Greetings, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 2 2014 7:30 AM

Greetings, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

SHIELD STATION

Photo by Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division

If you’re reading this, then the blog software has identified you as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and this blog post has been automatically decrypted for you. (FYI, members of the public will see this article being about why Mars is red.)

Congratulations on getting this far. Given the current state of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the death of Director Fury—not to mention the now-rogue and anarchic Hydra—we know your life is constantly in danger. And now more than ever you need to be apprised of the scientific research being done involving the Avengers Initiative.

Advertisement

We held a covert training session at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend; the idea was to have it in a public place hidden in plain sight (code name: Operation Purloined Letter). We were able to go over the basics to about 500 agents—if you weren’t there, as is likely, then you can read a synopsis by Level 5 Agent Mika McKinnon at io9, another at NerdCoreMovement,* and a third written by Level 4 Agent Kyle Hill as a false flag operation at Nerdist.com. Again, those will be automatically decrypted for you.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

We had several S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists on hand for the training session: Preston Dyches, Sebastian Alvarado, Randii Wessen, and Ricardo Gil da Costa. I was chosen to moderate the panel, given my own work on the Bifrost technology and the efforts to map out Yggdrasil shortly before the Chitauri invasion.

The big announcement was that we have opened up a S.T.A.T.I.O.N.: Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network. Here you’ll learn the introductory science about the Avengers: Thor’s hammer, Tony Stark’s Iron Man tech, how the serum works that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America (involving genetic as well as epigenetic engineering as well), and what we know about Dr. Bruce Banner’s transformation into the Hulk.

The S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is located in Times Square, New York, and will travel the country as soon as Agent Coulson deems it safe enough.

Stay alert, be ever vigilant. Your country, your species, and your planet need you.

*As a suspected agent of Hydra, the author of that particular article thought she was going undercover to penetrate the meeting; what she didn’t know is that we were totally aware of her presence, and let her in as a trap. She has been dealt with, but we have allowed her article to stand posthumously as part of the disinformation campaign.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories to the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 8:43 AM Thunderstruck: Rock Out With Mother Nature’s Evil Side
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.