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The Whatever Digest, 9/7/18

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 09/07/2018 - 12:51
Like this neighbor cat cautiously peering onto our deck, let’s pop our head up to see what’s going on, shall we? *** Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing: Well, this has been a mess so far, if an entertaining one, if you’re the sort of person to be entertained by a car wreck. And of course […]

Hey, Wanna See the First Chapter of The Consuming Fire?

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 19:27
If you do, it’s here.

1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Six: Presidents

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 14:25
So, let’s review the presidents we’ve had since 1998: A sexually harassing policy wonk, a genial imbecile, a malevolent imbecile, and Barack Obama. I don’t think we do presidents well. This assessment is bolstered by looking at the other five presidents who have been in office in my lifetime (in order, a crook, a placeholder, […]

The Big Idea: Jaine Fenn

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 10:38
Autho Jaine Fenn starts this Big Idea piece with an admission — and then explains how she got around it for her new novel, Hidden Sun. JAINE FENN: Don’t tell anyone, but I’m a fraud. Most writers have bouts of imposter syndrome, but when it comes to writing scientifically rigorous fiction, I live in special […]

The Whatever Digest, 9/6/18

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Thu, 09/06/2018 - 09:45
An overcast morning here, and apparently it’s going to rain for (checks weather forecast) the next four days. Whee! Here’s what I’m thinking about today. *** That New York Times anonymous op-ed: Oh, you know the one, in which an unnamed senior official at the White House says they are part of the resistance inside the […]

The polemical power we don't use. Wagers and Exceptions!

Contrary Brin - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 19:40
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Alas, we have poor generals. One thing that Dems and libs never seem capable of understanding is the importance of polemical technique, a skill displayed daily by the Kremlin/GRU, by Rupert Murdoch’s expert manipulator-shills, and by Donald Trump. Take for example the way that social media bots and Russian trolls have been spreading disinformation about vaccines on Twitter to create social discord and distribute malware.

As we speak, top officials of Facebook, Google and Twitter are testifying before Congress about their near helplessness before tsunamis of manipulative lies. Wringing hands, they explain that they are trapped between those lies and the accusations of bias and censorship that whirl, each time they try to cull away the worst of them. The most orwellian enemies of freedom will accuse them of acting as a "Ministry of Truth." 

There arecountless ways to counter the oligarchy’s mastery of this manipulative art. But liberal or moderate pols and pundits – even neutral-minded or independent grownups -- seem obdurately incapable of even noticing how bad they are at it! 

Take the recent attempt by several dozen prominent news outlets to link arms and denounce Trump’s war against the profession of journalism, calling it "fake news" and an “enemy of the people.” Talk about falling for a blatant and obvious trap!
All right, you ask what methods might work? Let’s dial in here. 

Try to grasp the top Foxoid tactic.  When we trot forth a myriad facts, members of the alt-right cult deflect them with irrelevant anecdotes and assertions.  And, to your endlessly repeated blinking astonishment, it keeps working, as you stammer “But… but… I just showed you facts that…”
Look, I’m all in favor of enlisting facts as soldiers in this fight. Take my proposal for a twelve-part FACT ACT that a new Congress could enact, using neutral, competitive techniques that nimbly evade any accusations of “Ministry of Truth.” Good methods…if we ever had a Congress. 
But 99% of today’s confederates are already immunized against every such effort with magical incantations that have playground-level purity.
“Oh yeah? Well I say YOUR the liar!”
That’s all it takes. And fie on stupid dems/pundits for not realizing they need better tools of seriously pragmatic polemic! There are dozens, even hundreds of possible riffs that could work better than announcing “pants-on-fire” and “pinnocchios” or joint editorials that only reinforce the notion of a “fake News conspiratorial community. 

One trick, above all others, has real potential, and forgive me for repeating a point I’ve belabored ad nauseam:
Wagers. Bets. Dares. Challenges. Sure, we saw Mitt Romney try it, once, only to get shot down as a rich man trying to bully truth. So? There are ways to set up a bet that stand firm, in the face of deflections. 

The fact remains that a wager is still the one place where a good-old confed will admit the vital importance of objective reality — that factual evidence matters.
It may take care and experimentation. But this could be a chink through which ten thousand facts and truths might pour. It’s certainly worth more than one try
== How to counter the immunity against all facts ==
Again, demanding “put up or shut up” - with cash on the line - is the one realm where even a confederate admits that objective reality and facts still matter.  In confronting your neighbor or mad uncle (MU), you are free to pick any of the 7000+ outright Trumpian falsehoods listed by the Washington Post’s “Fact-Checker” Glenn Kessler. 
Start with giant howlers that offer your confed no wriggle room.  Like Donald Trump’s assertion that ice caps are “setting records” when photographic evidence shows that much of the world’s ice from the Alps to the Andes is melting amid global warming. As we saw after the “biggest inauguration, ever!", photography can be deflected, except in a wager.
Or demand that your mad uncle accompany you to the beach with a simple Ph meter and measure for himself ocean acidification. (It has only one possible cause: human-generated CO2, which is why Fox-heads quickly change the subject, instead of denying it.) When your MU shrugs and calls it an exaggeration or exception, answer “tell our grandchildren that!” And then demand he actually, actually pay the bar bet! Then corner him with another. Taking his money helps to make it all worthwhile!
(The best example of a Fox-incantation and stunning intellectual dishonesty was the catechism of the right for decades that "There's been no warming for 15 years!" Then "There's been no warming for 16 years!" Then 17 years.  And I grew curious why so specific? If this one is tried on you… come to me.)
Choose carefully, and learn to recognize in advance wager matters that have any ambiguity, that leave any room for squirming. And remember how to phrase it: “You’re so sure of this crap that you’re willing to bet the lives of our planet and nation and children, but not a hundred bucks?”
Why bother? Because “Heaven rejoices at a sinner, redeemed.”Seriously, there is nothing more damaging to the Putin-Murdoch-Oligarch cabal than a wakened RASR (Residually Adult-Sane Republican.) If you waken one such “ostrich” enough for his head to lift out of sand-of-denial, that oasis of roused sanity and loyalty to America will infect and vaccinate others. 

(Lefties are fools to ignore this central fact about phase 8 of the American Civil War – that some of our neighbors are decent citizens who are clinging desperately to an obsolete loyalty, and can be talked -- some of them -- back into the light.)
== Name an exception! ==
Another approach to wagers is challenging your RASR to Name An Exception!
This one is more sophisticated, but also more effective. Think about this, carefully, because it applies well beyond politics.
If I make a specific accusation, say about a particular crime, then the burden of proof is on me. Fair enough. 

But when I challenge you to disprove a General and Universal Accusation, well, it should be easy for you to do, by finding one exception. And hence, your failure to do so proves me right!
Not in a court of law. Indeed, if they can name exceptions, then the argument falls back under rules of preponderance of evidence. Any member of the Denialist Cult can cite weather examples that seem to violate global warming, hence it cannot be proved by Name an Exception, only by tediously showing the overwhelming factual basis for why 99% of scientists agree about climate change.
 But when a general accusation is very broad,and your opponent cannot name even one counter-example, it has profoundly effective import. Then the generality enters territory like “the sun always comes up at dawn,” or “a rock thrown in the air will always come down.”  

One counter-example – even one – will destroy the word “always.” 

But failure to cite anycounter-example makes the “always” very powerful.  Especially when the assertion is in history or politics. Jiminy, almost everythingin those fields has exceptions! If you can’t find even one….
== Use it in our political civil war ==
For the following general assertions, the burden of proof is on your conservative friend or MU to show how these six general accusations have any exceptions. Any at all! And if your RASR fails, then they are true. 
Moreover, if any of these cannot be refuted with even a single counter-example, then your opponent’s movement is not a political party, it is a dangerously insane and incompetent cult.
1-  Can you NAME ONE fact-centered profession of high knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox/Trump &cohorts?  Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors… oh, yes and science. Above all, science. Thirty years ago, 40% of U.S. scientists called themselves Republican, now it is 2% and plummeting. They are voting with their feet, the smartest, wisest, most logical and by far the most competitive humans our species ever produced. 
And now?  The FBI and law professionals plus the U.S. military and intelligence officer corps; all are dismissed as "deep state" enemies. Oh no, this is not your daddy's conservatism.  Name one exception.
2- NAME ONE major metric of U.S. national health that did better across the spans of GOP administrations, than across the spans of the Clinton and Obama admins.  Nearly all such metrics declined - many plummeting - across both Bush regimes.  Nearly all rose, many of them by a lot, across both DP terms. The record of almost perfect mal-governance would make any sane or scientific-minded person flee the GOP screaming and never trust them again. 
Clinton & Obama scored better in every sane conservative desideratum, including rate of change of deficits and military readiness!  The condition of our alliances. Small business startups. Entrepreneurship. Name one exception.
The next is a doozy.
3- NAME ONE MAJOR GOP LEADER between Reagan and Ryan who was even mentioned at the 2016 Republican Convention. Except for Newt, all were brushed under the rug, including both Bushes, Cheney, Rumsfeld, former House Speaker Dennis (friend to boys) Hastert, former GOP majority leader Tom (convicted felon) DeLay, former Speaker John Boehner.
In fact, name a republican top leader between EISENHOWER and Ryan who was even mentioned by the party at the RNC, other than Reagan and Newt! This shows how writhing ashamed Republicans are, of their record at governance.  And if you disavow those past Republican administrations as incompetent, Russia-hatng, enterprise-destroying, warmongering liars, then where is your party’s credibility? Name one exception.
4- Name one of the DARK FANTASIES about Obama, from black UN helicopters to taking away all our guns, that happened or was even tepidly tried.  Indeed, after 25 years and half a billion dollars of Clinton Investigations… well… see number 6. Name one exception.
5- NAME ONE TIME WHEN SUPPLY SIDE (Voodoo) "Economics" made a successful prediction?  One? Ever?  One time when slashing taxes on the rich led to reduced deficits and to vastly stimulated economic activity, or even much investment in "supply" capital? Or increased money velocity or middle class health? Once. One time when this cult religion actually delivered?  Name one exception.
A related riff? When was “America Great”? I say right now! While we’re sending probes past Pluto, and rovers across Mars, discovering thousands of planets across the galaxy, curing diseases, raising billions of children out of poverty around the world and so on. But sure. You fox-folks please tell us when you think it was all better!  The1950s? Run by the Greatest Generation… who adored FDR? They knew the dangers of oligarchy and passed many rules to control it. Rules like forbidding companies to waste money on stock buybacks, on which nearly all of the recent Trump Tax Cut was frittered away, without tangible investment in R&D or factories.
“Supply Side” is doing exactly what it was designed to do, stealing from the middle class that the Greatest Generation built and augmenting the oligarchy that generation defeated. Every major retraction away from the Rooseveltean social contract resulted in lower growth, wider wealth disparity, lower money velocity, shorter commercial ROI horizons, declines in R&D and increasing dominance by a crazy MBA caste.
Name an exception!
6- Name one other time in American — or human — history, when an administration spanning 8 years had zero scandals or indictments concerning malfeasance in the performance of official duties. It has happened twice in American — or human — history. The administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  Name another!
You can’t. There was one four year U.S. administration that had no malfeasance-of-office scandals… that of Jimmy Carter.  (Yes, there were a few scandals outside that description, “malfeasance in the performance of official duties,” though fewer than any month of a Trump or Bush administration.)
Let’s be clear. The Reagan, Bush and Bush administrations looked hard for evidence, some smoking-gun, to pin on Carter, Clinton and Obama. When they owned every federal department and record, they sifted like crazy, wasting hundreds of millions looking for something — anything.  “W” ordered FBI agents away from counter terror duties to join this witch hunt, before 9/11… arguably treason that cost thousands of American lives.  And they found… nothing but a husband fibbing about some 3rd base infidelity and a wife making the same email mistake as both Bushes, Colin Powell, Condi Rise and Jared Kushner.  

In contrast, GOP administrations – all of them -- were rife with indictments, convictions and pardons.
7- Name a counter-example to the pure record of Republican damage to every single strength that won the Cold War. Almost every thing that bolstered us during that struggle is being systematically dismantled, from our alliances to science, from dedicated intelligence and law agencies to the moral high ground and the rule of law and the respect of the world.  There may be exceptions, though I know of none. Name one.
Watch out for the last resort of the RASR, who admits: “I know my side is crazy and has done nothing right at all! I know everything they say is a lie and that all their outcomes were negative and they act like cranky 4 year olds. But… but… but "liberals are just as bad or worse!!"

Another cause for a wager. Take their money.

== Outcomes? ==
Okay, I’ve had limited success in my own wager demands. Generally, when I confront folks with these challenges, they shout “squirrel!” and point offstage at some assertion or distraction, concocting scenarios and excuses to explain why they cannot answer any of these… or dozens of other… challenges. 
Or else they run away. 
Still, there is one more riff you can hurl at their retreating, cowardly backsides.
When something happens relentlessly, systematically, and without recognized exception, it is time to invoke Goldfinger’s Rule:

Goldfinger’s Rule: “Once, Mr. Bond, may be happenstance. "Twice could be coincidence.“Three times is enemy action.”






. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ (site feed URL: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/atom.xml)

1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Five: Social Media

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 15:21
Was there actually even social media in 1998? Oh, my, yes. There was. And it acted in pretty much the same way as it does now, in all the good and bad ways. The players were different, of course. In 1998, in place of Twitter and Facebook you had USENET and America Online (as two […]

The Big Idea: Michael J. Martinez

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 11:45
In today’s Big Idea, Michael J. Martinez reminisces back on his college days, and how an offhand comment back then informs MJ-12: Endgame, the finale of his supernatural spy series. MICHAEL J. MARTINEZ: I went to a university with a heavy fraternity/sorority presence; the Greek houses were a major hub of campus social life. During […]

The Whatever Digest, 9/5/18

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Wed, 09/05/2018 - 10:52
Good morning! Let’s see what we’ve got today. That Nike Ad: In which Colin Kaepernick’s face gazes out whilst the phrase “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” floats right around his nose. It’s been eliciting polarized responses, as it was almost certainly absolutely intended to do, and in the meantime is doing […]

The Big Idea: Greg Van Eekhout

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 11:23
Yeah, okay, Greg Van Eekhout’s Big Idea piece for Voyage of the Dogs got me genuinely choked up. Read it and you’ll figure out why. GREG VAN EEKHOUT: Spoiler: I don’t kill off any of the dogs in this book.  Why not? Because I’m not a monster, that’s why not. Voyage of the Dogs is […]

1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Four: Books

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 10:38
Well, this one is simple. In 1998, I had no published books. In 2018 I have — (counts fingers) (counts toes) (counts fingtoes) — thirty, depending on whether you count individually published novellas (I do), and that number will rise by the end of the year. This number doesn’t count books I didn’t write entirely […]

The Whatever Digest, 9/4/18

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Tue, 09/04/2018 - 07:51
Good morning! Let’s get to this thing. *** Steve Bannon and the New Yorker — Well, this was predictable enough, to anyone who wasn’t David Remnick: The New Yorker announced that Bannon would be the headliner of its upcoming “festival,” in conversation with Remnick, who is the magazine’s editor-in-chief. That didn’t sit particularly well with […]

Kitten in a Trashcan + Announcing Daily Digest

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 17:20
First, the kitten in the trashcan, because you always lead with the “A” material: Why is the kitten in the trashcan? IT KNOWS WHY. (And also, because kittens are kitten-y, and Smudge is more kitten-y than most, and jumping heedlessly into trashcans is just a thing kittens do.) Second, for the non-holiday weekdays of September, […]

1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Three: Home

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Mon, 09/03/2018 - 10:29
In the last twenty years I’ve called two places “home”: The first house I ever owned, and (I suspect) the last house I’ll ever own. The first house I ever owned — and by “I” it should be understood that I am a part of a “we” as Krissy and I were both on the […]

1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day Two: Money

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Sun, 09/02/2018 - 14:34
Over the last twenty years I’ve had an interesting relationship with money. It’s been mostly positive, to be sure (spoiler: these last twenty years I’ve been generally financially secure), but I’ve had a lot of time to think about money and what it means to me and my life. So let’s go ahead and dig […]

1998/2018: Whatever 20/20, Day One: Cats

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 22:12
Over the course of 20 years, I’ve had seven cats, roughly grouped into three generations. The first generation of cats was a single cat: Rex, who I acquired in 1991 from my sister Heather. Heather and her children came to live with me for about a year when she was getting a divorce from her […]

Announcing 1998/2018: Whatever 20/20

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 21:02
As most of you probably know by now, September 2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of Whatever, the blog you are reading right at this very moment. Twenty years is a very long time to be writing anything; it’s a long time to be doing anything at all, to be honest. I wanted to commemorate […]

More marvels from space

Contrary Brin - Sat, 09/01/2018 - 14:39
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We can only repair both Earth and society if we regain confidence that we're capable citizens of a flawed-but-great ... and getting-greater ... civilization. And so, let's start with --

Gorgeous planetary art by Van God. Seriously, your neighbors who yearn for apocalypse, ask them how can it not be the creator's intent that we go forth and appreciate such glory? And ever-greater sights and knowledge across the sea of stars? Yours is the folk that does all this, with competence and skill and awe.

And joy. Those trying to demoralize us will fail.

Remember Oumuamua?  The  mysterious space rock, first spotted in 2017, plunged into our solar system from interstellar space, flung around the sun and sped onward, captivating us with its strange shape, so like that of Arthur C. Clarke’s “Rama.” Moreover, in a sci-fi-ish twist, it’s been accelerating!
Okay, okay, don’t get in a twist. The tiny acceleration fits what we’d expect from gas puffing out of the sun-warmed end of a comet.   ‘Oumuamua was indeed comet-like, it was just coated in a thick layer of carbon-rich grime that insulated the space rock’s icy heart. The rock’s exit from our neighborhood has settled most astronomers’ minds.'
Okay, unavoidable brag time. The entire theory of insulating dust or other layers atop comets, limiting or delaying their heating and outgassing, is mine. My doctoral dissertation “Three Models of Dust Layers on Cometary Nuclei.”  Indeed, many of what we call asteroids may be choked-off short period comets, which would be great news. So much yummy water, within fairly easy reach. Vastly easier than dragging smidgeons from the bottom of the dusty old moon’s gravity well. (And we've found nothing else of value, down there.) Hey. Just sayin’.
Movin' on... Mathematica guru Stephen Wolfram offers a series of way-cool (if long!) essays on: (1) looking back fifty years to what the movie 2001 got wonderfully right… and interestingly wrong. (My own essay on such matters is here.)
The 2018 motion picture Clara “tells the story of an exoplanetary astronomer who makes a momentous discovery.” This AAS article by the film’s science advisors discusses how to simulate an object in another star’s L1 point. Ooooh. sci fi that’s nerdy!
== Solar System marvels ==
Thirteen years of data from the Cassini Mission have allowed NASA to create a globe of Titan that strips away the obscuring clouds and haze.  Fantastic.
Is Pluto made of a billion comets?  Scientists have found an intriguing consistencybetween the estimated amount of nitrogen inside a plutonian glacier and the amount that would be expected if Pluto was formed by the agglomeration of roughly a billion comets or other Kuiper Belt objects, only chemically modified by liquid water, perhaps even in a subsurface ocean.
One of the most exciting discoveries of the last 30 years has been learning there’s more than one moon in our system with a ice-roofed ocean. There may be more than a dozen, including Pluto!  Meaning such roofed water worlds are likely to abound everywhere in the universe. Which makes the next news awesome:  

“Using data collected by NASA’s late-great Cassini space probe, scientists have detected traces of complex organic molecules seeping out from Enceladus’ ice-covered ocean. It’s yet another sign that this intriguing Saturnian moon has what it takes to sustain life.”
The newly confirmed organic molecules feature masses above 200 atomic units, which is more than 10 times heavier than methane. These molecules contain aromatic structures (ring-shaped, flat molecules) with possible cross chains of hydrocarbons. The source of these complex organics could be of a non-biological or biological nature, but the exact origin has not been determined.”  There is a small chance the molecules might have come from passing comets (nu?) But more likely from vents releasing showers of sub-ice water from the seas of Enceledus.
Listen in.... Eerie plasma wave chatter between Saturn and its ice-roofed, ocean moon. Researchers compressed 16 minutes of plasma exchange between Saturn and Enceladus into 29 seconds of audio for human ears.
NASA’s Mars 2020 rover-lab will go beyond the capabilities of the current Opportunity probe in many ways. In one added feature, it will drill and dig up soil samples to put in over 30 tubes and will then drop them at various points. Now Airbus and the European Space Agency have announced plans of a “fetch rover,’ which could head to the planet in 2026. If it lands and operates successfully, it will seek these cached samples, autonomously drive to their location, and store them. It will also have to be able to plot its driving route on its own every single day, saving on the high cost of maintaining a large support team of humans on Earth. Once it has “proceeded to the route,” it will have a guide map already created by Mars 2020.
“It could take the vehicle around 150 days to collect all the canisters Mars 2020 leaves behind. Then it has to find the rocket it landed with, hand off the sample tubes, then back off and film the rocket blasting off to rendezvous with an orbiter to bring the samples back to Earth.”
Complicated, ambitious and worthy of a mighty, wonderful civilization, of which you should be proud. Assertively, adamantly and - yes - even aggressively proud. This stuff is significant even theologically. And I mean that, literally.
== Looking toward asteroids ==
Japan’s space mission Hayabusa 2 is now close to the Ryugu asteroid with hopes to then return samples of the type C asteroid, containing traces of water and organic material. The press is kvelling over it’s shape, like an 8-sided D&D die.
Many asteroids appear to have similar orbits and compositions. Perhaps each "asteroid family" formed when a collision shattered a planet-size body into many fragments. Nearly every meteorite that falls onto Earth may ultimately come from a half dozen or so lost worlds that splintered apart soon after the birth of the solar system.
Speaking of asteroids, the Dawn probe has lowered its orbit around Ceres from 220 to 22 miles, delivering stunning images, including the dwarf planet's Bright Patches.
A peculiar asteroid 2015 BZ509 with a retrograde orbit was apparently captured by proto-Jupiter from the interstellar medium 4.5 billion years in the past.
== Beyond the solar system ==
Astronomers have made a bold prediction: "In 2022, give or take a year, a pair of stars will merge and explode, becoming one of the brightest objects in the sky for a short period.” The binary pair’s the speed of the orbit was gradually getting faster and faster, implying the stars are getting closer together. Calculations suggest the pair will explode as a “red nova”— caused by a binary merging—in about 5 years’ time.
Three young protoplanetary suns have been found to have dust rich in nanodiamonds.  Yes, that’s nano… diamonds.
Fantastic new image of the Galactic Center taken by the new, South African radio telescope! All still consistent with Gregory Benford's Galactic Center series.
And while we're down there... Too cool. Each time I look at this time-lapse of stars orbiting the black hole at the center of the galaxy, I go “gosh.”
That’s a lie. Sometimes I go Wow or Dang! Or “I’m as proud as heck.”

Is this  the very first direct image of the birth of a planet still forming around a star?
Researchers have tried to catalogue the ordinary matter in the universe—not to be confused with dark matter, or Dark Energy. About 10 percent sits in galaxies, and close to 60 percent is in the diffuse clouds of gas that lie between galaxies. Some predicted that the missing 30 percent of baryons were likely in a web-like pattern in space called the warm-hot intergalactic medium (WHIM).
“Astronomers have found the brightest object ever discovered in the early Universe, 13 billion light-years away - a quasar from a time when our Universe was just seven percent of its current age.” A huge black hole eating massively from one of the earliest galaxies.
And finally... Moon landing fakery! Well, not really. These recovered hi-res images from Apollo 11 help prove the opposite.  But one of the captions is wrong! Image #3 supposedly shows: “The lunar module, after being jettisoned.”  Um wrong! It shows both sections of the LEM together, hence it is pre-landing, undoubtedly taken by Michael Collins as Buzz & Neil began their descent.  Yeah, picky-picky. And we are the civilization that did that. You are mighty beings called competent citizens.  Show it.


. . ...a collaborative contrarian product of David Brin, Enlightenment Civilization, obstinate human nature... and http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ (site feed URL: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/atom.xml)

New Books and ARCs, 8/31/18

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 16:35
We’re heading into Labor Day weekend, and closing out August and the summer. Here’s a stack of new books and ARCs for you to contemplate for the ending of this month and season. Is there anything here you’d like to put in your September “to be read” list? Tell us in the comments.

The Other Cats

Whatever (John Scalzi) - Fri, 08/31/2018 - 16:17
Someone asked me if the other cats are jealous of the attention that Smudge is getting as the new kitten. Well, in terms of the attention on the Internet, the answer is that I’m pretty sure they are not, inasmuch as none of our cats, no matter how clever they are as cats, understand the […]
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