In non-Marquette news

I.) Today, the episode of Glee guest-starring Neil Patrick Harris and directed by Joss “My Master” Whedon airs. Which means I have eighteen episodes of Glee to catch up on in nineteen hours.

II.) The British elected a new Prime Minister. Well, not really. Nobody won a majority, so the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will be forming a coalition government, under the permission of the suddenly relevant Queen Elizabeth II. I am sure she is as surprised as anyone.
I’ve always had a fondness for the LibDems, but the realistic part of me wanted the Tories to win. So this is like the best possible result for me, personally.

II.a) The incoming Tory PM, David Cameron, is appointing Lady  Sayeeda Hussain Warsi chairwoman of the Conservative Party, has appointed the first Muslim woman as a Cabinet Minister in UK history.

III.) Laura Bush, who was always roughy 98 percent more likable than her husband, has now come out for full marriage equality.


Virgin Galactic completes first successful test flight

Why it’s a big deal: The hardware for the first commercial spaceflight enterprise works.

On Monday, Virgin Galactic‘s VSS Enterprise, attached her mothership, the VSS Eve, successfully completed a test flight. The flight started at 7:05am (PST) and lasted 2 hours and 54 minutes, achieving an altitude of 45,000 feet. More test flights are scheduled for this year. The next test for the Enterprise will be to glide independently from the mothership, followed by independent powered flight.

This was a critical step in making space tourism a reality and paves the way for Virgin’s first paying flights, which Virgin is planning for 2011.That’s good news for the over 330 people who have already plopped down deposits for the $200,000 tickets for a total of over $45M, and 80,000 more people who are on the Virgin Galactic waiting list.

Actual flights the mothership will bring Enterprise to an altitude of 50,000 before release. 2 pilots and 6 passengers will be treated to a brief zero-g experience and view of the Earth. Passengers will be able to float free of their seats during the sub-orbit flight.

Wired has video.

Episcopal church appoints first lesbian bishop

Mary Glasspool

Via the NY Times:

A majority of bishops and dioceses of the Episcopal Church have approved the election of the church’s second openly gay bishop, the Rev. Mary D. Glasspool, a decision likely to increase the tension with fellow Anglican churches around the world that do not approve of homosexuality. The worldwide Anglican Communion, the network of churches connected to the Church of England, has been in turmoil since the Americans elected their first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson, in New Hampshire in 2003. Theological conservatives in the Communion say the Bible condemns homosexuality, while liberals say the Scripture is open to interpretation.

Bishop Glasspool, 56, is to be consecrated as one of two new assistant bishops, known as suffragan bishops, in Los Angeles on May 15. Both elected suffragan bishops are women — the first ever to serve in the diocese. Both were elected at a convention of the diocese in December, but according to church rules had to win the approval of a majority of the bishops and standing committees (made up of clergy and laypeople) of the church’s 110 dioceses. Bishop Glasspool’s confirmation was never certain.

Bishop Glasspool, who has been serving in Maryland as an adviser to the bishops for nine years, said Wednesday in an interview: “I feel overjoyed. I feel relieved. I’m breathing again.”

She and her partner, Becki Sander, a postgraduate student in social work, have been together for 22 years.

The bishop said she intended to reach out to those who opposed her. Asked whether she anticipated that her election would have repercussions in the Anglican Communion, she said, “While I understand that not everyone rejoices, I don’t understand what will functionally be different tomorrow than today with respect to our relationships around the world.”