Here’s an interesting tidbit that came across my radar today: A very illusive and rare meteor shower may flare up tonight for the first time since 1930! On June 11th of that year, a small group of astronomers reported a short-lived meteor shower that was sought out in subsequent years, but never seen again. Now an astronomer named Peter Jenniskens with NASA and SETI has suggested that Earth is passing through the same comet trail it did back in 1930, and thus we could see this rare outburst, called the Gamma Delphinids, again- TONIGHT. Fortunately the moon will have set several hours before the expected peak between 2:30 and 4:30am CDT, leaving only the weather to stand in the way of getting to witness this rare event. I must point out, however, that scientists aren’t nearly as certain about this meteor shower as they are about the more reliable yearly showers such as the Leonids, Geminids, Perseids, etc… So if you’re a fan of meteor showers and have the will power to get up in the wee hours and sit outside to watch, tonight could reward your efforts with a show not seen in 83 years. (Via Universe Today and the American Meteor Society)

In other science news, more evidence of normal, habitable water on the ancient Mars surface was discovered recently. You’re probably thinking this discovery came from the Curiosity rover, but it actually came from Opportunity, one of the twin rovers that landed on Mars in 2004. Opportunity’s team sent her to investigate an interesting rock outcropping, and they found evidence of certain clay minerals that could only have formed in water that would be habitable to life as we know it. This discovery is right in line with Curiosity’s findings from February, and strongly supports the theory that Mars once had running water on the surface, and might have even supported microbial life! As Curiosity keeps trekking toward Mount Sharp, the rover will keep looking for these same minerals to help paint a clearer picture of Mars’ watery past. (Via New Scientist)

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Pardon me while I totally nerd-out for a minute… but I must share some news that made me very happy this morning. I first saw this in a tweet from Dr. Neil de Grasse-Tyson. Dr. Phil Plait- astronomer, author, blogger, and relentless promoter of real science and reality in general- is getting his very own show on the Discovery Channel. I’ve been a big fan of his ever since discovering his blog Bad Astronomy. He’s been mentioning a so-called “sooper seekrit project” in his posts for about a year now, and this must be what he was referring to. I get the feeling that there was some sort of miscommunication between him and the powers-that-be at Discovery, because all the tweets and mentions about this new show lead back to this YouTube video, which is basically a promo commercial/sneak-peek at the new series. However, he hasn’t yet mentioned it on his blog or even tweeted about it *update: he finally mentioned it on his blog here. Turns out it will only be a 3-part series… :(* . This doesn’t surprise me given the fact that he’s currently at Comic-Con. It looks like the show is going to take on a Mythbusters-esque vibe but mostly focusing on all the myths and junk science surrounding various doomsday/disaster scenarios such as asteroid impacts, comet impacts, gamma-ray bursts, and hopefully the ridiculous 2012 Mayan calendar myth. I honestly wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised if Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters are producers of this show… or somehow otherwise involved with it.

Check it out: *Updated youtube link- they took the video down for a few days and reposted it.*

No idea when this show will air, *the show will probably air this fall* but I’m definitely looking forward to it. Congrats, Phil!

Dont Jump!

Don't Jump!

While I’ve seen several images/web posts about this type of perspective-based street art before, this one is the biggest scale I’ve seen thus far. Edgar Muller lives and works in Germany, and even with several helpers, his projects take several days to complete. This one is called “Ice Age.” This type of art is all based on viewing from one very specific vantage point, creating an amazing 3D optical illusion. I’ve never seen one of these in real life before, but I’d like to. You’d think an artist this talented/successful would be able to afford a decent website design though…. ugh.

One of the few “new” bands that I’m really digging lately is the Morning Benders. They recently did a Daytrotter Session and the results are pretty cool. They did a spaced-out version of one of my favs Doctor, Doctor. If you’re into them, go grab the mp3’s for sure.

Remember when I posted about the new supergroup Tinted Windows comprised of James Iha, Taylor Hansen, Bun E. Carlos, and Adam Schlesinger? Well, they have an album coming out April 21st, and Billboard has the track “Kind of a Girl” posted for streaming. It’s pretty much exactly what you would expect from that lineup. But it sounds very generic and well… just listen for yourself. They’re also playing a showcase at SXSW this year.

Though it’s been in the news for several weeks now, I’ve not posting anything regarding the possible merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, which would result in virtual monopoly in the concert promotion and ticket business. I decided to change that today. Brooklynvegan posted a story about a hearing held yesterday on Capitol Hill regarding the merger. Thankfully it seems as though authorities are going to put this merger under a microscope. I don’t know that much about antitrust laws, but I can’t see how this merger would not be in violation of them. I mean, Ticketmaster is already enormous, and so is Live Nation in the promotion world… if this happens, concert go-ers are screwed because this one company will have the power to price-gouge all they want.

Now for some science-
Sky and Telescope posted a great guide to viewing newly discovered Comet Lulin. This week is the best for viewing, and even in light-polluted areas such as here in Nashville, you should be able to see it with a good pair of binoculars. You have to know exactly where to look, though. Check out the article for the deets and a good diagram. Via Universe Today.

New comet/Fairey arrested

February 9, 2009

Science first today, people.

A new comet has been discovered and will be visible at least with binoculars and maybe even the naked eye for people in rural areas over the next few weeks. It was discovered by a 19 year-old student named Quanzhi Ye at the Lulin Observatory in Nantou, Taiwan on July 11, 2007. Be on the lookout for it over the next few weeks. I’m sure Universe Today or Bad Astronomy will post something about the exact location in the night sky, and when they do I’ll be sure to post it here. Via Live Science.

Space Shuttle Discovery’s launch has been pushed back again, to no earlier than Feb. 22nd. Engineers are still testing those new hydrogen flow valves to make sure they’re safe.

Do you own a cat? Do you know if it’s plotting to kill you in your sleep? Here’s a quick quiz to find out…

Shepard Fairey has been arrested for tagging property with graffiti. He was on his way to a kickoff event for his first solo exhibition. Shitty timing!

Did you you know the grammys were this past weekend? Yeah, me niether. I actually did know, I just forgot about them. They seem to be pretty forgettable these days. Brooklynvegan has a listing of all the awards.

Various people in London decided to use the opportunity nature gave them in the form of recent snowfall to make a bunch of giant snow-penises around town. Reminds me of a few years ago when Nashville got a few inches of snow and some Vandy kids made several snow phalli around campus. The final button in the dailogue box to post a photo on this blog is “insert into post.” Huh… huh huh…. Via Vice Magazine blog. (I promise I’m not really this immature…)

Awesoments and psychics

December 22, 2008

So New York was a blast. I’ll post a link on here to the pics once I go through them and get them uploaded. It snowed about 4 inches in the city on friday, which was beautiful. CSS rocked Webster Hall thur. night, and Prabir & the Substitutes rocked Sullivan Hall Sat. night. The Met was awesome sunday, and the American Museum of Natural History was naturally awesome on Friday.

Today I bring you pure awesomeness in the form of the Periodic Table of Awesoments. It’s a list of all things that can be described as “awesome.” The awesomeness of this awesome table cannot be overstated. I just tried to say “awesome” as many times as I could in that paragraph. Awesome.

Stereogum did some digging around and found the earliest known appearance of Zooey Deschanel in film. It’s an old Offspring music video. Classic.

In this video (1 of many… I haven’t yet watched all of them), Richard Dawkins and Derren Brown talk about the techniques used by psychics and astrologers to fool people into thinking they actually know something about their life or the problems they’re going through. Just watch. If you’re someone who even slightly believes in the so-called “powers” of psychics or palm-readers, etc… hopefully this video will help you see the light. Via Boing Boing.

Spaceport America now has clearance from the FAA to conduct spaceflight from its soon-to-be built facility in New Mexico. In a time when severe budget cuts loom for NASA, the era of commercial spaceflight can’t come soon enough. I seriously doubt we’ll ever see our government have as much interest in space exploration as it did in the 60’s, so we’re going to have to turn to the private sector to see any serious, well-funded endeavours into manned spaceflight. Hopefully NASA can eventually work out a deal with one or some of the many private spaceflight companies that are currently testing/building rockets and spacecraft. Hell, they already contract out many aspects of space shuttle maintenance and launches.

Obama has assembled a kickass team of real scientists to tackle the energy crisis, global warming, and hopefully create a lot of new, secure jobs in the process, thus helping to revitalize the economy. Jan. 20th can’t come soon enough!

Universe Today takes on the 2012 comet/distaster/end-of-the-world bullshit head-on in this article. Nothing is going to happen, people! As the article says, there is nothing more profitable than fear. This is no more evident than in the upcoming movie, 2012. These people will be making millions, even billions, off your fear. Don’t do it!