Sad Franklin on Constitution Day, Interesting Nature Photos, Health Care and more

It’s Constitution Day!  And all of Philadelphia’s libraries may be closing as soon as October 2nd.  I can just see Benjamin Franklin rolling over in his grave.  It’s a sad day when one of the institutions that helped form our society (and remains a necessary service) can be neglected in this way.

On the flipside, I think Mr. Franklin would love the citizen involvement with science that new software for Android phones (and soon iPhones) creates.  It seems anyone can access a database of information about a project and upload their own information about that project, complete with GPS coordinates and everything.

Nature is fascinating, and I like to look at the fantastic pictures offered by photographers.  One newly-photographed animal is the golden cat.  Apparently it’s quite elusive and we have little opportunity to study it.  Too bad – it’s such a beautiful specimen!  A less beautiful, but equally fascinating, find is this snake with a foot.  Yup – a snake.  With a single foot.  Kinda creepy?  Sure.  Fascinating and awe-inspiring?  You bet!  And here, just for fun, are some very cool pictures of all kinds of animals.

With the Planck telescope, we are beginning to be able to look back in time, thanks to the nature of light.  Since my understanding of physics is limited at best, I suggest you read the article for further information.  My lame attempts to summarize would probably be completely wrong.  But I understand planets… at least on a basic level!  And a newly discovered planet, Corot-7b,  seems to have a solid, rocky surface.  This isn’t to say it could support life or anything – just that it’s a rare find when most planets outside our solar system are gaseous.

And back to health care.  It’s a big topic, and worthy of much discussion.  This article takes us on a trip through government spending and asks questions about priorities.  I’ve always wondered why we spend inordinate amounts of money on military prowess, space exploration, etc. when we can’t even get our homeless off the streets and our sick taken care of.  Perhaps we should, as a society, reevaluate our values and priorities.  Because without healthy people and proper roofs over our heads, all the military and space spending won’t do a bit of good.

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