our crowded galaxy

by twit

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/23/Marta.jpg/200px-Marta.jpg

via the BBC on February 15, 2009:

There could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, a US conference has heard.  Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science said many of these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms.

… based on the limited numbers of planets found so far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one “Earth-like” planet. This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable of supporting life.

… Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify how many intelligent civilisations might be out there. The research suggested there could be thousands of them.

actually, tens of thousands:

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a … grease gun?

by lestro

Last week during a space walk, Captain Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper “dropped” a tool bag worth approximately $100,000.

Dropped isn’t really the right word. It barely slipped away from her glove and floated out of reach, but in space, that was enough to put the bag – about the size of a hiker’s backpack – into orbit.

It’s about 1,000 feet in front of the International Space Station and should eventually burn up in the atmosphere. It is currently about 220 miles up and cruising along at about 17,500 mph.

Even better, the bag is now visible from earth. Read more of this post

I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me

by lestro

So this week the New York Times has a cool article about patches made for secret military organizations as a team-building, frat boy, secret-handshake-and-head-nod sort of things, with the obvious nerdly tinges that comes with being scientists:

Wizards appear on several patches. The one hurling lightning bolts comes from a secret Air Force base at Groom Lake, northwest of Las Vegas in a secluded valley. Mr. Paglen identifies its five clustered stars and one separate star as a veiled reference to Area 51, where the government tests advanced aircraft and, U.F.O. buffs say, captured alien spaceships….

A patch from a Groom Lake unit shows the letter sigma with the “buster” slash running through it, as in the movie “Ghost Busters.” “Huge Deposit — No Return” reads its caption. Huge Deposit, Mr. Paglen writes, “indicates the bomb load deposited by the bomber on its target, while ‘No Return’ refers to the absence of a radar return, meaning the aircraft was undetectable to radar.”

In an interview, Mr. Paglen said his favorite patch was the dragon holding the Earth in its claws, its wings made of American flags and its mouth wide open, baring its fangs. He said it came from the National Reconnaissance Office, which oversees developing spy satellites. “There’s something both belligerent and weirdly self-critical about it,” he remarked. “It’s representing the U.S. as a dragon with the whole world in its clutches.”

but one of the best really is this beauty, “worn by DC-130 flight crews testing the Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missiles, known as Killer Whale cruise missiles. The control planes were Nos. 716 and 526.”

The story is ostensibly about a book (“I Could Tell You but Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed by Me”) that looks at these patches and the behind-the-scenes world of organizations that officially don’t exist:

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Captain Bubba and the Spitzer Space Vixens

by lestro

Richard Russo gives Eliot Spitzer the Law and Order treatment:

My fictional Eliot would be complex, would contain paradoxes. He would not be a hypocrite. My Eliot would believe with his whole heart in his crusades against the corrupt and the powerful and the privileged, even as he worked studiously to undermine his legacy. Fiction can accommodate such paradoxes, provided they’re explained.

It has everything: Sex, money, power, stunning hypocrisy, flawed leading character AND a high-class call girl with big time music industry dreams and a history of abuse. Shit, someone call Tom Wolfe quick before Russo writes it.

but more likely I expect an actual Law and Order episode (special victims unit, maybe) to already be in the works based on this sordid little tale…

by twit

it will probably be a two-hour special.

I’d rather see Star Trek handle it… because if Star Trek adapted it, it might look something like this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/dd/Vina.jpg/250px-Vina.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/2/23/Marta.jpg/200px-Marta.jpg

by lestro

I watched an episode on saturday in which beings with great powers disguised themselves as humans and took over the ship and the crew realized that they didn’t understand their human emotions and feelings and had to distract them so Kirk went about trying to seduce the blond woman who was really a 100-foot-long multi-tentacled alien. gotta love that guy.

it’s like if Bubba were a starship captain.

and the ‘beings with great powers’ are apparently kelvans and hidden tentacles or not, it’s tough to blame him…

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morning cartoons

by twit

aw, how sweet:I call him Baby Poo. He calls me, ‘Bitch, get over here.‘”

http://jezebel.com/assets/resources/2008/02/icecoco021508.jpg

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morning cartoons

by twit

It’s 2008. Here’s Your Jet Pack

http://discovermagazine.com/2008/feb/it.s-2008-here.s-your-jet-pack/key_image

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From the Planet of the Intoxicated Stewardesses

by twit

drb.stewardesses.drunk

via the dark roasted blend.

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Ancient Space Girl Dance

by twit

Raquel Welch via YouTube, thx to Boing Boing.

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