A Division by Zer0 explains why he thinks that human nature would not be a stumbling block for proper communism. I think he's viewing human nature with overly rose-colored glasses, and I was going to comment on his post, but my comment was getting a bit too long that I'm writing my remarks here.
One of the objects discovered through the Galaxy Zoo volunteer project, an effort to take advantage of the fact that us humans are far superior pattern-matching machines than modern computers, was a mysterious green blob dubbed "Hanny's Voorwerp". It's a huge irregular cosmic structure nearly the size of a small galaxy, and yet it is suspiciously devoid of stars.
Using radio telescopes, astronomers at ASTRON think they now have a good idea of what it is. They observed an energetic particle stream emanating from the center of a nearby galaxy IC 2497, generated by its supermassive black hole, which slams into the gas comprising Hanny's Voorwerp to make it glow. As for where all the gas comes from? It's probably the gas that was stripped from IC 2497 or another galaxy during a close encounter.
SpaceX has just successfully conducted a full duration test firing of the first stage for the Falcon 9 rocket lasting almost three minutes, with all nine Merlin engines firing simultaneously. Waking up all the neighbors aside, is this one major step closer to fully private manned space flight?
Do you love talking about astronomy? Do you love the sound of your own voice? Then consider volunteering ten minutes of your voice for some January episodes in the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast. This is a podcast that broadcasts a listener-produced episode for every day of 2009, but it needs more courageous contributors for shows early in the year. Particularly, they have eight days that still need to be filled in for January.
If I loved my voice and had the slightest bit of courage, I might be tempted to volunteer myself. But I'm not, so maybe February ...
A bright fireball that lit up the sky just fell near Edmonton, Canada. It's probably a meteor rather than a crashing spacecraft of some kind, given just how bright it seems to be. I just find the footage to be incredible, especially since no word of any damage from the meteor has been reported.