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If you plan on taking a trip to Jupiter, this is not the map to use.

If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel is a tediously accurate model of the Solar System that Josh Worth made to explain to his daughter just how difficult it is to go on holiday to Mars.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 5, 2014 - 69 comments

The Madness Of The Planets

I am a staunch believer in leading with the bad news, so let me get straight to the point. Earth, our anchor and our solitary haven in a hostile universe, is in a precarious situation. The solar system around us is rife with instability.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 31, 2013 - 42 comments

Godspeed, Scott Carpenter

Scott Carpenter has died at 88. As the commander of Aurora 7 in 1962, Carpenter was the second Mercury astronaut to orbit the Earth. He is best known for having wished his friend John Glenn "Godspeed" as the latter launched into orbit. [more inside]
posted by zooropa on Oct 10, 2013 - 61 comments

Crazy like an Arctic Fox

Scientific American reports: "An isolated population of Arctic foxes that dines only on marine animals seems to be slowly succumbing to mercury poisoning." Though a definitive causal link is difficult to establish, an isolated population of arctic foxes on Russia's Mednyi Island is believed to be collapsing due to mercury contamination as a result of its seafood-heavy diet. Where does all that mercury in the environment come from anyway? Why, it's another biproduct of burning fossil fuels, of course, and predictably, rates of mercury pollution are only expected to increase. In some places in the US, even rainwater is showing high levels of contamination. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on May 10, 2013 - 25 comments

Paul McCartney and an all star line-up offer their cover of Let It Be.

As the European Union receives its Nobel Peace Prize with an ensuing celebratory concert, let us revisit 2001, when Paul McCartney and an all star line-up offered their live cover version of Let It Be.
posted by feelinglistless on Dec 10, 2012 - 16 comments

Ice on Mercury?

New evidence for water ice on Mercury. (via Bad Astronomy at its new home)
posted by curious nu on Nov 29, 2012 - 23 comments

The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos, to know itself.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage is a thirteen-part television series of one hour shows written by Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, that was aired at the tail end of 1980 and was - at the time - the most widely watched series in the history of American public television. It is best introduced by an audio excerpt of one of his books, The Pale Blue Dot. Inside is a complete annotated collection of the series. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 3, 2012 - 46 comments

Life on Pluto - Details on Page 97.

What lives where in the Solar System. Fantastic Adventure covers from 1939/40 depicting the kind of lifeforms they think each planet can support. [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Sep 20, 2012 - 63 comments

Mercury is an experimental roguelike.

Mercury is an experimental roguelike. How is it experimental? Let's have the creator, Jason Lantz, explain :
" all the game’s content is winner-generated. That means that the game starts out barren. One class for players to play, one monster to fight, and one item to use. But every round, the top two scoring players use a tool built into the game to make a monster, item or class and then that object is automatically inserted into everyone’s game, and players fight for new high scores in an entirely different game every round."

posted by boo_radley on Aug 26, 2012 - 16 comments

Until we fucking well die

Queen's finest moment may have been their 1986 concert at Wembley Arena, which you can now see (at very high quality) online.
posted by BoringPostcards on Apr 14, 2012 - 84 comments

March Madness!

Take a tour of the solar system! Tonight, see the wonders of Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn! There's only one catch: You'll need to actually step outside to do it. [more inside]
posted by bondcliff on Mar 5, 2012 - 48 comments

"That View Is Tremendous"

Fifty years ago today, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. In an recent interview, he lamented the decline of the manned US space program: "It's unseemly to me that here we are, supposedly the world's greatest space-faring nation, and we don't even have a way to get back and forth to our own International Space Station." [more inside]
posted by dsfan on Feb 20, 2012 - 80 comments

He even got "Bismillah" wrong.

The first official video has been released from William Shatner's new album. It's not "F**k You" or "Iron Man." No, it's an... indescribable "cover" of Bohemian Rhapsody.
posted by zarq on Oct 19, 2011 - 135 comments

I'm possessed by love — but isn't everybody?

Today is the 65th birthday of artist, performer, and pioneer Farrokh Bulsara (AKA Freddie Mercury), so Google produced this doodle for him. Here's a YouTube mirror. [more inside]
posted by growabrain on Sep 4, 2011 - 107 comments

"You're right. Man, this is beautiful"

Built as part of the fifth /dev/fort developer retreat, Spacelog.org allows you to explore early space missions via the original NASA transcripts. Currently live are Mercury 6 which made John Glenn the first American in orbit, and the 'successful failure' Apollo 13 (The transcribed key moment and the original). Alongside the transcripts are supporting materials from the NASA archives including photography and descriptions of the mission phases. The developers are looking for help to digitise the Gemini 7, Apollo 8 and Apollo 11 missions.
posted by garrett on Dec 1, 2010 - 11 comments

Turn Me On

A fascinating look at some interesting, and at times mind-boggling, arrays of dials and switches.
posted by gman on Sep 6, 2010 - 48 comments

Whales heavy with metal

"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction." A report (pdf) released Thursday by Ocean Alliance noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. Concentrations of chromium found in some whales was several times higher than the level required to kill healthy cells in a Petri dish. Mercury in some whales was 16 times higher than a typical shark or swordfish, both known for their high mercury levels. Beyond whales, "You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species."
posted by stbalbach on Jun 24, 2010 - 68 comments

8 Wonders of the Solar System

8 Wonders of the Solar System, Made Interactive. "What might future explorers of the solar system see? Find out by taking an interactive tour through the eyes of Hugo Award-winning artist Ron Miller. Text and narration by Ed Bell." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 1, 2010 - 16 comments

Explore the Surface of Mercury

NASA's MESSENGER team (previously: 1, 2, 3), with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, released yesterday the first global map of the planet Mercury. [more inside]
posted by SpringAquifer on Dec 16, 2009 - 15 comments

Beelzebub has some music set aside for you

The Kleptones put together a version of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody stitched together from 33 different cover versions. Synthesizers, computer-generated voices, acoustic guitar, accordion, Weird Al, Star Trek.... (Direct MP3 link) [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Sep 18, 2009 - 50 comments

From the Poor Man's Tesla to the Rich Man's Sedan

From the successful conversion of a Porsche 914 into a battery electric vehicle (BEV), MIT's Electric Vehicle Team are now working on the conversion of a Mercury Milan Hybrid into a quick-charging BEV. Instead of the typical 10 to 12 hours for a full charge, the MIT team is looking at an 11 minute charge-time for their BEV, dubbed "elEVen," and they're blogging in detail about their progress. (via) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 22, 2009 - 44 comments

The Real Price of Gold

We've talked about gold on Metafilter before (1 2 3), and while the price of gold as a commodity rising to record levels again, nobody is talking about the real price of gold. Unfortunately, small-scale mining is sometimes crucial to the livelihood of communities, for example in Suriname (1 2). Although there are attemps to make mining cleaner, the way growth in demand is outpacing supply, combined with the belief that it is a perceived safe-haven store of wealth, it is likely the negative effects will be with us for many decades.
posted by DreamerFi on Dec 29, 2008 - 65 comments

What's Blue, Yellow, and Hot?

Messenger has just made another flyover of Mercury, revealing hidden features. Watch the animation to see the blue volcanoes.
posted by Xurando on Oct 29, 2008 - 24 comments

Liquid mirror telescopes

A liquid mirror telescope is made by spinning a reflective fluid, such as mercury, at a constant rate. This rotation produces a parabolic surface, which is an ideal shape for a telescope mirror. (You can try this yourself.) While these mirrors can be built to be large and orders of magnitude cheaper than solid mirrors, they have the disadvantage that they can only look straight up. Creating mirrors this way is not new; they have a history [.ps] that dates back to Newton. However, they have recently regained attention as the technology behind proposals to build an enormous (20m+) telescope on the moon. (A less technical treatment here.)
posted by Upton O'Good on Jul 1, 2008 - 36 comments

Poison pen

Historical fact follows historical fiction. Lick your fingers to turn the page. [more inside]
posted by WPW on Jun 30, 2008 - 10 comments

Mission to Mercury

Mercury Messenger, a NASA probe, just performed a fly-by of Mercury at a height of 200 kilometers. It's the first spacecraft to visit Mercury since 1975.
posted by Artw on Jan 14, 2008 - 21 comments

The 3-1-3 is 1-2-3

Latest news out of the auto industry: Buick ties Lexus as top auto brand in vehicle dependability. Cadillac is #2. Mercury is #3. If you haven't seen the new Buicks, you should take a look at what they've been doing lately (see: Enclave, Lucerne). Also, the new (sort of) Taurus gets rave reviews. The Ford Edge, also new for 2007, has captured 16% of the crossover market, and owners seem to love it. Finally, for the greenies, GM is ready to test the electric Chevy Volt--says it is on schedule for production in 2010. Is it time to consider buying American again? And not just for the sake of it?
posted by fusinski on Aug 9, 2007 - 150 comments

“What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on?"

The 2007 Mercury Music Prize Shortlist: Amy Winehouse - Back to Black; Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare; Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford - Basquiat Strings; Bat For Lashes - Fur And Gold; Dizzee Rascal - Maths And English; Fionn Regan - The End of History; Jamie T - Panic Prevention; Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future; The View - Hats Off To The Buskers; Maps - We Can Create; New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom; The Young Knives - Voices Of Animals And Men [warning: several links auto-play]. Although The View claim that the prize is irrelevant, most British musicians view the award as the highest honour a musican can receive. The Arctic Monkeys were victorious in 2006, winning with their album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. Dizzee Rascal took home the prize in 2003 for his album Boy in Da Corner. While both will be hoping to repeat their success, but no band/artist has ever won the Mercury Prize more than once.
posted by chuckdarwin on Jul 29, 2007 - 34 comments

RIP Wally Schirra

RIP Wally Schirra, 1923-2007. One of the original Mercury Seven "Right Stuff" astronauts (just two left now), Schirra flew on Sigma 7, Gemini 7, and Apollo 7. From there on, it's stationkeeping.
posted by brownpau on May 3, 2007 - 50 comments

Because if Big Jim did it, it wouldn't be nearly as cool...

You know this is what you always wanted to do with your G.I. Joe and his Mercury Capsule. (And knowing is half the battle!) Oh, and more video rocketry.
posted by kimota on Jan 10, 2007 - 24 comments

DON'T LOOK

Transit of Mercury again. here Transit of Mercury again. Today -- and not for another seven years or so -- Mercury passes between the Earth and the Sun, shwoing up a speck-like black circle. But don't look. Starting times, real-time visual, ways to see it and another caution are here. rotoman
posted by rotoman on Nov 7, 2006 - 40 comments

7 mph would be the equivalent of driving at the speed of light

At forty miles (64.4 km) from Pluto to Sun, the Maine Solar System Model is the largest complete three-dimensional scale model of the solar system in the world. What, you didn't know there was more than one? And yes, Pluto is staying put.
posted by jessamyn on Sep 4, 2006 - 29 comments

Virtual tour of Cape Canaveral.

A fairly comprehensive tour of what's left of the historic Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
posted by loquacious on Jul 2, 2006 - 4 comments

foxxy!

Fox pussies out. Recently a bill passed in mexico legalizing all drugs under certain specified quantities. The bill was promoted By Vincente Fox's party, and came from his offices. However he decided not to sign it under U.S. pressure.

There go my vacation plans.
posted by Paris Hilton on May 4, 2006 - 57 comments

Aero Warriors: Putting rubber to pavement at 200mph.

Aero Warriors: Battling at super speedways on Sunday to sell cars on Monday. In 1969 only showroom stock cars were permitted in NASCAR sanctioned events. This meant in order to compete a car had to be produced and available through dealers in minimum quantities. Only minor changes for racing were allowed. And in 1969 Ford and Chrysler were locked in a Battle Royale to win races. To this end both produced cars designed to dominate on the 1+ mile speedways. For Chrysler: the Dodge Charger 500, Dodge Charger Daytona, and Plymouth Road Runner Superbird. For Ford: the Ford Torino Talladega and Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II. Aero Warriors is the story and history of these street legal, 200mph (320kph) capable, wildly winged cars from the Chrysler side of the line.
posted by Mitheral on Mar 19, 2006 - 16 comments

The FDA took my label away

NewsFilter: U.S. House strips states right to require food warning labels. The bill, which has never had hearing and is backed by well-connected industry lobbyists, seeks to make labels uniform across the country under the sole authority of the FDA, but it could gut 200 state laws in the process. Thirty-seven state attorneys general oppose losing the ability to require warnings such as California's for mercury in fish (though that particular one may have been saved by a last-minute ammendment). The legislation has not yet been introduced in the Senate.
posted by If I Had An Anus on Mar 9, 2006 - 46 comments

Lincoln's ailment

Poor old Abe. He had an impressive medical history, as previously discussed. Will we ever figure out all his ailments? As an explanation for "his especially clumsy gait," one theory claims that he had Marfan's Syndrome (with good company). But now researchers are leaning more toward a new theory, that a gene-linked disorder called ataxia. But Lincoln also suffered from depression which could have been heriditary, for which he took "little blue pills" that gave him mercury poisoning, which could explain his insomnia, tremors and rage attacks, gait, and more. Of course, we also suspect that he was in the closet. Lincoln's DNA will continue to be a growth industry, at least until somebody can get hold of a sample of the old guy and figure him out for sure.
posted by beagle on Jan 29, 2006 - 34 comments

Earth flyby video

The MESSENGER spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral on August 3, 2004 and returned to Earth for its first gravity boost on the way to Mercury a year later on August 2, 2005. MESSENGER took hundreds of high-res digital photos during its Earth flyby and they've been sequenced into an amazing movie of Earth rotating over 24 hours as the spacecraft swung past at thousands of miles per hour.
posted by driveler on Aug 30, 2005 - 31 comments

A stunning vaccine cover-up

A "stunning" link between an ingredient in childhood vaccines and autism leads to a cover-up conspiracy. "But instead of taking immediate steps to alert the public and rid the vaccine supply of thimerosal, the officials and executives at Simpsonwood spent most of the next two days discussing how to cover up the damaging data. According to transcripts obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, many at the meeting were concerned about how the damaging revelations about thimerosal would affect the vaccine industry's bottom line." An earlier post (concerned only with fish) asked, "Got mercury?" Why, yes you do - and fish is the least of your problems. Interestingly, hints of this story surfaced in the media in the Spring/Summer of 2005. There may also be a link between thimerosal and Alzheimer's, A.D.D., and Asperger's Syndrome. A thimerosal resource guide. Maybe we'll take notice this time around?
posted by spock on Jun 16, 2005 - 137 comments

Got mercury?

Got mercury?
posted by mrgrimm on Jun 8, 2005 - 24 comments

Biogeographical patterns of environmental mercury in northeastern North America. 2005.

Mercury Connections: The extent and effects of mercury pollution in northeastern North America. a summary of the major findings reported in a series of 21 papers. Evers, David C. 2005. BioDiversity Research Institute. Gorham, Maine. 28 pages. Mercury Connections is a summary of the major findings reported in a series of 21 papers. These papers are published in: Biogeographical patterns of environmental mercury in northeastern North America. 2005. Ecotoxicology. Volume 14, numbers 1 and 2.
posted by hank on Mar 16, 2005 - 5 comments

Guilt, Love, Death, Redemption, Banjos and Pet Frog Soup.

Meet The Lucky Ones. (more...)
posted by miss lynnster on Jan 11, 2005 - 66 comments

reminds me of energy policy

What a coincidence, huh? (wapo, reg reqd) For the third time, environmental advocates have discovered passages in the Bush administration's proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants that mirror almost word for word portions of memos written by a law firm representing coal-fired power plants. The passages state that the Environmental Protection Agency is not required to regulate other hazardous toxins emitted by power plants, such as lead and arsenic. The actual proposals and study are here.
posted by amberglow on Sep 23, 2004 - 9 comments

Is this the Year of the Return of the New Wave? Or will Keane win?

Yesterday was the 13th Anniversary of Freddie Mercury's death, whilst [almost] coincidentally, tomorrow marks the occasion of the 13th Mercury Music Prize, which he had nothing to do with.
In that time, we've seen classical-punk piano recitals nominated, agit-prop rockers repeatedly snubbed and Radiohead routinely listed but falling short [though not this year.]. It's always a varied list, but are you really interested in the obscure, the fusion, the orchestral and the jazz?
Listen to 'em all here , and fill up the gaps here. A complete list of past nominees and winners can be found here , and the bookies seem to rate both The Streets and Franz Ferdinand worthy of the accolade, according to odds published here.
Will ascullion again pick the winner? Listen on the web to find out tomorrow, midnight GMT, or watch on digital TV in the UK . Previous years' threads here.
posted by dash_slot- on Sep 6, 2004 - 14 comments

We've had plenty of posts about dogs. . .we've had some posts about mercury. . . .but this has not been posted as yet, as far as my searches of the site can deduct. No compelling reason to post this, other than it's in my occupational field and it's interesting.
posted by Danf on Dec 6, 2001 - 8 comments

President Lincoln narrowly avoids insanity.

President Lincoln narrowly avoids insanity. Had he not changed his medication early in his presidency, Lincoln might have conducted the war very differently.
posted by ljromanoff on Jul 17, 2001 - 6 comments

Stop the world, I want to get off:

Stop the world, I want to get off: A group of scientists thinks that a "wobble" in the orbits of Earth and Mercury may have attracted an asteroid, and not a stray comet, to hit the Earth and wipe out the dinosaurs.
posted by logovisual on Jul 5, 2001 - 2 comments

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