Toygers and science updates, including global warming news, Saturn’s hexagon, and your new holodeck
Sumatra, a magnificent toyger.
OK, a cat post. Or at least starting off with a cat post. I’d never even heard of a toyger before, guess they have been around a few years. Isn’t he a beauty? SnowBee, my orange stripy cat, is very disturbed about this development, since everyone knows that stripy cats have orange stripes, not black stripes. My cats have a hard life, my calico spotted cat has never been the same since she saw a TV commercial for industrial strength spot remover. She has engaged in a long and so far fruitless letter writing campaign to get this “clearly dangerous” product removed from store shelves. Moving right along, read about Sumatra the toyger here.
In other exciting science news, the Star Trek holodeck is one step closer to reality. Yes, the virtusphere has been revealed at a trade show. Basically its a virtual reality system one wears while inside a big movable sphere on a stand. One can thus walk around in the virtual world one sees through the goggles, the sphere rolls around as the operator walks, so he/she stays in the same place. Basically another expensive toy for video game freaks, though one day there may be practical applications. Of course that’s what video game designers always say, I assume it’s an inside joke of some sort. Note that in both illustrations at the link the user is carrying a gun of some sort, practical uses my ass.
Well, looks like global warming on Mars has something to do with dust storms. In brief, the planet gets lighter or darker depending on how much dark rock is exposed. Of course the idea that global warming on Mars was related in any way to Earth was always a stretch, an example of the grasping at straws on the part of global warming deniers. And in other global warming news, columnist Jon Carrol does some speculating on how global warming denial came to be a cause among certain elements of the religious right. He’s always a fun read, but this touches on areas that have been discussed here. And note that I am not necessarily endorsing Mr Carrol’s arguments, they are just interesting speculation.
In space exploration a weird hexagon shaped cloud system has been spotted on Saturn. The cloud system is big enough to fit many Earths in, and has been around for decades. Both it’s shape and persistence are puzzling. And of course since “common sense” says that this feature shouldn’t exist, so some astronomers are already saying “Move over, face on Mars.” Yes, Saturn’s hexagon cloud will be appearing in tabloids in a supermarket near you soon. However, despite what anyone says about this feature being unique, huge hexagon shaped weather cells form on Earth occasionally and are visible from space. So this cloud on Saturn is a natural feature, albeit a puzzling one.
And lastly, in a case of science belabouring the obvious, scientists now say that some people enjoy provoking anger in other people. Who would have ever guessed? OK, I would have. Several ex-girlfriends come to mind. And of course every cat that ever existed, as anyone who has ever stepped on a cold wet hairball at 3am can attest.
(The above photograph by Bob Rohrbaugh, WildFX Cats. It is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post.)