Mar 312014

Cosmic eXploration: Hubble eXtreme Deep Field

In 2004, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) provided a ground-breaking view of distant galaxies. In 2009, those data were augmented with new infrared observations to create the HUDF-IR. In 2012, the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (HXDF) combined those images along with a complete census of archival datasets to see yet farther into the universe. The HXDF contains roughly 5,500 galaxies stretching over 13 billion light-years of space, and represents astronomy’s deepest view into the cosmos.

This scientific visualization depicts a flight through the HXDF galaxies. Using measured and estimated distances for approximately 3,000 galaxies, astronomers and visualizers constructed a three-dimensional model of the galaxy distribution. The camera traverses through the thirteen-billion-light-year dataset and ends in blackness, not because more distant galaxies do not exist, but because such galaxies have not yet been observed. For cinematic reasons, the exceedingly vast distances in the 3D model have been significantly compressed.

[youtube UTmStdmE6o4]

 Posted by at 8:34 pm
Mar 312014

Ukraine’s Darth Vader bids to lead nation to the dark side

The Ukraine Internet Party has nominated Darth Vader to run for President of Ukraine. Sure, why not.

A Google translation of the UIP’s page about this says:

“I am ready to take responsibility for the fate of the state if countrymen will have me such a high honor. Only I can make out of the republic – the empire to return to its former power, lost territory and pride in the country “- said the Lord of the Sith Darth Vader .

Sure, why not.


 Posted by at 12:19 pm
Mar 312014

James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion

In case the name “James Lovelock” isn’t immediately familiar, he’s the feller who came up with the “Gaia Hypothesis” that the thin film of organic scum, water, oxygen and nitrogen on the surface of Earth is a self-regulating system, effectively a single organism. This has been an important feature of the environmentalist movement for many years now.

Environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts, according to James Lovelock.

The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book, that “it’s just as silly to be a [climate] denier as it is to be a believer” and that fracking and nuclear power should power the UK, not renewable sources such as windfarms.

 Posted by at 12:06 pm
Mar 312014

Parents who deliberately starve children of love face jail under new Cinderella Law

This one might be a bit tricky to enforce:

The new offence would make it a crime to do anything that deliberately harmed a child’s “physical intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development”.

This could include deliberately ignoring a child, or not showing them any love, over prolonged periods, damaging a child’s emotional development.

There are lots of reasons why a parent might not show their child love. Two that come to mind:

1) the parent is incapable of love

2) The parent is incapable of *showing* love

3) The child is a horrible monster who has erased any love the parent may have had

And as for harming the childs intellectual development… I  wonder if that will include sending said children to madrassas or teaching them other anti-science rubbish such as creationism or anti-nuclear activism…


Study finds no link between medical marijuana legalization and crime

“In fact, we found some evidence of decreasing rates of some types of violent crime, namely homicide and assault,” said Dr. Robert Morris.


 Posted by at 9:51 am
Mar 312014


Reminder: Today is your last day of open enrollment and you must sign up for Obamacare now. The Obamacare web site has been helpfully rendered inoperable for your convenience


Spokeswoman says engineers “are in control” of structural defects at 420-foot-high dam in seismically-active area. If she’s wrong, Africa could lose 1.3GW of grid power, 3.5 million people and the capital of Zambia

 Posted by at 9:35 am
Mar 312014

Oy. If you need to load up on a steaming load of codswallop, here ya go:

Why You Shouldn’t Share Those Emotional ‘Deaf Person Hears for the First Time’ Videos

I’m a CODA – Child of Deaf Adults – and involved in the Deaf activist community. [Note: writing Deaf with a capital D separates people who can’t hear from people who consider deafness a major part of their cultural and political identity.] So usually I’m thrilled when people read an article about people in the Deaf community or see a cool video in American Sign Language and think to send it to me. It means that I’m making a difference, however small, in helping to educate people about the Deaf community. However, the “deaf person hears for the first time” videos don’t make me smile. They make me want to throw my computer out a window.

These “inspiring” videos continue to push one of the most problematic narratives in the history of the Deaf community: that deaf people are broken and therefore need to be “fixed.”

Look… if you are deaf, you *are* broken. Or at the very least, you have broken equipment. Same goes if you are blind. Or paralyzed. Or missing limbs. Or diabetic. Or have cancer. Or you’re tarded, psychotic, alcoholic.

A car that is otherwise functional but has a non-functional radio *is* broken. But a human, unlike a car, has half a billion years of hearing heritage behind it. Humans are *supposed* to hear. That’s why they come with ears as standard equipment.

But deafness seems to be fairly unique in having some sort of “identity” that other forms of organic brokenness doesn’t have. How many blind people do you see bitchin’ about technologies that might allow other blind people to see? How many quadriplegics think being trapped in a wheelchair is Pure Awesomeness?

My guess why deafness is – at least sometimes – different in this regard is that the deaf  have their own form of communication. Sure, the blind have Braille… but they can generally hold a regular conversation with anyone else in society, face to face. But the deaf are often stuck with sign language. This separates them from conversing with the great majority of society. So I guess it makes a measure of sense that some in the “deaf community” would see themselves as apart.

So, why are these videos so popular, and why does a new one make the rounds on social media every few months? Because viral videos aren’t about the people who are in them, they’re about the people who watch them.

These videos are of interest to at least *me* because they show that humans can sometimes overcome that evil bitch-goddess “Mother Nature.” What nature made wrong, or at least could not repair, humans sometimes can.  Despite the fact that many people think we live in a world that was made for us and which is precisely suited to us, the fact is that the universe is out to get us. The slightest slipup will take out an individual or a village; the amount of energy required to exterminate the entire human species is entirely trivial within just the confines of the solar system, never mind the galaxy at large. So if we want to survive as a species, we must be ever vigilant against nature. And as unfortunately prone as humans are to gullibility, having people complain about clear medical progress, or complain about other people celebrating that progress, is just not helpful.

 Posted by at 1:11 am