Seriously Ceres


With a diameter of 945 kilometers, the thirty third largest body in our solar system rules the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Spinning on axis in a nine hour day, rounded by its own gravity, comprised of rock and ice – a third of the asteroid belt’s mass, answers to the name Ceres.

NASA’s Dawn Mission reached Ceres in March 2015, discovery of “bright spots” left science scrambling for answers. Residing in Occator Crater, the largest revealed characteristics without explanation. Evidence of salt deposits, indication of never imagined “activity” in an asteroid? Dawn couldn’t tell, but astronomer Paulo Molaro at La Silla in Chile shed sunlight on Ceres.

http://earthsky.org/space/unexpected-changes-in-ceres-bright-spots

“… when the spots inside the Occator crater are on the side illuminated by the sun they form plumes that reflect sunlight very effectively. These plumes then evaporate quickly, lose reflectivity and produce the observed changes. This effect, however, changes from night to night, giving rise to additional random patterns, on both short and longer timescales.

If this interpretation is confirmed Ceres would seem to be very different from Vesta and the other main belt asteroids. Despite being relatively isolated, it seems to be internally active.

Ceres is known to be rich in water, but it is unclear whether this is related to the bright spots. The energy source that drives this continual leakage of material from the surface is also unknown.”

 

Polite Spiders Would Stay Out Of My Bed


Forget calendars, spiders are first to recognize spring’s breeze. Before bulbs break ground or buds blister naked branches – spiders abandon winter crevices with purposeful determination. First, the house spiders – dedicated arachnids who didn’t leave at first frost, spiders sensible enough to hunker down for dibs on spring real estate. Neighborly perfection, well mannered widows unaware of their mesmerizing bellies, spiders intent on maintaining the sanctity of property lines. Unobtrusive guests so mindful of personal space, I’m left to smile fondly at the promise of spring.

A few weeks later the mercenaries arrive. Defined by guile and opportunity, legions of irreverent lunkheads infiltrate the sanctity of my home. Unruly spiders determined to bully spring with paraded exhibitionism. Unsophisticated numskulls without dignity or common sense. Wave after wave exhaust abundant spiderly tolerance. “Shoo, shoo – get off my computer”, “that’s quite enough, why are you in my drawer?”. Diligent capture and release does little to squelch the rogue spiders of spring.

Ever the optimist I made excuses for their folly, cutting slack after springtime slack. Barely a whisper of exasperation accompanied robotic rituals of catch and release. Yesterday brought tolerance to its knees – spring spiders set foot in my bed. Stupid spiders, you blew your welcome – a polite spider would stay out of my bed. Gloves off, try again next spring.

 

Stones Rock Havana


Oh to be in Havana tonight – shoulder to shoulder with over 200,000 spectators at Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana baseball stadium, witness to a free concert by the Rolling Stones.

The Stones released their first album in 1964, two years after the Cuban missile crisis, five years after the revolution in 1959. Considered diversionismo ideologico ( ideological divergence ) by a regime unwilling to tolerate influence of enemy culture, the Stones joined Elvis Presley and the Beatles, headlining an official list banning all foreign rock music. ( One notable exception – approval of John Lennon’s 1971 release, Power To The People. Lennon has a park named after him in Havana, complete with his statue ).

News of Stones in Havana didn’t find me until yesterday. first reaction dropped a jaw, followed by pining for a stolen heart. No time to ponder implications – too busy walking streets, lost in the heartbeat of Havana night, vignettes of musical expression erupting around every corner. My only thought – kick ass Havana, better late than never.

Morning arrived with bag of squirrels cacophony – Cuba deserves more than a knee jerk “kick ass, better late than never” or media fawning over “iconic” historical concerts, akin to David Bowie at the Berlin Wall in 1987, or Wham in China, 1985. No argument on iconic, without question hundreds of thousands packing a baseball stadium in Havana for a Stones concert, warrants that designation. Worrisome resides in perspective, call it media spin whirling about translation of iconic.

Regardless of opinion’s nationality or political affiliation, we mustn’t forget the Cuban people. Personal experience left indelible marks, a life altering view of tenacity, perseverance, creativity and resourcefulness. Despite oppression and civil rights violations, remember people whose fortitude fill the night with music. Music monitored by government, musicians arrested for subversive lyrics, artists who dare not stand in line for the Stones because they fear detention.

This concert straddles a full spectrum of intent, in time meaning will show itself. Until then, honour the people of Cuba. Ignore sniveling right wing quips promoting cultural arrogance and blanket assumption of robotic communist conformity. Nip the bud of tiresome debate over ulterior motives, scold yourselves for thinking a concert might erase Cuban woes. Allow the Stones to rock Havana, and let chips fall where they may.

 

The Newsroom


Billed as “political drama”, HBO aired 25 episodes of The Newsroom over 3 seasons. Between June 2012 and December 2014 Jeff Daniels portrayed Will McAvoy, anchor at fictitious ACN (Atlantis Cable News). Creator and principle writer Aaron Sorkin told Newsweek in 2012 –

The Newsroom “is meant to be an idealistic, romantic, swashbuckling, sometimes comedic but very optimistic, upward-looking look at a group of people who are often looked at cynically. The same as with The West Wing, where ordinarily in popular culture our leaders are portrayed either as Machiavellian or dumb; I wanted to do something different and show a highly competent group of people.”

Let me assure you, The Newsroom delivered in spades. Idealistic dodged snares of robotic optimism, romantic let failures be human, swashbuckling struck chords of purpose rather than folly. How Sorkin applied his vision of cynicism, optimism, idealism and humanity, catapulted The Newsroom to relevant social commentary.

Pondering Donald Trump, American politics, propaganda, racial divide, gun violence, blame and fear, turned thoughts to ACN anchor Will McAvoy. Please America, take a moment to hear his words –

Sorry Donald, You’ll Never Be President


Settle down America, Donald Trump will never become President. Trump is America’s Rob Ford. Just as Toronto’s crack smoking mayor enjoyed a period of inexplicable popularity, Trump’s narcissistic, racist, misogynistic buffoonery will crash and burn. Similarities between Ford and Trump reside in ability of both men to exhibit reckless disregard for traditional politicking.

Disregard is a powerful weapon. Unexpected, refreshing, born of screwed up priorities. Gathering momentum, fueled by unspoken discontent, it penetrates stagnant air with herculean force. Caught unaware, disgruntled populations equate disregard with solutions.

Bolstered by celebrity, Trump entered politics with a haughty declaration, he would make America great again. Basking in waves of rhapsodic affirmation, Trump preened his vision of magnificence. Conservatives dismissed arrogance as patriotism, lining up to hang on his every word. Unscripted tirades mocked political correctness, lack of propriety made it abundantly clear – he didn’t know how, or was interested in playing politics. Overnight, Trump became the voice of blind conservatism.

Trump made it OK to blame, he gave fear direction and purpose. Elated numskulls embraced blame without social restraint. Build a wall to keep Mexicans out (financed in part by seizing money illegal immigrants send to family in Mexico ) ,round up and deport an estimated 11 million undocumented Mexicans, teach China how to do business ( after all, China created the climate change “hoax” to undermine the U.S. economy ), bomb the shit out of ISIS, ban Muslims from entering America, close all mosques, create a Muslim registry – blame black, brown and yellow, music to the ears of America’s white underbelly.

Disregard lances a boil, relief is immediate. Donald Trump embodies rivulets of ooze escaping that wound. Complications arise when reliance on disregard obliterate common sense. Buoyed by waves of delusional disregard, Donald Trump doesn’t realize he’ll never be President. Blame, exclusion, mockery of civil and constitutional rights, ignorance, inflammatory contempt for those daring to question his greatness – wait to deliver a sobering reality. Wake up Donald, do the math – America doesn’t have enough pinched white minds to close the deal. I’m not sure who or what you’ll blame, but assure you I’ll find your attempt entertaining.