Weekly Space Hangout – February 27, 2015

Host: Fraser Cain (@fcain)

Guests:
Morgan Rehnberg (cosmicchatter.org / @MorganRehnberg )
Alessondra Springmann (@sondy)

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How to Be a Hero: Insight From the Milgram Experiment

You have probably heard of Stanley Milgram. You know, the 1960s psychologist who discovered that hundreds of ordinary Americans could be directed to deliver apparently excruciating electroshocks to another ordinary volunteer, simply on the say-so of a scientist in a gray lab coat. In a series of two dozen studies lasting almost a year, Milgram systematically explored how, by making changes to the social situation — the proximity of the shocker to the man being shocked, the presence of two scientists contradicting each other, the role of the shocker in a chain of command, et cetera — he could cause rates of obedience to rise or plummet at will. The Milgram Obedience Experiment soon became world-famous as one of the most controversial psychological experiments of all time.

The controversy has not ended, and experts today are still hashing out what, if anything, Milgram demonstrated about the dark side of human nature: our putative propensity to blindly acquiesce to authority-directed courses of action, no matter how immoral. To what extent can social psychological findings in a Yale lab illuminate the darkest episodes of modern history, from the factory-style murder of millions of civilians in the Holocaust, to the —> Read More Here

#TheDress Was Actually A Mother-Of-The-Bride Dress (And P.S. It’s Black And Blue)

2015-02-27-Screenshot20150227at10.53.14AM.png

Turns out, the black and blue (or, perhaps, white and gold) dress that has undoubtedly taken over your newsfeed in the last 24 hours actually began as one woman’s mother-of-the-bride dress.

The viral dress belongs to a British mother named Cecilia Bleasdale. She wore it to daughter Grace Johnston’s wedding earlier this month, according to the Daily Mail. (See the photo here.)

via Roman Originals

It all started when Bleasdale sent a photo of the dress, purchased at U.K. retailer Roman Originals, to the bride and later to her other daughter, Angie McPhee.

“Mum sent it to Grace to give the dress a thumbs up or thumbs down,” McPhee told the Daily Mail. “It was sent originally to my sister, then my mum sent the picture to me, and Grace said, ‘Why is she wearing white and gold to the wedding?’ We were shocked my mum had chosen a light-colored dress.”

According to Business Insider, Johnston and her then-fiancé also disagreed about the color of the dress, so they posted a photo of it to Facebook where the debate continued. That’s when friend and 21-year-old Scottish —> Read More Here

Satellite Cities: The Early Suburbs of Mexico City

Maintenance on a home in Ciudad Satélite
Maintenance on a home in Ciudad Satélite — Photograph by Michael Waldrep, click to enlarge

This week, continuing in my investigation of the geography of growth in Mexico City’s metropolitan area, and following my most recent exploration of the wealthier, more U.S.-styled segments of sprawl in the city, I made a trip out to Ciudad Satélite, one of the oldest, and most famous suburban developments in the region. Thanks to the extremely generous Manuel Solano, I got a tour of the neighborhood and a wealth of reminiscence from a life spent growing up there.

Los Torres de Satélite, designed by Luis Barragán and Mathias Goeritz — Photograph by Michael Waldrep, click to enlarge

Satélite was planned, in the mid 1950s, as a car-centric community, removed from congestion of the city’s center and near to the industrial jobs in Naucalpan—its famous symbols, the Torres de Satélite, were designed by some of Mexico’s foremost midcentury architects, and stand in the middle of a freeway to welcome home its commuting populace. Mario Pani, the principal architect of the massive —> Read More Here

7 Images Almost As Freaky As #TheDress

This photo of a dress has now divided all of humanity into dueling factions, with sane individuals who see this image as white and gold pitted against the dangerous loons who perceive it as blue and black. (OK, so the dress is blue and black in real life, but the argument is about how it appears in this particular photo.)

Why people see the dress differently hasn’t been conclusively figured out. The more prominent theories have to do with color constancy, or the way that an object appears to stay the same color under different lighting. This process can get dicey when colored light comes into play, as Dr. Jay Neitz told Vice.

Anyway, whether you’re distraught because the debate has torn apart your relationship or you’re just sick of your whole office talking about nothing else, we’ve compiled some other totally confusing images to take your mind off #TheDress.

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No, a Dinosaur Skull Hasn’t Been Found on Mars: Why We See Familiar Looking Objects on the Red Planet

The dinosaur on Mars, the Face in Cydonia, the rat, the human skull, the Smiley face, the prehistoric vertebrae and the conglomerate rock. Something is amiss in this montage and shouldn't be included. (Photo Credits: NASA/JPL)

The dinosaur on Mars, the Face in Cydonia, the rat, the human skull, the Smiley face, the prehistoric vertebrae and the conglomerate rock. Something is amiss in this montage and shouldn’t be included. (Photo Credits: NASA/JPL)

What is up with the fossils on Mars? Found – a dinosaur skull on Mars? Discovered – a rat, squirrel or gerbil on Mars? In background of images from Curiosity, vertebrae from some extinct Martian species? And the human skull, half buried in photos from Opportunity Rover. All the images are made of stone from the ancient past and this is also what is called Pareidolia. They are figments of our imaginations, and driven by our interest to be there – on Mars – and to know that we are not alone. Altogether, they make a multitude of web pages and threads across the internet.

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