Saturday, November 28, 2015

Alessandra: sexiness is her business

Catching up on my babe posts, here's Alessandra Ambrosio on the cover of December's Maxim:

'Stunning' and 'oh my God' only partially capture my reaction -- and I expect that of a few other guys.

Here's the rest of the article (which is nicely illustrated):

Alessandra Ambrosio is Maxim's December cover girl

(Let's not forget that she's also the mother of two kids, and is still with their father, who had better keep realizing what he's got and not lose it.)

Don't try too hard to find them

By my count, I've only posted three articles this month where the main subject was a woman.  That's well below my average, I'm sure.  I read quite a few (the Daily Mail is a rich source), but I try to be diverse in my subject matter, and only occasionally perverse.

So I had forgotten about this Daily Mail article featuring the scrumptious supermodel Nina Agdal, who unfortunately couldn't find her pants, and commemorated the occasion with an Instagram shot.

Now, I think the Daily Mail's headline was just a bit too overt, so I'll just link to it this way:

Nina can't find her pants

(By the way, she's totally naked.  As if that matters.)

ESA mission doing better than NASA's missions

Back in 2009, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a mission named Soil Moisture - Ocean Salinity, with the acronym SMOS.

It's been doing quite well, going into its fifth year in space.  It provides soil moisture data with a resolution of 35 km in the center of the scan, 50 km overall.

This is the mission site (with links to recent news):
Observing the Earth (SMOS)

On the other side of the pond, NASA launched the Aquarius satellite, to measure ocean salinity, on June 10, 2011.  It worked great, until it quit working, on June 18, 2015.   Just over four years.

302 days ago, according to the Web site on the day I write this, NASA launched the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission, to measure soil moisture, at high resolution with the active radar part of the mission.  Well, I just recently learned that the active part is inactive.  The highly powerful and highly cool circular radar is defuncto, as of September.

NASA Soil Moisture Radar Ends Operations, Mission Science Continues

That cool radar system provided soil moisture data with a resolution of 9 km -- while it lasted.  The passive side of mission, a radiometer that's still working, gives soil moisture data with a spatial resolution of 40 km -- about the same as SMOS.

So right now, ESA's single mission to do both measurements is doing better than NASA's two missions that each did only one measurement.

Now, I'm not writing this to compare ESA to NASA.  Sometimes NASA missions last longer or do more things than ESA missions.  What I really want to say is why can't somebody figure out a way to fix these expensive things when they break in space?  We managed to do it a couple of times, for Solar Max and the Hubble, the latter partly because it was designed to be fixed and updated by astronauts, and because it was in a serviceable orbit.   Note that the highly expensive James Webb Space Telescope won't be.

But what would that take - to fix satellites in space?  Well, one thing that has been proposed to deal with BIG pieces of space junk (i.e., dead satellites) is a "tug", that could grapple onto it and send it Earthward (hopefully oceanward), to get it out of orbit before something catastrophic happened to it and it broke into lots of little pieces, which is bad.

Why not build a slightly better space tug, capable of bringing the expensive satellites down to ISS orbit and in proximity to the ISS, and then let the astronauts go out and fix it, and then let the tug push it back up?  The tug could have an ion engine, so it wouldn't be real fast (obviating the need for lots of maneuvering fuel), but it could substantially extend the missions of these valuable investments.

Wouldn't it be worth it?

It's coming

"Grease: Live" is on January 31st, 2016.

I'm counting the days.

Icelandic photography

The Daily Mail featured the photography of Iceland photographer Arnar Kristjansson, who specializes in photographing scenes of Iceland.  That would not be a bad job/vocation to have.

Chasing waterfalls: Stunning photographs reveal Iceland's epic natural wonders as you've never seen them before (with the Northern Lights and golden sunrises almost stealing the show)

I did a quick search, and found Mr. Kristjansson's Instagram.    Lot more great photos there.  In addition to waterfalls, he also has auroras, seascapes, and geothermal features -- all of which Iceland is good at.

And some ice.  Iceland has that, too.

Here's a small example -- with three elements of what he's good at.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Republican Prez candidates miss the mark on climate

Not surprisingly, the field of Republican Presidential candidates does not know the facts about climate change, according to scientists who do.  Now, if they really studied the issue, they might know more, but if they revealed their insightful knowledge, most of their potential voters will abandon them in a flash.

Here's a ridiculous statement by Donald Trump:

" "It could be warming and it's going to start to cool at some point," Trump said in a September radio interview. "And you know in the 1920s people talked about global cooling. I don't know if you know that or not. They thought the Earth was cooling. Now it's global warming. Actually, we've had times where the weather wasn't working out so they changed it to extreme weather and they have all different names, you know, so that it fits the bill."
Here's how they ranked:

Astronauts snap Lake Titicaca

NASA showed off a picture of the highest navigable lake in the world taken by astronauts on the International Space Station.   It's a great shot.  

Lake Titicaca

It seems like I've heard of Lake Titicaca since I was a toddler.  It was mainly because of the reed boats (like here) and Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki.

Not a place I'm planning to visit, but it is unique.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 22-28: Strumble Head, Wales, UK

So I said to myself, "I wonder what lighthouses in Wales would look like?".   So that's what I searched for, and I found Strumble Head.

Now this is Wales, so it's located on an unpronounceable (unless your Welsh) islet:  Ynys Meicel.  (St. Michael's Island, if you speak English).

Here's the Web site for this unusual lighthouse: Strumble Head

And some pictures:  from a distance, closer, and close-up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

So what happened to WT1190F?

A short while ago, I wrote about the impending incoming of an object known as WT1190F, likely a piece of derelict space junk.  It was scheduled to enter Earth's atmosphere over the Indian Ocean on November 13.

Silly me, I was busy and I forgot to check on it until yesterday.  So it did re-enter on schedule (there are very limited reasons why it wouldn't), and it was observed from a chase plane equipped with the proper cameras.  Apparently it didn't last long.

Spectacular breakup of WT1190F seen by airborne astronomers

Here's the video of the flaming entry into the atmosphere.

Keeping up with Princess Charlene

Princess Charlene of Monaco, despite the somewhat rocky start of her royal marriage to Prince Albert II of Monaco a few years ago, appears to be settling in nicely to domestic life in the high castle.

She's got a new, very short haircut, and she's making visits to the Red Cross.

And she made a balcony appearance on National Day with the cute young heir and heiress.

Here's how she looks right now:

Given the age of the young Prince and Princess, I suspect that Princess Charlene cut her hair really short primarily to reduce the amount of hair-pulling the tots are likely currently capable of.

Historical diamond find

For some reason, I've always been fascinated by large diamonds (and actually, other large gemstones as well).  I don't collect them, I can't afford them, and I don't go looking for them, but I really enjoy their uniqueness and their history.  Because most of the big gemstones have some history.

But this one doesn't, because they just found it:

Largest diamond in over a century found in Botswana

It's a nice one, clear and white, and 1,111 carats.  The Cullinan diamond, which begat the world's current two largest blue-white cut diamonds in the British crown and scepter, was 3,106 carats.  This one is now the second-largest ever found.

One thing that isn't entirely well-known is that the Cullinan I (in the scepter) isn't the world's largest cut diamond.  That record is owned by the Golden Jubilee, about 15 carats bigger, but the Golden Jubilee isn't blue-white, it's yellow-brown ("gold" is a stretch).

Here's a page with a list of the world's ten largest cut diamonds, even though one of them, the De Beers, is currently whereabouts unknown.

Crazytopics:  10 largest diamonds in the world

So the question is:  could they possible cut this new one to be even bigger than the Cullinan I or the Golden Jubilee?  A lot depends on the internal structure of the big rock.  I'm sure that setting the record has to be on the minds of the owners.

There are only a few pictures of it - below is the best one that shows it's transparency.  The other pictures show it being held, though because we can't judge the size of the hand holding it, we don't have a good size scale.

Idiot watch

Now, there's two sides to every marriage and two sides to every divorce, so one cannot judge why a marriage comes to an end in terms of who's to blame without getting a very clear picture from both sides.

In the case of a celebrity couple, it's pretty much impossible to get a clear picture, unless they both talk about it in very honest terms.  A lot of times, they don't talk or the stories don't match, in which case it's hard to figure out who really deserves to be tabbed as the main reason for termination of the marriage.

Other times, it's easy.  There have been many instances in which cheatin' by the guy or girl was the obvious motivating factor for ending the marital situation.  Even if they didn't ever admit it.

Some cases consitute idiocy (or madness).  Just for the sake of a fling, men have bedded a babe that was no match for their high-class, high-quality celeb wife, giving them grounds and justification for kicking the guilty party out (or hitting the road themselves).

Hopefully that isn't the case here.  I've often lauded lucky Len Wiseman for apparently treating his glorious wife Kate Beckinsale right.  They have been shown in the clinches of PDA many times, and he didn't seem to have an eye for other ladies.  Married to Kate, how could he?

But it now appears that the Beckinsale-Wiseman marriage is in a questionable state.  Len's been seen out with a younger woman while Kate films overseas.   Not a good sign.  Now, it certainly could be that she trusts him SO much that she's just letting him have fun, but the fact that he's observed not wearing a wedding ring is not a particularly good sign.

So, if Len is straying  for a younger woman, I think he's crazy.  Or an idiot.  Or both.  We'll have to just watch and see what happens.   If I had any advice for Len, it would be: if there's a chance to stay married to Kate, take it.  Any sane normal man would.

Len Wiseman, 42, parties with model CJ Franco, 24, for the THIRD time in two weeks as wife Kate Beckinsale shoots new movie Underworld 5 in Prague

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A good outcome

A good outcome of the newly revived diplomatic relationship between the U.S.A. and Cuba is greater protection of marine natural resources.  I've got to admit, I didn't see this coming, but it's a Very Good Thing.

U.S. and Cuba Sign Agreement to Protect Shared Marine Life

"   The agreement, which was first announced in early October at the Our Ocean 2015 conference in Chile, commits the two countries to collaborating on science, outreach and education regarding “sister” marine protected areas.
     Scientists and other officials from the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Park Service and Cuba’s National Center for Protected Areas will initially focus their efforts on Guanahacabibes National Park and its offshore San Antonio Bank in Cuba, the Flower Garden Banks and Florida Keys National Sanctuaries in the United States along with the Dry Tortugas and Biscayne National Parks."

The agreement is also a product of continuing effort by the Environmental Defense Fund, a noted environmental group.

Good outcome for everybody.

A nano-submarine? WHAT?

I absolutely found this article fascinating:  chemists have made a molecular nano-submarine.

It runs on light.

Yeah, and when I read that, I said "WHAT"?  (Roughly translated, that means "How does it work and what is it good for?")

Well, let's read a bit about what it actually is and what it does:

Single-molecule Submarine: team makes light-driven "nanosubmarines"

"Each of the single-molecule, 244-atom submersibles built in the Rice lab of chemist James Tour has a motor powered by ultraviolet light. With each full revolution, the motor’s tail-like propeller moves the sub forward 18 nanometers.

And with the motors running at more than a million RPM, that translates into speed. Though the sub’s top speed amounts to less than 1 inch per second, Tour said that’s a breakneck pace on the molecular scale."

OK, that's how it works. So what's it good for?

"Rice’s [University] researchers hope future nanosubs will be able to carry cargoes for medical and other purposes."
What about cancer tumor cell torpedoes?

Well, it's an idea.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Great shots

Pictures from the 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest are extraordinary.

Here's a couple of the newest entries.

Tatras Mountains

Lake Louise

Waiting for Comet Catalina

We might have a naked-eye comet in December.


Comet Catalina just completed perihelion (closest passage to the Sun) two days ago.  Near the end of November it should be emerging into visibility.

Sky and Telescope has the story.

Comet Catalina sails into northern skies

As usual, the question is how bright it's going to get.   According to the article, it might be naked-eye by mid-December.

We shall see.  Literally.  Meanwhile, here's where to look.

Oh yeah - it's called Catalina because it was found by the Catalina Sky Survey.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 15-21, 2015: St. Catherines, UK

A classic, historical, famously-situated lighthouse in the United Kingdom is St. Catherine's on the Isle of Wight.

This Web page is all about it:  St. Catherine's

An excerpt about it:
"A small light was first set up at St. Catherine's in about 1323 by Walter de Godyton. He erected a chapel and added an endowment for a priest to say Masses for his family and to exhibit lights at night to warn ships from approaching too near this dangerous coast, both purposes being fulfilled until about 1530 when the Reformation swept away the endowment. Neither the present lighthouse tower lighted in March 1840, nor the chapel of which the ruins remain, held these ancient lights. The present tower was constructed in 1838 following the loss of the sailing ship CLARENDON on rocks near the site of the present lighthouse. The lighthouse was built of ashlar stone with dressed quoins and was carried up from a base plinth as a 3 tier octagon, diminishing by stages."
And some pictures of it:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Where did Honeycrisp apples come from?

Got to admit - the Honeycrisp apple is spectacularly great. Crisp and sweet and juicy, and frequently BIG.

But I only started noticing it at the produce market 3? years ago. So where did it come from?

Esquire helps provide the answer:

The Honeycrisp price explained

Short notes:

- It was created 20 years ago.

- It only recently (5 or 6 years ago) started getting a lot of notice.

But this doesn't say how it was hybridized. A bit more digging... finds Wikipedia, of course.


"U.S. Plant Patent 7197 and Report 225-1992 (AD-MR-5877-B) from the Horticultural Research Center indicated that the Honeycrisp was a hybrid of the apple cultivars Macoun and Honeygold. However, genetic fingerprinting conducted by a group of researchers in 2004, which included those who were later attributed on the patent, determined that neither of these cultivars is a parent of the Honeycrisp, but that the Keepsake (another apple developed by the same University of Minnesota crossbreeding program) is one of the parents. The other parent has not been identified, but it might be a numbered selection that could have been discarded since."

So that's where it came from. This article has an interesting unexplained statement, which is that the Honeycrisp was "once slated to be discarded". So I checked reference 1, which is a patent application...

... but that doesn't say it was slated to be discarded. On to reference 2...

Yes, it's in there.

Honeycrisp (Minnesota Harvest dot net) 

"In the case of Honeycrisp, the original tree had been scheduled for removal, I hear, before U of Minnesota breeder David Bedford saved the variety from extinction. He’s the one who gets credit for bringing Honeycrisp the rest of the way to its introduction, too. But, because that tree had been there since Dave was a little kid (obviously not working for the University yet), he would have had to wonder why others had passed it by. Whoever it was who ate the one in 1967 was gone or hadn’t seen fit to hold a spot for it. So Dave would have been inclined to be very sure it lived up to his standards. That would take a while."

The rest of the story is in the article. It's a pretty good story, worth reading and marveling at. Simply put, having Honeycrisp apples now is almost a miracle.

Ellie's not just a voice

Up until very recently (like two days ago), I mainly knew Ellie Goulding as a pop singer with a good voice and some listenable hits.  She did impress me with the surprisingly romantic theme song for the S&M movie Fifty Shades of Grey ("Love Me Like You Do").

While I'd seen a couple of videos and a couple of appearances, and knew she was pretty, up until two days I hadn't noticed how incredibly fit she is (despite a heart problem that apparently isn't fully treated, which is worrisome - she needs to take care of herself).

But apparently Ellie knows how to work out her core.  And her core is in rather incredible shape.

I wish I had abs like that.

Now it turns out that she has posed glamorously before, as in this complex swimsuit:

So clearly she's not just a pretty voice.

Quite a powerful combination of talent and dedication.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Making the playoffs is a two-edged sword

Every team wants to make the playoffs for the championship.

But the problem is, making the playoffs makes one think that the team you support has a chance to win the championship.

Washington area professional sports teams are establishing an unfortunate tradition that makes fans happy that the team made the playoffs then become also a bit apprehensive about the fact that their team made the playoffs.

Even though some Washington-area sports teams are awful (the Redsk*ns right now, the Wizards for a long time), many others have just been tantalizingly good. Now, I want to raise up DC United, which before the current rise of soccer in this country (which is a trend that is definitely going to continue) they won some MLS championships. But soccer has yet to become the fifth major sport in this country. I think in a decade it will be; I think injuries, both orthopedic and brain (concussions) are going to cause football to go into a slow decline. Not everywhere, but I think in some areas of the country soccer will rise as football falls.

But this season, D.C. United made the MLS playoffs -- and lost. Just like they did last year.

However, the result was a good thing for a team that hasn't had a lot of playoff success, even though the city has done pretty well.

New York Red Bulls - DC United in the MLS Cup Playoffs

"New York also, at long last, came through on home turf. The club was an inexplicable 7-9-2 in home playoff games all-time and just 2-5-0 at Red Bull Arena, which opened in 2010. It advanced at home just once in club history, when it beat Sporting Kansas City in last year’s knockout round, and had never clinched a multi-game series in New Jersey. Three years to the day of D.C. midfielder Nick DeLeon’s heartbreaking 88th-minute winner, which sent New York tumbling out of the conference semis, the Red Bulls gave a sell-out crowd reason to celebrate."

Let's review:

The Nationals had a somewhat inexplicable bad year and missed the postseason, but the past two years they made the playoffs -- and lost."

Over the last two years, the improving Wizards have made the playoffs -- and lost.

The history of the Washington Capitals is rife with playoff disappointments, and when they returned to the playoffs this year, they did what they do -- they lost, in heartbreaking second round, seventh game, OT, losing a 3-1 lead in games, fashion.

The women's pro soccer team, the Washington Spirit, made the playoffs for a second straight year, and for a second straight year, they lost in the playoffs.

Are you sensing a trend here? Now, it's uncommon for any team anywhere to win a championship, but it sure would be a change of pace if a team from the Washington area would actually get a chance to PLAY FOR ONE.

(To the north, the Ravens have won a couple of Super Bowls in recent memory. But there isn't a lot of shared love between the Baltimore sports fans and the Washington sports fans, except I understand there's a decent contingent of Capitals fans in Baltimore because of their success - except in the playoffs -- and the fact that there isn't pro hockey in Baltimore. I'm not sure how much of a Wizards following there is in the 'Charm City'.)

So I wrote all this because DC United lost in the playoffs. But hope always seems to recur; as I write this, the Capitals are off to one of the best starts in franchise history. What if... but it isn't good to think that far into the future.

P.S. The Capitals played Detroit tonight, a team that has won a couple of Stanley Cups.  The Caps (the team without the Cups) lost a very tight game, 1-0.

The beat goes on.

Baltimore to Washington DC at 300 mph?

A high-speed magnetic levitation rail line between Washington and Baltimore?

Wow, great idea!. It would really open up Baltimore destinations to travelers to the nation's capital. A real boost for the Maryland economy in the tourism sector.

But worth the several billion to build it? Not so sure about that. How much do you pay for a ticket on such a thrill ride?

And the real question is... where does it fit?

There aren't a lot of choices other than existing trackways. So would they build an elevated maglev rail over the existing tracks? That's a possibility. But it costs a lot to put up all those supports for the track.

Popular Science thinks it might work:

Maglev train gets funding in Maryland

But a reader of the Baltimore Sun thinks "traditional" high-speed rail makes more sense:

Letter to the Editor 

I tend to agree with him.

Other voices:

Hogan considers high speed rail line from Baltimore to Washington DC

Feds award $28 million to study maglev train system for Maryland 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Finding Nefertiti

It's hard to believe, but the tomb of likely the second most famous queen of the Nile (after Cleopatra) has never been found.

But it seems at least possible that archaeologists might have some real clues about where it is.

Essentially hiding in plain sight, behind King Tut.

I'll keep watching this issue, because at some time to find out for sure, they're going to have to break some rocks.

Scientists on the verge of finding Queen Nefertiti's secret tomb: Heat detectors pick up chamber that could be secret room at the center of archaeologist's sensational claims

(By the way, they've never found Cleopatra's tomb either.  They think it's somewhere near Alexandria.)

Lighthouse of the Week, November 8-14, 2015: Nubble Light, Maine

I guess officially the Nubble Light is the Cape Neddick Lighthouse, but because it's on Nubble Island, it's called the Nubble Light.  And it's distinguished by its nighttime light show.   So I've got a picture of it at night and at twilight.

Trust me, this is a Maine Lighthouse and well-known (as well as well-named), so there are LOTS of pictures of it.

Nubble Light Web Site (with live Webcams!)

Definitely click on this one to see it bigger

Friday, November 6, 2015

I always look for the fantasy bra

As one would expect, it's getting time for the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.  And of course, there will be a fantasy bra worth a couple mil.

This year it's being worn by Lily Aldridge.

Here's Lily and the bra:

Oh, you want to see her wearing it?    Well...

Ready for the catwalk! Lily Aldridge dazzles in stunning behind the scenes images from her Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra shoot

Unfortunately there's no behind-the-scenes video to go with the pictures in the article. She looks great. So I'll be waiting.

Worth looking at again

I saw this in a Daily Mail article (where I see a lot of things that interest me), so I went back and looked for more pictures of it.

It's called the "Tree of Life".  Now, I've been to Olympic National Park, but I didn't know about the tree.  Now I wish I had known about it.  Because I drove right by it!

Here's another picture of it.  It's pretty remarkable.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Have I been ignoring Kelly Brook?

Seems like I haven't posted anything about Kelly Brook in a long while.

Well, I have a couple of things, but today I just want to note:


To that end, here's a Daily Mail article with a provocative preview.

Kelly Brook shows off her ample cleavage and pert posterior as she strips naked for very sexy calendar shoot

Ohhh, "Kelly" + "naked" = good, good, good!

"Just in time for Christmas" October update

Well, predictably, the denierati are denying all the other data, quantifiable and phenological, that the Earth is warming.  Clinging desperately to one remaining data set, the tropospheric lower temperature, they claim that there hasn't been any global warming for 18 years or so.

You might first refer to the lengthening growing season in the contiguous U.S., as I mentioned here (but still want to go into more detail about).

But I've been wondering when the major El Niño event was going to put a major spike into the temperature record, as the last major one in 1997-1998 did.  That high point is the main reason for this specious "no global warming in 18 years" claim.  Even though the claim is ridiculous, I wanted to know when the El Niño was going to push up the TLT, so I did some data plotting here.

Well, October has passed, so I've updated the plot with another month of data.  I noticed that the previous TLT values from REMSS changed a little, so I used those.

Interesting.  Almost exactly the same pattern as seen in 1997-1998.  So even if there's an observable drop in November, that doesn't mean it's not going to rise, because after a slight drop in November 1997, the TLT shot up in December 1997 and kept going.

The Niño 3.4 SST is very slightly lower than in October 1997, but that doesn't mean much, because there could be more warm water to the east as compared to 1997.  The Niño 3.4 SST may be approaching plateau phase, but there's plenty of heat there to warm up the global TLT.

So, does this modest increase mark the start of the uptick, or will we have to wait one or two more months?  I'm not sure about that, but I am pretty sure that we will see a significant increase, and we don't have long to wait.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Colima's ash and lightning

Nice time-lapse video of Mexico's Colima Volcano releasing ash clouds interspersed with static electricity lightning flashes.

Great photos from photo contest

I found out about this contest via this article in the Daily Mail, but it was more fun to go to the contest Web site and see more pictures from last year's contest.

Siena International Photo Awards

I hope they won't mind if a post a couple of examples.

Wave, by Warren Keelan
Twister, by Fabrizio Salerno

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lighthouse of the Week, November 1-7. 2015: Au Sable Light Station, Michigan

Fourth in the series of lighthouses in autumn for the Lighthouse of the Week, I found Michigan's Au Sable Light Station.  This lighthouse / light station is in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  Thus, the area around it has lots of trees.  It's a mixed deciduous - conifer forest, so there is good autumn color.

So here's two pictures, one close and one far, of the Au Sable Light Station in autumn.

Maryland drives a hard target

Found it interesting that Maryland is proposing to push some hard carbon cut goals.  Hard to meet, definitely, especially with no extra nuclear capacity.  But maybe the difficulty of reaching these goals will spur some nuclear investment.

Deeper climate pollution cuts urged for Maryland  (Baltimore Sun)
"It's pretty extraordinary in this day and age to see a bipartisan commission — [including one] representing the highest levels of a Republican administration — voting for such cutting-edge reductions of greenhouse gas emissions," said Mike Tidwell, executive director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network.
Only California and New York have set more ambitious targets for curbing their states' climate pollution, he said.
Donald F. Boesch, a panel member, said that if the state can achieve a 40 percent reduction by 2030, it would be roughly on pace to make the even deeper cuts of 70 to 80 percent that climate scientists have said the United States needs to make by 2050 to limit global warming. 
Boesch is president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Space junk coming home

On November 13, a lost piece of space debris will re-enter Earth's atmosphere and probably impact the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka.

The thing is, nobody knows what the thing is.  They do know it's not very big.

So I'm not sure how much of this object will survive re-entry and oceanfall.  And if anybody can find it after it heads for the briny deep.

But maybe they'll get better  pictures on approach.

Incoming space junk a scientific opportunity

"The event not only offers a scientific opportunity to watch something plunge through the atmosphere, but also tests the plans that astronomers have put in place to coordinate their efforts when a potentially dangerous space object shows up. “What we planned to do seems to work,” Drolshagen says. “But it’s still three weeks to go.” WT1190F was detected by the Catalina Sky Survey, a programme based at the University of Arizona, Tucson, aimed at discovering asteroids and comets that swing close to Earth."

Mark your calendar!

They still don't know, but they're getting closer

I mentioned in my recent post on Enceladus that we still don't know what the bright white spots on Ceres are.

Well, you didn't expect NASA to give up, did you?

I just checked, and they've just released a new high-resolution picture of Occator Crater, where the white spots are located (the biggest ones, anyway).

And the Dawn probe has just lighted its ion engine to start spiraling down to its low altitude mapping orbit, which it will reach in mid-December.  I'm not sure if we'll see much until then.  Maybe then, finally, we can find out what they're made of, one of the great remaining mysteries of planetary astronomy (obviously there are others, like if there was ever life on Mars).  But we'll probably find out what the white spots are made of long before we find out if there was ever even a chance of life on Mars.

I'm still going with ice, predicted back in April.

Here's the article with the new picture:
Dawn Heads Toward Final Orbit