Writer Chris Offutt’s late father wrote and published over 400 books, the vast majority of which were pornography. He tells Terry Gross, “Ghosts, zombie porn, porn set in Atlantis, porn on alien planets with barbarian cultures, vampire porn, pirates.”  

His father got out of the insurance business when he found he could better support his family writing pornography.  But, he also believed he was an artist, and pioneer in the field. Hear Offutt tell his father’s story. 

[Originally broadcast March 2015, part of our Best of 2015 series]  

Photos: William Mebane for the New York Times

The Most Earth-Like Alien Planet Discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope !

The most Earth-like world yet detected beyond our solar system has been discovered, scientists say.

With a radius that is just 1.5 times that of Earth, the potential planet is a so-called “super-Earth,” meaning it is just slightly larger than the Earth. The candidate planet orbits a star similar to the sun at a distance that falls within the “habitable zone” — the region where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. Scientists say the planet, if confirmed, could be a prime candidate to host alien life.

“This was very exciting because it’s our fist habitable-zone super Earth around a sun-type star,” astronomer Natalie Batalha, a Kepler co-investigator at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., said Tuesday (Jan. 8) here at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The find could be the closest so far to an Earth twin beyond the solar system.

“It’s a big deal,” astrophysicist Mario Livio, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, told “It’s definitely a good candidate for life.” The possible planet is called KOI 172.02 (KOI stands for Kepler Object of Interest, a designation assigned to all planet candidates found by the telescope until they are confirmed as planets). The discovery was announced at the meeting Monday (Jan. 7) by Christopher Burke of the SETI Institute as part of a batch of 461 new planet candidates found by Kepler.


The Signs on an Alien Planet Together

Aries: Attempts being civil and asking the aliens questions so they can have a better understanding of the civilization; ends up losing their patience because of the rather obvious language barrier

Taurus: Is curious about the aliens, but doesn’t say a word to them

Gemini: Sent in a pod back to Earth because they were talking too much and kept interrupting the alien leader

Cancer: Tries to become friends with one of the aliens so they can have a buddy; all of the aliens end up loving them

Leo: Self-appointed leader of the group; isn’t taken very seriously; wants to be one of the first signs sent to earth if Capricorn actually manages to find a way back

Virgo: They could get used to living on this planet…it’s very clean and advanced

Libra: Was running their mouths with Gemini, but knew when to shut up; checks out aliens after Gemini is banished; “Hey…that purple one’s kinda cute…”

Scorpio: Also gets sent back to earth in a pod because they told a highly offensive and unacceptable joke about the alien race

Sagittarius: Wants to explore the entire planet; is disgusted by Capricorn’s boringly safe approach to life

Capricorn: Needs to get back home because work starts back up in three days; decides to say something offensive like Scorpio, but it doesn’t work because the leader wants to appoint them a job on the planet

Aquarius: Fits into the alien society right away; they’ve been studying this for years and are able to translate for both sides; is also very inspired by their fashion sense

Pisces: Sitting on the ground because the alien leader keeps talking and they just don’t have the energy to stand anymore


*thank you to @friedcrabs for suggesting this : ) send suggestions to @cancercornastrology*

Double-Star Systems Can Be Dangerous for Exoplanets |

Alien planets born in widely separated two-star systems face a grave danger of being booted into interstellar space, a new study suggests.

Exoplanets circling a star with a far-flung stellar companion — worlds that are part of “wide binary” systems — are susceptible to violent and dramatic orbital disruptions, including outright ejection, the study found.

Such effects are generally limited to sprawling planetary systems with at least one distantly orbiting world, while more compact systems are relatively immune. This finding, which observational evidence supports, should help astronomers better understand the structure and evolution of alien solar systems across the galaxy, researchers said.

[Read more]