Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Emoticons and water on the moon

Being an iconoclast at heart, I just love it when I stumble upon surprising facts, information that turns my view of something, large or small, on its head. I know that's a big reason why I was so compelled by Richard III when I discovered that the Shakespearean version is mainly fiction and why I read this Cracked article about the emoticon with great delight. Not only did Ambrose Bierce propose them nearly 120 years ago, but according to this article, Abraham Lincoln used them in his personal telegraphs. Who'da thunk!

Which brings me to another surprise, this one rather larger than the origin of emoticons. I had always thought, based on various articles and books that I read, that the moon was basically a lump of rock, devoid of life, and likely never supported life. On November 14, 2009, the New York Times reported that about a month ago, a satellite crashed into a lunar crater near its south pole and kicked up approximately 26 gallons of water that had been collecting for billions of years. Assuming there is a significant accumulation, the moon now appears to be an ideal candidate for a base, since water, and by virtue of the water, oxygen, would not have to be shipped from the Earth.

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