[VIDEO] New Planetary Finds Hailed as Breakthroughs

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Georgia McCafferty reports: The two finds, one planet at the edge of our solar system and one just beyond, have both been hailed as major scientific advances.

“One of the goals of astronomy and astrophysics and finding these planets is firstly to really find another Earth. And part of the reason of finding another Earth is that we ultimately do want to find life in the universe. It’s a question that weighs on everyone’s mind.”

Commenting on one of the planets, Brad Tucker, an astronomer from Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra, Australia who was not involved in the research, said it “probably gives us the best chance for life outside our solar system right now.”

“One of the goals of astronomy and astrophysics and finding these planets is firstly to really find another Earth,” he added. “And part of the reason of finding another Earth is that we ultimately do want to find life in the universe. It’s a question that weighs on everyone’s mind.”

Lying on the edge of our solar system, a new, rocky planet close to the size of Earth and named GJ 1132b, is the discovery that holds the most potential for finding new life to date, according to astronomers.

The scientists who discovered it it said its small size and proximity — it’s three times closer than any other similar object found orbiting a star — “bodes well for studies of the planet’s atmosphere,” according to their report in the journal, Nature.

“By being able to find evidence of these smaller, more inner planets, these rocky planets that we have in our solar system, we’re really realizing that the planets are probably in the trillions in our galaxy alone.”

“GJ 1132b (is) arguably the most important planet ever found outside the solar system,” Drake Deming, an astronomer at the University of Maryland said in an accompanying letter in the journal. He added that it’s proximity will “allow astronomers to study the planet with unprecedented fidelity.”

“It’s more habitable, it’s less harsh and this gives us a good strong chance of actually finding life or something as opposed to the other Earth-like planets found to date.”

Found moving across a “red dwarf” star that is only a fifth of the size of the world’s sun, the planet has a radius only 16% larger than Earth’s, and has surface temperatures that reach 260 degrees Celsius. Although that’s too hot to retain liquid water or sustain life as we know it, Tucker said it was cool enough to support some of the basic building blocks of life, and possibly support life forms like bacteria. Read the rest of this entry »


Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television

Exhibition Clip; Revolution of the Eye Modern Art and the Birth of American Television The Jewish Museum May 1 – September 20, 2015; Organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, and the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Exhibition Curator: Maurice Berger

A new exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York looks at modern art’s influence on the early days of TV 

 writes: As far as song-and-dance TV shows go,  American Bandstand and Soul Train could hardly have been more different. Bandstand, which originally aired in 1952, showcased poodle skirt–wearing teenagers singing along to Top 40 radio CEiVTyxWEAEPhREhits, while Soul Train, which debuted two decades later, had a funkier repertoire of R&B, jazz, soul, and gospel acts.

“The pioneers of early television understood the medium’s innate power, and they mined the aesthetic, stylistic, and conceptual possibilities of a new and powerful technology.”

— Curator Maurice Berger

But the shows did have one surprising thing in common: set designs heavily influenced by modern art. The abstracted platforms, stepped risers, and colored spotlights were lifted straight from the world of minimalist art, according to Abbott Miller, a Pentagram partner and one of the designers of a new exhibition up in New York titled Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television.

[Read the full text here, at WIRED]

The advent of premium cable channels may have ushered in a golden age of TV, but the experimentalism of TV’s early days shouldn’t be underestimated. Today we praise shows that meticulously and authentically re-create a look or moment, like the 1960s-era New York we watch on Mad Men, or the meth labs and Albuquerque homes of Breaking Bad.

Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of  American Television May 1, 2015 – September 20, 2015  The Jewish Museum, New York

But when TV was just getting started, executives and creatives saw it differently, as a place where the art world and mass media could intersect. “The pioneers of early television understood the medium’s innate power, and they mined the aesthetic, stylistic, and conceptual possibilities of a new and powerful technology,” writes curator Maurice Berger. Television executives of the time, Berger says, were fascinated by avant-garde artists and saw television as not just a way to entertain the masses but as a vehicle for ideas about modern art.

Exhibition Clip; Revolution of the Eye Modern Art and the Birth of American Television The Jewish Museum May 1 – September 20, 2015; Organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, and the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Exhibition Curator: Maurice Berger

Ernie Kovacs, seen here, was an early experimental TV comedian. Courtesy of the Jewish Museum

If you ever thought TV pre-HBO was the fast food of entertainment, Revolution of the Eye, now open at the Jewish Museum in New York City, has more than 250 artifacts to prove otherwise. The exhibit is all about the early days of network programming—from the 1940s to the 1970s—and spotlights the ways networks were influenced by the aesthetics of high art and clever design in a way they haven’t been since….(read more)

The CBS logo, from an ad that ran in Fortune. Courtesy of the Jewish Museum

The CBS logo, from an ad that ran in Fortune. Courtesy of the Jewish Museum

Take the titles from Laugh-In, for example: “It was trafficking in this Pop, almost psychedelic, language that is pretty concurrent with the psychedelic poster explosion on the West Coast, but they were using it to signify that this was a different kind of media,” Miller says. Read the rest of this entry »