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Plans for a “space resort” have been in the books of many commercial aerospace corporations for years and years, but now it’s actually about to happen. Space.com reports that a European company based Barcelona, Spain plans to open the first space hotel in 2012. I must admit my doubts that it will actually be ready and operational by then, but it’s a pretty cool notion nonetheless. The company even reports that 43 paying guests have booked a stay. Don’t get your hopes up though, as a 3-night trip is currently carrying a price tag of $4.4 million. Even if they don’t hit the expected opening date in 2012, it will eventually happen, almost assuredly by 2020. It’s quite possible that space vacations could eventually come down in price enough that your average Joe might be able to afford one.

The well-known Drake Equation has long been used by scientists to approximate how many intelligent might exist elsewhere in our galaxy. A major problem exists with the numbers, though, because depending on your level of optimism and reasoning to arrive at certain variable within the equation, you can get a result ranging from millions of intelligent civlizations to almost none. That’s a HUGE variability and thus the Drake Equation really isn’t very effective, at least not until we can arrive at more concrete variables to plug into it. Some new research from astronomers at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette may actually give us a better idea of just how common life, and intelligent life, is in our galaxy. The research has found that Sun-like stars are the best places to look for planets with intelligent life. Not surprising at all, but what may surprise you is the fact that Sun-like stars are actually pretty rare. Our Sun is bigger and hotter than 93% of the stars in our galaxy (and presumably the universe), which means that the habitable zone around most stars is closer than the earth is to the Sun. Their research has also shown that bigger stars (like our Sun, or even bigger) are more likely to form small, rocky planets around them. Since bigger stars generally have shorter lifespans, you can see how there’s a sweet spot in star size where the star is big enough to be likely to have small, rocky planets, yet small enough that the overall lifespan of the star is longer than the time it takes for intelligent life to develop. (It took about 4.5 billion years for us to develop on earth.) We have a pretty good idea of how many stars are in the Milky Way, as well as the size distribution. That means about 10% of the stars in the Milky Way fall into that “sweet spot” category. Since there are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy overall, that means about 10 billion stars likely to have earth-like planets and live long enough for those planets to develop intelligent life. I’d say those are some pretty damn good odds of alien civilizations out there, and that’s just in our own little galaxy, which is one of BILLIONS. Most astronomers and astrobiologists agree there’s a pretty good chance we’re not alone. To me that is really exciting. (Via Astrobiology Magazine and Space.com)

Now that I’ve rambled way too much, enjoy this Time interview with one of my favorite “celebrity astronomers,” Neil deGrasse Tyson: (Via Snarkmarket)

And then enjoy watching Mythbusters’ Adam Savage give a vial containing one of his farts to Craig Ferguson as a gift. I could go on and on about how wonderful Mythbusters is. But I’ll spare you that rant. (Via Bad Astronomy)

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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart totally rocked me Saturday night. Click the image to go the Scene slideshow with my pics. The opening band Zaza were a little too spacey/snoozy for me… I just kinda found myself bored with them after a while. It was basically one big long song for the whole set. But POBPAH totally killed and I loved every minute of it. The singer was super cool when I chatted with him for a minute at the merch booth. I should’ve bought something. Maybe they are a tiny bit over-hyped, but I stick with my previous assertion that they will have at least some staying power beyond their blog hype-wave. OK… I’ll shut up about them now.

I’ll be at the Death Cab for Cutie show tonight taking photos. They’ll also be up on the Scene website tomorrow.

Some links for today-

Oddee lists the 10 scariest/most dangerous roads in the world. I’d kinda like to drive on one of those mountain roads just once. Just for the thrill…. Yes I’m crazy.

John Harrington at Photo Business News & Forum explains the device that Google is using to digitize all of the books in the world. It uses 2 cameras and has an automatic page changer. According to this article, we’re about halfway finished with digitizing all the world’s books! I had no idea… but it’s pretty damn cool.

Some very rare video footage of Virgin Galactic’s White Knight 2 aircraft has been posted at Wired.com. This odd looking plane is the “mothership” for their SpaceShip 2 aircraft, which will soon be taking tourists to the edge of space. The empty space in between the two fuselages is where SpaceShip 2 will hang. Ground-breaking is scheduled to begin on the Spaceport America facility very soon. It won’t be long before Virgin will be launching wealthy citizens into space for fun. Via Daily Galaxy.

A recent survey on the opinions of Americans on the use of torture to get information from suspected terrorists reveals the true nature of many Christians. These results are terrifying, though not at all surprising in my opinion. Most Christians are absurdly hypocritical and choose to ignore certain teachings of the Bible when it doesn’t suit their political agenda. Torture is utterly inhumane/barbaric and there is NEVER an excuse to use it on someone who is only suspected of terrorism. If a person has been put before a court of law and properly convicted of terrorism that involves the murder of 100’s or 1,000’s of people, then maybe it could be justified only if it is necessary to gain information which will save 100’s or 1,000’s of lives. Via Clusterflock.

Today Google has announced the world’s first real artificial intelligence called CADIE, or “Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity.” This is a milestone in technological achievement, people. Just look at CADIE’s homepage.

In music news, Bjork has agreed to join Led Zeppelin as their new lead singer for their upcoming reunion tour. Via You Ain’t No Picasso.

Expedia.com has just announced that they’re offering super package deals for trips to Mars. Of particular interest is the Utopia Spa & Resort, which was obviously modeled after a very familiar comic-inspired structure right here in Nashville. While there, you can take part in some amazing activities such as Dust Surfing, Super Low-G Martial Arts, Mars Rover Rides, and best of all, the Pareidolia Tour, “including the Smiley Face Crater, the Chryse Alien Head, and even the mysterious Face on Mars.” Via Nashvillest.

Finally, today we bring you the deleted sex scene from Twilight.

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