Daily Archives: January 29, 2014

Galactic Views (119)


Hubble’s Double Take

NASA – In this new Hubble image two objects are clearly visible, shining brightly. When they were first discovered in 1979, they were thought to be separate objects — however, astronomers soon realized that these twins are a little too identical! They are close together, lie at the same distance from us, and have surprisingly similar properties. The reason they are so similar is not some bizarre coincidence; they are in fact the same object.

These cosmic doppelgangers make up a double quasar known as QSO 0957+561, also known as the “Twin Quasar,” which lies just under 14 billion light-years from Earth. Quasars are the intensely powerful centers of distant galaxies. So, why are we seeing this quasar twice?

Some 4 billion light-years from Earth — and directly in our line of sight — is the huge galaxy YGKOW G1. This galaxy was the first ever observed gravitational lens, an object with a mass so great that it can bend the light from objects lying behind it. This phenomenon not only allows us to see objects that would otherwise be too remote, in cases like this it also allows us to see them twice over.

Along with the cluster of galaxies in which it resides, YGKOW G1 exerts an enormous gravitational force. This doesn’t just affect the galaxy’s shape, the stars that it forms, and the objects around it — it affects the very space it sits in, warping and bending the environment and producing bizarre effects, such as this quasar double image.

The first detection of gravitational lensing meant more than just the discovery of an impressive optical illusion allowing telescopes like Hubble to effectively see behind an intervening galaxy. It was evidence for Einstein’s theory of general relativity. This theory had identified gravitational lensing as one of its only observable effects, but until the observation of these quasar “twins,” no such lensing had been observed since the idea was first mooted in 1936.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA

The Realities of Class Begin To Sink In

By Paul Krugman – The whole politics of poverty since the 70s has rested on the popular belief that the poor are Those People, not like us hard-working real Americans.

This belief has been out of touch with reality for decades — but only now does reality seem to be breaking in.

But what it means now is that conservatives claiming that character defects are the source of poverty are now talking to an audience who realize that they are among those who sometimes need help from the safety net. more> http://tinyurl.com/o7fkwrf

San Francisco’s 1 Percent Dilemma

By Matthew C. Klein – San Franciscans are fighting over a scarce and valuable resource: The ability to live in the city as it now exists.

The strife can be blamed on two recent developments. First, tech workers got more leverage over their employers. Tech bosses had a cartel to suppress wages in the 2000s, but the rise of new companies such as Facebook and Twitter helped push up pay.

In an irony that today’s radicals seem to miss, labor’s victory over capital led to a big increase in spending power across the Bay Area. A handful of super-rich executives getting even richer just can’t exert much of an impact on home values in the same way as tens of thousands of newly wealthy programmers. more> http://tinyurl.com/pa8swar

A Flight of Fancy: Designer Builds an Exquisite Paper Replica of a Huge Jetliner

gereports.com – Luca Iaconi-Stewart is a self-described “crazy guy who loves aviation.” In fact, he loves it so much that he spent the last five years building a table-size replica of the Boeing 777 airplane made entirely of paper file folders.

Each part began as a series of computer drawings, which he then printed out on the file folders. He cut out the shapes with an X-Acto knife, grabbed them with tweezers, and glued them together. It sounds easy, but just the engine took one month to design and four months to assemble. more> http://tinyurl.com/l9we4az

Global Warming Battle Is Over Market Share, Not Science


Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming, Author: McKenzie Funk.

By Barry Ritholtz – It’s time to throw out your preconceptions of climate change as a fight between green hippies and Big Oil.

This is far broader and more complex.

And it goes far beyond energy, to include agriculture, insurance, transportation, construction, recreation, real estate, energy exploration, food production, health care, minerals and even finance. more> http://tinyurl.com/pk876km


CONGRESS WATCH Chairman McCaul on ABC “This Week” on Sochi Olympic Security, NSA, YouTube [VIDEO 7:50] Chairman McCaul on ABC ” World News” on Sochi Security, YouTube [VIDEO 2:26] Chairman McCaul on CNN on Sochi Olympic Security, YouTube [VIDEO 9:28] … Continue reading




CONGRESS WATCH Virginia Traffic Information Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes, redcross.org Protect Your Pets During Snowstorms, redcross.org Take Precautions in Extreme Cold Weather, vaemergency.gov


CONGRESS WATCH State of the Union and Republican Address, gop.gov [VIDEO 2:53:13] Meet Cathy, YouTube [VIDEO 2:00]


CONGRESS WATCH Stivers Presents “I Hire Vets” Award to Company Wrench, US Congress Stivers Introduces the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection-Inspector General Act of 2013, US Congress Bill’s goal: Provide headstones for all veterans’ graves, US Congress