From the Editors
The planets are always out there, silently orbiting, dancing with the stars. Normally we let the cosmic orbs sail by unnoticed. Now Mars and Venus are in the news and in the blogs. Days after the New Yorker published his essay "Take Me Home," about his childhood love affair with Mars, sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury (Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, etc.) passed away and blasted into his next dimension, at age 91. The New Yorker's Page Turner blog was quick to ask novelist Junot Diaz for a remembrance: "The truth is, for me, and for a whole generation of readers, I'm sure, Bradbury is never far from mind. He was simply too important, too indelible, his imagination too uncanny, his impact on the culture too sustained and profound....Bradbury influenced generations of readers and many of our most famous dreamers, from Stephen King to Steven Spielberg." "He preferred the term 'fantasy' to science fiction," says Vagabond Scholar, which rounds up many obits. Sci-fi writer Neil Gaiman quickly wrote an ode to Bradbury, intended for his own blog, but which the Guardian newspaper asked if it could use, so only the start of it, plus an excuse about it, is on the blog...
"Apologies for the roughness," Gaiman blogged. "It's been a rough day. I cried once when I called Harlan Ellison to make sure he knew, a second time when my editor Jennifer Brehl, who was also Ray's editor and friend, said 'You know, he really loved you.' And each time the tears took me by surprise." Writes John Biggs at TechCrunch: "Reading him was like reading a story written on a cave wall - true, indelible, and exceedingly strange. He wrote horror without being bloody, he wrote sci-fi without being fussy, and he wrote of lives that went on long before mine. " Sci-fi site io9 got a note from Bradbury's grandson: "His legacy lives on in his monumental body of books, film, television and theater, but more importantly, in the minds and hearts of anyone who read him, because to read him was to know him." President Obama gave a statement too: "Ray understood that our imaginations could be used as a tool for better understanding, a vehicle for change, and an expression of our most cherished values." Though we know the real Martian president would have been Newt Gingrich. (Mitt Romney, of course, is Romulan.)
This week's historic Transit of Venus was not Venus Williams' elimination from the French Open. It was "the rarest of predictable astronomical events," says Geekosystem. "Like a miniature eclipse, Venus passed between Earth and the Sun, treating viewers to sight that (thanks to an orbital quirk) happens only twice in a lifetime." No one will see this again until 2117, but Geekosystem has photos from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory space telescope. Gawker finally got something legit to gawk at and posted a time-lapse video from the NASA Observartory: "Consider this: Since the telescope was invented 400 years ago there have been only seven Venus transits. How's that for an eye-opener?" Bad Astronomy has collected photos of the transit taken by Eathlings everywhere: "I chose the images in this gallery because they made me smile, they made me laugh, and they made me proud of how wonderful the Universe is, and how we humans appreciate it."
Terrestrials can throw a party too. In a very predictable and
astronomically not-so-rare event, Great Britain celebrated the Diamond
Jubilee (the 60th anniversary of the day Queen Elizabeth was crowned).
Zillions of Brits were enthralled, as many photos and videos and UK flags and boats clearly demonstrate.
In the U.S., not so much. "Sorry, but the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was
boring and only convinced me that this bizarre tradition should end,"
says Business Insider. "God save
d a lot of money by switching His car insurance to Geico the Queen!" raves Perez Hilton.
"American news outlets devoted an entire weekend to coverage of the
Diamond Jubilee - instead of, say, a Nigerian plane crash with over 150
fatalities - but Jon Stewart was happy to call them on their codswallop!" Elaborates Talking Points Memo: "Jon Stewart watched CNN's Diamond Jubilee coverage so you didn't have to. Let's just say he thought it was a little over the top. It turns out, it's difficult to turn a 1,000-boat flotilla on the River Thames into riveting, must-see television." Stewart said: "Sixty years on the throne? Get that woman some fiber." Video here.
Farther down on the list of cosmic significance, but very possibly more relevant to your life than the Queen of England or the path of Venus, is the recent hacking ofLinkedIn's password database. Memeburn explains (kind of): "This week, a hacker in a Russian forum claimed to have hacked LinkedIn and obtained the password hashes for 6.5-million accounts. The hashes were posted online but ...without corresponding usernames. However, many users have hashed their passwords and then searched to check whether or not the file contains the relevant hash." Whetever has h means here, the bottom line is: chanmeg tyoru LinkedIn password pronto. Betanews explaisn why the LinkedIn hack is "much worse than you think," but the argument is that a hacker might fiddle with your job history list or something like that. Really? Maybe they would improve it! More useful si Betanews's roundup of funny tweets that suggest it's a truly rare astronomical event it is for someoneto go to LinkedIn: "The guy who went to LinkedIn and stole 6.5 million passwords should be easy to find since he's the guy who went to LinkedIn," Tom Siedell tweets. "Imagine if the LinkedIn password thing was just a ploy by LinkedIn to get everyone to log into the site for the first time in two years?," Gary He tweets. Matt Goldich: "A Russian hacker knows my LinkedIn password. That makes one of us."