Month: February 2015

Islamic State To Lebanon: All Your Bases Will Soon Belong To Us

Props to Transterrestial Musings for spotting this post by Michael Totten: ISIS has announced that Lebanon will be the next state to fall under the sway of its “caliphate.” According to Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper, the only reason ISIS hasn’t attacked yet in force is because they haven’t decided on the mission’s commander. The Lebanese army is one of the least effective in the Middle East—and that’s saying something in a region where the far more capable Syrian and Iraqi armies are utterly failing to safeguard what should be their own sovereign territory. The question is not whether Lebanon has the means to fight off Islamic State (as Totten claims Lebanese families are heavily armed), but rather does Lebanon have the will to combat Islamic State to the death. Unless Israel gets involved (highly unlikely due to Hezbollah’s participation within the Lebanese government) then I expect Lebanon to either fall to Islamic State or join Syria in the chaotic country club....

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How Pluto Can Get Its Planethood Back

Image Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI) A long, long, time ago in a place not so far away (astronomically speaking that is) the IAU stripped Pluto of its planetary status & created a new class called dwarf planets. Although I was not upset with the classification, I was irritated by the ambiguous 3rd planetary rule which states: A celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit. Note: Emphasis is my own By this definition Jupiter is not a planet due to the Trojan asteroids trapped in Jovian giant’s Lagrange points (L3 & L4, respectively). Instead of adhering to a rule that was created to prevent school kids from easily memorizing the planets within the Sol Star System (I kid, I kid!), why not adopt Physorg’s logical standard instead‽ planet: is a celestial body that a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium – nearly round shape, b) has a differentiated interior as a result of its formation c) has insufficient mass to fuse hydrogen in its core, d) does not match the definition of a moon. minor planet: is a planet with a...

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DeflateGate Plot Twist: Did Colts Frame Patriots‽

Looks like the whole deflate-gate conspiracy theory is quickly becoming unraveled by the truth! Came across this semi-recent tweet today: This is for the @Ravens, @Colts, @bkravitz & every other #DeflateGate moron who was wrong about everything. — Aaron Gouveia (@DaddyFiles) February 5, 2015 Delving further reveals some very interesting facts courtesy of CBS Boston: Secondly, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the morning of the Super Bowl that just one of the 11 footballs was 2 PSI under the limit, while the other 10 were “just a tick” under the 12.5 threshold. Rapoport’s report was crucial for a number of reasons. For one, he is paid by the NFL, and so he can’t afford to be Nwrong. If his report, which makes Roger Goodell’s bloodthirsty office look like a bunch of clowns, turns out to be wrong, how much longer would the league keep him on the payroll? Second, the phrasing of the footballs of being “just a tick” under the limit is at once believable, because that’s how non-technical measurements would be recorded, and also because footballs which were originally inflated near the lower limit would likely lose some air pressure after two hours outside in January. And then there’s this: The one football that was 2 PSI under the limit? That was the ball intercepted by D’Qwell Jackson, the pizza man puncher, according to ProFootballTalk. It...

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