You and Me

It’s the perfect pairing, writes Salon: Sarah Palin and Jay Leno, who share a common foe in David Letterman, teamed up to deliver a blow to his ratings on Tuesday night.

It’s the perfect pairing, writes Salon: Sarah Palin and Jay Leno, who share a common foe in David Letterman, teamed up to deliver a blow to his ratings on Tuesday night. But there was more to Palin’s appearance on the Tonight Show than met the eye. "Her poll numbers, after all, have plummeted to alarming depths. More than 70 percent of all Americans – and more than 50 percent of Republicans – now believe she is unqualified for the presidency. And there are only 23 months until the Iowa caucuses. So she was wise to sit down with Leno, who provides the kind of image boost to Republican political figures that Larry King’s does for fallen celebrities. In the last few years, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Fred Thompson launched their campaigns from Leno’s couch and Mike Huckabee stopped by on the eve of his 2008 Iowa triumph. And don’t forget Rush Limbaugh, who took a seat just a few months ago. One of the knocks on Leno is that he’s too eager to please people to be very interesting. But this is a trait that can serve someone like Palin just fine. Little was required of her on Tuesday night. She participated in the obligatory cold open gag – informing Leno that, instead of cue cards, his monologue would be printed on her hands – walked on stage to the tune of ‘Everyday People,’ and smiled and laughed through Leno’s please-like-me questioning."

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • 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.

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

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.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • 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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