# On The Cusp Of Silly Season

On the cusp of silly season is lost on those without an inkling of what my job entails. The magnitude of Christmas party season poised to ignite defies explanation. I could say I’ll be busy, I’m always busy, busy isn’t silly. Silly is working 18 days straight, working 80 hours a week, getting home at 4 am, showering and heading back to work. Silly is loading and unloading 3 cargo vans in the middle of night, silly is brewing hot chocolate at 2:30 am, loading 7,000 pastries out at 6:30 am and serving canapes to 2,400 guests at the ballet. Silly is how many pounds of turkey and bottles of wine we’ll transport in the next three weeks.

Those of us crazy enough to embrace my profession live for silly season. Surviving Christmas party season is a badge of honour, we live for silly season. The more extreme, physically challenging, convoluted, impossible timelines or elaborate execution, the better. Bring it on! It’s silly season and I’m stoked. See you in a few weeks.

# Uneven Gravity

Our planet isn’t a perfect sphere, as such Earth’s mass is distributed unevenly. Ponder how uneven mass manifests itself as uneven gravity.

Pictured above Hudson Bay, Canada, one of Earth’s gravitational anomalies.

Science has pondered lower gravity in Hudson Bay since the 1960s. Basic laws of gravity dictate its force is proportional to mass in a given region. One theory steps 20,000 years back to the last ice age, a time when behemoth ice sheets crinkled Earth’s crust, displacing mass. Another theory credits tectonic plates, movement of magma and subduction.

We think of gravity as constant, one planet, one equal gravitational force. I wonder how many know they weigh 1% less at the equator than the poles. Rotation creates centrifugal force which varies by latitude because our planet is a oblate sphere. Centrifugal is an outward force, gravity a inward phenomenon. Earth spins fastest at the equator, outward centrifugal forces cancel gravity resulting in diminished measurable weight. The link below is a great resource –

http://wtamu.edu/~cbaird/sq/2014/01/07/do-i-weigh-less-on-the-equator-than-at-the-north-pole/

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation states that every particle attracts every other particle in the universe with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_law_of_universal_gravitation

Uneven gravity isn’t fickle or complicated, uneven distribution of mass and centrifugal force account for gravitational anomalies. Everything happens for a reason.

https://www.rankred.com/why-we-observe-uneven-gravity-on-earth/

Last week astro-photographer Adrien Mauduit filmed the first ever live concert under the Northern Lights. From the aurora borealis observatory in Senja, Norway – ponder Norwegian band Violet Road performing “Keep on Running” under aurora’s light….

# Choir! Choir! Choir!

In 2011 Toronto visionaries Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman launched Choir! Choir! Choir! Twice a week, Clinton’s Tavern in Toronto opens its doors to anyone wanting to participate in a sing-a-long. Goldman and Adilman teach arrangements for one song, then film the performance. The results are magical.

When I watch Choir! Choir! Choir! videos my heart sings in harmony.

https://choirchoirchoir.com/sing-with-us/

Choir! Choir! Choir! transcends race, religion and politics. Voices of everyday people erupt in inspiring song.

In May 2016, 1,999 voices filled Toronto’s Massey Hall to remember Prince with When Doves Cry.

On October 11, 2018 Choir! Choir! Choir! gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto to mark the first anniversary of Gord Downie’s death. Led by Goldman, Adilman and surviving members of Tragically Hip,  Grace, Too enveloped the night.

For those who might not know Downey, the Hip or Grace,Too – I conclude with the Tragically Hip performing Grace,Too at Woodstock 1999.

# Masculine Toilet

November 7, 2018 dawned with Trump firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In less time than it took Sessions to clean out his desk, headlines declared Session’s former Chief of Staff Matt Whitaker “acting” Attorney General.

So who is Matt Whitaker and why did Trump appoint him? A few research minutes later my jaw lay on the carpet.

In 2014 attorney Whitaker joined the advisory board of Florida based World Patent Marketing, a fraudulent invention marketing company shut down in 2017 by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for bilking would be inventors out of millions. WPM misrepresented successful inventions, retail partners, Better Business Bureau rating and invention “review panel” of respected Harvard and MIT advisors.

According to the FTC, WPM used heavy handed threats of litigation to squelch complaints from duped inventors. Enter the Advisory Board, whose sole purpose was to reel in new money and threaten those dangling on a hook. From Wikipedia

Matthew Whitaker was named to the advisory board of World Patent Marketing in 2014. He also appeared in promotional materials and assisted in emailing threats to disgruntled customers.[26] Two months into his association with the firm, Whitaker said in promotional material, “As a former US Attorney, I would only align myself with a first class organization. World Patent Marketing goes beyond making statements about doing business ‘ethically’ and translates those words into action.”[27] Following the shut down the other advisory board members returned fees they had received, however according to news reports, Whitaker did not respond to a request for fees to be returned.[28]

Stay with me, it gets better. During Whitaker’s stint on the advisory board WPM pitched some true gems. How about Sasquatch dolls marketed with claims DNA evidence collected in 2013 prove Big Foot is real, or a time traveling Bitcoin based currency (Time Travel X)? Ponder this…..

In November 2014 . . . World Patent Marketing, announced the “marketing launch” of a “MASCULINE TOILET,” which boasted a specially designed bowl to help “well-endowed men” avoid unwanted contact with porcelain or water. “The average male genitalia is between 5” and 6.”” the firm’s press release said. “However, this invention is designed for those of us who measure longer than that.”

https://www.prlog.org/12395827-inventvillagecom-announces-the-marketing-launch-of-the-masculine-toilet.html

https://boingboing.net/2018/11/14/time-traveling-bitcoin.html

Back to the question of why Trump appointed Whitaker. You tell me! Maybe a racist pussy grabbing misogynist fancies himself a big dick.

# Jovian Close Encounter

October 29, 2018  7,000 kilometers above the cloud tops of Jupiter, NASA orbiter Juno captured this image –

Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran

Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran created this color-enhanced image using data from the spacecraft’s JunoCam imager. JunoCam’s raw images are available for the public to peruse and to process into image products here.

# Geomagnetic Storm

It began with a routine check of space weather before bed. I say routine because it used to be daily ritual until a few months ago when work took siege of every waking moment. Not so long ago I would have been all over a geomagnetic storm, auroras are my thing and I miss them. SpaceWeather http://spaceweather.com/ told of “the next geomagnetic storm”, Earth’s exit from one solar stream and anticipated arrival of another on November 18. Oh man, what solar stream? Then I remembered Adrien Mauduit, newly discovered astro-photographer and visionary whose efforts warm my heart.

Sure enough, Mauduit not only knew of last weekend’s solar storm, he captured its ethereal beauty in HD.

Adrien Mauduit wrote “If you missed the show last night, here’s a recap of what happened from the Aurora observatory on Senja island, Norway. “

# Pondering 100 Years

This ponder is dedicated to my dear friend and co-worker Tony. A true gentleman, salt of the earth and kind soul whose thoughtful tribute to the 100th anniversary of SS Princess Sophia’s tragic demise touched my heart.

The SS Princess Sophia, before her tragic end. (Alaska State Library, Sadlier-Olsen Family Collection)

http://princesssophia.org/

On the 100th anniversary of armistice take a moment to ponder the 100th anniversary of Princess Sophia, a maritime disaster worth remembering. Below, Tony’s letter to his Princess line shipmates….

One hundred years ago today, in the early morning hours of October 24th 1918 the CPR’s Princess Sophia ran aground on Vanderbilt Reef in Lynn Canal,  about 60 miles south of Skagway, Alaska, bound for Juneau and points south   The ship had left Skagway with a full load of ‘end of season’ passengers at 10 pm, three hours late.   It was one of the last two sailings southbound before winter set in; Princess Alice was on her way north and would be just about the last chance to travel south.  About 400 people were waiting in Skagway, many of them seasonal workers and crews from the paddle wheelers on the interior lakes.   There was excitement building over rumours of an end to the Great War but a number of the passengers and crew members were already sick with the ‘flu, the influenza epidemic which would kill at least 20 million people worldwide, 30 to 50,000 Canadians.

The weather deteriorated soon after departure and at the time of the grounding the Sophia was travelling at 12 – 14 knots through a snowstorm with a 50 mph tailwind.  Navigation was conducted by sounding the ship’s whistle and calculating the distance from the steep cliff sides of the channel which was about 8 miles wide at that point.  The vessel veered off course,  too far to the west and struck the reef with so much force that it was driven almost its entire length high onto the reef but settled level.  There was a radio on board and Captain Locke managed to alert both Skagway and Juneau.

The ship seemed securely wedged and not too much damage was visible to the hull. There seemed to be no immediate danger.  A decision was made wait for moderation in the weather before allowing rescue attempts from the several small vessels which had arrived to help.  At low tide it was not possible to launch the lifeboats because of the surrounding rocks and even at high tide it was thought that they would be dashed against the rocks before they could clear away.  For forty hours the ship remained on the reef awaiting the forecast improvement in the weather.   An all out rescue effort was planned for high tide on the 26th but towards the evening of the 25th fresh high winds and pounding seas moved the stern of the vessel completely around and it began to slide into deeper water.   Princess Sophia sank late on October 25th, with the loss of all the passengers and crew, about 340 souls in all.  Many bodies were found trapped inside the vessel and others were still being found in the water up to eight miles away for weeks after.  Princess Alice carried many of the bodies back to Vancouver and arrived on November 11th,  Armistice Day.  The ship anchored off shore and did not enter the port until the next day.   The arrival almost went unnoticed amid the great celebrations surrounding Armistice Day and its announcement only appeared on an inside page of the newspaper.  Despite being the biggest maritime disaster in Alaska’s history the event was quickly almost forgotten.  Unlike the great Titanic disaster, there were no survivors of the Princess Sophia sinking to tell their stories.

The attached photo is of Princess Sophia arriving in Vancouver sometime between 1914 / 1918.  The resolution is high enough that if you zoom in you can clearly see some stewards on the foredeck …..   white shirts and bow ties!  Perhaps they were looking out for wives and girlfriends on the dock.  Many soldiers are visible and there seem to be officers waiting dockside as well as a band playing just above the foredeck.    Also attached a picture of some crew members,  stewards again I think, on board before the disaster.  I wonder what the tips were like in those days.    The route the ships took back then was the same as the Princess Patricia in the 1970s,   the same ports in a different order.    It is a sobering thought to think that all of us passed that same reef many, many times,  northbound and southbound and always in darkness.   Luckily we had the benefit of radar,  depth sounders  …..   and Angus Twatt often at the helm,  a fine seaman from the Orkney Islands!

This afternoon at Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver the B.C. Maritime Museum installed a plaque commemorating seven O’Brien family members lost on Princess Sophia.

https://www.vicnews.com/news/museum-marks-100th-anniversary-of-the-unknown-titanic-of-the-west-coast/

# In Remembrance

In 1914 they came from the hamlets and the villages and the towns and the cities.

They came from the hills and the mountains and the valleys.

Farmers and miners.

Teachers and doctors.

White, Brown and Black.

They  marched away from Home with smiles on their faces.

They knew they would be Home again soon.

Today it is exactly 100 years since the guns fell silent ending World War One.

The emotional, spiritual, pyschic and cultural cost of such a war is beyond all human calculation.

A cataclysm shattering hearts and minds.

Shattering philosophies and faiths.

Shattering nations and societies.

Shattering hopes and dreams.

Shattering comfortable certainties..

The toll in terms of deaths and casualties we can, in awe, to some extent number.

From Australia : Lieutenant Joseph Balfe from Brunswick aged 25 and more than 62, 000 of his comrades.

From Canada : Private Percy Bark aged 18 and…

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