This evening, gloriously bruised skies created a twilight ponder. Twilight struck with realization most of us take her mesmerizing palette for granted. Far from a cosmic constant, twilight requires atmosphere to scatter rays of light in advance and conclusion of a visible Sun above the horizon.

Civil twilight falls when the sun is 6 degrees below the horizon. In the morning this is known as dawn, in the evening, dusk. This is the limit at which twilight illumination is sufficient, under good weather conditions, for terrestrial objects to be clearly distinguished; at the beginning of morning civil twilight, or end of evening civil twilight, the horizon is clearly defined and the brightest stars are visible under good atmospheric conditions in the absence of moonlight or other illumination. In the morning before the beginning of civil twilight and in the evening after the end of civil twilight, artificial illumination is normally required to carry on ordinary outdoor activities.

Nautical twilight begins when the Sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. At the beginning or end of nautical twilight, under good atmospheric conditions and in the absence of other illumination, general outlines of ground objects may be distinguishable, but detailed outdoor operations are not possible, and the horizon is indistinct.

Astronomical twilight defines a Sun 18 degrees below the horizon. Before the beginning of astronomical twilight in the morning and after the end of astronomical twilight in the evening the Sun does not contribute to sky illumination; for a considerable interval after the beginning of morning twilight and before the end of evening twilight, sky illumination is so faint that it is practically imperceptible.

Civil, nautical, astronomical, three clearly defined twilights that forgot to mention – twilight is also a colour, emotion and source of cosmic wonder unique to our planet.


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.

There's 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 –

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.

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


Diamond Rain, Bergs and Liquid Floaters

Earthly diamonds begin as carbon deposits 100 miles or more below the surface. Location is everything – carbon heated to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, squeezed under pressure of 725,000 pounds per square inch, lucky enough to cool quickly by hitching a ride on upward flowing magma, become diamonds.

Science knows there’s more than one way to make a diamond. Just as bakers adjust recipes for high altitude cooking, the cosmos creatively adapts to unique circumstance. Earthly optimists turn lemons into lemonade, cosmic forces create diamonds from carbon in the unlikeliest  of places.

Science has speculated for some time that chilly cores of Neptune and Uranus glisten with diamonds. A few years ago science singled out 55 Cancri e, an exo-planet 40 light years from our solar system as a planetary body comprised almost entirely of diamonds. Recently, science said – “new data available has confirmed that at depth, diamonds may be floating around inside of Saturn, some growing so large that they could perhaps be called ‘diamondbergs,'”. Diomand-bergs, good grief! What does that even mean?

Apparently behemoth lightening storms on Saturn and Jupiter create elemental carbon in the form of soot and graphite. Falling deep into the atmosphere, heat and pressure produce diamonds of unfathomable girth. Deeper still, extreme heat and pressures melt solid gems into diamond rain. From diamond-bergs floating in a hidden sea of fluid hydrogen and helium, to other worldly ghost clouds of diamond rain a simple truth emerges – the universe sparkles, even in the shadows it knows how to bake a diamond.

Image result for diamond rain saturn


Insect Digesting Proof of Evolution

Regardless of determination to dismiss, avoid or walk away from slippery slopes leading to fundamentalist Christian jibber-jabber, every so often it pays to have an arsenal of politely dispatched counterpoints up your sleeve.Scientific proof of insect digesting genomes lingering in the soup of our current gene pool serves the purpose nicely.

Ancient mammal ancestors of all animal species, including humans, were insect eaters. 66 million years ago small insect digesting mammals darted between dinosaur toes. Able to escape asteroid induced dinosaur apocalypse by burrowing underground, formerly inconsequential bug eaters gave rise to life as we know it. Fickle as evolution may be, it saw no reason to deny humans chitinases markers, genetic enzymes capable of breaking down chitin, the hard outer shells of ingested insects.

Research published by Christopher Emerling of UC Berkeley in the journal Science Advances, based analysis of 107 different animal species genomes to conclude –

“One of the coolest things is, if you look at humans, at Fido your dog, Whiskers your cat, your horse, your cow; pick any animal, generally speaking, they have remnants in their genomes of a time when mammals were small, probably insectivorous and running around when dinosaurs were still roaming Earth,” said postdoctoral fellow Christopher Emerling. “It is a signature in your genome that says, once upon a time you were not the dominant group of organisms on Earth. By looking at our genomes, we are looking at this ancestral past and a lifestyle that we don’t even live with anymore.”

Evolution is why millions of people around the world digest insects. God unleashed a plague of locusts to punish humanity, evolution shrugged and sat down at the dinner table.

Read more at:

Image result for gene inherited from bug eating ancestors

A spectral tarsier (Tarsius tarsier) feeding on a grasshopper in Tangkoko National Park, Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. Tarsiers have five chitinase genes to digest the high amount of chitin in their insectivorous diet, which likely …more

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Flat-Earther Plans To Launch Himself In A Homemade Steam Rocket

“Mad” Mike Hughes doesn’t believe in science. “There’s no difference between science and science fiction” claims Hughes, a card carrying member of the Flat Earth Society. Flat Earth conspiracy epitomizes the meeting of bat shit and poppycock. It begins with the premise Earth looks flat to those walking on the surface, therefore all satellite imaging and “scientific evidence” to the contrary are fabricated by NASA and other government agencies. Conspiracy to hide what? Glad you asked…

Flat Earthers believe Earth is a disc with Arctic centre and 150 foot Antarctic ring wall guarded by NASA employees – government sentries enlisted to prevent hapless citizens from climbing the ice wall and falling off into oblivion. Curiously the Sun and Moon are spheres, each a preposterous 32 miles across circling 3,000 miles above the surface of flat Earth. Stars parade back and forth 100 miles above pipsqueak Sun and Moon.Conspiracy scoffs at the illusion of gravity, flat earth couldn’t possibly possess downward force – it does however accelerate upward at a rate of 32 feet per second squared courtesy forces of dark energy.

Back to Mike Hughes, the 61 year old Limo driver/junk yard flat earth tinkering inventor poised to launch a homemade steam powered rocket above California’s Mojave dessert this Saturday.  To be clear, Mike is unquestionably “mad”, not so clear – motivation to launch a contraption promised to carry him a mile at speeds reaching 500 mph, culminating in ejection and parachute delivery back to flat Earth.

Flat-Earther to debunk round world ‘myth’ in homemade rocket – Blazing Cat Fur

“Mad” Mike Hughes photographed with his rocket November 15, 2017 in Apple Valley, California

I doubt painting “Research Flat Earth” on his rocket will afford Mad Mike an opportunity to prove Earth is flat. Still, you have to acknowledge plucky resolve and determination. Undeterred by consequences of his first rocket launch in 2014 (walked away after traveling 1,374 feet, collapsed from effects of G-force, 3 days flat on his back to recover) come Saturday Hughes will feed his 4 cats, heat 70 gallons of water in a steel tank, blast off in a homemade rocket attached to a launch pad made from a motor home purchased on Craigslist for $1,500. If all goes well, Hughes plans to run for Governor of California.

The Hardest Mandelbrot Zoom 2017

Opened YouTube tonight and found “The Hardest Mandelbrot Zoom 2017” under recommended viewing. Fractals leapt off the screen (thanks to – admittedly, recognition and comprehension play in different leagues. Mesmerized by the elegance of fractal expansion, I vowed to grasp a foundation of understanding.

Mandelbrot zoom had to wait, instinct demanded clear definition of fractal. Nailing down fractal began with “In mathematics a fractal is an abstract object used to describe and simulate naturally occurring objects”. The key word being “abstract”, as in wrapping your head around a infinite curved line winding through space that appears one dimensional, but in truth harbors a surface defined in fractal dimensions. Further research insisted  “A regular line is conventionally understood to be 1-dimensional; if such a curve is divided into pieces each 1/3 the length of the original, there are always 3 equal pieces. In contrast, consider the Koch snowflake. It is also 1-dimensional for the same reason as the ordinary line, but it has, in addition, a fractal dimension greater than 1 because of how its detail can be measured. The fractal curve divided into parts 1/3 the length of the original line becomes 4 pieces rearranged to repeat the original detail, and this unusual relationship is the basis of its fractal dimension”.

Defining fractal called for a simple analogy, I found this – “imagine that you were to measure the trunk of a tree. We humans look at it at the largest scale let’s say that you wrapped a measuring tape around it. That tape would give you a decent estimate, let’s say 1 meter, but it wouldn’t be getting all the little bumps and crevices. If you were to have, say, a beetle crawling along the surface of the trunk, it would be going up and down those bumps, so it would measure a longer distance, maybe 3 meters. But even that beetle would just be walking over tiny little slits in the bark that are too small for it. If you had something even smaller (an extraordinarily tiny insect, for example), it would have to go up and down even more, and it could measure the distance around the tree at huge numbers, such as 100 meters. And this can continue for a long time, getting smaller and smaller, but seeing basically the same thing at each level, just a lot more of it. Of course, this breaks down when you get too small, since everything is composed of atoms, but for the scales where life occurs, tree trunks are actually fractal in nature.”

Back to YouTube’s recommended viewing of the Mandelbrot Zoom – according to Wikipedia the Mandelbrot set is a nod to mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot who coined the term fractal when he theorized mathematical definition of roughness and self-similarity in nature. Confused? Shake it off and immerse yourself in this clip. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense, all that matters is willingness to accept it exists. For those who need hard facts over abstract wonder, some links –

Enough talk, sit back and watch the hardest Mandelbrot zoom …