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Author Topic: Pluto in Cap, the USA, the future of the world  (Read 672623 times)
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« Reply #18120 on: Today at 08:15 AM »

WATCH: Google’s cool documentary on $20 million race to the Moon

Arturo Garcia
27 Jan 2015 at 21:29 ET   

Google released an adaptation of a short documentary chronicling not only the history of space exploration, but its efforts to stimulate what it calls a “new space race,” Mashable reported.

The 24-minute film, Back To The Moon For Good – The New Space Race, was originally shown in planetariums around the U.S. It begins with narrator Tim Allen recounting early missions to the Moon, before covering the company’s Lunar XPRIZE, a competition for privately funded teams that can develop their own vessels capable of reaching the Moon’s surface.

The winning entries are required to not only land on the Moon, but transmit video and pictures from its surface after traveling at least 500 meters.

The first team to accomplish this feat by Dec. 31 will claim a $20 million grand prize.

“Children who once played at being astronauts have grown up, had children and even grandchildren of their own,” Allen says. “Now, the next generation of explorers will make the journey.”

Watch the film, as posted by Google on Monday, below.

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« Reply #18121 on: Today at 08:16 AM »

Is Rosetta’s comet falling apart?

January 27, 2015
Brett Smith for – Your Universe Online

Just as we are really getting to known comet 67P, it may be leaving us.

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission is currently visiting the “Rubber Ducky” comet and newly released images show a meter-wide crack running over 100 meters (328 feet) along the comet’s “neck” that could lead to its disintegration.

Described as part of a series of newly published papers from the journal Science, the crack was captured by the OSIRIS camera on-board the Rosetta craft currently orbiting the comet.

“We wondered what could create the crack, and we think it’s mechanical stress cause by the comet flexing,” Holger Sierks, the lead scientist on OSIRIS, told The Guardian.

With the intensity of solar radiation increasing as comet 67P approaches the Sun, the Rosetta scientists have speculated that this crack could cause the comet’s destruction. As the comet rotates, solar radiation strikes different parts of it, causing them to expand and contract as they heat and cool. The Rosetta team said the neck of the comet’s two main bodies, where the crack is located, could be the focal point for these forces and other internal forces.

Currently, heating from the Sun is causing the comet to vent and shed 24 pounds of dust and gas per second. This loss of material is only expected to increase as the comet reaches its closest point to the Sun, or its perihelion, in August. Mission scientists said forces acting on the comet could cause the crack to expand or close up.

“It could close up again, but there’s certainly a crack, it’s deep and wide, and it could break apart along the neck,” Sierks said. “It wouldn’t be the first comet that has fractured.”

The makeup of a comet

Based on measurements from Rosetta, the comet contains about 11 billion tons of material. It’s also thought to be highly porous with about half the density of water.

“The surface layer is dusty and it is very easy to build up fluffy layers, because the gravity is 100,000 times weaker than on Earth, so it doesn’t get compacted,” Sierks said.

A lot of the gas and dust streaming from the surface of the comet’s surface emanates from the neck region, where the big crack is located. The comet’s gravity is also poorest in that region, so dust dislodged from the comet drifts out to space rather than dropping back to the surface. The principal part of the comet is less active, since it is enclosed in a thin layer of dust that functions like a protective blanket.

Other pictures from OSIRIS have revealed that the comet’s surface is pock-marked with countless pits hundreds of feet across. ESA scientists said these “goosebumps” on the comet may have formed when gas under the surface expanded and popped through the thin overlying surface material.

The mission

After a rendezvous with the comet in August, Rosetta executed a series of maneuvers that brought it to within 6 miles of the comet’s nucleus. There, the craft’s sensors pick up the water, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide streaming off the comet’s surface.

In November, Rosetta released its Philae lander, which successfully came to rest on comet 67P’s surface. The lander tested the surface material and found that water on the comet is unlike water found here on Earth, squashing theories that our water came from comets.

The mission is expected to track the comet through to its perihelion in August and beyond, assuming that it lasts that long.

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« Reply #18122 on: Today at 08:44 AM »


Obama Gets a Huge Win As Democrats Withdraw Their Support For Iran Sanctions Bill

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, January, 27th, 2015, 3:47 pm   

Obama Drills Republicans in Health Care Victory Lap SpeechObama Drills Republicans in Health Care Victory Lap Speech
President Obama got a huge win today as ten Democratic senators have vowed to vote against the Iran sanctions bill being pushed by Republicans in order to give the president more time to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran.

United States Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) all signed a letter to the president expressing their support:

Dear Mr. President:

We remain hopeful that diplomacy will succeed in reversing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon capability, in accordance with the timeline that the P5+1 and Iran negotiating teams have set for themselves: March 24, 2015 for a political framework agreement and June 30, 2015 to conclude negotiations on the technical annexes of the comprehensive deal.

Congress has always been a partner in the shared goal of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon capability. We remain appreciative of your leadership in seeking to protect the United States, and our allies and partners, from the threat of a nuclear Iran. For more than two decades, the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. Government have worked together in a bipartisan way to implement sanctions legislation that successfully ratcheted up pressure on Iran’s nuclear program. This pressure proved to be decisive in compelling Iranian leadership to enter the latest round of nuclear negotiations in September 2013.

We remain deeply skeptical that Iran is committed to making the concessions required to demonstrate to the world that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful by March 24 – the deadline agreed upon for a political framework agreement. Considering Iran’s history in nuclear negotiations and after two extensions of the Joint Plan of Action, we are concerned that Iran is intentionally extending the negotiations to improve its leverage at the negotiating table.

We are Democratic supporters of the Iran Nuclear Weapon Free Act of 2015 – a bill that would impose sanctions on Iran only if Iran fails to reach a comprehensive agreement by the June 30 deadline. This bill also includes monthly waivers after June 30 to provide additional negotiating flexibility. We believe that this bill, as introduced, is reasonable and pragmatic, respects the nuclear negotiating timeline, and sends a strong signal to Iran and to the international community that endless negotiations under the interim agreement are dangerous, unacceptable, and could leave Iran with a threshold nuclear weapon capability.

In acknowledgement of your concern regarding congressional action on legislation at this moment, we will not vote for this legislation on the Senate floor before March 24. After March 24, we will only vote for this legislation on the Senate floor if Iran fails to reach agreement on a political framework that addresses all parameters of a comprehensive agreement. This deadline is the critical test of Iranian intentions. We expect that your Administration will consult closely with Members of Congress in the coming months, and look forward to working with you to achieve our shared goal of reversing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon capability.

The collapse in Democratic support came after President Obama promised to veto the sanctions bill, and Republicans insulted the president by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to address Congress without consulting the White House. Boehner tried to force Democrats to choose between Netanyahu and Obama, and the Democrats have chosen their president. Another Republican attempt to divide Democrats has failed and the latest congressional attempt to undermine this president has fallen apart.

Republicans in both the House and Senate have made such a big production out of the Iran sanctions bill that they have little choice, but to vote on the legislation that now has no chance of passing the Senate. The Republican attempt to destroy the talks with Iran represents a dangerous meddling in foreign policy for domestic political gain. Senate Democrats aren’t going to be pawns in the Republican Party’s efforts to humiliate this president.

Democrats have the president’s back, as the Republican dreams of dividing and conquering are turning into the reality of a party united behind their president.


Obamacare Knocks Out The GOP As Enrollment Poised To Shatter 2015 Goal

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, January, 27th, 2015, 6:49 pm      

The latest good news for President Obama is that the Affordable Care Act is poised to shatter his administration’s enrollment goals for 2015.

The Department of Health and Human Services released the latest numbers:

    Nationwide, 9.5 million consumers selected or were automatically reenrolled in quality, affordable health insurance coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace through the second month of 2015 Open Enrollment, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of those, more than 7.1 million were in states using the platform and 2.4 million were in the 14 states (including Washington, D.C.) using their own Marketplace platforms. As the Feb. 15 deadline approaches, HHS encourages all eligible consumers to sign up for Marketplace coverage. Most will be eligible for financial assistance to lower the cost of monthly premiums.

    Today’s report includes data for individuals who selected or were automatically reenrolled in coverage through Jan. 16 for the 37 states using the platform, and through Jan. 17 for the 12 states and Washington, D.C. using their own Marketplace platforms. Data for California is through Jan. 18. To have their coverage effectuated, consumers need to pay their first month’s health plan premium (today’s report does not include effectuated enrollment).

The good news about enrollment was part of a one-two punch that also included the CBO lowering the cost of the ACA by 20% due to a slowdown in the growth of healthcare costs. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are trying to keep the repeal charade going by voting again to repeal Obamacare next week. The disconnect between Republicans and reality has never been clearer. The Affordable Care Act is becoming a raging success. The law is doing exactly what it was intended to do. More people have access to healthcare, and the price of that healthcare is dropping.

President Obama is on a roll. His approval ratings are skyrocketing. The economy is expanding, and now healthcare is more accessible and affordable than ever before. Things are by no means perfect, but the country is moving in the right direction again. It is becoming impossible for Republicans to avoid the reality that Americans love the Affordable Care Act. The ACA will easily pass the administration’s targets for 2015 enrollment. The years of Republican fear-mongering are being proven wrong. The ACA hasn’t destroyed the health care system. It has granted tens of millions of Americans access to it.

Republicans don’t have an alternative. They don’t have a plan, and it is becoming clear that their irrational hatred of the ACA is out of step with the wants of most Americans.


Mitch McConnell Begs Senate Democrats To Stop Filibustering Keystone XL

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, January, 27th, 2015, 1:08 pm      

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to Democrats successfully filibustering the Keystone XL bill by practically begging Democrats to allow the bill to move forward.

In remarks on the Senate floor today, McConnell responded to the successful Democratic filibuster:

    The Keystone jobs bill is a bipartisan infrastructure project the American people deserve.

    So the vote last night to filibuster was disappointing.

    The Keystone jobs bill has been considered and reported out by the Energy Committee…

    It’s been subject to weeks of open debate.

    Senators on both sides have been able to offer and vote on amendments — two dozen and counting.

    Our Democratic friends have had more amendments considered on this bill than Republicans — more amendments than all of last year combined.

    And just a few days ago, we offered our friends the opportunity to have even more of their amendments voted on. Unfortunately, Democrats rejected that offer.

    I’m asking them to reconsider.

    Join us. Work with the bill managers, Senators Murkowski and Cantwell, to get your amendments processed. And let’s make progress for the American people.

What McConnell left out of his woe is me remarks was why Democrats are so angry. Mitch McConnell tried to go back on his word with an attempt to abruptly end debate on the Keystone XL. Sen. McConnell has been trying to strong-arm the DOA pipeline bill through the Senate. Senate Democratic Whip Sen. Dick Durban explained why Democrats are angry, “The authors of the amendment were denied 60 seconds to even explain their amendments. It didn’t leave a very good taste in the mouth of many Democrats, not even those who were supporting the Keystone Canadian pipeline.”

The obstructor has become the obstructed. The fast start that McConnell promised during the 2014 campaign has evaporated as he has been pinned down by Senate Democrats on one end and President Obama on the other. The Keystone XL debate is about more than a certain to vetoed pipeline authorization bill. The deeper meaning of the debate is that Democrats are showing that they won’t be pushed around while for Republicans Keystone XL was supposed to be a symbol of their newly won power.

As the weeks go by, the Keystone XL debate has morphed into a sign that Republicans still can’t govern as they are wasting weeks on legislation that will never become law. The argument that Democrats have become the obstructionists holding back progress won’t play well in a 2016 Senate election landscape that is tilted towards Democrats. McConnell’s comments are increasing sounding like blame shifting and are the biggest sign yet that Democrats are winning the legislative struggle over Keystone XL.


Boehner To Waste Millions More Taxpayer Dollars By Launching Second Lawsuit Against Obama

By: Jason Easley
Tuesday, January, 27th, 2015, 2:33 pm   

John Boehner told House Republicans that he was finishing plans that will waste millions more taxpayer dollars on a lawsuit against President Obama’s immigration executive actions.

Politico reported:

    House Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team is preparing a resolution that could authorize further legal action against the Obama administration over its moves on immigration; he told his colleagues Tuesday morning.

    The resolution, which Boehner discussed in a closed Republican meeting Tuesday, could authorize the House to take several different forms of legal action against the administration, but no final course of action has been decided. For example, the resolution could authorize the House to join a lawsuit that states have filed against President Barack Obama over the executive action.

    “We are finalizing a plan to authorize litigation on this issue — one we believe gives us the best chance of success,” Boehner said in the meeting.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi blistered Boehner for not governing, “Republicans control both houses of Congress, but Speaker Boehner still doesn’t have the wherewithal to legislate. House Republicans’ latest lawsuit against the President is an embarrassing admission of failure. Republicans’ radical anti-immigrant legislation is dead on arrival. Once again, House Republicans are crawling to the courts to relieve them of their responsibility to govern. Republicans should stop wasting millions of taxpayer dollars suing the President, and start showing some seriousness for the security of the American people.”

House Republicans announced yesterday that they were delaying a vote on their border security bill because of the blizzard, but the real reason for the delay is that Speaker Boehner doesn’t have the votes to pass the bill. Boehner has refused to govern most of the time, but when he has tried to pass legislation, he often doesn’t have the votes to pass his own bills.

John Boehner can’t govern, so he is going to sue President Obama for using his executive powers. Speaker Boehner’s Obamacare lawsuit is costing taxpayers $500/hour in attorney fees. Instead of passing legislation, Speaker Boehner’s answer to everything is to abuse the court system by filing frivolous lawsuits against President Obama.

The lawsuit strategy was born out of Republican desperation, ineptitude, and failure. Speaker Boehner’s lawsuits are an attempt to distract the country from the fact no matter how big of a majority Boehner has in the House, Republicans remain unfit to govern.


Time To Prosecute House Speaker John Boehner For Violating Federal Law

By: Rmuse
Tuesday, January, 27th, 2015, 11:31 am   

It is beyond refute that there is a more than glaring level of hypocrisy in the Republican Party, and there is no better example than in the House of Representatives; particularly since the Koch brothers invested power in the tea party movement. After the 2010 midterm elections when Republicans took control of the House they immediately launched myriad investigations into wrongdoing by the Obama Administration; including fabricating highly-profitable and phony scandals, only to find the Obama Administration is guilty of nothing untoward. In fact, the House, under the direction of Speaker John A. Boehner, initiated a lawsuit against the President for exercising his executive authority according to the Constitution and long-settled Supreme Court rulings.

What is stunning hypocrisy is that there have been several unethical acts by House Republicans who are following the lead of their leader Speaker John A. Boehner; the ethics-challenged cretin that no-one is willing to prosecute. Like every common criminal, or once-convicted felon, who continues to escape punishment for violating the law, Boehner continues his unethical, and now illegal, behavior because he truly believes he IS above the law. It is time to disabuse Boehner of that belief and restore the American people’s faith in the nation’s justice system.

When Boehner conspired with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress to campaign and “send a clear message to the White House” about how Israel will set America’s foreign policy in the Middle East, he violated a 216 year old law. A law, by the way, devised and enacted by America’s Founding Fathers that Republicans claim are their exemplars. It is now time to finally call for Boehner to be charged, tried, and convicted for violating the law and put a stop to his career-long abrogation of long-standing ethical and legal provisions to send a clear message that no-one in America is above the law.

The Speaker of the House openly violated the so-called Logan Act that was signed into law and enacted in 1799 by President John Adams and codified in 18 U.S. Code § 953. The Code addresses precisely what Speaker of the House John A. Boehner did in conspiring with Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress to defeat the measures of the United States in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States.

The Logan Act prohibits any “Private correspondence with foreign governments” and reads; “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” The Supreme Court ruled that Congress cannot and should not conduct foreign affairs; that power rests in the Executive Branch exclusively.

In the 1936 Supreme Court case, United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp, the Court held that “all ability to conduct foreign policy is vested in the President. It is given implicitly and by the fact that the executive, by its very nature, is empowered to conduct foreign affairs in a way that Congress cannot and should not.” Boehner just does not, and Republicans cannot, accept that yes, “all ability to conduct foreign policy is vested in the President;” regardless of the fact he is an African American man or that Republicans’ allegiance is to a foreign power; in this case Israel.

Boehner violated the Logan Act just by “directly commencing or carrying on any correspondence with a foreign government, or agent thereof” with his admitted and explicit intent of influencing measures of the United States. Boehner did say publicly that his reason for illegally corresponding with Netanyahu was to “specifically ask him (Netanyahu) to address Congress and send a clear message to the White House about our commitment to Israel.” Boehner’s hubris, defiance, and obvious disregard for longstanding U.S. law was when he publicly said, “Congress can make this decision on its own.” No matter what Boehner says, or thinks, Congress cannot make that decision on its own according to a 216 year old law and reiterated by the 79 year old ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Boehner needs to be fully prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code § 953 to teach him that no American is above the law regardless what he thinks. Obviously, throughout Boehner’s political career he has considered himself above the law.

This is not Boehner’s first offense without facing any legal action or congressional ethics violation repercussions to remove him for various acts. He was caught red-handed, and admitted to handing out corporate bribes for favorable votes on the floor of the House that garnered expulsion for another Ohio congressman guilty of corruption. Boehner openly, and continues to, lie about the number of jobs the KeystoneXL pipeline will create since he bought stock in seven Canadian tar sand companies in 2010; a few months before becoming Speaker of the House. In 2013 the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) began an investigation into campaign finance violations and like Boehner’s other instances of malfeasance; nothing is done to put a stop to his criminality; likely because he is white.

It is difficult for regular Americans to understand how unarmed African Americans are gunned down in cold blood, and then tried and convicted in absentia (because they were murdered) by a hostile justice system when men like Willard Romney openly violated SEC and bankruptcy laws with impunity. Or, how seditious malcontents like Cliven Bundy can defy federal court orders and summon armed militias to confront and aim their weapons at federal officials in the commission of their duty; a federal offense and sedition, and face no charges. Every year across the nation evangelical clergy violate the conditions of their tax-exempt designation, videotape their illegal acts, and dare the IRS to take punitive action.  Former president George W. Bush and his co-conspirator Dick Cheney proudly boast that they authorized torture of captive enemy prisoners of war, many innocent, and nothing happens. Now, the Speaker of the House of Representatives blatantly violates an over-200 year old law, boasts about it, and the Justice Department and congressional ethics committees turn away in what; fear?

One often hears politicians, including President Obama proclaim with authority that “no-one in America is above the law.”  Americans certainly understand that is undoubtedly one of the biggest lies, and farces, being parroted time and time again with no chance in proverbial Hell of ever changing. John A. Boehner is a sleazy, crooked politician, and although handing out corporate bribes for votes, lying to manipulate tar sand share prices, and taking illegal campaign donations are crimes, they pale in comparison to conspiring with a foreign nation’s leader to “influence and defeat foreign policy measures of the Unite States.

John Boehner’s most recent crime is not up for debate, or opinion; he deliberately and with substantial malice aforethought violated the Logan Act and Americans must demand that he be charged, tried in federal court, and convicted with his own confession that he defiantly “carried on any correspondence or intercourse an officer of a foreign government to defeat the measures of the United States” because Israel has a dispute with the United States of America’s Middle East foreign policy.

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