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Achenblog: April 19, 2009 - April 25, 2009

'The Day We Found the Universe'

[A book review] THE DAY WE FOUND THE UNIVERSE By Marcia Bartusiak Knopf. Pantheon. 337 pp. $27.95 Famous astronomy anecdote: It's 1923, and astronomer Harlow Shapley, the leading proponent of the theory that the Milky Way is the one...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 25, 2009; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (246)
 
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New Ben Franklin Letters

[My story in today's paper.] A professor with his nose deep in a library archive in London has stumbled upon 47 previously unknown letters from, to and about Benjamin Franklin. The sensational find, announced in the upcoming issue of...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 24, 2009; 1:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (94)
 
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100 Years of Suckitude

How many of you instantly recognized that this would be an item about Washington's sports teams? So maybe it would be more apt in a discussion of the Chicago Cubs. In fact, Washington has a great sports history. But,...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 24, 2009; 8:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (55)
 
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Bulletin: Male Fish Turning Feminine

I so totally relate to this story about the male fish in the Potomac that are filling up with eggs and, you know, fussing with their scales constantly and saying things like, "Does this dorsal fin make me look...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 23, 2009; 8:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (210)
 
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What Lurks Beneath

My filing system at home consists of stuffing things in various drawers and cabinets and closets and crawlspaces in the basement, attic and garage, supplemented by the car trunk. This morning I had to find a particular mortgage-related document,...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 22, 2009; 8:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (125)
 
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Gliese 581 d: A Water World? [Updated]

They're getting closer to finding another Earth out there. From a European Southern Observatory news release: Well-known exoplanet researcher Michel Mayor today announced the discovery of the lightest exoplanet found so far. The planet, "e," in the famous system...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 21, 2009; 10:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (126)
 
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Congrats to Gene Robinson

Bulletin: Gene Robinson has won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary! Great guy, great journalist -- newsroom gathering now... The NYTimes won 5. -- Update: Gene brought a tear to my eye when he talked about calling his parents from...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 20, 2009; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (104)
 
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Getting Cranky on Mars

[My story in today's paper.] The old rover was supposed to work for only 90 days, enough time to crawl two-thirds of a mile across the Martian desert. More than five years later, Spirit has put five miles on...

By Joel Achenbach  |  April 20, 2009; 7:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
 
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