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Very exciting news in the world of planet hunting! Our nearest star (that’s not our own sun) Alpha Centauri has an Earth-mass planet orbiting it! The planet is 1.13 times the mass of Earth, but only takes 3.24 days to orbit the star. That short orbital period means it’s VERY close to its parent star Alpha Centauri B, and probably has a surface covered in hot molten lava- not a pleasant place. The Alpha Centauri system is famous because it’s so close to us and has been included in many sci fi movies and stories. It’s a triple-star system only 4.3 light years away, and if it does turn out to have a habitable planet, it would no doubt be the destination of our first interstellar travels, if and when we ever develop the technology for it. This planet was found using the radial velocity method, which observes the faint wobble that an orbiting planet exerts on its parent star. Apparently this wobble was so faint and hard to detect that its discovery is somewhat of a milestone in the art of planet hunting. Scientists also think that this discovery increases the chance that we will find a habitable world in the Alpha Centauri system. For more info check out Bad Astronomy or New Scientist.

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It’s been far too long since I mentioned Zooey Deschanel on this blog. Thus I bring to you a new cotton advertisement featuring the beloved actress/songstress, via Videogum:

One of the bands that literally shaped my formative years was Weezer. Subsequently, I am also a fan of former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp’s project The Rentals. They formed in 1994 and released two albums, but had a large gap in activity until about 2 years ago when they came out with a new EP and did a couple of tours with a revamped lineup. It wasn’t anything to write home about, but getting to see them live twice was totally rad. I saw them in Atlanta with Ozma, and again here in Nashville at City Hall (now Urban Outfitters). See more pics from that show on my flickr here. RCRD LBL features a download from the first installment of their new multi-media project called Songs About Time. The project also includes a photo series by Matt and a bunch of short films.

Speaking of RCRD LBL, I noticed that they also have a download/blurb about local star-tangled indie rock lady Cortney Tidwell. It’s a track called “17 Horses” from her upcoming album Boys. (The download page incorrectly states that the track is from her previous album.)

SNAKES ON A PLANE! IN REAL LIFE! Thanks Kelly.

Nashvillest posted a bunch of great links/ways to help victims of the Murfreesboro tornado that struck last Friday. Check it out.

This is both terrifying and fascinating. The stats for “since you started watching” really hit home. I’ve had the tab open for a good hour or so now- ~28,000 people born and ~11,500 people died. Population control will soon happen everywhere. It’s only a matter of time.

Vanderbilt’s Rites of Spring festival is happening this weekend. I’ll be there both days taking photos. Here’s the lineup/times:

Friday:
Battle of the Bands: 3:20-3:40pm
Battle of the Bands: 4:00-4:20pm
Run With Bulls: 4:40-5:10pm
Blueskyreality: 5:30-6:00pm
K’NAAN: 6:20-7:05pm
Okkervil River: 7:25-8:10pm
Santigold: 8:30-9:10pm
Q-Tip: 9:30-10:30pm
T.I.: 11:00-12:00am

Saturday:
Pico vs. Island Trees: 3:20-3:50pm
Stardeath and White Dwarfs: 4:05-4:35pm
Erick Baker: 4:50-5:20pm
Sara Watkins: 5:40-6:10pm
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears: 6:30-7:10pm
Grand Ole Party: 7:30-8:10pm
N.E.R.D.: 8:40-9:55pm
The Flaming Lips: 10:30-12:00am

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