it's-the-host

The Signs as Weapons

Aries:The first spear thrown in the most important hunt for the tribe. The arrowhead sharpened to a point that cuts through wind, and more importantly, flesh.
Taurus:A shield used in the Colosseum. Perfectly round, its edges bare chips as scars from many close calls. A blade is only as strong as one who weilds it, a shield will always hold if built correctly.
Gemini:Two daggers, both forged by a self proclaimed God. One blessed by sunlight, the other cursed by moonlight. Where one is weak, the other is strong. Never to be separated, as you can not live solely in the day or the night.
Cancer:A war axe, crafted from diamond and metals passed down from the heavens. Incredibly heavy, when in the hands of the pure it swings with the speed and force of the northern winds.
Leo:A whip eight feet long, with thorns protruding from the aged leather. Legend says when cracked by one with a lion’s spirit, the animal kingdom is theirs to rule.
Virgo:The poison itself may not warrant the label weapon, but the needles dipped lightly in the vile before being perfectly placed in the nape of the victim’s neck might. Starting from there the poison slowly eats away the muscles and fat from the body, leaving its host a shriveled pile of skin and bone.
Libra:A shaman’s fan, made of large leaves bound in twine and blessed with drops of patchouli oil. Seemingly a flimsy decorative piece, when fanned as the ancestors did, the winds themselves bend to the control of the shaman.
Scorpio:A woodsman’s axe, two small chunks of opal tied tight to the handle. It’s intention is to forge through the darkest part of the woods, to clear any obstacles that the forest may present, but the blade is very familiar with the feeling of blood.
Sagittarius:The bow was carved from glass, engraved with the prayer of a lost civilization. The arrows, nine of them, found in the chest of a queen buried deep in an eleborate tomb. When used together, they say a man can become a God.
Capricorn:The old crone’s staff, an owl carved into the darkened wood. Decorated in stones, feathers, and totems of her people. She raises the tip to the setting sun, and transforms into her true form. Her night is spent soaring above the trees, moonlight illuminating her hunting grounds.
Aquarius:A gun can instill fear in anyone, but a water gun on the other hand brings people together with the power of nostalgia. Until, that is, they realize that’s not water they’re laughing off. It’s acid.
Pisces:A sword passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Once known as the sharpest blade in the world, it has been kept from bloodshed for a hundred years. Sheathed in an ornate sleeve it sleeps, and waits for the day its steel must save humanity again.

Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a pair of residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan, Italy, between Via Gaetano de Castillia and Via Federico Confalonieri near Milano Porta Garibaldi railway station. They have a height of 110 metres (360 ft) and 76 metres (249 ft) and will host more than 900 trees (approximately 550 and 350 trees in the first and second towers respectively) on 8,900 square metres (96,000 sq ft) of terraces. Within the complex is also an 11-story office building; its facade does not host plants.

The towers were designed by Boeri Studio (Stefano Boeri,Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra). It also involved input from horticulturalists and botanists. (Source)

Solar System: Things to Know This Week

Our solar system is a jewel box filled with a glittering variety of beautiful worlds–and not all of them are planets. This week, we present our solar system’s most marvelous moons.

1. Weird Weather: Titan

Saturn’s hazy moon Titan is larger than Mercury, but its size is not the only way it’s like a planet. Titan has a thick atmosphere, complete with its own “water cycle” – except that it’s way too cold on Titan for liquid water. Instead, rains of liquid hydrocarbons like ethane and methane fall onto icy mountains, run into rivers, and gather into great seas. Our Cassini spacecraft mapped the methane seas with radar, and its cameras even caught a glimpse of sunlight reflecting off the seas’ surface. Learn more about Titan: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/titan/

2. Icy Giant: Ganymede

Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest in the solar system. It’s bigger than Mercury and Pluto, and three-quarters the size of Mars. It’s also the only moon known to have its own magnetic field. Details: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/ganymede/indepth

3. Retrograde Rebel: Triton

Triton is Neptune’s largest moon, and the only one in the solar system to orbit in the opposite direction of its planet’s rotation, a retrograde orbit. It may have been captured from the Kuiper Belt, where Pluto orbits. Despite the frigid temperatures there, Triton has cryovolcanic activity – frozen nitrogen sometimes sublimates directly to gas and erupts from geysers on the surface. More on Triton: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/triton/indepth

4. Cold Faithful: Enceladus

The most famous geysers in our solar system (outside of those on Earth) belong to Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It’s a small, icy body, but Cassini revealed this world to be one of the solar system’s most scientifically interesting destinations. Geyser-like jets spew water vapor and ice particles from an underground ocean beneath the icy crust of Enceladus. With its global ocean, unique chemistry and internal heat, Enceladus has become a promising lead in our search for worlds where life could exist. Get the details: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/enceladus/

5. Volcano World: Io

Jupiter’s moon Io is subjected to tremendous gravitational forces that cause its surface to bulge up and down by as much as 330 feet (100 m). The result? Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, with hundreds of volcanoes, some erupting lava fountains dozens of miles high. More on Io’s volcanoes: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/io/indepth

6. Yin and Yang Moon: Iapetus

When Giovanni Cassini discovered Iapetus in 1671, he observed that one side of this moon of Saturn was bright and the other dark. He noted that he could only see Iapetus on the west side of Saturn, and correctly concluded that Iapetus had one side much darker than the other side. Why? Three centuries later, the Cassini spacecraft solved the puzzle. Dark, reddish dust in Iapetus’s orbital path is swept up and lands on the leading face of the moon. The dark areas absorb energy and become warmer, while uncontaminated areas remain cooler. Learn more: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/2892/cassini-10-years-at-saturn-top-10-discoveries/#nine

7. A Double World: Charon and Pluto

At half the size of Pluto, Charon is the largest of Pluto’s moons and the largest known satellite relative to its parent body. The moon is so big compared to Pluto that Pluto and Charon are sometimes referred to as a double planet system. Charon’s orbit around Pluto takes 6.4 Earth days, and one Pluto rotation (a Pluto day) takes 6.4 Earth days. So from Pluto’s point of view Charon neither rises nor sets, but hovers over the same spot on Pluto’s surface, and the same side of Charon always faces Pluto. Get the details: www.nasa.gov/feature/pluto-and-charon-new-horizons-dynamic-duo

8. “Death Star” Moon: Mimas

Saturn’s moon Mimas has one feature that draws more attention than any other: the crater Herschel, which formed in an impact that nearly shattered the little world. Herschel gives Mimas a distinctive look that prompts an oft-repeated joke. But, yes, it’s a moon. More: olarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mimas

9. Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Just Phobos

In mythology, Mars is a the god of war, so it’s fitting that its two small moons are called Phobos, “fear,” and Deimos, “terror.” Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this look at Phobos, which is roughly 17 miles (27 km) wide. In recent years, NASA scientists have come to think that Phobos will be torn apart by its host planet’s gravity. Details: www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/phobos-is-falling-apart

Learn more about Phobos: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/phobos/indepth

10. The Moon We Know Best

Although decades have passed since astronauts last set foot on its surface, Earth’s moon is far from abandoned. Several robotic missions have continued the exploration. For example, this stunning view of the moon’s famous Tycho crater was captured by our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which continues to map the surface in fine detail today. More: www.lroc.asu.edu/posts/902

Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

D&D Curses

There are initially four different ways to use the Bestow Curse spell in D&D 5e. Those are as follows:

  • Disadvantage on ability checks and saves for one ability score
  • Disadvantage on attacks against you
  • WIS save or do nothing during a given round
  • +1d8 necrotic damage when you damage them

The spell normally lasts for a minute, but if cast with a 9th level slot, it lasts until dispelled, which is worth noting because the best curses last until dispelled. if cast with a 4th level slot, it lasts for 10 minutes. A 5th level slot is 8 hours. A 7th level slot is 24 hours. These all have their uses for creative players, but the best part of the spell by far is the encouragement to invent your own curses, which many players and DMs have taken as a challenge for their own creativity. So while it is certainly not new, it’s my turn to take a crack at it!

Unique Curses

* - A curse marked with an asterisk is a 9th-level only curse due to its powerful detriment or long-lasting nature. But who is to stop you from enchanting an innocuous item with such a curse?

  • Hair Growth/Loss: You are cursed to grow hair at a rapid rate for the duration of the curse or else lose all of your hair (it grows back after the curse ends).
  • Mute/Deaf/Blind: You are rendered either mute, deaf, or blind for the duration of the curse.
  • Forbidden Speech: You are cursed to never speak about a certain subject, topic, or word for the duration of the curse.
  • *Rapid Aging/Deaging: You are cursed to either age by one year each day, or to grow one year younger each day. After you reach your final day, you die.
  • *Phylactery: Your fate becomes tied to a creature or object. If the creature or object is slain/destroyed, you die as well.
  • Ugliness: You are cursed with horrible deformity for the duration of the curse. You have -5 on Persuasion checks and Deception checks for the duration and are easily noticed and shunned by most humanoids of any race.

image source: Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

  • Possessed Limb: One of your limbs (usually an arm) acts on its own for the duration of the curse, usually attempting to harm its host, harm others, or sow chaos.
  • Petrified Limb: One of your limbs becomes petrified and is unable to be used for the duration of the curse. It could turn into any solid mineral like stone, iron, glass, salt, or gold. Any damage it takes is retained once the curse is lifted.
  • Funny Looking: For the duration of the curse, anyone who you attempt to communicate with bursts into uncontrollable laughter. This does not prevent hostile creatures from attacking you, but prevents them from speaking.
  • Lichsight: For the duration of the curse, you can see the spirits of the dead. Whether real or illusory, you cannot communicate with them and you must make a WIS saving throw each round or become frightened and run in a random direction or cower in place (50%/50%).
  • Butterfingers: Each round while the curse is active, you must make a DEX saving throw. On a failed save, you drop whatever you are holding and cannot pick up or hold anything for the rest of the round.
  • Forgetful: You have a tendency to forget things. During the curse, whenever new information is revealed to your character, you have a 50% chance to not be able to remember it, even after the curse has ended.
  • *Lady of Shalott: You are doomed to die if you ever lay eyes directly upon another being, and must therefore look at the world through a mirror and avoid direct sight of others. The difficulty of maneuvering a hand mirror or the necessity to close your eyes effectively makes you blinded while in combat, imposing disadvantage on attack rolls.
  • Stingy: During the curse, you must make a WIS saving throw whenever you intend to part with money. On a failed save, you opt not to spend your money on it. You cannot make another such save for the same purchase, even from a different seller.
  • Empty Coinpurse: You are compelled to buy things until all of your wealth has disappeared. You will even go so far as to barter your own goods once out of money. Whenever you find something for sale, you must make a WIS saving throw. On a failed save, you will do anything you can to attempt to purchase it or trade for it. Only if the seller refuses three times will you give up.
  • *Baleful Polymorph: You are transformed into a small creature or tiny animated object for the duration of the curse. You retain the ability to speak using a disembodied voice emanating from the creature or object, usually paired with animation like a moving mouth (if a creature) or a mouth-shaped part (if an object; like a book opening and closing its covers and such). You can move with a move speed of 10 ft. per round if an object.

image source: Star vs. the Forces of Evil 

  • Talking Tumor: You grow a tumor-like second head that can speak that embarrasses, berates, or otherwise annoys and inconveniences you. It has +6 for Persuasion, Deception, and Intimidation checks, helping it be a complete jerk.
  • Evil Aura: Plants within 15 ft. of you wilt and turn brown or gray and animals within 60 ft. feel afraid or threatened by you for the duration of the curse.
  • Bad Taste: Eating food or drinking water causes you to become poisoned for 1d6 hours, or for the duration of the curse.
  • Bad Luck: Whenever you have advantage for the duration of the curse, you instead have disadvantage.
  • *Prophecy: You become destined to die under certain circumstances. Whenever it is possible for those circumstances to be met, you must make a relevant saving throw (falling boulder? DEX save. Poisoned apple? CON save. etc.) or begin dying. The victim cannot be threatened by the curse more than once every 2d4 hours. The curse will take increasingly convoluted measures to try and make the prophecy come true the longer the curse lasts.
  • *Guardian: The victim is polymorphed into a hostile creature of CR 6 or less. The victim is given some sort of command like guarding a location or spreading suffering, and will continue to do so until the curse is lifted or they are slain. They revert to their regular form if they are slain. The victim cannot communicate and is hostile to all creatures. The creature becomes immune to the charmed condition.

image source: Sleeping Beauty by Henry Meynell Rheam

  • Slumber: You fall into a deep slumber and cannot be awoken until the curse is lifted.
  • Eternal Rest: If slain while under the curse, you cannot be resurrected by any means even after the curse fades.
  • Phantasm: You believe that you have been polymorphed into a small creature (like a toad or chicken) and act as such for the duration of the curse.
  • Unquenchable Thirst/Hunger: You feel eternally hungry and thirsty. You must make a WIS saving throw whenever you encounter food or drink, no matter how dangerous or questionable it might be (swamp water, obviously poisoned food, moldy bread, etc.). On a failed save, you consume it.
  • *Obedience: Whenever someone you can understand issues a verbal command to you while you are cursed, you are compelled to obey. You may attempt a WIS saving throw to resist a given command for one minute.

Hold your tongue! (Ella Enchanted)

  • Magical Immunity: You become immune to nonharmful spells for the duration of the curse. Spells cast by enemies or damaging spells still affect you, but healing spells and buffs do not.
  • Unhealing Wound: A wound you have will never heal. Your maximum hit points are reduced by 2d4+the caster’s spellcasting modifier. This curse cannot reduce a creature’s health to 0 in this way.
  • *Wandering: While under the effects of the curse, you are compelled to wander. Each day at dawn, you must leave and never return to the same city/town or 2.5 mile radius (if in the wilderness).
  • *Deadly Descendants: All of your descendants are cursed to kill their birth parents, whether intentionally or not.
  • *Lonliness: You are cursed to die alone. Anyone you become romantically close to or close friends eventually leaves or dies or meets a horrible fate.
  • *Gargoyle: You are petrified during the daytime and return to normal at night for the duration of the curse.
  • Voyager: You cannot set foot on dry land for the duration of the curse, taking 1d6 psychic damage each round that you do.

Removing Curses

Yes, there’s always a Wish spell or a Remove Curse spell, but I often believe that if any cleric can remove a curse it undercuts the drama of the punishing spell. Instead, use an alternative way to remove the curse. Most of it depends on how the curse was placed and the reasoning behind it. For instance, if you refuse to give a gypsy shelter from the cold in your luxurious castle, you might get transformed into a beast until someone falls in love with you. Here are some ways that one could feasibly break a curse (if the situation allows).

  • Give back an item that was stolen from the caster
  • Complete a quest or mission for the caster
  • Kill the caster
  • Pass the curse onto someone else (through some deliberate means like a handshake or kiss or losing a wager)
  • Seek out a powerful extraplanar being
  • Seek out special magical ingredients for a cure
  • Find a loophole in the wording of the curse (either through tricky wording or by finding a liminal loophole. “No man of woman born” could exclude a man born by C-section. “Neither day nor night” could exclude twilight)
  • Change your alignment (an evil or chaotic character learns to be good or lawful.)
  • Change your ideal or traits after learning some sort of lesson
  • Overcome one of your flaws.
  • Let the curse run its course instead of fighting it.
  • Find true love/True love’s kiss etc.
  • Prove your worth to the caster
  • Atone for past sins
  • Selflessly risk your life for someone else
  • Convert a creature to worshiping the caster’s deity
  • Avenge the caster

image source: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Feel free to use this list and add to it your own ideas for curses! There are so many possibilities that it’s never out of the question to find a new curse that uses arbitrary magical rules to drive the plot of a story. I guess that makes curses the sitcoms of the fantasy world.

The Moon Just Photobombed NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

On May 25, 2017, the moon photobombed one of our sun-watching satellites by passing directly between the satellite and the sun.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, orbits Earth and watches the sun nearly 24/7 — except when another body, like the moon, gets in the way. These lunar photobombs are called transits, the generic term for when any celestial body passes in front of another.

Transits are one way we detect distant worlds. When a planet in another star system passes in front of its host star, it blocks some of the star’s light so the star appears slightly dimmer. By monitoring changes in a star’s light over time, scientists can deduce the presence of a planet, and even determine what its atmosphere is like. This method has been used to discover thousands of planets, including the TRAPPIST-1 planets.

SDO sees lunar transits about twice a year, and this one lasted about an hour with the moon covering about 89 percent of the sun at the peak of its journey across the sun’s face.

When they’re seen from Earth, we call lunar transits by another name: eclipses.

Solar eclipses are just a special kind of transit where the moon blocks all or part of our view of the sun. Since SDO’s view of the sun was only partially blocked, it saw a partial eclipse. Later this year, on Aug. 21, a total eclipse will be observable from the ground: The moon will completely block the sun’s face in some parts of the US, creating a total solar eclipse on a 70-mile-wide stretch of land, called the path of totality, that runs from Oregon to South Carolina.

Throughout the rest of North America — and even in parts of South America, Africa, Europe and Asia — the moon will partially obscure the sun, creating a partial eclipse. SDO will also witness this partial eclipse.

Total solar eclipses are incredible, cosmic coincidences: The sun is about 400 times wider than the moon, but it also happens to be 400 times farther away, so the sun and moon appear to be the same size in our sky. This allows the moon to completely block the sun when they line up just right.

Within the path of totality, the moon completely obscures the sun’s bright face, revealing the comparatively faint corona — the sun’s pearly-white outer atmosphere.

It’s essential to observe eye safety during an eclipse. You must use proper eclipse glasses or an indirect viewing method when any part of the sun’s surface is exposed, whether during the partial phases of an eclipse, or just on a regular day. If you’re in the path of totality, you may look at  the eclipse ONLY during the brief moments of totality.

A total solar eclipse is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights, so make your plans now for August 21! You’ll also be able to see the eclipse cross the country that day through the eyes of NASA – including views of the partial eclipse from SDO – on NASA TV and at nasa.gov.

Learn more about the August eclipse — including where, when, and how to safely see it — at eclipse2017.nasa.gov and follow along on Twitter @NASASun.

you know everyone always talks about how homestuck or jjba makes no sense but literally try to explain the plot to night vale to anyone and i can 10000% guarantee you that you will get stuck after you get past the general “it’s a podcast about a wacky midwestern town and its gay radio host that likes to over share” like seriously mention ANYTHING about the anti-strex rebellion, the faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home, the satan beagle puppy, or even the goddamn music weather and everyone will be looking at you like you’re one of the individuals named erika that MOST DEFINITELY are not angels, because the existence of angels is illegal

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another list of random spirits encountered:

-  a spirit with multiple eyes. each eye sees a different period in time (@becblanc)

-  a spirit that possesses plants and drains the life out of any surrounding plant life while strengthening its host/vessel (@3-possums-in-a-hoodie)

-  a spirit that likes to hang around people playing really loud music from their headphones (@yoki2ginko)

(thank you to anyone who stopped by the stream, and til next time ;))

The Signs as Weapons

Aries:The first spear thrown in the most important hunt for the tribe. The arrowhead sharpened to a point that cuts through wind, and more importantly, flesh. 

Taurus:A shield used in the Colosseum. Perfectly round, its edges bare chips as scars from many close calls. A blade is only as strong as one who weilds it, a shield will always hold if built correctly. 

Keep reading

Take a Virtual Tour of NASA

Welcome to NASA! Today, we’re taking you behind-the-scenes for a virtual tour looking at our cutting-edge work and humanity’s destiny in deep space!

Starting at 1:30 p.m., we will host a series of Facebook Live events from each of our 10 field centers across the country. Take a look at where we’ll be taking you…

Glenn Research Center
1:30 p.m. EDT

Our Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH will host a tour of its Electric Propulsion Lab. This lab is where we test solar propulsion technologies that are critical to powering spacecraft for our deep-space missions. The Electric Propulsion Laboratory houses two huge vacuum chambers that simulate the space environment.

Marshall Space Flight Center
1:50 p.m. EDT

Our Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL will host a tour from a Marshall test stand where structural loads testing is performed on parts of our Space Launch System rocket. Once built, this will be the world’s most powerful rocket and will launch humans farther into space than ever before.

Stennis Space Center
2:10 p.m. EDT

Our Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, MS will take viewers on a tour of their test stands to learn about rocket engine testing from their Test Control Center.

Armstrong Flight Research Center
2:30 p.m. EDT 

Our Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA will host a tour from their aircraft hangar and Simulator Lab where viewers can learn about our X-Planes program. What’s an X-Plane? They are a variety of flight demonstration vehicles that are used to test advanced technologies and revolutionary designs.

Johnson Space Center
2:50 p.m. EDT

Our Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX will take viewers on a virtual exploration trip through the mockups of the International Space Station and inside our deep-space exploration vehicle, the Orion spacecraft!

Ames Research Center
3:10 p.m. EDT

Our Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley will bring viewers into its Arc Jet Facility, a plasma wind tunnel used to simulate the extreme heat of spacecraft atmospheric entry.

Kennedy Space Center
3:30 p.m. EDT

Our Kennedy Space Center in Florida will bring viewers inside the Vehicle Assembly Building to learn about how we’re preparing for the first launch of America’s next big rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

Langley Research Center
3:50 p.m. EDT

Our Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia will bring viewers inside its 14-by-22-foot wind tunnel, where aerodynamic projects are tested.

Goddard Space Flight Center
4:10 p.m. EDT

Our Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD will discuss the upcoming United States total solar eclipse and host its tour from the Space Weather Lab, a large multi-screen room where data from the sun is analyzed and studied.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
4:30 p.m. EDT

Our Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA will bring viewers to the Spacecraft Assembly Facility to learn about robotic exploration of the solar system.

So, make sure to join us for all or part of our virtual tour today, starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT! Discover more about the work we’re doing at NASA and be sure to ask your questions in the comment section of each Facebook Live event! 

Additional details and viewing information available HERE

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

There is a lot of conversation about ending mass incarceration, but almost all of it is focused on changing how we respond to non-violent and low-level crimes. The problem is that more than half of people in state prison are incarcerated for violent crimes, so we will only end mass incarceration if we deal with the question of violence.  

This Issue Time conversation will deal with the question of violence, and will discuss whether mass incarceration actually makes us safer and what else could make us safe instead.

ASK OUR PANELISTS A QUESTION!

Danielle Sered envisioned, launched, and directs Common Justice. She leads the project’s efforts, locally rooted in Brooklyn but national in scope, to develop and advance practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration.

Fatimah Loren Muhammad is the Director of Equal Justice USA’s Trauma Advocacy Initiative, which, in its pilot stage hosts weekly, half-day collaborative workshops bringing over 250 members of the Newark Police Department together with African American community leaders and public health practitioners to discuss issues of race, trauma, violence, policing, and mass incarceration. She is a Senior Fellow at Humanity in Action and a recipient the Leeway Foundation 2010 Social Transformation Award. 

Ryan King is a senior fellow in the Justice Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where he works on sentencing and corrections issues with a focus on mass incarceration. His objective is to produce high-quality empirical research on the impact of sentencing and corrections policies at the state and federal level; and to work with policymakers, practitioners, and community advocates to identify strategies that assist in the pursuit of a fair, effective, and rational criminal justice system.

Glenn E. Martin, is the President and Founder of JustLeadershipUSA (JLUSA), an organization dedicated to cutting the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030.

Our panelists will begin answering your questions on Monday April 17th.

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Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula)

The spotted lanternfly is a planthopper native to China, India, and Vietnam. Although it has two pairs of wings, it jumps more than it flies. Its host plants are grapes, pines, stone fruits, and Malus spp. In its native habitat it is kept in check by natural predators or pathogens. It was accidentally introduced in Korea in 2006 and is since considered a pest. In September 2014, it was first spotted in the U.S..

photo credits: Sam Droege

always-a-bit-blue  asked:

After your post on the titan arum, I'm curious: what is the actual largest single flower in the world?

Rafflesia arnoldii, an indonesian corpse flower species that’s usually the size of a car tire! also its a parasitic plant, so it has no readily visible roots or leaves and just saps energy from its very specific host plant, which is a vine species related to grapes. (x) (x) (x) (x)

the little lumps next to the flower in this picture are flower buds!

here’s a helpful diagram of the flower itself:

Rafflesia has male and female flowers, and pollen must be carried from one to another to create a spore-spewing fruit structure when the seed ripens post-pollination:

this is a pretty useful diagram of the entire lifecycle, to give an idea of how much of a nightmare plant this would be if it could grow on humans (x):

we actually…didn’t know for sure if it was a plant or not until 2007??? 

so like, the question for a long time was “is this a fungus or a plant”. some suspicions supporting this:

-we didn’t know what it had evolved from or any of its relatives???????? 

-this plant only has a really small amount of a type of DNA that all other plants have, and what it does have of this is literally transferred from the host vine to the plant????

-the roots of this plant are there, but are super small and transparent filaments somewhat resembling fungi?????

-so the suspicion was, what if this was a fungus that just ended up having flower-like traits???

in 2007, we found out through DNA testing that it actually was, in fact, a plant! we now think that the evolutionary tree for this species looks something like this (now that we know its closest relatives):

(note that others in this tree have super tiny flowers. we think it has something to do with adapting for smell and resemblance to a dead rotting animal on the forest floor)

there are 13 species of Rafflesia known right now (all are parasitic plants that look and act kind of similar), but only Rafflesia arnoldii is the largest in the world! 

ok so like. a few months ago i saw a gif of this species blooming on reddit and i had to track it down for this answer because like. its so memorizing and amazing like. i have this gif saved on my phone

The University of Toronto has the largest academic library system in Canada, and third in North America (behind Harvard and Yale). It is also the highest ranked University in Canada, and according to Times 2015-2016 ranking,19th in the world. 

There are 44 different libraries that belong to UofT, most of them are located at UofT’s main campus, St. George, but its satellite campuses also host a few of the less neo-gothic ones. 

The university was established in 1827 (exactly 40 years before Canada was even a country lol), and some notable alumni include Margaret Atwood (who is regularly seen wandering the campus), Frederick Banting, Lester B. Pearson, and me (soon). Alumni list does not include Drake or The Weeknd.

ionica01  asked:

Soo... Nalu headcanons? Like what do they do oce they start living together? Do they cuddle? How do they treat each other when they're sick? Why do they fight and how do they solve their arguments? Hope that's specific enough:)

Ahhhh <3 /yes, it is specific enough, don’t worry! ^^/

  • After the war ends, Lucy’s hell-bent on writing it all down for the future generations. She’s especially interested in writing about dragons, so she has Natsu tell her everything he can remember from his time with Igneel.
  • He understands her intentions, so he agrees. The whole process, getting it all out of his system, reliving those precious moments with his dad, actually eases the pain in his heart.
  • Lucy uses the “Daybreak” trick: anyone who just casually reads the book will be reading a fairy tale about fairies, dragons, powerful wizards, friendship and love, and it will all basically cover the truth. It’s only the ones that manage to realize there’s more to it than meets the eye and break Lucy’s spell that get to read about the war exactly the way it was.
  • Sometimes she’s so immersed in writing that she doesn’t realize it’s super late and she needs to rest. Not until Natsu wraps his arms around her with a sleepy “Luceeee, come to bed already!” does she realize she has to get some shut-eye.
  • Boy oh boy, do those two cuddle in bed! Natsu loves sleeping on his stomach and wrapping a hand around Lucy’s waist. His head is always turned towards her no matter how uncomfortable it gets (he just doesn’t want to lose sight of her, even in his sleep). As for Lucy, this girl just loves to be the big spoon! Burying her head in Natsu’s back, hugging him tight, tangling her feet in his, and she falls asleep in a matter of seconds.
  • Natsu is a restless sleeper, so at first he was actually kind of worried that he’ll involuntary kick Lucy, push her out of the bed, or not let her sleep in general. He was wrong. Her presence calms him down so much that he wonders why they didn’t get together sooner.
  • No fights for the blanket! Actually, what blanket? Natsu is a walking heater, they don’t need blankets unless it’s winter. If they get cold during the night, they just move closer to each other and hug tighter.
  • Outside of bed, MORE CUDDLING! They just love feeling the other’s presence close.
  • TICKLE WARS!!! Lucy is extremely ticklish, so she does everything she possibly can to not get caught in Natsu’s hands, because if she does - there’s no getting out. The boy just loves hearing the sound of her unadulterated laughter.
  • He also has to do everything he can to hide his own secret - HE’S TICKLISH AS ALL HELL. Even more so than Lucy is.
  • Lucy realizes that at some point (she’s a smartypants after all), so she starts trying to surprise tickle him.
  • So one day she succeeds and all hell breaks loose.
  • Natsu is on the floor trying to free himself, but being tickled stops him from thinking clearly.
  • Until at some point Lucy stops her attacks. Natsu opens his eyes only to see his girl looking fondly at him. He’s never seen anyone have so much love in their eyes for him, so he just sits there, dumbfounded, and stares.
  • That’s until all his emotions just explode and he pulls Lucy in a tight embrace. They stay like that for a good half an hour.
  • Lazy Sundays with Lucy reading a book on the couch, Natsu sprawled between her legs with his head on her stomach and Lucy’s fingers gently going through his hair.
  • If it’s her own writing Lucy’s reviewing, Natsu wants her to read it out loud. He wants to know. He wants to be a part of this so much!
  • Lucy always blushes hard when Natsu asks her to read her stories aloud, but does so anyway. She’s especially happy to do it if Happy’s also there to listen, because he’s such a big part of her life, too!
  • Neither of them can cook, but they try nonetheless.
  • Flour on their faces and clothes, broken eggs on the floor, burning food in the stove.
  • They just stand there and stare at the mess until Natsu smears Lucy’s face with some chocolate.
  • She is about to yell at him, but he leans down and licks the chocolate off her face and then pecks her on the now clean spot. Lucy’s a blushing mess.
  • Natsu rarely, if ever, gets sick. But when he does, Lucy takes such good care of him. She remembers how her mom used to comfort and care for her when she happened to get sick when she was little and does the same things to help Natsu feel better. Cue the huge amount of hot chicken soup Natsu just absolutely has to eat.
  • When Lucy gets sick, Natsu doesn’t know what to do and is super worried. He sticks by her side and tries to think of things to do to make her feel better.
  • If he notices she’s cold, he uses his fire to warm her up.
  • He once got into the shady parts of Magnolia, because he heard an herbalist was selling some mysterious herb that cures everything. It was all a lie. On the bright side, there is no shady part of the town anymore (angry boyfriend TM).
  • They get into fights for things like “NATSU YOU FORGOT TO LOCK THE DOOR AGAIN WHAT IF A THIEF ROBBED US” or “LUCY WHY ARE YOU WEARING MY SHIRT AGAIN?”
  • Just kidding, he loves to see her in his shirts.
  • They also resolve their arguments really quickly. It all kind of happens naturally. One moment they’re fighting, the next moment they hug it out and move on.
  • PDA? Natsu couldn’t care less about what other people think. There’s a line that he wouldn’t cross, but if he wants to hug his girl in the middle of the street or kiss her in front of half of the guild, he does so.
  • Lucy, on the other hand, gets all embarrassed by this. Still, she loves his hugs. They’re warm and reassuring. So she slowly starts to get more and more comfortable with PDA, but there’s a limit to it.
  • Lucy actually does like walking hand in hand with her boyfriend. She loves to draw circles with her thumb on his hand. Natsu finds this absolutely adorable.
  • Those two love going fishing! They always take Happy with them and the three usually lose track of the time.
  • Sometimes after eating the fish they caught, they fall asleep under some tree. When they wake up, it’s dark and it’s time to go home, but!
  • They’re not sleepy, so they just stay there, holding hands and looking at the stars. Lucy often tells Natsu about constellations and her spirits and he listens so intently and asks questions.
  • They love thinking up new constellations.
  • “Luceee, look, it’s a dragon!”
  • “No way, Natsu! That’s a dog!”
  • “You’re both wrong! It’s a fish!”
  • They love to explore! They even plan on visiting the Alvarez Empire once everything’s calmed down.
  • Lucy wants to look for Aquarius’ key and Natsu wants to help her.
  • After the war ended, Lucy attempted to give Natsu the Book of END, because “It’s your life. You should have it.”
  • Natsu looks at her, his answer already ready to be said, but he says it after a long minute of silent staring at each other.
  • “If it is my life, then you should keep it. It’s always been yours.”
  • Lucy is ready to protect that book with her own life.
  • Natsu is not the type of guy to drown his girl in bouquets of flowers.
  • But, in the rare occasions he goes on a job without her, he buys/gets things for her that remind him of her or that he thinks she would like.
  • Hence the enormous amount of “souvenirs” they have at home.
  • Lucy loves every single one of them.
  • She also has a small notebook in which she writes down some important details about every present she’s ever received from Natsu. Just in case. She doesn’t want to forget anything.
  • At the day of their wedding, after they say their vows and kiss, they do the forehead touch and whisper to each other through tears “The adventure will never end.”

anonymous asked:

HEY! I saw that you did a thing about what Bex said about KLANCE but can you do one for Jeremy too?

fam trust me ok my favorite thing to do is to drag jeremy shada about klance

i feel like you want me to do the one of afterbuzz [link] (tbh i think i can do his other interviews too lol i am a trashcan), but i got kind of… too annoyed at the hosts to finish that episode…….. for reasons……….. BUT i tried for you anon i briefly skimmed it again

warning: this is gonna be long because despite what most people are saying on tumblr jeremy does not explicitly state that klance has a slow burn relationship lol and i need to explain context gdi

  • at 19:26 the hosts say that the commenters are crying over how lance and keith weren’t reunited in the first two eps and how people are concerned for their relationship and jeremy is grinning like an idiot tbh THIS BOY I LOVE HIM
  • he goes “Love that! Love that.” and he adds that there’s plenty of more lance and keith scenes in the rest of the season and tells us “Do not fear.” lol
  • ok klance is mentioned by one of the hosts at around 39:14 (they were talking about how jeremy isn’t a writer of the show and can’t make ships canon even if he wanted to)
  • then they drop the topic of klance completely and side comment about “the age discourse” (lol) and about how shippers are literally insane and tbh its true
  • then ok the hosts mention how the creators once said they’re willing to explore sexualities on the show and jeremy shada gives his two cents about it
  • he basically says that yeah they’re pretty open about stuff in every capacity
  • then about ships his exact words are this lol (complete with stammers sorry jeremy)
  • “But I think, uh, they’re planning a pretty slow burn with most of the relationship stuff. Uh, and so… yeah, I mean as far as where we’re at there’s not even been- I mean, they’re- they- yeah. They always put like little things and we’re like this will probably pay off later? Odds are? But yeah we don’t, I mean, nothing like for sure as of yet. Uhm, but I - I imagine throughout the course of the series they’ll probably definitely have something. I don’t know. I don’t know- they could - you can’t tease, like, certain things so much but yeah.”

bonus: he says lance is the space version of sokka from avatar, (who was jeremy’s fave character) i feel alive

I didn’t think the violent riots again Milo were defensible or acceptable, but I find the violence against Charles Murray really scary. Charles Murray seems like pretty much the classic example of someone who has very objectionable views which he arrived at through research, published carefully and in good faith so that people could point out flaws in his approach or method, and does not use as an excuse to bully or harass people. People like that should absolutely be speaking at colleges and universities. 

While I think the Berkeley College Republicans were being disrespectful of the mission of their educational institution by giving a troll a microphone to bully their classmates with, I think Middlebury was absolutely acting within its educational mission to host a talk by Murray. And it’s terrifying that this, too, gets a violent response. 

A college or university that cannot hold a peaceful talk with Charles Murray is not a free environment, it is not a safe environment, and it is not an environment capable of promoting the exchange of ideas. And I’m scared that many schools in the present environment could not have done any better than Middlebury.