I begin my Saturday with the usual worthless news….news that means little to anyone…..
First some space news……Russia and China have come to deal……
China and Russia are gearing up to become America’s biggest rivals on the moon as well as the Earth. China’s National Space Agency and Russia’s Roscomos agency have announced plans to jointly build a lunar research station, the BBC reports. “China and Russia will use their accumulated experience in space science, research and development, and use of space equipment and space technology to jointly develop a road map for the construction of an international lunar scientific research station,” which will be built “on the lunar surface and/or in the lunar orbit,” the Chinese agency said in a statement. Roscosmos said the two countries would “conduct close interaction” in the planning, construction, and operation of the lunar station.
“This will be the largest international space cooperation project for China, so it’s significant,” says Chen Lan, an expert on China’s space program, per the Guardian. The Chinese agency said the project will be “open to all interested countries and international partners,” though the US is moving forward with lunar plans of its own. Under the Trump administration, NASA announced plans to put “the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024,” but the target date may be pushed back under President Biden, NPR reports. Russia has cooperated with the US and other countries in space for decades, but it did not sign onto the Artemis Accords for lunar conduct that NASA released last fall.
Continuing with space…..
We are always looking for life out there….we send robots and probes to search out life….but maybe we are looking at this all wrong….
Astronomers have been offered a cheat sheet on the kinds of things to look out for – from air pollution to energy production – when hunting for signs of intelligent life on faraway exoplanets.
“We have no idea whether intelligence is something very common in the Universe or, on the contrary, whether it is extremely rare,” said physicist Hector Socas-Navarro on Wednesday.
“For that reason we cannot know whether these searches have any chance of success. There is no choice but to search and see what we find, because the implications would be tremendous.”
But what exactly should we be searching for? Radio signals? Intergalactic re-runs of Big Bang Theory? Glad you asked: Socas-Navarro, who works at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, is the first author of a paper published in Acta Astronautica detailing the so-called technosignatures scientists ought to be trying to pick up when looking for intelligent alien life. You can get a preprint list of these signature concepts here.
I admit it….I am what the English call a “Twitcher”…..I feed the birds on my property….I have house finches, cardinals, sparrows, doves, pigeons, wrens, on and on….so I saw the news about bird deaths…..
Throughout the pandemic, health experts have discouraged people from gathering in large groups to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Now, wildlife biologists are advising that avian enthusiasts pitch in to keep birds from congregating in an effort to curb an uptick in cases of salmonellosis, a fatal, quick-spreading gut disease, SFGate reports. And that means removing bird feeders and baths from their property. Over the past few months, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has been “inundated” with calls from people finding sick or dead finches at bird feeders, the agency said in a statement. Birds contract salmonellosis, which is caused by Salmonella, when they ingest food or water, or come into contact with objects that are contaminated with feces from an infected bird. Most birds die within a day of becoming infected, an avian disease specialist tells LiveScience.
Pine siskins, a type of finch, have been most affected. But the disease also has been reported in lesser goldfinches and American goldfinches. In California, reports of infected birds have largely come from the Central Coast, Bay Area, and Sierra Nevada communities, authorities say. But reports of a “concerning number” of birds being infected are also coming from across the country. The News & Observer reports that people in North Carolina are being asked to take down their feeders. And the same goes for South Carolina residents, per the State. “Keeping bird feeders clean, and temporarily removing them for the next few weeks, is something people can do to help keep birds safe” as they migrate north over the next four weeks, an expert says This year’s pine siskin irruption—the increase in the number of the birds migrating—is the biggest in a decade, per the Audubon Society.
Do you eat three meals a day?
My mother made sure that if nothing else we had 3 meals a day….but is that the best these days?
The three-meals-a-day habit is fully engrained. But it may not suit us anymore, Amanda Mull writes in the Atlantic. People working at home during the pandemic have less reason to eat when the clock tells them to, and some are finding themselves less committed to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our customary eating schedule never was the law, anyway; it came about when industrialization pulled people out of their homes and put them on a set workday schedule, a food historian says. Before that, people were on “more like a two-meal kind of schedule that was based on outdoor physical labor and farm labor, and those meals tended to be quite big,” she said. Breakfasts later became small and less than nutritionally robust—cereal, for example—so people had to eat again to make it through their workday. Then it was time for a sit-down dinner, central to family life.
People have adapted during the pandemic. Some put together meals of snacks to avoid cooking and cleanup. People are figuring out new meal schedules or eating when they’re hungry instead of when it’s time. Mull has settled on what she calls “Big Meal.” It doesn’t fit any of the previous boxes. Sometimes it’s eaten at what used to be the breakfast hour, and sometimes it’s at what was the dinner hour, but it can be at any time in between. It’s once a day, usually late afternoon. Around her Big Meal, Mull snacks if she’s hungry. Such changes shouldn’t be cause for worry, a dietitian says—including weight gain and loss, as well as eating more or less than usual. That happens, she said. “We’re really not taught that we can trust our body’s cues,” she said. “It can feel so destabilizing to have to think about them for maybe the first time ever.”
One final thought…..a deep probing desire for knowledge……stuff like why are we here? Is there anyone out there? What is life? And the most important deep subject….why is old dog poop no longer white?
From Fotomat booths to typewriter erasers, many things that were common a few decades ago have been phased out by new technology. The reason for the disappearance of white dog poop, however, is less obvious. It wasn’t a product of your young imagination: Chalky, white dog poop really was everywhere in the 1970s and ’80s. It started to become a rarer sight in the 1990s, and today, it’s practically nonexistent. Dogs are still doing their business as much as they were 30 years ago, but thanks to changes in pet food formulas, what comes out has changed.
According to Treehugger, the culprit behind the white dog waste of the past was a surplus in calcium. Dog food used to contain an overabundance of meat and bone meal, both of which are high in the mineral. Whatever the dog couldn’t process ended up in its feces, and as the wet matter dried out in the sun, the hard calcium stuck around. This led to crumbly, mummified turds littering our sidewalks and green spaces.
That ends my useless portion of the blog.
Be Well….be Safe…..
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”