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    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeMar 11th 2013 edited
     (10957.1)
    New star system discovered - and it's only 6.5 light years away, making it the 3rd closest to the sun, after Centauri and Barnard's Star.

    More, including a link to the discovery paper.

    The system is composed of two brown dwarf stars, which are usually considered a line call between "small star" and "big gas giant". I imagine that WISE J104915.57-531906 (catchy, eh?) will now be a pretty attractive target for planet-hunters. Also, NASA recently mapped the weather in the atmosphere of a more distant brown dwarf, 2MASSJ22282889-431026.
  1.  (10957.2)
    NASA is discovering new star systems. Meanwhile in Australia...

    Brisbane's bucketing makes it hard to get hold of the scrotums

    Large kangaroo scrotums are in short supply for a souvenir-making taxidermist after the continuing rain drove kangaroos beyond the range of shooters.

    *sigh*
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      CommentAuthorD.J.
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2013
     (10957.3)
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeMar 12th 2013
     (10957.4)
    @Purple - you do have some very good observatories, though.

    On the other hand, NASA again:

    Curiosity finds ancient Mars could have supported life.

    Sampled drilled from sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay show sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon, and chemical pairings like sulfates and sulfides that could have been energy sources for micro-organisms.

    ""A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program [...] "From what we know now, the answer is yes.""
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2013
     (10957.5)
    We have pope sign.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2013
     (10957.6)
    We have Pope Sign the likes of which even God has never oh wait actually...
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2013 edited
     (10957.7)
    So quick question...

    ...when did people start giving a shit about the pope? I mean, this is kind of the same thing with the Royal Family and finding out everyone was devoted to them. I don't understand.

    Am also curious to why people thought the new Pope would be anything other than a white old guy with pretty archaic views. Like this little gem on gay marriage:

    "Let's not be naïve, we're not talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive pretension against the plan of God. We are not talking about a mere bill, but rather a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God."

    I mean, I won the betting pool by thinking things wouldn't change so I'm not TOTALLY annoyed...
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      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2013
     (10957.8)
    I was wondering the same thing as Robin, and I think it is yet another symptom of the need for simple stories to be packaged by news media and force fed to us.

    I write this as BBC radio are talking (still) about how the white smoke was generated, and the presenter just asked listeners to text in 'what do you want from this Pope?', and then said that 'even if you're not a catholic he can still shape your life'. I fucking hope not.
  2.  (10957.9)
    Let's not forget, also, that the new pope supported the military dictatorship here, back in the 70s.
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      CommentAuthorTF
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2013
     (10957.10)
    Maybe it's growing up in Catholic Ireland but watching for the smoke and all that has been a big cultural thing for an awful lot of people since LONG before the rolling news culture.

    I was hearing stories about the smoke and Popes since I was knee high
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2013
     (10957.11)
    In my limited experience - only being able to remember one previous papal election it *seems* that there's been an even bigger focus on the story this time round.

    But i am an ardently irreligious person and a republican so I find the endless discussions about the royal family, popes, and so on to be highly irritating...
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMar 13th 2013
     (10957.12)
    My guess is that because the last pope's retirement was so unexpected, this conclave was more hectic than it may otherwise have been, which makes for better news that when BXVI was elected.
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      CommentAuthorMorac
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2013
     (10957.13)
    My guess is that there is simply nothing else going on that can appeal to the vast majority of Americans. I mean, there's science stuff, but who cares about that, let alone is able to understand it?

    (Yes, I know that it's not just America that is the perpetrator of such mundane media pushing, but it is definitely at the forefront the rolling Great Media Machine).
  3.  (10957.14)
    I had no real idea just how batshit all this stuff actually was - all the rituals and titles and symbols and funny hats... and then I start wondering how they got from Jesus, who seemed to make a bit of sense, to the sheer OTT mentalness of the Vatican, without anyone going 'Guys, guys, maybe we're doing it a bit wrong?'.
    •  
      CommentAuthorindysleaze
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2013
     (10957.15)
    Yeah, I can't see why anyone would be interested in the election of the man who will (by various degrees) govern the lives of 20% of the people on Earth...
    •  
      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2013
     (10957.16)
    @Morac, are you kidding? You should hear the BBC coverage of this event. It's basically just turned into all-pope-all-the-time.

    Or maybe that's just the World Service that's been syndicated to the US, in which case I RETRACT MY PREVIOUS STATEMENT.

    Adding news article so that I add SOME value.

    LHC is pretty sure, for real guys, that they've found the Higgs Boson.
    • CommentAuthorSteve Toase
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2013 edited
     (10957.17)
    Speaking as a non Christian I think that the attention is down to a couple of factors. He firs is that in the era of the phone in vote the idea a bunch of old men go into a room, in secret, and decide on the leader of one of the largest religions of the world, then announce it with different coloured smokes, seems very esoteric and otherworldly. Particularly in a lot of people's eyes as a reminder that there are still odd weird religious practices in THE ENLIGHTENED WEST TM.

    The other factor is that with all the scandals sparking around the world in the Catholic Church watchers are interested to see how a large secretive leadership deals with a PR profile just slightly better than 70's djs.

    @JP take out the Pope. Imagine some bloke called Emperor Claudius in the 2nd century BC and it'll probably make more sense. The Roman Empire bit, rather than the holy bit.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2013
     (10957.18)
    Am also curious to why people thought the new Pope would be anything other than a white old guy with pretty archaic views.


    Just wanna throw out that there are some people who are upset that a Mexican "wetback" is the new Pope. Yes, he is essentially a white European, but for some people anyone south of the US is a brown Mexican, so... well there's that. Sure he's white, but just the fact he's from South America is a big deal to some people.
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2013
     (10957.19)
    Yeah, I can recognize how that would be a big deal.

    But really? People are upset by that?
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeMar 14th 2013
     (10957.20)
    Yep.