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Yesterday Virgin Galactic revealed their SpaceShip Two to the public. This is officially the first publicly accessible spacecraft ever. For a pretty penny (about $200,000) you can book yourself a ride on this thing, and it will take you to the edge of space. You’ll experience about 5 minutes of virtual weightlessness. Check out this video animation showing the flight from launch to landing: (pardon the cheesy sound effects…)

I suppose it’s reasonable to hope that one day, during my lifetime, it will become affordable for the average individual to take spaceflights like these and experience such a humbling and inspiring sight as the earth from space….

I’ve always been a logical and reasonable person who respects the efforts of science and thorough research, however I do keep my mind open and understand that there’s a lot we don’t yet understand about all aspects of science. Medicine is a part of the scientific field of study. While this LiveScience article points out that many fields of “alternative medicine” have taken a beating this year, it’s important to note that most of the “treatments” they mention have been thoroughly dis-proven many times before, yet some people still continue to push these methods as legitimate treatment. I have to admit that I laughed a little after reading the section on Reiki. Anyone who believes that someone standing over them holding their hands above their head is going to heal their cancer is absolutely insane. Do these people still believe in Santa Claus? Or the tooth fairy? There’s a little thing called reality. Reality is testable and provable. And reality is all there is. Period. Please read that article if you have ever considered one of those “alternative treatments.” My own father is currently undergoing what some would call “alternative treatment” for early stages of prostate cancer, but what he’s doing (very specific dietary guidelines combined with some herbal supplements) has at least some proven results. It’s more of what you would call an “experimental treatment” that hasn’t been studied thoroughly enough to be accepted in the mainstream. I have nothing against this and of course hope the treatment works, but I also hope it will get more thorough research. But the treatments mentioned in that article have been debunked. They are total bullshit. If you believe in them you might as well believe the moon is made of cheese.

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After hearing 1 track from Belle & Sebastian frontmant Stuart Murdoch’s new soundtrack God Help the Girl, I’m totally sold on getting it. Check out this A.V. Club review of this soundtrack for his yet-to-be-filmed musical of the same title. I think I’m gonna fall in love with this album/soundtrack based on the review and listening to the new version of the single Funny Little Frog from B&S’s last album. I’ll let you know once I have it. I foresee a trip to Grimey’s in my near future to pick up both that and the Those Darlins album. Speaking of them… the track Red Light Love has just been posted over at Nashville Cream. Go grab it.

I’ve been a little lacking in the science department lately, so here’s a good chunk of science news and goodness for you.

NASA just launched a probe bound for the moon. The mission is called LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter), and its purpose is to check for frozen water on the surface or just below it, as well as more accurately map the surface. This is all to help us better prepare for our eventual permanent base on the moon. More at Space.com.

Virgin Galactic is hard at work building the much-anticipated Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert. Check out the website for some cool renderings of what it will look like.

This bit of news has been floating around for at least a week now, but it’s still pretty significant and worth posting. We now have absolute, rock-solid evidence of an ancient lake on Mars. We’ve been pretty damn sure water once flowed on the surface of Mars for at least 5 years now, but this latest observation of an ancient shoreline by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has erased all doubt. The Daily Galaxy has more on this, as well as this eye-gasm of a photograph taken from the International Space Station as it passed over Sarychev Volcano while it was erupting on June 12th:

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.

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