Happy Thoughts: Look to the Stars, and the Disco Clam

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What homework? (via Hubble Space Telescope)
What homework? (via Hubble Space Telescope)

I don’t know about you, and it’s not like I want to put my head in the sand (okay, I totally do, until this Arctic Blast is over and the crocuses come up, in April), but the world in the New Year already seems shaky, scary, violent, extreme; I want some good news, some happy thoughts. Thank goodness, there are some, and they’re science-y. Here are six:

1)  Whole grains are back in, which means I can eat the whole-wheat French baguettes, the weekly making of which was Husb.’s New Year’s resolution and I can slather them with fancy European cultured butter. This is something to celebrate. I’m not grasping at crumbs. #JeSuisCharlie

2) Have you seen the new high-def pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope?  Glory be, the universe is bursting with stars. They will put your (I mean, my) dumb hand-wringing over third grade homework in its place as completely insignificant. Who cares about decimals, really, in the grand scheme of things? These photographs of billions of stars being born will make you appreciate this pearl we have in our hands, this pale blue dot of a planet, as Carl Sagan so aptly calls it. So, yes, the answer is yes, we do need math and science.

3) Bao Bao, the National Zoo’s 16-month-old giant panda on her first snow day. This is literally the best thing I’ve watched so far this year.

4) The first baby in two years was born to a pod of endangered orcas off the coast of Washington State. I’m not usually all about orcas, being more of a FOS (friend of seals), but the web of relationships here on Earth is a complex one, and I can only rejoice and Endangered Orca Baby is a great band name.

5) Scientists at Johns Hopkins have found that the majority of cancers are caused not by stinkin’ thinkin’ or by the environment, or the food you choose, or the exercises you don’t do, but by “random genetic mutations,” in other words, bad luck. I find this incredibly comforting.

6) The disco clam. How lucky can we be, how awesome is it to be alive, in the geological record, at the same time as the disco clam?

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  1. You know that these photos from Hubble are not real? They are sexed photoshopped interpretation of what the folks at Hubble think we would want to see for our money.

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