Another Day, Another Science Discovery

So, religion, any new discoveries about how the universe works since we last spoke?  No.  Too bad.

Because science has done it again.

Today the collaboration for the LHCb experiment at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider announced the discovery of two new particles in the baryon family. The particles, known as the Xi_b’- and Xi_b*-, were predicted to exist by the quark model but had never been seen before.

More confirmation of theories we already have about what subatomic particles existed and when.

Landing a Robot on a Comet

Today, the European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet that moves through our solar system.  Comet 67P/Churyumov – Gerasimenko now contains a hitchhiker.  These pictures show the approach.

As great as that achievement is in and of itself, there is something I find even more amazing.  From what I’ve found using Google, the comet is hurtling through space at just over 18 kilometers per second.  The Earth averages 30 km/s on its travel around the sun.  As a reminder, that is kilometers per second.  PER SECOND!

They fired the bullet of Rosetta from the Earth, moving 30 km/s, at a comet, moving 18 km/s, AND THEY FIRED THE SHOT 10 YEARS AGO!  And I recently saw that the plan for this experiment was thought up 21 years ago.

21 years ago, scientists knew that in 11 years, they would need to fire a bullet that would need to sail around the inner solar system for a few years, go into hibernation, come out of hibernation and hit a comet moving at 41,127 miles per hour TEN YEARS AFTER THEY LAUNCHED IT.

Your move, religion.

What Were They Thinking?

This is probably going to be part one of many, and this one will be rather short because it is just so totally incomprehensible to me.

A district in Colorado just elected a state representative who has diagnosed, at a distance, that some people have been possessed by demons.  A man who believes not only that demons exist but that they possess people and that you can tell those people are possessed from halfway across the country was elected to represent a section of people in the state of Colorado.  He is also a virulently anti-gay bigot.

Now, what in the world do they think this guy is going to do for them within their state?  Outlaw homosexuality?  Enact laws against demonic possession?

Seriously, what the fuck were these people thinking?

Education

I found this quote when looking up the history of public education in the United States:

“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

John Adams, U.S. President, 1785 (The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, Volume 9, by John Adams, Little, Brown, 1854, pg 540) as quoted at Wikipedia.
Adams was right.  He wasn’t president when he said it, but he was so right that outside of the great minds of physics and mathematics, this may have been the rightest statement ever uttered.  We should be making sure our children are well-educated, kept up to date on the latest developments in history, social studies, mathematics, and the sciences.  That education should include Art and Music, and, yes, Health and Physical Education.

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Homegrown Terrorism

I just read about this.

I really have no words to describe how wretched that threat is.  I am as speechless as I was when I first learned what Susan Smith did to her kids.  I am as speechless as I was when I learned my mother’s cancer diagnosis.

In the past, I most likely would not have posted anything about this anywhere — because, wordless.  By the time I had words, others would have said what I wanted to say even better than I could have.  But even though she will most likely never read this, and I am not a great player of video games (fumble thumbs), I stand with Anita Sarkeesian.  And Zoe Quinn.  And Brianna Wu.  No one deserves to be put through what they are going through.

No one.

h/t Pharyngula.

Consent

I really don’t understand why it is so difficult to understand consent.  If someone doesn’t say, “Yes,” then you don’t have the right to violate their bodily autonomy.  How difficult is that to understand?

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Since When is Access to Water Not a Right?

In Detroit, a judge has said that the poor have no right to water.

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