Astronomy Picture of the Week – The CMB

*opens door* *dusts off cobwebs*

Time to get this started back up, too. And I’m doing that with this ridiculously amazing image. Now… I absolutely had to start this series off with that incredible image of Saturn, but this honestly should have been the next one. Not making this the very next picture was a mistake. But I’m making up for that now…

This is it right here. The oldest light we can see. The baby visible universe. The best evidence for, and the afterglow of, the Big Bang. The Cosmic Microwave Background.

This image is compiled from data collected by PLANCK. If you click on it, it will download a high resolution, 20.70mb TIFF of this same image. Here’s a link to see WMAP’s image, compiled from nine years of WMAP Data.

The Cosmic Microwave Background, as seen by PLANCK.

The Cosmic Microwave Background, as seen by PLANCK.

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Chelsea Manning Will Be Free in May 2017

Y’all probably already know it, but I just want to join the celebration:

President Obama has commuted Chelsea Manning’s sentence. She is to be released in May 2017.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday overruled his secretary of defense to commute the sentence of former Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of stealing and disseminating 750,000 pages of documents and videos to WikiLeaks.

I cannot express in words how happy I am. Chelsea Manning was unjustly imprisoned, and she will finally see the freedom she deserves.

I’ve always supported her, and I will continue to. She deserves it.

Sadly, being the relentless cynic that I am, I have to reign a little bit on the parade…

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The Resistance Manual – a Project by Stay Woke

Because I’m signed up to Campaign Zero, I got an email today from Deray Mckesson. It was to tell subscribers about The Resistance Manual.

To quote from the email:

Today, we launch the Resistance Manual — an open-source platform to collect information/resources to resist Trump’s agenda & to continue making progress towards equity and justice in America.

Explore the manual to learn about the policies the incoming administration plans to pursue, how they’ll impact our communities, and what you can do to stop them through federal, state, and local advocacy.

You can also find and contribute essential readings in resistance, learn and contribute information about policy issues in your state, and view a growing list of tools and organizations that can help to strengthen your advocacy efforts.

The manual will grow over time as more and more people contribute updates, facts and resources to it. As such, we encourage you to contribute important information for others to read.

If you would like to assist us in growing the content within the Resistance Manual, please reply to this e-mail directly.

We also urge you to dial (844)-6-RESIST to tell Congress to support the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and to vote against Jeff Sessions.

Get educated. Get organized. Take Action.

// DeRay, Netta, Brittany, & Sam

P.S. Shout-out to Chi/Donahoe for assisting with Design.

I really don’t have much to add. Please join the wiki, use, and contribute.

I’ve been ignoring the Orange Cheeto Fascist up to now because I simply cannot believe it. And while I was pretending this past presidential election didn’t happen, fucking Jeff Sessions (the man so racist that Strom Thurmond didn’t want him to be a federal judge in Alabama in 1986) was nominated as Attorney General. I cannot express how badly I want him rejected, but I have little to no hope.

The Resistance Manual is a place to gather and collect all of the ways, large and small, we can resist and fight for the next four years. Please join, contribute, and use for your own activism, as I will be for mine.

Thank you.

Great Guitar Solos – Pink Floyd Plays Shine You Crazy Diamond

I hope you have 25 minutes and 33 seconds to spare, because that’s how long this one is. And it has multiple guitar solos, and they are all amazing. But of course they are; it’s David Gilmour.

This one is audio only, so you don’t have to watch anything.

The first guitar solo starts at 2:09 and ends at 3:34. The second guitar solo starts at 5:11 and ends at 6:27. The third guitar solo starts at 7:34 and ends at 8:38. There some amazing little licks during the verses. Then some amazing saxophone solos. The fourth (slide) guitar solo starts at 15:43 and ends at 17:53. After the verses, there’s a really cool synthesizer solo that ends the song.

So turn off the lights, get yourself into some comfortable clothing and/or pajamas, light up a joint, pour a glass of your favorite alcohol to drink neat or on the rocks, take out your favorite picture of Syd Barrett, press play…

… and enjoy!

(It’s funny, but I could fill this series up with nothing but David Gilmour and Jimmy Page… so next week, how’s about some Jimi Hendrix?)

 

From Marcus Ranum: Fellow Travelers

So I recently made three posts about my disappointment in Wikileaks and it’s fans. I am still angry about how they have been acting over this most recent presidential election. As Marcus Ranum noted, what I’m experiencing is the realization that Wikileaks was never an organization for good, but a vanity project by Julian Assange to boost his own ego; and that it was Assange and another hacker, Adrian Lamo, who threw Chelsea Manning under the bus.

Marcus wrote an incredible post about all this, drawing from his own first-hand experience with such hackers. I’ll quote the bit about what happened to Chelsea Manning here. But please, go and read the entire thing. It’s a long read, yes, but it’s very good, and deserves your full attention.

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Great Guitar Solos – Lenny Kravitz Plays “Are You Gonna Go My Way?” (feat. John Paul Jones on Bass!)

Sadly, I do not know the name of the lead guitarist on this way (if anyone can tell me the names of his lead guitarist and his drummer, I’d really appreciate it), but I actually really like this solo. It’s short and sweet, but it just… it works for the song. It’s a perfect fit.

This is live at just about the only awards show I ever enjoyed, the 1993 MTV Music Video Awards (and yes… I may have been a fresh 6 years old at the time [turning 6 only four months earlier], but I did actually watch bits of it live… I have subsequently seen the entire thing in later years). And you know I love the fact that John Paul Jones, of Led Zeppelin fame, joined them on the bass. This whole thing is awesome…

The solo starts at 2:41 and ends at 3:12. Enjoy!

Quick warning about my next post: it’s gonna be Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”… it’s a very long one.

Clinton Did Not Want to Assassinate Assange (Warning: Infuriating Twitter Convo and Rant)

This post is basically going to be a long Twitter conversation between myself and an asshole, along with interjections from me here. Please note that I cuss a lot here… also, this is not as long as it looks, because it’s basically a whole lot of tweets. So keep that in mind. You’ll move through it faster than you think…

Basic intro… I’ve got three posts now about WikiLeaks and their bullshit. Of course some people are angry at me for that…

*record scratch*

What? Hold up… *runs off to Snopes*

Oh… oh I see where that comes from… oh okay…

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Is WikiLeaks Being Run by 13-Year-Olds? Or Just Their Task Force Account?

The worst thing about all this is that I feel like I’m being forced to join a whole bunch of conservatives and people on Twitter blocked by the Block Bot to do this criticism, and it makes me feel dirty.

To sum up… a while back, as you may recall, WikiLeaks got in some trouble for doxxing people’s private lives. More recently (as of yesterday), WikiLeaks got angry because Obama’s administration decided to anonymously share some of the CIA’s report linking senior Russian officials, including Vladimir Putin, to the DNC email server hack.

You know, I remember a time when WikiLeaks was praised. Even those of us who always wanted Assange to face a court of law for the rape accusations leveled against him pretty much liked what WikiLeaks was doing. Maybe that’s because they became a thing during the Bush II Administration, and as a result, were leaking things that really hurt that administration. But it’s not like President Obama’s administration wasn’t hurt by leaking, both from WikiLeaks and from Edward Snowden. And I support all of that despite largely being a very big fan of President Obama (I cannot express in words how badly I’m going to miss him and the entire family; I have major issues with his foreign policy, but he was a great president, as far as I’m concerned).

But either I’ve been blind to what WikiLeaks really is up until now, or they just decided that now was the time to show their true colors… either that, or a 13-year-old is running their @WLTaskForce account…

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Wow Wikileaks… Just… Wow…

I probably shouldn’t be surprised, and I’m sure many will say that to me, but…

I’m surprised.

I’ve already covered this, technically, but…

Again, I’m a big fan of whistleblowers. I am actually sick of the secrets of people in power, and if there’s shit to leak, especially from a government, it should be leaked, because we deserve to know… especially when that government is elected by the people of the country it governs.

One would think that whistleblowing would be a bi-partisan affair. I recall whistleblowing under both Bush II and President Obama, and just assumed it would continue under Trump. But even while that may be the case, it obviously won’t be happening with Wikileaks, which has clearly outlived its usefulness…

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Hazel Scott; a Piano Prodigy (4 Videos Embedded in Post)

(It’s almost 8:00am. I finally managed to get tired enough around 4:45am to go to bed, only to wake up a couple hours later coughing due to an itchy throat caused by post-nasal drip. I’ve been like this for at least three weeks now… 🙁 )

There are 4 videos embedded here; 1 from Twitter and 3 from YouTube. Beware in case they autoplay.

So… I realize I missed this past Monday’s Great Guitar Solo, and I haven’t brought the Astronomy Picture of the Week series back. Hopefully I’ll be fixing that this coming Monday and Wednesday, respectively. In the meantime, I have another music post for y’all, this time highlighting the supremely talented Hazel Scott.

How I stumbled on her is actually really funny. I’m a huge fan of this podcast called The Read. So naturally, I follow the hosts, Kid Fury and Crissle, on Twitter. After the debacle that was Mariah Carey’s NYE performance, I was very very curious to see what they had to say. Sadly, they didn’t say anything. However, I did find a pretty funny tweet that Kid Fury had retweeted…

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