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Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 40,584

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Environmental Scientist

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17 Phenomenal Pictures Of Space That Will Fill You With Awe

The shortlist for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 competition will give you the feels.

by Matthew Tucker

Jan R Olsen
“The vivid green Northern Lights dance above Lyngenfjord, the longest fjord in Troms county Norway, tracing out the shape of the Earth’s magnetic field above the waters. The most common colour associated with aurorae, the green is produced by oxygen atoms and molecules energised by the impact of solar particles that have escaped the Sun’s atmosphere, causing them to glow brightly.”

Patrick Gilliland
“One of the most well-known astronomical objects in our universe is the Orion Nebula and this image depicts the wider region of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex that is home to it. The pinks and oranges that can be seen in the whorls of the nebulae are caused by the extremely hot hydrogen gas present in the structures.”

Kris Williams
“A rare sighting of a red aurora, caused by the emission of high-altitude oxygen, captured on film, dancing over the small fishing town of Eyrarbakki, on the south coast of Iceland. The result of a large geomagnetic storm caused by a large coronal mass ejection, this display that lasted for hours, was one of the most colourful that the photographer had ever seen.”


Hillary Clinton’s Greek Test

by Ben Smith

When a colleague and I visited Bernie Sanders in his Senate office four months ago, he was thinking about Greece.
He was watching the rise of the left-wing Syriza party hopefully, he said:

“It’s terribly important that they be allowed to implement what they campaigned on: raising the minimum wage, undoing the privatization, getting the electricity to people who needed it and creating jobs in their country.”

It was a rare moment of animation during a brief interview that had all the rapport of a hostage situation. His passion was also, in a sense, part of the reason he’s filling stadiums in Madison: He has a clear point of view, forged over decades as a member of the global economic left. The man calls himself a socialist, and knows where he stands.

The Greek crisis is a defining moment for Europe. But it is also extremely low stakes in the terms of American politics. What you think about Greece is wrapped up not just in what you think about austerity, but also what you think about the European Union, a subject which has not been known to generate much energy in primary politics. There are more than two sides, and possible outcomes in which both German and Greek leaders claim victory.

That’s why this is such an interesting test for Hillary Clinton, who has said not a word about Greek entitlements or the future of the Eurozone. This is not unwise politics, or uncharacteristic. She’s waiting to see how it shakes out before she takes a stand.



Sheriff Joe's actions just caused Maricopa County property taxes to go up


Let's talk about old white people, specifically the majority of old white people who live in Maricopa County.

They are patriotic. They revere the flag. They vote. And they love — I mean love — Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio, who just turned 83, is like them, supposedly. He has grandkids. He served in the U.S. Army (in France during the Korean War). He tells the same stories over and over again.

He can be charming, avuncular, crack jokes, clown around. He acts tough on crime, even if reality undermines that act.

I can hear it now:

"People die in his jails? Good! That's what lawbreakers deserve, isn't it?"



Astronomers Discover Quintuple Star System

This star system, known as 1SWASP J093010.78+533859.5 (J093010 for short) or TYC 3807-759-1, is located 115 light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.

It was originally detected in 2006 in archived data from the SuperWASP project, which uses small cameras at the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos on the island of La Palma in the Canary Islands, and at the Sutherland Station of the South African Astronomical Observatory, to image almost the whole sky every few minutes.

Over years, its measurements of the brightness of individual stars have been assembled into light curves for 30 million sources in our Milky Way Galaxy.

The light curve of J093010 initially revealed the presence of a contact eclipsing binary – a system in which the two stars are orbiting so close together that they share an outer atmosphere. Contact binaries are quite common, but this particular system is notable because its orbital period – the time the two stars take to complete one orbital cycle – is so short, just under 6 hours.



Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest










Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- Hair Brained

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- Greece

Toon: Objects in Mirror are closer than they appear!

Sanders Introduces Solar Initiative

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday introduced legislation to make solar energy more accessible to low-income families.

“While the cost of solar panels has gone down in recent years, it is still out of reach for millions of low-income families that need it the most,” said Sanders. “Families across this country struggle to pay electricity bills and access to solar energy can help reduce these costs.”

The Low Income Solar Act of 2015 was introduced on the same day the White House proposed an initiative to make solar power more accessible to households and businesses. The Sanders bill would provide $200 million in loans and grants through the Department of Energy to offset the upfront costs for solar arrays on community facilities, public housing and low-income family homes. These projects would be required to prioritize loans for woman- and minority-owned small businesses and set aside funding for developing solar arrays in Appalachia, Indian tribal lands and Alaskan native communities.

While low-income families are the hardest hit by rising utility prices, they are also the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the poor spend more than 60 percent of their income on basic necessities including electricity and food, compared to less than 45 percent for wealthy families. Helping low-income families use solar power addresses both of these issues.



Bernie Sanders and ‘the American mainstream’

By Jay Bookman

The headline at Politico is pointed and seemingly ominous:

“The Socialist surge: The rise of Bernie Sanders is proving awkward for the Democratic Party”

Certainly, Bernie Sanders is surging. In Iowa, Wisconsin and most recently in Maine, the Vermont senator is drawing the largest, most passionate crowds of the political season. Polling indicates that while he is still well behind Hillary Clinton, the gap is closing. He has also raised some $15 million, which may not sound like much in the post-Citizens United world. But unlike Clinton, Jeb Bush and others, Sanders is drawing most of his contributions from small donors, and $15 million is more than enough to sustain a modest campaign.

It’s interesting watching the political world try to account for it all. The Politico story, for example, cites Sanders’ statement that the economic crisis in Greece should not be resolved by cutting programs for “the poor, the children, the sick and the elderly.” Those comments, we are told, “are a reminder of just how far the second-place Democratic presidential candidate stands from the American mainstream on some issues, and the looming reckoning Democrats face with their party’s leftward drift.”

The story goes on to note that Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other liberals have pushed the Democrats leftward on issues such as same-sex marriage, equal pay and paid sick leave. The result is allegedly a party that is being drawn away from the American mainstream, with a “looming reckoning” ahead.

But there’s one very large problem with that argument:

When you poll people on same-sex marriage, equal pay for women, the minimum wage, paid sick leave for lower-income workers, and yes, higher taxes on the rich, the positions taken by Sanders almost always get majority and in some cases overwhelming public support.

As Sanders puts it, “I don’t believe it is a terribly radical idea to say that someone who works 40 hours a week should not be living in poverty.” And 78 percent of the American people agree with him. Go through the list of issues, and the story repeats itself...


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