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Bill Nye-backed ‘solar sail’ space flight fundraiser on course for 2016 launch

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A crowd-funding campaign led by “Science Guy” Bill Nye is apparently on its way to success, paving the way for a 2016 space flight he said would determine the viability of “solar sail” technology.

The Planetary Society’s campaign for the “LightSail” project had raised just over $268,000 as of Wednesday night, exceeding its original $200,000 goal with 43 days left in the campaign. Nye, the society’s CEO, called LightSail “the culmination of the hopes and dreams of our visionary founders, Louis Friedman, Bruce Murray and Carl Sagan.”

Nye appears in the promotional video outlining the project, which would send a small satellite — referred to as a “CubeSat” — into space equipped with “sails” composed of 32 square meters of mylar that would harness sunlight as a means of propulsion.

“If sunlight is shining on something, it’s actually giving it a tiny, tiny push,” he explains. “So if we can get a spacecraft up in space that has enough area and has low enough mass, sunlight gives it a push.”

The Daily Dot reported that the group has raised more than $4.2 million to apply toward the project’s overall cost of $5.45 million, with the online campaign constituting the “final push.” The society said it plans to test LightSail in a “shakedown” flight around Earth next month en route to the 2016 launch.

The campaign video also features astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who says “solar sailing” could allow one to travel through longer distances in space in “relatively small amounts of time.”

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“If I could ride a solar sail, I think I’d take it to Pluto,” deGrasse Tyson jokes. “I feel bad about Pluto ’cause I played a role in its demotion. I just wanna hug Pluto.”

Watch Nye and deGrasse Tyson explain the concept of “solar sails” in the LightSail campaign video below.

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CNN panelist stumps host with Trump logic: ‘You can statistically say anything but I don’t see it’

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A Trump supporter on Thursday brushed off statistics showing that hate crimes have been rising since President Donald Trump's election by claiming that he has not personally seen any additional hate crimes.

During a CNN voter panel, host Alisyn Camerota quoted from official statistics showing a significant increase in hate crimes committed since Trump's upset victory in 2016.

Trump supporter Darrell Wimbley, however, wasn't buying it and he cited his own personal experiences to prove his point.

"You can say that, but I truly don't believe it because I don't see it," he said. "I can statistically say anything but I don't see it."

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CNN

Andrew McCabe rains hell on ‘insanely stupid’ Trump in epic rant before calling for impeachment hearings

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Appearing on CNN's "New Day" on Thursday morning, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe unleashed hell on President Donald Trump for launching yet another unprovoked attack on him, saying the president says lots of "stupid things."

On Wednesday evening, the president smeared McCabe, with Trump calling him "terrible" and saying he couldn't do anything -- including go to the bathroom -- without former FBI Director James Comey's permission.

Given a chance to respond by CNN's John Berman, McCabe didn't hold back.

"You know, I've been listening to the president say insanely stupid things for years now about me personally, about my organization, and about the investigation, we undertook to find out if the president posed a threat to national security," McCabe began. "I won't get down in the weeds with the president and exchange insults on Twitter or TV or anywhere else, but the question we should be asking is: why do we have a president who feels necessary to attack individuals? Individuals -- private citizens, individuals who serve in our government -- to attack personally when he's scared of the truth that they have to offer."

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CNN

‘Out of his depth’: Trump holding back on Iran because he understands it’s harder than ‘swinging’ at a primary foe

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During a discussion on news that Iran has shot down a U.S. drone over international airspace on CNN, New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman explained that Donald Trump is in no rush to respond militarily because, for once, he knows he's "out of his depth."

Speaking with hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, Habermann said that the president will likely get advice from national security adviser John Bolton to push back militarily, but that Trump doesn't seem interested in taking on as large a task as going to war.

"He usually responds to a provocation when it's a smaller thing that he can punch and knock down," Haberman explained. "He's pretty aware he can't actually do that with Iran. So I don't think you're going to see the typical, you know, as if he were swinging back at a primary foe. I think he is going to actually be a little more careful in what he says."

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