Stalin’s Ape Army

In 1926 Joseph Stalin did some pondering.  Concerned about rebuilding his army, Stalin believed he’d found the perfect solution, better yet his solution killed two birds with one stone. He gave Russian scientist Illia Ivanov funding  to cross humans and apes. The plan was to create a super army with strength, endurance, and low maintenance costs of apes. Bonus – he believed he could prove Darwin’s theory of evolution once and for all and discredit creationism. Ivanov attempted to impregnate women with ape sperm. His research was carried out in French Guinea,  eventually attempting insemination of African women with Chimpanzee sperm without their knowledge. Not too popular in Guinea and out of funding, he returned to Russia where he was arrested for “having created a counter revolutionary organization among agricultural species” . Sent to a work camp in Kazakhstan, he died two years later.

"Stalin" by Nathaniel Gold

“Stalin” by Nathaniel Gold

Our Sun is getting uppity again

As I ponder the sky, it’s only fair to report back. In fact, you can leave the sky watching to me. I assure you, anything of interest, you’ll be the first to know.

A new sunspot – AR1532 erupted with an M6 class flare today. Impressive, but not remarkable, the resulting  CME ( coronal mass ejection ) is heading our way. If you’re lucky enough to be away from city lights, and the sky is clear around midnight tomorrow, you could witness the auroras in the most unexpected of places. Over the next few days, predictions are that much stronger flares will occur.

Meteor showers are starting to get interesting. The annual Aquarid shower is taking place now, an opening act for the Perseid shower that peaks August 12 – 13, with as many as 100 meteors an hour.

If you want to learn more, the following link is a great place to start. It’s for Space Weather, and the photo is courtesy their site.


The tongue of a Blue Whale weighs as much as an Elephant

The Blue Whale is the largest animal to ever inhabit earth. It’s uncertain how many remain, estimates are between 10,000 – 25,000. Their tongues weigh as much as an elephant, hearts as much as a car. They reach 100 feet in length, and live up to 100 years.  Ponder this – the world’s largest animal sustains itself on one of the world’s smallest, krill. Krill is no bigger than a shrimp. A single Blue Whale eats nearly 4 tons every day.

Ship Names

Ever pondered what S.S. means before a ships name? It stands for Steam Ship, at one time it stood for Screw Steamer to differentiate it from PS which meant Paddle Steamer. MV stands for motor vessel, generally a diesel engine. SV is a sailing vessel, which by the way, has the right of way over power vessels.

This is a picture of the TEV Princess Patricia ( Turbine Electric Vessel )

Midwest Drought

The American Midwest is in the middle of the worst drought in over 50 years. The corn belt states, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri,  are devastated. The U.S. produces 40% of the world corn crop. Throughout the summer temperatures have been over 100 degrees F, with the water in the Wakanusa River near Topeka, Kansas reaching 103 degrees F on July 7.  The dry conditions are perfect for an explosion of insects who love soybeans, the secondary, hardier crop of these states. Most corn belt states have declared a state of emergency, which allows farmers low interest loans. The majority of this corn is used for feed, food prices have already started to climb. Recently a soil scientist had to send a probe 5 feet into the ground to find any moisture, normally he would only have to probe 12 – 14 inches. Indiana and Illinois are on the verge of declaring their corn crops a complete write off.

Ponder this – Is it a natural cycle, or global warming? It really doesn’t matter, we live a fragile existence, at the mercy of the weather.