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S Kepler Mission Discovers a World Orbiting Two Stars. Click image for multiple resolutions and full caption.Image: Where the Sun Sets Twice - NASA's Kepler mission has discovered a world where two suns set over the horizon instead of just one.

s Kepler Mission Discovers a World Orbiting Two Stars

The planet, called Kepler-16b, is the most "Tatooine-like" planet yet found in our galaxy. Tatooine is the name of Luke Skywalker's home world in the science fiction movie Star Wars. In this case, the planet it not thought to be habitable. It is a cold world, with a gaseous surface, but like Tatooine, it circles two stars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Unlike Star Wars' Tatooine, the planet is cold, gaseous and not thought to harbor life, but its discovery demonstrates the diversity of planets in our galaxy. "This discovery confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life," Kepler principal investigator William Borucki said. Scientists detected the new planet in the Kepler-16 system, a pair of orbiting stars that eclipse each other from our vantage point on Earth. James Randi Educational Foundation.

Bureaucratic Insanity. Last Sunday’s New York Times had an article highlighting the implementation of the new teacher evaluation system being put in place in Tennessee.

Bureaucratic Insanity

The system is part of the Race-to-the-Top attempt to drive education reform in the states by dangling federal cash for reforms. As you read the article, you should begin to realize why “reform” fails and why many people in both the Government Education Complex and Education Transformation* movement find these rules so absurd. There simply is no way that a federal bureaucracy (or any bureaucracy, for that matter) can devise a unified system of teacher evaluation. There are too many variables, and teachers are correct to be skeptical of this top-down approach to their craft.

For example, the first few paragraphs of the article expose the unworkable nature of the evaluation process. What a shock. How about another example? Standardized tests for gym teachers?! If we must, let us debate whether physical fitness belongs in school. One last example… Peter Ferrara before the House Committee on Small Business, Feb. 2, 2012. Redirecting to blog... Skeptic's Annotated Book of Mormon. Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry.

The Mountain Pass Mine in California, which closed in 2002, is considered the country's best hope to combat China's trade dominance in rare earth elements.

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

(WikiCommons) In 1949, two geologists found what they suspected to be a massive uranium deposit in the desert of southeastern California, about an hour’s drive from Las Vegas. A cache of uranium would have been an incredibly lucrative find, but the geologists were disappointed when further testing revealed the area to be full of deposits of rare earth elements. [Environment1] Rare earth elements, also called rare earth minerals, were thought to be virtually worthless.

For the most part, the REEs, obscure elements with names like Promethium and Europium, had no practical use. But the geologists saw potential in REEs and convinced the Molybdenum Corporation of America to buy the mining rights to the 222 acres of land that would later become known as the Mountain Pass Mine. But China soon began to realize its REE potential. Skeptic's Annotated Quran. Skeptic's Annotated Bible / Quran / Book of Mormon. Fakegate – A Few Thoughts From A Humble Scientist. Dr. Peter Gleick - No Arrogance There At All... As a fellow trained in the sciences (chemistry) and who reveres the scientific method, I followed Dr. Peter Gleick’s pathetic, mean-spirited attempt to demean and degrade the Heartland Institute with a mixed sense of disgust and sadness. The former because I have nothing but contempt for a man trained in the sciences who stoops to such underhanded, dishonorable tactics as part of a continuing effort to silence people with whom he disagrees.

Sadness, because – like so many others who share my particular views – the work that Heartland does is so important to maintaining scientific integrity in a world rushing to embrace the 21 st century version of Lysenkoism. Heartland is an oasis of independent thinking in a desert of close-mindedness. Yet none of that is enough for people like Peter Gleick. Fortunately, the Gleicks of the world aren’t representative of all academics, even in climate science. Allow me to close with a prediction. Rare Earths. Reason Rally. ReadIt1st.