Nerds, New York's senior senator is fighting for you.
Senator Charles Schumer proposed a "nerd bus" (his words) to connect the growing number of tech start-ups in New York City, catering to the all the brainiacs and their transportation needs. In an open letter to the city's Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Democrat asked them to create a route linking up points of the "tech boom," which includes hotspots in Brooklyn, Queens and Roosevelt Island.
"Don’t need a PhD to know Nerd bus is a no-brainer," he wrote in a tweet. Showing his love for the nerd community, he then tweeted a picture of himself in high school, saying "it takes one to know one."
The Last Word staff is fiercely and vehemently respectfully divided over today's announcement from NASA. During our meeting earlier this afternoon there was plenty of name-calling and profanity polite debate over whether this is a big deal or not. The reason? When people hear the words "big announcement from NASA" and "alien life" in the same sentence, they have certain expectations. Some are reasoned and grounded in reality (aka, correct). Others are pie-in-the-sky high and extremely ridiculous (aka, wrong).
So why such the strong division? The pie-in-the-sky crowd expected to be meeting ET at a press conference later this week. Instead, NASA has announced it's cultivated a strain of bacteria that can substitute arsenic (which is poisonous to humans) for phosphorus — or to use the language of the study:
"Life is mostly composed of the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, and phosphorus. Although these six elements make up nucleic acids, proteins, and lipids and thus the bulk of living matter, it is theoretically possible that some other elements in the periodic table could serve the same functions. Here, we describe a bacterium, strain GFAJ-1 of the Halomonadaceae, isolated from Mono Lake, California, which substitutes arsenic for phosphorus to sustain its growth."
That's still a big deal. It means that the phrase, "life as we know it," may now have to be redefined to include the idea of living creatures (yes, that even means bacteria) that can survive in ways we didn't know were possible. And that means... places in the universe where we assumed life could not possibly exist may actually be capable of supporting life after all! Amazing, right?
And there's a lot out there to explore, as shown by this incredible video from the American Museum of National History. Enjoy its brain-wrinkling awesomeness, and let us know what you think about all this in the poll included in this post. Geeks unite!