science, astronomy, stargazing, new book, Maggie Aderin-Pocock
Photo credit: Science and Technology Facilities Council / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

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‘Call Me Chief Priestess for the Moon Goddess’: Space Scientist Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock (Maria)

The author writes, “‘Call me chief priestess for the moon goddess,’ says Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock when I ask whether she prefers to be known as an astronomer, physicist or space scientist. She is, after all, entitled to all of them because before presenting The Sky at Night on the BBC she trained as a physicist, then an engineer and is now the nation’s go-to woman for all things space. But it seems that she really has her eye on the job of a 4,300-year-old Sumerian religious leader. … Forgotten or uncredited scientists, such as En Hedu’anna, feature prominently in Aderin-Pocock’s new book, The Art of Stargazing, a practical guide to identifying and understanding the 88 constellations. She is also keen for us to look at these familiar formations through non-Western eyes.”

Here’s Why Mike Johnson Is More Dangerous Than Donald Trump (Dana)

From The Daily Beast: “The most dangerous movement in American politics today is not Trumpism. It is Christofascism. With the election of Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, the organized effort to impose the extreme religious views of a minority of Americans on the entire country, at the expense of many of our most basic freedoms, took a disturbing step forward. Despite Speaker Johnson’s claims of being a constitutional ‘originalist,’ via his elevation by a unanimous vote of his Republican colleagues he has moved America closer to having precisely the kind of government America’s founders most feared.”

Why Russia and Hamas Are Growing Closer (Sean)

From the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: “Moscow’s relationship with the militant group Hamas is part of a Middle East strategy meant to boost its standing in the Global South: an effort that has long involved building ties with both Israel and its sworn enemies.”

In His Own Words: This Is Why Netanyahu Must Go (Gerry)

The author writes, “The Israelis and their army will not be able to beat jihadist terrorism as long as Benjamin Netanyahu is their prime minister.”

Maryland Launches Nation’s First State-Backed Service Year Program (Russ)

The author writes, “Before the pomp even really began, Maryland’s inaugural class of Service Year members wore broad smiles and streamed past red-lipped cheerleaders with pompoms to celebrate the country’s first state-run service year program. Inside the University of Maryland’s Armory on Friday, the pep-rally vibe kicked into a higher gear, sending 280 participants into community-centered jobs across the state, roles meant to help them find a career and give back to the state. Some will work with legal aid, others in after-school programs for Baltimore City teenagers. Service Year members will work with nonprofits doing environmental work, with huge corporations such as BG&E and in scores of other roles tailored to their interests, state officials said.”

A New White House Plan to Create Affordable Housing: Convert Empty Office Buildings (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “As cities across the US continue to struggle with climbing office vacancies and unaffordable rents, the White House on Friday released a new plan to help property owners convert empty offices into apartment units. By opening up significant financing resources to office-to-residential conversions, as well as by providing technical assistance, the Biden administration aims to make it easier for these challenging rehab projects to advance — with an eye toward both sustainability and affordability.”

In Seattle, Phones Ding. Orcas Could Be Close (Reader Steve)

From The Seattle Times: “Peter Bates was dropping his car at the mechanic this month when a notification pinged on his phone: killer whales were approaching his Seattle neighborhood. He hopped on a bus toward the water, then an electric bike. He was pedaling along a shoreline trail when orcas’ black fins and white spots punched through the water a few yards away. ‘They move so quickly. I was pedaling fast,’ he said. ‘I was open-mouthed the whole way. It was a completely joyful experience, just full of awe.’”


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