Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Couple of cool things I read today - Friedman and Tyche

Here's a very good Thomas Friedman piece from the Times on what Chinese diplomats are likely saying about us (if we could see their diplomatic cables).
quote: "Things are going well here for China. America remains a deeply politically polarized country, which is certainly helpful for our goal of overtaking the U.S. as the world’s most powerful economy and nation. But we’re particularly optimistic because the Americans are polarized over all the wrong things. " read the whole op-ed

Here's a very interesting story that hypothesizes an unknown/unseen larger-than-Jupiter-sized planet way way out there that might be responsible for throwing comets into the solar system. We've heard this and similar theory before, but what I find interesting in this story is that there's a smidgen of evidence, and that a current mission might be able to find it if it exists despite it's great distance and coldness.

"The researchers noted that most comets that fly into the inner solar system seem to come from the outer region of the Oort cloud. Their calculations suggest the gravitational influence of a planet one to four times the mass of Jupiter in this area might be responsible.

Two centuries of observations have indicated an anomaly that suggests the existence of Tyche, Matese said. "The probability that it could be caused by a statistical fluke has remained very small," he added"

Wouldn't it be cool to uncover another planet?

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