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Monday, July 13, 2015


July 13 is one of those inconsequential days in the year.  Nothing much happened on this day in history and no holidays are celebrated.  It's not Friday, so even bad luck is inapplicable.  About the only noteworthy announcement I can make is that Harrison Ford turned 73 today.  Star Wars, sure, and December 18 is when Star Wars #7 will open, but he was also in American Graffiti (1973), a film which depicted Modesto, California in 1962.

For the record, with the Major League All Star game occurring tomorrow and the rest of the players inactive until Friday, my five ESPN fantasy baseball teams are ranked (each league has ten teams):  2, 3, 5, 6 and 7. Not so good, but not so terrible.  The seventh place team was in last place for much of the year, so progress is being made.

On the sports scene, the Open (purposefully understated from the British Open) tees off on Thursday at the Old Course, St. Andrews.  For aficionados of the game, you absolutely must click on my experience at St. Andrews, circa 2000.

Professor J. Grant Burgess, incidentally, is from Edinburgh, and has become a distinguished professor of marine biotechnology at Newcastle University.  As far as I know, Newcastle is the only public educational institution allowed to do human cloning.  We have a common colleague in Tadashi Matsunaga, now president of Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.  Grant, Tadashi, Mayumi and I once golfed at the Royal Dublin Golf Course (Ireland), where we lost all of our balls by the 5th hole.  Golf is not one of my fortes.

Maybe of greater moment, Greece will remain within the Euro.  The other option could have catalyzed the exit also of Italy, Spain and Portugal.  

Whatever happened to that nuclear deal with Iran?  Well, discussions are continuing, and my best guess is that some sort of agreement will be reached tomorrow, sure to be condemned by Israel, Republicans and hawks.  Speaking of birds, one of my postings this week will be on The Great Auk, which went extinct 163 years ago on an island off Iceland.  But back to the subject matter itself,  crude oil prices have recently dropped, anticipating the re-entry of Iranian oil into the marketplace.

New Horizon (below) left Planet Earth 9.5 years ago, and will reach Dwarf Planet Pluto in a few hours.  You will soon be inundated by photos of DP Pluto and its moon, Charon (both to the left from the Hubble Telescope).  Pluto lost planet status just about the time New Horizon left and is also know as a plutoid.  Pluto is from 30 to 49 times further away from the Sun as Earth (note the elliptical orbit) and has a mass only 18% that of our Moon.  This is almost hard to believe, but light takes only 4.6 hours to get there from here.  NASA WILL STREAM A LIVE COUNTDOWN BEGINNING AT 7:30AM (EDT) TOMORROW (TUESDAY) MORNING.

There are six ocean storms, a minor one in the Atlantic.  

But in Pacific, Typhoon Nangka, at 120 MPH and strengthening, has shifted a bit, and now seems headed for Kyushu, perhaps close to Miyazaki, where I will be staying in my next Fall around the world trip:

Dolores remains a tropical storm off Mexico, but will attain hurricane status soon and attain Category 3 strength...but head away from Baja;

Tropical Storm Halola, which formed close to Hawaii, is continuing to move west, and could attain Category 3 strength, heading for the Mariana Trench region:


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