Years before starting her own church with her wife, Lanna Holder tried to quit being gay for God. She represents an unusual side of the Protestantism that’s sweeping the world’s largest Catholic country.
Read more. [Image: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters]
As recently as the early 2000s, piracy on Africa’s eastern coast was a small-time affair. Since then, the pirate economy has gone berserk. Somalia’s dilapidated legal infrastructure, along with the defenselessness of cargo ships, meant easy money for a time: the number of hijackings exploded in the late aughts. Nowadays, some pirates are backed by international investors, and others have their own attorneys to negotiate deals. At their peak, in 2011, Somali pirates are estimated to have collected as much as $156 million in ransoms.
Right now, five human spacecrafts study Mars by hanging out near it. Two do it from the Martian surface—the Curiosity rover, which began its mission in 2012, and the more-than-a-decade-old Opportunity rover—and three do it while orbiting around the red planet.
Earlier this month, one of those kinds of spacecraft happened to see the other.
On April 11, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter passed near Aeolis Mons, a mountain near the equator in the planet’s eastern hemisphere. It photographed a hilly region nearby known as the Kimberley, and there it caught a robot that’s been hanging out among the hills for the past few months: the Mars Curiosity Rover.
Read more. [Image: NASA]
You want a time machine, don’t you?
Because one in 10 Americans do — at least that’s what they said when Pew Research Center asked what futuristic technology they would like to own.
That’s a notable percentage of people, especially when you consider that survey respondents came up with “time machine,” unprompted, out of every possible future invention they could imagine. (Naturally, flying cars were popular, too.)
The curious thing is that Pew found people’s level of interest in time travel had a lot to do with how old they are. About 11 percent of 30-to-49-year-olds said a time machine was the one futuristic device they’d want to own, but only 3 percent of people older than 65 said so.
And looking across demographics of the entire study group, people under 50 were way more into time-travel than people older than 50.
Why is that?
For the past few weeks, armed groups of pro-Russian men have been storming and seizing government buildings in towns across eastern Ukraine. Angered by the new pro-western Ukrainian government and emboldened by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, these groups are demanding separation from Ukraine. Ukraine’s new government has asked for western assistance, as it tries to recapture police stations, airbases, and other government properties — without resorting to violence that may trigger a Russian response. Meanwhile, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are deploying in eastern Ukraine, with even more Russian soldiers massed on the other side of the border. NATO officials said they planned to deploy more forces in eastern Europe and called for Russia to stop “destabilizing” the former Soviet satellite, which has been in deep turmoil since the ouster of the pro-Kremlin leadership in February.
Right now, 500 light years away from Earth, there’s a planet that looks a lot like our own. It is bathed in dim orangeish light, which at high noon is only as bright as the golden hour before sunset back home.
NASA scientists are calling the planet Kepler-186f, and it’s unlike anything they’ve found. The big news: Kepler-186f is the closest relative to the Earth that researchers have discovered.
It’s the first Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of another star—the sweet spot between too-hot Mercury-like planets and too-cold Neptunes— and it is likely to give scientists their first real opportunity to seek life elsewhere in the universe. “It’s no longer in the realm of science fiction,” said Elisa Quintana, a researcher at the SETI Institute.
But if there is indeed life on Kepler-186f, it may not look like what we have here. Given the redder wavelengths of light on the planet, vegetation there would sprout in hues of yellow and orange instead of green.
Read more. [Image: NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech]
Piper Chapman is the protagonist of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. But Taylor Schilling’s Brooklyn-dwelling yuppie spending a year in prison isn’t the star of the show, not really. That honor goes to the wide ensemble of her fellow inmates—characters like Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, Galina “Red” Reznikov, and Sophia Burset, all of whose stubborn pride in the face of mistreatment by the world provides the series’ hilarious, heartbreaking appeal.
The show’s creator, Jenji Kohan, seems to realize this fact, saying that the white, middle-class Piper was the “Trojan Horse” that allowed her to secure funding and viewership for a show with such a diverse cast. In the first season, Schilling did a fine job portraying a woman whose false cheer and sense of superiority slowly, necessarily erodes in her new environment. But now that Orange Is the New Black has built a devoted following that fills Tumblrs full of GIFed quips from secondary characters, the best thing it could do in its sophomore set of episodes would be to ease up on Piper’s screen time so we can better know the other women at Litchfield.
Happily, the trailer released today hints that might be what happens when the show returns on June 6th.
Read more. [Image: Netflix]
Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education, the schools in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, show how separate and unequal education is coming back.