This week in science

Gliese 581

The habitable zone of nearby red dwarf star Gliese 581

Fascinating work in the exo-planet community on the ultimate search for worlds beyond our solar system:

Planet-hunters say they’ve developed a relatively simple method for determining how livable a faraway world might be, and they’ve used the formula to identify a top candidate: a super-Earth that’s 36 light-years away.

Most current detection methods are still limited to planets several times more massive than earth orbiting relatively small stars. But the eclipse method used by NASA’s Kepler observatory and increased sensistive in earth bound observations offer hope this will be refined, until earth-mass planets circling larger stars are detectable. The next step after that would be obtaining a readable spectrum which could produce the chemical signature of quasi-terrestrial conditions.

  • Excellent example of science and community kicked off by a diary by lawyernerd written in response to a local science teacher slinging denialist garbage on climate science. Thanks to support and information the author recieved in comments, an effective, proactive course of action was taken to address the issue. Yay science, yay community!
  • My new condo at FreeThoughtBlogs has been joined by a few new neighboring skeptic and science writers, including two classic faves of mine, Butterflies and Wheels and Greg Laden. Our plans for world domination are falling into place quickly. Exxxcellent!
  • You have never seen a picture of the sun quite like this. It’s more like a picture on the sun.
  • We have the best healthcare system in the world!

The 24-year-old nephew of musician Bootsy Collins has died at the University Hospital in Cincinnati after a tooth infection spread to his brain. Kyle Willis, an unemployed single father of a 6-year-old girl, first went to a hospital complaining of a painful toothache two weeks ago. Willis had no health insurance and couldn’t afford the $ 27 antibiotic he was prescribed.

Daily Kos

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