A Blog of Reason From a Godless Liberal

Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Stephen Hawking Sings in Tribute to Carl Sagan

In atheist, cool, Science on November 12, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Related: Sagan, Feynman, deGrasse Tyson and Nye Are Auto-Tuned


Bounce With Me, Water

In cool, Science on November 9, 2009 at 8:44 pm

This is pretty cool.

Science + Obama = Win

In evolution, politics, POTUS, Science on November 3, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Two Things Theists Hate

Tonight, my beloved NOVA is airing the first in a three part series called “Becoming Human”.

Also, HBO’s documentary special “By The People: The Election of Barack Obama” is tonight.

Milky Way Portrait

In cool, Science on November 2, 2009 at 7:47 pm


A new panoramic image of the full night sky — with the Milky Way as its centerpiece — has been made by piecing together 3,000 individual photographs.

The panorama’s creator, Axel Mellinger of Central Michigan University, spent 22 months and traveled over 26,000 miles to take digital photographs at dark sky locations in South Africa, Texas and Michigan.

“This panorama image shows stars 1,000 times fainter than the human eye can see, as well as hundreds of galaxies, star clusters and nebulae,” Mellinger said.

Chimps Mourn a Friend; Show Empathy and Respect

In animal rights, evolution, Science on October 29, 2009 at 5:24 pm

This picture gave me goosebumps. It is both sad and beautiful.

Story and picture via The Telegraph:

Speaking about Dorothy [the dead chimp], Miss Szczupider, 30, said the chimp was a “prominent figure” within a group of about 25 chimps.

“Chimps are not silent. They are gregarious, loud, vocal creatures, usually with relatively short attention spans”, she said.

“But they could not take their eyes off Dorothy, and their silence, more than anything, spoke volumes.”


NASA Tests Ares Rocket

In Science on October 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Ares was designed to take us to the moon, but will we ever us it?

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

In Defense of the Moon

In editorial, Science on October 26, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I meant to comment the Augustine panel’s report: “Seeking a Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation”, last week, but I found myself without the time to write anything worth reading. So, if you will indulge me, I like to revisit five day old (but important) news.

Just in case you missed it, here is a quick review:

The Augustine panel was commission by President Obama in May. It was charged with reviewing President Bush’s plan to return humans to the moon as soon as 2015. Bush’s plan also called for the establishment of a permanent lunar base as a stepping stone for the further exploration of our solar system. According to Gallup, there is wide-spread public support for our space program. Despite that, there is concern about the cost of Project Orion, mostly from the science-denying right, and a new President desperate to appear as a centrist (much to my chagrin).

The report, released Friday, predicts NASA will need another $3 billion annually in order to achieve the goals set out by President Bush. There is very little political will for more spending. The sum of $3 billion a year is too steep for some in the name of science and exploration, but not too much to spend approximately every 10 days on war in Iraq. Indeed, we could go back to the moon, and establish a base, for roughly the cost of two and a half months of our nearly seven year old war.

I believe that going back the moon will strengthen our international standing, and prestige. America has long been the leader in space exploration, why surrender that role now? The competition from rivals and allies alike is heating up. China announced plans in 2006 to land a person on the moon by 2020. India predicts its first manned moon mission could come as soon as 2015. Will China have a moon base while the United States continues to squabble over the (relatively) low cost? What would be the geopolitical ramifications of a Chinese coup in space exploration? What will be the impact on our national security? What would that say about the priorities of our society? The answers to all those questions are not positive.

A return to the moon can benefit us all.

For one, the profit driven right would be wise to support a new manned moon mission. Why? The answer of course, is they can make money. There is the potential for the mining of tryhydrogen cation (H3) from the moon’s surface. H3, which is rare and hard to collect on Earth, is much more prevalent and accessible on our only natural satellite. Once harvested, it could be returned to Earth via shuttle craft and sold at a profit. What is more, the mining of H3 offers more than just an economic benefit, it also being eyed as a new and powerful green energy source. It has been shown that water, fuel, and oxygen can be produced from moon dust. This would save us an untold amount of money, as escaping the moon’s gravity is much easier, and cheaper than escaping the Earth’s.

The benefit to science is even greater. With the debate over the origins of the moon is heating up, it is hard to think of a better time to get an improved understanding cosmic dance partner. As mentioned before, a lunar base can serve as a stepping stone to Mars and worlds beyond. Mars of course, is widely considered to be a good (if not the best) contender for life outside of Earth, whether in the past or surviving to this day. The discovery of life (past of present) on another cosmic body would be, without a doubt, the most significant human achievement. It would be a world-wide consciousness raising event. The confirmation of life beyond Earth could also serve to unify us as a common people. As simply, human.

Today, 40 years after our first trip to the moon, Apollo continues to inspire generations of Americans to look to the cosmos and ponder the possibilities that are suddenly within reach. Imagine the awe and humility HD pictures and video from the lunar surface would conjure. It would be truly amazing sight to see. The impact would be immeasurable on a nation facing a shortage of scientist and engineers.

These divided states of America would benefit greatly from a unifying national goal. Going back to the moon is something all Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs can take pride in. The Apollo Program electrified a nation rattled by outside aggression, assassinations, and internal strife. There is no reason to think it wouldn’t do the same today.

Related: President Obama to Review Bush’s Moon Shot

Incredible Insect Photos

In cool, Science on October 23, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Simply Amazing.

A whole lot more here.

PZ Myers – Design vs Chance

In atheism, creationism, Science on October 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Another great video that takes a life time to download, but again, well worth it.

ASU Professor Lawrence Krauss – A Universe From Nothing

In atheist, cool, Science on October 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

This lecture is amazing. I encourage everyone to watch it.

Warning, I don’t know if I’m having network problems, but this took forever to download. Well worth it though.