Mexico City….


Notes is leaving tonight for Mexico City. Back with ponders in a week.

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Astronomical Halloween


Pumpkin bin supermarket sentinels, cob web fluff, fold out spiders, broom stick witches. Pumpkin patch, amusement park Fright Night, haunted house tours, behemoth inflatable yard ghosts, pop-up fireworks outlets – it must be Halloween.

This year, take a moment to ponder astronomical Halloween, one of four “cross- quarter days” in a year – a cross-quarter day falls midway between a equinox (sun sets due west) and the solstice (sun sets at most northern or southern point on the horizon). March and September equinoxes, June and December solstices plus one cross-quarter between each, makes eight astronomical sub-divisions in a year.

Astronomical Halloween, rooted in the ancient Celtic festival Samhain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain took cues from the Pleiades star cluster. Cosmically vigilant pagans celebrated Samhain on the night Pleiades reached its highest point in the sky, coincidentally falling at cross-quarter time. Trouble is – the 7th century Catholic church knew nothing of Pleiades or cross-quarter days. They declared November 1 All Saints Day (honoring any saints who didn’t have their own day), October 31 All Hallows Eve (mass for all who are hallowed) – set in stone dates based on a wonky Julian calendar.

Had the Gregorian calendar been applied, Halloween would fall on November 7.

A color-composite image of the Pleiades from the Digitized Sky Survey. Image credit: NASA/ESA/AURA/Caltech

A color-composite image of the Pleiades from the Digitized Sky Survey. Image via NASA/ESA/AURA/Caltech.

Tabby’s Star


Earlier this year astronomer Tabetha Boyajian sparked a ruckus. Inquiring science minds pondered her TED Talk, a talk naming star KIC 8462852 as “the most mysterious in the universe”.

Dubbed Tabby’s Star, the fuss stems from Tabby’s light behaving oddly. Odd as in astronomers have never seen anything like it. At irregular intervals, for days at a time, light “dims” by as much as 22%.  Science knows it isn’t a planet – the culprit isn’t round, nor does it block light in a discernible pattern.

Tabby’s peculiarities caught the attention of Andrew Siemion. Today, for 8 dedicated hours SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Green Bank radio telescope in Virginia will listen to nothing but Tabby – a cosmic anomaly perplexing enough to warrant investigation of alien life, specifically a Dyson Sphere (linked below)

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/dyson-sphere/

Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center and co-director of Breakthrough Listen at Berkeley, will also be on hand at Green Bank tonight, helping with the Tabby’s Star observations. He said in a statement:

Everyone, every SETI program telescope, I mean every astronomer that has any kind of telescope in any wavelength that can see Tabby’s star has looked at it. It’s been looked at with Hubble, it’s been looked at with Keck, it’s been looked at in the infrared and radio and high energy, and every possible thing you can imagine, including a whole range of SETI experiments. Nothing has been found.

What can the Green Bank radio telescope bring to the table? Siemion said:

The Green Bank Telescope is the largest fully steerable radio telescope on the planet, and it’s the largest, most sensitive telescope that’s capable of looking at Tabby’s star given its position in the sky. We’ve deployed a fantastic new SETI instrument that connects to that telescope, that can look at many gigahertz of bandwidth simultaneously and many, many billions of different radio channels all at the same time so we can explore the radio spectrum very, very quickly.

He said the results of the Green Bank observations made tonight will not be known for more than a month, because of the massive data analysis required to pick out patterns in the radio emissions.

Artist's concept of cascading comets around a distant star. This scenario is one possible explanation for mystery star KIC 8462852. Image via NASA/JPL/Caltech/Vanderbilt University.

Artist’s concept of cascading comets around a distant star. This scenario is one possible explanation for Tabby’s Star. Image via NASA/JPL/Caltech/Vanderbilt University.

Finder chart for KIC 8462852. It's located in the direction to the constellation Cygnus, which is part of the famous Summer Triangle asterism, visible at this time of year.

Finder chart for Tabby’s Star, aka KIC 8462852. It’s located in the direction to the constellation Cygnus.

Astronomers to observe Tabby’s Star

Asgardia


In Norse mythology, Asgard is one of the “nine worlds”. All but Earthly world Migard inhabit the sky. Viking gods and goddesses hail from two tribes, the Aesir and Vanir. Within Asgard, home of the Aesir, Odin rules over Valhalla. Inhabitants of Migard reach Asgard by crossing Bifrost, the rainbow bridge.

Midgard, the world of humanity
Asgard, the world of the Aesir tribe of gods and goddesses
Vanaheim, the world of the Vanir tribe of gods and goddesses
Jotunheim, the world of the giants
Niflheim, the primordial world of ice
Muspelheim, the primordial world of fire
Alfheim, the world of the elves
Svartalfheim, the world of the dwarves
Hel, the world of the eponymous goddess Hel and the dead

The Rainbow Bridge between Asgard and Midgard in Richard Wagner’s Das Rheingold, directed by Otto Schenk (1990)

On October 16, 2016 Igor Ashurbeyli ( founder of Aerospace International Research Centre in Vienna, Chairman of UNESCO’s Science and Space Committee ) called a news conference in Paris to unveil Asgardia.

Marching boldly into uncharted territory, Igor Ashurbeyli urged humanity to pledge allegiance to Asgardia, his technically sparse, ideologically rich vision of a sovereign nation in space. Online applications for “citizenship” opened to any person residing in countries that allow dual citizenship. The “government” of Asgardia called for 100,000 citizens – minimum number needed to seek nation state recognition by the United Nations.

“The project’s philosophy starts at selecting the name for this new country – Asgardia. In ancient Norse mythology, Asgard was a city in the skies, the country of the Gods. It is the realisation of man’s eternal dream to leave his cradle on Earth and expand into the Universe.

Asgardia is a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations – with all the attributes this status entails: a government and embassies, a flag, a national anthem and insignia, and so on.

The essence of Asgardia is Peace in Space, and the prevention of Earth’s conflicts being transferred into space.

Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect – to serve entire humanity and each and everyone, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born.

Asgardia’s philosophical envelope is to ‘digitalise’ the Noosphere, creating a mirror of humanity in space but without Earthly division into states, religions and nations. In Asgardia we are all just Earthlings!”

The excerpt above from Asgardia’s website strikes me as convoluted jibber-jabber, tiresome verbal diarrhea guaranteed to furrow my brow. Is Igor for real? Who is he appealing to – humanity, nut jobs, conspiracy theorists? Is Asgardia a brilliant model for the future, or insidious vehicle driven by personal gain? Pondering Asgardia is complicated, I’m still working out the kinks. Allow me a cut and paste of Asgardia objectives –

“Welcome to Asgardia, the first ever space nation – a global, unifying and humanitarian project.

The project’s concept comprises three parts – philosophical, legal and scientific/technological.

1. The project’s philosophy starts at selecting the name for this new country – Asgardia. In ancient Norse mythology, Asgard was a city in the skies, the country of the Gods. It is the realisation of man’s eternal dream to leave his cradle on Earth and expand into the Universe.

Asgardia is a fully-fledged and independent nation, and a future member of the United Nations – with all the attributes this status entails: a government and embassies, a flag, a national anthem and insignia, and so on.

The essence of Asgardia is Peace in Space, and the prevention of Earth’s conflicts being transferred into space.

Asgardia is also unique from a philosophical aspect – to serve entire humanity and each and everyone, regardless of his or her personal welfare and the prosperity of the country where they happened to be born.

Asgardia’s philosophical envelope is to ‘digitalise’ the Noosphere, creating a mirror of humanity in space but without Earthly division into states, religions and nations. In Asgardia we are all just Earthlings!

2. Asgardia’s legal aspects.

Today, many of the problems relating to space law are unresolved and may never be solved in the complex and contradictory dark woods of modern international law. Geopolitical squabbles have a great influence, and are often rooted in the old military history and unresolvable conflicts of countries on Earth. It is time to create a new judicial reality in space.

It is of crucial importance that space law does not become the law of the jungle. Today, only 20 countries on Earth out of about 200 have a space presence, and have, for example, plans to mine in space and lay claim to exclusivity and monopoly. New space law has to equally protect the interests of every human being on Earth.

It means protecting individuals and countries (particularly developing nations) from space threats as well as delivering the benefits of using space for creating new goods and services, and financial resources.

The question of Asgardia citizenship is also essential. After Asgardia is recognised as a member of the UN, the question of reasons for granting citizenship will inevitably arise. One opinion is that the first Asgardians will be those who work in the fields of space research and exploration, and space technology, as well as investors in these fields, including small investors.

Of course, special preference will be given to the first hundred thousand people who apply prior to the launch of the first satellite – and all the typical citizenship procedures that are used on Earth will be followed. This does not mean Asgardian citizenship will not be available to all people on Earth, regardless of their earthly jurisdiction.

A core legal principle is that Asgardia does not interfere in relations between states on Earth – and vice versa.

Asgardia’s legal envelope includes the creation of a new legal platform for the exploration of near-Earth and deep space. ‘Universal space law’ and ‘astropolitics’ have to replace international space law and geopolitics.

3.The scientific and technological component of the project can be explained in just three words – peace, access and protection.

These are the three most important scientific and technological goals of Asgardia.

First, is to ensure the peaceful use of space.

The second is to protect planet Earth from space threats. There are seven threats in our classification system: sun storms and flares, known as coronal mass ejections; changes in Earth’s magnetosphere that destroy the effective protective layer of our planet; potentially dangerous asteroids and comets; man-made orbital debris; changes in the climate stemming from technogenic factors and sun radiation; cosmic radiation from nuclear reactions in novae, supernovae and pulsars; and the danger of Earth infection by microorganisms from meteors and other small celestial bodies.

The third goal is to create a demilitarized and free scientific base of knowledge in space. This will provide free access to all, especially those from developing countries who do not have space access now. And such access should be free and direct.

Asgardia’s technical structure is comprised of three segments:

  • one or several core satellites
  • clusters of network-centric small satellites
  • protective space platform

The widest participation in this open project is one of our goals – participation from all interested scientists and companies, without limiting them by our own vision of the technological side of things at the moment.

The scientific and technological envelope of Asgardia is a space arena for the scientific creativity of its citizens and companies in developing a broad range of future space technologies, products and services for humanity on Earth and humanity in Space.

Therefore, Asgardia is a sort of a matryoshka, made of philosophy, law and technology. Whatever else is hidden inside is something we will discover in the near future.

We are not selling pieces of land on the Moon or water in Antarctica. We’re actually not selling anything at all at the moment. Only after we have proven this idea with a confirmed launch of an equipped satellite may we begin talking about Asgardia’s budgets.

Right now, work on the project is funded entirely from our personal private funds. It’s a clear-cut decision. We have now declared our concept and philosophy publicly and would like as many people as possible on the planet to find out about it.

And of course we are going to make use of crowd funding and sourcing, and private donations. And we welcome cooperation with new partners and investors.”

Image via asgardia.space

Artist’s impression of the first Asgardia satellite. Image via asgardia.space

Sorry Igor, until you prove otherwise I call bat shit.

https://asgardia.space/

Oh, grow up out of your preschool dimensions!


Tonight’s work day evolved into several hurry up and wait hours. A low key wedding demanding nothing more than post coffee and dessert kitchen talk. A co-workers expressed interest in the 4th dimension. Oh man I replied, send you a few outstanding links when I get home. I’d forgotten how great geneticfractals perspective was –

Genetic Fractals

mixed dimensions

Before I give you your own experience of the fourth dimension, let me destroy the notion that you live in a three dimensional world.

View original post 1,608 more words

Start Milking Tasmanian Devils


Until this afternoon, if asked to draw or describe a Tasmanian Devil my best guess would have resembled Bugs Bunny’s cartoon nemesis. Animated Saturday morning impressions – enormous mouth, exaggerated teeth, wild eyes, muscular body, large torso and pointy ears.

An image search did little to vanquish childhood assumptions. Other than black not brown, ears pinkishly rounded and tail longer than recollection, Taz appeared much as expected. Moving forward demanded a wiki search.

Who knew Tasmanian Devils were listed as an endangered species in 2008? Or that since the late 90’s drastic population decline was attributed to devil facial tumor disease? Enter a link to Tim Stark at Devil Ark. Located in New South Wales, Australia Devil Ark is a non-profit organization dedicated to preservation of Tasmanian Devils.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_Ark

For the sake of brevity I’ll get to the point – milk from Tasmanian Devils contain peptides capable of wiping out antibiotic resistant superbugs. Obvious considerations such as how do you milk a devilish marsupial, or why ponder doing so in the first place aside – this is news.

Overuse of antibiotics and hand sanitizing germaphobia are bacterial microbes wet dream. It’s too easy, all they have to do is mutate as we flub about in a cloud of assertive ignorance. Oblivious to hundreds of thousand superbug casualties each year, we wake up every morning convinced humanity is invincible. Along comes Tim Stark, director of a non profit Tasmanian Devil preservation society, a man struggling to save obscure cartoon marsupials from terminal face cancer extinction. A man who milked Tasmanian Devils and stumbled upon a cure for antibiotic resistant bacteria.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/10/18/tasmanian-devil-milk-is-a-new-hope-in-fighting-superbugs/

Basement Widow’s Domain


A few days ago I noticed bathroom widow had moved on. She does this every autumn, bathroom widow is always the first to go. It took her conspicuous absence to prompt a reconnaissance mission. Scolding myself for being so remiss I took a long overdue, busy is no excuse tour of my house widow lairs. “Reconnaissance mission” is a tad dramatic, in truth there are only two widow camps left in the house. (There used to be four – bathroom widow moved out and bedroom widow succumbed to an unfortunate vacuum mishap several weeks ago ).

Kitchen widow hadn’t budged, nor by all appearances had she consumed a proper meal all summer. Much as I respect impeccable manners and polite adherence to house rules, she could learn a thing or two from basement widow.

Basement widow didn’t flinch when pulled blind thrust her into the spotlight. Presiding over a berm of skeletal remains, her marquee read “this is my domain”. “Outstanding” rolled off my lips. Beaming respect accompanied a closing of blind retreat. Reign on basement widow, reign on.

2016-10-17-22-29-15-1