Juno’s Jupiter

Five years ago NASA launched JUNO (Jupiter Near-Polar Orbiter ), a probe destined to orbit 4,667 kilometers above gas clouds of Jupiter’s atmosphere. As of yesterday “basketball court” sized, solar powered JUNO was 13.8 million kilometers from Jupiter, on course for the main event set to begin July 4, 2016. That evening, JUNO will fire her main engine for 35 minutes, time needed to slow her enough to gently enter a Jupiter specific “flattened oval” orbit – a trajectory designed to approach Jupiter over the north pole, then drop rapidly below the radiation belt as it moves toward the south pole.

Jupiter’s rotation is so fast, one day is 10 hours. Just beneath the cloud tops, a layer of impossibly compressed hydrogen acts like an electrical conductor, generating a behemoth magnetic field, comprised of electrons, protons and ions traveling close to the speed of light. In a nutshell – a region of radiation surpassing all else in our planetary system.

If JUNO’s radiation shielded wiring and sensor barriers hold up, NASA hopes for 37 scheduled “close approaches”. Regardless of successful approaches, even one will trounce Pioneer 11’s 1974 closest distance of 43,000 kilometers.

Good luck Juno. Rosetta did it, so can you. Jupiter will be revealed July 4.

This “trailer” released by NASA a few days ago begs for high definition and surround sound. Expand your screen, turn up the volume, take in Juno’s Jupiter.



Hate, Fear, Stupidity and Radical Nonsense

A few hours after the mass shooting at a Orlando night club, Sacramento Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez treated his congregation to a sermon riddled with caustic mirth –

“Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? No … I think that’s great. I think that helps society.¬† I think Orlando, Florida’s a little safer tonight,” he said to the crowd of believers in front of him.

“It is unnatural for a man to be attracted to another man,” he said as he preached for more than an hour.

“The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die,”

westboro baptist church

Above – Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas celebrated the massacre by tweeting this hate filled trio of radical religious compassion.

Help me out – was God or a radicalized Islamic terrorist pulling the trigger? This is important, America can’t have it both ways. Citizens need clear direction, all this confusion amounts to a child’s fear of evil clowns under the bed. Has God gotten sneaky? I can’t imagine God laugh slapping his leg, allowing mere mortals to take credit for his wrath. Surely a sexually confused nut case blithering back against the wall allegiance to radical Islam, isn’t a foot soldier of the Christian God. My head hurts!

Lets cut through the wannabe president tweets, media frenzy, fear mongering propaganda and speculation. Crazy is crazy, it isn’t pretty, recognizable or open to popular understanding¬† – because it’s crazy!

How can America sit still while the likes of Donald Trump or Pastor Jimenez lay claim to crazy. Not only claim, but instigate an insidious trail of hysterical fear based on personal agendas. Muslims are not the enemy, homosexuals don’t threaten humanity – accusation, fear mongering and knee jerk assumption reign as our greatest enemy. Radicalized Islam, messenger of God, my ass!

It was a hate crime, an act of crazy inflicted on innocent people by an American citizen of Muslim heritage. How dare profiteers, religious, political or otherwise claim random crazy as their instrument of fear. Listen carefully America – random acts of crazy aren’t terrorism by default, Muslim heritage doesn’t catapult crazy to the realm of terror.

Breaking news – moments ago CNN reported Orlando is worried about the impact on tourism following the night club massacre. Apparently bat shit knows no boundaries. Goodnight.


Pondering The ER

Waking with a toothache Wednesday morning gave no indication it meant a trip to Vancouver General Hospital ER by Friday afternoon. We’ve all had toothaches – they start with an undeniable throb, maybe a twinge of pain to hot or cold. Popping some Advil, I reasoned the dentist could wait until next week, Thursday morning dawned with considerably less optimism. My face showed visible swelling, no amount of Advil knocked it down. Too late to bail, I stopped at a drop-in clinic for antibiotics on my way to work, somehow managing to muddle through six hours of food and drink for prospective buyers of a $5 million dollar home. I don’t remember driving home. I’ll not soon forget waking Friday morning to a grotesquely transformed face.

Problem tooth was an “eye tooth”, never before has that designation been more apparent. Not only was half my face swollen beyond recognition, the infection reached my eye, not content to stop at discolouring a now enormous and angry red “bag”, but creeping to my eyelid. I drove the company truck to work, work drove me straight to the emergency room.

Entering ER is like crossing into another dimension. It begins at “Triage” – state your name, produce your medical number and take a seat. Time passes without point of reference, all I could go on were movements of those around me.Waiting patiently for a nurse to call my name, time passed with moans, outbursts, vomit and chatter of the queue. To my right – elderly woman (exhibiting signs of dementia ) complaining of shortness of breath, next to her abnormal menstrual cramps, construction worker with makeshift dressing on his leg and a skate-boarder who clearly face planted concrete. To my left – a projectile vomiting woman, slumped over pajama clad man and line of parked wheelchairs ranging from “ass pain” to pins and needle toes poking from freshly plastered casts.

“Be patient, we attend to the most seriously ill first”. Fair enough, perfectly reasonable priority – or so I kept reminding myself. After an hour mute tears landed in my lap. Attempting eye contact as a plea for help, proved a pitiful failure. “Look at my face, I’m obviously septic!” – of little use against steely efficiency of the ER. I lapsed into a comatose state of existence.

My name came as a dream¬† – ushered out of purgatory, I found myself in solitary confinement. Stripped of visual reference, I relied on auditory documentation. Behind the adjacent curtain, a doctor told abnormal menstrual cramps her ultrasound was normal, and no he wasn’t going to prescribe Oxycontin or give her a shot or Morphine. WTF cramps! Nice try and on what planet are you talking to a doctor before me? See you later cramps.

How long has it been? Have they forgotten me? Footsteps! Not so fast – muffled voices behind yellow curtain – same doctor heard saying “she launched a human rights complaint”, unknown female (presumably nurse) “we apologized, that should be the end of it” Oh, if only I could make out every word – stop vomiting out there, I’m trying to eavesdrop. Another moment of indecipherable whispers, followed by doctor’s parting “don’t say anything, you keep your mouth shut” Oh my – remember me? Here I am!

I must have fallen asleep. Cheerful young doctor (not behind yellow curtain doctor) appeared out of thin air. “my goodness, this isn’t good”. No shit Sherlock! Moments later a nurse ushered me to a row of IV chairs. Take these she instructed, placing a glass of water in one hand, paper cup with six pills in the other. “Painkillers and antibiotics, now give me your arm to start an IV”. IV in place, nurse handed instructions for a “fast track” ER appearance the next day, and a sheet of “care” regarding the IV port staying in my arm until things were “under control”. Doctor breezes by with prescriptions for painkillers and more antibiotics.

Four and a half hours after venturing in, I stumble out of ER in a codeine haze, bandaged IV port on one side, fist of RX and care instructions on the other. I won’t bore you with details of the following day so called “fast track” IV, suffice to say they were doing the best they could, and 3 hours was better than 4 1/2. That was two days ago and I’m feeling much better.

Went back to work today. The root canal has to wait until next week when antibiotics are finished and the lump under my eye subsides. At least I don’t look like a bloated cadaver anymore – thank you VGH emergency room.




Photographs Until Tomorrow

Much as I wanted to finish a ponder on the emergency room, a post reflecting my thoughts and conspicuous absence over the past few days – I’ve run out of energy. Knowing I’ll feel better tomorrow, certainly more able to reflect on the intricacies of ER shenanigans. I leave you tonight with photographs of Vancouver taken by my husband over the past few days.



A dozen people could witness the same event, each one telling different versions of the same story – photography is no different. Impression forms the basis of recollection. Taken over the past few weeks in and around Vancouver – some impressions through the lens of my husband –