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Sign the petition for Pluto's encounter with New Horizons to be honored with a new stamp

From the scientific vantage of medicine to the politics of abortion, low cost accessible contraception makes sense all the way around. Healthier women with more money to spend, fewer abortions and unwed mothers. But conservatives and a tiny handful of democratic enablers, who can't seem to read polls or just don't give a goddamn, continue to dream of the Republic of Gilead:

Any women who votes for these bozos is probably too far gone. For men, the last time birth control was illegal, there was no such thing as genetic testing and court mandated child support. Then again it wouldn’t take a theocracy long to strip those laws and ban genetic testing. After all, it’s the always women’s fault, and babies are always a blessing ... just ask any Handmaid.
Most of my male conservative buddies pretend not to care about the issue while whining that we're not going along and playing solely on their rhetorical terms. But I got a call from another reliable GOP voter this week -- after Rush's tirade -- and her first three words were, "You were right."  
  • It's been a good week for giant insects, extinct monster fleas with a hankering for Jurassic dino blood and extant "tree lobsters," gentle six-legged giants so striking in appearance that they might make interesting pets ...for the right kind of animal enthusiast anyway.
  • Mixing chemistry with climate change has unexpected consequences: An ongoing reaction with dissolved GHGs and seawater has made the ocean more acidic than anytime over the last 300 million years. Another, even more obscure consequence of polar warming might kick off a toxic reaction producing elemental mercury.
  • The asteroid reported to be on course for a possible 2040 rendezvous is no dino killer and highly unlikely to hit earth. If it beats the long odds, depending on the closing velocity, strike angle, and the composition of impactor and target, simulations predict  it would be similar to a standard hydrogen bomb in blast, without the deadly gamma ray flash, radioactive fallout, or blinding white fireball. It could annihilate entire city blocks, kick off house or forest fires in the vicinity, but the damage would be mostly localized.  
  • Pluto is the most exciting first-time encounter in the near future. But New Horizons doesn't need to settle for one stamp, there are dozens of Kuiper Belt Objects it could also reach after it sails by distant Pluto and Charon. Beyond even the last KBO is the mysterious Oort Cloud, reaching so deep into interstellar space that newly inferred rogue planets may float silently by. Could life exist on such a wandering world untethered to a star?

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by SciTech and Astro Kos.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Climate Change Leads To Volcanic Change According (5+ / 0-)

    to Bill McGuire, a Phd professor, who specializes in research that he says at first appears crazy, but upon close analysis holds up.

    •  Not per widest read CLIMATE BLOG.... (0+ / 0-)

      That would be WUWT  Watts Up With That...
      WUWT, best read climate blog
      sponsored in full by Heritage and the KOCH Bros.

      Please all sciece geeks here if you like to quibble with
      climate deniers here is the place to do it.

      It has won for 'best blog' two years in a row from some
      'international organization' that was left unnamed!

      We are the 99% ... we will be heard.

      by LOrion on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 10:29:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Cool bugs. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, eeff, Lonely Liberal in PA

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:16:41 AM PST

    •  I thought the tree lobsters were adorable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My partner recoiled in horror from the photo, as have about half the people he's shown it to.

      Different strokes and all that.  I wouldn't mind wandering outside and finding a tree lobster in the garden.  He'd probably never leave the house again.

      (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

      by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:59:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Uhhhhhhh, 140 Meter Body May Be MUCH More (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, DarkSyde

    damaging than "entire city blocks" if it were to hit.

    The Tunguska body which seems to have given an air burst has been estimated at 60 meters, but there are newer estimates that could put it as small as 40 meters across.

    This from NASA in 2007 so I suppose it could be outdated by now. The scientician cable channels have been covering the shrinking size estimates.

    If it's comparable in size to Tunguska and had the same kind of explosion, I'm sure it would be extremely destructive over all the territory of any major city with a direct hit.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:20:15 AM PST

    •  I (0+ / 0-)

      ran impacts sims using various assumptions, the worst I got was in the 50 - 75 MT range assuming the absolute worst -- note that even that blast is dwarfed by Mt Saint Helens or Pinotibo. There's no good direct evidence for what it's really made of internally. Statistically the most likely comp is loose rock and dust, a self gravating gravel heap, which brings it into the 1 MT range or less. If it stayed together as one piece duing close approach and didn't unravel fan or out or calve under tidal effects, and hit a city, yeah it would be like a medium sized nuke sans the fallout and gamma ray flash. It would glass several block and set off fires for a few miles out. That's a terrible disaster, it's just that's it not a dino killer or anywhere close to one.

  •  Don't forget the UM GA unionization story. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maizenblue, prodigal, foresterbob

    Being at ground zero I've heard quite a bit about it, but I feel pretty helpless - I support the grad assistants unionizing, but the decision was made well before I moved to Michigan.  When the state elected the hard-right Rick Snyder and put Republican majorities in both state houses, then refused to recall him when he promptly started hiking taxes on poor retirees.

    (What happened is that the state labor board ruled that the assistance could hold a unionization vote, so the Republicans are fast-tracking a bill specifically denying grad assistants the right to hold that vote through the legislature.  It's gone through faster then any other bill in living memory there; Snyder is expected to sign it.  More information for those interested is in

    Doesn't help that I'm basically a tech on a year-only job, in a politically vulnerable position.  I learned the hard way at Ohio State as a grad student to keep my head down - the vast majority of faculty, no matter how liberal their politics otherwise, turn into raving Rush Limbaughs when it comes to having their grad students or postdocs unionize.

    •  Universities . . . the best education the 17th (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      century can provide.

      I spent my whole life in academia and the exploitation of students (student athletes, exorbitant tuitions, teaching assistants, etc.) and non-tenured staff has steadily worsened over the last 30 years.

      Way past time for some significant reforms.  Have a feeling though that -- like that same Church that the university is modeled on -- academia will continue merrily along, world without end.

      Still, there are alternatives budding up here and there . . . and a good point about "liberal academics."  I've run into that as well.  It's easy when your privileged.

      Thinking is so last century. -- Nicho

      by prodigal on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:38:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good Morning (6+ / 0-)

    Hoping the people that got hit with the bad weather over the last few days are finding the help they need.

    Happy Saturday to all in Kosland

  •  Well you know i loved the bug stories! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, Lonely Liberal in PA

    by TexMex on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:41:48 AM PST

  •  Good Morning DarkSyde! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    matching mole did good this week too!

    by TexMex on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:42:48 AM PST

  •  I read the article on the "tree lobsters," (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, rb608

    but I wonder if they passed the full lobster test: are they tasty, boiled, with lemon and butter? For reasons orher than the insects' rarity I suspect our intrepid scientists stopped short of finding that one out. :)

    God be with you, Occupiers. God IS with you.

    by Hohenzollern on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:45:18 AM PST

    •  And wondering about any microbes from (0+ / 0-)

      the distant past that may now have awakened in a very different ecosphere.

      This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

      by Words In Action on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:57:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Speaking of science, could anyone explain (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eeff, Words In Action

    the weather in the midwest? Is it part of some climate pattern or something?

    •  All I can say is, if it does, (0+ / 0-)

      it will have absolutely no impact on D.C. politics or those who are most sympathetic toward our leaders there, as if what matters is explaining why things are the way they are rather than, in matters with extreme consequences, plowing through or running around the obstacles to get the samn job done.

      There are multiple levels of denial:

      - denying climate change (some suggest it should be called "energy change" is even occuring
      - denying it is significantly man-influenced
      - denying it will have a significant, global impact on lives, health, the economy and virtually any other
      - denying we can do anything, that no one can be held accountable

      I would argue from reading diaries and comments here on DKos that most kossacks embrace at least one of these forms of denial, whether intentional, unwittingly or by capitulation (having to do with the last form of denial).

      The first three "denialisms" above false according to upwardsw of 97% of the scientific community, higher if you subtract meteorolgists, the vast majority of whom do not have climate science education even to the bachelor's level, and most of whom work for corporations which have a dog in the race.

      The last denialism is false because, while it is true that we cannot avoid climate change, we can certainly have a dramtic effect upon it. That, of course, requires dramatic cultural change, which requires dramatic commitment among everyone who has not succumbed to any of the first three denialism.

      As with class war, climate change has a huge moral dynamic. Failing both tests in the space of 30-40 years will, IMHO, represent a monumental failure of character, not just of the 1% who pose the greatest obstacle, but of everyone else who fails to make changing the outcome an imperative that instructs everything they do.

      This, too, shall pass. Just like the last global ecological cataclysm. C'est la vie, dude. Take a chill pill, recite the serenity prayer, go with the flow and the moderates into that "goodnight".

      by Words In Action on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 07:17:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've seen a bolide once. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There was a brief but excellent meteorite, followed shortly by a muffled slap sound.  In retrospect, it occurred to me that the sound followed too closely to have been associated with the visual sighting, but I assumed the sound was generated prior to the burn.  I'd love to see that again; it was very cool.

    The Confederacy killed more Americans than al Queda.

    by rb608 on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 06:50:22 AM PST

  •  The increasing acidity of the oceans (1+ / 0-)

    is truly scary.  The consequences could be catastrophic, yet almost nobody is talking about it.

    Anything underneath the surface of the ocean is "out of sight, out of mind" to most people.

  •  Tree lobster birthing video very cool. (1+ / 0-)

    Gives new meaning to the word "contortionist".

    Glad those puppies are not extinct.

    On the other hand, also glad that giant fleas are.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 07:03:36 AM PST

  •  The RATE of acidification (0+ / 0-)

    The report says that the rate of acidification is at a 300 million year high, not the acidity itself. Which is a bit like saying we just jumped off a cliff, but we haven't hit the bottom yet. This UNESCO acidity faq has some pretty scary graphs.

  •  I waded into the comments on Limbaugh on Yahoo (0+ / 0-)

    The ignorance about contraceptives was stunning to me.  A man my age, (71) said that the average IQ of these posters was about 43.  In addition to ignorance about oral and barrier contraception, they were also ignorant about spelling and grammer.

    I don't think it's necessarily a low IQ.  It's that they were taught from an early age to hold formal education in contempt.  This explains the anti-science, anti-education policies of the current Republican Party.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 07:35:29 AM PST

  •  I was with you till "thank's for your support." (0+ / 0-)

    If they put out an illiterate request, you can forget me. At least they could bother to have someone proofread. Send me something I can endorse, and I'll do it; but to have a video made with this sort of screaming error is just plain embarrassing.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 08:31:40 AM PST

  •  I was screaming at my tv last night. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Over the science-denying, conservative, corporatist idiot Bill Maher had on.  His intransigence on climate change was insanely frustrating.  I felt sorry for Neil deGrasse Tyson trying to have a conversation with that idiot.  Tyson tried to break through the idiot's "it's a hoax" beliefs by trying to get him to look to nature and how animals and plants are migrating out of their normal habitable zones to new ones and how that reveals that climate change is totally happening, but the idiot just wasn't interested in reality.

  •  Marine Algae may produce less oxygen in acidic (0+ / 0-)

    waters. Most oxygen produced comes from marine algae. What do you want to breathe when its gone.

    "You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back, Leon." Blade Runner

    by OHdog on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 11:36:32 AM PST

  •  thanks DarkSyde (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Mar 03, 2012 at 04:18:32 PM PST

  •  Will New Horizons also leave the solar system? (0+ / 0-)

    If so when?  Looks like it's really cooking compared to the Voyagers.

    A bad idea isn't responsible for those who believe it. ---Stephen Cannell

    by YellerDog on Sun Mar 04, 2012 at 12:24:38 AM PST

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