Ultima Thule


A billion miles beyond Pluto, deep within mysteries of the Kuiper Belt resides object 2014 MU69 -otherwise known as Ultima Thule. On New Years Day, January 1, 2019, NASA will make space history when New Horizons buzzes past Ultima Thule, solidifying the farthest planetary flyby in human history.

On January 1st, 2019, shortly after the switch into the new year, New Horizons will make its close pass of Ultima Thule. Here’s what we’re poised to learn.NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

Ultima Thule is the bright yellow spot in the middle. Image courtesy John Hopkins.

Passing at 2,200 miles, science hopes New Horizons can explain anomalous light reflected from Ultima Thule. Is Ultima Thule two orbiting objects, one elongated object, a miniscule planet orbited by many tiny light reflecting moons?

We’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, say Ultima Thule out loud – science fiction couldn’t script a better name for a mysterious cosmic object.

https://earthsky.org/space/new-horizons-approaching-ultima-thule-dec-2018

Laptop Frustration


I didn’t want a new laptop for Christmas, asking for one stemmed from telltale signs my old one was close to death. Sickly laptop was my friend, we understood each other, communication was effortless. Despite my best efforts I knew she couldn’t hang on. Christmas morning arrived with a stranger I knew nothing about, 24 hours passed before opening a box that cemented my constant companion’s passing.

With palpable trepidation I find the power button on new laptop, a moment later Cortana introduces herself.

Stop talking Cortana, I’m trying to remember passwords! An hour later Cortana assures me I’m ready to go. Ready my ass! Everything I hold dear is gone. Would it kill Microsoft to include a Windows 10 users manual in this box of irrelevant dribble? What good is a diagram of ports in 37 languages if I can’t find a way to import my photographs? Argh!

 

 

Quote Of The Day


For the past eight years the last holiday party of the year falls a few days before Christmas with the same corporate client. We deck the halls for eighty employees at head office of this grocery/drug store chain with anticipation of their appreciation and our eminent release from party season. We provide prime rib, baked ham, turkey dinner with all the fixings. They provide a truck load of cheese/meat deli platters, dozens of sushi platters, 30 boxes of mandarin oranges, a plethora of cakes, desserts and non-alcoholic beverages. The understanding being we deliver leftover bounty to a homeless mission or soup kitchen.

So far so good, head office employees eat themselves into blissful comas, we start packing everything for the mission. Without fail a handful of vultures start to circle. Well mannered scroungers receive polite reminders leftovers are destined for charitable donation, sneaky scavengers are shamed when we point them out to corporate management. Professional temperance prevents me from shouting “What’s wrong with you! ” Truly a mind boggling spectacle to witness human nature at its worst, glutinous employees gorging on free lunch then plotting to deny the homeless.

This afternoon oblivious ignorance reached a new low. Female employee enters room, doesn’t make eye contact or say a word, starts rummaging through stacks of platters set aside for the mission. “Can I help you?” She turns to face me holding a large platter of sushi, uttering “I have a party tonight, going to take this with me”. I doubt she’ll ever know what happened next solidified her place in my ledger of shame, that her shallow insensitivity spawned Quote Of The Day ponders.

“All leftovers are going to Union Gospel Mission” I said.

“Homeless people don’t eat sushi” she replied, and marched out of the room.

WTF!!

Image result for quote of the day

Apollo 8, A Story of Christmas Around the Moon


December 21, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s momentous Apollo 8 mission. Three days after launch, on Christmas Eve 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders became the first humans to orbit the Moon, the first to see an Earthrise above the lunar surface. Ponder NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine as he looks back on Apollo 8.

https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4029/Apollo_08a_Summary.htm

229 Species


What do 120 wasps, 34 sea slugs, 28 ants, 19 fish, 7 flowering plants, 7 spiders, 4 eels, 3 sharks, 2 water bears, 1 frog, 1 snake, 1 seahorse, 1 moss, and 1 liverwort plant have in common? All reside on a list of 229 new species identified in 2018 by the California Academy of Science.

Shannon Bennett, Academy chief of science said –

Biodiversity scientists estimate that less than 10 percent of species on Earth have been discovered. Academy scientists tirelessly explore near and far, from the familiar forests in our backyards to remote locations as deep as 500 feet beneath the ocean surface. Each species discovery may hold the key to groundbreaking innovations in science, technology, or society and helps us better understand the diversity of life that makes up thriving ecosystems. These new discoveries also highlight the critical role we play as stewards of our one, precious planet.”

The “Japan pig” seahorse is the size of a jelly bean. Cryptic in coloration, the new species blends perfectly into the algae-covered reefs of southeastern Japan where it clings tightly via tail to soft corals, feeding on plankton passersby. It sports a pair of wing-like protrusions on its neck, but unlike the half dozen other pygmy seahorses in the world, the Japan pig has just one pair rather than two. The function of these wing-like structures remains a mystery. Image via Calacademy.

Spiders with the fastest spin on Earth! Spiders from the Selenopidae family were recently discovered to have the fastest leg-driven turn of any animal on the planet. This year, 3 new species join the fast-spinning group, including one from Egypt. This species was originally collected in the 1800s but only recently recognized as new to science when a team of sicnetists discovered it deep in the collection of the Oxford Museum. Image via Calacademy.

Along the Samana Norte River in the Colombian Andes, where canyon walls angle so steeply to the water that humans rarely frequent the region, a flowering plant produces sky-blue berries each year. This new-to-science species thrives near fast-moving rivers that experience frequent flooding. How the plant is pollinated and its fruit dispersed remains a mystery, but the discoverers suspect the mature berry, which is spongy, might drop into the water, float downriver, and lodge into a new rocky crevice to sprout a new plant. The plant is already endangered given its small, fragmented range. A proposed hydroelectric dam also threatens to flood the region and fully submerge one of the few localities where this species grows. Image via Calacademy/

https://earthsky.org/earth/new-species-2018?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=69ba9c94d7-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-69ba9c94d7-393970565

Dear America, Please Watch This Video


Dear America,

Despite several attempts to reach you, previous requests to watch a clip from The Newsroom remain unanswered. Understandably there’s a lot on your mind. I know how difficult it is to pull yourselves away from Trump tweets, partisan jibber-jabber, criminal investigations and threat of  government shut down if your leader doesn’t get his wall. That said, surely you can spare six minutes to watch this video. If America matters to you, watch to remember what you once cared about…..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Newsroom_(U.S._TV_series)