Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Galactic Blogging

I recommend clicking through to the high-resolution APOD version of this image of the Hercules Cluster. Imagining things so big it takes a beam of light tens of thousands of years to traverse apparently sprinkled like snowflakes takes me to a scale that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around. But, damn! What a beautiful image.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday Galactic Blogging

Dwarf Irregular galaxy I Zwicky 18 is a relatively nearby (59 million light years), notably strange object which was once thought to an extremely young galaxy in our general neighborhood. Hubble imaging has recently shown a much older star population than had previously been seen, and current estimates give its age at about 10 billion years, consonant with estimates of the age og the Milky Way. The bright young stars which seem to dominate its light output may have been created because of the gravitational effect of the nearby companion galaxy, seen here to the upper right.

Click through for the APOD page describing this object.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Of This Sort Of Thing Please!

If you want to make a political argument denying health-care to kids, then what's unfair about this sort of political response?

H/T Garance.

Update: Yglesias
The real point is that Bush and the GOP want to make sure that sick people in general don't get public sector health care and remain, instead, at the mercies of insurance companies or else are just left to their own devices. The sick kids are, basically, just innocent bystanders -- hostages to Bush's fealty to private health insurance.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This is unexpectedly strange and cool. There are details here of the "halo" of the galaxy on the left (NGC 474) not often seen in photos like this. This seems to be an indication of complexities only slightly understood in the structure of galaxies and clusters (the complexity is certainly related to the proximity of the spiral appearing to the right in this image. Click once for the APOD page describing this in detail. Click again for the higher resolution view.

A Study In Contrast

I doubt much editorial comment needs to be added to understand this debate. Ezra's challenge is (very) slightly snarky, but seems relatively polite, especially in blogospheric terms. Michelle's riposte, however... well, judge for yourself.

I especially like this analysis.

Also, you've got to love this.

Edwards Cheats on Wife!

Elvis Sited.

Thank goodness for the National Enquirer. Their crack investigative team has uncovered evidence that John Edwards is cheating on his wife. I mean she emailed them, for gosh sake!

H/T Ace. (Thanks man! Don't know where this country'd be without you.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Keystone Cops

Eli Lake reports:

WASHINGTON — Al Qaeda's Internet communications system has suddenly gone dark to American intelligence after the leak of Osama bin Laden's September 11 speech inadvertently disclosed the fact that we had penetrated the enemy's system.

And these are the guys who have been responsible for our collective security for nearly seven years. It's time to begin counting down the seconds until someone, anyone, else holds the office of POTUS.

I don't hold with the notion that President Bush is a stupid man. He's clearly not. There does seem to be a growing body of evidence that intelligence is not a particularly important criterion in Administration hiring practices.

H/T Garance.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I don't want to grow up.

Well, I don't. Be that as it may, I doubt there's a better, more interesting performer/songwriter than Tom Waits.

Blackwater, USA

Scared yet? I think you probably ought to be.

Friday Galactic Blogging

Gravitationally locked pair M81 and M82 are caught in a dance which has them passing each other every several hundred million years. The brilliant blue spiral arms of M81 (left) are likely the result of gravitational effects due to their proximity, while M82 glows in X-ray frequencies for the same reason. Click the image to see the APOD page and a description; click again for a higher resolution view.