Credit: NASA

Universe Today is currently running a pretty cool blog series called “13 Things That Saved Apollo 13.” They talked to NASA engineer Jerry Woodfill who came up with 13 key things that led to their survival. Yesterday’s post was part 2 of the series, focusing on the hatch between the Command Module and lander that wouldn’t shut initially. This malfunction actually turned out to be a blessing, because if they’d been able to shut it, it would’ve slowed down the later efforts that were vital to their survival. I look forward to the rest of this series.

One day over the weekend my girlfriend pointed me to an article about an east TN father who asked the Knox County schoolboard to remove a biology textbook that uses the phrase “the biblical myth that the universe was created by the Judeo-Christian God in 7 days” (regarding creationism) from its curriculum. That sounded like just the type of thing Dr. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy would pick up, and sure enough he did. Thankfully the board and review committee is standing behind the book and it will remain in the curriculum. Let me re-iterate how important it is that creationism stay out of public school curricula- IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. These are public schools! The separation of church and state is crucial to our democracy and teaching anything from the Bible as a viable scientific theory in public schools is a clear violation of that. This book states that the story of creation in the Bible is a myth, and by strict definition that is completely true. I would even say that the statement doesn’t go far enough. It should go on to say that creationism is simply not true. Decades of research and cold, hard scientific evidence have proven beyond any and doubt that our planet and solar system is roughly 4 billion years old. The stories in the Bible are parables that have absolutely no scientific basis. Let’s keep them out of scientific discourse in the classroom, because they are NOT SCIENCE.

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Stereogum reports that Billy Corgan is endorsing the Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger. WHAT THE FUCK?!?!? I’ve really lost most of my respect for him after seeing this. As Stereogum points out, his band is managed by Irving Azoff, who also happens to be the CEO of Ticketmaster. Coincidence? I think not. Please do follow the link and read his letter to Congress. He offers absolutely no solid reasoning to back up his “opinion.” All he does is rehash what we all already know about the state of the record business- it’s broken because it failed to embrace and keep up with the evolution of technology, and it will never be the same again. “The combination of these companies creates powerful tools for an independent artist to reach their fans in new and unprecedented ways” he says. Really? A huge monopoly is going to help small independent artists reach their fans? I THINK NOT. Since when has any kind of music business behemoth given a shit about indie artists? NEVER. And this merger isn’t going to change anything. The next thing he says is that it will restore the power “where it belongs.” Where is that, Mr. Corgan? The CEO’s? You really think the “power” should belong to the CEO’s??? The very problems you were outlining earlier in your letter happened because the power has always been in the hands of the suits and not the artists and their fans! It’s blatantly obvious that he wrote it because Azoff told him to. I really wonder what kind of bribe Mr. Azoff offered him to write that letter. The most despicable thing about it is that Corgan did it in the first place. He’s just a corporate puppet now, and has lost almost all credibility in my eyes. I say “almost” because I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that he also testified in support of a new law that would require radio stations to pay royalties to the musicians who played on the recordings aired, not just the songwriters. I actually think this is a good idea, but I don’t know enough details to make a full judgment on the issue. Pitchfork has good coverage of that part of the testimony. It’s odd that they don’t even mention the merger support letter, though…

Ok, off the soapbox, and onto some local news:

Nashville hit a record high temperature of 80 degrees yesterday. Now, we’re looking at the possibility of sleet and snow thursday night into friday. Leave it to the mid-south to have a record high temp and then snow 2 days later. Why is this happening? It’s not global warming and it’s not some kind of sign of the apocalypse, it’s just how the weather behaves during the transitional seasons at this particular latitude. Yesterday we were in the “warm sector” of the low pressure system, and under the influence of strong winds out of the south, which brought very warm air up from the Gulf. Last night a very stark cold front passed by allowing much colder air from Canada to spill southward.

Nashville Is Talking reports on the failure of the Bible theme-park proposal in Wilson County. This same group of investors/developers/idiots tried to do the same thing in Rutherford County a year ago and got denied. Thankfully the lawmakers in Wilson County/Lebanon saw the light as well.

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