When scientists make a discovery, they can name that thing pretty much whatever they want. There don’t seem to be any real naming rules for stuff, and that’s how we end up with spiders being named for a hat in Harry Potter. Fortunately, a lot of researchers out there like booze.
A group of researchers at Belgium’s University of Liege are big fans of Trappist beers, so much so that they named a planetary system after them. TRAPPIST-1 is a short 40 light-years away, and has seven Earth-size planets, and three of them could even support life. And now, each of the planets bears the name of a Trappist brewery, such as Chimay, Westmalle and Spencer.
Trappist beers come from monasteries that brew their own beer as a means of financially supporting themselves. They have a certification and everything. It makes sense that a bunch of dudes hanging out for the rest of their lives would figure out how to make beer on the side.
Unfortunately, this means that it’s inevitable that some American scientist will discover the planet Budweiser.
Vinyl is the most coveted audio media today. Old people like their records for nostalgia reasons, and hipsters like them because they like acting like things that suck are actually somehow better than what we moved on to. And NASA is cashing in on the trend, if a Kickstarter campaign works out.
Back in the 70s, NASA collaborated with Carl Sagan to create an album like no other. It bares some resemblance to the modern day mix tapes (that aren’t actual tapes). It features a collection of greetings in different languages, sounds of animals, different types of music — pretty out-there stuff for the age of disco. And because NASA is the pimp agency of the federal government, the album was made on gold discs. The album was then launched into space on Voyagers 1 and 2, in hopes that aliens will one day enjoy NASA’s fresh beats. But it was never released here on Earth, not even Sagan could get a copy of the record.
But now, it’s going to be reissued–on vinyl, not gold–for the public to hear. If the Kickstarter campaign meets its funding goal, The Gold Album by NASA feat. Carl “C. Saggy” Sagan, will be reissued and heard by the ears of Earthlings everywhere.
Somehow I’m more turned off by the Democratic primaries than I do the GOP race. I find the Republican race of more consequence and much, much cruder, but out of nowhere, the Dems and their supporters have become intolerable. This week alone we had Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton trying to out-New York each other. Nothing says “I’m in touch with real Americans” like a pissing match for the most self-important city in the U.S. Then there are your Facebook friends who post 18 things a day about how great Sanders is, and how THE MEDIA IS AGAINST US, MAN! The media are a bunch of outlets with no common agenda, other than entertaining you. Blaming your problems on them is like blaming your fart on the dog. If you were busy (finally) retiring from basketball this week, odds are you missed it.
Taking the law into his own hands
It was revealed this week that as Texas solicitor general in 2007, Ted Cruz penned a 76-page brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals defending a state ban on the sale of sex toys. He unsuccessfully argued that Americans have no legal right to stimulate their own genitals–no, really. Folks, if we have the right to bear arms, we certainly have the right to hairy palms.
Time to probe some aliens
A group of investors and scientists, including Mark Zuckerberg, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and famed physicist Stephen Hawking this week announced an initiative to send a bunch of tiny probes to Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth. The nanocraft would travel four light-years in about two decades. So let the record show that when the Centaurian War is over, we fired first.
Use of electronic devices is now permitted
This week, AMC Theaters floated an idea to allow cell phone use at certain designated shows, arguing that it would be more appealing to younger moviegoers. The proposal was met with such strong criticism that AMC announced a day later that it was killing the idea. To which younger moviegoers said, “We know, we saw it on Twitter like an hour ago.”
Vietnam saw its share of bombs during the 20th century. We’re not well-versed on our post-unification Vietnamese history, but we don’t believe there have been many bombs since then. All that has changed.
And just like that, 2015 is over. It seems like only yesterday we were talking about how miserable a year 2014 was. I, for one, think that we managed to surpass all expectations this year. It was the most miserable yet. We kept injuring ourselves falling off of bikes, stages and those Segway-like things that aren’t actually hoverboards. We agreed when Jared Fogle got arrested that rape jokes can be funny. We landed a probe on a comet, and immediately lost track of it. And we got really, really into the finer points of air pressure in a football. The sooner we get through this, the sooner we can get started with 2016. Grab a bottle and let’s do this.
Young people who don’t watch award shows upset
The nominees for the Academy Awards were announced and Twitter was all, well, atwitter with the news. Mostly, people were upset that all 20 of the nominees for acting awards were white, the third time it’s happened since 1998. Highlighting their point was the fact that “Selma” was all but shut out of the nominations. But everyone eventually moved on because a woman said a nominee’s name was “Dick Poop.”
The Summah Olympics
The U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as the city it would run for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Boston beat out Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Why Boston? Because if international sports fans can take a poverty-stricken, crime-ridden city like Rio de Janeiro, they’ll love a city where packs of Irish mooks all named Sully or Murph rove unmolested. Later in the year, the people of Boston told the committee where to stick their nomination.
Scientists announced that they captured in real time a radio signal burst from unknown origins deep in space. Researchers insisted that the signal was caused by some kind of natural source, and that there was no message in the burst. But we all know that it was Casey Kasem getting on Heaven’s airwaves. Continue reading →
Roommates can be annoying, even if you’re good friends with or are married to them. But the good thing is that you don’t have to stay cooped up with them if you don’t want to. You can leave your place for a while and cool off. But your options are limited if you’re on the International Space Station.
American astronaut Kjell Lindgren learned that one of his friends died recently, and did what anyone else in morning would do, annoy the hell out of his roommates. He played the bagpipes, an instrument known for its unpleasant sound and volume. To honor his fallen friend, Lindgren played “Amazing Grace” on some bagpipes he had sent up on a recent supply mission for this reason. That means he knowingly trapped his roommates thousands of feet above the Earth and made them listen to his music.
Last week, the Russians launched a supply ship to the International Space Station, but when it got to space, it started spinning out of control for no reason. Scientists have since given up on the craft. The bad news is that it’s going to crash into the Earth tomorrow.
The other bad news (sorry, did you think this was a good news/bad news situation?) is that researchers have no idea where it’s going to hit. They can only guess as to the day it will crash with its three-ton payload. So look up on Friday, you could die in the most awesome way possible.
We may have put a man on the moon, but the Swedes beat us to probably the most important space milestone ever. They launched a doughnut into space.
A Swedish science group–and the term alone sounds like they’re up to no good–attached a doughnut to weather balloon and sent it into the boundaries of space, with a camera to record the whole thing. It is the first known space pastry, or “spacetry.”
We choose to send a cronut into space and do the other things in this decade, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.