Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Short Takes – 12-20-22

What made the cut in Congress’s 4,155-page, $1.7 trillion funding bill — and what didn’t. TheHill.com article. HR 2167 Substitute Language Pull quote: “Its expected passage in the days ahead will cap off months of stalemates in haggling over issues like levels of growth for defense and nondefense spending and decades-old riders.”

Lawmakers Boost Military, Domestic Spending in $1.65 Trillion Omnibus Bill. WSJ.com article. A slightly different look. Pull quote: ““Under no circumstances are we going to go over the shutdown deadline” in the Senate, said Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah). He was among a small group of Senate Republicans who grumbled over the length of the bill and the short time they had been given to review it—though they said they wouldn’t try to delay its passage, beyond requesting amendment votes.”

Turbulent Honolulu flight illustrates phenomenon's risks. ABCNews.go.com article. Turbulence incidents increasing. Pull quote: “Clear-air turbulence happens most often in or near the high-altitude rivers of air called jet streams. The culprit is wind shear, which is when two huge air masses close to each other move at different speeds. If the difference in speed is big enough, the atmosphere can’t handle the strain, and it breaks into turbulent patterns like eddies in water.”

NASA Gets Unusually Close Glimpse of Black Hole Snacking on Star. JPL.NASA.gov article. ‘Close’ is relative - 250 million light-years. Pull quote: “The focus of the new study is an event called AT2021ehb, which took place in a galaxy with a central black hole about 10 million times the mass of our Sun (about the difference between a bowling ball and the Titanic). During this tidal disruption event, the side of the star nearest the black hole was pulled harder than the far side of the star, stretching the entire thing apart and leaving nothing but a long noodle of hot gas.”

Spaceflight Companies Promised to Do Science—So How’s It Going? Wired.com article. Near-space companies not so good. Pull quote: “Still, private spaceflights have gotten far more attention for their celebrity customers than their scientific payloads. Jordan Bimm, a University of Chicago space historian, worries that science is being sold as a token add-on in an experience that mainly sells prestige and spectacular panoramic views. “It gives a scientific aura to the mission and to the participants when they go back to Earth,” satisfying cultural expectations associating space with science, he says.”

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