I hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s tomfoolery. Everyone seems to hate April Fool’s but I enjoy all the jokes. I always look forward to what kind of ridiculousness Google will cook up each year. Here’s the Wikipedia page with a history of their pranks.

Photo by Steve Cross

Photo by Steve Cross

Shoot the Mountain have been getting a lot of buzz lately and playing a lot of shows, but everyone’s been wondering when their first release would happen. Well, it’s finally happening on May 16th on Theory 8 Records, and it’s an EP (presumably self-titled?). A release show will happen on that date at the Basement with Totally Snake (WTF?!?) opening. They’re also playing on April 9th at the End opening for Appleseed Cast.

The Features just released details of their upcoming tour with The Dexateens. They’ll be hitting clubs all over the southeast, northeast, and midwest later this month and into May. Oh, and they’ll also be featured in the July issue of Nylon Magazine.

More comprehensive local music news coverage can be found at We Own This Town and Out The Other.

Four Russian cosmonauts and two European astronauts volunteered to be locked up together in a simulation of a spacecraft for 105 days. This is part of an experiment to study the psychological and physical effects of being stuck with 5 other people for an extended period of time in cramped quarters. The experiment will help scientists and engineers plan for an eventual manned-mission to Mars. This will be very interesting to monitor.

I’ve been reading a few different posts and articles over the last week or so regarding a recent vote on science standards for the Texas Board of Education. The board held a vote on several standards for science education and it was mostly a travesty, the biggest of which was the deletion of the statement that the universe is “roughly 14 billion years old.” Sure, there are several different numbers out there that vary by a few million years, but everyone in the entire scientific community agrees that it’s pretty damn close to 14 billion years. A variance of a few million years is NIL when you look at the big picture, and is definitely covered by term “roughly.” There’s absolutely no evidence to suggest otherwise! One faint glimmer of hope is that the board voted down a proposed change that would allow the teaching of “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. If this had passed, it would’ve been just one more way for Creationism to creep its ugly way into the scientific classroom. This article on the NewScientist blog sums it all up very well. I suggest reading it. I cannot get over the quote of board chairman Dr. Don McLeroy, who is quoted as saying, “I disagree with these experts. Someone has got to stand up to experts.” HA! Yea, you tell ’em Dr. McLeroy! Tell those experts that they don’t know what they’re talking about! Afterall, they’ve spent the majority of their lives studying REAL science, FACTS and EVIDENCE… how could they possibly know what they’re talking about? I find it amazing that this man (a dentist) was able to get through medical school with such anti-scientific beliefs. I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone that dumb working on my teeth.

Ok enough ire for one day. I’ll leave you with this hilarious video clip from a 50’s sci-fi movie. I really hope this is how they dance in the future.

A sneak peek from the new season of LOST. I’m officially excited. I might even try to start having LOST viewing parties. I don’t really have people over to my place very much… if at all, so here’s to trying something new.

What does Obama have in mind for NASA’s Constellation program? Ok, I get it, we have budget problems… but we can’t just throw away all the hard work NASA has put into the successor to the space shuttle- the Constellation program. We have to see Ares I, Ares V, and the Orion capsule through to their completion. As quoted in the article, those programs are years ahead of any alternative. Changing course now would only widen the gap between the space shuttle and its successor. Mr. Obama, I love you, but please leave Constellation alone. For that matter, leave NASA’s budget alone… I’m all about your “scalpel” approach to budget cuts, but take the scalpel elsewhere. Too many people see space exploration as “unnecessary” or think “oh, it can wait.” The science that NASA does is VITAL to the progress of the human race. It’s more of a “big picture” mentality, but we’ll never achieve the goals of putting men on Mars, and eventually colonizing other worlds if we keep putting off the first steps toward them. NASA has been put on the backburner with increasing budget cuts ever since the end of the Apollo missions. The nation must get out of the mentality that space exploration and scientific discovery are secondary to the problems we face here on earth, because the scientific breakthroughs/discoveries that come as a result of said exploration will probably help to solve many of those problems- the biggest of which is the energy crisis and global warming. Sorry about the soap box, but I feel like I need to start including more of my own thoughts into this blog rather than just posting lots of links.

I was unaware of the legislation that passed in 2007 to phase out incandescent light bulbs by 2014. I’m glad it passed… but this article points out that the mercury contained in the new compact fluorescent bulbs will pose a major environmental hazard if people don’t dispose of them properly.

In local music, The Features have a special Christmas package deal going at their website. You can get their latest album Some Kind of Salvation and a new Tshirt as a package deal. Get it while it’s hot.