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Thursday, October 31, 2013

SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLES

I am a Friend of the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at the University of Hawaii.  There is something about space that challenges and awes.  I actually worked for NASA a long time ago on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.  Chapter 4 of my second book entitled, SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity, summarizes this subject.

A black hole was suggested as early as the 1700's, but was first so-called in 1967 by John Wheeler.  Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and various other luminaries in the field contributed ideas.  The subject remains formative.

Last night I joined an almost filled Art Auditorium on the Manoa Campus to hear Nicholas McConnell, IfA Beatrice Watson Parrent Postdoctoral Fellow, lecture on "Monsters in the Dark:  Supermassive Black Holes and Their Destructive Habits."  Hey, it's almost Halloween.

Black holes are named:
  • micro, about the size of our Moon
  • stellar, size of our Sun
  • supermassive, up to 10 billion Suns


A black hole can form when a star collapses.  Once created, it can then swallow stars to expand.  At the center of galaxies is probably a black hole.  Did a black hole propagate a galaxy by pirating stars, or did the galaxy form first and then produce a black hole?  Amazingly enough, this question remains open to debate.  That is the Sombrero Galaxy to the left, and, while you can't see that elusive black hole, it turns out that the gases near the black hole (but not inside the event horizon, where anything then gets sucked in) reach super high temperatures, showing that glow.

We live in an average galaxy, the Milky Way, with perhaps 400 billion stars.  Light...light, mind you, which travels at 186,000 miles per SECOND, takes 120,000 light years just to travel from one end of our galaxy to the other end.  Homo sapiens, us, might have just about made a first appearance 100,000 years ago.  Moving on, there could be 500 billion galaxies, and a really large one harbors 100 trillion stars.  As I said, space is awesome.

Our black hole supposedly ate a gas cloud in June of this year.  See a stylized version on video.  However, called Sagittarius A, as large as 4 million suns, our black hole was a messy eater, as only 1% of the cloud was consumed.


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Typhoon Krosa at 90 MPH will make landfall over northern Philippines today, move into the South China Seas, strengthen into a Category 2 storm, head towards the southern part of Hainan, then into Vietnam:


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

HIGHLIGHTS FROM RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Here are a few noteworthy items from the Renewable Energy News network:

    • Responsibility for the future
    • Protecting the climate
    • Supply security, competitiveness and cost stability
    • Growth and new jobs
    • Greater public participation (over half of renewable energy projects are owned by individuals and farmers)


                       If you can't read the details, just click on that graphic.

  • Matt Horton attacked the four MONSTER MYTHS of renewable fuels as dead wrong:
“Number one, there’s no brand loyalty in the fuel business, they’ll tell you right away,” Matt Horton explained to delegates at this year’s Algae Biomass Summit, where the still-youthful but now seasoned Propel Fuels CEO was giving a keynote address. “Two, people only care about price. Three, they have no real interest in the content of the fuel. Four, they are afraid of putting new fuels in their car.”


Click his name to read his refutation of these conventional pearls of wisdom.

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Tropical Storm Krosa just formed east of the Philippines.


Already at 70 MPH, Krosa will soon strengthen into a typhoon, storm over northern Philippines, enter the South China Sea, attain Category 2 status, then, as presently projected, crash into Hainan, retaining enough power to bring a lot of rain to Vietnam.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL LEAGUE TIPS OFF TODAY

THIS POSTING IS SO INCREDIBLE, THAT I BESEECH YOU TO KEEP READING TILL THE END, FOR THERE IS AN ASTONISHING PUNCHLINE.

The NBA tips off today with the Chicago Bulls versus #1 Miami Heat, Los Angeles teams, the Clippers and the Lakers, meeting, and Orlando at Indiana.  The first two games are on TNT, with Fox Sports carrying the third.  There is also an NBA channel that gets games and talks about the NBA 24 hours a day.  I'm sure this excited around 1% of my readership.  BUT HANG IN, FOR THIS COULD BE ONE OF THE STUPIDIST THINGS GOING ON TODAY. Frankly, I last year did not watch even one complete NBA game.  This year I pondered forever about whether to have any fantasy teams, then realized yesterday that the league was to start in two days.

Well, I signed up for three teams, two for free, and one at a cost of $25.  You ask, what is a fantasy team?  Here is how it works, say for the one I actually paid:
  • Statistics are kept by a centralized computer in eight categories:
    • points, steals, rebounds, field goal percentage, blocks, assists, 3-pointers and free throw percentage
      • team numbers are compared with one of the 9 teams in your league--called head to head competition, and at the end of the week, there is a winner
      • this goes on until...
      • ...a few weeks before the end of the season, when the top teams compete in playoffs, leading eventually to one champion
  • How do you form a team?  There is a draft, which for me took an hour this afternoon, when all ten "coaches" went through a process of selecting their players on the internet, administrated by ESPN.  I chose these players (and I never before heard of half of them):

PGMike Conley, Mem PG
----/------/------------------100.0+0
SGPaul George, Ind SF, SG
7:00 PM----/------/------------------100.0+0
SFWesley Matthews, Por SG, SF
----/------/------------------100.0+0
PFSerge Ibaka, OKC PF, C
----/------/------------------100.0+0
CDavid Lee, GS PF, C  DTD
----/------/------------------100.0+0
GJeremy Lin, Hou PG
----/------/------------------100.0+0
FNikola Vucevic, Orl C, PF
7:00 PM----/------/------------------100.0+0
UTILJoe Johnson, Bkn SG
----/------/------------------100.0+0
UTILKevin Martin, Min SG
----/------/------------------100.0+0
UTILNick Young, LAL SG
10:30 PM----/------/------------------34.5+15
BENCHOCT 292014 SEASON STATSRESEARCH
SLOTPLAYER, TEAM POSACTIONOPPSTATUS ETMINFGM/FGAFG%FTM/FTAFT%3PMREBASTSTLBLKPTSPR15%OWN+/-
BenchJonas Valanciunas, Tor C  DTD
----/------/------------------100.0+0
BenchWilson Chandler, Den SF, SG  DTD
----/------/------------------100.0+8
BenchGerald Wallace, Bos SF  DTD
  • What are the odds of my doing well?
  • Anyway, when there is an NBA game on TV, I am rooting only for my players, and hope everyone else gets injured or plays poorly.  It's ruthless.
  • It's not as simple as that, for there is a lot of strategy as to who to keep and who to obtain off a free agents list.  Note, for example, that I have four DTD players.  DTD stands for an injured player who is not that seriously hurt, thus, Day-To-Day.  As I said, I have not kept up.
  • As there is no limit to games played, I will over the year, DAILY, give up on six of the above and find players with good statistics who are playing on any given day.
  • Thus, you need to keep on top of injuries, etc., and find the exact right time in the morning to make adjustments.
This is every day.  There are five games on Christmas, and this whole nonsense goes on until April 24.  Unless I give up, I will be involved for almost six months.  In the meantime, Major League Baseball starts around April 1, so I will then draft three more teams, taking me into October of 2014.  Yes, this is still October, so I will be locked up for a full year.  Worse, I will be watching many, many games to gain an edge on the competition.  Certainly, the time wasted is incredible.  If I win, and I usually don't, I might get a t-shirt.  Why do I do this?  Good question, except that there are 34 million Americans similarly involved:
  • 80% male
  • 90% Caucasian
  • Average age of 32
  • 78% with college degrees
  • Average of 10 years doing this
  • 27 hours/week consumed managing your teams and and watching related games on TV
Is this crazy or what?

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average broke an all-time record, increasing 111 to 15680.  Apparently, the Federal Reserve will be keeping its stimulus for several more months.  The S&P 500 also hit a record high, up 9.8 to 1772.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

COCONUTS, CARRIE, ESCAPE PLAN AND BAD GRANDPA

Yes, this is a blog on sustainable resources and the environment.  However, after years of mostly focusing on those two topics, my readers kept telling me that my blogs were too long and, by the way, they mostly enjoyed my postings on food, entertainment and travels.  As this site has evolved, I promised to keep the tone of Mondays upbeat.  So, here is what I'll do for the next three days:
  • Today:  four "video" events plus astonishing news about coconuts.
  • Tommorrow:  the NBA season starts, and I will draft three fantasy teams today.  What are fantasy teams?  Then you must return on Tuesday for the scoop on this topic.
  • Wednesday:  a monthly review on wind power, solar energy, biomass, geothermal, etc.
Let me start with a message from Patricia Golden, who sent me this link about coconut oil.  As an older individual who is probably entering into the shadow of dementia (nothing confirmed, mind you, but there is a correlation with increasing age), here is a quote that astounds:


(TruthSeekerDaily) Health tip:  Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are the primary types of fat found in coconut oil. MCT’s have been found to boost cognitive performance in older adults suffering from memory disorders like Alzheimer’s. What’s most astonishing about this fact is that brain function is boosted immediately after one dose of 40 ml.

I last week bought a pint of coconut oil for $17.  I thought this was a bit pricey, but I now use it to fry eggs and just about anything else.  I'll need to try it with balsamic on a large salad today.

I went to two movie theaters this weekend.  On Saturday, as I thought it was outrageous to pay $75 to watch the Rainbow Warriors lose to Colorado State (yes, they did, but the University of Hawaii is THE best college football team with a 0-7 record), so I went to Koko-Marina for a $12 game seat.  As the drive was not insignificant, I thought I would first catch an appropriate movie.  In this case, it was Carrie, for nothing else worked on timing.  Interestingly enough, both the film and football game were in the same theater auditorium.

Carrie was rated by Rotten Tomatoes at 47% by reviewers and 58% by the audience.  That was about right.  The book was written by Steven King.  Interestingly enough, the original in 1976, with Sissy Spacek in the Grace Chloe Moretz role, Piper Laurie as the mother, played menacingly in this sequel by Julianne Moore, and John Travolta as the current Alex Russell in the Billy character, got Rotten Tomatoes numbers of 92% and 72%.

Then on Sunday, I saw Escape Plan with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, with Rotten Tomatoes numbers of 48% and 65%, again, about right.  They are getting old, but the production was entertaining.  The second flick was Jackass Presents:  Bad Grandpa, rated at 61% and 76% by Rotten Tomatoes.  Just the title gives it all away:  pranking, shock value, gross, dumb, etc.  Revealing American interests today, the film was #1 at the box office this weekend.  This really is Jackass 4, but with a small plot holding together hidden camera vignettes of "normal people" being sucked into the scene.  There were moments of hilarity, for even I, at one point, laughed so much that I lost control and choked.  Thought I would die.  It was the balls scene.  Thirty-one year-old Johnny Knoxville played 86 year-old  Bad Grandpa, revoltingly, but reasonably well.

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