Hello to you Bennu!

Bennu Asteroid (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona via AP)

There’s so much fun space exploration going on right now. With the Mars Insight Lander and the Japanese landing on an asteroid, among many other exciting new projects.

Now the Americans are about to try to replicated the success of the Japanese. Yesterday, after a two year journey, a spacecraft transporting the robotic explorer dubbed Osiris-Rex arrived at another asteroid, this one named Bennu. It’s currently orbiting the asteroid at a mere 19km and will get closer as the days go on.

Bennu is thought to be about 500 meters across and is about 122 million km away from Earth. The spacecraft will orbit it for a year before scooping just over 60 grams of material and sending back to earth. Its booty is expected back around 2023.

The purpose of the mission is to better understand the birth of the solar system, as the asteroid is thought to date back 4.5 billion years, around the time the solar system came into existence.

Bennu is also thought to be something of a risk for us, as it’s getting closer and closer to Earth with every pass. They predict it could hit the Earth in about 150 years and cause significant damage. From this mission, they also hope to be better able to understand how to avert that potential calamity.

Read more:

Nasa probe reaches Bennu asteroid that could one day hit Earth

NASA spacecraft arrives at ancient asteroid, its 1st visitor

Family of killed man forgives Tribe. Does tribe forgive man?

Image copyrightINDIAN COASTGUARD/SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL via BBC

I have no sympathy for this man, who was killed while attempting to illegally contact one of the remotest tribes in the world and convert them to Christianity.

John Allen Chau from Alabama, clearly knew what he was doing was wrong. He had someone sneak him onto an Andaman island in India where the Sentinelese tribe live. There are estimated to be 50 to 150 members of the tribe and contact is forbidden to protect them from outside diseases.

You can even be charged for simply taking photos of them.

He set up a covert operation to get himself onto the island, and came back to the boat once with arrows having been shot at him.

Sky News reports that his mother showed showed a journal he had written in after that first encounter:

The journal said: “I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you’.”

He said one of the boys in the tribe fired an arrow which pierced his waterproof Bible.

Mr Chau told his family in his last note to them on 16 November: “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people… God, I don’t want to die.”

He then tried again a couple of days later, and then a third time. That time he did not return. He was seen on the beach shot by arrows, and finally being dragged around by a rope around his neck. And that was that.

The tribesmen did not become Christian.

Now at great expense and effort the authorities are trying to get his body back. Seven fisherman who helped get him onto the island have been arrested.

From the reports, it sounds like the authorities are not exactly sympathetic either. Why would they be? He wasn’t doing “God’s work”, but the work of a Western Imperialist’s ego. We certainly have been through all this on a grander scale before.

His generous family have now released a statement saying among other flourishes:

We forgive those responsible for his death.

 

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John Allen Chau

A post shared by John Chau (@johnachau) on

How very generous. I’m not sure what he was doing is forgivable; trying to foist his self-righteous ideals on a group of vulnerable people who he was told to stay away from, and who gave him ample opportunity to back down.

He wrote he was “doing this to establish the kingdom of Jesus on the island… Do not blame the natives if I am killed,” the source said.

Indeed, he has only himself to blame. But he’s dead.

From the BBC: John Allen Chau: Family forgive tribe who killed American

 

Cyclist throws Poop at Driver

I have been pretty enraged on my bicycle by cars cutting me off, or even bumping into me, but I rarely fly off the handle. I have however seen some people go pretty ballistic with rage.

This one takes the cake. And I’m not even sure how this is physically possible, let alone how one would conceive of such an action.

A cyclist in Victoria, BC collided with an automobile (or vice versa) and his response, along with hurling expletives, was to pull down his pants take a dump and hurl his turds.

Cyclist hurls his turds at car driver. Photo: Reddit

How does one even do that? Shitting on cue. I am amazed by the whole thing.

The police are on the lookout for the crappy fellow.

This incident is reminiscent of another recent turd hurler. The woman who pooped on the floor of a Tim Horton’s when she was refused use of the toilet and threw it at staff. At least in this case, we know she really had to go. Maybe she kicked off a trend?

 

Read more about the poop rage: Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at woman after vehicle collision in B.C.

 

Oldest Shipwreck Ever Found

The Guardian is reporting that the world’s oldest shipwreck ever has been found in the Black Sea.

An ancient Greek ship with it’s mast, rudders, and benches all still in place has been found at 2400 meters deep. It has been preserved due to the lack of oxygen at that depth.

This is the first time a ship like this has ever been actually seen, other than as depictions on Greek pottery.

From the article:

“A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible,” said Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with the Black Sea Maritime ArchaeologyProject (MAP), the team that made the find. “This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”

This is a pretty fantastic find! I love ancient artefacts that connect us to our history like this. And it is truly amazing they we can still unearth things like this.

Read the full article here: World’s oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea

War on Wildlife

Orangutans are losing there homes thanks to us!

Photograph: Bjorn Vaughn/AP

Here is yet another sad tale, from the Guardian, about the destruction of nature by humans.

On the 11th and 12th of October, London will be hosting a summit to discuss the illegal destruction of nature and various wildlife species. It’s a problem that officials are saying isn’t being taken seriously enough.

With what’s being called the 6th great mass extinction being blamed on human activities, something has got to change quickly. The article reports that, “Over 80% of all mammals and half of plants are thought to have been lost since the rise of human civilisation.” That is a pretty depressing statistic.

I often think about what we have been robbed of by the generations that came before us and am astounded by their short-sightedness and greed. Nothing has changed!

I often refer people to these harrowing images, taken not that long ago, of buffalo skulls piled high:

Proudly displaying buffalo massacre.Buffalo skulls for bone china.

Imagine what North America must have looked like to the European settlers; a bounty of wildlife – more fish, trees, buffalo, etc. than they had ever seen. And what did they then proceed to do? Destroy it all. …in record time.

It is hard to fathom how anyone could think this was acceptable. …but we haven’t stopped.

Read more about the summit: ‘Terror being waged on wildlife’, leaders warn

Cop Who Entered Wrong Apartment, Killed Resident, is Fired

Amber Guyger

Amber Guyger’s Booking Photo. Sept. 10th, 2018

Amber Guyger, the cop who returned ‘home’ to the wrong apartment and killed the actual tenant, Botham Green, has been fired.

I think it’s interesting that she was fired not for killing the innocent man, but for how she reacted when she was arrested:

Guyger, who was hired in November 2013, was fired after an Internal Affairs investigation concluded that the officer “engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter,” the chief’s Tweet read.

They kept her around long enough (on ‘administrative leave’, i.e. paid holiday), but obviously had to cut her loose after all the outrage.

Furthermore, she’s clearly not being on the level about the chain of events. The situation is just too implausible as it stands.

Read more: Dallas Police Department fires Amber Guyger after manslaughter charges

Japan Lands Rovers on Asteroid

Ryugu

Ryugu, seen here, is a diamond shape asteroid about 1km across.

In quite an incredible technological feat, Japan has successfully landed two robotic rovers on an asteroid that’s just 1km across.

The MINERVA-II1 rovers were launched from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft which was orbiting, the asteroid dubbed Ryugu. They sent back a few images on their way down, several which were a bit blurry, but a couple of nice ones. Including this one, which clearly shows the asteroid just before the rover touches down:

Photo from MINERVA-II1

The robots are designed to capitalise on the low gravity on the asteroid, by hopping, rather than rolling, along its surface. They will send back data and images that the lead scientists hope will answer questions about the formation of the universe.

Next month the orbiting spaceship will deploy explosives to the asteroid so the rover can look below its surface. Following that, yet another rover, a collaborative effort between French and German scientists will be sent to the asteroid to explore even further.

Read more: JAPAN’S SPACE ROVERS SEND PICTURES BACK AFTER FIRST EVER SUCCESSFUL LANDING ON ASTEROID

Are Aliens on the Way?

Have we finally found the aliens?

Lots of conspiracy theories abound after the FBI suddenly whooshed in dramatically in Blackhawk helicopters and ushered everyone out of the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico, putting the facility on lockdown.

The FBI is refusing to explain why the sudden closure, nor even that they were involved.

The Albuquerque Sheriff, Benny House, reportedly said:

“There was a Blackhawk helicopter, a bunch of people around antennas and work crews on towers, but nobody would tell us anything.”

Now of course, the internet is going wild with speculation. Theories range from aliens, to killer asteroids, and everything in between.

Mysterious indeed! Hopefully we’ll learn more soon.

Imprisoned for Breakfast with a Woman

Egyptian man arrested for dining with Saudi woman

Culture sure can be a load of bullshit. Why are people so blinded by their upbringing that they can’t see how insane their ingrained notions of what’s right and wrong are?

A Egyptian man was filmed eating breakfast with a female colleague (in a full burka no less), and subsequently was jailed as a result!

The man was arrested by the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development, who accused him of “committing several violations and taking up a post exclusively reserved for Saudis”.

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is purporting to be on a drive to modernise the country. Speaking of drives, he recently oh so generously granted women in the country the right to drive.

Apparently modernising the country’s often grotesque laws and human rights violations doesn’t extend to dining with a woman.

The comments on the article are just as insane.

I can’t even tell if this one is a joke:

“I need to understand why men are constantly punished and not women,” said Twitter user Malak. “I am a Saudi [woman] and I swear I want them to punish her with him. Laughter, eating at the workplace… where are your limits?”

Or how about this:

developing jobs for Saudi women among foreigners is considered an explicit breakdown of customs, traditions, and values.

Duh! It should be an explicit breakdown of traditions and values if those are your traditions and values.

Traditions are just that – traditions. They are manmade, not some divine natural law. They were usually invented in an older, very different time.  Let’s update them instead of trying to live on values that were established when people lived to the age of 30 and rode horses or camels through the street.

Read more: Man arrested after breakfast with woman in Saudi Arabia