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Mar 2011 14

by Keith Daniels

Today is π day, 3/14, as we reckon dates in the US. On an even geekier level, using the European method of writing the day and then the month (e.g. 14/3), today is, as noted by Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait, “the sum of 3 consecutive primes (43+47+53), and also of 5 consecutive primes (11+13+17+19+23+29+31).”

Today would have also been Albert Einstein’s 132nd birthday. By coincidence, Pi figures prominently in Einstein’s field equations, “10 equations in Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity which describe the fundamental interaction of gravitation as a result of spacetime being curved by matter and energy.” Heavy stuff, that, but Einstein’s theories are the foundation of the scientific knowledge that has allowed the development of GPS systems (the effects of the satellites’ movement relative to observers on Earth must be accounted for), the gravitational microlensing that allows astronomers to see otherwise unobservably faint or distant objects, and, ahem, nuclear power — amongst many other wonders. Science is badass.

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Mar 2011 09

by Keith Daniels

“Things have been on a long downhill slide for science…”
-Phil Plait

Dr. Phil Plait comes at science blogging with some heavy credentials, having actually worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and, to a lesser extent, the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) programs. His blog, Bad Astronomy, began life as an outlet for his frustration at the misuses and misunderstandings of astronomy in popular culture, but soon became a venue for his advocacy of all things science-based.

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Feb 2011 16

by Damon Martin

“Can you tell me how to get…how to get to Sesame Street?”

According to the Republicans if you’re following Big Bird, you’re following a leftist liberal who will walk you straight into an abortion clinic while asking for government handouts.

Okay, yes that’s a bit extreme, but Republicans have once again set their sites on cutting spending within the government, while looking in all the wrong places. Much like the Republican House of Representatives before them, the newest legislature has again targeted the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) for elimination, proposing to cut all funds supplied by the Federal Government.

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Jan 2011 12

by Brett Warner

Throughout the course of human history, men and women have done a lot of crazy things for love. Orlando Bloom caused the Trojan War, Cleopatra and Latin music sensation Marc Anthony both committed suicide, and I’ve sat through at least three episodes of my girlfriend’s favorite reality show, Jersey Shore.

The ongoing misadventures of carrot people Snooki, Pauly D, JWoww, The Situation, Vinny, Ronnie, and Sammi (my spell check just lost its friggin’ mind typing all of that) broke MTV records to become the highest viewed program in the cable network’s decreasingly illustrious history with 8.45 million viewers. Still, watching these unfathomably successful people preoccupy themselves with fighting, fucking, hot-tubbing, and other asinine, “who gives a shit?” circumstances that reality television twists into a botched, Frankenstein version of what the Greeks used to call drama always seems to engage that part of the brain that’ll start flashing sirens when you smoke a cigarette, huff a tube of industrial glue, or take a nap with your head inside the oven – I know this is really bad for me, but I’m going to do it anyway.

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Dec 2010 07

by Damon Martin

During the holiday season, atheists in America and Canada are letting everyone know they are still good without God. The message has been spread across buses and billboards throughout North America to send an alternative message during this normally oversaturated time of religious rejoice.

Groups like Secular Samaritan, American Humanist Association, and the Centre for Inquiry are responsible for the Christmas time ad buys. The gospel they’re trying to spread with these billboards is that goodness and morality are not in the exclusive domain of those that believe in a higher power.

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Dec 2010 02

by Damon Martin

Remember the name GFAJ-1 because it may be the organism that changes how we perceive and define life on Earth and eventually in space.

Today, NASA held a press conference announcing the findings of a team led by Felisa Wolfe-Simon, an astrobiologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. The researchers discovered a bacteria originally found at Mono Lake, CA that is able to sustain, grow and reproduce using the element arsenic.

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Oct 2010 26

by Damon Martin

Alone in the Universe? Still Not Sure

A few weeks ago, scientists discovered what was thought to be a habitable planet called Gliese 581-g, which had all the characteristics of a world that could create and contain life as we know it on Earth anyways. The “Goldilocks” planet was found to be in a zone not too close to its sun (ie. not too hot) and not too far away (ie. too cold), in the sweet spot in between where an atmosphere could form and life could grow.

Not so fast.

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