Top 6 Discoveries of Cassini


(Starts With A Bang!) – Ethan Siegel:

On Friday, September 15th, Cassini plunged into Saturn’s atmosphere. Here are the top 6 things we learned from it while it was alive. …

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Earth (and Moon) from Saturn


Is There Any Hope for Facebook’s Fact-Checking Efforts?


(Atlantic Tech) – Jon Christian:

Research is making clear just how hard it is to stop people from believing false stories on social media. …

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A. Paul Weber: Das Gerücht

Mueller Rents Giant Warehouse to Store Evidence Against Trump


(New Yorker::The Borowitz Report) – Andy Borowitz:

Robert Mueller is renting a massive warehouse facility in suburban Virginia to accommodate the approximately forty cubic tons of evidence against Donald Trump that the independent counsel’s investigation is generating on a daily basis.

“It’s like a city all its own,” one warehouse worker said. “There are people working in the Michael Flynn section who’ve never met the people working in the Paul Manafort section.” …

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Beyond XX and XY


(SA Biology) – Amanda Montañez:

A host of factors figure into whether someone is female, male or somewhere in between. …

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Gender spectrum

What Happened


(Atlantic Politics) – James Fallows:

Hillary Clinton‘s What Happened is the rare interesting work by a politician – and it offers an important critique of the press. …

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Hillary Rodham Clinton: What Happened

What Ta-Nehisi Coates Gets Wrong About American Politics


(Atlantic) – George Packer:

There’s a lot to admire in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new essay. It’s one of those pieces that grabs you with its first paragraph and never lets go. The argument keeps gathering force, building on the striking imagery (“Trump cracked the glowing amulet open”) and the caustic scouring of the polemics (opioids are treated as a sickness, crack was punished as a crime), to the very end. At its heart is the undeniable truth that racism remains fundamental in American politics. …

But the style of no-compromise sacrifices things that are too important for readers to surrender without a second thought. It flattens out history into a single fixed truth, so that an event in 2016 is the same as an event in 1805, the most recent election erases the one before, the Obama years turn into an illusion. It brushes aside policy proposals as distractions, and politics itself as an immoral bargain. It weakens the liberal value of individual thought, and therefore individual responsibility, by subordinating thoughts and individuals to structures and groups. …

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White Donald Trump

Punishment for Tearing Down a Confederate Monument


(Atlantic Politics) – David A. Graham:

In Durham, the sheriff and district attorney appear divided over whether civil disobedience deserves greater leniency from the judicial system. …

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Toppled grey soldier monument in Durham, NC

Salman Rushdie Taking on America


(Guardian Books) – Emma Brockes:

Beginning with the inauguration of Obama and ending with the election of Trump, Salman Rushdie‘s latest novel, “The Golden House” is an intimate portrait of New York. The author talks about the journey from hope to despair and always feeling an outsider. …

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Kathryn Rathke: Salman Rushdie Taking on America

Last Days of Cassini


(Discover Blogs::Out There) – Corey S. Powell:

As Cassini’s program manager and a veteran of the mission since 1993, Earl H. Maize of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a unique perspective on the last days of this remarkable spacecraft. There is no other comparable mission on the drawing boards; given current political realities, there may not be another like it in our lifetimes. And yet, Cassini is a beginning as well as an end. Maize notes that omnibus missions like Cassini allow more targeted follow-ups, like the upcoming Europa Clipper and (here’s hoping) future visits to the moons Enceladus and Titan.

I spoke with Maize just ahead of Cassini’s heroic final plunge. He offered an insider’s view of how it all ended. …

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Enceladus setting behind Saturn 2017-09-13

Why the Sky is Blue


(Starts With A Bang!) – Ethan Siegel:

Put three simple factors put together: that sunlight is made out of light of many different wavelengths, that Earth’s atmosphere is made out of molecules that scatter different-wavelength light by different amounts, and the sensitivity of our eyes. And a blue sky is inevitable. …

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Blue sky over sea