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*This will be my last post this week, and today will be my last day of web presence until after Bonnaroo.*

As I’ve said before, I’m going to Bonnaroo this year. I’m not going the way I’ve gone the past 2 years, however, as the Scene/SouthComm is sending their staff photographers to cover it this year, obviously the result of a rough economy/tight budget. (They are full-time staff photographers, so in the end SouthComm isn’t having to pay them anymore than they would have already, whereas my work would be an extra expense to them since I’m freelance.) Let me say that I’m in no way irked at them for doing this, as they have to do what makes financial sense in these times especially, and if I were in their shoes, I’d probably do the same. Since they weren’t sending me, I had to work a little harder to acquire a pass, but I did. So, don’t expect any photos from me this year, as I won’t be able to get into the photo pits, and honestly don’t want to have to lug the expensive/heavy equipment around and keep up with it unless I have to. My only real goal is to see LCD Soundsystem, since this is expected to be their last year of live shows, ever.

I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous rumors that there’s going to be a monsoon in Manchester this year. THIS IS BALONEY. The weather forecast looks exactly like every other June forecast in TN has since the beginning of time. It’s going to be hot, humid, and there’s a slight chance (20-30%) of scattered showers and storms in the afternoon. I’d say there will be at least 1 or 2 of those showers/storms that happen across Bonnaroo, but it will by no means equate to a monsoon. The cause of this rumor is probably the fact that most weather apps and “forecast-at-a-glance” sources don’t include the probability of precipitation (PoP). They just show a small icon that has the sun covered partially by a storm cloud, a few rain drops, and a lightning bolt. It still shows that icon, even if the PoP is only 10%. This is a problem in my opinion, because sadly the vast majority of people will probably look at those icons on each day and think that it means it’s going to rain all day, everyday. So if you’re going this year, of course be prepared for rain and mud- it’s going to rain at some point, but it’s not going to rain the whole time. Remember to drink plenty of water and you’ll be fine.

I must also point you to Nashvillest’s 2nd (I think) annual CMA Bingo card. With the “CMApocalypse” quickly approaching, this little bit of local humor/snark is all but necessary to keep your sanity if you’re a Nashvillian who hates this annual gathering of:

AND

Have a great rest of the week/Bonnaroo if you’re going, and I will see you here sometime next week.

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Today I’m simply going to point you in the direction of Nashville Cream to see what’s going on show-wise this weekend. It’s looking like a pretty good one. This is all so I can briefly talk about more science, since this week had only one science-related post.

Buzz Aldrin has stayed somewhat in the spotlight after he became the 2nd man to walk on the moon in 1969. In addition to recording a rap song with Snoop Dogg, Talib Qweli, Quincy Jones, and Soulja Boy, he founded a non-profit organization called ShareSpace and has has published articles criticizing NASA for not focusing on manned exploration beyond our own moon. Just a few days ago he published an article on AOL along those same lines, but this time outlining his idea for what NASA should do next. Mainly he agrees with Obama’s plan to look to private space companies for ferrying cargo and astronauts to the ISS and low Earth orbit. But he proposes that if NASA focuses its effort on Mars, we can get there by the summer of 2019. He wants NASA to continue using the space shuttles to carry leftover space station parts and modules into orbit, where they would then be assembled into an “Exploration Module” prototype, which would be a precursor to a fully fleshed-out version, capable of taking a crew to Mars. There are a lot of details missing here, such as whether or not this EM is supposed to land on Mars or just orbit it, and if it’s supposed to land, where the crew would get the supplies needed to survive, and of course the big question would be: how do they get back? Regardless, I think it’s great that he’s continually putting ideas out there. I don’t necessarily think that he’s even trying to present a technologically feasible, functional plan… more that he’s just trying to get people thinking in a different direction. And even though this is VERY old news, it’s worth posting this video of him punching nutbag, anti-science, anti-reality filmmaker Bart Sibrel in front of a Hollywood hotel in 2002, after being confronted by him. FUCK YEA BUZZ ALDRIN! (Via Discover Blogs)

I must also take this opportunity to point that some scientists really DO have a sense of humor. According to i09, a physics student has asked the International System of Units to call 10 to the 27th power “hella.” That means that a distance of 10 to the 27th meters would be a hellameter. That’s pretty close to the current estimated size of the universe (it would be 1.4 hellameters, to be exact), thus we could officially say that the universe is “hella big.”

Have a great weekend!

Remember that meteorite from Mars that caused a huge stir back in 1996 when NASA announced that it thought it had found remnants of fossilized bacteria in it? If you don’t, just know that this meteorite, named the “Alan Hills meteorite,” had what we initially thought was a fossilized remnant of ancient Martian bacteria. But then some other scientists came forth with an equally plausible hypothesis for a non-microbial origin of the microscopic formation. So ever since then, the scientific community has been at odds, with one camp saying “Yes, it’s an ancient Martian microbe! There really was life on Mars!” and another camp saying “Nope. That formation wasn’t biological in origin.” But new technology has shed some light on the subject that wasn’t possible back then. Researchers at the Johnson Space Center have used more sophisticated High Resolution Electron Microscopy than was available in 1996 to study the meteorite, and their findings contradict the nay-sayers. So, if no new nay-saying hypotheses come out, then we can be pretty damn certain that microbial life once existed on Mars. AND it may even still exist there, under the surface! (Via Universe Today)

Kottke.org is one of longest-running blogs in existence, and it’s almost always full of random awesomeness. In this case, it’s all about the H1N1 vaccine, and how it and other vaccines are made. I had no idea it took soooo many chicken eggs. Do yourself a favor and read all about it.

Now here’s yet another hilarious comic from xkcd:

Some cat humor to lighten up your day. Cats Are Always Doing Shit. Via Yewknee.

Remember that Canadian tour the White Stripes did a couple years back? They made it into a documentary, and it’s coming out this fall. It also finally has a title: The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights. I’m looking forward to footage from all those impromptu, intimate/acoustic shows they did. Via PFK.

Last summer a new band straight out of high school called The Turf burst onto the local music scene. These kids instantly caught the attention of several Scene critics and local music fans with their catchy brand of dance-rock. I remember seeing them at Mercy Lounge once and was impressed by how tight they sounded at such a young age. They disappeared just as quickly as they appeared, though, and several members went in various directions to pursue college. This summer they’re back, and they’ve got a brand new album called Fascination of a Sort. While the dance-rock wave may have crested a few years ago (at least from a commercial marketability perspective), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love them. I haven’t yet heard if they have any shows booked this summer, but keep checking their Myspace page for updates. Here are a couple of tracks they were kind enough to send my way for posting:

The Turf-Julio’s Jean Shorts

The Turf-Prey

I came across some truly unique and gorgeous landscape photography today. Tim Simmons has a slightly different take on landscapes than most. He uses artificial light along with what appears to be HDR imaging to accentuate certain aspects of the natural beauty of his surroundings. You can’t go wrong with any of the galleries, but the snow gallery was especially intriguing to me. I’m still not exactly sure how he lit some of those scenes….  Via Joshua Blankenship blog.

Scientists in Isreal have created an artificial black hole. Not the kind that sucks in everything, just the kind that sucks in sound waves. They used Bose-Einstein condensates, which are clouds of atoms that have been cooled to almost absolute-zero. Using two of these, they created a tiny area of extreme low density which allows the atoms between the clouds to flow at nearly 4 times the speed of sound. As with most amazing scientific discoveries of this nature, the event was incredibly small and lasted only 8 milliseconds, but it’s still pretty cool because this is essentially a small-scale analog to “real” black holes in space. Via Discovery News.

My coworker Jordan sent me a link to this amazing website today-
http://www.fmylife.com/

Just go. My favorite so far- “Today, I had just gotten over the flu and thought I was better. So me and my boyfriend decided to have sex. As I was about to orgasm, I puked all over his face. He was so disgusted that he ended up throwing up on me as well.”

You may have heard about the issues that some Nashville venues/nightclubs are facing with the new city sprinkler ordinance that went into effect about a year and a half ago. Well, luckily the ones still unable to comply have been granted an 18 month extension. Furthermore the whole thing might change altogether because the council’s codes committee is voting on a bill that looks to shift Nashville buildings to an International Fire Code, which would dissolve the retroactive fire sprinkler requirement. Read more in the NewsChannel5 article.

In other local biz news, we might be getting wine in our grocery stores soon! This is something for which I’ve been hoping for a long time. I remember as a teenager growing up only minutes from the VA state line, my mom would take me with her on wine trips to grocery stores in VA because it was much cheaper than liqour stores in TN. Part of that was that VA has a lower alcohol tax than TN (because TN has no income tax) but still, grocery stores will likely have lower prices than wine stores. There’s a flip side to this, however…. Small local wine shops may suffer due to the price war induced by bigger chains such as Kroger, which will inevitably have much lower prices due to their size. My friend Courtney Wilder works at an awesome small wine shop in east Nashville called Woodland Wine Merchant. I’ll be interested to hear her opinion on this. I know that I will not stop shopping at wine stores such as hers for quality wine because I would rather buy from a small local store where the people who work there are actual wine experts. But your average Joe probably doesn’t share that sentiment.

Enrique Aguirre/Getty Images

Enrique Aguirre/Getty Images

Scientists in Spain have successfully cloned a species of ibex that went extinct in 2000. The Pyrenean ibex died out due mainly to overhunting. However, the calf died only minutes after birth. The team plans to try again in a year or so. This is amazing and scary all at the same time. We are NOT close to creating a real-life Jurassic Park, however. In order to clone something that’s extinct, you have to grow the embryo in some sort of currently living creature. We don’t have anything living right now that is a close enough analog to a dinsaur for that to work. Maybe we’ll find a way around that problem one day, but not anytime soon.

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