Neutron Stars Collide = KiloNova!

Happy Monday Readers!

Every day is a new chance to get better, faster, stronger, smarter

Now onto Kilonovas… Check out this NYTimes 4min Video!

neutronstarscollision

After 2 months of speculation, the “media” reported this morning that scientists have observed for the first time a collision between two Neutron Stars, one of the rarest and least studied cosmic phenomena. Fun fact: 1 teaspoon of Neutron star matter weighs as much as Mt. Everest

From the NYTimes, “Such collisions are thought to have profoundly influenced the chemistry of the universe, creating many of the heavier elements in the universe, including all the precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and uranium. Which is to say that the atoms in your wedding band, in the pharaoh’s jewels and the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and still threaten us all were formed in a cosmic gong show that reverberated across the heavens billions of years ago.”

 

The Human Dichotomy of Guns & Violence

Good evening my dear readers,

I’m heartbroken and angry about the mass shooting that occurred during a country music festival concert in Las Vegas last night. 50+ dead, 500+ wounded. Like many of you, I felt (yet again) a sense of helplessness with regards to this latest tragedy, which is being described as the deadliest shooting in recent American history, according to casualties. If we can’t meaningfully change gun laws in the wake of the Newtown School shooting involving little kids, how are the deaths of country music fans going to alter our discussion?

Nevertheless, we cannot give up hope for a safer future for our children. I’m inspired by the humanity and selflessness of first responders and volunteers who worked side by side with medics, escorting victims to safety and offering transportation services for the wounded. Even when this latest tragedy loses timeshare in the news , the family and friends of victims will have to live with the fallout for the rest of their lives. My hope is that the growing number of individuals and communities impacted by gun violence and America’s senseless gun policies will become advocates for change. My generation has had enough, it’s time for us to stand up.

http://www.kottke.org (one of my favorite blogs) made a great post today about America’s epidemic with gun violence that I think is worth reading and discussing. Take a look, and let’s continue our dialog here.

(Edit: here is a link to the life stories of some of the victims)

How do we tackle the complex issue of guns and weapons? Since the dawn of mankind, we’ve been warring with ourselves and other species for primacy. I’m a strong supporter of using military force to ensure the survival of our freedoms and democratic values when diplomacy has failed. We can’t and don’t negotiate with psychopaths or brainwashed cults hellbent on child slavery, using humans at meat shields, and those who display an abject disregard for human dignity. At the same time, I don’t think that its a sensible idea to allow civilians access to military grade automatic rifles, whose projectile speeds are exponentially faster than semi-automatic weapons, causing bones to shatter, shrapnel fragments to explode in countless directions, and mass casualties on a scale weapons designed for self defense simply cannot achieve.

I like shooting automatic rifles at a gun range (I get a primal rush of blood to the head that I can’t get anywhere else). But these are tools used to kill others- not to keep us safe, and it’s time for us to limit such easy access to deadly firearms.