Late Late Night Open Thread…Storms on Saturn

Insomnia is a bitch…so feeling up for something to spark some wild dreams? Something wonderful to put you to sleep? Or, should I say something to put me to sleep…check this out.

Stunning Vortex on Saturn Swirls in NASA Photos  This is one big ass storm.

http://i.space.com/images/i/24022/original/saturn-vortex-storm-cassini-photo.jpg?1354128723

This spectacular photo of a polar storm on Saturn was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Nov. 27, 2012. It is a raw and unprocessed image.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Can you believe this photo was shot and sent via Cassini to Earth on the same day!

Amazing new photos from NASA’s Cassini probe orbiting Saturn reveal a dizzying glimpse into a monster storm raging on the ringed planet’s north pole.

Cassini took the spectacular Saturn storm photos yesterday (Nov. 27) and relayed it back to Earth the same day, mission scientists said in a statement. The pictures reveal a swirling storm reminiscent of the recent Hurricane Sandy that recently plagued our own planet.

The tempest is located in a strange hexagonal cloud vortex at Saturn’s north pole that was first discovered by the Voyager spacecraft in the early 1980s, and sighted more closely by Cassini since then. The strange six-sided feature, which is nearly 15,000 miles (25,000 kilometers) across, is thought to be formed by the path of a jet stream flowing through the planet’s atmosphere.

Science is a beautiful thing.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft snapped this photo of Saturn's hexagon-shaped vortex on Nov. 27, 2012.
Saturn’s mysterious northern vortex, a vast hexagon-shaped storm, dominates this photo taken Nov. 27, 2012, by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This image is a raw and unprocessed view.
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI

Cassini, the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn, was launched in 1997 and arrived at the gas giant in July 2004. The probe has logged more than 3.8 billion miles (6.1 billion kilometers), and made some major discoveries about the Saturn system, including revealing the presence of hydrocarbon lakes on the moon Titan and spewing water geysers on the moon Enceladus.

“Eight and a half years into our history-making expedition around the ringed planet and we are still astounded by the seemingly endless parade of new planetary phenomena,” the mission scientists wrote.

Good night…sweet dreams!


Moon Rains on Saturn, Wu Resigns and Crazy Candidates… SDB Evening News Reads for 072611

Good Afternoon, having been gone most of the day seeing a lawyer about foreclosure…I am not sure what has been covered today on the blog.  So if some of these links are repeats, I apologize…

This is good news, at least I think so, Wu resignation improves Democratic odds of keeping seat – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

Oregon Rep. David Wu’s resignation announcement Tuesday has most likely provided relief to national Democrats worried about holding onto what should be considered a safe seat.

The seven term Democratic congressman said that he will resign from the House of Representatives after being accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a fundraiser’s daughter. In a statement issued by his office, Wu said he would step down once the current standoff between Congress and the White House over raising the U.S. debt ceiling is resolved.

Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement soon after Wu’s announcement that “Congressman Wu’s resignation is the right decision.”

Yes, it is the right decision, hopefully this seat sticks with a Democrat…although I don’t think the Dems are really Dems anymore.

Check this out, when I read the title of this article, the song The Payback by James Brown came to my mind.  “I don’t know karate, but I know crazy.”

Ted Strickland: ‘Crazy’-sounding candidates can’t beat Barack Obama – Alexander Burns – POLITICO.com

Former Ohio Gov Ted Strickland sees little chance for any Republican to win his home state in the 2012 election, except perhaps for Mitt Romney, and dismissed the bulk of the GOP field as sounding like “crazy” people in an interview with POLITICO Tuesday.

In a visit to the POLITICO newsroom, Strickland named Romney as perhaps the one Republican who might be a credible challenger for President Barack Obama in the Buckeye State. He blasted other candidates – specifically naming Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann – for their down-the-line opposition to raising the debt limit, despite the risk of economic “destruction for the country.”

“The one who seems to be the most rational is Romney. I don’t want him to be president, but at least he doesn’t sound like a crazy person,” Strickland said.

Strickland, a trained psychologist, clarified that he wasn’t using “crazy” as a clinical term.

And for those of you who now got the Godfather of Soul singing in the back of you mind…

Get mad yet?

Well, this may get you riled up a bit:  Pat Buchanan: Norwegian Right-Wing Terrorist ‘Breivik May Be Right’ | ThinkProgress

Today, in a World Net Daily op-ed, failed presidential candidate and conservative pundit Pat Buchanan offers an example of the ethnic bigotry and racial insensitivity that has come to define him.

Offering his take on the horrendous terrorist attacks in Norway, Buchanan joined the Wall Street Journal and the Jerusalem Post in arguing that the far-right extremist perpetrator Anders Breivik may have had a valid point. Arguing that Breivik was bringing attention to his cause, “a Crusader’s war between the real Europe and the ‘cultural Marxists’ and Muslims,” Buchanan declares that, on the “climactic conflict between a once-Christian West and an Islamic world…Breivik may be right“:

Oh, yes…what an ass…

Of course, Muslims are just the most recent group of people on Buchanan’s enemies list, which already includes Latinos, African-Americans, and gay people. As Buchanan said, he “prefers the old bigotry.” And he’s bringing it back to the mainstream.

In Florida mother, Casey Anthony gets acquitted, and in Georgia a mother gets jail time, with the same end…both kids are dead.  Ga. mom is spared prison in son’s jaywalking death  | ajc.com

A woman who was arrested after her 4-year-old son was struck and killed by a van as they were jaywalking across a busy street was spared a prison sentence Tuesday following an outcry over her arrest.

Raquel Nelson, 30, was convicted by a jury earlier this month of vehicular homicide and other charges for not using a crosswalk and could have gotten three years behind bars — far more than the six months the hit-and-run driver served.

Instead, without explanation, Judge Kathryn Tanksley gave the suburban Atlanta mother a year’s probation, ordered 40 hours of community service, and took the unusual step of offering her a new trial — an offer Nelson is considering.

A crowd of supporters broke out in applause.

Yes, the driver, a hit and run driver at that would have gotten less prison time then the mother.

And lastly a couple of science news links for you.

Is generosity an evolutionary trait? | Human World | EarthSky

According to evolutionary psychologists at the University of California at Santa Barbara, generosity – acting to help others in the absence of foreseeable gain – emerges naturally from the evolution of cooperation. This means that human generosity is likely to rest on more than social pressure – it is built in to human nature. Their findings appear in the July 25, 2011 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

[…]

The simulations, which are mathematical tools for studying how natural selection would have shaped our ancestors’ decision making, show that – over a wide range of conditions – natural selection favors treating others as if the relationship will continue – even when it is rational to believe the interaction is one-time only.

According to John Tooby, co-director of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology, economic and evolutionary models both predict that humans should be selfish in one time only situations. Yet, experimental work – and everyday experience – shows that humans are often surprisingly generous:

People who help only when they can see a gain do worse than those who are motivated to be generous without always looking ahead to see what they might get in return.

Bottom line: UC Santa Barbara evolutionary psychologists used computer simulations to show that generosity likely emerges naturally from the evolution of cooperation.

I wonder if being an asshole is a genetic trait for tea party politicians as well? I will lump Obama in that a-hole group too.

This next link is just amazing, especially the photo:  Saturn’s moon rains water onto Saturn | Space | EarthSky

Once again proving that the universe is not only curiouser than we suppose, but curiouser than we can suppose, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced today (July 26, 2011) that water expelled from one of Saturn’s moons rains onto Saturn.

ESA’s Herschel space observatory – a large infrared space telescope, stationed at the second Lagrange point of the sun-Earth system – helped make the discovery. It found that water from Enceladus forms a giant torus of water vapor around Saturn.

Here’s what we already knew about water from Enceladus. In 2009, the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera found at least four distinct plumes of water ice spewing out from the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, as shown in the awesome image below.

Plumes of water shoot out of Enceladus: NASA

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Cassini obtained this view of Enceladus in 2009 from a distance of approximately 617,000 kilometers (383,000 miles). In this image, light reflected off Saturn is illuminating the moon while the sun, almost directly behind Enceladus, is backlighting the plumes. This view looks toward the Saturn-facing side of Enceladus (504 kilometers across). North is up.

Well, hope everyone has a pleasant evening…now to catch up on your comments.