Options for a Red Giant Future

01 The Solar System PIA10231, mod02

“Considering the possibilities of preserving the Earth during the Sun’s transition into a brighter and much larger object, the authors discuss alternatives like raising the Earth’s orbit to a safer distance or using a parasol to shield the planet from its rays. That might tide us over for a few billion years beyond the point where an unprotected Earth could survive as a habitable place. But the paper only begins here. After the sunshade, the authors go on to discuss their plan to create an artificial sun in the Kuiper Belt, where an Earth slowly moved into an outer orbit by gravitational swing-by techniques can eventually find its new home in a stable orbit around a life-giving source of heat and light. Call it an ArtSun, as they do, and ponder how much science fiction it might inspire.”

via Centauri Dreams.

Deep-sea superorganism

Portuguese Man-O-War (Physalia physalis).

“Here is some terrific video of a bioluminescent deep-sea siphonophore — an eerily fantastic creature that appears to be a single, large organism, but which is actually a colony of numerous individual jellyfish-like animals that behave and function together as a single entity. The individual units, called zooids, all share the same genetic material and each perform a specialized role within the colony. The best-known siphonophore is the poisonous Portuguese Man o’ War (Physalia physalis), which lives at the surface of the ocean, unlike the one shown in this video (filmed at a depth of 770 meters). Some siphonophore species can grow up to 40 meters (130 ft) in length.”

via Pink Tentacle.

Magnetic-Shield Cracks Found

Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska — The Aurora Bo...

‘An unexpected, thick layer of solar particles inside Earth’s magnetic field suggests there are huge breaches in our planet’s solar defenses, scientists said.

These breaches indicate that during the next period of high solar activity, due to start in 2012, Earth will experience some of the worst solar storms seen in decades.

Solar winds—charged particles from the sun—help create auroras, the brightly colored lights that sometimes appear above the Earth’s poles.

But the winds also trigger storms that can interfere with satellites’ power sources, endanger spacewalkers, and even knock out power grids on Earth.’

via National Geographic News.

‘Deep Throat’ betrayed murdered policeman in ‘Omaha Two’ case

Mark Felt

“William Mark Felt, the infamous ‘Deep Throat’ of Watergate fame, was no hero. Sometimes portrayed as heroically risking his job at the Federal Bureau of Investigation to expose President Richard Nixon’s illegal ‘Plumbers’ unit that burglarized Democratic National Committee headquarters, Felt coveted the job as director. Felt, who had engaged in and covered up dirty tricks and illegal conduct of FBI agents for years, was making a move to become the new boss.”

via OpEdNews.

Michael Connell Was Warned About Sabotage Before Crash

Plane crash

45-year-old Republican operative and experienced pilot had been warned not to fly his plane in the days before the crash.

“Connell…was apparently told by a close friend not to fly his plane because his plane might be sabotaged… And twice in the last two months Connell, who is an experienced pilot, cancelled two flights because of suspicious problems with his plane.”

via The Rag Blog.

Contrasting views of Cheney

The only patriotic solution
The only patriotic solution

‘Historian Julian Zelizer calls Vice President Dick Cheney the most influential vice president in history. Lanny Davis agrees with Joe Biden that Cheney was “the most dangerous.” To Grover Norquist, Cheney’s story is a “tragedy.”

To Steven G. Calabresi, the tragedy was the “Borking” of Cheney by his opponents. The nation should be thankful, said business executive Steve Steckler, that Cheney, not Biden, was “manning the tower walls” when the country was attacked on 9/11.

Such were the contrasting views of Cheney presented Monday by contributors to Politico’s Arena forum in a debate that inevitably will play out for decades to come. It followed Cheney’s appearance on Fox News Sunday, in which he would only go so far as to call himself a “consequential” vice president.

The conversation came as a CNN poll reported that nearly a quarter of those surveyed nationally thought Cheney was the worst vice president in history. Another 41 percent rated his performance as “poor.” ‘

via Politico.

Adrian Mitchell, R.I.P.

British Poetry’s Voice of the Left is Dead at 76: ‘Mr. Mitchell, a spiritual descendant of William Blake, Walt Whitman and Bertolt Brecht, combined ferocity, playfulness and simplicity, with a broad audience in mind, in his poetry, plays, novels, song lyrics, children’s books and adaptations for the stage. His voluminous output included white-hot tirades against the Vietnam War, rapturous nature poems, nonsense verse and children’s tales of a wooly mammoth who returns to the modern world.

“Mitchell is a joker, a lyrics writer, a word-spinner, an epigrammist, a man of passion and imagination,” the art critic and novelist John Berger once wrote. “Against the present British state, he opposes a kind of revolutionary populism, bawdiness, wit and the tenderness sometimes to be found between animals.”

via New York Times obituary.

My Literary Career So Far

As I prowled through Parentheses

I met an Robin and a Owl

My Grammarboots they thrilled

like bees

My Vowelhat did gladly growl

Tis my delight each Friedegg Night

To chomp a Verbal Sandwich

Scots Consonants light up my Pants

And marinade my Heart in Language

Alphabet Soup was all my joy!

From Dreadfast up to Winnertime

I swam, a naked Pushkinboy

Up wodka vaterfalls of rhyme

And reached the summit of Blue Howl

To find a shining Suit of Words

And joined an Robin and a Owl

In good Duke Ellington’s Band of Birds