When I’m not pretending to be a writer, I like to pretend that I have a slightly firmer grasp on the Universe than the average chimpanzee. Then I watch a new video by Lawrence Krauss and realize that I may even have less of one.

My hairless-apelike mediocre grasp aside I have always been fascinated by astronomy. Oddly though, I’ve never been a big sci-fi fan despite my fascination. ‘Star Trek: TNG’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ are pretty much the limits of science-fiction knowledge. According to my sci-fi experience, the one thing ‘Interstellar’ may be missing is a colon.

All that being said, I am completely buying into the hype of this movie and the last trailer has me chomping at the bits to see it. Plus, you know, Christopher Nolan.

Scientists have found the beginnings of life-bearing chemistry at the centre of the galaxy. Iso-propyl cyanide has been detected in a star-forming cloud 27,000 light-years from Earth.

I can’t figure out what that gunk is on my wall and we have scientists that are not only studying, but are able to identify chemicals at the center of our galaxy 27,000 light-years away.

What makes this discovery so amazing is that i-propyl cyanide is the first molecules that have been discovered with a branched carbon backbone. Carbon is one of the basic fundamental building blocks of complex life.

The discovery suggests the building blocks of life may be widespread throughout our galaxy.

Various organic molecules have previously been discovered in interstellar space, but i-propyl cyanide is the first with a branched carbon backbone.

The branched structure is important as it shows that interstellar space could be the origin of more complex branched molecules, such as amino acids, that are necessary for life on Earth.

I-propyl cyanide isn’t the first chemical scientists have found in this cloud of dust but it is the most complex so far.

According to Dr Arnaud Belloche from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy is lead author of the research, “Our goal is to search for new complex organic molecules in the interstellar medium. The idea is to know whether the elements that are necessary for life to occur… can be found in other places in our galaxy.”

As stars are born in the cloud they heat up microscopic dust grains. Chemical reactions on the surface of the dust allow complex molecules like i-propyl cyanide to form.

The molecules emit radiation that was detected as radio waves by twenty 12m telescopes at the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (Alma) in Chile.

Each molecule produces a different “spectral fingerprint” of frequencies. “The game consists in matching these frequencies… to molecules that have been characterised in the laboratory,” explained Dr Belloche.

Previously discovered molecules in the Sagittarius B2 cloud include vinyl alcohol and ethyl formate, the chemical that gives raspberries their flavour and rum its smell.

But i-propyl cyanide is the largest and most complex organic molecule found to date – and the only one to share the branched atomic backbone of amino acids.

Just stop and think about that for a minute. The chemicals that give raspberries their flavor and rum its smell are chemicals that were born in the space dust from exploding stars. Remember that the next time you’re getting tanked on raspberry infused rum, you’re drinking up some pretty cool ass elements of the Universe.

h/t BBC

This poor little Irish (?) girl does not like it when her parents find her attempt at performing a song from “Frozen” a little too amusing.

The Who: Be Lucky

It’s Friday, eff it, turn up your speakers (or if your co-workers are prudes then put on your headphones), crank up the volume and listen to these septuagenarians rock your socks off.

Space Adventures Ltd. is offering space flight tours around the far-side of the moon to private citizens. The Soyuz craft you’re in will fly within 100km of the moon’s surface, you’ll see the illuminated far-side of the moon, watch the Earth rise and then make your way back to our pale blue dot.

Back in 2001 Space Adventures is the company that launched Dennis Tito, “the first space tourist”, into space where he spent nearly eight days in orbit as a crew member of ISS EP-1, a visiting mission to the International Space Station. That mission was flown by Soyuz craft as well.

Some of the highlights of the trip:

  • Join the greatest private expedition of our time
  • Fly to within 100km of the Moon’s surface
  • Become one of the first people to leave low-Earth orbit in over 40 years

According to their website they expect to be offering official Circumlunar navigation tours by 2018.

Using flight proven Russian space vehicles we will fly two private citizens and one professional cosmonaut on a free return trajectory around the far-side of the Moon. They will come to within 100km of the Moon’s surface. If you chose to join this mission you will see the illuminated far-side of the Moon, and then witness the amazing sight of the Earth rising above the surface of the Moon.

According to their website the cost of the mission “depends on the vehicle you choose, the timing and the exact mission profile”. I mean, who wants to go to the moon in the winter right? To give you an idea of the cost however, another company in Russia is offering a two-week trip up into space that will simply put you in orbit for two weeks. The price tag on that, much simpler mission, is around $45-50 million (US).

So, here’s the real question, if money were no object, would you go on a space tour around the moon?

YouTuber WheezyWaiter has over 500,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel where he talks about “coffee, beards, clones, news, weirdness, normalness, and things that you’re not sure are weird or normal”. He posted his 1,000th video today simply titled, “?”.

Why is the title a question mark? WheezyWaiter planned ahead and used his 1,000th video to do something incredibly cool, luckily it worked out for him.

DeepFriedKitKatGrilledCheese1

If you’ve ever been so bored (a.k.a. high) that you’ve actually wondered what a deep fried KitKat grilled cheese sandwich would look like you’re in luck. As for tasting it, well, you’re on your own on that. My advice would be to dial 9-1, take a bite and just wait.

It’s not bad enough that we actually deep fry candy, now we’re adding cheese to it.

We can thank Dude Foods for coming up with this unholy concoction:

Deep fried candy bars are obviously nothing new, but as far as I know no one — until now — has actually used two of them along with a couple slices of cheese to create a sandwich.

Now, I’m sure there are a couple reasons behind why no one has done this before, the first being that it just don’t sound very appealing. Honestly, looking back at it right now it doesn’t even look that appetizing, but let me tell you, it was pretty damn good!

Ok, dude, we’ll just take your word for it!

It’s no secret that Roger Goodell has completely bungled the Ray Rice situation since the beginning. After seeing the video of Rice dragging his unconscious fiancée out of an elevator Goodell chose to suspend Rice for only two games.

The backlash of such a light punishment for such an egregious act was so severe that Goodell issued a statement admitting that he had made a mistake and subsequently completely overhauled the NFL’s rules on how players involved with domestic violence would be punished. He didn’t however change Rice’s two-game suspension.

The very next day the infamous video of Rice actually punching his fiancée, not once but twice, was released and all hell broke loose. The Baltimore Ravens almost immediately terminated Rice’s contract and about 20 minutes later the NFL changed Rice’s two-game suspension to being suspended from the NFL indefinitely.

It wasn’t the video that did Rice in, it was the public’s reaction to it. Goodell claims that no one at the NFL saw the video inside the elevator, a claim that has been disputed by law enforcement officials. The mind boggling issue is why it took that video coming out for Goodell to do the right thing. Even if they hadn’t seen the video of the punch, which is incredibly hard to believe, they did see the video of Rice dragging his completely lifeless fiancée out of the elevator and dropping her to the ground. Did they think he tickled her unconscious?

The National Organization for Women have called for Goodell’s resignation with their #ResignGoodell campaign. That along with the #GoodellMustGo backlash making the social media rounds it seems obvious that Goodell has little to no public support left.

The bottom line is that when he had an opportunity to be a real leader, to standup and do the right thing rather than just being a Yes Man to the NFL owners, he made misstep after misstep and his inability to handle this situation is showing no sign of letting up.

Roger Goodell has one more chance to do the right thing. Goodell needs to admit that he has completely mishandled this situation, acknowledge his many mistakes and resign his position effective immediately. NFL players can’t be the only ones held accountable for their actions. In fact, the commissioner should be held to an even higher standard and hold himself responsible for his own actions, or inaction as the case may be.

As part of Columbia College President Dr. Scott Dalrymple’s inauguration festivities, the college will host a fierce, no-holds-barred video game challenge, featuring Madden 25. The winner will advance to a championship bout with the president, a formidable gamer in his own right.

If you manage to pull off an upset for the ages, Dr. Dalrymple will buy your textbooks for the entire academic year!

I think we’ve officially found the most badass college president in the country. This guy is hilarious and, although I won’t give it away, has one of the best burns ever in his Madden NFL challenge video. The best part is he’s playing as the Buffalo Bills so there’s a good chance that this could be the biggest win in the Bills franchise history.

These amazing photographs were taken by German photographer Thomas Herbrich, they are the results of a painstaking process which took Herbrich three months to complete. It could be called Herbrich’s study in smoke.

It’s also a study in a phenomenon called Pareidolia.

Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.

Out of the 100,000 photographs that Herbrich took he chose just 20 to display. You can see the rest of them here on his website.

I was very surprised by how extremely quickly smoke move. It’s easier to photograph a racing car!

The rising of cigarette-smoke is actually so quick that conventional flash equipment is too slow, as is the photographer – only a few milliseconds pass between recognition of the subject and the taking of the shot, a length of time in which the smoke has already changed again.

I therefore used a quick flash with a flash duration of 1/10000 sec. or faster – and took more than 100,000 digital photos in three months (which killed one camera). The “poor” photos were immediately separated out on the laptop and rejected. Only 20 or so of the photos actually made the shortlist.

h/t petapixel