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Tom Higgins
Excelsior You Fatheads
Excelsior You Fatheads

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So, literally a false flag operation.

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White Rose Leaflets

"Translations of the 6 printed leaflets"

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Kids In Handcuffs

For a kid on the autism spectrum being hauled off from school in cuffs for autistic behaviors is not ever the right thing for school systems to do. I say this as a dad who has had to deal with the aftermath of this action. 

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Resist Now And Then

“Why do you allow these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanised state system presided over by criminals and drunks? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right - or rather, your moral duty - to eliminate this system?”— 3rd leaflet of the White Rose

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"It has been more than a decade since I found out I am autistic, and I am still working through the trauma from not knowing -- and it is likely something I will continue to struggle with for the rest of my life. The tools that are helping me to heal have overwhelmingly come from within the autistic community. I can only wonder what my life could have been like, if I had been given access to such resources as a child."

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My only question, on which one will we fight the Battle of Serenity Valley?
Something amazing: we have not only the first detection of Earth-sized planets outside our Solar System, but a detection of seven planets around a single star only 40 light-years away - right next door by astronomical standards. These planets orbit a dim dwarf star named Trappist-1 (after the telescope which discovered it, the Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescope in Chile), and by happy chance, are angled in a good way for us to study them. Even better, at least one of them is in the star's "Goldilocks Zone" - at the right sort of temperature to support things like liquid water and an atmosphere.

The paper itself won't be out until Wednesday, but you can get preliminary data about the system here: . (This includes coordinates, but you'll need a strong telescope to see it; this dim star in Aquarius has an apparent magnitude of 18.80, about as bright in the sky as the dwarf planet Eris)

The system is unusual in that three of the planets may support life: Trappist-1d, e, and f. Even more interestingly, the three are similar enough that someone from one planet could potentially survive on the others. All three have roughly terrestrial gravity -- maybe 0.7g's on d and e, and 0.6g's on f. They are of similar sizes, having surface areas 60, 80, and 110% of Earth's, respectively.

Trappist-1d is the most Earthlike: the average temperature is 288K (15C, 59F), the same as on Earth. If you looked up in the sky there with human eyes, you would see a salmon-colored star, about five and a half times the apparent diameter of our own Sun, but somewhat dimmer; at noon, it would be about 15% brighter than it is on Earth. Of course, eyes which evolved on Trappist-1d wouldn't be tuned to the yellow light of our own Sun; they would be much more likely to see light much further into the infrared and less into the blues, and the light would look a "neutral white" to local eyes, just like our own Sun does to us.

If anything has evolved to photosynthesize in the Trappist-1 system, its analogue of chlorophyll would be principally absorbing in the far infra-red, and the local plants would look dark and reddish to our eyes; the oranges and yellows that make up so much of our own vision would be as exotic to Trappists as the ultraviolet which bees see is to us.

But daily life there would be somewhat more different, because in such tight orbits (close in around a small star, with a "year" of four days on Trappist-1d), the planets would be tidally locked to the Sun, with one side always facing it, much like the Moon always faces one side to the Earth. This means that this Earthlike temperature would be the daily temperature nearly every day on the sunny side, at the equator, and it would get steadily colder as you went out to the dark side -- but how much colder depends tremendously on how thick an atmosphere the planet has. It could be anything from hundreds of degrees below zero, the temperature of exposed space, if the planet has no atmosphere, all the way up to inhabitable but chilly temperatures if the atmosphere is thick. (Further investigation will tell us more about this, since as the planet passes in front of its star, we can see which colors of light are absorbed and how much by its atmosphere)

Weather patterns on tidally locked planets are unusual; if you want a sense of it, you can consider this paper ( about what tidal locking would do to it. This may well cause the climate to be so unstable that the planet could never evolve life; we'll have to do more science to figure that out.

The two further-out planets are a bit less hospitable; Trappist-1e averages 251K (21C, 8F), roughly the weather of winter in Fairbanks, and 1f averages a chilly 219K (-54C, -65F), the sort of weather you associate with central Antarctica.

This means that 1dians, if they developed short-range space travel, would be able to travel to these places, but absent some really good reason, they would be more likely to be the home of isolated outposts than major settlements. (Given the small size of this system - planets closely packed around a tiny star - this is far easier to reach than Mars is for us; at closest approach, 1d and 1e are less than three times as far apart as the Earth is from the Moon. During this peak, 1e would be huge in 1d's sky, about 20% bigger than the full Moon is in our own. But you would never see this from the light side; at closest approach, 1e is "behind" 1d, with the full 1e visible only at the center of the dark side. The inhabitants of the light side of 1d would see it only through half-phase, before it sank below the horizon.)

There are far more calculations like this we could do (especially since we apparently have information about their relative orbital periods, which would let us chart the skies there in somewhat more detail) but I have actual work to do...

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“God, why won’t this dang thing come off?” said local man Alex Overton, who is confident that he could take the life of another human being if circumstances ever necessitated it.

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This is a good piece on the history of censorship of abolitionist literature and ideas in the US before the Civil War. The comparison to the current situation doesn't go beyond the first and last sentences; this piece isn't so interesting for what it tells us about the present as for what it tells us about our history, and just why freedom of the press is so important.

h/t +Mark Welch

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