Google Earth recently added a timelapse feature, equal parts mesmerizing, sobering and incredible. Timelapse in Google Earth combines 24 million satellite photos captured between 1984 and 2020. That’s 37 years of deforestation, urban sprawl, shrinking glaciers, tar sands, agriculture, irrigation, mining and coastal erosion in high definition interactive timelapse. Choose a theme, play, pause on a given year, zoom in, scroll about – kudos Google, job well done. Google Earth introduced Timelapse as “longest video in the world”, 20 petabytes ( one petabyte equals a million gigabytes ), my head spins.
Every two years scientists, space agencies and civil protection organizations gather for five days of asteroid impact drills. This week marks the seventh Planetary Defense Conference, held virtually to comply with pandemic considerations. From April 26 – 30, 2021 fictitious asteroid PDC 2021 measures are live streamed by ESA (European Space Agency). Fascinating stuff, well worth consideration. Below. link to asteroid impact drill overview from NASA, followed by several links to watch in real time from ESA –
Meet Marjorie Taylor Greene, ugly face of conservative extremism in post-Trump America. Sanctimonious Marjorie pegs the wing in nut. Trump loyalist, conspiracy theorist, this first term U.S. representative for Georgia’s 14th congressional district is driving force behind the America First caucus. America First doesn’t mince words, ponder “common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions”, cessation of humanitarian aide to third world countries, massive spending to repair infrastructure provided it “reflects the architectural, engineering and aesthetic value that befits the progeny of European architecture” and immigration policies designed to exclude minorities. Make no mistake, ugly is here to stay.
Taylor Greene isn’t a uniquely ugly American, she’s joined by Republican representatives Paul A Gosar (Arizona), Barry Moore (Alabama), Louie Gohmert (Texas) and Matt Gaetz (Florida) in promoting America First. Trump empowered ugly, gave it teeth to forsake shadows, validated extremism, applauded exclusion, division and promoted partisan propaganda. Trumpism fits Marjorie like a glove.
Trump has good reason to call her “a rising star”. Taylor Greene ticks all the boxes – Pizzagate believer (2016 conspiracy claiming prominent Democrats operated a human trafficking and child sex ring from the basement of a DC pizza parlour), supports QAnon, opposes abortion and wants to defund Planned Parenthood, tried (and failed) to block the Equality Act (amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity in employment, housing, education, credit, jury service and federal programs) and fiercely denounces gun reform. She sported a “Trump Won” facemask on her first day in Congress,
In years leading up to her run for office, Taylor Greene expressed support for execution of Democrats on numerous occasions. Full throttle, 2020 electioneering Marjorie campaigned as “Squad’s worst nightmare” (the Squad refers to first term Democrat women of colour targeted by Trump in racist Tweets ) This photo appeared on Taylor Greene’s Facebook page with the quote – “We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart,”
On March 19, 2021 Iceland’s Geldingadular volcano woke from a six thousand year slumber. A relatively minor eruption, more curiosity than threat by Icelandic standards despite being 20 kilometers from Reykjavik. Burping Geldingadular isn’t far from the Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal spa fed by water from a nearby power plant. Blue Lagoon (geothermal spa) – Wikipedia On March 31st, Wioleta Gorecka ran with a friend’s suggestion to capture the “big three” – volcanic eruption, aurora and the blue lagoon. Her whim took my breath away –
According to the South China Morning Post, November 17, 2019 marks the first documented case of COVID-19 in China. Impossible to say if this individual was patient zero. If we’re to believe official statements by China, infections grew to 60 by December 20, 2019. On December 27th, Dr. Zhang Jixian, head of the respiratory department at Hubei Provincial Hospital in Wuhan, confirmed the disease was caused by a novel coronavirus. On that day, official case count stood at 160. Viral videos of Wuhan’s “wet market”, clips of fine dining delicacies like whole bats or live baby mice in broth, cemented China’s official party line – COVID can be traced to Wuhan’s wet market. China closed the market in January 2020, sanitizing it without taking samples. In May 2020, China admitted it wasn’t the market, offering no idea where it came from.
In late 2017, science and health officials from the U.S. Embassy attended a conference in Beijing. They witnessed a presentation by Chinese scientists working out of a top level bio-safety lab in Wuhan. Research indicating bat caves in Yunnan Province were probable source of the SARS outbreak and identification of three new coronavirus characterized by a “spike protein” conducive to “grabbing” on to human lung cells known as ACE2 receptors. According to Politico (article linked below) officials at the U.S. Embassy sent teams to inspect the lab on three occasions in late 2017, early 2018. The article alleges – “When they sat down with the scientists at the WIV, the American diplomats were shocked by what they heard. The Chinese researchers told them they didn’t have enough properly trained technicians to safely operate their BSL-4 lab. The Wuhan scientists were asking for more support to get the lab up to top standards.” Shocked enough to alert Washington, warn of potential implications and call for immediate assistance to meet safety standards. Pleas lost in a quagmire of political posturing. A warning no one listened to?
Not so fast. Since when does China allow top level bio-security scientists to speak off the record to U.S. diplomats? Admit they’re incapable of managing containment and security?
Much as I’m leaning toward credibility of a lab breach and cover-up, I struggle with accuracy of Politico’s account. Read the article and let me know what you think.
In 1998, March 2 was named Read Across America Day, ( Theodor Seuss Geisel – Dr. Seuss, was born March 2, 1904 ) Launched by the National Education Association to celebrate reading, it strives to motivate young readers. Some call it Dr. Seuss Day. His books spark imagination, teach millions to read and endure across generations of bedtime stories. Read Across America isn’t a celebration of Dr. Seuss, it’s an initiative to promote reading at a young age, All good? Not so fast. Publisher Dr. Seuss Enterprises cited racist and insensitive imagery as reason for ceasing sales of six Dr. Seuss titles.
These books haven’t been banned, the decision to cease publication and sales was made last year after an extensive review process. Who knew it would become a “cancel culture” poster for right wing America? Cancel culture refers to “cancelling” individuals, groups/organizations or public figures by ostracizing points of view deemed objectionable. The theme of last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference was “America Uncancelled”, Below, a snippet and link titled “Dr. Seuss Falls Victim to the Cancel Culture Nazis”, read it and weep…
“I warned the country about the cancel culture mob and their nefarious plan to ban books, paintings, films and music they found offensive. I warned that the radical leftists were waging a jihad on our culture, on our American traditions. Their plan is to build a socialist utopia on the rubble of our history and culture.” – Todd Starnes at Dr. Seuss Falls Victim to the Cancel Culture Nazis by Todd Starnes (townhall.com)
Over at Fox, misleading cancel culture propaganda raged. Check out No, Fox News, Dr. Seuss Was Not ‘Canceled’ By VA School District | Crooks and Liars at Crooks and Liars. Conservative media called out Joe Biden for not mentioning Dr. Seuss in his Read Across America statement. Whinny Donald Trump Jr. called “cancelling” Dr. Seuss books “insane”. So this is how it’s going to be? We can’t address questionable optics without threat of America Uncancelled retaliation? Is cancel culture a pseudonym for MAGA? Sigh.
New research published in the journal Science Advances supports a correlation between moon cycles and sleep. Seems we go to bed later, sleep less when the moon is full. Scientists analyzed sleep patterns of two control groups, one in rural Argentina without artificial light pollution, the other college students living in downtown Seattle. Research concluded full moons disrupt sleep patterns even in urban locations with artificial light pollution. Participants wore wristbands to monitor activity, both groups went to bed later, slept less during the week leading up to a full moon. Research confirmed humanity’s inherent link to evolutionary circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythm regulates wake/sleep hours, repeating once every 24 hours in step with rotation of Earth. Circadian (from Latin “circa” meaning around or approximately and “diem”, meaning day ) rhythm is hard wired into every form of life. It dictates when bees feed, bats fly and we sleep. Circadian rhythm is sensitive to light fluctuation – enter full moon sleep deprivation.
As I write, Earth directed solar wind blows at 559.3 km/second. High speed solar wind is credited to sunspot AR2803 –
Last night, Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films captured “Aurora at the Beach”, mesmerizing real time aurora majesty washed in waves tickling a stony beach. Treat yourself to Aurora at the Beach, follow Adrien Mauduit at Night Lights Films. –
Below – screenshot of the current Aurora Oval illustrating the impact of high speed solar wind from AR2308. Centered at true magnetic North rather than geographical North Pole, the Aurora Oval widens or retreats at the command of space weather. Ovation Auroral Forecast – Auroral oval | SpaceWeatherLive.com is my go to aurora resource.
Once a planet Pluto marks its 91st anniversary of discovery on February 18, 2021. Take a moment to ponder 91 years of Pluto from discovery to New Horizons mission majesty. Kudos Pluto, your presence is a source of infinite wonder. It’s remarkable to consider Pluto, a solar system constant, has only been known for 91 years. Arizona’s Lowell Observatory is recognized as the birthplace of Pluto. From – Celebrate the 91st anniversary of Pluto’s discovery | Human World | EarthSky –
“Lowell Observatory bills itself as the the “Home of Pluto.” Percival Lowell, a wealthy American businessman with a passion for astronomy, postulated the existence of a “trans-Neptunian object” and searched for it until his death in 1916. His estate, managed by Lowell’s brother, Harvard University president A. Lawrence Lovell, donated money for a new telescope that still stands at the current Lowell Observatory. Using this telescope, Clyde Tombaugh continued Lowell’s search. On February 18, 1930, he detected movements on photographic plates taken in late January. The discovery was announced on March 13, 1930, on what would have been Lowell’s 75th birthday.”
The I Heart Pluto Festival for 2021 runs virtually February 13-18, 2021. Image via IHeartPluto.Org.
Does Pluto love us back? It almost seems to, with this giant heart on the surface! This image was taken by the New Horizons mission on July 13, 2015. Here are 10 cool things about Pluto you might not know. Image via NASA/ APL/ SwRI.