A Special Thanks To Ken Ham and Bill Nye

A special thanks to Ken Ham, the Science Bloke, and Bill Nye, the Science Guy, for getting together last night to debate Creationism.

For Bill Nye, he was kind of in a “damned if you do” and a “damned if you don’t” situation regarding whether or not to debate the issue. I appreciate his courage to do what many have refused to do. I believe we all were enriched by the debate.

Thanks again guys. I hope you’ll do it again some time.

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Felix Baumgartner Does it!

Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos have done it!

Felix ascended to a world record height today, setting new records all the way. There is no official confirmation that he broke Mach, but it looks like a sure thing.

We prayed for Felix and watched his descent all the way. Incredible!

Congratulations Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos!

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Time Lords Discovered!

Cue Dr. Who theme music please…

Know any time-space synaesthetes?

New Scientist is reporting on a fascinating study out of UCSD; New Scientist says “two per cent of readers may be surprised to discover that they are members of an elite group with the power to perceive the geography of time.”

These individuals perceive months of the year as “circular shapes” and can even see them “projected out into the real world”. Does that sound cool or what?

Check it out at New Scientist.

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NASA Finds Shrimp Beneath Antarctic Ice

NASA has made a surprising discovery beneath the West Antarctic ice sheet.

shrimp beneath Ross ice shelf
shrimp beneath Ross ice shelf

600ft beneath the Ross Ice shelf, NASA has discovered a lone shrimp swimming about and clinging to a cable holding a bore-hole camera.

Where life wasn’t expected, life was found. In the words of Dr. Ian Malcolm, “Life will find a way.”

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Man Threatens To Reveal Coke Classic Recipe

I gotta big kick out this one.

Over at Live Science, Benjamin Radford writes in his article on product secret recipes that he had planned to reveal the secret formula for Coke Classic until he received a threatening email:

Coca Cola Classic Summer Flag
Coca Cola Classic Summer Flag

I had planned to reveal the whole Coke Classic formula, but as I prepared this column I got a threatening e-mail from someone who told me that if I did, he would “get medieval” on me. He referred obliquely to various implements of torture including thumb screws and the Billy Ray Cyrus single “Achy Breaky Heart.”

Huge guffaws boys! By the way, Mello Yellow is a favorite of mine.


Image: Coca-Cola Company

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Hubble Finds Crown Of The King—NGC 7049

NASA/ESA reports hubble’s capture of a striking image from NGC 7049. The image resembles the crown of thorns placed atop Jesus’ head by Roman soldiers.

In a press release, NASA/ESA reports:

The NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured this image of NGC 7049, a mysterious looking galaxy on the border between spiral and elliptical galaxies. NGC 7049 is found in the constellation of Indus, and is the brightest of a cluster of galaxies, a so-called Brightest Cluster Galaxy (BCG). Typical BCGs are some of the oldest and most massive galaxies. They provide excellent opportunities for astronomers to study the elusive globular clusters lurking within.

Crown of the King—NGC 7049

The globular clusters in NGC 7049 are seen as the sprinkling of small faint points of light in the galaxy’s halo. The halo – the ghostly region of diffuse light surrounding the galaxy – is composed of myriads of individual stars and provides a luminous background to the remarkable swirling ring of dust lanes surrounding NGC 7049’s core. Globular clusters are very dense and compact groupings of a few hundreds of thousands of stars bound together by gravity. They contain some of the first stars to be produced in a galaxy. NGC 7049 has far fewer such clusters than other similar giant galaxies in very big, rich groups. This indicates to astronomers how the surrounding environment influenced the formation of galaxy halos in the early Universe.

The image was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys on Hubble, which is optimised to hunt for galaxies and galaxy clusters in the remote and ancient Universe, at a time when our cosmos was very young.

The constellation of Indus, or the Indian, is one of the least conspicuous in the southern sky. It was named in the 16th century by Dutch astronomer Petrus Plancius from observations made by Dutch navigator Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Dutch explorer Frederick de Houtman.


video: ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. L. Christensen).
Image: NASA, ESA and W. Harris (McMaster University, Ontario, Canada)

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Taepoding Missile Launch Partial Success: Universe Today

Ian O’Neill at Universe Today believes North Korea’s launch of a Taepoding missile was a partial success.

O’Neill writes, “The Taepoding-2 rocket didn’t make it into space at all, and rather than orbiting the Earth, the communications satellite now rests at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. However, this is a worrying development, the missile had a successful first-staging, propelling the rocket over Japanese airspace, a technical success in itself…”

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Could Space Junk Be Weaponized?

I was just thinking about that piece of Russian space junk that blazed a trail along the U.S. East Coast the other night. Is it possible to weaponize space junk?

Could large rocket parts also have a secondary purpose? Would it be possible to install a guidance system to maneuver the object to hit a ground based target much like a MIRV re-entry vehicle?

Once again, I’m just thinking, what if a piece of space junk were to hit the White House? Oops, ahhh that was an accident…

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