such helium

On balloons.

There’s a post going around that advocates giving clowns only real helium balloons. I’m not going to link to that post, because I don’t want the OP getting any hate. The balloon misconception is SUCH a common one I don’t think any one of us can say we didn’t fall prey to it at one point or another. But, the fact of the matter is, helium balloons are not good enrichment for clowns.

Firstly, they’re not sustainable. Helium is a rapidly depleting resource. Secondly, clowns like balloons because they mistake them for their eggs. A clown bouncing a balloon around on a string is taking care of its ‘baby.’ Clown eggs are brightly colored spheres that float around at shoulder-height, if healthy, and are transported by the parent by means of a filament. Balloons mimic these incredibly well. That is why clowns find balloons on the ground so distressing - a downed egg contains a sick embryo. The despair they experience when one floats away is that of child loss, and I’m sure you can imagine why they’re so distressed when one pops. That’s why malevolent breeds are predisposed to the act!
All balloons “die”. They cannot hatch. Every experience a clown has with a balloon, however happy at the outset, ends in tragedy. They are not good enrichment items, no matter how busy they keep a clown.

So what are some alternatives? If you have two or more clowns of any social breed, then toys like custard pies, water squirters, and air horns make excellent entertainment. Note: Most common breeds are social. If you are keeping a social breed singularly, you MUST play with it for several hours a day at the bare minimum. While these breeds tend to adore balloons the most, the repeat psychological trauma they suffer because of them is not worth the easy out.
If you keep a breed that prefers a solitary existence, they will get the most out of things like juggling supplies and balance balls. Make sure they have a safe space to play with these in when you aren’t home to supervise.
All breeds need human interaction. A few times a week you need to show your clown you appreciate it - that’s the best enrichment of all. Remember that some methods of training result in ‘unusual’ reactions to the four quadrants - most commonly, +P will become “rewarding” - and some performance breeds innately make that connection, so research the right way to reward your clown.

On a final note, DO NOT GIVE MIMES BALLOONS. Look on any mime forum and you’ll see countless threads with titles like “Help! My mime won’t play with toys!” Yeah, dipshit, THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND TOYS. All members of the mime group are highly specialized working breeds geared towards imagination play. They are very intelligent, deeply driven to perform their unique rituals, and not much else. They need to do their original job to be happy. They need to put on shows. If you cannot provide the stimulation of a fully public performance at least once a week for your mime, and cannot provide regular training sessions, either, do not get a mime. Consider a fool instead. A lot of people brush off fools as beginner breeds, too rambunctious and talkative, but there’s a reason they were preferred by royalty for centuries. They’re actually very versatile and eager to please! They do love tumbling and have a knack for mimicking human speech, but will happily learn the same tricks as a mime. They’re also content to live singularly and enjoy practicing in private quite a lot, making them rather compatible with modern life. Their larger cousins, the jesters, can also learn mime routines, but keep in mind that they are more willful! The sinister jester is a near dupe for the creepy mime, a popular breed, but they’re not a great choice for a total novice. Remember, they contributed heavily to the makeup of the scary clowns. (o:
Both fools and jesters will prefer to have physical props to play with in their off-time even if they’re trained to perform without them.

We Just Identified More Than 200 New (Potential) Planets

The Kepler space telescope is our first mission capable of identifying Earth-size planets around other stars. On Monday, June 19, 2017, scientists from many countries gathered at our Ames Research Center to talk about the latest results from the spacecraft, which include the identification of more than 200 potential new worlds! Here’s what you need to know:

We found 219 new planet candidates.

All of these worlds were found in a patch of sky near the Cygnus constellation in our Milky Way galaxy. Between 2009 and 2013, Kepler searched more than 200,000 stars in the region for orbiting planets. The 219 new planet candidates are part of the more than 4,000 planet candidates and 2,300 confirmed planets Kepler has identified to date.

Ten of these worlds are like our own.

Out of the 219 new planet candidates, 10 are possibly rocky, terrestrial worlds and orbit their star in the habitable zone – the range of distances from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

Small planets come in two sizes.

Kepler has opened up our eyes to the existence of many small worlds. It turns out a lot of these planets are either approximately 1.5 times the size of Earth or just smaller than Neptune. The cool names given to planets of these sizes? Super Earths and mini-Neptunes.

Some of the new planets could be habitable. 

Water is a key ingredient to life as we know it. Many of the new planet candidates are likely to have small rocky cores enveloped by a thick atmosphere of hydrogen and helium, and some are thought to be ocean worlds. That doesn’t necessarily mean the oceans of these planets are full of water, but we can dream, can’t we?

Other Earths are out there.

Kepler’s survey has made it possible for us to measure the number of Earth-size habitable zone planets in our galaxy. Determining how many planets like our own that exist is the big question we’ll explore next.

The hunt for new planets continues.

Kepler continues to search for planets in different regions of space. With the launch of our Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2018, we’re going to search for planets nearest the sun and measure the composition of their atmospheres. In the mid-2020s, we have our sights on taking a picture of small planets like Earth with our Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

*All images of planets are artist illustrations.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:

hamilton where everything is the same except all of the costumes are neon and covered in shitty sequins patters 

dear evan hansen but ben platt is cosplaying as beyonce the entire time

book of mormon except everyone is on helium apart from elder mckinley, who has the pitch of his voice lowered to the point where he sounds like James Earl Jones (and they have the balloons with them on stage) 

be more chill but the squip is wearing New Year’s sunglasses which light up and are covered in glitter

the great comet where nick pitera is playing all the roles at the same time 

newsies but everyone has mashed potatoes in their mouths

falsettos where jason is played by shaquille o’neal and whizzer is played by literally anyone but they’ve just done like 6 pounds of crack 

phantom of the opera except everyone is wearing 3 snapbacks, all facing different directions

in the heights but usnavi’s lines are replaced with owen wilson saying “wow”


The Sun’s Energy Doesn’t Come From Fusing Hydrogen Into Helium (Mostly)

“It might surprise you to learn that hydrogen-fusing-into-helium makes up less than half of all nuclear reactions in our Sun, and that it’s also responsible for less than half of the energy that the Sun eventually outputs. There are strange, unearthly phenomena along the way: the diproton that usually just decays back to the original protons that made it, positrons spontaneously emitted from unstable nuclei, and in a small (but important) percentage of these reactions, a rare mass-8 nucleus, something you’ll never find naturally occurring here on Earth. But that’s the nuclear physics of where the Sun gets its energy from, and it’s so much richer than the simple fusion of hydrogen into helium!”

Ask anyone where the Sun (or any star) gets its energy from, and most people will correctly answer “nuclear fusion.” But if you ask what’s getting fused, most people – including most scientists – will tell you that the Sun fuses hydrogen into helium, and that’s what powers it. It’s true that the Sun uses hydrogen as its initial fuel, and that helium-4 is indeed the end product, but the individual reactions that take place to turn hydrogen into helium are surprisingly diverse and intricate. There are actually four major reactions that take place in the sun: fusing two protons into deuterium, fusing deuterium and a proton into helium-3, fusing two helium-3 nuclei into helium-4, and fusing helium-3 and helium-4 in a chain reaction to produce two helium-4 nuclei. Note that only one of those reactions actually turns hydrogen into helium, and that’s not what makes up either the majority of reactions or the majority of the Sun’s energy!

The Sun fuses hydrogen into helium, but that’s not the only thing that powers it. Come find out how the Sun really works today!

Spooky Sounds from Across the Solar System

Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.

In time for Halloween, we’ve put together a compilation of elusive “sounds” of howling planets and whistling helium that is sure to make your skin crawl.

Listen to a few here and visit our Soundcloud for more spooky sounds. 

Cassini Ring Crossing

This eerie audio represents data collected by our Cassini spacecraft, as it crossed through the gap between Saturn and its rings on April 26, 2017, during the first dive of the mission’s Grand Finale. The instrument is able to record ring particles striking the spacecraft in its data. In the data from this dive, there is virtually no detectable peak in pops and cracks that represent ring particles striking the spacecraft. The lack of discernible pops and cracks indicates the region is largely free of small particles. 

Voyager Tsunami Waves in Interstellar Space 

Listen to this howling audio from our Voyager 1 spacecraft. Voyager 1 has experienced three “tsunami waves” in interstellar space. This kind of wave occurs as a result of a coronal mass ejection erupting from the Sun. The most recent tsunami wave that Voyager experienced began in February 2014, and may still be going. Listen to how these waves cause surrounding ionized matter to ring like a bell.

Voyager Sounds of Interstellar Space

Our Voyager 1 spacecraft captured these high-pitched, spooky sounds of interstellar space from October to November 2012 and April to May 2013.

The soundtrack reproduces the amplitude and frequency of the plasma waves as “heard” by Voyager 1. The waves detected by the instrument antennas can be simply amplified and played through a speaker. These frequencies are within the range heard by human ears.

When scientists extrapolated this line even further back in time (not shown), they deduced that Voyager 1 first encountered interstellar plasma in August 2012.

Plasma Sounds at Jupiter

Ominous sounds of plasma! Our Juno spacecraft has observed plasma wave signals from Jupiter’s ionosphere. The results in this video show an increasing plasma density as Juno descended into Jupiter’s ionosphere during its close pass by Jupiter on February 2, 2017.  

Roar of Jupiter

Juno’s Waves instrument recorded this supernatural sounding encounter with the bow shock over the course of about two hours on June 24, 2016. “Bow shock” is where the supersonic solar wind is heated and slowed by Jupiter’s magnetosphere. It is analogous to a sonic boom on Earth. The next day, June 25, 2016, the Waves instrument witnessed the crossing of the magnetopause. “Trapped continuum radiation” refers to waves trapped in a low-density cavity in Jupiter’s magnetosphere.

Visit the NASA Soundcloud for more spooky space sounds:

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