Once again the holiday season is upon us and for most of us that means a chance to get together with family and friends to eat drink and be merry. However, this is New York City and every year there’s a new influx of transplants from all across the country, or the world, looking to start to build a new life and make their way in the best damn city in the world.

Young or old many of their stories are the same and, for one reason or another they either can’t or won’t be able to make it back home to spend the holidays with their families. Not to mention a significant part of this transplant population consists of 20-something kids who are living away from home for the first time.

Brandon Stanton, the guy behind Humans of New York, is working on pairing people who don’t have a place to go for the holidays with families that have an extra seat at their holiday table.

For The Holidays is an annual tradition where we match up people who have nowhere to go for Christmas with people who have an extra place, or five extra places, at their table. As someone who moved to this city without knowing anybody— I know that holidays are the ABSOLUTE WORST. I think I spent my first Christmas Eve in New York at a 24 hour diner, because I didn’t have the money to go home.

HONY For The Holidays is very carefully screened and organized by my girlfriend Erin. (God bless her angelic, senior-dog-rescuing soul.) She works very hard to match people up, and makes sure that everyone is acquainted beforehand so there are no surprises. It’s a lot of work every year, so to make it easier on her, please only reply if you’ve given it some thought and are serious about participating.

So, if you find yourself having an extra seat at your table give a thought to inviting someone into your home that might otherwise be alone this holiday season.

On the other hand, if you have found yourself alone, unable to go home to see your family, and you’d rather not spend Christmas eve all by yourself in a 24-hour diner playing Christmas carols on one of those tiny jukeboxes at your booth while your tears water down your crappy cup of coffee, you can drop an email to honyfortheholidays@gmail.com.

Stanton’s girlfriend personally goes through each request and does her best to match people up who seem to be the most compatible…on paper at least.

For more information check out HONY’s Instagram here.

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“Oh God, it’s Mom”

No matter how old you are you’re still your mom or dad’s child. You may want to keep that in mind when you go on TV, on a call-in show no less, and start acing like a child by arguing with each other over politics.

Brad Woodhouse (D) and brother Dallas Woodhouse (R) get told, in no uncertain terms, not to bring their shit with them when they come home for Christmas.

No, this is not an Onion headline

Earlier this year the above photo caused outrage when Brooklyn tattoo artist “Mistah Metro” posted it to Instagram and declared, “My dog is cooler than yours!”

The backlash was swift and to the point.

“That is disgusting. how could you do that to a poor dog?” Twitter user @JordanBurmeis raged.

User @arodomus added: “Unfortunate the dog can’t talk. He’d have a few choice words!”

Others fired off slams such as “You make me absolutely sick” and “I hope you rot in jail!”

Chris Torres — the owner of the Red Legged Devil tattoo shop in Prospect Heights, where Mistah Metro works — said he had nothing to do with the tasteless tat.

“It wasn’t done at my shop. I’m an animal lover,” said Torres, who has appeared on the TLC reality show “NY Ink.”

Animal-rights advocates also criticized the tattoo, saying canines should be inked only for ID purposes.

“The tattooing of an animal for the selfish joy and entertainment of its owner, without any regard for the well-being of the animal, is not something the ASPCA supports,” a spokeswoman for the organization said.

Yesterday New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that makes it illegal to tattoo or pierce pets purely for cosmetic purposes.

The new law goes into effect in April and a violation could bring up to 15 days in jail and/or an up to $250 fine.

“This is animal abuse, pure and simple,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I’m proud to sign this common-sense legislation and end these cruel and unacceptable practices in New York once and for all.”

We should just call this the “Don’t be an asshole law of common sense”.

AzPHuyu

For all of you ‘Breaking Bad’ junkies waiting to get your next fix, you don’t have much longer. The two-night premiere of the Breaking Bad spinoff/prequel airs Feb. 8th. I’m reserving judgment until it comes out but that fact that it’s a prequel opens up a lot of opportunities, some of which may even be interesting.

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?