Sunday Reads: Full Moons and Uranus

Good Morning

There has been a lot of “space” news this weekend. So our first few links will focus on the skies…Did you see the Harvest Moon last night? What was interesting about this Harvest Moon was its relationship to Uranus. (Ha….) No Seriously! If you missed it, here is a video from the SLOOH space camera.

When you gaze at the full moon this weekend, think of farmers working late into the evening to gather their crop, because that’s how the Harvest Moongot its name.

The Harvest Moon allows farmers at the peak of the current harvest season to stay in the fields longer than usual, working by the moon‘s light. It rises around sunset, but also — and more importantly — the moon seems to appear at nearly the same time each successive night.

Uranus Rings Tilted
Near-infrared views of Uranus reveal its otherwise faint ring system, highlighting the extent to which the planet is tilted.
CREDIT: Lawrence Sromovsky, (Univ. Wisconsin-Madison), Keck Observatory

Uranus’ atmosphere is dominated primarily by hydrogen and helium, with a small amount of methane that gives the “ice giant” its bluish-green tint. The planet has a ring system and 27 known moons. It’s also tilted so far that it essentially orbits the sun on its side; researchers think the planet may have been knocked askew by a collision with another large body long ago.

If skywatchers wish to see Uranus through their own telescopes Saturday night, they should scan just below the moon and look for the only green “star” in the field of view, Slooh officials said.

Hmmmm, I never thought Uranus would be described as a bright green light in the night sky. (Okay I am being way to infantile here.)

In other worlds news, Curiosity found an old river bed on Mars. NASA Rover Finds Old Streambed on Martian Surface – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind.

Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long-ago stream’s flow.

Best View of Goulburn Scour

“From the size of gravels it carried, we can interpret the water was moving about 3 feet per second, with a depth somewhere between ankle and hip deep,” said Curiosity science co-investigator William Dietrich of the University of California, Berkeley. “Plenty of papers have been written about channels on Mars with many different hypotheses about the flows in them. This is the first time we’re actually seeing water-transported gravel on Mars. This is a transition from speculation about the size of streambed material to direct observation of it.”

Go check out all the photos and more information at that link to Nasa’s JPL site.

Now on to some news from our own Earthly planet.

First let’s go with a bit of intimidation….there is a woman who is getting a first hand look at an Attack from the PLUBs, I think I would prefer Martians any day. Intimidation: Now It’s a First Amendment Right! | RH Reality Check

For anti-choicers, the right to freedom of speech is like a game of Calvin-ball, the “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip “sport” in which all rules could be revised, changed, updated, and discarded depending on what it took to win. They claim that freedom of speech trumps literally every other right, as long as it is done under the guise of “saving babies.”

It’s “freedom of speech,” for example, to “inconvenience” Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando CEO Jenna Tosh by picketing her home. Tosh told the WinterPark, Florida, city council that she felt “threatened and ambushed” when anti-choicers picketed her home, and the council passed a short-term ordinance forbidding assembly on a residential property.

Of course, there were some folks who disagreed with this action.

 After all, it was just one woman being intimidated. In an op-ed written by the Florida Sentinel, the paper argues:

Winter Park modeled its measure after ordinances that already had passed constitutional muster, so we aren’t arguing legal merits. But we do question the knee-jerk response to a single citizen’s complaint—precipitated by the distribution of pro-life handouts and, nearly a week later, some nonviolent picketing. And we question the need for a new law when laws exist to protect citizens against protests that grow unruly. And we question why government officials are so quick to crack down on freedom of speech. Imagine the outcry if commissioners had tried to go after the Second Amendment. Having to push past protesters toting signs that read “Jenna Tosh kills babies and hurts women” certainly is unpleasant. We sympathize with her. However, her need to avoid disturbing, anti-abortion expressions outside her home shouldn’t trump the rights of the many to exercise their First Amendment rights within public areas in residential areas.

Is it merely “unpleasant” to have people picket your neighborhood in a group, using your name and calling you a baby-killer? Does making someone feel unsafe in her own home not matter if it somehow infringes on the right of a group to make that person feel intimidated? And where exactly do “free speech” advocates draw the line for what constitutes “unruly?”

The article also mentions the courts reactions to these intimidation tactics.

it seems as though courts are bending over backwards toignore the physical intimidation involved in many of the anti-choice protesters’ activities. In a recent FACE act case involving an anti-choice activist at EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, the judge decided that touching an escort is just another way of expressing “freedom of speech.”

“In his attempt to continue talking to the patient, [anti-choice “sidewalk counselor” David Hamilton ‘pushed [clinic escort Jane Fitts’s] arm down slightly,’” [U.S. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman] found.

But the judge said the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE), requires the prosecution to show Hamilton used force with the intent to injure or intimidate someone because that person was seeking or providing reproductive health services.

There are questions for a jury concerning whether any contact “was used intentionally to injure, intimidate, or interfere” and “whether Fitts was indeed providing reproductive health services.”

The judge suggested it was possible that Fitts was not an “escort” at all but would be “more accurately characterized as a counter-protester.”

“U.S. courts are charged with protecting the freedoms of all American citizens,” said Cody. “Sidewalk counselors have the same rights as other people.”

How is pushing an escort’s arm down in order to make contact with a patient trying to access abortion services not an attempt to “interfere” with or “intimidate” both the escort and the woman seeking a termination?

Anti-choicers don’t appear to “have the same rights as other people.” They claim more rights, supra-rights, a secretly granted set of rights that appear to trump the rights of those who seek reproductive health care, those who provide it, and those who assist in ensuring the first two can meet each other without hindrance. If the right to freedom of speech outweighs the pursuit of happiness—i.e.: the ability to access care, the ability to walk the streets without unwanted physical contact, the right to feel safe in your own home, then how does anyone else have any freedom at all?

(I thought that was a great post btw…that was why I used so much of it.)

Hey if not intimidation, lets talk disenfranchised voters?  Warning, this link goes to Fox News…but I thought it was an interesting spin on the Voter ID laws and the push from the GOP to make it hard as hell for Dems to “get out the vote.”  Drop in Ohio voter registration, especially in Dem strongholds, mirrors nationwide trend | Fox News

Speaking of party lines…The Bottom Line on Party ID | TPM Editors Blog  That link will take you to a short post with a rather big graph. Take a look, it is interactive!

There is a real good post on Juan Cole this morning, written by Alice K. Ross:  Obama set precedent with Drone Killings for Romney to become Terminator-in-Chief (Ross) | Informed Comment

President Obama’s personal involvement in selecting the targets of covert drone strikes means he risks effectively handing a ‘loaded gun’ to Mitt Romney come November, says the co-author of a new report aimed at US policymakers.

‘If Obama leaves, he’s leaving a loaded gun: he’s set up a programme where the greatest constraint is his personal prerogative. There’s no legal oversight, no courtroom that can make [the drone programme] stop. A President Romney could vastly accelerate it,’ said Naureen Shah, associate director of the Counterterrorism and Human Rights Project at the Columbia Law School.

That is just a taste, you go read the rest of it at the link.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution broke the story about the cheating scandal last year, they have a new investigative report that you should read.

More cheating scandals inevitable, as states can’t ensure test…

The stain of cheating spread unchecked across 44 Atlanta schools before the state finally stepped in and cleaned it up. But across the country, oversight remains so haphazard that most states cannot guarantee the integrity of their standardized tests, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has found.

Poor oversight means that cheating scandals in other states are inevitable. It also undermines a national education policy built on test scores, which the states and local districts use to fire teachers, close schools and direct millions of dollars in funding.

The AJC’s survey of the 50 state education departments found that many states do not use basic test security measures designed to stop cheating on tests. And most states make almost no attempt to screen test results for irregularities.

Please take a look at that article.

I was going to post a link to this post from WhoWhatWhere, but Susie Madrak also read it and wrote about it…so here is her take on the piece. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Nuclear Standoff With Iran | Crooks and Liars

Over at WhoWhatWhy.com, Christian Stork has a thorough analysis debunking the most common myths propagated about the West’s nuclear stand-off with Iran. It’s all so familiar, isn’t it? I know if I think really hard, I can figure it out. Oh, wait – it’s just like the buildup to both wars in Iraq! And of course both times, the media did their best stenography impression.

That’s why stories like this are so important. In his “Idiot’s Guide to Iran and the Bomb,” Stork lists 8 important lessons for all people to keep in mind when surveying the media landscape around Iran’s nuclear program.

[…]

The first lesson taught, with exhaustive documentation, is that Iran is not building nuclear weapons. Considering how hard the mainstream media is working to convince us otherwise, it might be hard to grasp. But that’s why stories like this tutorial are needed. Click here to see the rest of what Stork calls his “introductory course in intellectual self-defense”

Go and check it out.

I will end this post with a couple of articles about history, I know Dakinikat will like this first a story about an ancient burial site in Denmark.

Ancient burial shroud offers up surprise

The National Museum of Denmark

This 2,800-year-old Lusehoj textile made from imported nettles was found in a grave along with the bones from what may be a Scandinavian man, scientists reported on Friday.

Ancient scraps of fabric found in a grave in Denmark are not made of cultivated flax as once believed, but instead are woven from imported wild nettles, suggesting the grave’s inhabitant may have traveled far for burial.

This discovery, announced Friday in the journal Scientific Reports, casts a new light on the textile trade in Bronze Age Europe, said study researcher Ulla Mannering, an archaeologist at the University of Copenhagen.

“Since the Stone Age, they had very well-developed agriculture and technology for producing linen textiles,” Mannering told LiveScience. “So it’s really unusual that a society which has established agriculture would also take in material from things that are not of the normal standardized agricultural production” — in other words, wild plants.

[…]

“The fibers we get from the European nettle are very, very fine and soft and shiny, and we often say this is a sort of prehistoric silk textile,” Mannering said. (Silk, made from insect cocoons, is known for its shimmery texture.)

Previous analysis pegged the Danish fabric as woven from flax, a plant widely cultivated in the region. But along with nanophysicist Bodil Holst of the University of Bergen in Norway, Mannering and her colleagues used advanced methods to reanalyze the scraps of cloth. By studying the fiber orientation as well as the presence of certain crystals found in plants, the researchers were able to learn that the fabric is not flax at all, but nettle, a group of plants known for the needlelike stingers that line their stems and leaves.

Nor is the nettle local, Mannering said. Different soil regions contain different variations of elements. The variation of one of these elements, strontium, found in the fabric, was not local to Denmark, suggesting the plants the textile was made from grew elsewhere.

There are a few regions that match the strontium profile, the researchers found, but the most likely candidate is southwest Austria. The bronze burial urn holding the remains is from Austria, Mannering said, and it makes sense that the fabric might be too.

Hey, what do you know… he was a traveling man?

Despite these imported grave goods, the remains appear to be those of a Danish man, Mannering said. The personal objects in the grave, such as two razors, suggest he was a Scandinavian, albeit perhaps a well-traveled one, she said.

“Maybe he died in Austria and was wrapped in this Austrian urn and Austrian textile and was brought back to Denmark in this condition and then put in a big burial mound,” Mannering said. “The personal objects that were placed inside the urn together with this textile and the bones indicate that he is a male of Scandinavian origin, but it doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have died abroad.”

And, lastly this blast from the past….my son will be very excited about this link…he loves the Beatles. I think many of you will appreciate it too.  October 1962: the month that modern culture was born

Photo of Beatles

The Beatles at the Cavern Club, Liverpool, in 1962. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives

On 5 October 1962, a new sound filled the nation’s airwaves. It was raw, simple, direct and sexy. “Love, love me do,” sang Lennon and McCartney, “You know I love you.” The Beatles had arrived, and a new generation had a new soundtrack to their lives. Seventeen years after VE Day and VJ Day, the war was finally over. Nothing – in culture, in society, in the everyday world itself – would ever be quite the same again.

When, exactly, did the 1960s began? Was it when JFK announced he was running for president (31 January 1960)? When Harold Macmillan acknowledged “the winds of change” sweeping through colonial Africa (3 February)? Or when the chain-smoking Princess Margaret announced her engagement to a commoner, photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones, on 26 February? Or was it when Kennedy finally won the US election, by a whisker, on 9 November?

Some would go further, and deny that any kind of transition occurred until the new American president had, thrillingly, been sworn in on the icy-blue morning of 20 January 1961. Until then, they say, the west was still in the grip of the sclerotic gerontocracy represented by Eisenhower and Khrushchev. One thing is certain: the 1950s took a while to pass into the limbo of lost time.

Enjoy that article, and have a wonderful Sunday Morning!


Sunday Reads: The Dick That Keeps On Ticking and Auroras on Uranus

Good Morning!

What a week…these last few days have been a whirlwind, so let’s get to your morning links.

Saturday saw many tornadoes throughout the center of the US, I hope that everyone is safe. Storm hits Iowa hospital; tornado warning issued for Wichita

The region had more than 80 preliminary tornado reports by 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday, according to CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras, though some of those reports could be of the same twister. Most were in rural areas and damage was reported to be relatively minor, including downed trees and power lines and minor flooding.

Across the south and central Plains, storm chasers broadcast images of funnel clouds roaring through rural landscapes. Residents in some high-risk areas received new warnings intended to grab their attention and prompt them to find safe shelter.

There are some amazing videos of some of yesterday’s tornadoes at the link.

From the title of today’s post I am sure you can guess which Dick it is that I speak of…Dick Cheney shows no sign of tiring in long Wyoming speech, 1st since heart transplant 3 weeks ago

Former Vice President Dick Cheney walked onstage without any assistance and spoke for an hour and 15 minutes without seeming to tire in his first public engagement since he underwent a heart transplant three weeks ago.

Well, that is one link I am sure no one will click to read. I just thought it made a funny title for today’s post. So now on to the links that will really be of interest.

The amount of laws being passed these days are unbelievable, Boston Boomer had a bit of a round-up last night of the ridiculous backward legislation in the works. So if you missed her post, please check it out.

We have been very vocal about our concerns regarding what direction this war on women is taking, so I wanted to share with you this very logical Op/ed from the San Antonio Express. Texas is getting ready for the outrageous funding cutbacks to the state’s Planned Parenthood. This de-funding will affect so many women who rely on Planned Parenthood for health services. Constitution backs Planned Parenthood

What if Texas told you that you can no longer be “affiliated” with someone doing something perfectly legal because the state objects to this certain something being done?

Say, this something is teaching evolution or the certainty that man is contributing to climate change?

What if Texas then told you that such “affiliation” allows it to bar you as a state contractor?

We would all believe the state to be, not just daft, but unconstitutionally so — violating both 1st and 14th amendments.

This is essentially what the state has done and what Planned Parenthood branches in the state are now calling it out on in a federal lawsuit that was as predictable as Texas wildflowers.

Last week, Planned Parenthood branches in Texas sued to prohibit the state from barring them from the Women’s Health Program because they are “affiliated” with abortion providers or advocates.

It continues…

some of you reading this will surely be telling me that, because abortion is involved, this makes this analogy apples and orangutans. The argument will go something like this: Slavery and segregation were once legal. Did that make them right?

Good argument and still missing the point. If we had fought the Civil War against entities that were pretty much about making slavery non-existent, I’d say that was a pretty boneheaded and useless war.

Preventing the circumstances that result in abortions is pretty much what these Planned Parenthood branches are about.

None perform abortions. All provide women health services that prevent serious life-threatening illness and the unplanned pregnancies that are the primary source of abortions. They are separate — legally and financially — from those Planned Parenthood entities that do provide abortions or advocate that these continue to be rare but legal. And branches like these have been providing some 40 percent of WHP services.

I like the ending, because it expresses something that I think we all are feeling:

What Texas has done with its affiliate rule is to say, OK, we can’t prove you’re not separate, so, by fiat, we’ll simply say this doesn’t matter.

In other words, Texas gets to abridge these branches’ freedom to believe what they want to believe and to let these beliefs inform their associations. This, because the state doesn’t like the (perfectly legal) crowd they’re hanging out with.

Earlier, the federal government said Texas could not bar a provider from a Medicaid program such as the Women’s Health Program because it is affiliated with an organization that provides a legal medical service. And the feds said that the state could not force women not to have the health providers of their choosing.

The state’s response to the federal cut-off of funds was to move to make WHP completely a state program (forgoing a 9 to 1 federal/state dollar match).

That, however, doesn’t change the dynamics.

States’ rights do not include the license to abridge constitutional rights.

That’s what the courts will be deciding, and how they rule will either strengthen these freedoms or undermine them.

I’m afraid.

I am afraid too.

If it isn’t women being the focus of the right-wing Christian extremist…it is the gay community. I have another op/ed for you, this time from the British press. Joan Smith: I’m tired of Christian hectoring. Get over it!

Religious extremists tend not to have a great sense of humour. So I don’t imagine that the people who wanted to plaster anti-gay ads on the side of London buses were consciously trying to echo a well-known Monty Python sketch. But some of the phrases used in the campaign – “ex-gay” and “post-gay” – reminded me irresistibly of John Cleese ranting about his “ex-parrot”. This is what happens, I’m afraid, when humourless idiots try to be clever at someone else’s expense.

Indeed, I was sorry when the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, decided that Londoners wouldn’t be able to see these risible ads, due to appear on two-dozen buses in central London from tomorrow. Johnson is running for re-election next month and he was never going to risk alienating the capital’s gay vote by nodding through an undeniably offensive slogan. But he now faces a possible legal challenge from one of the Christian groups behind the ads.

They’re complaining about censorship and portraying themselves as victims, which is one of several reasons why I believe it was a mistake to pull the bus campaign. It’s almost always better to challenge bad ideas than to ban them, which runs the risk of appearing to suggest that they’re dangerous and radical. Secular and equality campaigners are wittier and more sophisticated than the anti-gay lobby; think of the fun we could all have had with post-this, that and the other jokes.

She is right about that, we all have seen what passes as comedy for the right-wing.

But there’s another reason why I believe the campaign should have been allowed to go ahead. Over the past few months, we’ve heard a great deal about “aggressive secularism” from Eric Pickles, Baroness Warsi and church leaders. What they’re complaining about isn’t aggressive – it’s the application of principles of equality that don’t give special privileges to believers. But aggressive Christianity is on the rise, and a nasty campaign against gay marriage is the latest attempt to halt advances in human rights that benefit women, homosexual people and secularists.

In that sense, the anti-gay ads have already performed a useful service, challenging the notion that the modern church is packed with sunny-tempered coves whose slogan is “live and let live”. The Christian groups associated with the campaign are homophobic and irrational; one of them, Anglican Mainstream, has supporters who compare homosexuality to alcoholism. Its website talks creepily about helping gay people to realise their “heterosexual potential”, and a letter calls for professional help for people who want to “resolve unwanted same-sex attractions”. Its signatories include Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Michael Nazir-Ali and Michael Scott-Joynt, former bishops of Rochester and Winchester respectively.

Twenty years ago, gay people were still trying to get rid of Section 28. Now there are civil partnerships and we’re moving towards gay marriage. The religious right is becoming more aggressive about equality and human rights issues – abortion as well as gay marriage – because it’s losing the arguments. I mean, who really thinks that “not gay” pride will catch on?

I don’t know, this op/ed ends with a hopeful question…but after seeing what we have been up against lately here in the US…I think “not gay pride” or “life begins at arousal” are arguments whose supporters seem determined to win, no matter what the cost.

I am going to move in a direction now, in entertainment news: Robin Gibb in a coma with pneumonia

The Bee Gees star Robin Gibb is in a coma after contracting pneumonia while being treated for cancer.

[…]

Gibb had surgery on his bowel 18 months ago for an unrelated condition, but a tumour was discovered and he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon and, later, of the liver.

It had been thought his cancer was in remission as early as last month, but the latest deterioration in his health coincides with reports of a secondary tumour.

I never was one for the Bee Gees…but they certainly are connected to many memories of hot pants, hairy chest, disco lights, and polyester. So here is yet another op/ed, this time from David Randall: The Seventies, decade of glamour and grit

Dark beginnings. Haiphong, Phnom Penh, the Ibrox stadium disaster; Belfast; Watergate; and Idi Amin. And dark continuings, too….In the Seventies, if the wind was in the right direction, you could smell burning almost everywhere.

It was that kind of decade – bad things, and yet silly things. Hysteria never far away. Napalm and hot pants, terrorists and Oh! Calcutta!, Vietnam and Pot Noodles. Chopper bikes and Entebbe. A world still ruled almost exclusively by men. Selsdon Man, The Ascent of Man, The Wicker Man and The History Man. But along came bra burning, an Equal Pay Act (we’d all be earning the same by 1976, they said) and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch. And… 790 couples marrying in a mass Moonie wedding.

I remember that Moonie wedding, the pictures of all those brides and grooms in row upon row…do you?

Give that Randall post a read, wow…today’s links seem to be following an op/ed kind of train of thought…well, this next link is not so much an op/ed, but it does stand as a commentary on the recent racial controversy that has been in the media lately. (I am talking about the Trayvon Martin murder.)

This link is a bit old, but I bookmarked it because it seemed like such an emotional article that needed to be shared. Fitting Tribute

Fitting Tribute

James Lewis died at night, after a football game. The Miami Northwestern Senior High Bulls had played the Booker T. Washington Tornadoes. In the parking lot outside Traz Powell Stadium, Lewis stood among a small crowd. A bullet fired from a pistol entered his body in what friends say was an assassination. Lewis was popular in school. He owned two cars. He made other people jealous, his family says. At age 17 his life looked good, too good for Liberty City, so he had to go.

The shooting occurred around midnight. When Studio X opened the next day at 10:30 a.m., Lewis’ girlfriend was waiting. In her fingers she clutched a photo of her boyfriend, also known as 3-J. She wanted to put him on a T-shirt. Studio X is a booth at Flea Market usa, located on Northwest 79th Street, in Liberty City, the heart of black Miami. Owner Chino Mizrachi has worked the flea market for the past 17 years. Some simply refer to his booth by what they go there for, “In Loving Memory Of” T-shirts. Mizrachi sells 500 In Loving Memory Of T-shirts a week, on average. More when someone popular dies, or if the week was particularly violent. He occasionally makes shirts memorializing, say, a grandmother who died of old age. But most shirts feature teenage boys, shot for various reasons, most often for no good reason at all.

Please…please, read this article from Mother Jones, and look at the images.

Death is a stable business in Liberty City. The murder rate across Miami-Dade County increased by nearly 40 percent last year, and more than twice as many kids under 18 were killed in 2006 than in the previous year. In November, a Miami-Dade Police Department gun buyback event netted more than 1,100 revolvers, shotguns, rifles, and semiautomatic firearms, in four hours. “It’s just deteriorating,” Mizrachi explains. “It’s just going from bad to worse. I don’t know where it’s going to stop. It used to be one guy a week and two guys a week, but nowadays you can find in one night, like, three or four guys can get killed and nobody cares.”

On one of the photos the captions states that Mizrachi makes around 500 Tribute shirts a week…another has an image of a young woman:

Fitting Tribute
Mizrachi has known Tequila, 18, for years; she’s one of many teenagers, he says, who “knows someone who was killed–maybe four or five.”
Okay, now just a few last items to share with you…these are stories that should bring the mood of today’s post up…in a happier direction.

A group of geographers and ecologists from three continents has taken an unprecedented look at Antarctica’s emperor penguins. Using very high resolution (VHR) images from satellites 450 kilometers above Earth, the team has come up with the first total population count for an entire species. With a whopping 595,000 penguins, they found nearly twice as many emperor penguins as did previous studies, and they counted 46 colonies, up from the earlier total of 38. Their results were published today in PLoS One.

“We were very surprised by the results,” says geographer Peter Fretwell of the British Antarctic Survey, one of the study’s authors.

Astronomers have caught the first views of auroras on the planet Uranus from a telescope near Earth, revealing tantalizing views of the tilted giant planet’s hard-to-catch light shows.

The Uranus aurora photos were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, marking the first time the icy blue planet’s light show has been seen by an observatory near Earth. Until now, the only views of auroras on Uranus were from the NASA Voyager probe that zipped by the planet in 1986.

Snapping the new photos was no easy feat: Hubble recorded auroras on the day side of Uranus only twice, both times in 2011, while the planet was 2.5 billion miles (4 billion kilometers) from Earth. The observation time had to be carefully timed with a passing solar storm to maximize Hubble’s chance of seeing auroras on the planet, researchers said.

Finally, today we have talked about the seventies…the seemingly backward dark ages of present day…now lets take a moment to pay tribute to the decade of the 80’s…particularly one cultural icon that, like Dick Cheney, seems to keep on ticking. I am talking about The Simpsons. Matt Groening Reveals the Location of the Real Springfield | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine

Twenty-five years after The Simpsons made their TV debut, the show’s creator talks about Homer’s odyssey—and his own.

It is a great interview, give it a read, it will make you smile…and here is a heads up about tonight’s episode:

UPDATE: According to Entertainment Weekly, “The Simpsons” will make a reference to Springfield’s origins in the opening credits of this Sunday’s episode. Stay tuned.

So, that is all I have for you this morning, what are you reading about today?