At last, something we all have in common: there is broad bipartisan support for NASA, even though different sides have different reasons.

Here's a fun illustration of a surprising fact: Mercury (not Venus or Mars) is the closest planet to Earth, most of the time -- and Mercury is also the closest planet to *every other planet*, most of the time.

TIL the term "firehosing": the propaganda technique of repeating as many lies as possible as fast as possible, to numb and overwhelm your victims. You'll see it used by anti-vaxxers, authoritarians, and anyone else for whom truth is troublesome.

Why, this Schoolhouse Rock-style song (by the great Jonathan Coulton) makes impeachment so simple that even a President could understand it.

The mission that took the first-ever pictures of the moon's far side -- the Soviet mission Luna 3 -- launched sixty years ago. First 3-axis stabilization, first gravity assist, and a tiny on-board film processing lab, all genuinely astonishing.

You might know of the "backfire effect," where showing someone evidence that they're wrong perversely makes them more convinced they're right. This needs proper study, but here's a 350-year-old possible way around that: first tell them they *are* right.

A better framing would obviously be "I ruined my own life by harassing all those women." But if Weinstein were the kind of guy who could say that, he wouldn't have harassed all those women. Here we can see that he surrounds himself with a protective layer of enablers, further shielding himself against ever having to have this uncomfortable insight.

This is precisely where "religious freedom" laws were always going to take us. And now here we are. They're the foundation for a return to Jim Crow.

(Not that they were any better when they "just" enabled anti-gay bigotry; that's every damn bit as odious.)

Ever wonder why there are so many Thai restaurants? It's partly because the Thai government funds their creation, as part of a "gastrodiplomacy" push. (And to be clear, I have exactly zero complaints about this. Well done, Thailand. :-)

In an impressively bold move, NASA's Inspector General pointedly tells Congress they shouldn't mandate which rockets launch NASA missions. The Senate wants SLS (the "Senate Launch System") to launch 2023's Europa Clipper, and NASA ... wisely, NASA doesn't.

The first -- and so far only -- time we've visited beautiful Neptune was 30 years ago. Thanks, Voyager 2. Let's go back!

One way to reuse rockets is by carefully landing them, as SpaceX does. And maybe another way is to catch them with a helicopter as they fall back to Earth.

59 years ago, animals were returned safely to Earth for the first time: the dogs Belka and Strelka, along with a collection of other plants and animals. Cold comfort for poor Laika, perhaps, but a great achievement all the same.

The GDPR is a well-intentioned EU regulation intended to help EU citizens get their own data from companies. Unintended consequence: in practice, it's trivially exploited by info thieves to get massive amounts of data about their victims. So yay, EU.

Less than 25 years ago, we weren't sure there were any other planets anywhere. Now we've cataloged thousands. This star alone has at least three.

Sometimes our own planet is awful, but our universe is astonishing. Take some time to look up.

But what it comes down to is that Equifax cost everyone affected real time and money. I think we're morally obligated to hold them financially responsible for their bad decisions.

US residents:

Jump on the Equifax leak claim wagon. You get $125 in the settlement, automatically. ALSO, you can be compensated at the rate of $25 per hour for time spend remediating their fuckup, and only have to provide documentation if you spent more than 10 hours unfucking them. The official claim site is

Drop what you're doing and claim your $125 (or more) from right now. It's a laughably small sum, but you might as well hurt the bastards who recklessly spilled your personal data as much as you can. Hey, it's a nice dinner out.

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