You Know What’s Big Enough To See From Space?

No, not the massive fail that is today’s GOP.


Nope.  Try penguin shit (h/t  IO9):

Until last month, this group of 9,000 Emperor penguins had never seen a human being before. And no human knew about their existence either — until a satellite picked up images of their poop from space. That’s right. These penguins are so populous that their waste is visible from orbit. Though they were discovered in 2009, humans were not able to visit them in person until December 2012.

Click on the IO9 link above for more — and pictures that make you go “SQUEEEEE!”

Oh — and if this doesn’t rate as a true Balloon Juice open thread, I don’t know what does.

Update:  More from The Guardian.  Poop photo doubly credited to AP and NASA here.

Image: Norman Rockwell, The Magic Foot-ball, ‘I thought you were wrong,’ he said in triumph. ‘You said it was nine! Stupid!’ 1914.

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78 replies
  1. 1
    cathyx says:

    Penguin poop. I’m sure there’s a market for it somewhere.

  2. 2
    cathyx says:

    There must be a way that humans can exploit this resource. Let no natural habitat be untouched.

  3. 3
    Soonergrunt says:

    You were posting about penguin shit so thick it could be seen from space, and then you say that pictures at think “will make you go squeeeee!”
    What exactly is it about penguin shit that makes you go squee?

  4. 4
    burnspbesq says:

    I’m about to go full metal emoprog over the lastest example of unilateral disarmament by the Obama Administration.

    Tell me I’m wrong.

  5. 5
    cathyx says:

    You could at least post or link to a picture of the poop pile.

  6. 6
    Roger Moore says:


    There must be a way that humans can exploit this resource.


  7. 7
    Thor Heyerdahl says:


    Penguin poop. I’m sure there’s a market for it somewhere.

    Biofuel for Linux servers?

  8. 8
    Yutsano says:


    I don’t have much more than that.

    @burnspbesq: One might also blame really really dumb government lawyers. Which isn’t much of an improvement on your position.

    I’m in CITC. Ask me how much I’m loving it. GO AHEAD. ASK ME.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Valdivia says:

    Great Rockwell Tom. I had never seen this one.

    Love the penguins.

  11. 11
    JenJen says:

    Pictures or the poop never happened!

  12. 12
    scav says:

    Somewhere on QI it came up they’d been studying penguin behavior this way — remotely, involving poo. Apparently it comes out at high velocity.

  13. 13
    cathyx says:

    @jeffreyw: Please, not while we’re talking poop.

  14. 14
    scav says:

    QI STUFF HERE about mid page are the links to research

  15. 15
    Tom Levenson says:

    @JenJen: See update.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    jp7505a says:

    @burnspbesq: I wonder if Obama is playing chess and the GOP tiddly-winks here. If the administration comes out in favor of the coin or the 14th amendment at this point it gives the GOP a twofer
    1. the echo chamber can bellow about the socialist destroying the constitution and
    2. the GOP knows there is an out on the debt limit so they have to do nothing and the ‘out’ will be owned by Obama.

    Rather Obama is saying this a problem created by Congress and it will have to be fixed by Congress. He will not negotiate over the terms of lifting the debt limit or try to develop further workarounds. The GOP has a choice raise the limit or default. If there is a default it will be on the GOP. Let them stew about that for the next couple of weeks.

    The day before the government runs out of tricks to pay the bills, Obama holds a press conference and says tommorrow at the end of business the US will default unless Congress acts. It then is squarely on the GOP.

    Needless to say the next day the markets will tank and the bankers and the corporate CEOs will be all over the GOP to raise the limit.

    If the GOP still fails to act, then Obama can announce that he will not stand by and let the Congress destroy the global economy and he will order Treasury to continue paying the bills and ignore the debt limit. Whatever action he takes may be of questionable constitutionality but the Constitution is not a sucide pact so he will act.

    The GOP can either accept the action or file a law suit to stop the action. The courts do not like to get into these separation of powers fights and any judge that issued an injunction might as well move to Siberia. The GOP could also file articles of impeachment but in the end that didn’t work out so well with Clinton. Either way it would be obvious to everyone but the faux news viewers that destroying Obama is more important than doing the county’s business.

    Or so I hope that is the plan

  18. 18
    cathyx says:

    @Tom Levenson: It’s really underwhelming. Maybe a zoom lens would help.

  19. 19
    HobbesAI says:

    @burnspbesq: You’re wrong on two counts. It’s not a recent development, it has been their position since the last debt ceiling fiasco. And if their lawyers say the law can’t be used that way should the administration just go looking for a lawyer who will say it’s okay? We’ve seen that before.

  20. 20
    4tehlulz says:

    OH SHI-

  21. 21
    Gin & Tonic says:

    20 comments and nobody’s made the connection between the GOP and a pile of shit big enough to see from orbit? Slackers.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    @Gin & Tonic: well, it was rather in the post itself so . . . give us a teeny break?

  23. 23
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Hey Mr. Levenson and BJ science/astronomy experts: More completely untouched and super real pictures from space which are not at all creative or imaginary.

    Scientists have found the LARGEST KNOWN STRUCTURE IN THE UNIVERSE until they find the newest, other larger largest one, or something.

    See how super and actual it is! Such pretty colors, not at all designed to make the image look fabulous and super awesome, thereby increasing interest, awe-struckness, and beneficial public relations side effects!

  24. 24
    patrick II says:

    I have been less impressed with the “can be seen from space” stuff since I have looked at my own car parked in the driveway on google’s satellite maps.

  25. 25
    burnspbesq says:


    Or so I hope that is the plan

    No shit. That’s a rational strategy if you’ve got the cojones to play it all the way out. However, as Dr. Krugman has pointed out more than once recently, if you want to doubt Obama’s cojones, there is plenty of evidence that supports that view.

  26. 26
    burnspbesq says:

    On a completely unrelated subject … are they really going to give the Stanley Cup to whoever survives this absurdly truncated NHL season? That just seems silly.

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    The problem is that the shit normally associated with Republicans comes from a much less exotic animal. If it had been a herd of bulls in some obscure place whose shit could be seen from space, the connection would be much more obvious.

  28. 28
    jp7505a says:

    @burnspbesq: I guess we will all find out but if Obama does fold, then he will have done the GOP’S job of destroying his presidency for them.

  29. 29
    Gex says:

    Goddamn it all to hell.

    GF was finally able to take her Vancomycin today. That was an important step forward.

    But her port is infected.


    It would be nice to have a day without a setback.

  30. 30
    Roger Moore says:

    How is that completely unrelated? They’re both on ice, there’s an NHL team called the Penguins, and it involves a ton of shit. The connection is obvious!

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:


    The problem is that, like many white dudes, Dr. Krugman thinks “cojones” means “meaningless alpha-male dick-waving that impresses other white dudes.”

  32. 32
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @patrick II: Are you sure Google’s stuff is from satellites? They look like garden variety aerial photos to me. They can call them anything they want.

  33. 33
    WaterGirl says:

    @burnspbesq: Tell me this is snark.

  34. 34
    cathyx says:

    @Roger Moore: Now if we could see the Pittsburgh Penguin’s poop from outer space, that would be something.

  35. 35
    scav says:

    Ah look at the poor dear who, looking in a mirror, sees his makeup smeared face and recognises a vast unimportance. Projection is a bitter drug.

    Apparenly one of the benefits of tracking the tuxedoed ones from space is a about a 40% reduction in mortality over banding, plus the whole coverage thing. Undoubtedly need to do individual studies for other reasons, but has it’s niche, plus the whole poo-space-tracker tee-shirt appeal.

  36. 36
    Roger Moore says:

    I think there’s also a fair amount of the Green Lantern theory of politics going on. If only Obama were tougher and had more willpower, he could get everything he (actually the person criticizing him) wants without having to give anything substantive in return. That’s not how real-world negotiations work, especially when the people you’re negotiating with really are willing to shoot the hostage.

  37. 37
    Gin & Tonic says:

    As happens so often, here’s The Guardian understanding America better than most Americans, listing 10 questions Oprah will ask Lance tomorrow in his “tell all something that he hopes is enough” interview. Like “Would you like to talk for quite a long time about what Being An American means to you?”

  38. 38
    WaterGirl says:

    @jeffreyw: Whenever I say I think you should put together a cookbook you tell me that you’re not organized (or something like that).

    But I wonder if you have considered the idea of putting some Balloon Juice unemployed or underemployed designer and/or editor to work putting together a cookbook. If you don’t have the money or inclination to do that, maybe it could be a collective project for Balloon Juice.

    People here could donate some seed money to pay for editing and design and then maybe you could split the proceeds from the beautiful printed cookbook with a rescue organization or we could help fund a food bank, or whatever.

    Just thinking out loud. Maybe I need to feel like everything’s not hopeless today.

  39. 39
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Gex: I’m very sorry to hear your news. Good luck to you and your GF.

  40. 40
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    Sorry to highjack the thread a little bit (or attempt to do so, I suppose), but is anyone else absolutely tired of encountering Kardashian-related stories every-damn-where? Every stinkin’ time I log onto the internet, there’s another story about the diets, clothing choices, sex lives, toenail polish choices, etc. of a Kardashian. I can’t name a Kanye West song to save my life (I’m not suggesting that’s some virtue on my part, just a reality). But I at least know why he’s famous. Nonetheless, I wish he and Kim would just go away. Go buy a south sea island, employ a hundred servants, install a golden toilet, buy a fleet of Bentley’s, and leave us alone already!

    There, I feel better now.

  41. 41
    efgoldman says:

    @patrick II:

    I have been less impressed with the “can be seen from space” stuff since I have looked at my own car parked in the driveway on google’s satellite maps.

    Hey, they updated the pics. Doesn’t show my wife’s Crown Vic that we junked in 2004, anymore.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    efgoldman says:


    ….about mid page are the links to research

    Yeah, but before that, there’s this:

    Leo Allatius was the pope’s librarian who speculated that the rings of Saturn might be Jesus’s foreskin, here is some information about that venerable character:

  44. 44
    cckids says:

    @Gex: Oh, yikes. Those infections suck so hard. So sorry to hear that, hopefully she can overcome it. My best to you.

  45. 45
    jp7505a says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): and take the rest of the clan with. Maybe they would have a spare bed room for Britney/Lindesy and the ever popular Jessica(sigh,sigh)

  46. 46
    cathyx says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): You’ve got to change your Entertainment Tonight homepage to Balloon Juice. I never see news of them.

  47. 47
    Gex says:

    It is so hard to sit in here and watch her suffering like this. But I don’t want to leave her.

    ETA: Newt Gingrich is a weakling and a coward. He couldn’t possibly do this if he tried.

  48. 48
    scav says:

    @efgoldman: You really need to watch Qi if that’s what catches your eye.

    Best to @Gex and girlfriend.

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:


    He couldn’t possibly do this if he tried

    We already have evidence of this. He fucking asked for a divorce while his first wife was sick with cancer.

  50. 50
    Gex says:

    @Yutsano: Oh I know. I don’t think he actually tried or wanted to. I’m just saying at his very best, he still couldn’t do this.

  51. 51
    Roger Moore says:


    Newt Gingrich is a weakling and a coward.

    In other news, water is wet, the sky is blue, and the sun rises in the East.

  52. 52
    MikeJ says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): Stanley Newman’s xword today asked for the name of their mother. I couldn’t tell you the names of the Kardashians, much less their mother.

  53. 53
    cathyx says:

    @MikeJ: I don’t follow them but the mom’s name is Chris, then the daughters names are Cloe, Kim, and Courtney. Don’t ask me how I know. There’s a son and 2 daughters with Jenner, but I don’t know their names.

  54. 54
    Yutsano says:

    @Gex: And remember: we’re the ones damaging the institution of marriage with our teh ghey cooties. I try not to hate, but these fuckers make it so damn hard sometimes.

    And :: hugz ::

  55. 55
    Roger Moore says:


    It is so hard to sit in here and watch her suffering like this. But I don’t want to leave her.

    Give yourself a break once in a while. You need to be there for her, but you can’t do that if you burn yourself out. Remember that looking after yourself is part of being ready to look after her.

  56. 56
    MikeJ says:

    @cathyx: Actually the mom’s name is Kris. Four letters and crosses “avarice”.

  57. 57
    efgoldman says:


    And remember: we’re the ones damaging the institution of marriage with our teh ghey cooties.

    Both of us born, brought up, married, raised a kid in MA. Still waiting for our traditional marriage to be destroyed. 35 years and counting.

  58. 58
    gogol's wife says:


    Not enough K’s! They all start with K!

  59. 59
    gogol's wife says:


    Best wishes to you. I hope things get better soon.

  60. 60
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    @cathyx: The father was Robert Kardashian, one of O.J. Simpson’s lawyers (as I’m sure everyone probably knows). It just seems weird to me that this woman (Kim) is primarily known for her gravity-defying keister (and, now, multiple sex tapes).

    My homepage is I didn’t know I could make BJ my homepage. I have to become more computer-literate it would appear.

    @jp7505a: Yes, I’d like to see them take Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt (aptly-named fellow), and 97% of the other reality-show celebs, too.

  61. 61
    patrick II says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason:

    I have read that there has been a mix of satellite and flyover pictures on Google, with the satellite pictures gradually being replaced by the more accurate flyover. But you can look at satellite imagery online that has remarkable resolution.

  62. 62
    scav says:

    @Yutsano: Only non-blood uncle I’d crawl over glass to be be with in the circs (and I’ve blood ones I’d avoid) I won’t be able to visit for similar reasons. Consider yourself accompanied in the trying hard not to. The scars they are imposing on families ripple outwards.

  63. 63
    handsmile says:


    I’m so glad to see your “nym” tonight!
    I want to say how much I appreciated your reply on a recent thread. I feel that particular way rather often here. Thanks for the comment and camaraderie!

  64. 64
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Gex: Oh, Gex, I’m sorry to hear that. Gotta hang in there though. Thinking good thoughts again for you and GF.

  65. 65
    Maude says:

    @patrick II:
    After February 10th, Landsat 8 will be in orbit and the resolutions will be even finer. Comb your hair.

  66. 66
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gex: Well, shit. Hopefully it’s 2 steps forward, 1 back, and not the other way around.

    I’m not sure I quite understand the implications of what you’ve said. She hasn’t been well enough to take antibiotics, but now she is? Do the antibiotics go through the port, so she can’t take the antibiotics when it’s infected? Or she is able to take the antibiotics, and the infection is a separate problem?

    I suppose I don’t really need to understand, but one of those scenarios seems better than the other, and I’m hoping that’s what’s going on.

    It must be really scary for both of you. So sorry.

  67. 67
    Maude says:

    Get rested. When you’re tired, everything looks negative.

  68. 68
    WaterGirl says:

    @handsmile: You are very welcome!

    I was kind of enjoying the irony, though, of your not seeing my reply, given the subject matter of your post and my follow-up. :-)

    edit: but definitely glad you saw my reply!

  69. 69
    handsmile says:


    What strength you have! What love you have! It’s been humbling to read.
    I hope good thoughts and best wishes to you and your partner can bring some comfort.

  70. 70
    bcinaz says:

    Penguin *sigh*. Is there no place on this effing planet we can go and not be visited in person by a human being?

  71. 71
    WaterGirl says:

    @bcinaz: I know. I had that same thought earlier. I was kinda sad for the penguins.

  72. 72
    Gex says:

    @WaterGirl: The whole thing is just such a mess. Be forewarned, I can blurt out a lot of this at the slightest prompt.

    The chemo wrecked her immune system, so opportunistic diseases set in. Digestive tract stuff, skin stuff, mucusitis. For most of those things she was getting her anti-[biotic/viral/fungal] through the port. But the digestive tract stuff needs to be taken orally. The mouth wounds were preventing her from safely swallowing so she hasn’t been able to take those for the last 9 days.

    On the plus side, we had been steadily improving almost every day for 3-4 days prior to this. And there were still some good signs.

    @Maude: So much of it is that she is definitely, noticeably worse off today. And having been dealing with cancer for months, getting into this, the idea of getting out of this and still having more cancer to deal with is tough. I have been resting more, and that is sound advice. I just think I have to let myself have these moments where I get to feel the feelings I have to set aside the rest of the time to get this done.

  73. 73
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Sending you good thoughts and hope. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too.

  74. 74
    Gex says:

    And I hope you guys know the kind words do help. I read them over and over when I need to.

  75. 75
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Gex: You know you can let go here and say what you need to say. We’ll read and file it away as necessary (especially in our brains’ circular files).

  76. 76
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gex: You said: So much of it is that she is definitely, noticeably worse off today.

    I think that would have to be the hardest part. Things start rolling along (comparatively speaking), you get your hopes up, thinking okay, we’ve made it over this hurdle, we can do this, one step at a time, and then bam! Along comes a setback.

    Sometimes you have to just sit there and cry on the sidewalk (metaphorically speaking) before you can pick yourself up and try again. If you never give in to that part, you can’t keep on going when you need to.

    Sending good thoughts your way.

  77. 77
    burnspbesq says:


    The problem is that, like many white dudes, Dr. Krugman thinks “cojones” means “meaningless alpha-male dick-waving that impresses other white dudes.”

    Surely it has not escaped your notice that substantially all of the players in the current farce are, in fact, white dudes.

    Pretending that the size and shape of the playing field, and the rules, are other than they are is not helpful.

  78. 78
    xian says:

    @burnspbesq: dick-waving isn’t part of the rules

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