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Monday, July 22, 2013

Your Photo From Saturn. Unpopular? Relax, Read the Latest Statistics. The LandFill Orchestra, Imagination and Creativity at its Best. Your Favorite Sci Fi. The Imaginarium

Hello Troops,
On Saturday, The Troubadour asked you to remember where you were when the Cassini spacecraft snapped our photo from Saturn.  Today the pictures are in, and they are amazing.

There we are, almost 900 million miles from Saturn; a pale blue dot with a small white orbiter

PASADENA, Calif. -- Color and black-and-white images of Earth taken by two NASA interplanetary spacecraft on July 19 show our planet and its moon as bright beacons from millions of miles away in space.

Image enlarged 5 times.
Earth and moon
NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured the color images of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away. MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet.  Read More

Everything you know.  Everybody you've met; all your problems, accomplishments, loves and hates are all locked tight in that small blue dot in space.  It kind of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

Another Asteroid Comes Close.  

One Day We Won't Be So Lucky

Listen, I'm not a doomsdayer but come on... it's a matter of time before one of these will be pointed dead at us. Then what? We need to be in a position to *do* something about it.

A newfound asteroid about the size of a football field will cruise past Earth tonight (July 22).

The near-Earth asteroid 2013 NE19, estimated to be between 194 feet and 426 feet wide (59 to 130 meters), will pass within 2.6 million miles (4.2 million kilometers) of Earth tonight — about 11 times the distance between our planet and the moon. There is no danger that it will strike Earth on this pass, scientists say.

Asteroid 2013 NE19, which was discovered just last Monday (July 15), will be quite faint, making it a difficult target for backyard observers.

Watch it Live starting at 9pm EDT at

The LandFill Orchestra.  Watch the first 54 seconds and you'll understand.

Who cares what it smells like, it's what it sounds like that matters.

What Does Bring Popular in High School Really Get You in the Long Run?

Last year, researchers looking at a massive dataset following high school seniors in Wisconsin found that high school popularity was correlated with higher income later on.

This suggests that some combination of family life, genetics, and parenting has more of an effect on future income than high school popularity.  Read more

A Troubadour Question to Our Readers

Which science fiction book you would give to a first-time SF reader?

It only takes one great science fiction or fantasy book to get someone hooked. If it's the right book, that is. When you're faced with someone who likes to read but hasn't delved much into science fiction or fantasy, what the "gateway drug" book you offer him or her? What's the best book for a newbie SF reader?
Please send an email response with the name of the book and the reason it made your choice.  Please include a book cover or other image so we can admire your choice and put it on The Troubadour.

Mine would be Ender's Game because most of the people I interact with are students; and most students, boys in particular, find Ender's Game appealing on many levels.  
After aliens attack Earth, the government decides to train some special kids in how to defeat the aliens. This training is done primarily through playing games. (And not just video games – they also play laser tag, which just happens to be in zero gravity because they’re playing in space.) And Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is the most special of these special kids – which means that he’s also under the most pressure and he’s the loneliest little kid in the world. (Well, in space.)  

This sci-fi plot covers so many aspects of growing up.  
What if you could play video games all day at school? That might be less boring. But what if you also were helping to save the world by playing video games? Then school really wouldn’t seem pointless.
Now let’s think of the flip side: if you have to play games, they become less fun, right? So instead of just being boring, school would actually ruin your fun. And if you were helping to save the world, wouldn’t that be a lot of pressure? Way more pressure than learning about a hypotenuse? Yeah…

Risk Management has spoken.
Watch out, soon mothers will be required to wrap their children in bubblewrap
before sending them to school.  

So, don't be that guy

Right On Doughboy!
We're with you

This is character.  There is a reason you are here.
Be ready when its your turn to make a difference.

How all revolutions begin.
One person says, "I'm not going to take it anymore."

Imagination in action.
Make the ordinary, extraordinary

 Time for your reality check

It ain't cheap being a superhero

A sign in a fishmonger's shop window

How to be the most unpopular, unwelcomed kid on campus

The last of its kind died in captivity

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