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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 36,729

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Thursday Toon Roundup 2- GOP

Thursday Toon Roundup 1- Drop Dead, Mid eastern Peace Dove

A Visualization Depicts a Sunset With the Sun Replaced by Other Stars

(yes yes I realize that the environmental conditions would vary greatly with different stars at the same distance, still an interesting visualization)


Every Star Could Have at Least One Planet That Could Support Liquid Water

Astronomers worldwide agree: there's a heck of a lot of planets out there. Thanks to tools like the Kepler Space Telescope, scientists have been discovering hundreds of new planets each year, and many believe it's only a matter of time until we find one very similar to our own earth. The big question now is, just how common are planets, and how many of them can we expect to look like Earth—or least hold liquid water?

In new study, researchers led by Steffen Jacobsen at the Niels Bohr Institute in Denmark have taken a crack at these questions and come up with some pretty stunning conclusions. By extrapolating on recent planet discoveries found though the Kepler mission, the astronomers have estimated that, on average, every star has between one to three planets nestled into its liquid water-supporting habitable zone. And of those planets, one in six should be rocky like the Earth, Jacobsen says.

"In our galaxy alone, this would mean billions and billions of planets , with very good chances at finding an Earth twin," Jacobsen says. "But to be clear, these numbers are highly dependent on many assumptions at work here."

How they got those numbers
Since it started staring at the stars in 2009, Kepler has spotted hundreds of new planets and many more planet candidates that could be confirmed in time. It upended what we know and how we think about what's out there in the cosmos.



Neil deGrasse Tyson's late night TV show will premiere on 4/20

Self medication is not required for the enjoyment of late night television

By Chris Plante

Astrophysicist and guy I occasionally see on the subway, Neil deGrasse Tyson will premiere his new late night program StarTalk on National Geographic Channel on April 20th, according to the cable network. Variety reports that guests will include, "Former US president Jimmy Carter, biologist Richard Dawkins, retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, producer Norman Lear, film director Christopher Nolan, and Star Trek actor George Takei."

If you haven't listened to the podcast that inspired the television show and shares its name, now is as fine a time as any to start. StarTalk: The Radio Show is a humorous and human take on scientific topics that can too often feel cold, distant, and incomprehensible to laypeople — like myself. The late night series will regularly feature fellow scientist and television personality Bill Nye, along with a slew of comedians, scientists, and celebrities.

StarTalk premiers Monday, April 20th at 11PM EST. The competitive linking of Neil deGrasse Tyson memes in the comments begins now.


Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- The Rest



Secret Service






Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- Getting What they wanted

On the Internet, everyone knows you're a miserable excuse for a human being

A gay teenager has received an outpouring of support online after he detailed his father’s hostile reaction to him coming out - in which his dad allegedly described the situation as “worse than death”. Tyler, 15, posted screenshots of messages, which he says were sent to him by his father via Facebook messenger, on his Tumblr account. In them Tyler, who lives in Vancouver, Canada, had been told that he had brought “shame and embarrassment” on his family and should “stay away”…. He went on to suggest that his son’s sexuality was an inappropriate and ungrateful response to the sacrifices made by his parents in bringing him up.

By Jack Cluth
It’s difficult enough to be a teenager in this day and age. Kids today face so many more challenges than my generation did…and what we endured to get through our teen years was no picnic. The idea that a 15-year-old boy could face such horrific and heartless rejection from his father- one of the two people on the planet a child should be able to expect acceptance, support, and unconditional love from- hurts me to my core. The fact that Tyler’s father could only do something so cruel via text message (he still hasn’t expressed this feelings in person because Tyler apparently hasn’t seen him in months) is something unfathomable.

The idea that a father is more concerned about what people might think about him than about the well-being of his son says about all anyone could need to know about his fitness and worthiness as a parent and as a human being. His son has come to a place where he can admit what’s real and authentic about himself…and his father, who should be able to be counted on to be there for his son, is more worried about himself. I find that to be beyond distressing.

I’m not going to engage in public shaming of the father, in part because he’s done a bang-up job on his own, but also because I don’t know the entire story. Thankfully, this is a situation in which the good side of the Internet can- and did- come to the fore. The online tribe, often quite ruthless in its rush to judgment and determination to utterly destroy an individual for crimes real or perceived, in this case came to Tyler’s support. Turns out the Internet does have a heart.

Perhaps there is hope for humanity after all.



Toon: We're all related

Record-breaking heat cooks, kills California poppy bloom

string of hot days and record-breaking heat have destroyed a large bloom of poppies at the California Poppy Reserve in the Antelope Valley.

What was the “densest poppy germination anyone’s seen in a decade” was cooked as the sun glared down on the Mojave Desert. The large bloom was reduced to a sprinkling of orange petals that shriveled on the stalk on the south slope of the natural reserve.

The north slopes, however, are angled away from the sun and covered with the best patches of wildflowers, including poppies, goldfields, forget-me-nots, gold cups, cream cups, owl’s clover and lupine.

“Wow, Mother Nature pulled the rug out from under us,” California State Park officials said. “We're astonished to find that our big bloom of desert-adapted, ruggedly persistent poppies has been all but cooked away by the unseasonable heat we've had over the last week.”


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