Most Important News Story Of The Day

Oh, sure, we could go with something election related. Or we could follow in Wonkette’s footsteps & write about how Kentucky’s Attorney General brazenly lied about the grand jury’s investigation of Breonna Taylor’s killer cops (yes, we’re talking about murderous cops and not about people who kill cops) and about how the dishonest AG was counting on grand jury secrecy to keep his lies from being discovered even as he continued to break required silence on grand jury proceedings with no one to arrest him (since that would be the AG’s job, which would be him) and, finally, about how a new ruling on behalf of a grand jury member who wanted to be able to speak publicly about aspects of the proceedings which the AG had already (falsely) described without going to jail. That’s an important story, an Wonkette has a good write up of it, but it’s not the most important story of the day.

We will, of course, miss the work of James Randi, but while personally affecting, I feel the story lacks quite as much public impact as even the story about the release of the Taylor grand jury transcript’s release. The story about Giuliani’s bid to bed a Borat Betty is amusing if you’re in the right frame of mind, but that’s not important at all. There’s all sorts of election news, of course, but much of it is horse-race nonsense. The election is not won or lost based on polls conducted 2-3 weeks before election day.

No, there’s only one most important news story today:

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Holy Shit! Man Walks on Fucking Superconductor!

This from the University of Rochester seems credible to me (though of course IANAP), and in another sense absolutely, positively incredible. Someone has created a “room temperature superconductor” – though a rather cool room, by USA standards, at 14.5/58 degrees.

Obviously it’s a one-off. Like Apollo 11 was not the start of lunar tourism, this breakthrough is not the beginning of superconducting electromagnets powering your car. Still, you can’t get to lunar tourism without an Apollo 11, and you can’t get to cars & kids toys with superconducting electromagnets without work like that of the University of Rochester.

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Energy Transformation & Nuclear Waste

I am happy to announce that for FreethoughtBlogs upcoming Panel of Inexpert Discussion, I have been able to secure the contribution of notable local luminary Ingibjörg Margarét Guðiradottir, Roy G. Biv Professor of Darwinian-Dysonian Radioecology at Nanaimo Technical University, British Columbia. She will be speaking next weekend, during our fundraiser, on a comprehensive plan to address problems with current nuclear waste disposal, accelerating the transformation of electricity production and energy markets more generally, with knock-on effects for demilitarization and updating older urban infrastructure to more modern building designs.

Before you read her intriguing abstract, please remember to click through to read about my own offer to craft custom short stories for your benefit and titillation.

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Syntax and Science Writing

Okay, I know it’s basically a press-release aggregator, but I still check in on ScienceDaily.com from time to time. Today, I found this and couldn’t stop WTFing.

A team of transatlantic scientists, using reanalyzed data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, has discovered an Earth-size exoplanet orbiting in its star’s habitable zone, the area around a star where a rocky planet could support liquid water. [emphasis added]

Now I’m going all kooky with images of a scientist named Talos who is 12,000 miles tall with one foot in Noordwijk, Netherlands and the other in Greenbelt, Maryland.

 

TESS Primary Mission 50% Complete

I wrote about TESS reaching orbit last year, before its primary mission was even able to begin. Well, now after a year of observations, TESS will be swiveling its cameras from the southern half of the sky to the northern, and in this moment of transition, NASA has decided to share with us an update on the mission’s accomplishments, including 21 confirmed exoplanets and more than 800 candidate detections.

But why not get the details from the horse’s youtube channel?

Explaining Horizontal and Intra-Community Hostility: An Introduction by way of the FAE

So, over on Mano Singham’s blog, our resident physics expert wonders about a question outside his beam-control house:

[Given support for some aspects of the struggles against oppression targeting LGBTQIA folks for their gender, sex, or sexuality] what factors exist that are so strong that they can overcome the natural desire for solidarity with all the communities under the LGBTQIA umbrella[?]

Mano’s a smart guy, as are both my readers, so he already has some potentially informative analogs in mind: immigrant communities and nativist/colonial forms of oppression:

It is the case that on other issues such as xenophobia, some people may view some immigrant minorities as ‘worthy’ and others as ‘unworthy’ and favor the former over the latter

but this is only helpful because it establishes that such distinctions are possible and are not unique to LGBTQIA folks. It doesn’t answer the specific question about what forces divide what some might expect would be a [more] unified LGBTQIA community. So let’s work on answering that. I’m not exactly sure how many posts we’ll do in this series; I’ve not got it all mapped out. But it will be several, I’m sure, each trying to break off of this larger topic one manageable chunk.

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Cthulhu Found In The Depths – UPDATED!

In the Proceedings of the Royal Academy B tomorrow (later today for those a few hours ahead of me) there will be an article announcing the description and naming of a new critter, Sollasina cthulhu. Related to the sea cucumber, Sollasina is definitely ancient at ~430my old, squarely in the middle of the Silurian. As a benthic scavenger and/or grazer, it was also definitely lurking in the deeps, though perhaps no more than a couple hundred meters at most. NewAtlas has a popular article up right now, including this artist’s reconstruction created by Elissa Martin at the Peabody Museum, Yale:

Elissa Martin’s artistic reconstruction of Sollasina cthulhu. Credit: Peabody Museum, Yale

 

Expect public access to the Proceedings B paper to go live within the next few hours. For now, you’ll just have to make do with that link to Proceedings B’s recent articles and hope it shows up. There is currently no word on the sanity of the paleontologists who originally uncovered the specimen or the preparators who spent countless hours staring into its tentacle-dominated face.

 


 

UPDATE: The paper is out!

The title is exactly what you’d expect from someone driven mad by the thing:

A new ophiocistioid with soft-tissue preservation from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte, and the evolution of the holothurian body plan

Dig in!