Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Once upon a time, hope was scarce and darkness everywhere. People looked for heroes. During the worst years of the Bush administration, we found them. They weren’t big or brawny, but they had heart. A bunch of nerdy kids blogging about politics were here to save the day.
Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein and their companions were fearless — but, beyond that, analytical. They knew how to use graphs and the Internet, bringing an earnest quantitative approach that would make liberals the Very Serious People of the Digital Age. Even the media establishment had nice things to say about our protagonists.
There seemed to be something different about this band, an idealism that blended the resurgent youth activism that rallied behind Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign and against the Iraq War with the liberal “netroots” culture that developed alongside it. Their popularity grew as they were absorbed into the media ecosystem. Klein’s writing moved from his eponymous Typepad to the American Prospect to the pages of the Washington Post. Yglesias also got his break at the Prospect and ended up at Slate.
But at some point, Klein and company stopped being liberals. They even stopped being human. The singularity— a technological superintelligence — was upon us. The wonks had become robots, ready to force enlightenment down our partisan throats.
In science fiction, cybernetic revolts often begin benevolently. Humans are fallible, petty, prone to argument and war. Synthetics are precise, dispassionate, above jealousy and strife. Wouldn’t our interests be better served kneeling at the altar of disinterested judgment?
Klein wielded his new legitimacy with a simple, high-minded goal: to construct policy to benefit the greatest number. To this end, he went rummaging through the marketplace of ideas. He even sampled those of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), interviewing him in three parts and lauding his “honest entry into the debate” in a 2010 Washington Post piece titled “The virtues of Ryan’s roadmap.” In the same venue a few months later, Klein defended Ryan against attack by the far-from radical Paul Krugman. Klein pushed back against Ryan’s individual points here and there, but his mechanical mind failed to realize that the congressman was playing a different game—a far more dynamic and ideological one—than he was. The blogger wanted to tinker with numbers to make Washington run smoother; Ryan wanted to use data to obscure a different mission: ending the welfare state.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.