That Could, remembering that a healthy dose of believing in themselves works.

Others get it from talking on the phone, writing in a diary or a blog, escaping to the movies, diving into books, or sharing a laugh with friends they’ve known for years.

What we sometimes need in our lives is a catharsis. You remember that Greek word for that moment when someone releases strong emotions, obtaining relief at the same time? We learned about this some time when we were in middle or high school.

Recently, my middle school daughter received an assignment that seemed like a confusing and challenging juggling act. She finished George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Her language arts teacher asked his students to find a song in which they saw an overlap with a theme from the book. They also had to relate that theme to their lives.

When my daughter came home from her first day of these presentations, she described in detail, how two of the four presenters broke down in tears as they shared their stories. In other classes, several students, including one of the untouchable “popular kids,” cried in front of his class as well. One of the students described his frustration with his frequent movement from one school to another as his parents’ jobs required starting over again every year or so. He looked out at the classroom, his teary eyes revealing his deep discomfort, and said he was sure no one in the room would be his friend for longer than the short time he’d be in town. He was resigned to the fact that he’d be a sad ghost someone might remember at graduation.

Another student shared the challenge of dealing with an impossible relative. This person pushed away any connection to a family she used to have, slamming the door, literally and physically, on anyone from her past who dared approach her. The disillusionment her father felt was magnified in her.

As my daughter thought of her assignment, her eyes welled up as well when she thought of the moment when something promising turned tragic. She had a spectacularly close connection with a young, vibrant first grade teacher whose life ended all too soon after a cancer diagnosis.

Even as my daughter described her feelings, I could see the small ice droplets that landed so hard on the back of her neck in elementary school, as they found an exit through her eyes. She will always remember that loss, but the catharsis more than five years later provided some relief.

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By Daniel Dunaief

I have a modest proposal: How about a new holiday, either in each school or in each town, every year? I’m not talking about taking any more time off from school or interrupting the flow of work, especially in a year when snow, ice and record-breaking blizzards that never happened upset our busy schedules. I’d like to suggest, rather, that we celebrate, recognize or mark the occasion for a different moment every year. We could create such a holiday some day in June, when classes are winding down and we’re just about to kick off the start of the summer.

Every year, Americans stop to recognize 9/11 in September. It’s a somber occasion and a chance to reflect on who we lost and what might have been. It’s also an opportunity to recognize the unimaginable bravery of those who did whatever they could to save strangers, friends and fellow New Yorkers and Americans.

Perhaps, one year, we might also recognize all the medical miracles that have made lives possible. I’ll never forget the day a colleague of mine at Bloomberg picked up the phone and his face went white. Seemingly unable to verbalize the terror in his mind, he grabbed his jacket and sprinted out of the room. His sudden and panicked motion created considerable concern from his colleagues.

As he told our editor the next morning in a barely audible voicemail, his wife went into premature labor and, less than an hour later, delivered a baby girl who weighed close to 1 pound.

For weeks, whenever he came to work, he seemed to look past us, searching for any kind of help, spiritual or otherwise, for his daughter’s fragile life. After several months, she grew enough to improve her prospects for survival. We knew things were getting better because we heard the welcome return of laughter from our friend. We also saw him exhale for the first time in months, loosening and relaxing the taut muscles in his chest.

Perhaps, one school might find the names of the doctors and scientists who improved the treatment and care for premature babies who had considerably poorer prognoses 50 or 100 years earlier.

We might also pause to recognize those working in fertility clinics or in reproductive research, who have made it possible for couples having trouble conceiving to celebrate the marvel of their child.

Maybe we could celebrate the considerable achievements of scientists who have helped prevent an HIV diagnosis from becoming a death sentence. When Magic Johnson revealed that he was HIV positive, many of us probably never imagined we’d see him cheering for his Michigan State basketball team to make it to the Final Four in 2015.

It is through remarkable medical breakthroughs, incredible dedication and a desire to defeat diseases like cancer and AIDS that we can extend the quantity and quality of our lives and the lives of our friends and family.

Some of these achievements and lifesaving discoveries wouldn’t have been possible without the insights and inspiration of scientists, researchers and doctors on Long Island.

Perhaps we can take a moment to appreciate and acknowledge the guiding hand and valuable contributions religious leaders make to us. Bringing us together and encouraging us through our battles elevates us when we’re down.

We see headlines about people who take lives and make poor decisions. Perhaps, we could use a day to recognize those who, to borrow a phrase from just about every political ad, truly “fight for us.” And maybe, by acknowledging these achievements, we inspire the next generation.

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Gunshots rang out in the night on March 11 in Huntington Station. The bullets from the gun of someone fleeing a traffic stop struck Suffolk Police Officer Mark Collins in the neck and hip, triggering an immediate reaction in a team of medical and emergency personnel with one goal: Do whatever can be done to keep Collins alive.

Seeing the injuries to Collins’ neck, the medics at the scene directed the injured officer to the Stony Brook Trauma Center, where the Code T Team — the highest level activated — was called in. Several medical professionals prepared for his arrival, including a board-certified general surgeon and an anesthesiologist, in case the officer needed emergency surgery. The center also held open an operating room and a CT scanner and had several other medical professionals, including a radiology technician, at the ready.

“We bring all the necessary resources to handle any array of injuries,” said Dr. James Vosswinkel, chief of Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care at Stony Brook Medicine.

A gunshot wound to the neck “doesn’t sound good,” said Vosswinkel, who was home in East Setauket before the incident. When Collins came in, “we mobilized all the appropriate services.”

The prospect of such a serious injury raised concerns for their incoming patient.

Any time there is a Code T alert, “your blood pressure goes up a little bit,” Vosswinkel said. Still, he and the other members of the medical crew were prepared to follow a system that uses a “standard algorithmic approach” for injured patients, “where we have people come in and everybody knows their role.” The medical staff relies on a set of instructions that involve multiple people whose responsibilities range from stabilizing the patient to identifying injuries.

How does a surgeon who might be required to spend hours with a patient at any given time — and often late in the night, as was the case with this officer — prepare for the moment when he might ask his or her body and mind to focus on something unexpected?

Vosswinkel’s response, like those of the police who deal with emergency situations in our communities, was simple: training. Four years of medical school, five years of general surgery and then a few years of additional trauma training helped him prepare emotionally and physically.

The doctors also “try to keep ourselves in good shape with a healthy lifestyle and the necessary rest,” which gives them emotional and physical control. “You’re prepared when you’re on call,” he said. “The first priority” in an emergency is to “get a good enough team and good enough number of people together so you can handle the rigors that may be required.”

Vosswinkel said he does what many people who confront a high-stress situation do: He takes a slow deep breath, moves a step back and does whatever he can to remain focused and logical.

“Practicing in a hospital like this allows you to keep focus and keep your emotions in control,” he said.

The bullet in Collins’ neck was an inch away from a much more precarious outcome. The surgical team put him in a medically-induced coma. Standing behind Collins in a wheelchair as other officers saluted their wounded colleague, Vosswinkel brought Collins out of the hospital.

Vosswinkel said he and the staff were inspired by Collins’ dedication as a police officer and his contribution to the community.

“How could you not be inspired by someone like him?” Vosswinkel asked. “These guys are out there making it safe so something bad doesn’t happen to us.” And, when something bad happens to them, the trauma unit stands ready.

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Adolescence stinks. I’m not talking about the heightened age of self-consciousness, the potential for bullying, the physical and emotional growing pains, or the shifting alliances with friends who become enemies who become friends again.

Those all stink applying the definition of the quintessentially American expression: “That stinks.”

What I’m describing is the literal smell, as in “Ooh, those roses smell beautiful”; or “Wow, that smell reminds me of the time I went to Montauk and we saw dolphins and whales while drinking aromatic hot chocolate with whipped cream.” With their spectacularly busy schedules, thanks to us, no doubt, teenagers live in the same uniforms day after day.

The last thing we do before going to bed, or the first thing we do when we get up in the morning, is to throw those uniforms in the washing machine.

We can’t and don’t wash their footwear every night. We can air it out, we can put deodorizers in it, we can even, in a fit of pique, rush out and buy them a new set of Storm Trooper cleats to protect ourselves, but, eventually, the sneakers in the cabinet by the door — or tucked in the basement — develop a cloud of toxic fumes above them.

On the positive side, I suppose, the horrific stench could be like smelling salts. If they are suddenly feeling tired or they bump into one wall too many, as soon as they go down on the ground, they smell their own and everybody else’s cleats and spring back into action.

“I’m fine,” they say, as they wobble on one knee, “just get me off that floor.”

Sensing that their sweat-driven, body-changing odors may be offensive, some children use deodorants, scented moisturizers or perfume — in the case of my daughter’s friends. That’s like diving into a pool that is way too hot and way too cold, confusing the senses without defeating the odor.

I recently brought my son and a friend back from a basketball practice and pulled up next to a mom who was shuttling home six sweaty teammates. We rolled down our windows at a red light and my nose felt as if it had returned to the gym. No car, not even one with a new car smell, would stand a chance against the pungent odors of adolescence marinating in her three rows of boys.

“Oh, hey,” I said, as the boys greeted each other through their open windows. “I guess you got the bigger carpool duty today.”

“Uh huh,” she grunted, making it clear she’d somehow drawn the short, smelly straw.

“That’s, um, a lot of sweat in there, huh?” I said.

She winced while concentrating on breathing only through her mouth.

When the light turned green, I thought about those incredible first few months of our kids’ lives. The smells from the delicate shampoos were like the kind of subtle flavor waiters describe to entice us into ordering the specials of the day.

Even after those magnificent miracles of life no longer occupied a room, their comforting smell made us forget the late nights of “what’s wrong with her, why won’t she go to sleep,” or the “why is she crying now,” reminding us, instead, of how sweet life can be.

Maybe the smell assault is one more way adolescents challenge authority figures. When their feet enter the room, we don’t need to see their frustrated faces or hear their answers-with-attitude to know another battle is about to begin, filled with arguments that sometimes don’t make sense — and scents that make their own arguments.