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!!

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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)

Astronomy Of Ancient Cave Art


We’ve all seen images of prehistoric cave art. What if I told you primitive cave drawings represent far more than animals? Ponder the possibility they depict astronomical observations.

A paper published on November 2, 2018 by researchers at Edinburgh and Kent Universities in the Athens Journal of History suggest animal symbols represent constellations and document ancient comet strikes.

The Shaft Scene in the Lascaux Caves in France. It’s one of the world’s most famous examples of ancient cave art, featuring a dying man and several animals. Researchers now say artwork might commemorate a comet strike around 15,200 BC. Image via Alistair Coombs.

Researchers carbon dated ancient cave paint, compared their findings with historical star charts and concluded cave paintings up to 40,000 years old represent astronomical awareness.

Pillar 43, Enclosure D, also known as the Vulture Stone of Göbekli Tepe. Image via Martin B. Sweatman and Dimitrios Tsikritsis. From https://earthsky.org/human-world/prehistoric-cave-art-suggests-ancient-use-complex-astronomy?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=229dcdbf28-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_02_02_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-229dcdbf28-393970565

The researchers reinterpreted earlier findings from a study of stone carvings at one of these sites – Göbekli Tepe in modern-day Turkey – which is interpreted as a memorial to a devastating comet strike around 11,000 B.C. This strike was thought to have initiated a mini ice-age known as the Younger Dryas period.”

Until publication of this paper, history credited the Greeks with astronomical recognition of the gradual shift of Earth’s rotational axis, a certainty we call precession of the equinoxes, ( motion of equinoxes along the plan of Earth’s orbit ). New research tells a cosmic tale of an ancient humanity far more sophisticated than we thought possible, ancients who understood the gradual shift of Earth’s rotational axis. People who used this knowledge to track seasons, illustrate astronomical events and navigate intricacies of human migration. That’s worth pondering.