Interstellar gas deforming baby systems

Although the vacuum of space is sparser than any vacuum we can yet create in the laboratory, it is not completely devoid of any matter, and I find it fascinating how interstellar gas can have real, observable effects. In fact, there can even be sound in the vacuum of space, even if they are the sort that our human ears could never hear.

Given my fascination, it is no surprise that my attention would be drawn to news that a debris disk around a young star may be deformed because of interstellar gas. A deformed debris disk might indicate the presence of a planet as was the case for Fomalhaut b. However, the debris disk around a star like HD 61005 may instead be deformed due to pressure from the interstellar gas as the young star system travels through interstellar space. It would be like how smoke trails behind as a steam locomotive speeds by.

If confirmed, this would be another example of how something any of us would call a vacuum is not quite a vacuum.

Bureaucrats getting in the way of healthcare

Via Greg Laden's Blog, this is what happens when corporate bureaucrats get between people and healthcare right now in the United States:

An apathetic government bureaucrat might not be ideal, but this has got to be better than the way it currently is in the United States, where a corporate bureaucrat wants to deny you healthcare even after you have paid health insurance premiums for years. And this is assuming that a corporate bureaucrat allows you to get health insurance in the first place.

If you get it, then spread the video! In the words of Greg Laden:

Please copy this video onto your blog if you are a blogger. Otherwise, pass it around. WE WANT THIS TO GO VIRAL!!!

Withholding fictitious donations

Pharyngula mentions that certain people claimed to have withheld million dollar donations to the University of Minnesota, Morris because PZ Myers desecrated a cracker (amongst other things). Adding up all the claims would suggest that the university would not get any donations this year. Surprise, surprise, donations to the university actually went up this year. Maybe there was a single person who actually withheld their planned million dollar donation to the University of Minnesota, Morris, but there is no way all of the claims were serious.

This gives me an idea. Maybe I should tell certain churches that I had planned to donate millions of dollars to them, but I changed my mind because they were religious, intolerant, hateful, homophobic, etc. Unlikely to have any effect, I know: just look at how well the tactic worked on PZ Myers and the University of Minnesota, Morris. Then again, if a church can believe that someone sacrificed himself to himself to save people from damnation that he himself administers ...