NASA Selects Contractor for Safety, Mission Assurance Services

NASA has selected Honeywell Technology Solutions, Inc. of Columbia, Maryland, to provide safety and mission assurance, audits and assessments support services for the agency’s Safety Center in Cleveland.

Sperm Count: What is the Difference Between a Gang Bang and an Orgy?

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What is the difference between a gang bang and an orgy? On first glance it would seem that an orgy is a far more easy going communal activity, while a gang bang has connotations of something more aggressive, particularly because of the words “gang” and “bang.” Merriam-Webster, for instance, defines gang as “a group of criminals” and “bang” as “a resounding blow” while “orgy” is defined as “a wild party and especially one in which many people have sex together.” So there’s a long road to hoe between orgies and gang bangs. In addition the gang bang is actually a solitary activity for the object of the banging. There may be gang bangs in which multiple people are having sex with even larger crowds, but generally gang bangs are activities in which one solitary individual either willingly or unwillingly becomes the subject for the advances of a group. They are, in the vernacular, the caboose for the figurative train. If you drew a Venn diagram there would be some overlapping areas for gang bangs and orgies. Equanimity is not one of the by-products of group sex and a very popular or attractive person at an orgy could very well find themselves the subject of a gang bang when everyone wanted to have sex with him or her, even though it might not feel like a gang bang due to the psychedelic 60’s music, and Timothy Leary sensibility of “turn on, tune in, drop out.” These instances might be termed inadvertent or de facto gang bangs which exude a feeling of joy as opposed to the the atmosphere of doom and gloom that accompanies the kind of gang bang where a posse of people is out to ravage their mark. Still not all gang bangs are criminal activities and not all orgies are completely legal, particularly if they involve the use of large amounts of hallucinogens to catalyze the appropriate level of disinhibtion for the orgy to actually take place.

“Bacchanal with a wine vat” by Andrea Mantegna (1470)

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy’s blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}

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Paul Stanley Shares Stories You Didn’t Know About KISS

You’ve no doubt seen the KISS logo many, many times during your life. Since it first appeared on a New York City concert poster in the Fall of 1973, it has become one of the most famous logos in not only rock history, but brand history, too.

But have you ever noticed that the two S’s in the logo are just the slightest bit different from one another?

“The KISS logo, as it appears today, I did with a Sharpie and a ruler,” guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley, aka Starchild, recently told The Huffington Post over the phone. “If you look at the two S’s, they’re not perfectly parallel because I did it by eye.”

“When we got our record deal,” he continued, “the art department asked if we wanted it to be redrafted to be perfect and I said, ‘It got us this far, let’s leave well enough alone.’”

He added, “Our number one rule has always been no rules.”

See for yourself:

Stanley, who was stuck in traffic during our conversation, spoke with HuffPost to promote the band’s latest venture: a worldwide movie theater release of their new concert film, “KISS Rocks Vegas.”

The Las Vegas residency allowed the band to go after a new height of “sensory overload,” as Stanley put it. The set location meant they didn’t have to tear down the pyrotechnics, lasers and other theatrics at the end of every night, right after “the sacrificial guitar is broken.”

“It’s not much different than when you see one of those ships in a bottle and you go, ‘How did they get that ship in a bottle?’” said Stanley, who added, “I would have to say, it’s probably one of my favorite shows we’ve done in the last 40 years in terms of design concept.”

The last time KISS appeared on this many movie screens was in the 2008 flick “Role Models,” starring Paul Rudd. Although the band didn’t show up in the film themselves, the main characters dress up as the band to fight in a memorable live-action role-play (LARP) battle at the climax of the movie.

“Paul Rudd was hysterical,” said Stanley of his reaction to the scene. “Anytime that we’re referenced in a film only embeds us further in American culture. It was a tremendous compliment.”

Since the band has prevailed for over four decades, I certainly wondered if Stanley believed his real self to be the version with makeup (Starchild) or without.

“The makeup for me is not to create a character or a disguise, it’s really to fortify and amplify a part of who I am. There’s a comfort in it,” Stanley answered.

“You’d have to ask Superman the same question.”

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How do you kill a malaria parasite? Clog it with cholesterol

Drexel scientists have discovered an unusual mechanism for how two antimalarial drugs kill Plasmodium parasites. Amidst growing concerns about drug resistance, these findings could help to develop more effective drugs against the disease.

Early-life stress causes digestive problems and anxiety in rats

Traumatic events early in life can increase levels of norepinephrine — the primary hormone responsible for preparing the body to react to stressful situations — in the gut, increasing the risk of developing chronic indigestion and anxiety during adulthood, a new study reports.

First discovery in United States of colistin resistance in a human E. coli infection

The Multidrug Resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research characterized a transferrable gene for colistin resistance in the United States that may herald the emergence of truly pan-drug resistant bacteria.

Doubling down on Schrödinger’s cat

Physicists have given Schrödinger’s famous cat a second box to play in, and the result may help further the quest for reliable quantum computing.

Targeting metals to fight pathogenic bacteria

Researchers have discovered a unique system of acquisition of essential metals in the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This research represents a new potential target for the design of antibiotics.