October 7th, 2013
Due to the Denver excursion to see Gravity in IMAX 3D and visit a haunted house (The 13th Floor), I didn’t have the time to post yesterday. So here we are today…
I have a few story clusters I’ll start with.
First, Gravity was a pretty cool movie, ground-breaking (space-breaking?) even, although it has some flaws. A review from Christian Ready. Some critical tweets from Neil DeGrasse Tyson (and a reply to at least one). Buzz Aldrin on Gravity. Phil Plait on Gravity. The consensus, which I share, is that it’s an incredible movie with some small errors or points of confusion. And on a related note: the ten most dangerous space walks.
Next story cluster is about NASA and Congressional interference, both the obvious one (the shutdown) and a less obvious one (black listing China and Chinese scientists — even ones working in the USA). NASA is the agency most hard hit by the shutdown. Yes indeed. See it here. Scientists are at home. Some telescopes have shut down science operations. Some scientists (like me!) are waiting for approved grant money to come in, and waiting, and waiting… Here’s some more details from the AAS. And Congress, back when NASA was open and they were talking with them, told them that playing with China was prohibited. Chinese astronomers working in the USA often stay and remain citizens, and generally speaking do not spy — we’d love people to see our work! But they’re being blocked from attending meetings at NASA centers and this is leading to boycotts. This issue is a little nuanced, but basically it’s politics having a negative impact on science and scientists. Catalogs of exoplanets are not exactly issues of national security.
50 People’s “most intellectual” joke. Some good and very nerdy ones here.
Another brief article on Einstein’s brain, with more evidence similar to what I’ve seen before.
The Nobel prize is really annoying. Some good points from Sean Carroll.
Kind of wish Hal Clement was still around to write Shellworld.
“Weird” masks to give you supervision and superhearing. They will let you spot the person whispering to their friend that you’re wearing a weird mask.
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