Open thread

Very, very cool.  “Astronomers have mapped the positions of vast, invisible isles of dark matter in the sky, within which normal ‘bright’ matter galaxies are embedded like glittering gems. The three-dimensional map spans not only space, but also time, and stretches back to when the universe was only about half its present age.”  Check out the article for images showing what they’ve come up with.  We’re getting a whole lot smarter on this stuff, n’est-ce pas?

I’ve always wondered when the U.S. would go metric.  I’m still wondering.  In fact, I was one of those children taught the metric system in the first grade as part of the preparatory process needed to make the transition a smooth one—because, at the time, it was imminent.  Here we are some three decades later and it still hasn’t happened.  But it needs to.  So I was thrilled—positively giddy, in fact—to see NASA going metric.  To wit: “When NASA returns astronauts to the Moon, the mission will be measured kilometers, not miles. The agency has decided to use metric units for all operations on the lunar surface, according to a statement released today. The change will standardize parts and tools. It means Russian wrenches could be used to fix an air leak in a U.S.-built habitat. It will also make communications easier, such as when determining how far to send a rover for a science project.”  Now, if only the rest of the country would follow suit.

Philosophers’ Carnival #41 is available for your contemplation.  Check it out and get your think-about-being on.

You have to see Attack of the Wacky Signs part 1 and part 2.  I got a good laugh from several of them.

Visit Grand Rounds 3.16 for a great compilation of medical blogging.

Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet McNaught as seen recently from Germany.  The comet has provided an unexpected treat with its nearness to the sun and brightness at both dawn and dusk.  Unfortunately, the best views of this astronomy show exist in northern latitudes.  I’ve tried to catch some glimpses of it from here in Texas and have been sorely disappointed.  Still, in those places where it’s clearly visible, the display must be wondrous if this photo is any indication.

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