Sagan goes viral

"Science is more than a body of knowledge; it is a way of thinking. I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness."

True Color of the Moon?

I don't know if anyone remembers or cares, but a few years ago I asked Uzi if he could help me find an image. I had seen a picture of the moon and earth taken at a great distance, and the moon looked more brown than silver/gray. He couldn't help me and suggested that what I saw was an eclipsed moon, which was a reasonable theory, but wasn't what I remembered seeing.

Well, 'Like High-Definition From The Heavens'; NOAA Releases New Images Of Earth.

True Color Moon?

It's not the image I saw, but the moon is the same color I remember seeing. Image can be clicked to embiggen.

My interest in this is based on the enormous power output of the sun. I mean, think of how long it takes light to bounce off the Moon, Venus or Jupiter. And it's bouncing off red/gray/brown rock, not a freakin' mirror! Star power is amazing.

Credit Where and When It’s Due

Donald Trump found himself an unlikely cheerleader on his third day in the Oval Office: Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist who for months called Trump every name in the book. That’s because Trump signed an executive order withdrawing from the negotiations over a controversial trade deal that both he and Trump swore was toxic to American workers.

“I am glad the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead and gone,” Sanders said. “For the last 30 years, we have had a series of trade deals—including the North American Free Trade Agreement, permanent normal trade relations with China and others—which have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs and caused a ‘race to the bottom’ which has lowered wages for American workers.”
Love the "neutral" language at the Daily Beast!

Congrats!

You guys have a manfant as potus again after 8 years!   Perhaps the US' problem (as illusrated by its obsession with guns and religion, for example) is that you miss your childhood. Maturity doesn't tickle your fancy, you want your toys, you want to play good-guy/bad-guy (and always want to be the good guy even when you're not. Remember Clint's popular "make my day"?).   Well, I guess that comes from poor education. Education is supposed to be a maturing factor. But what from I remember from highschool and the obsession with "popularity", and from what I remember from college and the obsession with "partying", education seems to be more of an extension of childhood than anything else.   As infants, we all want fatherly (and motherly, though less so it seems) figures. The rubes wanted papa-tRump, who speaks to the people as if he were speaking to 7 year-olds. "It's going to be so good" is tantamount to fomenting the myth of Santa Claus. Especially since his "giving back the power to the people" while naming almost exclusively plutocrats (and idiots like the texan) doesn't seem like any change to me.   BTW, I just read that the US is a net EXPORTER of immigrants. I'd wager that this imbalance might increase over the next few years.   As for the rest of the world, some caricatures to show what most of the planet feels: http://www.elmundo.es/opinion/2017/01/20/58810b9de2704e23538b45e8.html http://www.elmundo.es/opinion/2017/01/20/58810b79e2704ee6628b460e.html http://elpais.com/elpais/2017/01/19/opinion/1484836093_273738.html (translation: test of optical sharpness, guess within 5 seconds who is now the president of the world's strongest nation).   Anyhow, the first "breaking news" of the new admin is that dozens have been arrested. Good start.   Finally, Alec Baldwin has a guaranteed job for the next few months, perhaps years (if tRumpfant isn't impeached earlier).

Davos Watch

For a number of years I posted links and comments on Davos. This year I figure - "why give a flying fuck"? Of all people, the Chinese have become the paladins of neoliberal free markets, while the US under tRump is returning to pre-Depression and in fact pre-Guilded Age protectionism. The IMF is bemoaning the erosion of the middle class while pushing policies designed to undermine it. The "two" party system is finally being challenged - well challenged in Spain and Greece by progressive movements, badly by the likes of the US and UK with reptilian nativism tRumping alternatives such as Occupy, et al. Since some posters discount ideology as a meter or a roadmap, others embrace conspiracy theories, and others are single-minded and hard-headed, why should I bother? Of course, I've often mentioned that the primary strategy of dictatorships has been to foment political apathy through fear or impotence. Believe me, I am not apathetic and I'm certainly not afraid. Just a little disillusioned by the "discourse" on the board of late (Jo, Lee and Icy not included). Perhaps we need some new blood hereabouts?   Just asking.   But as for Davos, I'm just too disgusted to do it again. What with a DLC potus candidate winning the popular vote after submarining a real alternative and a pompous manfant winning the election...

Brave New World

‘I no longer have to be politically correct’: GOP politician arrested after grabbing a woman in her genital area

Trump, his supporters, and the GOP in general are filth.

Don’t Watch Donald Trump’s Inauguration

What better way to combat a performer-politician than by diminishing his stage? The lower Trump’s ratings, the less inclined television producers will be to give him the free airtime that was the lifeblood of his presidential campaign. A presidential megaphone can never be totally silenced. But we can do our part to restrict his ability to blanket the airwaves for the next four years and become larger than life.