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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!

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Volunteering today

May 6, 2010

No blog today because I’m volunteering with Hands On Nashville this afternoon. If you’re a Nashville resident and you haven’t done so yet, go sign up on their website! They just upgraded their servers last night and the site is operating much faster than yesterday. If you can’t volunteer your time, please donate some money. If you do nothing you are only contributing to the problem. These are your friends and neighbors and they need your help. You can also help through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Also, keep conserving water. We are doing ok, but could be doing much better. Last night on NewsChannel5, Mayor Karl Dean just said to simply cut your water consumption in half. Do that however you feel is best. Hopefully the other water plant will back up and running in a few more days, but we don’t know yet, so KEEP CONSERVING.

The flood waters that have turned Nashville into “Nashlantis” came close to our house but thankfully spared us. There are many, MANY who were not so lucky, so first and foremost I want to direct you to this post on Nashvillest, where they are continuously and tirelessly updating info about where volunteers are needeed, where they’re not, where supplies are needed, where they’re not, and just about anything else about how to help. Seriously, those girls deserve a medal of honor for their awesome work aggregating information and putting it all in one easy place. Morgan/Christy- I’m buying you both a drink next time I see you out. If manual labor is not your thing, the best thing you can do right now is CONSERVE WATER. As of now the water supply is perfectly fine and safe to drink, however officials are concerned that with one water treatment plant flooded and another threatened, Nashville may end up with a clean water shortage. LIMIT YOUR WATER USAGE TO ONLY THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITIES. WHEN YOU TAKE SHOWERS, LIMIT THEM TO 3 MINUTES OR LESS, AND DON’T USE DISHWASHERS OR LAUNDRY WASHING MACHINES. DON’T EVEN WADE THROUGH FLOOD WATER UNLESS YOU HAVE TO, BECAUSE IT IS LIKELY CONTAMINATED WITH RAW SEWAGE.

Relating this to the local music scene: there will be many benefit shows in the next few weeks, the first of which is happening at Mercy Lounge tomorrow (Wed.) night. They have turned their Cinco De Mayo party into a benefit show, and it will feature Paper Route, How I Became the Bomb, the Dozen Dimes, Hillbilly Casino, and possibly more. Please come out and donate some $$$ to help out. Also, my band Powerbrrrd had our first show in many months booked this Sat. May 8th at the End, and we’ve all decided to turn it into a benefit show as well. Other bands are Diarrhea Planet, Frank the Fuck Out, and Bad Cop, and Spanish Candles. We’re gonna try to start right at 9 since we’ve got 5 bands. It’s Diarrhea Planet’s EP release show as well.

If you’re interested in some of the statistics on this event, check out this public information statement from the National Weather Service containing most of the records that were set/broken this past weekend.

In dire times like these, it’s good to lighten the load on your mind for a minute and just laugh at something. So in case you haven’t already seen it, I give you the Great Nashville Weather Penis.

Here are a few select photos I took Sunday and Monday at the Farmer’s Market and in my neighborhood in north Nashville. The full set is on my flickr.

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.

As you can see from this video, NASA is joining in on the fight against junk science and stupidity in general by putting some of their scientists into the public eye to debunk the 2012 doomsday B.S. This is the manager of their Near Earth Object tracking office. I’d say he’s a pretty good one to talk about doomsday scenarios, since his office is responsible for tracking asteroids and any other objects that might slam into our pale blue dot and kill us all. DON’T BELIEVE THE SCAREMONGERS! THERE IS NO REAL, CREDIBLE SCIENCE BEHIND ANY OF THE 2012 DOOMSDAY MYTHS! (Via Universe Today)

In other science news, apparently the Vatican is officially acknowledging the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. They recently had a week-long study/discussion involving over 30 scientists and religious experts to develop an official stance/policy/statement about the subject. This is kind of surprising, because we all know that most sects of Christianity don’t always agree with science/reality. Good job, Pope. (Via Physorg)

The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has been working with the Library of Congress for the past couple of years to create a huge online resource for photography info. They just launched it, and I can’t even begin to describe how awesome dpBestflow is. Find some downtime, and go check it out if you’re at all interested in photography. They’ve compiled loads of industry knowledge, standards, and general information, and it’s all in one place, for free. Basically, it’s everything you could possibly want to know about the profession of digital photography, all in one place. (Via Photo Business & News Forum)

So the new Camera Obscura album came out yesterday. You can stream My Maudlin Career in its entirety here. I arrived at Grimey’s eager to purchase it on vinyl last night, but alas, the vinyl isn’t out yet. C.O. is definitely one of those bands that needs to be listened to on vinyl. I refuse to own it on CD. They’d better include a digital download with the vinyl. That’s really the ONLY way to do vinyl these days. It’s absolutely absurd not to include a free download with a vinyl purchase. Yes the sound of vinyl is superior to an mp3, but still, people want to be able to listen to music in their cars, etc… and have it be portable on whatever digital media player they happen to own. It’s ESSENTIAL that labels realize this and I will be extremely pissed if 4AD doesn’t include a digital download with their vinyl offerings. It remains to be seen… I’m told the vinyl should arrive next week. I’m resisting the urge to just order it online because I feel guilty for not buying anything from Grimey’s in a while. Support your local record stores people!

Ok, off the soapbox….

Not exactly sure how this video was done… but Matt & Kim went streaking through Times Square in their latest video. I guess it’s no big deal to block off Times Square for a video shoot so it’s technically not a crime for them to be running around naked. Or maybe they were wearing skin-colored skivvies underneath the black skivvies they removed… you can’t really tell since it’s pixel-blurred.

Last night was the first ever Rock Circus at Mercy Lounge. I was invited to attend but could not. My body did not want me to do anything last night. I should have posted about it yesterday but it honestly slipped my mind. Team Illuminati, Vermicious K’nids and Rae Herring played, and there were also magicians, jugglers, and virtuoso pianists. It’s a whole new concept that’s the brainchild of Team Illuminati, and this one was promoted by Scenario Entertainment. They plan to do more of these shows in the future, including one on April 29th (a week from today) (update: the show on the 29th is a normal rock show being promoted by Scenario Entertainment, not a circus show) with the Telecommunicators– the side project of Matt Hungate from De Novo Dahl. (Though Telecommunicators started before he joined DND…) I hope to take some pics at one of these in the near future as it sounds like a lot of fun.

When we think of natural distasters we usually think of things here on earth, but there’s something else out there that poses an unlikely but high-consequence danger…  the sun. This huge star that is responsible for our existence also has the ability to wipe us off the face of the planet. That’s VERY unlikely in the next billion years or so, but if it decides to get angry and have an especially violent Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), it could knock out power grids and wreak havoc on satellite communications, which are VERY sensitive to these types of things. ABC.com has a great story with more info if you’re interested.

Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell is a proponent of the government UFO cover-up conspiracy theory. It’s kind of sad that an astronaut is spouting about this, but it’s true. This CNN.com article reports on his recent appearance and UFO enthusiast convention. I happen to agree with his claim that there is life out there, somewhere. I fully believe that we will eventually find evidence of life on other planets, probably within my lifetime. But the probabilities of that life being SO advanced as to be able to travel much faster than light to get here and then crash into our deserts… I just have a hard time with that. And there’s still no hard evidence to prove otherwise. All we have are witness accounts and blurry, unreliable photos and video. Some of these sightings honestly don’t have a good explanation, but it’s too much of a stretch to say that just because we can’t explain them, they must aliens buzzing around in highly advanced spacecraft. Sure there are lots of things that the government keeps secret from the public, and I’m sure that they’re covering up something about what happened in Roswell in 1947, and in Kecksburg in 1965, and in all the other less publicized cases. I’d say it’s much more likely that it was some sort of top secret plane or technology that they didn’t want anyone to know about.

Today I leave you with this… yummmmm…..

Via Clusterflock

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!

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