International Bad Manners


Life Unscripted

It wasn’t unpredictable that Donald Trump would choose to pretend that other international leaders were in lock step with him — and to do so by avoiding the G7 meeting on climate change, as well as to arrive late — and interrupt a woman speaker during the session on gender equality.  The Great Pussy Grabber can’t be expected to show respect for anyone or anything that he has not originated.

But it’s clear that other world leaders have his number.  From Angela Merkel’s stare to the mark-leaving handshake Macron gave to Trump the gloves are off and they aren’t particularly interested in playing his games.  Life is a serious business; there are real problems to be dealt with and if Donald chooses to ignore some and exacerbate others they aren’t going to play along.

I can’t help but think about the thousands and millions of people who live each day…

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Ponder Degrees Of Acuity


New research by Eleanor Caves at Duke University suggests most species view the world in less detail than us Comparison of visual acuity in 600 species of animals, birds, fish and insects conclude humans see fine detail elusive to most species. Based on spacing and density of light sensing structure in eye anatomy, the study measured acuity in terms of cycles per degree, translation – how many pairs of black and white parallel lines a species can discern within one degree of the field of vision before they turn into a smear of gray.

Average human eyes resolve 60 black/white cycles per degree of acuity. Anyone with less than 10 cycles per degree of acuity is legally blind. Most insects can’t see more than one degree of acuity. Fish and birds hover around half the visual acuity of humans. (One exception birds of prey – Australian web tailed eagles boast 140 cycles per degree )) Cats and dogs perceive 7 times less visual detail, slightly more than goldfish, significantly more than rodents.

Evolutionary perfection compensates lack of visual acuity with species specific tweaks of survival fancy. Sight as we know it is not the measure of life on Earth.

 

Image result for kitchen as seen by different animals

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/humans-see-world-100-times-more-detail-mice-fruit-flies-180969240/

 

The image on the left shows the wings of a map butterfly as they might look to a jay looking for a snack, and on the right, to another member of its kind, such as a rival or potential mate. Image courtesy of Eleanor Caves

The image on the left shows the wings of a map butterfly as they might look to a jay looking for a snack, and on the right, to another member of its kind, such as a rival or potential mate. Image courtesy of Eleanor Caves

Image result for eleanor caves acuity

A spider web as seen in bird vision (left), and fly vision (right). The zigzags on the spider’s web send a secret message to birds that their insect prey can’t see, even from less than a foot away. Image via Eleanor Caves.

Longer Days


Moons orbit planets, planets orbit the sun. Round and round they go forever locked in gravitational harmony. Sunrise, sunset, new moon, full moon, every day a 24 hour certainty. Foundations so fundamental we take them for granted. Not so fast – days haven’t always been 24 hours. Truth is, days are getting longer.

New astronomical research dubbed astrochronology suggests that recently as 1.4 billion years ago Earth completed a day in 18 hours. Science credits interaction of Earth/Moon tidal forces for lunar orbit spiraling away from Earth at 1.5 inches a year.

Gravity is a cosmic wonder, proximity of mass dictates rate of rotation. 18 hour day Earth was driven by a vastly closer Moon. Over time rotation slows as the Moon spirals away. Less pull, less spin, longer days.

https://www.space.com/40802-earth-days-longer-moon-movement.html?utm_source=sdc-newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180606-sdc

 

This gorgeous photo of Earth with the moon in the foreground was captured on Oct. 12, 2015, by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

 

Ponder Mars Rover Curiosity Announcement


Mars rover Curiosity is on a mission to investigate Mars’ past ability to support microbial life. Exploration began when Curiosity touched down on the floor of 154 kilometer wide Gale Crater in August 2012. It didn’t take long for Curiosity core samples to indicate Gale Crater could have supported a habitable lake and stream system in the ancient past. At the centre of Gale, Mount Sharp rises 5.5 kilometers above the Martian surface. Curiosity reached the base of Mt. Sharp in September 2014. Curiosity set a course for the summit, collecting core samples along the way. All good until late 2016 when Curiosity lost the use of her robotic drill.

NASA engineers worked tirelessly to find a solution. On February 26, 2018 a test fix culminated in Curiosity boring a 1.3 centimeter deep hole. A few adjustments later the little rover that could drilled without hesitation.

This week NASA made a curious announcement. On Thursday June 7, 2018 at 2 pm EDT a live news conference will reveal something Curiosity discovered on Mars.

 

“NASA will hold a press conference Thursday, June 7, 2018, to announce a new discovery on Mars from the Curiosity rover. Here, Curiosity snaps a selfie while perched on Vera Rubin Ridge on Mars in February 2018.”

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

From https://www.space.com/40792-nasa-mars-rover-curiosity-announcement-june-2018.html

“The space agency revealed few details about what will be announced Thursday, but the “live discussion” will feature “new science results from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover,” according to a NASA announcement. Why all the secrecy? “The results are embargoed by the journal Science until then,” NASA wrote in the statement.

That means NASA won’t release any details until the press conference, which is scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Thursday. You can watch the Mars announcement live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV. The space agency did reveal the list of scientists who will be discussing the Mars discovery. [See Curiosity’s Greatest Mars Discoveries (So Far)]

 

Crazy Train Rolls Into Work Town


Every so often crazy train rolls into work town. Usually we hear it coming, sometimes signals fail. Crazy train doesn’t discriminate, we never know who’ll climb aboard.

Image result for crazy train

Yesterday crazy train rolled into an all day professional conference for doctors. Repeat client, nothing too fussy, routine conference defined by breakfast, morning break, lunch and afternoon break. Despite leaving for work at 4:15 am, I looked forward to seeing this client again. Remarkably, special dietary requests were few, only one in fact, a Dr. B who identified as Celiac. I remembered Dr. B from the last conference – requested gluten free meals, rather than eat our food, provided her own meals to re-heat. No problem Dr. B, I’ll warm up your gluten free pizza.

This morning Dr. B arrived with Tupperware boxed lunch and polite request to reheat when appropriate. A few minutes later one of my servers presented a zip-loc sandwich bag of what looked like oatmeal. Server said “I was asked to add half a cup of boiling water to this”. Why didn’t Dr. B talk to me when she gave me her lunch? Never mind. Crazy train hadn’t whistled, how were we supposed to know it was about to derail?

Does this look like a restaurant, do you see anything else in a bowl? We’re off-site caterers, never mind, we have hot water, I’ll find a bowl. There you go Dr. B – nice ceramic bowl, half a cup boiling water, personally delivered by a keen young server smiling with a sense of accomplishment – enjoy your breakfast.

Moments later server returned with furrowed brow, exclaiming – “She snapped at me, said it wasn’t instant oats and demanded a microwave” . “We don’t have a microwave, she asked us to add hot water, where is she now” flew back in rapid succession. “Looking for a microwave and extremely upset” replied server. Barely had time to mutter “give me a break” when another co-worker announced Dr. B was in the bathroom crying hysterically. It’s too early for this shit Dr. B!

Everybody relax I’ll talk to Dr. B preceded reconnaissance of the ladies room, Dr. B’s sobs could be heard in the hallway – kill me now. I opened the door, “please don’t be locked in a stall”. Oh crap! What fresh hell is this? Note to self – caution staff to report accurate information – not in my wildest imagination could her performance be defined as shedding basic bathroom tears. Unaware of my presence, Dr. B wailed “I’m all alone, no one will help me. Why won’t anyone help me?” “Help me, someone help me” What the fuck, enough! “Excuse me” accompanied the knock on crazy train’s bathroom stall. “I’d like to help but you need to come out”. “Go away, I need to compose myself”. Gladly Dr. B, take all the time you need. I left to inform client that one of her doctors was in meltdown.

” Dr. B asked for hot water, no mention of microwave. We don’t have a microwave, would have told her so from the start. How are we supposed to know what’s in her sandwich bag? She’s crying in a bathroom stall, wailing pleas for help, threatening to go home” rolled off my lips. “She does this a couple times a year” sighed client. Really? In public? went unspoken. Professional obligation fulfilled, Dr. B was crazy train’s problem not mine.

An hour later servers cleared Dr. B’s oatmeal bowl – it was licked clean. Hang in there Dr. B! Nothing like a good cry, public display of crazy and chorus of despair tinged attention seeking outbursts to work up an appetite. Heat your lunch? No problem Dr. B.