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Cassini Spacecraft: Top Discoveries

Our Cassini spacecraft has been exploring Saturn, its stunning rings and its strange and beautiful moons for more than a decade.

Having expended almost every bit of the rocket propellant it carried to Saturn, operators are deliberately plunging Cassini into the planet to ensure Saturn’s moons will remain pristine for future exploration – in particular, the ice-covered, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus, but also Titan, with its intriguing pre-biotic chemistry.

Let’s take a look back at some of Cassini’s top discoveries:  

Titan

Under its shroud of haze, Saturn’s planet-sized moon Titan hides dunes, mountains of water ice and rivers and seas of liquid methane. Of the hundreds of moons in our solar system, Titan is the only one with a dense atmosphere and large liquid reservoirs on its surface, making it in some ways more like a terrestrial planet.

Both Earth and Titan have nitrogen-dominated atmospheres – over 95% nitrogen in Titan’s case. However, unlike Earth, Titan has very little oxygen; the rest of the atmosphere is mostly methane and traced amounts of other gases, including ethane.

There are three large seas, all located close to the moon’s north pole, surrounded by numerous smaller lakes in the northern hemisphere. Just one large lake has been found in the southern hemisphere.

Enceladus

The moon Enceladus conceals a global ocean of salty liquid water beneath its icy surface. Some of that water even shoots out into space, creating an immense plume!

For decades, scientists didn’t know why Enceladus was the brightest world in the solar system, or how it related to Saturn’s E ring. Cassini found that both the fresh coating on its surface, and icy material in the E ring originate from vents connected to a global subsurface saltwater ocean that might host hydrothermal vents.

With its global ocean, unique chemistry and internal heat, Enceladus has become a promising lead in our search for worlds where life could exist.

Iapetus

Saturn’s two-toned moon Iapetus gets its odd coloring from reddish dust in its orbital path that is swept up and lands on the leading face of the moon.

The most unique, and perhaps most remarkable feature discovered on Iapetus in Cassini images is a topographic ridge that coincides almost exactly with the geographic equator. The physical origin of the ridge has yet to be explained…

It is not yet year whether the ridge is a mountain belt that has folded upward, or an extensional crack in the surface through which material from inside Iapetus erupted onto the surface and accumulated locally.

Saturn’s Rings

Saturn’s rings are made of countless particles of ice and dust, which Saturn’s moons push and tug, creating gaps and waves.

Scientists have never before studied the size, temperature, composition and distribution of Saturn’s rings from Saturn obit. Cassini has captured extraordinary ring-moon interactions, observed the lowest ring-temperature ever recorded at Saturn, discovered that the moon Enceladus is the source for Saturn’s E ring, and viewed the rings at equinox when sunlight strikes the rings edge-on, revealing never-before-seen ring features and details.

Cassini also studied features in Saturn’s rings called “spokes,” which can be longer than the diameter of Earth. Scientists think they’re made of thin icy particles that are lifted by an electrostatic charge and only last a few hours.  

Auroras

The powerful magnetic field that permeates Saturn is strange because it lines up with the planet’s poles. But just like Earth’s field, it all creates shimmering auroras.

Auroras on Saturn occur in a process similar to Earth’s northern and southern lights. Particles from the solar wind are channeled by Saturn’s magnetic field toward the planet’s poles, where they interact with electrically charged gas (plasma) in the upper atmosphere and emit light.  

Turbulent Atmosphere

Saturn’s turbulent atmosphere churns with immense storms and a striking, six-sided jet stream near its north pole.

Saturn’s north and south poles are also each beautifully (and violently) decorated by a colossal swirling storm. Cassini got an up-close look at the north polar storm and scientists found that the storm’s eye was about 50 times wider than an Earth hurricane’s eye.

Unlike the Earth hurricanes that are driven by warm ocean waters, Saturn’s polar vortexes aren’t actually hurricanes. They’re hurricane-like though, and even contain lightning. Cassini’s instruments have ‘heard’ lightning ever since entering Saturn orbit in 2004, in the form of radio waves. But it wasn’t until 2009 that Cassini’s cameras captured images of Saturnian lighting for the first time.

Cassini scientists assembled a short video of it, the first video of lightning discharging on a planet other than Earth.

Cassini’s adventure will end soon because it’s almost out of fuel. So to avoid possibly ever contaminating moons like Enceladus or Titan, on Sept. 15 it will intentionally dive into Saturn’s atmosphere.

The spacecraft is expected to lose radio contact with Earth within about one to two minutes after beginning its decent into Saturn’s upper atmosphere. But on the way down, before contact is lost, eight of Cassini’s 12 science instruments will be operating! More details on the spacecraft’s final decent can be found HERE.

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Harry Styles: Singer Opens Up About Famous Flings, Honest New LP
One Direction's Harry Styles goes deep on love, family and his heartfelt new solo debut in our revealing feature.

January 2016. There’s a bench at the top of Primrose Hill, in London, that looks out over the skyline of the city. If you’d passed by it one winter night, you might have seen him sitting there. A lanky guy in a wool hat, overcoat and jogging pants, hands thrust deep into his pockets. Harry Styles had a lot on his mind. He had spent five years as the buoyant fan favorite in One Direction; now, an uncertain future stretched out in front of him. The band had announced an indefinite hiatus. The white noise of adulation was gone, replaced by the hushed sound of the city below.

The fame visited upon Harry Styles in his years with One D was a special kind of mania. With a self-effacing smile, a hint of darkness and the hair invariably described as “tousled,” he became a canvas onto which millions of fans pitched their hopes and dreams. Hell, when he pulled over to the side of the 101 freeway in L.A. and discreetly threw up, the spot became a fan shrine. It’s said the puke was even sold on eBay like pieces of the Berlin Wall. Paul McCartney has interviewed him. Then there was the unauthorized fan-fiction series featuring a punky, sexed-up version of “Harry Styles.” A billion readers followed his virtual exploits. (“Didn’t read it,” comments the nonfiction Styles, “but I hope he gets more than me.”)

But at the height of One D–mania, Styles took a step back. For many, 2016 was a year of lost musical heroes and a toxic new world order. For Styles, it was a search for a new identity that began on that bench overlooking London. What would a solo Harry Styles sound like? A plan came into focus. A song cycle about women and relationships. Ten songs. More of a rock sound. A bold single-color cover to match the working title: Pink. (He quotes the Clash’s Paul Simonon: “Pink is the only true rock & roll colour.”) Many of the details would change over the coming year – including the title, which would end up as Harry Styles – but one word stuck in his head.

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syorein  asked:

I've seen it vaguely touched upon, but has anyone ever gotten really indepth about how we advance, not as a need, but as a competitive factor? Like with even NASA and whatever we were like "hey we're gonna make it to space before you losers" and the others were like "heck no we're gonna get there before you losers" and it just permeates every factor of our lives ask any child who plays a game and even they'll be pumped to win

Necessity is the parent of progress, the pamphlet had said. It was supposed to be a human saying, but as Vossavangen looked upon the mess the ships humans had made, xe realised how wrong this statement was. As per usual, humans made very little sense. Apparently, it had all started with one of the humans saying they could fix the fuel intakes of the small utility ships (which were working fine, mind you) before and better than another human.

Apparently this was a ‘bet’ - a word that didn’t really translate to Vossavangen’s native language. A lot of the words spoken in the following argument didn’t translate, and those who did seemed strangely fixated around referring to the other human as genitalia. At the time it hadn’t seemed like it would bring much trouble. Like most normal human behaviour it was best to let it play out on its own and let the humans deal with it.

Well, that was what xe had thought then, but less than one rotation later the floor of the room the humans called the garage was filled with tools and pieces of engines. It was a disaster, and Vossavangen had no idea how to explain it to xir superiors.

Talking to the humans had proven futile, but by some miracle both the utility ships they’d been ‘tinkering’ on were fully operational eleven rotations later - less than half a rotation before High Command was supposed to inspect the area. The work space was far from tidy, but the humans had decided that one party would clean for all of them. Which it would be depended on who had brought the biggest improvements to the ships.

Vossavangen was less than optimistic, but xe tested the utility ships none the less. Shockingly, it seemed the human engineers and mechanics had managed to on one of the ships cut fuel use with almost forty percent, while on the other they had substituted the need for traditional fuel altogether for food waste.

After the incident, it became common knowledge that the best ways to get a human to work efficiently was to say they either wouldn’t be able to do it, or that someone else could do it better than them.

You know, I often see fan art of Ford’s portal adventures with him being a total bad-ass facing harrowing dangers as he flees various bounty hunters and enemies he’s made along the way while permeating an air of cool competence and seriousness as he uses his wits to escape

But based on what we see in-show I get the feeling that about 75% of Ford’s adventures went something like this

2

What’s your favorite scene so far this season? There’s a scene in this episode where Connor and Oliver are just laying in bed. I love that—because they’re not back together or are they?—they don’t even know. There’s something really intimate about laying in bed talking to someone, and they’re not even touching. They’re just going through their day, and Oliver has this little mini giggle fit. That’s my favorite scene, I think, out of the whole season because it feels so real. In the middle of all of this stuff that’s going on, there’s always a sweetness between them, I really think, that kind of permeates through the show in a really cool way. – Conrad Ricamora

There are roses on Derek’s doorstep.

No note. No scent trail. After determining that there is nothing inherently magical or deadly about them, he spends the entire rest of the day researching symbolism and archaic demon customs, trying to figure out what kind of death threat he’s just been handed.

It doesn’t occur to him until nightfall, when the neighbors start discussing their romantic dinner plans at a decibel he has trouble tuning out, that he realizes the flowers might not have been delivered with malicious intent.

Because, apparently, today is Valentine’s Day. And apparently someone decided that Derek should receive flowers to celebrate the occasion.

Derek Hale has a secret admirer.

He honestly would have preferred the death threat.

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Light

aries
a dimming bonfire surrounded by an excitable gathering of friends whose hands are occupied with guitars, harmonicas, and each other’s hands. sparks sporadically exit the center of the flame, immediately regretting their action as they fade into ashy dust and smokey ambiance.

taurus
a swiveling yellow beam permeating from a decaying lighthouse. it’s searching to help struggling sailors or desperate drifters but instead only finds the empty, echoing waves in its forgotten bay.

gemini
a glinting satellite that inquisitively completes its timely orbit, scanning the void for answers to questions beyond the ones it is programmed to ask. its sequenced, bright flashes display its audacious activeness.

cancer
the moon in its fullest wane. an intrinsic celestial body that offers its luminosity selflessly, though the world it serves only notices it when they are in need, alone, or desperate. a lunar lapse of glowing phases causes the light it gives to fluctuate, allowing more darkness on some nights than others. but tonight, everything glows.

leo
the sun. a perpetual source and everlasting force of light that enables others to attain insight, visibility, and warmth simply through its existence. a self-powered entity that emulates effulgence effortlessly.

virgo
an exquisite chandelier that dangles stably over a spacious hall. it is embellished with ornate carvings that encompass translucent glass shapes which amplify warm light onto the reflective, polished flooring below. a lone soul spins purposefully beneath it. she falls.

libra
the last twinkling paper lantern to be let go at a convivial festival. lovers contribute to its departure, entrusting different promises to the same floating luster. they silently wonder the course the light shall take, but neither truly wants to know.

scorpio
the light at the end of the tunnel. an alluring brightness that can only be seen with the collective stimulation of closed eyes and an openness to whatever shall happen next.

sagittarius
a sudden, short-lived firework that thunderously alerts of its sparkling presence. it is a pure white and fleetingly enlightens the sky. though the light vanishes, its energy remains captured by observers below.

capricorn
a fluorescent ceiling light gleaming from the top floor of a metropolitan skyscraper. it was accidentally left on by a venturesome novice who internally claims they are onto something, as they gradually fall asleep atop scattered files and underlined pages.

aquarius
the shocking radiance of the first functioning light bulb. the patient inventor soulfully celebrates, as the electricity reflects the brightness of the future he so badly wants for the world.

pisces
a flickering flashlight underneath a heavy blanket. it is held by a sapient soul that feels too alive to ask their body to sleep. the battery eventually dies but the switch remains on, expecting new life.

jojo2k6  asked:

So apparently it was not common in the US to shower more than once a week until the 1940s, around the same time people started using deodorant regularly. Are the regulars of Lackadaisy all radiating a personal funk that everyone is too polite to talk about?

Hmm.  Interesting topic.

To start with: yep. People were probably dirtier and smellier in the past, on average. Everything was.  Cigarette smoke permeated the walls and rugs and upholstery of every interior and surely clung to everyone’s clothing.  Coal dust and smoke lingered in the air outside where businesses were beset with scant environmental regulation, and where industrial and residential zones were nestled in together.  All sorts of noxious things were dumped into the rivers, and considerably more people did hard, manual labor and factory work in conditions we’d regard as deplorable now…but which probably seemed pretty normal to them.  If the sweaty dock worker next to you hadn’t bathed since last Saturday, you probably didn’t notice or care, because you hadn’t either, and the body of water you were standing over smelled a whole lot worse.

Having opened with that, though, there are a lot of adages still floating around out there about how little people bathed in the past and how rank they must have been as a result, but there’s a fair amount of misunderstanding, untruth, and unaccounted for cultural change mixed into those ideas too.  So, here are some things to consider about the early 20th century-

- If your criteria for ‘bathing’ is limited to being in a full size bathtub with running water, standing under a showerhead or soaking, then yes, bathing was comparatively infrequent.  It is not generally true, however, that people didn’t wash and otherwise put effort into keeping themselves clean.  This might involve jumping in a stream or spring, going at it sponge-bath style, ladling water over themselves in a small tub, or routinely cleaning up with the pitcher and bowl washstand found in most any bedroom where a sink was not within reach.

- Whether or not you bathed regularly in a bathtub or shower would depend a whole lot on where you lived.  Bear in mind that extensive water/sewer systems, indoor plumbing and the convenience of a dedicated bathroom in one’s house containing a sink, toilet and tub were still new developments in the early 20th century.  My house, for example, was built ~1910 in a place just outside the city. Originally, it had an outhouse in the yard and no bathrooms inside.  Fitting it with bathrooms and plumbing would have been a big deal and a big expense - not everyone was able to hop on that modernity bandwagon right away.  For many, submerging themselves in water still required filling up a copper basin with buckets lugged in from an outdoor pump and heated on a stove.  It wouldn’t be very practical to do that more than once a week.

- It is certainly true that people didn’t wash their hair as often, but again, it doesn’t mean they didn’t take pains to care for their hair. Our modern idea of liquid shampoo didn’t come about until around 1927.  Lye soaps in powder form that were previously available tended to be very harsh and conditioners as we know them weren’t around to mitigate the effects, so washings had to be infrequent if you didn’t want to chemically alleviate yourself of your locks.  Washing with oils, vinegar and eggs (or some combination thereof) was a common approach too.  Brushes and talc were used to control grease build-up between washes. Hairstyling in the 1920s also involved a lot of pomades and waxes. It’d generally stay put for a while and, as you might imagine, getting all of it out of your hair would be something of a chore. “I’m washing my hair that night” sounds like a sarcastic cop out on a social engagement, but it wasn’t always such a weak excuse.  
Arguably, nowadays, we wash our hair a bit too often, though….which brings me to the next thing.

- Advertising holds enormous cultural sway, and in the 20’s and 30’s, the collective standard of what ‘clean’ is changed rather profoundly. As magazines flourished and radio became a staple of existence, people were pelted with ads for soaps, detergents, deodorants, antiperspirants and other hygiene products.  Many of them were new revelations…and many of them were inventing problems to sell cures for, generating new levels of self-consciousness and cashing in on shame.  Listerine, previously better known as a floor cleaning agent and treatment for certain sexually transmitted infections, famously launched a melodramatic crusade against halitosis - a plague the people had not even realized they were so ruinously afflicted with beforehand.  The term ‘soap opera’ comes from soap and cleaner manufacturers buying up all of the daytime radio broadcast advertising space during which drama serials aired.  People were newly expected to clean in certain ways at certain intervals with certain products.

Cleanliness is important, of course - there’s definitely an aspect of social courtesy to it, and scientifically based bar-raising on that front has done much to minimize death from infection, but to an extent, you might also say the 1920s marked the emergence of a sort of consumer driven, culturally normalized neurosis about it.