That’s no moon

We’ve always assumed our sun was the only star in our solar system, but maybe not. We could be in a binary system, with a brown dwarf hiding in the Oort cloud. And it could be bombing us with comets. Or a green laser beam. Welcome to your tax dollars at work.

The star, referred to as Nemesis, or “The Death Star,” has been theorized for a while. But now NASA’s new satellite, WISE, could be able to prove its existence for the first time. The theory was developed to explain the waves of mass extinctions on Earth, every 26 million years for the past 250 million years.

Our solar system is surrounded by a vast collection of icy bodies called the Oort Cloud. If our Sun were part of a binary system in which two gravitationally-bound stars orbit a common center of mass, this interaction could disturb the Oort Cloud on a periodic basis, sending comets whizzing towards us.

An asteroid impact is famously responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, but large comet impacts may be equally deadly. A comet may have been the cause of the Tunguska event in Russia in 1908. That explosion had about a thousand times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and it flattened an estimated 80 million trees over an 830 square mile area.

So if we’re able to prove that Nemesis does exist, and its irregular orbit around our own sun is causing regular comet attacks, then the next thing will be for our greatest scientific minds to come up with a plan to neutralize it. Our only hope? A race of people that are only vaguely squid-like in name only.

March of the Poop-guins

Did you see what I did there? Oh my, aren’t I so clever! I’m probably the smartest person in world!

Okay, well, if I’m not, then I’m at least in the running to be smarter than a bunch of scientists from Jolly Ol’ Blighty that used a high-powered satellite to track down the fecal matter of Emperor penguins.

“This is a very exciting development. Now we know exactly where the penguins are, the next step will be to count each colony so we can get a much better picture of population size,” said penguin ecologist Phil Trathan.

Exciting development? More like crappy development, am I right guys? Huh? Huh?!

In space, no one can hear you say ‘oops’

East met West way up north.

(What? Our maps tell us north is up.)

A derelict Russian military satellite collided with a [then-] working U.S. Iridium commercial satellite, creating a cloud of debris that risks damaging even more satellites.

The International Debris Cloud now orbits 500 miles above the Earth, which is a popular distance for orbiting satellites, and should entertain cable and communication companies for the next 10,000 years. At least it gives them another excuse besides sun spots.

Coined the world’s scariest shotgun blast, it is part of a growing junkyard around the Earth that threatens anything new we plan to put up there. It’s a brave new step in the human endeavor of pollution!

You Missed It: Do not adjust your television set edition

Hi folks. Welcome to 2009, and brand new year for news you will miss. As you may have noticed if you are reading this on Friday, You Missed It is now being published late Friday afternoons, as opposed to early Friday afternoons. If you hadn’t heard about that change until now, um, well, odds are you missed it.

Digital get-down
Did you know that television is changing over to a digital format next month? You probably did, and you are probably still really confused about it. Don’t worry, Congress and President-elect Barack Obama are trying to get the switch over date pushed back. Why? Because, among other things, the federal coupon program ran out of money a couple months ago. By the way, gang, you only need a digital converter if you get your television by bunny ear antenna–that’s it. If you have cable or satellite, you don’t need to worry. You’re welcome.

Charges of corruption and excessively-voweled last name
Today, the Illinois House of Representatives voted to impeach Gov. Rod “The Bod” Blagojevich. Some going to far as to say he had stolen the trust of the people. After the the 114-1 vote with three lawmakers not voting, the measure now heads to the state senate. Why was there one vote against impeachment and three non-votes? Blagojevich promised them all “something really f@$*ing nice. No f%&$ing kidding around.”

The Whopper Virgins will decide
Is the recession getting you down? Did you blow way too much on bar tabs and presents during the holidays? There is a meal in sight for you, for the low, low price of 10 friends. Yes, in this economy, even the value of a friendship can be worth less than something on the dollar menu. For what I assume is a limited time, Burger King will give you a Whopper if you de-friend 10 friends using their new app available on their website Just to make things tougher, there’s no way delete the friends and not have it show up in the News Feed, so everyone will know you would rather 1/10 of a Whopper than their friendship. Ouch.

Iran catches up with 1957 USSR

SeriouslyLadies and Gentlemen, we have a tie for Picture of the Day and Headline of the Day, courtesy of crazy Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the confused British writers at The Guardian.

When asked about his 3D glasses, the little guy replied, “I’m glad you asked tha–Holy crap! My hand looks like it’s going to touch my face!

When his hand did, in fact, touch his face, he was startled, but quickly regained composure.

Image: “Old Tin Toy” by Louise Docker