Thursday, February 4, 2016

China still increasing nuclear power

I've got to admire the Chinese (and maybe late in life learn the language).  Because right now China is where the action is in terms of building nuclear power plants.

Now, I think enough plants will stay in operation here in the U.S. long enough for me to make it retirement, so I probably won't end up in China. Still, it might be fun to work on a floating nuclear power plant.   Now, if we could just get the Chinese to stop burning so much coal...

Total nuclear power capacity in China to double by 2020
"While the world took a step back from nuclear power in the wake of Japan's Fukushima tragedy in 2011, mostly coal-powered China remained committed to developing the technology. The total capacity of the country's nuclear power units is set to double by the end of the decade to 58 gigawatts (GW), local media reported Wednesday."
China planning to build floating nuclear power plant
"Beijing included the development of two marine nuclear power plants, to be built by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) respectively, in its 13th five-year plan for 2016-2020, the two companies announced earlier this month."
I'll believe it when I see it.  But 2020 is not that far away - so if they do build it, I've got a reasonably good chance of seeing it built.

Juno is five months from Jupiter

With all the satellites and robots currently out in space orbiting around planets and asteroids, flying by others, and even crawling on the surface of one, it's possible to forget that Jupiter is about to get a fully-working visitor this year.  (Galileo, while quite successful, was hamstrung by its partially-opened main antenna.)

According to Space Daily, Juno just completed a trajectory adjustment burn, and is five months and a day away from going into orbit around the Solar System's biggest planet.

And then we will have more chances for amazement.

NASA's Juno spacecraft burns for Jupiter

It seems weird that a satellite will get into the Jupiter system and not get pictures of the moons, but that's what's going to happen.  The JunoCam is mainly going to take pictures of the atmosphere of Jupiter, in spectacular color, including the polar regions.  I guess we'll have to wait longer for more close-ups of Io.

No holes in this comet

Recent measurements by the Rosetta mission instruments determined that the comet it has been studying intensively, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, doesn't have big holes or caves in its interior. Rather, the whole thing is like a big hard-frozen dusty snowball.

Inside Rosetta's comet

"The most reasonable explanation then is that the comet's porosity must be an intrinsic property of dust particles mixed with the ice that make up the interior. In fact, earlier spacecraft measurements had shown that comet dust is typically not a compacted solid, but rather a 'fluffy' aggregate, giving the dust particles high porosity and low density, and Rosetta's COSIMA and GIADA instruments have shown that the same kinds of dust grains are also found at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko."

It seems to me that this also explains how easy it is for the Sun's radiation to blast off ice and dust from a comet's fluffiness, creating the gas-dust tails that stretch for millions of miles behind it, and also creating the beauty of a comet in the night sky.  Wish we had a few more big ones to look for, but a new big and bright one could head sunward at any time.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Late January congratulations to the Bublé-Lopilato family

Forgot to note when it happened that luscious Luisana Lopilato, married to luckier-than-any-guy-should-be singer Michael Bublé, added another child to the family in late January. So, even though Luisana is unlikely to ever go back to lingerie modeling as she embraces motherhood-of-two, I can note that I doubt I'll ever forget her representation of Ultimo, and I'm sure that Michael appreciated her both in and out of her silkies prior to their hopefully repeated tries for conception. (He once noted in an interview that his wife was very strict about getting their copulatory groove on when it was time to make a baby. I would not be reluctant to comply under such circumstances.)

PICTURED: The baby is here! Singer Michael Bublé's wife Luisana Lopilato has given birth to their second son Elías

Here's a few reasons that babies happen in the Bublé family.

One  (high-res)



Cheryl officially gets her groove on

Good to see Cheryl, soon to be the former Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (which I expected, along with a lot of other folks) having a good time on a boat in Barbados after one of her Girls Aloud bandmates (Kimberley Walsh) got hitched. She looks pretty darned good, and more importantly, she looks happy.

PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Newly-single Cheryl Fernandez-Versini gets her mojo back as she lavishes in male attention at Kimberley Walsh's post-wedding boat party

There was a mention a short while back that she wasn't sure what her name should be post-marriage. I think she should just change it to Cheryl Official (her Twitter handle). There aren't any other Cheryl's at her heat level, globally. Do a Google image search simply on "Cheryl" and you'll see what I mean.

In fact, I just did that, and I found this phenomenal picture from her 2016 calendar.  Didn't even know she was doing a calendar.  Looking at this, I know she shouldn't be single for long, even though it might do her psyche good to be single for awhile.  Hopefully the next time she falls, it'll be for somebody responsible.

Wondrous !

The El Niño-spurred TLT rise continues

As is my wont, I've updated the comparison figure that I've been showing every month since my "Just in time for (you guessed it) Christmas" post in October. Even then I was struck with the remarkable parallel progression of the 2015-2016 event and the 1997-1998 event, which drove the Temperature of the Lower Troposphere (TLT) to all-time heights. (This data from, Remote Sensing Systems).

As noted last month, the predicted and expected TLT rise began in December. And it continued this January, even as the SST in the Niño 3.4 zone declined just a little, as the event starts to wane. The biggest difference between 2015-2016 and 1997-1998 was that the anomaly went up almost two degrees C in January of 1998, but in January 2016 it only went up about a degree (though it's starting higher, so it's still higher than January 1998's TLT anomaly).

Click on it for bigger view.

I expect it to keep rising. It's now in a basic tie with May 1998 to the second decimal place, slightly lower if you look at the third, and only two TLT anomalies have ever been higher. I think it's a lock to go higher than the second-highest value, which occurred in February 1998.  Not sure if it will set a new record or not, but it will come very close if it doesn't. February is going to be really interesting!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jon Snow knows something

Lots of people told Jon Snow on Game of Thrones that he knew nothing.  And we don't know if he's going to come back from the dead somehow this next season (but in some shape or form, I think he will).

But one thing Jon Snow (or his real-life actor self, Kit Harington) appears to know is a good thing when he sees one, which is why he's recently been spotted getting amorous with his ex-co-star Rose Leslie, who played the lamentably departed Ygritte (who probably told Jon Snow that he knew nothing more than anyone).

Sealed with a kiss! Game Of Thrones stars Kit Harington and Rose Leslie confirm romance rumours as they lock lips in LA 

And below is one of the reasons he may have decided this offscreen romance with an onscreen love interest may have been in their best interests:

(It got even better after he got the furs off.)