Pic of the day

Froome on his way to a 2nd win
Click to enlargeLaurent Cipriani/AP

Clouds are reflected in a car window as Chris Froome, wearing the leader’s yellow jersey, leads the pack during the 19th stage of the Tour de France. Froome won his second Tour last week.


Sunlight glinting off the north polar seas of Titan

Click to enlarge

This near-infrared, color mosaic from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows the sun glinting off of Titan’s north polar seas. While Cassini has captured, separately, views of the polar seas…and the sun glinting off of them…in the past, this is the first time both have been seen together in the same view.

The sunglint, also called a specular reflection, is the bright area near the 11 o’clock position at upper left. This mirror-like reflection, known as the specular point, is in the south of Titan’s largest sea, Kraken Mare, just north of an island archipelago separating two separate parts of the sea.

This particular sunglint was so bright as to saturate the detector of Cassini’s Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument, which captures the view. It is also the sunglint seen with the highest observation elevation so far — the sun was a full 40 degrees above the horizon as seen from Kraken Mare at this time…

Please read the article for more info about the details of this image. Way cool.

Thanks, Mike

7 stories to read this weekend — suggested by Om Malik

It has been a crazy week, one that has been hectic with activity and multiple news events. Of course, we hosted our RoadMap conference earlier this week. And there was the election that preoccupied all us. Nevertheless, I found time to read quite a few stories and here are seven of them that are worth your attention.

Being there: Robert Kaplan of The Atlantic bemoans the fact that we have become multitasking addicts and in order to enjoy travel, we need to get over our small screen addiction. Why? Because if we know everything, how are we supposed to enjoy it all?

Monopoly is theft: The history of one of the most popular board games in the world is a fascinating read. It is one of the best pieces I read this past week.

Inside the Arizona Fall league: Baseball season is over for the big leaguers. But the real business of baseball that includes finding the young and the talented continues. It is not an easy task.

Does sugar kill?: A story about how the sugar industry is working hard to keep us loving the sweet stuff. On a more personal note, I know if I eat sugar, it will kill me. And so it will hundreds of millions of the growing number of diabetics across the planet.

The underground economy: New York has a subway that keeps the city humming. Hurricane Sandy exposed its limitations. The MTA’s heroic efforts brought it back online much faster than anyone thought, including MTA itself, the New York Times reports.

This land is my land: A tragic story about how an old bootlegger and a gun merchant fought over a piece of property. And I thought I left this kind of stuff in the old country.

And finally a tech-centric piece, that talks about how brands will become media.

Om does this to us, every weekend. This batch in particular offers an interesting array of knowledge and reflection.

Turn on, tune in, drop out – for funeral contest

It’s not the kind of prize that one picks up in person. Germany’s undertakers, embalmers and grave diggers are up in arms about a radio competition that offers listeners the chance to win a luxury funeral.

All the contestants have to do – and some 650 have already entered – is compose the most original or witty epitaph for their gravestone.

The lucky winner of a grand euros 3,000 burial – complete with marble headstone, wreath, gratuities for the grave diggers and transport from church to cemetery – will be announced on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent and is traditionally a sombre day.

Radio Galaxy from Aschaffenburg in southern Germany, dreamt up the idea after a pupil died in a school bus crash.

“We talked about how to tackle this with our younger listeners,” said Jens Pflueger, 25, a presenter. “We realised that it was our duty to get people talking about death.”

So alongside the usual tracks by Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, the station started to play Chopin’s Funeral March, and – with the help of newspaper advertisements marked with a black cross – announced the contest…

The Association of German Morticians is now taking the station to court…

Church leaders have described the contest as tasteless, and said that it may encourage people to commit suicide. Konrad Hilpert, a Munich University professor of moral theology, called it obscene.

Church leaders, no surprise, haven’t a clue. Those of you who know how seriously I take questions like this will not be surprised to learn that my epitaph – if I had a tombstone [because I won’t] – will be, “Hey, you kids – get off my lawn!”