Science-y tibits 10/13/09

October 13, 2009

I haven’t posted any science-related stuff on here in waaaay too long. Part if it has been Next Big Nashville, which I’m still recovering from, along with other general business. That being said, here are some goodies for you:

NASA has a renewed focus on the moon, especially to determine how much, if any, water is there.  One of the ways they decided to do that was to smash the rocket stage of the current satellite into the surface and analyze the result plume of dust and debris. Sunday they did just that, and the results are still coming in, but it was definitely a successful impact. Check out more about the LCROSS mission here.

I’ve mentioned the 2012 doomsday myth on here before and linked to various website that thoroughly debunk it, but today one article caught my eye. I’d never even thought to research what the Mayan descendants have to say about this issue. Turns out they are pretty smart and fully understand that the world won’t end just because their Long Count calendar ends. The whole steaming pile of bullshit that is the 12/21/2012 doomsday myth is entirely a creation of modern Western culture that’s been imposed on the Mayan culture and one of their many calendars. The point to drive home here is that THE VERY PEOPLE WHO INVENTED THE CALENDAR DON’T EVEN BELIEVE THE HYPE BECAUSE IT’S BULLSHIT! They simply take it for what it is: an anniversary of sorts, a time when the Long Count calendar starts over again. Read the article at Discovery News.

Remember when Stephen Colbert lead a huge campaign to get the newest node for the Space Station named after him? While he did win the popular vote, NASA had the final say and didn’t name it after him, but they did come up with a ridiculous name for the new treadmill for the ISS that, when abbreviated, spells C.O.L.B.E.R.T. and the astronauts just completed its assembly. Here’s a pic of them using it for the first time:

Via Space.com

I noticed this post on Largehearted Boy today. It contains an mp3 from the Features’ latest album Some Kind of Salvation. What’s odd is it says the album is being released June 9, 2009. It also links to this Amazon.com page which says the same thing about the release. I’m confused. This album came out last fall… Did it get picked up by a label for a larger re-release? Anyone?

Here are a couple more mp3s from bands on my 8 off 8th this coming Monday. First up is The Nobility. I’ve loved this band ever since they started out as Jetpack, and they’ve evolved quite a bit since then. The Mezzanine, their debut album under the new name “The Nobility,” is my favorite of their’s to date. The songwriting and production is impeccable and lands somewhere between Elvis Costello and The Kinks. Here’s the title track from that album.

The Nobility- The Mezzanine

Here’s a track by Kelly Kerr & the Distractions. Kelly is an old friend and has been playing around Murfreesboro for at least 5 years now. He played in a Cure tribute band called the Lovecats… and used to have a band called Ghostflower. Then he played some solo shows as Kinky Briefcase… then it becamer Kerrific, and now it’s Kelly Kerr & the Distractions. The latest incarnation just released Whimsical In Reverse, a somewhat lo-fi approach to his quirky and intelligent songs. Here’s a fun track called “Alone (On the Makeout Couch).”

Kelly Kerr & the Distractions- Alone (On the Makeout Couch)

Not much else today, except that in his relentless effort to get his name permanently etched into history, Stephen Colbert has somehow gotten a new beetle named after him. Agaporomorphus colberti was named by Quentin Wheeler at Arizona State University and Kelly Miller at the University of New Mexico. These are the same people responsible for naming other beetles after Darth Vader and Roy Orbison. I’ll try to forget about the fact that they also named beetles after George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. Via Science Daily.

Image: Arizona State University

Image: Arizona State University

colbert_largeNASA decided to name the newest and final American-made Space Station node “Tranquility,” after the touchdown site of Apollo 11 on the moon, as astronaut Sunita Williams announced on the Colbert Report last night. Even though “Colbert” technically won the online poll, I guess NASA just couldn’t justify putting the Colbert name on something so important, and instead went with historically significant name. However, in typical scientific acronym fashion they did decide to call the station’s new treadmill the “Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill,” or C.O.L.B.E.R.T. I’m just glad that NASA has a sense of humor. All in all, it was a big win for both parties involved. I’d say the biggest win was for NASA, though… this was great P.R. for them and in these times it’s crucial for NASA to stay popular in the public’s eye. Read the whole NASA press release here, and watch the clip from last night here.

Jack White’s new band The Dead Weather played their first public show last night at Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Brooklyn Vegan has photos and coverage. Also, the White Stripes are working on a movie to be released late this year, according to an interview with White on Self-Titled. Via Nashville Cream. P.S.- one Cream commenter says the film is a documentary of their 2007 Canadian tour.

Apparently the Kings of Leon needed extras for a video shoot, but we all missed it- the auditions were yesterday. Tear.

Ever wondered where the phrase “Murphy’s Law” comes from? Look no further. It comes from an engineer named Edward Murphy who worked at the government’s rocket sled test facility at Edwards Air Force Base. Click here for the full story.

LIFE has a new website that’s very photograph-centric, and features a ton of great photojournalistic work. Feast your eyes.

South Park may have pulled off the impossible: putting Kayne West’s ego in check. This Billboard.com article reports that last Wednesday’s episode “skewered the famously self-important rapper… painting him as a narcissistic figure so out of touch with reality he couldn’t even take a (very politically incorrect) joke.” Well done, South Park. Check out Kayne’s blog post here.

Stephen Colbert is a smart guy. The most brilliant thing he’s done recently is rally his fans to vote on an open NASA poll for the name of their next node to be added to the International Space Station. They had some suggestions- Serenity, Earthrise, etc… very typical-sounding names for stuff like that. But they had an write-in option, which Colbert exploited. The result was that the name “Colbert” won the contest for naming the node, and NASA has been scratching its head as to what to do about it ever since. Tomorrow night we’ll find out their decision in a clever way- astronaut Sunita Williams will be on the show to unveil the name. Will it really be Colbert? Only time will tell. It’ll be an interesting episode for sure…

The CIA and USAF have finally declassified a project that was based at the mysterious Area 51 base in Nevada. The LA Times interviewed 5 former employees of the facility who disclosed details on a top-secret spy plane code named OXCART. This plane allegedly has an odd shape, and was capable of flying at Mach 3. This could explain a HUGE number of the UFO sightings in that area, because according to this article there were 2,850 test flights of this thing, all conducted from Area 51. This is a bigger deal than it may seem, because up until now, the government didn’t even acknowledge that Area 51 existed. By declssifying this project they’re now admitting that it does exist. A big step forward if you ask me. I’ve always been fascinated by the place, and really want to go out there just to walk up to the signs telling you that you’ll be shot if you try to break in. I’m quite sure that there are some crazy things going on there involving technology that we haven’t even dreamed of yet, but I won’t say or believe that they’re reverse-engineering UFO’s and keeping aliens in freezers until proof of such a claim exists. Via io9.

Friday’s tornado outbreak was pretty devastating, though the vast majority of the damage was from an EF3 twister that hit nothern Murfreesboro. The official NWS survey has determined that a total of 4 tornadoes hit middle TN on friday- three EF1’s and one EF3. The report actually says “at least EF3,” so there’s a chance it may be upgraded to an EF4. One of the things that made this particular tornado so devastating was the fact that it was a multiple-vortex tornado. I will leave you with this absolutely amazing video footage shot from a tall building in Murfreesboro. (Probably the bank building.) You can easily see the smaller funnels inside the main vortex. The first few seconds are jittery but he sets the camera down and you get a long, clear look at this monster. Watch closely at about :45, 1:15, and 1:30 where you can clearly see a smaller vortex to the right of the main one.

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