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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Art is Awesome!

This is topical because it's Scifi art! I was over at Astrona today and there were a series of videos of this spraypaint artist that does things with spraypaint I didn't think were possible. You need to to check it out. The first video is totally amazing! I especially liked the part when he started using fire to make what I assume was the gloss.

Also it seems that Michael Capobianco of SFWA has issued a statement regarding basically how SFWA intends to continue to protect author's rights here. I pretty much agree. One blunder should not change how SFWA intends to protect its authors. Of course they messed up, but that surely doesn't mean we should condemn the organization entirely. They've been around forever. Couldn't hurt to be nice to them a bit.
Now for some really bizarre news thanks to this Universe Today article. Sometimes stars eat up comets, asteroids, and planets, and sometimes stars get eaten up. Apparently, and I'm no expert here, scientists have discovered an instance of a star literally being eaten alive. Well, perhaps not literally, since a star isn't a live, but you catch my drift. Usually when you hear about stars being destroyed, it's either because they're at the end of their life or a lovely black hole or bigger star has taken care of them. Well, in this case, it's something a little smaller at work--a pulsar. The irony in this situation is that a pulsar is actually the remains of a star, rapidly spinning and emitting large amounts of electromagnetic radiation let off in pulses of radio waves. That's a pretty simple version. In any case, this particular pulsar has been sucking the life out of this other star. Initially astronomers were puzzled as to why the pulsar was speeding up. Generally they accelerate and then dwindle down. But astronomers knew that something had to be feeding the pulsar. Further study proved there was a object, and when they really looked, they realized that it was another star, rather what they initially thought was a planet. They believe that the star was already quite old, probably at the end of its lifespan anyway in the white dwarf stage, but the little pulsar sucking away all the leftover material is truly wreaking havoc.
Today they're so close that the pulsar produces a tidal bulge on the surface of the dead star, siphoning material away. Sometimes there's so much mass accumulated that it piles up and explodes as the outburst that led astronomers to the discovery in the first place.
Don't think of the companion as the planet. "Despite its extremely low mass, the companion isn’t considered a planet because of its formation," says researcher Christopher Deloye of Northwestern University. "It’s essentially a white dwarf that has been whittled down to a planetary mass."
Now how is that for a rude neighbor?

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