It's About Time a Bishop Was Indicted
As regular readers know, I've devoted considerable time to writing about the child-molestation scandal engulfing the Catholic church. The core of this story isn't that there are child abusers within the ranks of the clergy, but that their superiors within the church have consistently enabled and protected them by hushing up their crimes, failing to report them to the authorities, and continually moving them to new parishes where they could prey upon new victims. As the saying goes, it's not the crime, it's the cover-up.
This is just what we should expect from an institution premised on hierarchy, secrecy, and unaccountability. The Catholic church still conceives of the relationship between itself and its parishioners as the relationship between a king and his subjects: the bishops and cardinals have complete power and make all their decisions in secret, and ordinary Catholics are expected to be quiet and obedient - or as the Pope once put it, to follow the church's decrees "like a docile flock." And even after all the lawsuits, convictions, and consent decrees, the church's higher-ups still think in this mold - that "avoiding scandal", or in other words, avoiding damage to the church's public image - is the most important factor, outweighing even the need to protect children from sex predators. Late last week, we had further appalling confirmation of that.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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