Pandemic Microbes, Dark Matter, China on the Moon: Your Weekend Reading

big baby bird in a sweater on a beach

Friday has arrived, with the swiftness of a desert tortoise crossing a state highway. Here is your recommended reading for the weekend.

    1. Mars. Scientists on the space station exposed two types of Antarctic microbes to simulated Mars-like conditions, and found that they’d probably survive if introduced to Mars.
    2. Science Fiction. Some lovely people are making a documentary about science fiction legend Ursula K. Le Guin. The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded them some funds, but won’t pony it up until the rest of the production costs are raised. So, Kickstarter to the rescue, of course.
    3. China on the Moon. In 2013, China sent a lander to the Moon, and took some stunning pictures with modern cameras. They also discovered a new kind of Moon rock. National Geographic has a nice gallery of the images.
    4. Pandemic. You may have heard recently of the Zika virus, a mosquito-born illness that might be causing a birth defect called microcephaly (small heads and brain damage), at high rates in babies born in Brazil. The link between Zika and these high rates of birth defects is not conclusive, but there is definitely something going on in Brazil.
    5. Only in Texas. That said, the Zika virus has now appeared in the US, but not through mosquito transmission. Texas has the honor of having the third known case in the world of sexually transmitted Zika virus, because of course we do.
    6. Cute and Deadly. On a lighter note, oh my gods I need all of these incredible vinyl toys from Shinbone Creative in their Thimblestump Hollow collection.
      They’re cute and terrifying, with deep, adorable eyes that could easily draw you down into a sweet, sappy doom of being disemboweled and eaten alive.
    7. Time and Dark Matter. According to Frank Wilczek, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the nature of Time probably has something to do with dark matter. I read this article three times before I really wrapped my head around the idea he’s getting at. It’s a great think piece, and my head’s spinning with the possible implications for time travel fiction.
    8. Humans are less special. A recent experiment indicates that ravens have a form of empathy, in that they can imagine another creature’s point of view.
    9. Horror. Have you heard about the upcoming horror movie Ava’s Possessions? No? How about Spirit Possessions Anonymous? Learn how SPA can help you with your demons in the video below, then go watch the teaser trailer.