Your Tax Dollars At Work (Open Thread)

NASA’s Picture of the Day for January 1, 2013:

716720main_hubble_new_year_full_full

Here’s the image caption:

The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. In this image, the larger-scale structure of the galaxy is barely visible: its comparatively dim spiral arms, which surround its heart in a loose embrace, reach out beyond the edges of this frame.

This face-on galaxy, lying 45 million light-years away from Earth in the southern constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), is particularly attractive for astronomers. NGC 1097 is a Seyfert galaxy. Lurking at the very center of the galaxy, a supermassive black hole 100 million times the mass of our sun is gradually sucking in the matter around it. The area immediately around the black hole shines powerfully with radiation coming from the material falling in.

The distinctive ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. These star-forming regions are glowing brightly thanks to emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen. The ring is around 5000 light-years across, although the spiral arms of the galaxy extend tens of thousands of light-years beyond it.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

Just think:  if the Teahadists have their way, none of the engineering or aspiration that made the Hubble possible would see the light of day (or night) in the future.  Just sayin.

And with that, an intergalactic open thread is yours.

187 replies
  1. 1
    MikeJ says:

    Just think: if the Teahadists have their way, none of the engineering or aspiration that made the Hubble possible would see the light of day (or night) in the future.

    Not strictly true. Hubble is just a keyhole spy sat aimed away from earth. They like military spending.

    Now getting the bucks to actually operate it on the other hand…

  2. 2
    efgoldman says:

    Have the TeaHadis gone back far enough to take Galileo out of fifth-grade science books yet?

    Spectacular pic, but clicking through twice still only gets me the small version.

  3. 3
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I’m just posting in this thread because the shitshow fail parade has been moving so fast today that by the time I comment, the thread is already 100+ comments, or someone has posted a new post.

    Fuck ’em. I’m going to try to raise angel investor money to build a politics filter for Facebook. And give TED Talks and Aspen Seminar sessions.

  4. 4
    General Stuck says:

    Hubble got off to a rough start. But has paid back in food for the imagination a thousand times over. Every time I look at one of these pics, it puts a lot of things in perspective.

    Maybe if liberals announced science has discovered AR 15’s on Uranus, we could have a rush to build some space ships for a man made rapture.

  5. 5
    Tom Levenson says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I shrunk it to 480 wide to satisfy bloggy requirements. Go to the NASA POD link to see it in its full glory.

  6. 6
    anthrosciguy says:

    Great photos. To quote the Firesign Theater, well worth the dollar. Or rather, the $1.60/year it’s cost me for 20 years of service.

  7. 7
    PeakVT says:

    Up to this point, I haven’t been convinced that there is a problem with HFCS, but this article on a new study has me leaning the other way. [Obligatory no-single-factor-for-obesity disclaimer here.]

  8. 8
    Tom Levenson says:

    @MikeJ: That’s a bit of a reach.

    Interestingly, NASA currently owns two 2.4 meter mirrors made either for Keyhole’s or another spy satellite system that the NRO has given to the space agency. A colleague of mine is one of a commission trying to figure out if there is any plausible way of making use of these incredibly precise optics. As the history of Hubble shows — the mirror is a long way away from being the real cost driver of such instruments.

  9. 9
    Hal says:

    Fornax! I can’t believe there isn’t a comic book character out there specifically called Fornax.

  10. 10
    Central Planning says:

    Anyone have thoughts for birthday presents for a soon-to-be 16 year old that wants to be a theoretical physicist? Besides books?

  11. 11
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    If the Tehadis had their way from the beginning, there would be no moon landing, No TVA, No CCC, hell Yellowstone would be one giant strip mine, the redwoods would disappear, Grand Canyon would be one large slurry heap, because JEEEEEZUSSSS said it so.

  12. 12
    weaselone says:

    Please, if government had gotten out of the way and let the Free Market work its magic we would all be vacationing in far away galaxies, not just looking at light emitted from them 45 million years ago.

  13. 13
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Central Planning: Pad of paper? Some number 2 pencils? Coffee?

  14. 14
    S. cerevisiae says:

    I watched the shuttle launch for the last Hubble service mission and I was so glad that NASA didn’t abandon it. Shots like this gives the public something to show for their dollar and the good PR is what funds the science.

  15. 15
    lamh35 says:

    Lovely.

    Got me to thinking my fav Astronauts real and imagined:

    Mae Jemison (for prob obvious reasons, 1st AA female in space) and Major Anthony Nelson (close 2nd, Major Roger Healey. I liked his personality…lol)

  16. 16
    Mandalay says:

    @Tom Levenson

    if the Teahadists have their way, none of the engineering or aspiration that made the Hubble possible would see the light of day (or night) in the future.

    If the Teahadists have their way they will close down the Hollywood film studio that is generating all those fake Hubble images.

  17. 17
    S. cerevisiae says:

    @Central Planning: Scour the internet for “free energy machine” plans.

  18. 18
    Morzer says:

    Damn, I thought that was a former Kochwork Orange Speaker being sucked down into a vortex of despair and salty tears!

  19. 19
    J says:

    Yes, but if they did have their way, we would be enjoying a world of rising illiteracy, declining public health, a widening gap between rich and poor, back street abortions, cholera, lynch mobs and so much more! Sacrificing a few pretty pictures would be a small price to pay.

  20. 20
    cckids says:

    @Central Planning: The site ThinkGeek dot com has some fun stuff. You’ll have to check to see if it fits your person or not.

  21. 21
    Disco says:

    I vote for “just sayin” as the 2012 annoying phrase that should die.

  22. 22
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Central Planning: Videos of Richard Feynman.

  23. 23
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Disco: Me, I’d nail “amirite”

    Just sayin.

  24. 24
    Disco says:

    @lamh35:

    These are the ones who come to my mind:

    Gregory Jarvis
    Christa McAuliffe
    Ronald E McNair
    Ellison Onizuka
    Judith Resnik
    Michael Smith
    Francis Dick Scobee

  25. 25
    third of two says:

    Stupid liberal quasars…

  26. 26
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Central Planning: Gift for a potential theoretical physicist? Five seasons of the Big Bang Theory on DVD?

    Is there anything related to Richard Feynman that isn’t a book?

    Or how about a field trip? Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Hanford, the supercollider in Switzerland. Cal Tech, MIT. Something to connect him with the physicists who went before him.

  27. 27
    PeakVT says:

    @Tom Levenson: They’re not mirrors, they are entire telescopes with steerable secondaries. It’s likely that each includes large portions of the satellite bus as well. Mirrors alone are not that valuable, as I’ve read that Arizona’s Mirror Lab charges about $20 million for an 8-meter mirror.

  28. 28
    srv says:

    @MikeJ:

    Hubble is just a keyhole spy sat aimed away from earth.

    Uh, not so much. LockMart did make the bus common to shave costs, and Ball used the same tools, but the optics was all NASA.

    When NASA went to the NRO to talk about their cross eyed cousin, the spy guys were happy to talk about NASA’s misguided ‘little’ project.

  29. 29
    Pisica says:

    My resolution for 2013, Fuck Republicans. Any way possible.

  30. 30
    scav says:

    @Central Planning: A wrapped box where the gift will hover in an indeterminate state of existence until opening?

  31. 31
    efgoldman says:

    Professor Pierce in full snark mode is awesome.
    Professor Pierce in sputtering anger, even more so.

    It is time — indeed, it is past time — for the “concerns” of maniacs to be ignored, and the maniacs themselves to be marginalized. It is time for some federal money to certain congressional districts to start drying up. It’s time for some legislative courtesies to be denied. It is time for some serious application of Article II to the melons of certain members of Congress. It is time for the vandals to be rolled. The first step in that process is for Democrats, including the president, to start calling things for what they are, and calling people for who they are.

    Read it all, It really channels, I think, how most of us feel, in a “wish I’d said that” way.
    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....or_Suckers

  32. 32
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Tom, wouldn’t you agree that these photos NASA releases are little more than PR propaganda to promote their government funding?

    The Hubble doesn’t use film in its “cameras,” let alone color film, and images like this are pieced together from multiple digital readings; the color added by photoshop or something a lot like it.

    In reality, more art than science went into the production of this image, but that’s not readily admitted by NASA, correct?

    All the better to get the rubes stirred up with pretty pictures and keep the money rolling in.

  33. 33
    Mark S. says:

    The distinctive ring around the black hole is bursting with new star formation due to an inflow of material toward the central bar of the galaxy. These star-forming regions are glowing brightly thanks to emission from clouds of ionized hydrogen.

    Do all those baby stars get sucked into the black hole? Or are they far enough away from it? And does a black get bigger the more stuff it takes in, to the point it could swallow the entire galaxy?

    Hopefully these aren’t really stupid questions, but it seemed like black holes were still kind of theoretical when I took an astronomy class in college.

  34. 34
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Actually, I read that the National Reconnaissance Office found two entire telescopes they weren’t using and offered them to the National Science Foundation:

    http://www.time.com/time/healt.....36,00.html

  35. 35
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Hubble’s batteries die this year, maybe next at best. Don’t know the status of the Webb scope, but do know that we still don’t have a high-orbit delivery vehicle for it, and at the rate we’re chopping money out of the budget, we never will.

  36. 36
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I don’t use film in my camera either. I guess I must not be taking photographs.

  37. 37
    Mandalay says:

    @Disco:

    I vote for “just sayin” as the 2012 annoying phrase that should die.

    But. This. Is. Also. Really. Annoying.

    Period.

  38. 38
    GregB says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    That resolution to not be an insufferable douche lasted how many hours?

  39. 39
    J says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Hmm! If something is supported by public funds, no matter how wonderful it appears to be, it must be evil and wicked, or something.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    I like my tax dollars being used for stuff like this

  41. 41
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Pardon me, but isn’t this exactly the argument Teabaggers used against those English climate change researchers? That making data more visually comprehensible to the average person somehow amounts to outright lying or propaganda? We’re all smart enough to know that the picture didn’t really look like that at first. Some of us are smart enough to know it doesn’t really matter.

  42. 42
    The Dangerman says:

    @Central Planning:

    Besides books?

    16 year old young man or young woman? Or am I too hungover to have missed that you answered this already?

  43. 43
    bootsy says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Bwahahah! The troll is a space truther!

    “Why doesn’t Obama release the secret files on how Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing for Nixon?! Worse than Bush!”

  44. 44
    Anoniminous says:

    @Central Planning:

    How about his very own 10 megawatt micro nuclear reactor?

  45. 45
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I don’t use film in my camera either. I guess I must not be taking photographs.

    Idiot.

    Learn something. These “photos” are creative interpretations at best.

  46. 46
    efgoldman says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    We’re all smart enough to know that the picture didn’t really look like that at first.

    Well, digital pixels are not the same as silver emulsion, you know. Less authentic.
    But silver emulsions are not the same as Michelangelo’s oil paints.
    And Michelangelo’s oil pants are not the same as chalk on cave walls.
    So nothing’s authentic.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @GregB:

    Live in your little fantasy land if you must.

    Or you could learn something.

    These “photos” are creative interpretations at best, propagandistic fantasies at worst.

  49. 49
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Um…doesn’t the fact that your info comes from the Hubble’s official website kind of make it automatically not sinister propaganda? Doesn’t seem like they’re trying to ‘hide’ anything, no?

  50. 50
    redshirt says:

    The vote is underway.

  51. 51
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Of course, that’s what the government wants you to believe…

  52. 52
  53. 53
    PeakVT says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: JWST is to be launched on an Arianne 5.

  54. 54
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Ah, you’ve figured out how to link. Well done! Take a lollipop on your way out.

  55. 55
    Mike E says:

    34 GOP aye votes so far…

  56. 56
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    We’re all smart enough to know that the picture didn’t really look like that at first.

    ha!

    You are selectively gullible. The point is that scientists don’t know that THAT is how this thing looks at all. They are creatively interpreting the signals they receive from the Hubble, with the goal of making it as fabulous as possible.They can’t make it as realistic as possible, because they only have a vague idea of what it would look like if they could actually see it.

    But of course you are ok with being shown shiny things because Obama is in the white house or Tom posted this or it makes feel pretty inside or something.

  57. 57
    General Stuck says:

    That sucker is gonna pass with dem votes. I’ll be. Boehner stared into the abyss and decided he would take his chance on the side of the angels on this one, and on the side of America, and not cheap wingnut thrills. Of course, Obama tried his damndest to fuck it all up, and the day was only rescued by NancySmash and a bunch of white boyze/

  58. 58
    scav says:

    @efgoldman: well don’t forget that Authentic Ted’s effusions very likely existed as different waveforms at multiple periods of their transmission before being creatively re-imagined into a faux-alphabetic format and are thus best understood as propagandististic self-promting nonesense.

  59. 59
    mainmati says:

    @General Stuck: Hah! Good one but also sad. Part of our culture has become so degraded that an AR-15 find on Mars is actually something believable by a certain 27% of the population.

  60. 60
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @bootsy:

    Idiotic fool.

    Learn something.

  61. 61
    Svensker says:

    @cckids:

    Agree. ThinkGeek is good. Also Xump.com.

    You can’t go wrong with a weird T-shirt.

  62. 62
    redshirt says:

    So, can someone confirm/deny: The existence of a ring of fusion around the black hole’s event horizon? Or, a sphere of fusion covering the event horizon? That is, due to the tremendous speed/pressure, fusion exists permanently at a certain orbit around the point of no return?

  63. 63
    Mike E says:

    46 now

  64. 64
    efgoldman says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    But of course you are ok with being shown shiny things because Obama is in the white house or Tom posted this or it makes feel pretty inside or something.

    Sure. And when they did an MRI of my brain,they just wanted me to think I’d had a stroke so my insurance would pay for it.

    ETA: Almost – but not quite – makes me want VICTORY!! to show up.

  65. 65
    Morzer says:

    @General Stuck:

    Only 9 authentic progressives are safe from the Wrath of Hamsher so far…

  66. 66
    gbear says:

    These “comments” are creative interpretations at best, propagandistic fantasies at worst.

    How do we know what you really are, Ted & Hellen? You could be a total fraud, but you keep trying to convince us otherwise. I don’t know about anyone else (I don’t even know if they’re real), but I’m going to keep believing that you really don’t have anything to say.

  67. 67
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Better prose style from the troll in the corner, please. Tautology is such an ugly vice.

  68. 68
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    It is definitely propaganda. The scientists have no idea how this portion of space would look if you were really at the location of the “photograph’s” perspective, because they can only guess.

    These photos are their best guess…and they are guesses designed to be as pretty and fabulous and money-making as possible.

    Why the willful naivety?

  69. 69
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @gbear:

    How do we know what you really are, Ted & Hellen?

    We know that Sporkula believes that reality is to be found in the brown acid and an endless Dead loop, which should say all that needs to be said.

  70. 70
    Mike E says:

    57, including Boehner

  71. 71
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I see by your reaction that the secret disinformation program is working as it should.

  72. 72
    efgoldman says:

    @gbear:

    I don’t know about anyone else (I don’t even know if they’re real),

    I’m definitely not real. Disney studios made me in the anamatronic studio.

  73. 73
    General Stuck says:

    @Morzer:

    I saw that. I guess they are progs going for the chance to protest something. Though they could be one or two blue dog types sucking up to baby jeevus and his tea tard uncles.

  74. 74
    BH in MA says:

    Teahadists would sell Hubble and the rights to its entire library of images in a sweetheart deal to some politically connected individual or company who would then put up a paywall and demand to be paid for every existing image and for use of the telescope. A few years later, this genius “job creator” will be interviewed on CNBC or in Fortune or Forbes, and we’ll hear how his “investment” of 100 million is now worth 2 billion and he and his lucky few backers are making a fortune while NASA never managed to make a dime off of Hubble (stupid government). This is what happens any time state owned assets are sold off in sweetheart deals. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying Russian oil companies, the Italian Yellow Pages or the Texas Rangers baseball team: buy something the pubic has invested a substantial amount of money in for a fraction of its true value by having friends/relatives/connections set a low, low price. Then just wait for that true value to be reflected in the market price. Presto! You’re a financial genius job creator who should be rewarded with a low tax rate for your amazing ability to create wealth out of thin air.

  75. 75
    Narcissus says:

    Bet you guys wish Ted and Hellen hadn’t showed up for this thread, amirite Tom

    Just sayin’

  76. 76
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Morzer:

    Oh. I hadn’t realized before that you are stupid.

    Good to know.

  77. 77
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    C-SPAN has its polite “pay no attention to the abattoir of democracy” music running as this vote struggles over the finish line.

  78. 78
    Morzer says:

    @General Stuck

    I am amazed that Boehner managed to get so many GOP votes. Did Cantor vote no in the end?

  79. 79
    Mike E says:

    11 Dem nay votes so far

  80. 80
    General Stuck says:

    @Narcissus:

    T and H is like the blob in a 50’s b movie horror show. Oozes into everything, sooner or later.

  81. 81
    mai naem says:

    It’s going to pass. Let me say again, the Republicans are truly a pathetic bunch of racist a@@hole loozers.

  82. 82
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Thank you for your autobiography, Ted. I think you need to develop a more vivid style of writing and beef up the plot a bit though.

  83. 83
    Mike E says:

    Hastert rule gets the shit can, no GOP caucus majority!

  84. 84
    PeakVT says:

    The motion to concur has passed, it seems. Is there a second vote for passage? Feed here.

  85. 85
    General Stuck says:

    @Morzer:

    I had read that there are about 90 to a 100 bonafide Boehner allies in the House, he could count on, push comes to shove. And it looks to be the case.

  86. 86
    Anoniminous says:

    The Bill. She is passed. Now goes to the President.

  87. 87
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Final question of the thread: Is anyone here willing to say that this “photograph,” as presented by Tom Levenson with the accompanying text and link, is NOT misleading?

    Is anyone here willing to say that most of the American public, when they see these images, does NOT assume they are realistic photographs of regions of space as they actually appear, even thought they are most assuredly NOT that thing?

  88. 88
    General Stuck says:

    @PeakVT:

    could be. the house has some funky procedural votes.

  89. 89
    Morzer says:

    @General Stuck:

    I reckon the Little Orange Speaker That Couldn’t now knows just how badly he’s going to lose re-election as Speaker when Brother Cantor makes his move.

  90. 90
    J says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Well, that puts me in my place, as the point I was gesturing towards, and that other were making, depends entirely on supposing that the picture was from a single frame of color film (Kodachrome perhaps), because everyone knows that, e.g., maps based on composite satellite photography convey no information

    Sphagetti Lee already made the point well, but I’ll chime in anyway. Magnificent achievements like the additions to the stock of our (human) knowledge won with the aid of the Hubble telescope should be celebrated and widely known. NASA would be to blame if it hid what it was discovering, or made it accessible only in a form which was impenetrable to ordinary human beings. If circulation of these pictures increases public support for public investment in science, that is good because scientific understanding is good. I stand by my point that T & H’s point of departure is the wickedness of public undertakings; they then try–feebly–to come up with reasons in support of their dogma.

  91. 91
    cmorenc says:

    @Mandalay:

    If the Teahadists have their way they will close down the Hollywood film studio that is generating all those fake Hubble images.

    I know a fellow soccer-referee (I’ll call him Mr. D) whom I often work on game crews with for at least five years, and politics and science never came up in conversation until this past fall, when I discovered he belonged to that rare, but conspicuous species of black teahadist wingnuts who are also fond of wacko conspiracy theories. One day we were chatting before a game when the third member of our crew brought up the recent Mars Curiosity Rover landing, knowing that astronomy is an avid hobby of mine and I’m knowledgeable in that area. After a few moments, Mr. D starts chiming in about how the manned moon landings were fake, and the inarguable proof of that was the ripples in the flag in pictures of the astronauts on the moon (because that meant there was wind and therefore air where they took the picture). When I explained that the reason for the ripples was because the flag had a telescoping metal rod inside a sleeve atop the cloth flag that was designed to hold the flag extended taught, but that when the astronauts went to extend the rod on the moon, the rod proved to be partly jammed and couldn’t be fully extended (hence the flag couldn’t be held taut and wrinkle-less)…Mr. D wasn’t buying any of it. He had formed an unshakable skepticism that much of what NASA claimed it had done was actually real rather than faked in order to keep the rich money spigot going for the engineers and contractors who worked for the agency.

  92. 92
    Ted_75 says:

    So Speaker Judas found enough of his cronies to pass this betrayal.

    But no matter. Next up: MARCH MADNESS debt ceiling showdown! Ryan Budget or bust! No WE will have the leverage…

  93. 93
    bootsy says:

    @Ted & Hellen: No you misunderstand, I am just throwing off the illuminati so that they don’t track us down and monitor this conversation.

    Learn Something!!!111!!

  94. 94
    General Stuck says:

    @Morzer:

    they vote on speaker, I think on Thursday. Should be interesting.

  95. 95
    Anoniminous says:

    Last I saw 85 Republicans voted “aye.” That’s a much bigger number than I thought Boehner could round-up.

  96. 96
    Ted_75 says:

    So Speaker Judas found enough of his cronies to pass this betrayal.

    But no matter. Next up: MARCH MADNESS debt ceiling showdown! Ryan Budget or bust! No WE will have the leverage…

  97. 97
    scav says:

    Poor old ted. if it doesn’t exist in the visable spectrum it must never be made visible. wonder if he’s immune to the insidious propaganda being spewn by the bouncing line visualizations on his radio and the signal bars on his cell phone.

  98. 98
    Morzer says:

    daveweigel ‏@daveweigel
    Karl Rove says there’s still a chance to beat this bill

    Just quotin’.

  99. 99
    Morzer says:

    @Ted_75:

    Therapy. Get therapy.

  100. 100
    Yutsano says:

    @Ted_75: Excuse me a second…

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    Okay I’m done. You lost. Again.

  101. 101
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    ‘Propaganda’ implies that the people creating it are hiding the inaccuracies from the public. Here, NASA is openly and publicly admitting that it might be inaccurate, and anyone can learn this by going to their official website, the one that you posted. Sorry, but you’re not really making sense here.

    I mean, this is a really weird hill to die on, innit? You’re essentially arguing that Photoshop is a tool of the Illuminati, and may be arguing that presenting any scientific conclusions in a form other than raw data is akin to selling out to The Man’s bourgeois interests. You’re like a hipster, but with science instead of music! As if you needed to be more insufferable.

    Of course, your drug-and-insanity fueled “Obama is using NASA as propaganda to steal our munniez!” rant would make more sense if NASA funding as a percentage of the federal budget hadn’t dropped all four years of Obama’s term.Learn something, bitch!

  102. 102
    Ted_75 says:

    @Yutsano:

    Wait until Eric Cantor becomes Speaker because of this.

  103. 103
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Just because one is too stupid to understand something does not mean that it does not exist.

  104. 104
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ted & Hellen: And is this how the moonrise “really” looked that evening?

    All imaging, analog or digital, involves manipulation.

  105. 105
    Mark S. says:

    This blog needs more trolls named Ted!

  106. 106
    PeakVT says:

    Does this mean I have to return my Cliffmas gifts? Or can I save them and regift them during the next cliff-related holiday?

  107. 107
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Heh. TPM says that among the ‘no’ votes were Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy (Gooper No. 3 in the house).

    This could get very, very amusing.

  108. 108
    Yutsano says:

    @Ted_75: Is that a threat or a promise?

    @Spaghetti Lee: The next House election is Thursday. I’ll make lots of popcorn.

  109. 109
    bootsy says:

    @Ted_75: And by then, enough electors will have revolted against the Kenyan that Romney will be tying his yacht down at White House pier.

    (Fat) WOLVERINES!!!

  110. 110
    redshirt says:

    @Ted_75: LOL. The little “But no matter.” is just precious! Thank you for your good work.

  111. 111
    Ted_75 says:

    If Paul Ryan also voted ‘nay’, then Boehner is toast.

  112. 112
    Morzer says:

    @Ted_75:

    From your ass to Boehner’s furry orange ears.

  113. 113
    General Stuck says:

    Obama got a deal passed without any apparent new spending cuts. And a raising of taxes on the rich. Fairly impressive.

  114. 114
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted_75:

    Yes, who DARES offend the losing Veep candidate?! What does Sarah Palin think about it all?!

  115. 115
    Morzer says:

    @General Stuck:

    Clearly this is the greatest, evillest, worstest act of betrayal in human history!

  116. 116
    PeakVT says:

    Still watching C-SPAN. Amazing how efficient the House can be when it wants to be. I think they’re jamming through about one bill every two minutes right now.

  117. 117
    freelancer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    And then, one day, I awoke and could see in infrared, Ultraviolet, X-Ray, and (Gasp!)Microwave.

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

    You are a stone cold fucking idiot.

  118. 118
    Don says:

    @Central Planning: A trip to Chicago and an interview with Leon Lederman at FermiLab. Then a trip to Austin to interview Steve Weinberg, then to Geneva to prowl around the Large Hadron Collider. Then you will have to hold ’em back!

  119. 119
    Morzer says:

    @PeakVT:

    Any news on Cantor’s bill of attainder against the ci-devant Speaker Boehner, the Greatest Traitor Of The Ages?

  120. 120
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Of course, your drug-and-insanity fueled “Obama is using NASA as propaganda to steal our munniez!” rant would make more sense if NASA funding as a percentage of the federal budget hadn’t dropped all four years of Obama’s term.Learn something, bitch!

    typical.

  121. 121
    PeakVT says:

    Mean Jean Schmidt’s last speech. Yay!

  122. 122
    mainmati says:

    Charlie Pierce nails our hour of perilous, political dysfunctionality in his inimitable glorious ranty prose:

    But I suppose youse guys know about him already.

  123. 123
    Jeff Spender says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Do you know what’s typical? That you have to come in here and be the contrarian asshole we all know you to be. You come in, call everyone stupid, and then act superior.

    It’s the most predictable thing about this blog. You are a flim-flam man with a stale act. Get over yourself.

  124. 124
    gbear says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Final question of the thread: Is anyone here willing to say that this “photograph,” as presented by Tom Levenson with the accompanying text and link, is NOT misleading?

    I will grant you that the ‘photo’ may be misleading given that the ‘photo’ is showing how the galaxy looked 45 million years ago. It could be littered with neon and interstate lights by now.

  125. 125
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @PeakVT:

    I laughed hard at that one…

    Good bye, Jean, you poisonous old bitch.

  126. 126
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Well, I’ll admit that last bit was me having a little fun at your expense, since the only thing you’re really good for is other people having fun at your expense. Nevertheless, you haven’t answered the point I’ve made twice now, so I’ll ask it a third time: how can this be “propaganda”, which by definition requires inaccuracies that are not revealed to the public, when the inaccuracies here are openly acknowledged, in official literature, by the supposed propagandist?

  127. 127
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @freelancer:

    Answer my question, hysteric: Do you think most americans who see these pictures KNOW they are not merely enhanced, but entirely created, colored, and composed by NASA, and at NASA’s own admission, are as much art as science?

    This is the American public, remember, who still think Sadam was in on 9/11.

    Do you think they know that? Do you think their lack of knowledge has anything to do with the way the “photos” are presented misleadingly, as in Ted’s post?

  128. 128
    Morzer says:

    @gbear:

    Not to mention the Vogon hyperspace bypass…

  129. 129
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @gbear:

    Obama’s changed the speed of light in order to steal money for NASA! The bastard!

  130. 130
    Morzer says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    And all because his father hated imperialist astrophysicists!

  131. 131
    f space that says:

    @General Stuck: Considering we’re still fighting the Civil War, I agree.

  132. 132
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    how can this be “propaganda”, which by definition requires inaccuracies that are not revealed to the public, when the inaccuracies here are openly acknowledged, in official literature, by the supposed propagandist?

    As you well know, the inaccuracies are only made known to the tiny number of people who bother to access the NASA web site or other literature, and search them out.

    As you also well know, many open secrets, such as the fact that Sadam had nothing to do with 9/11, are best hidden in plain sight.

    The composition, and misleading nature, of the images should be presented right alongside them when they are released to the public. That would be open and honest. Really, why in the world would you have a problem with that?

    But then you disagree with me just to disagree with me, so whatever.

  133. 133
    Brachiator says:

    @cmorenc:

    Mr. D wasn’t buying any of it. He had formed an unshakable skepticism that much of what NASA claimed it had done was actually real rather than faked in order to keep the rich money spigot going for the engineers and contractors who worked for the agency.

    Most of the conspiracy theories I’ve heard before simply stopped with “the moon landings were faked.” This is the first time I’ve heard about flinging money at engineers and contractors.

  134. 134
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I give up. You’re absolutely right. If I were to find out that that center is actually more like a Pantone 1235 instead of the 1205 it appears like in NASA’s fiction, I will feel like a complete chump for that $1.50 of my taxes last year that went to fund them.

    Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

  135. 135
    scav says:

    Ted Digested: Evil Evil Propaganda is anything that upsets the preconceptions of or confuses the most ignorant of ‘mercans!

  136. 136
    PurpleGirl says:

    A bit of Hubble trivia:

    When I worked at Marcel Dekker (science publishers), I was the production editor for Paul R. Yoder, Jr. and produced the book Opto-Mechnical Systems Design. At the time he was working for the Perkin-Elmer company which was building the Hubble telescope. Mr. Yoder was on the design team for the optical mount.

  137. 137
  138. 138
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    This is the American public, remember, who still think Sadam was in on 9/11.

    Actually, no. Opinion polling on the subject from a variety of sources suggest that more people think Saddam was not involved in the attacks than people who think he was, and that this has been the case since late 2004: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O.....y_theories

    Did too many people believe it at the time, and do too many still believe it? Obviously? But in this case, the general public is not quite as stupid as you need them to be for your analogy.

  139. 139
    gbear says:

    @Morzer: And it’s just so hard to watch anything go by at the speed of light. It’s too fast to see – NASA must have made that up.

  140. 140
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @jah:

    WTF is wrong with you, really?

    The NASA “photos” are as much “art as science,” by their own admission, if one bothers to look into it. NASA makes pretty pictures up out of rough information and presents the to the public as fact, just as Tom L did in this post.

    Then you put up a NWS image and think you’re clever.

    Wow, the internalized, willful echo chamber stupidity is strong against the force.

  141. 141
    Or something like that.Suffern Ace says:

    @Brachiator: yeah. I thought the whole point of the ruse was to prevent the public from knowing how badly we were losing the Cold War. Or something like that.

  142. 142
    Narcissus says:

    Wait, so

    Composite imaging can be used as propaganda, so all composite imaging is propaganda?

    Propaganda for what? Science?

    I don’t understand

  143. 143
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    ooh, ooh, oooh, you found a time frame crack in one of my analogies. That must prove that NASA does not creatively interpret raw data to enhance its public image!

    And how does that improve your argument that Ted L and NASA are not willfully misleading the American public by omission with their pretty little made up pictures presented as fact?

  144. 144
    bootsy says:

    @Ted & Hellen: In fact this entire ‘electro-magnetic spectrum’ is some sort of sick joke!

    I mean, it’s not like the system with which you are composing your meth-addled brain fartz relies on invisible tiny ‘electrons’. That’s propaganda! Tiny demons are at work there.

    Those same demons appear on Obama’s shoulder and whisper “there are three branches of government” in his ear, wholly stopping any threat of a true progressive agenda.

  145. 145
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I don’t disagree with you just to disagree with you, I disagree with you because you’re an idiot. The pictures are released officially on the Hubble’s official NASA website, which is what you linked to and where the official recognition that the pictures are speculative in nature is also located. NASA’s not lying to anyone. They themselves are being honest. Of course not everyone who sees the pictures is going to have the automatic instinct to go to NASA and find that out, which has been, oh, the default mode of information-processing for all of human history. Luckily for them, the consequences are not as dire as being herded into camps should they fail to heed the warning, but rather anywhere from 50 cents to a dollar of their own income being used to provide cosmetic changes to a small product of a weakly-funded government agency. So this horror story you’re painting of the poor unwitting sheeple being robbed blind because they don’t get the difference between an image captured by the Hubble and an image from the Hubble modified by the people who run the Hubble is, well, not that scary, you know?

    The best argument you’ve got is that any news outlet that runs such pictures should be forced to run a disclaimer, but the obligations of the press in providing context to the story is of course an entirely different argument than ‘is the government lying to us about x?’ is it not? Glad I could talk you off the tinfoil cliff, though.

  146. 146
    jah says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    the nws satellite image I linked uses the same technique as the Hubble images – taking non-visible spectra and representing in visible form. Color gradients are great ways to represent differences in spectra cause, you know, that’s what color is.

  147. 147
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Well, it hurts your argument because your argument is that “How can you trust that Americans won’t believe stupid thing X when they already believe stupid thing Y?” And the data shows that they don’t believe Stupid Thing Y. You might as well argue, “How can you be sure Americans won’t stick their hands into garbage disposals when so many of them stick their hands into lawnmowers, every day?” For an analogy to be useful, its component parts have to be accurate, otherwise it’s just, shall we say, creative enhancement. More art than pure logic, if you will.

  148. 148
    Redshift says:

    I was going to post a different comment, but fortunately I recalled that I made a New Year’s resolution several years ago not to get into arguments with idiots.

    Beautiful image from a wonderful instrument.

  149. 149
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Incidentally, anyone who is going to discuss image manipulation or “creative enhancement” could certainly benefit from first reading William Mitchell’s The Reconfigured Eye which is now, holy shit, 20 years old.

  150. 150
    redshirt says:

    So, that was an interesting case of “When a Troll wants to shit up a thread”. Well done, though more pathetic than enraging.

  151. 151
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @redshirt:

    So don’t respond. Fuck you.

  152. 152
    redshirt says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I love space subjects. But you certainly ruined this one. Congrats – on to the next thread, I guess?

  153. 153
    PurpleGirl says:

    May I suggest when T&H makes his first appearance people should find something else to read and/or filter him out. Right now I’m replaying the Hallelujah Chorus as a way to clean him out of my consciousness.

  154. 154
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @redshirt:

    Redshirt, it is not my problem that you prefer fantasy over reality.

    NASA/space geeks in this thread, such as yourself, could have simply said in response “yes, T&H, just as you say the photos are creative interpretations of data, as much art as science just as NASA says, and their PR value is undeniable, and still I enjoy them and here’s why. Instead you all go ballistic and accusatory of all kinds of bullshit from the start.

    It is this defensive echo chamber thing in which BJ obsessive commenters agree to the same selective objects of joy and outrage, as well as their right to fondle their prejudices unmolested that is so weird around here.

  155. 155
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    May I suggest when T&H makes his first appearance people should find something else to read and/or filter him out. Right now I’m replaying the Hallelujah Chorus as a way to clean him out of my consciousness.

    I think that is a great idea.

    You know what’s funny though? I still comment here because I don’t care what people like you think of me. I don’t think about you at all.

    So why do you get so defensive about me?

    Weird, huh?

  156. 156
    Maude says:

    @PurpleGirl:
    Thank you.
    I didn’t listen to the Messiah this year. I did the past few years.

  157. 157
    freelancer says:

    You know what’s funny though? I still comment here because I don’t care what people like you think of me. I don’t think about you at all.

    Whatever you say, Lady Macbeth Player Queen…

    ETA: Wrong play, dammit.

  158. 158
    jah says:

    T&H:
    It’s pretty clear you have no idea how these Hubble images are created. You call them ‘misleading’ when in fact they use the exact same techniques as mundane IR images that you’d never call propaganda. Representing non-visible spectra in a visual manner is the same be it clouds or stars. But don’t let your complete ignorance on the topic stop you from calling out the nefarious NASA schemes.

  159. 159
    scav says:

    @freelancer: my image involved ted’s saying he’s not interested while flashing his swollen red buttocks, but yeah.

  160. 160
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Defensive? About you?

    Kid, you are the freak-show, the entertainment, the dancing monkey with a cute little clown costume.

    Now do you understand your role in life?

  161. 161
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @jah:

    Ummm, no, I know exactly how they are made because I went to the NASA web site, dug around and found out. So unless NASA’s lying about it, which is entirely possible of course, I DO know. So would you if you bothered.

  162. 162
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Morzer:

    I wasn’t addressing you, freak, so you know, fuck off.

    But of course, since I am just a side show to you, you found it necessary to reply to a comment addressed to someone else because you know, you don’t give me any notice…or something.

  163. 163
    freelancer says:

    @scav:

    Also, this:

    Cal Meecham: [after German scientist comments on Mozart at dinner] What do you think of Mr. Mozart, Exeter?
    Exeter: I’m afraid I don’t know the chap.
    Tom Servo: “I’m not an alien!”
    Exeter: My mind must have been wandering. Your composer, of course.
    Cal Meecham: *Our* composer – he belongs to the world!
    Exeter: Yes, indeed.
    Mike: “I’m not an alien.”
    Cal Meecham: That dinner, Exeter, was even more perfect than you promised. Now if you’ll excuse me, I could do with some fresh air myself.
    Crow T. Robot: He’s gonna get high!
    Cal Meecham: Would you care to join me, Dr. Adams?
    Tom Servo: “Uh, no!”
    Cal Meecham: You, Dr. Carlson?
    Mike: “Your turn to walk the Cal.”
    Exeter: Why don’t you? Show him the grounds.
    Crow T. Robot: “I dare ya!”
    Exeter: We won’t start cracking the whip on Meecham until tomorrow.
    Tom Servo: “Then I ram my ovipositor down your throat, and lay my eggs in your chest! But I’m *not* an alien!”

  164. 164
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Keep on dancing in that cute little costume, my furry little friend. Entertain us.

    You know you want to because of what the implants in your fillings are telling you.

    Dance, dance, dance, Teddikins.

  165. 165
    jah says:

    @Ted & Hellen:
    The NASA website said nothing about ‘creating’ images out of nothing or ‘misleading’ the viewer. It does discuss techniques employed to take non-visual spectra and display it in visual format. There is nothing fabricated or misleading about that.

    I think what you meant to say is you attempted to find out how the images are created but lack the intellectual ability and curiousity to process what you read.

  166. 166
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @jah:

    The NASA website said nothing about ‘creating’ images out of nothing

    Which is of course I why never said they create the images “out of nothing.” Please try not to invent statements to disagree with. ANOTHER BJ frequent commenter trait.

    You’re an outright liar or retarded. NASA scientists have very little idea of what colors are present in the actual space they portray; they go my “indications” or pure guesswork or pure inventiveness and yes, fabrication.

    Jesus, grow up.

  167. 167
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @jah:

    What is MOST misleading is the way NASA, the press, and people like Tom present the photos without also presenting the context in and the processes by which they are created.

    Most viewers are going to take the picture at its own word, as do most people. And NASA PR people love it that way.

    Your pretense that it is otherwise is cute but ridculous.

  168. 168
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Keep on dancing, little goober. Entertain us!

  169. 169
    jah says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    still don’t get it huh? most of the time there are no ‘colors’ because they are not looking at visible wavelengths. but non-visible wavelengths can be represented by visible colors very well because colors are different visible wavelengths.

    Is this misleading?
    http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/....._conus.gif

    how bout this?
    http://www.x20.org/raz-sample-.....-image.jpg

    these objects don’t ‘look’ like this to the visible eye! subjective art! propaganda!

  170. 170
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @jah:

    @jah:

    What part of NASA’s own words: “as much art as science” do you not understand?

    The images, as I’ve said repeatedly, and will say again for your willfully dense ears and eyes, is mainly in the way the images are presented, as Tom did in this post, without an explanation that the colors, depth, clarity, all of it is contructed/composed/and interpreted data, “as much art as science,” in NASA’S own words.

    Read NASA’s own explanation deep within their web site but never mentioned alongside their pretty fake pictures, is that many of the colors are absolutely randomly chosen and done so to ENHANCE the picture and help define it. The photos are “as much art as science.”

    Your idiot pictures you offer as evidence are apples to my oranges you fool.

  171. 171
    jah says:

    @Ted & Hellen:
    ‘Art’ in the sense that they have to assign different colors to different wavelengths. Just like the visible spectrum where different colors are assigned to different wavelengths. The way NASA/Tom present the pictures is exactly how these features would look if we could see non visible spectra.

    Is the IR heat map image I posted a work of art? I guess in the sense that someone had to assign the color red to the hotter parts of the image and different colors to different IR wavelengths. Is the image ‘fake’ as you like to say? No, it’s bounded by the physical reality of the object itself, just like the Hubble images, a concept that seems to elude you as evidenced by calling them ‘fake’

  172. 172

    So, is T&H trying to maintain that there is a way of portraying information that the American public WON’T misinterpret?

    Also, that creative and artistic representations are not able to portray truth?

    It’s like he missed the college 3 AM stoned bull sessions where everyone argued about how to interpret reality.

  173. 173
    Morzer says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Keep going, Teddikins. At some point you’ll discover that images are not in fact the same as the things they portray – which will be a wonderfully exciting day for you and greatly enhance your chances of developing a capacity for rational argument and even, just possibly, saying something interesting.

  174. 174

    @Ted & Hellen:

    So unless NASA’s lying about it, which is entirely possible of course,

    T&H is on to the con! NASA is LYING about the images being creatively manipulated, because they really AREN’T!!!!

    IS YOUR MIND BLOWN?

  175. 175

    @freelancer:

    thanks for that, freelancer. Queuing up MST The Movie on Netflix right now.

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @zombie rotten mcdonald:

    Also, that creative and artistic representations are not able to portray truth?

    You have to admit, it’s a pretty fascinating claim coming from someone who purportedly makes at least some of his income working as an artist.

    Maybe he’s just pissed because the NASA artists are better with Photoshop than he is.

  177. 177
    Incompetent Designer says:

    Maybe this will help, T&H. Some more information on the process of data image processing of astronomical data, specifically about color as a tool for visualization.

    http://missionscience.nasa.gov.....image.html

    This link is a little more in depth about the functionality of using false-color to represent wavelengths we cannot see, or to approximate human perception. In order to make a “true color” image, the technicians probably isolated data for three wavelengths- about 430nm (the peak wavelength sensitivity of your “S” cones cells in the eye, that allow you to perceive what we call Blue,) 540nm (“M” cones for green) and 570nm (“L” cones for red.) The intensity of those wavelengths is combined in realistic ratios, and then the image adjusted for contrast and saturation.

    IN this case, the point is that the black hole region, which is forming stars, emits light on a wavelength out of our narrow band of perception. In order to see it, one of the three colors mixed, rather than 430, 540, or 570nm is probably more around the 100 or 250 range, down in x-rays and gamma rays. Now, with the magic of false color imagery for data gathering, we can “See” those regions. They are the pinkish or orange looking spots, because of the way the technicians manipulated the data so we can see it.

    It’s actually really cool. Not sinister.

    It is very common to see stunning imagery such as this one, in wide print or electronic media, and the first words of the caption from the news outlet are “IN THIS FALSE COLOR IMAGE FROM NASA,” or “IN THIS COMPOSITE IMAGE FROM HUBBLE.” Sometimes, they will say “IN THIS TRUE COLOR APPROXIMATION.” Not always is the caption there, but it’s common enough to let the public know that there was more to the picture than pointing and clicking.

    But when dealing with celestial objects, it is never just pointing and clicking. Even old school film used color filters, super long time exposure, and other techniques to make astronomical objects easier to see in a picture. I’ve seen the Horsehead nebula and Andromeda galaxy with my own eyes, in my own telescope. It was wonderous, to be sure, but not nearly as impressive as what I saw in my science textbook. I have not seen NGC 1097 with my own eyes, but the object is too far south for me to see easily. Even then, it would probably be an unimpressive smudge.

    It’s not like NASA, or even the media, is trying to hide that the imagery is made presentable and visible to the public. Maybe the technicians and astronomers that read the raw data are like that guy in the ship outside of the Matrix… “Blonde here, brunette there” when they see ones and zeros going by. But that would not make for an interesting post or press release, because not all of us have advanced degrees in astronomy, digital imaging, and computer programming.

    (00110110110110110011011001101101101101110001101)

    I for one am glad that those people do take incomprehensible data and turn it into something useful. Sometimes, that useful thing is pretty- dare I say artistic.

    There’s no conspiracy here. The data is not fake. NGC 1097 will not look like that to your eyes or mine, but that is the representation of the BILLIONS of ones and zeros that Hubble recorded. That *IS* what the object , the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097, looks like. And if you could get in a starship and go within half a million light years of it, that’s probably a good approximation of what you’d see.

    How do I know that? Because people a lot smarter than me, and I’m pretty sure a hell of a lot smarter than you, have spent hours, days, and years becoming experts at this.

    You kept telling us to “learn something.” Well, guess what, my friend. I did. I learn something every goddamn day. YOU need to learn to keep your fucking mouth shut, maybe talk a little less about things you know nothing about, and learn from the people and world around you.

    And Tom Levinson: This was a beautiful image. Thank you for posting.

  178. 178
    owlbear1 says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    A typical Hubble image is made from a combination of black-and-white images representing different colors of light. Click on the circle to see colorized versions of the black-and-white images.

    What they mean by “different colors of light” T&H is different wavelengths of light. The “Black-and-white” images that Hubble records are a measure of the intensities of different wavelengths. When you see ‘green’ in image for instance, Hubble has recorded a certain amount of photons at a wavelength between 495 and 570 nanometers. The Charge Couple Devices Hubble uses count individual photon striking their surface. NASA then turns those various records of intensity into images Human Beings can see. They don’t create images arbitrarily. If a photon at 500 nm strikes the CC Device they use Green in the human viewable image.

    Hubble is also very capable of seeing in the Near-Infrared (Wavelength longer than humans can see) and since Humans normally can’t see those photons they assign ‘color’ to them. Most of the time a red or orange color.

    There are also Telescopes that see in the Ultra-Violet and even X-Ray ranges of the spectrum. Again Human Beings can’t see those wavelengths so ‘colors’ are assigned to them to make them Human viewable. There are standards that are followed and those are detailed in the write-up that always accompanies the images.

    Sometimes NASA even combines images of the same object from different Telescopes to give a better idea of what is going on with the object. Images of the center of the Milky Way for instance often combine visible, infrared, and X-Ray wavelengths. What they DON”T do however is make up colors. They use the Intensity ‘Black-and-White’ Negatives to build an image. Colors are assigned based on accepted norms and deviations from norms are justified in the write up for the image. It isn’t propganda to justify more funding except in the sense that knowledge is worth acquiring.

    But I guess for a person who has decided that they already know everything, that money is wasted on Hubble.

    Right Ted & Helen?

  179. 179
    HEY YOU says:

    This link always reminds me of how important I am to the Universe.

    Hoping everyone’s Ego is living large.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

  180. 180
    Incompetent Designer says:

    Owlbear said everything I said in a post that I guess got moderated. Probably because I was mean to Ted and Helen, but anyway he got the point across. :)

  181. 181
    Central Planning says:

    @Tom Levenson: He’s got plenty of paper and pencils

    2 years ago I got him lunch with the dean of the physics department of one of the local universities to talk about quantum physics. That went over great.

    A trip to one of the national labs is a great idea too… although that might take a little more planning on my part.

    He’s read some of Feynman’s books, so a couple more are in order.

    I also liked scav’s idea of the box :)

    Thanks for the other thoughts too!

  182. 182
    debbie says:

    Ironic that people who insist we must live as if governed by a presence larger than us are also the people that would not fund a program that demonstrates that we are in fact part of something much, much larger.

  183. 183
    imonlylurking says:

    SCIENCE!

  184. 184
    Jay in Oregon says:

    So is anyone going to figure out how to unlock the 8th chevron on the Stargate, or are we going to have to wait until the Asgard loan us one of their hyperdrive systems in order to visit that place?

  185. 185

    […] doing what I shouldn’t here:  troll baiting.  In the version of this post up on Balloon Juice, a relentless troll whinged about the use of false color in rendering astronomical images both […]

  186. 186
    Jebediah says:

    @Central Planning:

    Anyone have thoughts for birthday presents for a soon-to-be 16 year old that wants to be a theoretical physicist? Besides books?

    How about a motorcycle? Even a theoretical physicist should maintain some familiarity with practical physics. Plus they’re fun.

  187. 187
    DougW says:

    @PeakVT: “They’re not mirrors, they are entire telescopes with steerable secondaries. It’s likely that each includes large portions of the satellite bus as well. Mirrors alone are not that valuable, as I’ve read that Arizona’s Mirror Lab charges about $20 million for an 8-meter mirror.”

    @mikej

    Ah, they come from Arizona. These 20 million dollar mirrors boast made in America labels. No undocumented workers were used in the making of these mirrors. Rather than reflecting reality, these mirrors have a known moderate bias. The company is still working on a conservative bias, but it is not ready yet for prime time…

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