Late Night Clown Shoes Open Thread: To the… MARS, Alice!

They could have blamed it on jet lag (or TBH on having to behave like some approximation of a grown-up for a whole three days in a row), but that would’ve implied their Dear Leader was susceptible to the weaknesses of mere mortals…

At a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council last week, William H. Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said that it was unlikely that appropriators in Congress would agree to provide all the money needed for a 2024 moon landing, and that the agency would likely have to cut the budgets for other areas of the space agency.

Hours after the tweet was sent, a White House official attempted to clarify Mr. Trump’s meaning, saying that the administration’s space goals were unchanged. The official added that by seeking additional resources for a journey to the moon within the next five years, the Trump administration intended to accelerate a crewed American visit to Mars…








A Rare Victory Against Corporate Power in West Virginia

This is nice:

Natural gas producers in West Virginia no longer can drill on one person’s property to reach gas reserves under adjoining or neighboring tracts, the state Supreme Court said Wednesday in a much-anticipated ruling that gives additional leverage to residents struggling with the effects from the booming industry.

In a 5-0 ruling, the justices upheld a lower court ruling and jury verdict against EQT Corp., siding with two Doddridge County residents who had sued the state’s second-largest gas company.

Justice John Hutchison wrote that gas and other mineral companies must obtain permission from surface owners to use their land to reach reserves under other properties.

“The court will not imply a right to use a surface estate to conduct drilling or mining operations under neighboring lands,” Hutchison wrote. “The right must be expressly obtained, addressed, or reserved in the parties’ deeds, leases, or other writings.”

In the case, two people who live on a 300-acre farm in Doddridge County said EQT came onto their land to extract gas from underneath adjacent properties. The two people, Beth Crowder and David Wentz, warned EQT that the company would be trespassing. EQT entered the property anyway. Crowder and Wentz sued, and a local circuit judge ruled in their favor, and a jury two years ago awarded them nearly $200,000 in damages.

It’s insane that a company would be so brazen as to even take this to court, but, you know, West Virginia.








Elon Musk Just Grabbed Your Night Sky

Elon Musk’s SpaceX just launched 60 satellites, part of an eventual 12,000 intended to make the internet available to everyone.

You can see them, and many people did last night.

I’ll let astronomers tweet their concerns.

Update: Here’s a NASA video about space junk before Musk’s latest brainstorm.








Respite Thread: How 3D Printing Is Changing Animal Behavior Research

This combines several reader interests. The video is NSFW if your co-workers are toads or turtles.

Also, open thread!








Terrifying (Excellent) Long Read: “The Night the Lights Went Out”

Via Dave Fahrenheit’s twitter feed, for Deadspin:

All I remember is waking up in a fog with a bunch of tubes sticking out of me and thinking it was the morning after the awards. I also remember thinking that I was in the hospital because I had somehow gotten into a fistfight and lost. Someone—I don’t remember who—informed me that this was not the case. Then they gave me a topline summary of my injury, along with the day’s date. I found myself first in disbelief, and then morbidly amused. I may have even chortled.

But now that I know more details about what happened, I am less amused and more extremely freaked out. I wasn’t awake for all the scary parts of my injury, but everyone I loved was. When I finally came to, I could see the fear and terror still in their eyes, even after the worst had passed. I could see it in the eyes of my poor mom and dad, who sat vigil at my bedside every day after surgery, praying for me to wake up. I could see it in the faces of my brother and sister, who did likewise. I could see it in the faces of my friends and of my co-workers, who quite literally saved my life and were then informed that I would likely be hospitalized for months before I could walk out into the light of day. Not a single month, as it turned out to be. Months.

… I find myself in a strange situation where people I love were traumatized and devastated by what happened to me, but I—the dude who actually suffered the injury—fell into a two-week time warp before waking up strapped to a gurney: emaciated, woozy, confused, and irritable. I’m left to reverse engineer my own trauma by talking to my loved ones, poring over dry-ass medical charts, and checking notes that my wife kept throughout the whole ordeal, notes that I can’t bear to read. For as long as I live on, I owe it to my family and friends and colleagues to fully appreciate the fact that I somehow didn’t die, and that they saved me. I feel shitty that they had to go through that. I feel bad that I let my brain explode. When I recounted my injury to a nurse practitioner at the MinuteClinic the other week, her jaw dropped. “You’re so lucky you’re alive, you have no idea.”…

I cheated death, and now the Reaper has a chit for my head that he can cash in any time he likes. I now know firsthand that he doesn’t always telegraph his arrival. I was blindsided. When I was young, I thought nothing could kill me. I know I’m old now because I believe that everything can kill me, including just going to a work shindig. I have the receipts to prove it.

There may come a day when I can recover some of the memories I lost from this whole episode, but I’d prefer that day never come. I try not to think about what happened to me, but I do every day…