I hope you’re in the mood for ominous news, because there’s plenty to go around these days. But where to start? How about these apples: a distant cluster of galaxies is moving at a regular, measurable speed independent of the expansion of the universe, leading some scientists to suspect that it is subject to the massive gravitational pull of matter beyond the observable universe. The phenomenon has been dubbed ‘dark flow,’ and, since it seems constant across billions of light years, there’s good reason to suspect that it affects everything in the visible universe. Yes, even you. Pragmatically, this means astonishingly little, being that the effect works on a cosmic time scale, so by the time this has any effect on out galaxy, we’ll all have been dead for eons.So that’s something. But it does mean that the next time you have one of those days where you feel like you’re being pulled inexorably towards a swirling, unknowable nether region… well, you might be onto something.

Jarring news like this is bound to send people scrambling for comfort and tradition. Nowhere is this more clear than Russia, which continued it’s unnerving nostalgia for tsarist times this week as the nation’s Duma assembly hurried to draft legislation, expected to be handily enacted into law tomorrow, that would extend the term of the Russian presidency from four to six years. This would allow Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to serve up to another twelve years as president, a move that is beginning to look like it may come sooner rather than later. Putin’s official return to Russia’s highest office was always a foregone conclusion, but it was generally accepted that he would allow current president Dmitry Medvedev to keep his seat warm for a full four year term. In the face of tough economic times and stressful relations with neighbors like Georgia and the international community at large, it would seem likely that the plan has changed, and some Kremlin experts expect that Putin may return to the presidency before the end of the year.

On the other hand, science has finally mastered that most sought after of all alchemical wonders… the transmutation of tequila into diamonds. Sure, you need an electron microscope to see the diamonds that are produced, but what do you really expect for a jewel that’s been synthetically crafted from $3 a bottle hooch? Though considering the state of the economy at the moment, reversing the process may end up being more cost efficient and practical in not too long.

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