Sunlight glinting off the north polar seas of Titan

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This near-infrared, color mosaic from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows the sun glinting off of Titan’s north polar seas. While Cassini has captured, separately, views of the polar seas…and the sun glinting off of them…in the past, this is the first time both have been seen together in the same view.

The sunglint, also called a specular reflection, is the bright area near the 11 o’clock position at upper left. This mirror-like reflection, known as the specular point, is in the south of Titan’s largest sea, Kraken Mare, just north of an island archipelago separating two separate parts of the sea.

This particular sunglint was so bright as to saturate the detector of Cassini’s Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) instrument, which captures the view. It is also the sunglint seen with the highest observation elevation so far — the sun was a full 40 degrees above the horizon as seen from Kraken Mare at this time…

Please read the article for more info about the details of this image. Way cool.

Thanks, Mike

Arizona coppers wake up pastor at 2 AM to see if he had Ebola


Shift change for Tucson Police Department

A Tucson Pastor, Michael Petzer, who returned from Zambia in early September, was awakened by two Tucson police officers pounding on his door at 2 AM. They wanted to know if he had Ebola.

It turns out that a woman from his congregation went to the hospital with self-described “possible Ebola symptoms” and she shared with doctors that her Pastor had been to Africa.

The hospital called the cops, and TPD sent out two officers to check it out.

The officers did a welfare check on Petzer after a request from UAMC, said Sgt. Chris Widmer, a Tucson Police Department spokesman. Officials with UAMC confirmed that was true, and said they followed protocol. The hospital did not contact the Pima County Health Department.

“The only way we could figure out if it was a real contact to be concerned about was to find out the travel history. That is why the police were sent out,” said Dr. Andreas Theodorou, chief medical officer at UA Medical Center. “The health department doesn’t have the capacity to do that.”…

“When a patient comes to the ER and has a fever and West African contact, it triggers the process, and we have to take it seriously,” he said.

Well, of course Zambia is not near the infected areas of Africa, and the good pastor was well beyond the 21 day period.

“I think this is hysteria, and a zero understanding of geography,” said Petzer, explaining that Zambia is in south-central Africa, about 2,500 miles away from the affected areas in West Africa…

“I traveled from a noninfected country to one (United States) where there are people in quarantine,” Petzer said. “I think this is an issue of public ignorance and not an issue of public health. People hear Africa, and everyone thinks ‘Ebola.’ Most Americans do not have a clue that Africa is a large continent and not a country. People have to stop the hysteria of it all.”

Please mail me a penny postcard when you bump into local officials, police or ignorant bumpkins who will admit they don’t know bupkis about geography, public health or civil liberties. Especially after they screw up like this.

Yes, that obviously includes hospital administrators.

Daylight saving time — probably worthless


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It’s that time of year again. Time to “fall back” an hour as we go around the house changing the clocks on the features of modern life – appliances and such like. The really modern stuff – computers, smart phones, weather devices boasting atomic clocks – seem to take care of themselves.

The extra hour of sleep that comes for many with the switch to standard time may be welcome. But daylight saving, said to have been thought up by Benjamin Franklin (to save candles) and first put into practice by German Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II Emperor during World War I, seems to be becoming less popular.

Back in March (when most of us remembered to “spring forward”) the polling firm Rasmussen Reports found that “only 33 percent of American adults think DST is worth the hassle.”

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That is down from 37 percent last year and 45 percent in 2012. Forty-eight percent “do not think the clock changing ritual is worth it,” according to Rasmussen.

For one thing, the time switch may not be saving all that much energy, which is one of the main reasons for the tradition. As the Monitor’s David Clark Scott wrote at this time last year:

“Studies show mixed results. For example, The Christian Science Monitor reports that in Indiana, daylight saving time caused a 1 percent jump in electricity, according to a 2010 study. The energy saved from reduced lighting in the summer months was canceled out by an increase in the use of heating and air conditioning, the researchers from Yale University and University of California Santa Barbara said…”

Darkness kills and sunlight saves lives,” University of Washington Law Professor Steve Calandrillo, who has studied the effectiveness of different DST policies, told Time Magazine. “The question is ‘when do you want sunlight?’”

“At 5 pm virtually everyone in society is awake,” said Professor Calandrillo, who advocates year-round DST. “There are far more people asleep at 7 in the morning than at 7 in the evening.”

For now, the computers in my family life all dropped back to standard time this morning. As did DirecTV.

Most pleasing? For the 2nd or 3rd year in a row, WordPress has gotten my time zone right and this post will appear on time, today. I’ll check it when I get back from the first walk of the day with my wife and Sheila our young Australian Shepherd dog.

Thanks, Mike

Remembering absent friends — all wars

I presume these Canadian troops are marching away from a memorial to those who fell during the liberation of Belgium during World War 2. Yes, I remember all of those days. I can’t forget those days.

My best friend died ten years back. He was the most decorated soldier from our home state in WW2. He had 16 months in hospital to reflect upon how he got there – not just the German soldier who threw a hand grenade at him at the liberation of a death camp; but, the corporate and political creeps who helped scum like Hitler into power. Both sides of the pond.

We learned a lot together over the years. Both of our fathers’ families came to the US from Canada, btw. His from Montreal and mine from PEI.

This weekend watching football from England the silent tributes pre-match – and more – have started. Tens of thousands of sports fans of all ages in complete silence remembering all they have to remember. I thought I’d repost this tribute.

I salute you, too, Clyde.

Thanks, Mister Justin