Today in Slate

The Democratic Debate Was Kind of Fun. Also, Aliens?

OK, these probably are not aliens. But they could be.

Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton at the first official Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential campaign in Las Vegas on Oct. 13, 2015.

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

Slate-erson Coopers, The Democratic debate was more fun than expected, right? Way outside the 2016 contest, we find more fun: There might (might!) be another race out there we should know about—an alien race. Hillary dominated, Bernie set the terms, and Jim Webb killed a guy. With Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb all polling at bupkis percent going in, we knew Bernie vs. Hillary would be the main concern. After Hillary’s strong night, the logic for a Biden candidacy lost some luster. She won, particularly on foreign policy, but Bernie can take comfort in the fact that he set the terms. Both had off moments: Clinton really misrepresented her climate record by touting the failed 2009 Copenhagen summit as a success. And Sanders’ defense of his pro-gun past was unconvincing; it also had unfortunate racial undertones. The other guys struggled: Jim Webb bragged about killing a man; Martin O’Malley couldn’t forcefully defend his Baltimore legacy; and Lincoln Chaffee sounded worse than previously thought possible. I really enjoyed it; I don’t often say this, but good job, CNN. And good job, Anderson Cooper. Finally, two big questions remain worth watching for: how Republicans will respond to the Dems’ platform against unfettered capitalism and how the Democrats will capitalize on a night that made them look civil and competent—a stark contrast to a Trump-centered circus. Good thing we have 13 months to learn the answers. ALIENS?!? OK, probably not. But still, this star is pretty weird. A paper by a team of astronomers describes a star so strange, they’ve floated the notion that it might—might!—be explainable if aliens are nearby. We should all cool our little green heads and not get too starry-eyed with the idea; the scientists are very skeptical and approaching this as more of a logical thought experiment. What makes the star so weird? Well, the scientists watching it have seen dips in light coming from it usually seen when planets orbit a star. But normal dips are usually pretty small, pretty infrequent, and pretty regular. This star? Its dips in light can be huge, frequent, and highly irregular. Whatever’s causing these dips can’t be a planet. Instead, the dips might be caused by a planetary collision, by a series of comets orbiting the star, or just maybe—by advanced alien activity.
Might be the best, might never leave, might never hide.

And it opened up my eyes,
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