NASA’s Submillimeter Light Telescope Launches on Christmas Morning…

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NASA scientists were sure to minimize any chances of a collision with Santa on Christmas night, and successfully launched its newest telescope from the National Science Foundation’s Long Duration Balloon (LDB) facility in Antarctica? The über sensitive telescope called BLAST, short for the Balloon-borne Large-Aperture Submillimeter Telescope, measures submillimeter light waves from stellar nurseries in our Milky Way and will do so for the next 12 to 14 days…

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Happy New Year from the ISS…

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Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn of the International Space Station’s Expedition 34 crew send down their best wishes for a happy new year.

Clearly they had trouble deciding where to put the Christmas Tree this year. How many spots do you think they tried before they settled on this.

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Vintage Numbers Chart from 1948’s The Little Golden Book of Words…

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I had a lot of Little Golden Books growing up. I think they were all hand-me-downs because we were poor, but still, the vintage ness is tasty:

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You can get your hands on your own Little Golden Books from Amazon:

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Sharks Organize Raid of Dubai Mall… Kind of…

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I’m not afraid of sharks… Never have been. I guess I’m just really good at compartmentalizing things, so when I swim in the ocean I rarely think of the things I know or have seen about ocean wildlife and assume I’m safe. Malls on the other hand have me on edge the entire time I’m in one; never really sure why… Until now… This is why, I’m sure of it…

The Man in the Moon ‘Aint as Close as he Looks…

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… Pretty damn far! I first saw this video by Veritasium on the Bad Astronomy blog, where Phil Plait hit the nail on the head: “Most people don’t really grasp just how far away the Moon is, and it’s the closest astronomical object in the sky!” True, most people don’t, myself included. Enjoy!

Duh-Moment Scientific Discoveries of 2012…

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Wanna feel smart? Jeanna Bryner , Stephanie Pappas and LiveScience have gone ahead and summed up the 12 most obvious discoveries of 2012 via Scientific American. Most you probably already knew… It’s just good to have a confirmation.

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1. Good partners make good parents

Perhaps not the most shocking news in the world: Marry a good, secure partner, and you can expect them to become a good, secure parent.

The same skills that make people good in romantic relationships make them good at building relationships with their kids, researchers reported Dec. 6 in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Among the key traits are cooperation and communication. [10 Scientific Tips for Raising Happy Kids]

While this may seem self-evident, researchers say that empirically linking the same skills to the two types of relationships may translate to better self-help and therapy. Fix one relationship, and you may fix them both.

2. We all want to date a hottie

Sure, you may say you look for a good sense of humor and a sweet disposition, but deep down, you have to admit a pretty face wouldn’t go amiss.

Both men and women unconsciously desire a sexually attractive partner, a study released in January found.

Using a high-speed word association test, the researchers found that people responded faster to words linked to sexiness, no matter how low they claimed to prioritize the physical. The mismatch between what we say we want and what we want may be why online dating meet-ups sometimes go astray, the researchers said.

3. Pre-gamers drink more

Do the math: If you drink before you go out and then drink while you go out, you end up drinking more than if you hadn’t had anything to drink before you went out. In other words, those who “pre-game” get drunker than those who just belly up to the bar, according to research published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

“Pre-drinking is a pernicious drinking pattern that is likely to lead people to cumulate two normal drinking occasions — one off-premise followed by one on-premise — and generally results in excessive alcohol consumption,” study researcher Florian Labhart of Addiction Switzerland, where the study was conducted, said in a statement. “Excessive consumption and adverse consequences are not simply related to the type of people who pre-drink, but rather to the practice of pre-drinking itself.”

4. People with more experience make better decisions

Okay, so pre-drinking is a bad decision — and thus, a choice the more experienced would automatically avoid, according to a study released in December in the journal Organizational Decision Making and Human Decision Processes. People with more experience in a field (in this case, basketball or designer goods), were better at making intuitive judgments about that field than newbies, the study found. But the experienced were no better at making decisions than amateurs when told to reason out their choices analytically. In other words, it’s okay to go with your gut — but only if you know what you’re talking about.

5. Keeping guns out of the hands of troubled individuals saves lives

In a report that would tragically prove very timely this year, the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health found that keeping guns away from high-risk individuals prevents gun violence. These individuals include criminals, those with a history of domestic violence, the mentally ill, people under age 21 and substance abusers.

The report also found that the availability of high-capacity magazines increased deaths in mass shootings. [The 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]

“Mass shootings bring public attention to the exceptionally high rate of gun violence in the U.S., but policy discussions rarely focus on preventing the daily gun violence that results in an average of 30 lives lost every day,” said study author Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. “Addressing weaknesses in existing gun laws by expanding prohibitions for criminals, perpetrators of domestic violence, youth, and drug abusers, and closing the loopholes that allow prohibited persons to obtain guns can be effective strategies to reduce gun violence. It is important to note that making these changes to our gun laws would not disarm law-abiding adults.”

6. Exercise is good for you

If you haven’t heard by now that getting moving is good for you, you might want to get with the times. Perhaps also not new news to those who enjoy a good endorphin buzz: Exercise improves mental health as well as physical.

A study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science in September found that both the improved body image that came with exercise and the social interaction inherent in organized sports made teens less likely to suffer from mental problems such as depression, anxiety or substance abuse. The study controlled for factors such as socioeconomic background, age and gender.

7. Calling an ambulance improves heart attack survival

Think you’re having a heart attack? Dial 911. Believe it or not, paramedics really do save lives.

Research presented at the Acute Care Cardiac Congress in October found that only 29 percent of Turkish patients having heart attacks went to the hospital by ambulance, despite the fact that this service is free in Turkey. Taking a cab or driving one’s own car was slower than an ambulance ride and delayed crucial treatment, the study found.

8. Guys are more into their girl friends than vice versa

Apparently some stereotypes about guys and sex are true. It turns out that college-age guys report more sexual interest in their platonic female friends than vice versa, though these crushes are usually described as more of a burden than a boon. [Busted! 6 Gender Myths in the Bedroom & Beyond]

In post-college-age adults, about half of the participants in the study, which was released in May, spontaneously mentioned attraction as a burden to their cross-sex friendships. Nevertheless, study researchers said, male-female friendships can be successful.

9. Smoking a lot of pot can make your mind fuzzy

Yes, science has done it again: Heavy marijuana use can mess with a teen’s brain. The study, detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that of the 1,000 New Zealanders followed, those who started using pot as teenagers and used it for years afterward lost some of their smarts; more specifically, they had an average decline in IQ of 8 points, between age 13 and age 38.

“The simple message is that substance use is not healthy for kids,” study researcher Avshalom Caspi, a psychologist at Duke University and the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said in a statement. “That’s true for tobacco, alcohol, and apparently for cannabis.”

10. Driving when drunk is unsafe

Drinking and driving really is dangerous. A study out this year showed that as a person’s blood-alcohol level increased so did their risk of being killed or involved in a fatal crash, regardless of their age. For instance, compared with sober drivers of the same age, individuals who were ages 16 to 20 with a blood alcohol between 0.02 and 0.05 were nearly three times as likely to be involved in a fatal crash. The study, detailed in May in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, also found that more underage females who have been drinking alcohol are at risk for being in a fatal car crash compared with 2007. The researchers aren’t sure what’s behind the increase, but speculate girls are taking more risks nowadays.

11. High heels are bad for your feet

Cramming your feet into tight-fitting shoes with inches-long heels on the bottom can hurt your feet. The new finding out this year? High heel-wearing is linked to ingrown toenails. So who would’ve guessed that wearing tight-fitting shoes with a steep slope down is one of the most common causes a foot problem in which the toes get compressed so much that the big toenail grows into the skin? But seriously, while often an ingrown nail is just an annoyance, it can get infected and even require surgical removal of the entire nail.

To avoid the pesky podiatry problem, Rodney Stuck, a professor of podiatry at the Loyola University Health System, recommended buying less-tight-fitting heels (yes), and ditching the fashion statements on days when you plan to do a lot of walking and standing.

12. Screaming at your child is harmful to your child

Psychological child abuse, such as belittling, terrorizing, exploiting and neglecting emotionally, can damage a kid’s health.

“We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,” Dr. Harriet MacMillan of McMaster University said in a statement. MacMillan added that examples would include a mother leaving her infant alone in a crib all day or a father pulling his teen into his own drug habit. Such abuse can be as harmful to children as physical harm, the researchers reported in August in the journal Pediatrics.

Random Pic: Randi Zuckerberg Learns About Facebook Privacy Issues the Same Way We Did.

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Randi Zuckerberg posted this photo to her Facebook showing her family’s reaction to the site’s new “Poke” app. Vox Media’s Callie Schweitzer tweeted the photo, and Zuckerberg over reacted:

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You can see the overreaction here

Free eBooks, Movies, Audiobooks and More for your New XMAS iOS Device…

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20121226-170742.jpgIf Ralphie was a kid today, you know he wouldn’t want a Red Ryder BB gun. Even if he did, his parents wouldn’t be caught dead buying one for him… They may be the only parents still buying Ovaltine, but they wouldn’t be totally out of touch.

Nope, you can bet this little window-faced Orphan Annie lover would be after an iPad… Or at least some variation of it. He probably would have got it too; imagine the windfall the family would have received from Apple if he poked his eye out with it! Assuming Ralph got what he wanted, and you did too, Dan Colman from Open Culture has some awesome places to get started with some free content. Take a gander:

20121226-170852.jpg Free eBooks: You have always wanted to read the great works. And now is your chance. When you dive into our Free eBooks collection you will find 375 great works by some classic writers (Dickens, Dostoevsky, Shakespeare and Tolstoy) and contemporary writers (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut). The collection also gives you access to the 51-volume Harvard Classics.

Free Audio Books: What better way to spend your free time than listening to some of the greatest books ever written? This page contains a vast number of free audio books, including works by Arthur Conan Doyle, James Joyce, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell and more recent writers — Italo Calvino, Vladimir Nabokov, Raymond Carver, etc. You can download these classic books straight to your gagdets, then listen as you go.

Free Online Courses: This list brings together over 600 free online courses from leading universities, including Stanford, Yale, MIT, UC Berkeley, Oxford and beyond. These full-fledged courses range across all disciplines – history, physics, philosophy, psychology and beyond. Most all of these courses are available in audio, and roughly 75% are available in video. You can’t receive credits or certificates for these courses (click here for courses that do offer certificates. But the amount of personal enrichment you will derive is immeasurable.

Free Movies: With a click of a mouse, or a tap of your touch screen, you will have access to 500 great movies. The collection hosts many classics, westerns, indies, documentaries, silent films and film noir favorites. It features work by some of our great directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Jean-Luc Godard and David Lynch) and performances by cinema legends: John Wayne, Jack Nicholson, Audrey Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin, and beyond. On this one page, you will find thousands of hours of cinema bliss.

Free Language Lessons: Perhaps learning a new language is high on your list of 2013 New Year’s resolutions. Well, here is a great way to do it. Take your pick of 40 languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, English, Russian, Dutch, even Finnish, Yiddish and Esperanto. These lessons are all free and ready to download.

Free Textbooks: And one last item for the lifelong learners among you. We have scoured the web and pulled together a list of 150 Free Textbooks. It’s a great resource particularly if you’re looking to learn math, computer science or physics on your own. There might be a diamond in the rough here for you.

Jerry Seinfeld: Comedic Precision on a Yellow Note Pad with a Bic Pen…

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Here’s a little piece of tastiness straight from the New York Times and some guy that says he knows Larry David… his name’s like Gerald, or Hank or Carrie or something:

This is a two-parter actually, because from the same story I have a scribblish yellow notepad draft of a genuine Seinfeld PopTart observational joke. It’s no Ovaltine, but I think it’s a real knee-slapper:

20121223-003105.jpg … but wait… There’s more! If you haven’t seen Seinfeld’s new web series (well, new in July) called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee check out episode one below… For the rest of the season head to the YouTube channel or find it on Crackle.