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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Chinese New Year 2015 begins on Thursday 19 February, and end on 5 March. It is day one month one of the Chinese lunar calendar, and its date in January or February varies from year to year (always somewhere in the period January 21 to February 20). read more

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"The purpose of this database is to provide as much information as possible about American citizens and permanent residents engaged in violent extremist activity as well as individuals, regardless of their citizenship status, living within the United States who have engaged in violent extremist activity." read more

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Serial killer Charles Manson's supposed budding romance with a woman 53 years his junior has been allegedly exposed as a money-making scheme. According to journalist Daniel Simone, 27-year old Afton Elaine Burton, now known as Star, was hoping that she would gain possession of Manson's corpse through marriage so she and a couple of friends could put it on display in a glass case in LA. read more

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Late dawn. Early sunset. Short day. Long night. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of the year. Meanwhile, on the day of the December solstice, the Southern Hemisphere has its longest day and shortest night. This special day is coming up on Sunday, December 21 at 23:03 UTC (5:03 p.m. CST). A fun fact about the coming solstice is that it occurs within about two-and-a-half hours of a new moon. No matter where you live on Earth's globe, a solstice is your signal to celebrate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Angie Drobnic Holan, Aaron Sharockman on Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 3:08 p.m.
"Yet fear of the disease stretched to every corner of America this fall, stoked by exaggerated claims from politicians and pundits. They said Ebola was easy to catch, that illegal immigrants may be carrying the virus across the southern border, that it was all part of a government or corporate conspiracy.

The claims -- all wrong -- distorted the debate about a serious public health issue. Together, they earn our Lie of the Year for 2014." read more


I can appreciate the allure of creating employment opportunities for "thousands" of people, even if only for a brief time.

However, it is not a panacea. Several things to consider:

1. Problems associated during/after short-term boom economies. Just examine the historical record in the US: gold rushes, housing booms, etc. Even more recently, in a related industry, the Bakken Oil Field discovery and the local impact:

2. The assumption that those folks, temporarily employed by this pipeline's construction, would have remained unemployed without this pipeline's construction. That assumption is neither supported by current evidence nor past history.

3. There is no requirement that the construction of this pipeline will be done entirely by workers from the US. It's notable that the Canadians will NOT enjoin the use of US steel in this pipeline's construction. That should be an ominous flag of how they intend to handle this pipeline's construction.

4. As for helping the US economy: it's ironic that the transport of this tar sand crude through the US could actually raise gasoline prices in the US (especially in the upper Midwest).

Others have emphasized the threat to the aquifers in the "World's Bread Basket" and the impact on landowners along the pipeline's route (BTW, both of which are significant), however I find it curious that there's been little discussion of these points listed above.

It also strikes me as curious that alternative pipeline projects within Canada were opposed by a majority of Canadians. Wouldn't these benefits of a pipeline's construction also apply to the Canadians?

It seems the US would be saddled with much risk without much benefit. I'm sure it benefits SOME, just not the US as a whole.

"Hopefully Blue is still around, because I've got a question. That car that is still up on the moon--it will still be there in a hundred thousand years, right? As long as it's not hit by a meteorite or something, there's nothing that can rust it away or anything?
#36 | POSTED BY WHITEDEVIL AT 2015-02-20 11:21 PM"

There actually are three "cars" (lunar rovers) from the Apollo program currently on the Moon. One each arrived on Apollo 15, 16, and 17. As you correctly stated, the rate of erosion/degradation of these vehicles (and most other items) exposed to the lunar environment is extremely low. One notable exception: any plastic material (e.g., the nylon fabric of the US flags). That is probably being destroyed at a much faster rate due to the intense UV exposure from the Sun.

The rovers are primarily metal (mostly aluminum). While the specific details of material degradation in space/lunar environments is a bit outside of my expertise, I did check around and got some suggestions that the rate of degradation of metals in the lunar environment is on the order of one millimeter per one million (!) years. That would indicate that the vehicles might not essentially disappear for more than a hundred MILLION years! Of course, as you mentioned, a direct impact from a sizable meteor would considerably shorten that timetable!

Some related information: The Apollo 12 crew retrieved pieces from a soil-sampling lunar lander (Surveyor 3) which had been exposed to the lunar environment for close to three years. I suspect the analysis of the degradation of those pieces is some of the basis for these erosion/degradation estimates.


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