Monthly Archives: June 2018

Newly Detected Giant Planet Is ‘Hotter Than Most Stars’

A lot of us are gearing up for summer weather, but if you were living on the newly discovered planet designated KELT-9b, no amount of sun protection products would be able to help you.

Astronomers at Ohio State and Tennessee?s Vanderbilt University have found the hottest-ever planet, whose surface temperature ? at 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit ? is more scorching than most stars.

Located 650 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus, and almost twice the size of our own giant Jupiter, KELT-9b orbits around its parent sun, KELT-9, in a ?yearly? circuit that takes place every 1.5 days.

?It?s a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. And because it is tidally locked to its star ? as the Moon is to Earth ? the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation, and as a result is so hot that molecules, such as water, carbon dioxide and methane can?t form there,? according to The Ohio State University.

?It?s a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we?ve ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side,? said Scott Gaudi, OSU astronomy professor and co-leader of the discovery.

KELT stands for Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope, which refers to two small robotic telescopes ? in Arizona and South Africa ? that scan the night sky, looking at 5 million stars. Researchers look for stars whose light becomes dimmer at regular intervals. This dimming effect is a possible indication of a planet crossing the star.

These KELT telescopes were recently used to confirm another exoplanet that has the density of Styrofoam.

KELT-9b?s future isn?t so hot, despite its extreme heat.

?KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet,? Keivan Stassun, a Vanderbilt professor of physics and astronomy, said in a statement. ?Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury.?

The discovery of this exoplanet is presented in the scientific journal Nature.

KELT-9b?s orbit is so close to its sun that, if the star eventually expands, it will consume the planet.

?KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years,? said Stassun, one of the co-directors of this study. ?The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good.?

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Holocaust Survivor Delivers Scathing Testimony About ICE Arrests

A hearing over legislation that would ban sanctuary cities in Michigan prompted fiery testimony from a Holocaust survivor, who likened the immigration crackdown under President Donald Trump to Nazis rounding up Jews.

The Michigan state House is considering bills that would prevent cities from enacting policies that limit cooperation between local authorities and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials. These so-called ?sanctuary policy prohibition acts? have similar counterparts in more than 30 other state legislatures.

At a hearing on the bills Wednesday, representatives heard about an hour of testimony from opponents of the bill, none more excoriating than from Rene Lichtman, 79, who works with several groups of Holocaust survivors.

?I?m a child survivor of the Holocaust,? Lichtman said. ?I was about 2 years old when the war began and I went into hiding. My family members were picked up in the streets of Paris in the very same way that ICE people are deputizing local police and picking [undocumented immigrants] up in the streets.?

He said that the French police, ?deputized by the Nazis,? kept lists of Jews in Paris, ?including Jewish children, including children on my street, who were picked up and went to the gas chambers while I was fortunate to be in hiding.?

?I see a lot of parallels to what is going on in cities like Ann Arbor and Pontiac, where ICE is coming in and with the help of the local police are picking up immigrants,? Lichtman said.

No cities in Michigan call themselves sanctuary cities, but a few, including Ann Arbor, limit cooperation with ICE and would be in violation of Michigan law if the new bills are passed. Advocates in Ann Arbor and Pontiac have reported an uptick in immigration arrests.

Under Trump, ICE has ramped up enforcement of illegal immigration, arresting 41,000 people in the first 100 days of the new administration, a 38 percent increase compared with the same period last year.

Some local governments have immigrant-friendly policies, such as prohibiting police from honoring ICE requests to continue detaining suspected unauthorized immigrants. The White House has vowed to punish sanctuary cities, and Trump?s executive order to withhold their federal funding has been challenged in court.

Critics of Michigan?s bill and others, like the extreme law passed in Texas last month, say the push against sanctuary policies erodes safety, because immigrants are less likely to report crimes or cooperate with police.

During Lichtman?s remarks, one representative noted that Jewish immigrants were actually one of the earlier groups of people to come to the United States illegally after quota laws were put in place in the 1920s.

Lichtman responded that he had his own experience as an undocumented immigrant ? when he was about 20 and serving in the Army, his captain called him in for a meeting, telling Lichtman his name was on a list of ?aliens.?

?He says, ?What are you doing working in an intelligence unit in the army??? Lichtman recalled. ?I said, ?Sir, I don?t know, you know I came here, I assumed I became a citizen automatically when my mother married an American citizen.? He said, ?Well, that isn?t the case, so get your butt into town and go see Judge so-and-so.??

Lichtman, who came to the U.S. at age 13, said the process to get his citizenship papers was fairly simple.

?Today I would probably be ? ICE could have been called on me and I would have been shipped off,? he concluded in his testimony.

Lichtman and others? opposition didn?t sway the representatives, who passed the bills on party lines and sent them for a full House vote. Rep. Jim Runestad (R), a cosponsor of the anti-sanctuary bills who was at the hearing, told HuffPost he?s ?a rule of law person? and that the legislation would ensure cities follow federal immigration policy.

?I don?t believe that there is any relationship to what the horror of the Holocaust was, compared to what we?re talking about, almost exclusively economic immigrants, illegal immigrants, looking to advance their financial situation,? Runestad said. ?One of the most horrific situations in all of human history, where a people were targeted for mass murder, and comparing it to someone who wants a good job is, to me, a very, very unfortunate comparison, and certainly no parallels, practically at all, exist between the two.?

ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea said the agency ?does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately,? but added that ?ICE will not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.? 

Lichtman has been telling his story at pro-immigrant rallies around the state since Trump came into office, he told HuffPost. He conceded that the ?deportations? of Jews during the Holocaust ? or murders ? were more ?dramatic? than deportation of undocumented immigrants, though he?s not the first to make the comparison.

?I can empathize with these people because I?ve been there,? he added. ?It?s tearing families apart.?

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Conan O’Brien Just Had To Advertise During James Comey’s Hearing

Conan O?Brien just concocted the most shameless plug ever ? invading CNN?s broadcast of James Comey?s testimony on Thursday to advertise his show.

This was all imagined for comedy?s sake, but we still give the ?Conan? host props for raising the bar in tacky promotions.

Besides, somebody had to shed some light on the proceedings.

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Nancy Pelosi Says Donald Trump Isn’t Sleeping Enough

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has some simple advice for President Donald Trump: Go to sleep.

During an appearance on MSNBC?s ?Morning Joe? on Friday, Pelosi was asked what advice she?d give Trump on how to become a stronger leader.

?Well, what I have advised him to do: Go to sleep,? Pelosi said. ?Get some sleep. Bring yourself to a place where the synapses are working.?

?More sleep might be a solution for him,? she added.

Trump has often said he sleeps very little. In February, he told former Fox News host Bill O?Reilly that he typically works ?long hours? and sleeps only 4 to 5 hours a night.

He?s also been known to engage in Twitter wars in the wee hours of the night or early morning, like when he launched an attack on a former Miss Universe during the 2016 presidential campaign.

?He?s in the no more than four hours a night range,? Gwenda Blair, Trump?s biographer, told The Guardian in February. ?He has made a big deal of saying he never sleeps and people who sleep are lazy.?

Lack of sleep can lead to a variety of physical ailments and mental health issues. Research shows functioning consistently on just a few hours of sleep per night can lead to trouble focusing, bad decision-making, mental exhaustion and more.

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