Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sun Cleans Space Junk

Quite a long time ago I read about the crowding of positions for satellites with geocentric orbits.

That position is required to orbit the Earth as fast  the Earth rotates. That placement is necessary for many modern day luxuries like radio, and television, GPS. They come to first to mind.

Anyway, there is a serious crowding of the the orbital spheres, at all levels.

Help may be on the way.
Not from any genius of mankind, but a natural vacuum cleaner.

Sun Drags Space Junk Out of Earth Orbit

Generally, solar flares are bad news for stuff orbiting the Earth. The impact of intense solar radiation on sensitive electronics can render the most sophisticated space technologies useless. Also, heating and expansion of the Earth's upper atmosphere by peaking solar activity can increase drag on satellites, slowing them down, causing them to drop from orbit.

Now for once, there is good coming from this bad news.

Ever since mankind launched the first rocket into space, we've left trash floating aimlessly in low-Earth orbit. Today, 55 years after the launch of the Soviet Sputnik 1 (the worlds first artificial satellite), we are fast approaching an untenable situation.

The space junk problem is reaching epidemic proportions where it may soon become impossible to launch spacecraft without them being damaged or destroyed by an errant chunk of Space Age trash -- a situation known as "Kessler Syndrome." You can forget a manned mission to Mars, we won't be able to leave our own cosmic backyard through fear of being punctured by a random bolt traveling faster than a rifle bullet!

As magnetic activity inside the sun amps-up toward peak activity in its 11-year solar cycle (known as solar maximum, predicted to occur in 2013), there is a higher frequency of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs). This increased energy output energizes the outer layers of the Earth's atmosphere, and through the laws of basic thermodynamics, it causes the atmosphere to expand.

This expansion pushes some of the gas to higher altitudes. It's like a speeding car hitting a sand-filled escape lane -- the drag of the loose sand zaps the forward momentum of the car, bringing it to a stop. Back in orbit, this tenuous gas creates drag on orbiting space debris, causing it to slow down.

Discovery News

Not exactly world shaking, but for the future of space exploration, something to think about.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Emily Miller testifies on Washington D.C. Gun Laws

I have already posted about Emily Miller of the Washington Times writes of her odyssey to legally buy and keep a gun in Washington D.C.

Emily Gets Her Gun

Last Monday Miss Miller testified before the  District of Columbia Council’s Judiciary Committee
Can't remember anyone accusing city council of being the most bright of folk, but this guy, Mr.Mendelson doesn't understand the basics of market forces.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Best Carry Gun

I frequent gun sites.

Of course questions about this or that fire arm is put forth, and unsurprisingly a number of people offer opinions as to the qualities of that particular firearm.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Disgusting Food

That food of one culture is not appetizing to people of another is nothing new.

This article, You Eat That? in the Wall Street Journal is more than about food. Of the different foods described, this my favorite disgusting food.
Worse than snails.

My favorite fermented challenge, because I'm a cheese lover but am mortally repulsed by worms, is casu marzu. Casu marzu is a sheep cheese popular on the Italian island of Sardinia. The name means "rotten cheese" or, as it is known colloquially, "maggot cheese," since it is literally riddled with live insect larvae.

To make maggot cheese you start with a slab of local sheep cheese, pecorino sardo, but then let it go beyond normal fermentation to a stage most would consider infested decomposition (because, well, it is). The larvae of the cheese fly (Piophila casei) are added to the cheese, and the acid from their digestive systems breaks down the cheese's fats, making the final product soft and liquidy. By the time it is ready for consumption, a typical casu marzu contains thousands of larvae.
Locals consider it unsafe to eat casu marzu once the larvae have died, so it is served while the translucent white worms, about one-third of an inch long, are still squiggling. Some people clear the maggots from the cheese before consuming it; others do not. Those who leave the maggots may have to cover the cheese with their hands—when disturbed, the maggots can jump up to six inches.

Disgust is one of our most basic emotions—the only one that we have to learn—and nothing triggers it more reliably than the strange food of others