Friday, January 13, 2012
Let's start with Dawn orbiting Vesta.
--- While there is no major news besides the fact that Dawn is in its closest orbit to the minor planet, it's interesting to note that even before leaving Vesta, Dawn is slowly approaching Ceres as well. At the moment the distance between the two is 0.9843 AU, compared to about 1.7 AU at closest approach from Earth.
--- A review of an interesting looking book called The Afrikaans of the Cape Muslims.
--- An article on Namibia's language policy: "Harris said the post-independence adoption of English was "a challenging decision", because "only 8% [of Namibians] are English speakers, whereas the rest of the population use their home language and Afrikaans as the language of communication in their daily lives"."
--- An article on the worst school in the Cape, with an 18.9% metric pass rate: "Of the 40 pupils who sat for their matric exams last year, 26 spoke Xhosa, 12 spoke Afrikaans and the rest had English as a first language."
--- An exoplanet with rings has been discovered, and it seems to be something like a massive version of Saturn, though further observations will need to be conducted to determine exactly how massive it is: "The outermost ring stretches up to 37 million miles (60 million km) away from the body it encircles. If the rings are similar to Saturn's, their combined mass is probably as much as eight times that of Earth's moon."
Eight times that of our moon = 10% of the Earth, or about the mass of Mars.
--- The general election in the United States is approaching, which means that the Spanish ads are going to get more and more frequent. Romney just put one out in Florida:
--- Finally, an article in Portuguese (automatically translated here) on BRICS countries and the new international equilibrium.