Just coldly beautiful. I love it that we can see these wonders.

It may look like a scene from the US southwest but it’s actually somewhere much, much farther away… 206.3 million miles away, to be exact — it’s a view from the Curiosity rover looking toward the center of Gale Crater, where the informally-named Mount Sharp rises up 3.4 miles from the crater floor.

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BBC News – Why kindness can help businesses grow

Do not make tea with boiling water. That is what the Rare Tea Lady told me the other afternoon.

A shocking statement for someone like me brought up from childhood to take the teapot to the kettle to ensure that the tea leaves were woken up by the hottest possible infusion.

“It was World War II propaganda because we had cheap industrial tea,” said the Rare Tea Lady, Henrietta Lovell. “In order to get good flavour out of it, you needed to use boiling water because they say boiling water dissolves the tannins – the strong bitter flavours.”

But real tea has lots more taste than that bitterness, and that is what Henrietta Lovell has built her Rare Tea Company around.

via BBC News – Why kindness can help businesses grow.

Sandy Hook and Hitler « Jeffrey C. Goldfarb’s Deliberately Considered

One of the truisms of the Internet Age is what has become known as Goodwin’s Law: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. Let us turn to the Third Reich in Connecticut.

The reason that Americans permit the tragedy of Sandy Hook to occur year after doleful year has nothing to do with the fear of home invasion. It has nothing to do with cocaine-soaked gangs. It has nothing to do with the love of hiding in a duck blind. It has all to do with George III, Josef Stalin, and Adolf Hitler. This is the half-hidden secret behind the National Rifle Association’s passion and it needs to be judged in its own terms.

The justification for the Second Amendment and the justification for opposition to such real and apparently rational limits on semi-automatic weapons is to keep power in the hands of the people. The local community is a bulwark of democracy. Just as the rest of the libertarian-blessed Bill of Rights is concerned with constraining the heavy hand of state control, so is the Second Amendment. The fantasy is Red Dawn as Groundhog Day. A demand for personal liberty led Charlton Heston to be willing to fight until “they” pry the gun from his “cold, dead hands.”

via Sandy Hook and Hitler « Jeffrey C. Goldfarb’s Deliberately Considered.

lisamyers.org

Please see the follow-up to this letter at http://lisamyers.org/2012/12/31/a-follow-up-to-dear-america-from-a-teacher/.

Dear America,

It feels strange to hear your voice praising teachers for their selflessness, dedication, and love for their students. We’re listening to what you’re saying, but we must admit that we are listening with tilted head and quizzical eye. Why? Because we’ve become accustomed to hearing a very different voice from you.

For the past few years, you’ve been certain that most of society’s problems stem from our schools, more specifically the teachers in those schools. We are lazy and useless, we are only in it for the money, we only teach for the vacation time, we don’t possess the intelligence to teach anyone much of anything, our demands for a respectable wage are selfish, we don’t teach students respect, we are leeches sucking the blood from State coffers, we don’t even work a full day like everyone else, and…

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NASA crashes space junk into the moon to save lunar heritage sites

NASA deliberately crashed two decommissioned space craft into the moon today in a controlled landing aimed at preserving heritage sites on the lunar surface.

The twin space ships, named Ebb and Flow, were part of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission to map changes in lunar gravity.

With fuel running so low that jetting out of the moon’s gravitational reach was impossible, the two probes were programmed to crash onto the lunar surface at around 9.30am AEDT today.

via NASA crashes space junk into the moon to save lunar heritage sites.

Close 100 man-made lakes to stop cane toad spread: study

Shutting down around 100 man-made water storage structures in Australia’s north west could stop the spread of cane toads into Western Australia’s Pilbara region, a new study has found.Cane toads, which breed astonishingly fast and can kill native animals such as quolls, snakes and goannas, need water in which to lay eggs and hatch tadpoles. They are expected to completely colonise the Kimberley region within a decade.Turkey nest dams — water storage structures built by graziers — shore up drinking water for livestock but also inadvertently serve as breeding grounds for cane toads.

via Close 100 man-made lakes to stop cane toad spread: study.

Life at four degrees – Features – ABC Environment Australian Broadcasting Corporation

With global climate change talks moving too slowly, scientists are now talking of a rise in global temperatures of four degrees. What would this mean for Australia?”AVERAGES ARE VERY MISLEADING,” says Professor Lesley Hughes. “An average never killed anything.”Professor Hughes, one of Australia’s Climate Commissioners, is talking about recent reports suggesting the world is heading for an average 4°C of global warming by the end of this century.Both the World Bank and the Global Carbon Project, an international group of scientists including members of CSIRO, have come to this conclusion based on the assumption that the world will do little to cut back on emissions of greenhouse gases mainly from burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests.

via Life at four degrees – Features – ABC Environment Australian Broadcasting Corporation.