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Summer teevee sucks, so here’s something for you to do tonight (Monday), Tuesday night, and Wednesday night.

If you spot clear skies any evening this week, don’t miss your chance to witness a stunning close encounter of the two brightest star-like objects in the sky.

Venus and Jupiter—both dazzling star-like objects—will appear to huddle close together in the sunset skies this week. This will be the planets’ nearest approach in over a decade.

::snip::

While limited in their scientific interest, historically Venus and Jupiter conjunctions may be a possible answer to the Star of Bethlehem legend. In the years 2 and 3 B.C. there was a similar series of three stunningly close pairings between the planets that would have caught the eye of ancient astronomers.

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The green chunk of ice will make its closest approach to Earth this evening, and won’t be back for another 8,000 years, according to the Mirror.

::snip::

It should be viewable in Orion’s belt, appearing as a small, fuzzy spot. Although viewable with the naked eye, it is recommended that viewers use binoculars to look at the comet, and to do so in an area with as little light pollution as possible.

while you’re outside, you may as well look for the winter hexagon and winter triangle, too.

Featured in the winter hexagon/triangle is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky!

Don’t be fooled by Jupiter, which rises later and is north of Sirius. It’s not a star…

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So I’m assuming that SCUBA divers, and whales, have a limit to how deep they can be and still poop.

(Rewilding is) a term, coined by activist Dave Foreman and broadened by Michael Soulé and Reed Noss in the 1990s, that Monbiot explains has two meanings. The first involves the mass restoration of ecosystems through attention to “trophic cascades” — the ecological processes that start at the top of a food chain and tumble down to the bottom, affecting the entire ecosystem in the process. The second involves the rewilding of places humans live—restoring some of the fauna that we’ve wiped out through hunting and habitat destruction.

“Paleoecology—the study of past ecosystems crucial to an understanding of our own—feels like a portal through which you may pass into an enchanted kingdom,” Monbiot says. “The story rewilding tells us is that ecological change need not always proceed in one direction. It offers us the hope that our silent spring could be replaced by a raucous summer.”

Hope you guys find this to be an interesting (if not useful when arguing with RW relatives) read. Please watch the TED talk, and tell my what you think.

Edit, I realize, now, that I should have left this link, here.

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new study

There is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, our new research shows.

Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques.

Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.

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Russia targets space station project in retaliation for U.S. sanctions

MOSCOW, May 13 (Reuters) – Russia cast doubt on the long-term future of the International Space Station, a showcase of post-Cold War cooperation, as it retaliated on Tuesday against U.S. sanctions over Ukraine.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Moscow would reject a U.S. request to prolong the orbiting station’s use beyond 2020. It will also bar Washington from using Russian-made rocket engines to launch military satellites.

Moscow took the action, which also included suspending operation of GPS satellite navigation system sites on its territory from June, in response to U.S. plans to deny export licences for high-technology items that could help the Russian military.

Of course I’m absolutely CERTAIN the GOP, AKA “the Defense party”, will vote to raise taxes and increase funding to NASA.

Giggle, snort.

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Astronomers say a bright blob at the edge of Saturn’s rings may be evidence that a new moon is forming. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute)

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Clearest explanation of this I’ve seen, so far:

Cosmic inflation: ‘Spectacular’ discovery hailed

Researchers believe they have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came into being.

It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest light detectable with telescopes.

Gravitational waves from inflation put a distinctive twist pattern in the polarisation of the CMB

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Giant virus revived from ancient permafrost
Melting permafrost could unleash new human pathogens

But the oil companies are still obscenely profitable, so “we” got that going for us, which is nice.

Obama Still Wants To Kill Wall Street’s Favorite Tax Loophole

Similar:

Obama’s 2015 budget will seek $60 billion tax credit by closing ‘Gingrich loophole’

AND, teabaggers hate Wall Street almost as much as Occupy Wall Street does, so we’ll rally behind this, which is nice.

Just kidding. This’ll never pass because teabagger panderers like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul will stand in the way of it. And the teabaggers won’t even notice. Because they’re fucking retarded. And OWS never stood for anything, and never will.

And let me spare you ODS (Obama Derangement Sufferers) some time. I know Obama’s budget won’t pass. OBAMA knows his budget won’t pass (POTUS budgets never pass). Harry Reid and Senate Democrats know Obama’s budget won’t pass. Because Boehner is TERRIFIED of being teabagged in his next election, so the teabagger caucus controls the government, right now.

Don’t like the way things are going?

Blame the teabaggers. They, and they alone, have ensured our government no longer serves us, as it constitutionally should be, but rather works against us, as their wealthy astro-fucking-turfing backers the Koch brothers have bought and paid for.

Anyone who votes in a way that enables a teabagger is beneath contempt, and not worth engaging in debate due to their religiously held beliefs.

As a scientist, I make mistakes, and own up to them. I modify my theories to comply with existing data. Teabaggers still believe that making rich people even richer leads to a better life for the middle class.

Stupid fuckers.

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JFTR, I solved it about half way through, and I’m on my third drink because I’m moving out of my apartment, tomorrow (finally moving home … Yay!)

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I’m just sitting her unwinding and saw this: NASA gets an AMAZING image of a solar flare. (In my browser the image opens up inside the window, but can be magnified by clicking on it.)

This made me wonder how big that flare is in comparison to the size of the earth, so I looked up this comparison of sizes of planets in our solar system to the sun, and the sun to other stars. You may have already seen this. It’s been on the tubes for a while.

That reminded me of one night I was curious about how far the moon is from the earth, with both drawn to scale. Two good links, here: 1 2.

I’ve been busy getting ready to move home, so am a bit behind on posts and messages. Will try to catch up, later. Hope ya’all are doing well.

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