The priceline negotiator narrates Curiosity on Mars


The older William Shatner gets the more I like him. Kirk was cool and all, but it’s Shatner’s unique combo of gifted actor, great voice, and a guy who can laugh at himself plus get you to laugh along that sold me.  Cosmic Log posted a great video, now below the fold, where Shatner and other Trekkie actors marvel at the MSL and the rover scheduled to land precariously this weekend. Enjoy. [Read more…]

The great anatomically modern human leap

There is a debate in paleoanthropology, well, there are lots of them. But this one has to do with behavior that doesn’t fossilize well, and which suggest the presence or lack of modern cognition. The ancestors of the San, pictured above, are a great source of data for that question. A new find pushes back the date when San Bushmen behaved like any other modern people right down to symbology and sophisticated subsistence strategies: [Read more…]

Romney praises Israeli healthcare

Mitt Romney hoped to recover from his London disaster by heading for the salvation of ye olde Israel. Where he paused in the midst of stirring up simmering conflicts to praise Israeli healthcare. Romney said in part, “Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the G.D.P. in Israel? Eight percent. .. You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more.” Gosh, how do the Israelis pull this healthcare miracle off? [Read more…]

Iapetus is a weird, weird place


Iapetus, ice moon of beautiful Saturn, the two-faced moon. It is gleaming white, bumpy and tradionally cratered in some places, ridged across most of the equator with a Death Star like giant circle on one side, and bruised black and blue, literally misshapen, across an entire hemisphere from what was no doubt an ancient wound of titanic proportions. Iapetus may also have the weirdest avalanches or debris slides, or whatever the term is, in the solar system: [Read more…]

Cosmos fileld with voracious vampire stars

We know there’s some weird and rare stellar denizens in the cosmic jungle, galaxies hollowe dinto rungs like giant Ferris Wheels, dark matter pockets, pocean planets and diamond worlds. But it turns out one species of misfit may be way more common than thought. Cannibal stars, sometimes referred to as vampires, that suck the life blood out of their neighbors for a flush of youthful glory and may shape the evolution of future stars and planets: [Read more…]