Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there’s a planet that looks a lot like our own. It is bathed in dim orangeish light, which at high noon is only as bright as the golden hour before sunset back home.
NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered.
It’s the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star—the sweet spot between too-hot Mercury-like planets and too-cold Neptunes— and it is likely to give scientists their first real opportunity to seek life elsewhere in the universe. “It’s no longer in the realm of science fiction,” said Elisa Quintana, a researcher at the SETI Institute.
But if there is indeed life on Kepler-186f, it may not look like what we have here. Given the redder wavelengths of light on the planet, vegetation there would sprout in hues of yellow and orange instead of green.
Read more. [Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech]
Of course they did.
A nutshell of why current culture war debates feel so brain-melting.(via shortformblog)
"[A]ccording to NASA, a highly unusual ‘Tetrad’ – four successive total ‘blood-red’ lunar eclipses each followed by six full moons – will, indeed, start next Tuesday and finish on September 28 2015. The incredible alignment has only happened a handful of times in the last two thousand years but, remarkably, on each of the last three occasions it has coincided with a globally significant religious event.”
NASA: “This is the first of four consecutive total lunar eclipses in 2014 and 2015 - a series known as a Tetrad. …The 565-year period of the Tetrad ‘seasons’ is tied to the slowly decreasing eccentricity of Earth’s orbit. Consequently, the Tetrad period is gradually decreasing. In the distant future Tetrads will no longer be possible.”
Pastor and author John Hagee: “According to the Biblical prophecy, world history is about to change dramatically.
Every time this has happened in the last 500 years, it has coincided with tragedy for the Jewish people followed by triumph. And once again, for Israel, the timing of this Tetrad is remarkable. The first of the four blood moons will come on April 15 this year, during Passover. The second will be on October 8, at the time of the Feast of the Tabernacles. On April 4 2015, during Passover, we will have another blood moon. Then finally, on September 28, during next year’s Feast of the Tabernacles, the fourth blood and final moon will dawn.”
Get out there and check this out!
50 years ago, America’s biggest employer was General Motors, where workers made the modern equivalent of $50 dollars an hour. Today, America’s biggest employer is Walmart, where the average wage is $8 dollars an hour. Which means you can share a room in a transient hotel with a drifter who cuts his toenails with a machete.
And Walmart released their annual report this month, and in it was the fact that most of what Walmart sells is food. And most of their customers need food stamps to pay for it. Meanwhile, Walmart’s owners are so absurdly rich that one of them, Alice Walton, spent over a billion dollars building an art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas, 500 miles away from the nearest person who ever would want to look at art.
And she said about it, “For years I’ve been thinking about what we can do as a family that can really make a difference.” How about giving your employees a raise, you deluded nitwit?
Take the case of Belle Knox. She’s the Duke University freshman who was recently outed as a porn star. But she doesn’t have the typical porn star biography… No, she’s a level-headed articulate 18-year-old majoring in women’s studies.
So people are saying, why the porn? Because Duke costs $61 grand a year! Since 1980, college tuition has increased 600% above the inflation rate. I’m surprised they’re not all doing porn. …
This is what the Paul Ryans of the world don’t understand — that this is not a country of lazy people and good people, so much as it is a country of rich people and desperate people.
Do you know how much Americans owe in student loans?
$1.3 trillion dollars.
We’re going to have to sell a lot of ass to pay that tab."
Bill Maher truth-bombs are the best truth-bombs.
Technology—iPhones, Google Glass, tablets, and the like—makes our day-to-day lives easier to quantify than ever. That’s a good thing, in many ways; more information about how people live can help, say, improve healthcare.
But fiction, from George Orwell’s 1984 to this weekend’s box-office hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier, has long warned us about the ways that data collection can also threaten privacy, freedom, and happiness. The most powerful cautionary tale for the Age of Big Data comes from an unlikely place: Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation, which turns 40 today.
Fantastic movie. And appropriate!
Once upon a time, a summer spent scooping ice cream could pay for a year of college. Today, the average student’s annual tuition is equivalent to 991 hours behind the counter.
Read more. [Image: Columbia Pictures]
Some great stuff here. Highlights include Bradley Whitford likening Aaron Sorkin to both David Koresh and Kim Jong Il.
“Don’t Give It to a Russian”
Ukrainian women have launched a sex strike against Russian men for annexation of Crimea.
Aristophanes would be proud.
— Abigail Adams writing to her husband John Adams, 16 October 1774. (via coolchicksfromhistory)
History crush: Abigail Adams
This made me happy.