Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane IRENE...

Well, now, isn't this special... Now, instead of hitting the Carolinas, Irene has taken a liking to my part of CT! Latest track, here and here, has it shooting right up Rt 8 from Bridgeport to my house...
So, guess I'll baton down the hatches and make sure my battery and beer supplies are fully stocked...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NEW Moon Theory!

Well, I guess my Astro kids can call me a liar! I've been preaching for years about the "Big Crash" moon theory where a Mars-sized planet(oid) did a demolition derby thing with the earth long ago and the ejecta formed the moon. Well, there's a slightly new theory in town.

In Nature Magazine this month, comes an explanation on why the two "sides" of the moon are so different. The near-side, the one we see from earth, is mostly smooth while the far-side, the daunted "dark" side, is rough and mountainous and cratered and icky.

Following are images of near and far sides:

So, according to these guys, a Mars-sized panetoid did hit the earth, but formed TWO moons; one larger than the other. After a long time of gravity tugs at Lagrange points, the little guy smashed into the big guy and formed the back side. Also explains, differently than conventional theory, the tidal lock and why it faces us all the time. The little guy hit the big guy "slowly" so not much rock melted and no huge crater was formed. Just sorta covered one side with a thick layer of rock. This agrees with observation that the moon's crust is thicker on the back side.

Something to ponder.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Another Cause Of Asthma?

You may have seen a recent study in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, doesn't everyone read that?, about a link between asthma in children and the mother's exposure to magnetic fields. Synopsis report is at Study found 20% of their subject kids developed asthma versus 13% of general population kids.

What I found amazing is, on the same page as this report, under "Related Stories" were the following:

Use of Acetaminophen in Pregnancy Associated With Increased Asthma Symptoms in Children (Feb. 4, 2010)

Evidence of Link Between Acetaminophen Use in Pregnancy and Childhood Asthma, Researchers Say (Nov. 11, 2010)

Low Vitamin E Intake During Pregnancy Can Lead To Childhood Asthma (Sep. 4, 2006)

Obese Moms, Asthmatic Kids (May 21, 2009)

So, if your Mom is an overweight Tylenol-popper who lacks Vitamin E and lives under high-voltage wires and stood in front of the microwave over when pregnant with you, you have a 7 Bajillion% chance of having asthma.

Another Abstruse Goose Comic

Click comic to embiggenate and warp drive to Abstuse Goose website.

Abstruse Goose!

Great online usually science-based comic. Here's an example.

Click comic to embiggenate and link to website...

Vesta Up Close

From Phil Plait's BA Blog, NASA's Dawn mission released new photos and a video of the approach to the 2nd largest asteroid, Vesta. It's a main belt member 500km, that's 300 miles, wide. According to Phil, that's the size of Colorado. Big rock. Note the cool "Snowman" crater system on left side.

Dawn will, after orbiting and probing Vesta for a while, head on over to the BIGGEST asteroid in the solar system, Ceres. At almost 1000km (600 miles) wide, it's quite large; like maybe two Coloradoes (Colorados? Coloradii?). Can't wait!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Current Debt Crisis Seems To Be A Hype! Maybe Even A Sham?

While trying to research details on the proposed agreement over the debt crisis thing this morning because I'm kinda interested in what it means to me and why I should care, I was surprised to find almost nothing readable by the mere non-political mortal other than the typical news outlet word bites. However, while perusing the plethora of paperwork and reports and talking head reviews, I did stumble upon an official report from the Congressional Research Service. Wow, what an eye opener!
This report details the history of the Debt Ceiling and the increases that have been made to it. In a nutshell, the ceiling has been raised TEN TIMES (7 under Bush) since 2000! Let me repeat that for you, my dear snowflakes, the ceiling was raised 10 times from 2000-2010! This last one makes ELEVEN! It's been raised 75 times since 1969! Two times by Obama in his 1st year; Feb 17 2009 raised by $789 Billion and Dec 28 2009 for $290 Billion! So, why the big deal now? Why is this one Armageddon?
If you follow the above link, look at pg 17. Table shows all the ceiling increases since 2000. Ceiling was $5.9 Trillion (converted to today's $$) in 2000. Today it's $14.7 Trillion... sigh...
A side note on the politicians involved with this recent Bru-Ha-Ha; Senator Harry Reid (D-NV, Senate Majority Leader), who has repeatedly scolded John Boehner (R-OH, House Speaker) for not "compromising or accepting my plan", has voted on all debt ceiling increases exactly along party lines! When Repubs are in charge, Reid voted 'no, when Dems are in charge, Reid voted 'yes'. Every time. Can you say, "Pot calling kettle black"? I knew that you could. (Apologies to Mr. Rogers)

So, why is this one making all the headlines and causing such angst? No clue. I have my thoughts, though. It started, I think, when Obama tried to bully Congress by claiming he'd veto any plan that wasn't what he called "permanent". No "temporary" fixes. Did he offer a plan? Did he assist in the negotiations or details? No. Did he walk out of a meeting with Boehner and it didn't make much news? Yes. Did he whine publicly and point fingers and wave his arms in a press conference about the one time Boehner walked out on him later? Yes.

I don't get it. It's easier understanding Dark Matter and the expanding Universe than all this political crap...