Curiosity: NASA Mars rover lands successfully, proves government can still work

On November 26, 2011, NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), a robotic probe, on an 8 month trip to the planet Mars. Early Monday, August 6, 2012 the Mars rover Curiosity successfully landed in the Gale Crater on the Martian surface.  Major private contractors on the project include Boeing and Lockheed Martin, but make no mistake, NASA is still a government agency, and the successful launch and landing of Curiosity (which is the size of a car) on Mars is proof that government can still accomplish big things.

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The Anti-Science Crowd

There are prominent Republicans running for President that think opinions have as much weight as evidence and peer review. Rick Perry is the latest on the right to state that there are “gaps” in the theory of evolution. Another common attack from the right is on climate change. Do these people understand that science is nonpartisan? Sure, any individual is corruptible, but the field of science is the best system we have as humans for finding the truth. Opinion does not hold more weight than years and decades of evidence and peer review.

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Less Than Total Recall

People are who they are, and behave as they do because of unique combinations of personal life experiences. The memories we create from these experiences are then used to formulate assumptions, opinions and beliefs. But assumptions, opinions and beliefs also play a role in the very formation of these memories.

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Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

Last night I braved the cold and the early morning hours to witness the first lunar eclipse that coincides with the winter solstice since December 21, 1638.  If you missed it, you will have to wait until 2094 for the next time it will happen on the winter solstice.  So, basically if you missed it last night you missed it for good!  Given that I fancy myself a photographer you would think that I would have had this all planned out but I actually didn’t even intend to take photos until I was outside looking at it and made a last minute decision to grab the tripod, camera and long lens.  And the resulting photos are a product of that last minute decision.  They aren’t horrible but they could have been much better.

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