News for Youse: Leap seconds, hand-eating dolphins, and how to find an asteroid
Are you a gajillionaire with a hard-on for space and have a desire to help humanity in a largely abstract and meaningless way? Well, we've got some magic beans to sell you!
The Sentinel mission is a space-based infrared survey mission aiming to map the locations of asteroids before they smash into the planet. And, of course, they need an injection of cold, hard cash to bring their loopy goals into reality.
The B612 Foundation, the
supervillains organization spearheading the endeavour, plans to launch a spacecraft into orbit around the sun on a five and a half year mission to map asteroids, the Earth's greatest threat.
In fact, asteroids are so dangerous that not one but two anti-doomsday organizations are attempting to launch junk into space to comb the interplanetary skies. Well, okay, the second one is actually a non-profit scheme spearheaded by NASA.
The missions are totally different but completely necessary as Sentinel will find the locations of the asteroids and NASA's will tell us what the asteroids look like.
We here at News for Youse are of course in complete support of this project, as we are any time money is wastefully spent on science-fiction indebted projects (see: space mining, deep-sea diving for UFOs). However, the lack of end-game is concerning. It's great that we know the giant space rocks are hurtling towards us—but is there a plan to stop them from squishing the planet into oblivion? If this is a sort of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World/Deep Impact/Melancholia situation wherein we know of our impending doom and are powerless to stop it, we feel this effort would be better spent simply making more Hollywood films exploring the concept of asteroids destroying the planet.
Unless there is also a scheme brewing wherein a Bruce Willis lookalike will lead a crack team of space miners in a deranged plot to blow up said space rock, Armaggedon-style. We'd be cool with that.
(We also just realized that there are a hell of a lot of movies about rocks crashing into Earth. And not one of them is particularly compelling.)
If you're going to Slidell, Louisiana any time soon (and why wouldn't you be?), be sure to keep your toes and fingers out of the water, lest you get adorably nuzzled to death by a rogue, podless dolphin. The seven-year-old male bottlenose dolphin, which we are arbitrarily naming Derp (seven years and you haven't given the damn dolphin a name?), lost his pod after Hurricane Katrina and now spends his days roaming a local canal, playing with jet skis and occasionally trying to eat peoples' hands.
While it is illegal to feed or harass dolphins (offenders can face fines of up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison), no word on whether Derp the Dolphin will be facing criminal charges for the two assaults he's committed on humans this year alone.
Let this be a stern warning not to put your hands in the big tank when you go to the aquarium. Or the beach. In fact, just keep your hands safely in your pockets at all times and nobody will get hurt.
Don't forget that this weekend is a long weekend, and in addition to the day off on Monday (July 2), we'll also get an extra second added to the clock on Saturday. Well, atomic clocks, at least; it helps compensate for the fact that the Earth's rotation is ever so slightly slowing down all of the time.
The extra second helps in the calibration of satellites, GPS, air-traffic control, and ensuring Santa Claus stays on schedule. Of course, the average person doesn't really "get" anything out of this change except a confused look on their face when you explain it to them.
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