What Should Pluto's Smallest Moons Be Called?
For the first time, and only until February 25, the public is invited to submit and vote on names for the objects currently known as P4 and P5.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
This week, the SETI Institute launched a Web site, translated into 12 languages, that invites visitors to submit and vote on names for Pluto's two smallest moons, currently known as P4 and P5. In case you're thinking of various celebrities or body parts, think again: International Astronomical Union conventions stipulate that "the names must be mythological and related to the dominion of Hades." Pluto's three other moons -- Charon, Hydra, and Nix -- all meet these criteria. P4 and P5 were discovered in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
What's the Big Idea?
It's the first time the public has been invited to name a planet's moons, and the gesture ties back to how Pluto itself got its name: An eleven-year-old girl offered it after its discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh, asked for suggestions in 1930. SETI astronomer Mark Showalter says, "I like to think that we are doing honor to Tombaugh’s legacy by now opening up the naming of Pluto’s two tiniest known moons to everyone." NASA's New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to be in Pluto's neighborhood -- and start beaming back pictures -- in early 2015.
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Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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- Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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