Tell your representatives in Congress to support an Employment Nondiscrimination Act protecting sexual orientation and gender identity. In many states it is legal to fire employees for being gay, bisexual, trans, or otherwise queer. This is wrong, and it largely hurts the members of our community who are already the most vulnerable.
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A group of astronomers looking for “faint signs of heat” from long-dead stars has found, instead, a booming sound of unknown origin.
Of course, sound waves can’t travel in a vacuum (which is what most of space is), or at least they can’t very efficiently. But radio waves can.
Radio waves are not sound waves, but they are still electromagnetic waves, situated on the low-frequency end of the light spectrum.
Many objects in the universe, including stars and quasars, emit radio waves. Even our home galaxy, the Milky Way, emits a static hiss (first detected in 1931 by physicist Karl Jansky). Other galaxies also send out a background radio hiss.
But the newly detected signal, described here today at the 213th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, is far louder than astronomers expected.
About six times louder, apparently.
Detailed analysis of the signal ruled out primordial stars or any known radio sources, including gas in the outermost halo of our own galaxy.
Other radio galaxies also can’t account for the noise – there just aren’t enough of them.
Via Boing Boing.
Scientists see others’ thoughts–fuel for anti-surveillance paranoia.
Check out this brief documentary: I Am Sean Bell: Black Boys Speak, in which black boys and black parents talk about the horrifying murder of Sean Bell by police officers. There is nothing I can add — just watch it.
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Happy Gregorian New Year, everybody!
On a completely different note, here are a whole bunch of very serious and upsetting links.
1. Just after Katrina, a white militia formed and used the event as an excuse to happily kill as many black people as possible. Absolutely. Fucking. Sickening.
3. A link round-up about the recent Israeli bombings of Gaza. More links in the thread.
4. Panel recommends reparations for people forcibly sterilized under state eugenics programs. Horrifyingly, North Carolina only ceased these sterilizations in the 1970s. This is the first time reparations have been suggested.
5. And over at Alas: We Know How To Stop Prisoner Rape.
Take a look at these incredible images of Japanese highways, bridges, and other road-structures. They are mind-blowing, to put it plainly.
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Emily told me about this awhile ago — it’s a fun little game where you can build your own squid and then set it free into the virtual seas. It’s pretty minimal, of course, but amusing. At the end you can play with your squid by dragging and dropping it around the screen, and you can come back later to check on it. Right now my squid has traveled zero kilometers, weighs one kilogram, and has had only one adventure (“hunting for shoes”?).
Presumably these things will change.
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