Possible Targets Pt.2

I just realized I never actually followed up with this. Let’s fix that right now, shall we?

Gliese 581

  • 20 light years away
  • has 3 confirmed planet
    • possibly 3 more
    • at least one of the planets is too hot to sustain life
    • one confirmed to be in the habitable zone
  • red dwarf star
  • has a comet belt surrounding the system at ˜25-60 astronomical units

Gliese 667

  • 23,6 light years away
  • 3-star system
    • A and B orbit each other in 42,15 years, C orbits the pair at a distance of 230 astronomical units
    • A has 73% of the Sun’s mass, 76% radius and 12-13% luminosity
    • B has 69% mass and 5% luminosity
    • C is a red dwarf with 31% mass, 42% radius and 1,4% luminosity
  • C has at least 2 planets
    • one of these may have liquid water and is warmer than Earth

Vega

  • 25 light years away
  • blue-tinged
  • 455 million years old
  • 400% of the Sun’s luminosity, twice the mass
  • fast rotation makes the star wider in the middle
  • surrounded by a debris disk spanning 70-100 to 330 astronomical units (may reach as far as 815 AU)
  • may have a planet or planets larger than Jupiter on orbit
    • may also have a planet the size of Neptune and smaller planets closer to the star

Small fun fact: can be seen during the summer in the Northern hemisphere, where it will shine brighter than the last star of Ursa Minor’s tail, roughly opposite to said star.

Gliese 876

  • red dwarf star
  • 32% mass and 1,24% luminosity of the Sun
  • at least 4 planets in orbit
    • two of those may be about the size of Jupiter
    • two are in the habitable zone, 0,116-0,227 AU
  • depending upon theory thought to be either 6,5-6,9 billion years or 0,1-5 billion years old

 

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Status update

This post is totally unrelated to anything, mostly just me venting about certain things. If you don’t care to read a rant about how my boss is a bitch, feel free to skip this one.

So, as I might have mentioned, I spent most of last year running from doctor to doctor due to issues with my right hand. Last November I finally got permission to go back to work after two and a half months of sick leave.

Last week I had to go work the registers at my job. It was going fine up until the last hour or so, when a client with a huge load of groceries came up to my till. That’s cool and all, except that my hand totally disliked it. So, knowing that I had another cashier shift next week I went to the manager and told her I couldn’t do it with my hand.

She told me I should really consider finding another job. Legally she cannot fire me because of my health unless I spend a whole year on sick leave. It is also legally my employer’s task to find me something I can do until I fully recuperate, no matter how many times they try to say they have nothing I could do.

She went on that cashier duty is part of my job, the same as everyone else. The truth is that there are many people with other work-related injuries and also many healthy individuals who never have to work the registers, no matter the fact that they have the training to do it. It has also been the recommendation of my doctor that I should not work as a cashier due to the repetitive motions and heavy load it puts on my hand. It seems I’m the only one to whom the rule applies. In the three years prior to my injury I also never had cashier duty. Suddenly after my doctor has forbidden it it’s of the utmost importance.

I feel like she’s trying to make me quit my job. If I won’t do it willingly and go quietly I’m certain she will start fabricating warnings for me as she has done to many others.

I’m just asking, is this really what five and a half years of dedicated work is worth? I’ve never said no to any task that’s been within my abilities, I’ve been willing to stretch and give up my free time to do my job. Until my health problems – that were caused BY my job – I’ve had much fewer sick days than the average employee.

But hey, she can try and get me fired. I’ve got the union at my back. She should really think long and hard whether she and the company want to go through a law suit over something so menial. I refuse to go down quietly, I refuse to quit when the law is on my side. Sure, if they’re willing to pay me (let’s say a year, year-and-a-half worth of pay in the least) I think we can work out an agreement… but there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell of that.

That’s the rant, for now. I’ll be posting something more relevant in a couple of days, hopefully. Until then, ta-ta.

Media Criticism

For quite a while now I’ve been thinking that people just cannot tell whether a newspaper, internet site or even TV news are telling the truth or whether they have an agenda of some sort. The other day my doubts were confirmed. A large newspaper around here had an article last week about how kids cannot tell the difference between reliable sites and others that have ulterior motives.

A study by the University of Jyväskylä found that only about a third of 12-year-olds can assess information sources with necessary criticism. In the study, the kids were shown two texts, one a university paper about the health effects of energy drinks, the other a press release by a company manufacturing said drinks. Almost all could tell that the university paper was reliable, but only one in five could tell the latter text was commercial.

The researcher conducting the study thinks the results are worrisome, especially since the results do not seem to improve with age. Even 16-19-year-old students seem to have issues with media and source criticism. She says in the article that a majority had no criticism towards what they read. So that means that they basically believe everything some half-wit puts on paper? Wow.

The article continues by saying that even grown-ups have difficulties with discerning what the actual source or agenda of a story or article really is. I can totally vouch for this. As I may have mentioned, I work at a huge supermarket. We sell quite a variety of different gossip magazines and other such material known for less reliable sources and variable quality of writing. I’m regularly amazed at how many people take everything printed on that trash seriously and think it’s true.

There is a historic backdrop to this. Not so long ago (20 years back, even), Finnish media was rather reliable. You wouldn’t hear similar half-truths or direct lies in any respectable newspaper or on the TV news as you can today. Not everything was turned into a huge issue overnight like seems to happen all the time today. OMG, the prime minister made a happy tweet the same day (hours before) some huge disaster took place on the other side of the globe: he must be totally disrespectful of human suffering! (And unfortunately that’s not just an example I made up.) From this perspective, it’s really not so surprising that some people think the media is still the same. Newsflash: it is not.

From where I’m looking at this situation, some people have totally relinquished their free thought. The press (especially the yellow side) has taken up petty sensationalism over other, more important things. Now, I don’t want to sound like a total conspiracy theorist, but it can’t be a total coincidence that when there’s something that should really be discussed something minor and inconsequential (some person’s 20-30 years younger new spouse or a messy divorce of some useless celeb) takes precedence and the important stuff is just glossed over.

Then there’s the issue of social media bubbles. People only have friends who think like they do, who only share news they can agree with. If you have the wrong opinion you might even get unfriended (is that a word?) or at the least lynched by people who disagree with you. These people just bounce around their thoughts from other similarly-minded friends and start thinking everyone must think the same way (because everyone they know does!), even when they were in a minority.

So, is there a solution for this? Trying to tell the truth of things or to even moderate the shitstorm rarely works. Teaching kids media criticism will likely have a positive effect in the future, but what do you do about all those grown-ups who can’t be made to learn? They’ll just happily prance around with their bubbles firm in place until one day they drop dead… unless some personal experience forces them to learn it the hard way.

That sounds horribly depressing, but I guess that’s just the way of things. The subjects change, but some general themes just stay the same