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Let's try not to talk about this: Chelsea lose 2-1 at the Dragao

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Chelsea just lost to Porto 2-1 and everything is the worst right now. The defence, spearheaded by Branislav Ivanovic's Grand Parade of Woe, imploded once again, and while the attack was marginally improved against the stolid showing we put up at Newcastle, that wasn't enough to avoid defeat.

Said defeat could easily have been heavier -- Asmir Begovic bailed us out on a number of occasions in the second half -- and that the Blues might have salvaged something like they did this weekend is not in the least encouraging. This was a poor performance and that would be true had Diego Costa's shot kissed net rather than crossbar or if Chelsea had been given the late penalty they probably deserved.

Given that if I talk further about this football club I'd end up advocating that about half the side be stuffed into a big sack and beaten with sticks*, maybe we should find something more fun to discuss. And I don't just mean the Arsenal game, which was indeed hilarious. Let's, I don't know, talk about MARS.

*NB: This is hypothetical rather than actual advocation. We Ain't Got No History cannot endorse violence in any- STOP HITTING ME WITH A STICK.

You may have seen in the news that NASA has confirmed(ish) the presence of liquid water on the surface of Mars. That's incredibly cool, although not nearly as big a deal as you might believe if you haven't been following space exploration relatively closely.

The deal -- and I'm not a planetary geologist, so forgive me if I mangle this a little -- is that for some time now we've been aware of seasonal streaking on some Martian topography. The fact that this streaking occurs during summer and stops during winter implies that it's due to a melting action of some sort, and water's always been a candidate mechanism for the effect.

The problem to date has been that it's quite tough for liquid water as we know it to exist on the surface of Mars, because the atmospheric pressure is too low to prevent it boiling away into nothing under any real heat. That's not an insurmountable problem, however, since adding certain salts to the water will change its boiling point and allow for it to be viable on Mars.

So, until this week, the hypothesis was that if these streaks that the orbital satellites were seeing were water then we should be detecting certain chemicals associated with the streaks. This is a pretty straightforward experiment, since we're now very good at spectroscopy and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has the capability to do spectral analysis of what its seeing.

NASA's announcement was that the hypothesis holds -- the spectral analysis does show up the required hydrated salts at the streaky sites for water to be theoretically capable of flowing there, and given the temperatures at which they're growing it seems almost certain that liquid (although extremely briny) water is acting on the surface of another planet. Hurray for science.

Football? What's football?

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