Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
Nate Silver has issued his first set of projections on the 2014 Senate races — and while his early “best guess” is that Democrats hold the upper chamber, Republicans could come close to capturing the majority.
Republicans need to take six seats to grab control, and they’ll have conditions in their favor, with 21 of the 35 seats in this cycle currently held by Democrats, including several in states which usually lean red. For now — and it is very early, with candidates still to be determined and possibly divisive primary battles ahead — Silver sees the GOP gaining 4.6 seats.
Silver emphasizes that this is a best guess and not based on a statistical formula. But he writes on his Five Thirty Eight blog that this takes into consideration the kind of factors which will be rolled into his forecast — a forecast which has been nearly flawless in the last two presidential campaigns.
In this projection, he ranks each seat as safe, likely or leaning to each party, or calls it toss-up. Silver has only moved one seat — retiring West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s — from blue to red, calling it a likely Republican pickup.
But all four toss-ups — Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina and South Dakota — are currently held by Democrats; no Republican seats are seen as particularly vulnerable.
Three other seats — Iowa, Alaska and Arkansas, all held by Democrats now — fall into the lean Democratic category, but some could just as easily be toss-ups, Silver writes.
Iowa becomes a toss-up ”if Republicans settle on a mainstream candidate like Representative Tom Latham, but the possibility of (Tea Party favorite Steve) King being chosen (one poll already projects him ahead in the Republican primary) leaves Democrats as the modest favorite for now.”
Meanwhile, no Republican seats even fall into the “lean Republican” category, a sign that the GOP will have a much easier time defending its seats next year than Democrats.
But all of this early, as Silver admits: “Midterm years usually favor the party that does not hold the presidency — Republicans, in this case — but generally not to the degree that they favored Republicans in 2010. And if Democrats face some challenges from having become increasingly reliant on voters who do not always turn out in midterm years, Republicans face some branding problems, with party favorability ratings near all-time lows in some polls.”
David Daley is the editor-in-chief of SalonMore David Daley.
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.