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Weekend Reads 3/16/19

A Giant Lake Has Appeared In The Middle Of Death Valley

On average in March, Furnace Creek has 7.6 millimeters (0.3 inches) of rain. Last week it experienced 22 millimeters (0.87 inches) of rain in just 24 hours. The surrounding mountains recorded up to 38 millimeters (1.5 inches) of rain, which of course flows down into the desert. You don’t even need a lot of rain for a lake to emerge. When the ground is as dry as a desert it doesn’t easily absorb water, which means flash flooding can occur even when it’s not actually raining in the valley.

The United Methodist meeting offered no clear way forward. What now?

The fundamental question before the church remains: Can the unity of the church be maintained while formally acknowledging the diversity of opinion within its various regions? The vote at the General Conference asserted by a slim margin that unity must be maintained through unanimity of belief with regard to LGBTQ issues.

But seven parts of the Traditional Plan were ruled unconstitutional by the Judicial Council both before and during the special meeting.

Yes! Pack your bags! Blossoming planetary system strikingly similar to ours found by boffins

The blob is a young star known as DM Tau, and the rings around it are dust and other cosmic debris. DM Tau is a small star, about half the mass of the Sun and is about three to five million years old. What’s intriguing is that the first circle is at a similar distance to where our own asteroid belt sits, and the second one is located at about Neptune’s orbit.

Moon dust kept sealed for 50 years will finally reveal its secrets

The samples were all collected during the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions. None of them have ever been exposed to Earth’s atmosphere, but they’ve been preserved in very different ways. For example, one Apollo 17 sample, returned to Earth in 1972, is 1.8 pounds of a vacuum-sealed lunar core that contains a stratified layer of rock, and will be studied by six of the nine chosen research teams. Meanwhile, another team will have access to an Apollo 15 sample that’s been stored in helium since 1971.


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