Finding Polaris – Embrace the North Star


Ah Polaris, commonly known as the North Star – humanities guide since the dawn of time. Located directly above the north celestial pole, northern hemisphere skies rotate around this near constant pole star. Knowing where to find Polaris means you’ll always know which direction to travel. Face Polaris, stretch your arms out sideways – the right hand points due east, the left due west. About face and you’re pointed south.

Very many bright concentric circles in sky around a bright irregular dot, trees in foreground.

Ken Christison captured these glorious star trails around Polaris, the North Star. He wrote, “For the most common and often the most spectacular star trails, you want to locate Polaris and compose the image so it is centered horizontally and hopefully you can have a bit of foreground for reference.”

To find Polaris locate the Big Dipper, focus on Dubhe and Merak, two stars forming the outermost edge of Big Dipper’s bowl. In your mind’s eye draw a straight line to the tip of Little Dipper’s handle – voila, that’s Polaris the North Star.

Think of northern hemisphere skies as a clock with Polaris at the centre, the line from Dubhe and Merak to Polaris as the hour hand. The Big Dipper rotates once around Polaris every 23 hours, 56 minutes. A few minutes short of a day, equivalent to 361 degrees in 24 hours. As such the North Star moves ever so slightly with each passing day. What never falters is the hour hand from the outermost bowl of Big Dipper to Polaris. Find the Big Dipper, you’ll locate the North Star. Do that and you’ll never be lost in the woods.

Diagram: White sky with four black Big Dippers in a circle around Polaris.

If you’re in the northern U.S., Canada or at a similar latitude, the Big Dipper is circumpolar for you, always above the horizon. Image via burro.astr.cwru.edu.

Glory Holes


Oh Canada. I thought a closed U.S./Canada border and polite socially distanced mask respect for fellow citizens accounted for low COVID infection rates in Canada. Say what you will about Canada, but above all – we don’t shy away from open discussion of safe sex practices during pandemic times. Such is our nature, no stone left unturned. Seems we’re acutely aware of safe sex practices.

Ponder content of a recent brochure issued by the CDC in British Columbia. Fear not Canada, lest there be any doubt, government doesn’t shy away from straight answers. It recognizes our sexual nature with gloriously detailed recommendations.

In a perfect world government would have persons inclined to engage in sexual activity with another outside their immediate bubble – take matters in their own hands. It suggests masturbating in the same room as your partner, or engaging in virtual sex. Barring that, wear a mask, avoid kissing, choose a position conducive to least amount of face to face contact. Ever a wealth of practical solutions, government boldly advocated for physical barriers, specifically “glory holes”.

http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/prevention-risks/covid-19-and-sex

A “glory hole” is a hole made in a wall or other type of partition where a man can insert his penis and receive sexual stimulation. They are usually used so the sex partners can’t see each other and are anonymous.

A hand gives a thumb's up out of a hole in the

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/glory-holes-coronavirus-sex-covid-19_ca_5f18bed5c5b6f2f6c9f10049

This satirical sign appeared on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. –

This Canadian appreciates the effort, recognizes creative impetus pegging the heartbeat of my home and native land. Lighten up people! It’s a public service announcement, not a manifesto promoting glory hole annihilation of western civilization.

Conservative American heads imploded when glory hole advice made headlines. One right wing site I refuse to dignify with a link said – “Soon enough the Canadian government will be putting out manuals on how to do anal sex. Soon enough the Canadian government will be putting out manuals on how to fist-fuck your own asshole while gay niggers rape a goat in front of you. Soon enough the Canadian government will legalize child rape so that Justin Trudeau and his tranny wife can abuse their own children. This is what Canada has become: an absolute cesspit of evil and cultural decay. The Canadian government is swimming with perverts, pedophiles and zoophiles.”

Hey America, don’t be mad. At least Canada isn’t afraid to speak frankly. Nor do we pretend sexual encounters are exclusive to same sex partners. I’ll take realistic practicality over preposterous family values ignorance any day.

Not Too Late to Ponder Comet NEOWISE


On March 27, 2020 C/2020 F3 was discovered by astronomers at WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer), a NASA space telescope launched in 2009. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide-field_Infrared_Survey_Explorer . On March 31, 2020 it gained official comet status, April 1, 2020 saw it dubbed comet NEOWISE. In a nutshell comets are cosmic objects comprised of ice, dust and space gak presenting a observable tail courtesy close orbital proximity to the Sun. (hence, ice melt)  NEOWISE, current darling of space and common observers alike, made closest approach to the Sun on July 3, 2020. The rest is history, history which won’t be repeated until NEOWISE returns in 6,800 years.

Comet NEOWISE is a rare naked eye cosmic spectacle. A remarkably bright experience afforded Northern Hemisphere residents willing to find a dark place, look northwest after sunset toward the Big Dipper to catch a glimpse of NEOWISE.

https://www.space.com/comet-neowise-strange-facts.html?utm_source=Selligent&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9155&utm_content=SDC_Newsletter+&utm_term=3580249&m_i=dStOzCRRSVnQXbejZr4A4D0CjNmLoDniLEav%2BJqEI19uyt1Z%2BawSQE9xCCP7rAta4J4Z08SYh53ttnROnALyZpoYwJSMJNhcIVdLI_dddc

NEOWISE-F3-July-4-2020-Chris-Schur-S.jpg (1140×712)

 

See the source image

https://www.ibtimes.com/nasa-offers-tips-how-see-visible-comet-neowise-3012079

 

Explore the Night Sky


Adrian Mauduit at Night Lights Films launched a mesmerizing timelapse endeavor titled Explore the Night Sky. From Night Lights Films –

“Welcome to this new series of educational videos about the cosmos titled ‘Explore the Night Sky’. They consist of short episodes focusing on one celestial object or phenomenon that can be observed from Earth. They are kid friendly and their purpose is to make people discover the sky at night while encouraging science education and promoting the fight against light pollution. In this episode, we feature the open star cluster ‘Pleiades’, aka Messier 45, M 45 or the ‘Seven Sisters’ through a series of time-lapse sequences taken in various locations around the Earth (Norway, Switzerland, Spain, Chile). A lot of people have seen this small patchy group of star without realizing it contains about 1000 of them! Learn more about it by watching the rest of this mesmerizing film.”

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCC0CLzCpM6nuLSAi1JNBjkA

Cosmic wonder is a gift. No better way to embrace wonder than by following Adrian Mauduit.

Beryl Dickinson-Dash


In 1949 Beryl Dickinson-Dash was a third year arts major attending McGill University in Montreal. At the time, only 150 of 8,500 McGill students were black. Most blacks were international students, Beryl Dickinson-Dash belonged to a handful of Canadian born black students, notedly a black Canadian woman who knew of no other black female Canadian students.

Beryl with her mother Maisy

Winter Carnival was a big deal at McGill, a mid-winter festival presided over by Carnival queen and four princesses. Keen beauties required 25 signatures from male students to secure nomination. Without her knowledge, the roommate of Beryl’s boyfriend (whom she later married) submitted a photo she’d given her boyfriend on his birthday along with 25 signatures from black male students. Beryl was shocked to find herself one of 26 official candidates.

Next came the ceremonial tea, an afternoon of polite white glove decorum and radio interviews. 26 were cut to 15, 15 became 5 finalists after a second round of interviews and struts. Beryl made the final cut. Each candidate was assigned a campaign manager.

Campaigns reached fever pitch, Beryl’s boyfriend, his brother, roommate and black students rallied behind her. Telegrams were sent to McGill posing as endorsement from prominent companies and organizations. Posters of Beryl appeared in every classroom. Voting booths with scrutineers proved seriousness of a fair vote. Results were leaked several days before official crowning. Beryl won by a landside, so much so final numbers wouldn’t be released as doing so might “injure the other girls”. Just past midnight, March 5, 1949 on her 21st birthday, Beryl Dickinson-Dash was crowned McGill Carnival Queen at the Montreal Forum in front of 8,000 spectators.

A newspaper clipping from March 5, 1949, announcing the pageant victory. (Submitted by Bradley Rapier)

Beryl doesn’t know why a predominantly white student body elected her Carnival queen. “Perhaps they were tired of how things were” she said. Regardless, she became a media sensation, front page news in papers and magazines. South of the border, Color magazine sponsored Dickinson-Dash (now Beryl Rapier) for a two week trip to West Virginia – her first negro college. A painting of Beryl standing in front of West Virginia state capital building by artist William Edouard Scott titled Spirit of Democracy was presented to McGill as a token of appreciation from people of America. I remind you – it was 1949!

Color magazine sponsored a two-week trip to West Virginia for Rapier. A press clipping from that trip features photographs of her at West Virginia State College. (Submitted by Bradley Rapier)

Sadly, few people in Canada know the story of Beryl Dickinson-Dash. But for stumbling upon her story last week courtesy CBC Radio Doc Project, I’d remain oblivious to a remarkable moment in Canadian history. More photos and history at the link below –

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/docproject/how-montrealer-beryl-dickinson-dash-made-history-as-mcgill-s-first-black-queen-of-carnival-1.5605944

Springtime STEVE Sightings


STEVE ( Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement ) might look like an aurora, but it’s not. STEVE is an atmospheric phenomenon characteristic of northern hemisphere spring and fall. The result of uppity solar wind messing with Earth’s magnetic field. Meddling which allows ribbons of super heated gas travelling at speeds exceeding 13,000 mph to create observable arcs of soft purple hues. STEVE favours latitudes between +50N and +55N. Go STEVE! Hope to meet you one day.

Photo credit – Jocelyn Blanchette

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/3/eaaq0030.full

Aurora Cam Solution


Stay at home orders needn’t be defined by endless hours of television or Netflix. Consider using free time to embrace space weather, specifically Aurora Borealis. Start with https://spaceweather.com/ familiarize yourself with solar wind, sunspot numbers and current auroral oval. If favourable conditions suggest uppity auroras, find yourself a Aurora Cam.

See the source image

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/aurora-borealis-webcam-goes-live-1.866540

List of aurora cam links below –

Webcams

 

Impeachment For Dummies


 

For fellow Canadians, globally curious onlookers, brick and mortar Americans – ponder impeachment for dummies. A no nonsense impeachment flowchart courtesy Buzzfeed.

Image credits: Melina Mara / the Washington Post via Getty Images (Pelosi); Drew Angerer / Getty Images (Trump); Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images (McConnell); Stephanie Keith / Getty Images (Trump); Caroline Brehman / CQ-Roll Call, Inc. via Getty Images (Pence)

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/benking/confused-by-the-impeachment-process-this-flowchart-should?utm_source=quora&utm_medium=referral

Bulletproof Backpack


Remember when back to school shopping was simple? New clothes, notebooks, pencil crayons, lunchbox? Nervous excitement born of what to wear the first day, not consideration of random gun violence. Fear not – bleeding heart liberals can stop whining about gun reform, bulletproof backpacks are the back to school must.

Last May, Louisiana voted overwhelmingly to amend State law banning students from wearing body armor. How progressive! Little Dick and Jane are encouraged to wear backpack armor at school and all school sanctioned events. What’s this? Poor little Jane’s parents can only afford the $100 sheet of backpack insert, hope Jane is shot in the back by a handgun because her insert won’t stop rifle bullets. What self respecting mass shooter packs a pistol? Stay strong little Jane, when bullets fly use Dick as a shield, his parents had $300 for Dick’s top of the line rifle deflecting armor.

https://www.americas1stfreedom.org/articles/2018/5/23/louisiana-legislature-approves-bulletproof-backpacks/

Ponder absurdity of this image – by what stretch of imagination does aesthetically pleasing placement of a shiny red apple make it okay to flog $300 armor for back to school?

How about this from https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2014/3/31/bulletsafe-bulletproof-backpack-panels/ – NRA froth extraordinaire….

“In fact kids have a higher chance of being hurt playing any sport, even golf, than from a firearm, thanks in no small part to the numerous safety campaigns of NRA such as Eddie Eagle. That doesn’t however change the ingenious of this idea. Parents purchase all manners of equipment to keep kids safe – gates, monitors, socket plugs – so why shouldn’t we consider an item that could protect them in the unlikely event of an attack”.

https://bulletblocker.com/bullet-proof-backpack-shield.html

Don’t mistake mention of Louisiana for isolated demand of bulletproof backpacks, the epidemic flourishes across America. My dismay reads like futuristic script of a 60’s science fiction novel, a cautionary tale chronicling collapse of social order leading to civil war, annihilation of a once dominant civilization.

Wake up people, nothing about bulletproof backpacks is okay, Children deserve better.

Moon Hoax Not


Shout out to https://nobodysreadingme.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/how-its-nearly-fifty-years-since-apollo-11/ for prompting this ponder. As nobodysreadingme points out – you can’t do a cover-up on this scale. A casual observation beyond reproach, he’s right – you can’t do a cover-up on this scale.

July 21, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong’s momentous first step on the Moon. Fifty years increasingly over shadowed by conspiracy wing-nuts. News flash – you can’t do a cover-up on this scale! For those inclined to gobble tabloid sawdust, persons swayed by internet jibber-jabber, people parroting fake Moon landing nonsense – snap out of it! You can’t do a cover-up on this scale.

What will it take to convince fake Moon landing conspiracy theorists otherwise? This video? Point by patient point analysis at the link below? Who am I kidding?

https://www.history.com/news/moon-landing-fake-conspiracy-theories

How about this? You can’t do a cover-up on this scale!