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Bouncy House
Author: TriSec    Date: 02/20/2016 13:01:52

Good Morning.

Off to the store in a bit. I don't have anything coherent this morning, so let's click a few links and see what pops up.

We're going to start about as far away as you can get from our humble Earth and still be in the local neighborhood. That Horizons thingy that flew past Pluto last July continues to amaze and astound.



NASA’s historic flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft has yielded a wealth of new discoveries — but the latest one about its moon Charon is truly amazing.

Data from New Horizons indicates that Charon may have once had a large subsurface ocean, which could have causes cracks on the surface of the moon seen in some recent pictures, according to a Washington Post report.

The tectonic landscape of the moon indicates there has been some expansion and swelling, resulting in the cracks. The pocked surface of Charon is covered in water ice, and it may have once been relatively warm — warm enough for a large amount to have pooled deep below the surface. After a while, the heat would have dissipated and the subsurface ocean would have been frozen, expanding and causing the moon to crack from underneath.

As NASA described in a statement: “The side of Pluto’s largest moon viewed by NASA’s passing New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015 is characterized by a system of “pull apart” tectonic faults, which are expressed as ridges, scarps and valleys—the latter sometimes reaching more than 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) deep. Charon’s tectonic landscape shows that, somehow, the moon expanded in its past, and – like Bruce Banner tearing his shirt as he becomes the Incredible Hulk – Charon’s surface fractured as it stretched.”


What that means in the big picture isn't entirely clear yet. But remember, where there is liquid water, there is life (or at least potential), so who knows what Mulder and Scully might find out one day?

Staying in the ocean, you've probably heard of the recent incident in Argentina where a dolphin was tortured to death? Maybe they should have tried it with a shark.


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The apparent death of a baby dolphin after being passed around on an Argentine beach is creating a furor in the South American country.

Photos and video of the incident have begun emerging this week of the incident, which local media say happened Feb. 5 on the popular Santa Teresita beach, about 214 miles (345 kilometers) southeast of Buenos Aires.

In one video posted on local websites Thursday and Friday, a beachgoer is seen lifting a baby Franciscana dolphin out of the surf. The dolphin is passed around while dozens of onlookers touch it and take pictures and "selfies" of it. It's then seen left on the sand.

Thousands have expressed anger on social media, calling for the enforcement of animal abuse laws.

"Poor animal. What bad luck to fall into the hands of so many ignorant people," Tweeted Argentine model Nicole Neumann.

In a statement, the Fundacion Vida Silvestre, an Argentine group that works for the protection of animals, called on beachgoers to leave dolphins in the water.

"It's fundamental that people try to rescue these animals because each Franciscana counts," the group said.

The Franciscanas, an endangered species, are found in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.


Since it is Saturday, there must be a penis story. But this is a good one. Veterans of Afghanistan and particularly Iraq were at a much higher risk for lower-body injury from IEDs. In addition to things like legs, there's other stuff down there that can be easily and permanently damaged. I guess it's technically an organ transplant. Surgeons have been practicing on cadavers recently, and there's a wounded veteran waiting in the wings for a ...donor.


An unnamed soldier wounded in an explosion will be the first man to receive a penis transplant in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University docs.

The university announced plans for the surgery back in December, but now doctors have identified a patient to undergo the 12-hour procedure that involves connecting nerves and blood vessels under a microscope.

After this first surgery, other veterans will be the target demographic.

"When you meet these guys and you realize what they've given for the country, it makes a lot of sense," said Dr. Richard Redett, a Johns Hopkins Hospital plastic surgeon who will help with the operation.

Leading up to the operation, surgeons are practicing on cadavers — and the penis itself will come from a deceased donor.

The procedure could occur in the next few weeks, once docs find a donor of the right age and skin color and with consenting next of kin, according to The Washington Post.

In addition to having his penis replaced, the unnamed vet will also have his scrotum, groin and parts of his abdominal wall and inner thigh replaced.

"We've sorted out how to take that block of tissue from a donor and give it to a recipient," Redett said.

This will be just the third attempt at a penis transplant. The first attempt in China in 2006 failed.

The second attempt — in South Africa in 2014 — was a success.

This surgery will pave the way for future penile transplants, possibly including 60 more wounded vets who might qualify for the procedure.

The procedure will restore sexual function, but because it doesn’t involve the testes any future offspring will be the genetic offspring of the vet, not the donor.


Finally today, we'll end up 90 miles south of Miami. You probably heard that there was another agreement reached last week allowing direct commercial flights to resume between mainland USA and the Pearl of the Antilles. The President himself is journeying to the island next month, and of course such a high-profile visit won't come without some kind of major announcement. I suspect it will be the lifting of sanctions, after which American tourism will invade.

Maybe 40 years from now there will be a saying..."Only Obama could go to Cuba".

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