Happy Friday of the first impeachment hearing week! To be honest, I have been way busy at work and have no idea what’s going on with the hearings, save from the few snippets I hear on NPR on my short work commute.
Instead, I am at PhysCon, a conference primarily for and by undergraduates in physics. I’m here as my school’s chapter advisor with a couple of wonderful students. With so much work on my mind, today’s Quickies will be a bit space-heavy…
- A bright meteor lights up the sky in several states and shows up on a camera on St. Louis. These kinds of videos have gotten vastly more frequent since the ubiquitous use of smartphones and dashcams. And yet good videos of alien spacecraft have not… which is my stock answer to questions about my thoughts on UFOs.
- Following up on a couple of previous posts, SpaceX continues to launch Spacelink satellites despite concerns from the scientific community.
- The weird and wonderful double-lobed space rock imaged by New Horizons and known as 2014 MU69 finally gets an official name: Arrokoth, or “sky” in the Powhatan/Algonquian language, in consultation with the Indigenous people of Maryland, where the spacecraft’s mission control is now. The NASA team does not, however, seem to indicate that they messed up when they doubled down on its previous Nazi-friendly nickname.
- If this was a fictional story it might sound amusing, but it’s real so it’s actually horrific: Russia’s greatest Napoleonic reenactor was found drunk in a river with the severed arms of his lover in his backpack. Now with extra creepy “Don’t date your goddamn students” subplot! Hat tip to B for sending along this one.
And here are this week’s cuuuuuute animals:
- An awkwardly timed photo of an adorable lion cub is the funniest animal photo of 2019… I don’t know whether to tag this as NSFW or not?
- My husband showed me this one of a “speaking” dog and I wondered aloud if there was a bit of the Clever Hans effect here and he looked at my like I had just spoken Ferengi and I remembered that not everyone is a dork about old-school skeptical stories. But whatever, it’s actually pretty clever to make use of an adaptive speaking device used with toddlers, and this dog is clearly a GOOD GIRL.
- Speaking of doggos, UNICORN PUPPY has a vestigial tail growing out of his little forehead and they named him Narwhal and just AWWWWW.
- ADORABLE “mouse deer” called a silver-backed chevrotain extensively photographed for the first time in 30 years. Saying it was “not seen” is misleading, since it was sharing a habitat with Vietnamese villagers and forest rangers who helped the scientists seek out this animal for study. Story via Muscadine. Our featured image is of a related species, the Indian spotted chevrotain.