For me, Hurricanes are NOT the most frightening natural disaster. There are at least a couple of reasons for that, but the main one is simply this – I live in the 21st Century. I can see them coming. Hurricanes, or in the woke times in which we live He/Him or She/Her-i-canes aren’t known, at least in modern times, for sneaking up on people. Sometimes it’s hard to feel sympathy for people who decide to not get out of the way and then end up dead. As colorful as his story was, I never felt a pang of regret for Harry Truman when Mt St. Helens finally blew up. Even the Professor was able to warn the Castaways when a He/Him/She/Her-i-cane was bearing down on Gilligan’s Island.

I know that there are some very libertarian reasons why people stay in dangerous places. In my mind, though, there is no property that is worth my life.

Most of my experience with He/Him/She/Her-i-canes has been on the disaster relief side of things. The aftermath of Hurrican Andrew nearly killed me. Hugo just brushed where I lived in Norfolk and frankly (this amazes Ben) I slept through Opal.

Big storms can really wreck your day-to-day life, but the only way they can kill you is if you do something stupid. Like trying to do some sort of gangster deal in the middle of a storm…


The Man Who Knows Where To Tap

A long time ago, in a place… well… 4.8 miles from here… a wise man told me a story to teach me a great truth. I have carried that story in my head for nearly forty years, and the recent defeat that I have suffered at the hands of my kitchen sink has reminded me that the reason for the story remains as true today as the day it first was told in 1908.

It is also why I had no time today to do any research or think at all about my reaction to the President of the United States stepping into North Korea. I mean, obviously, it’s a big deal and all, but there seems like there should be some deeper meaning to it.

And maybe that meaning is found in the skies overhead, where the International Space Station floated by at 0430 this morning as Ben and I stood in the street and watched in awe?

John Stark Notifications

PRODUCERS NOTE: Dave is HIGHLY distracted today. I get what he is saying, just understand that he is really distracted today… – Producer Henri

Usually, Monday’s are really easy for me. There’s a bunch of stuff from the weekend and late Friday news dumps that it’s really not even work to come up with a topic and an opinion about it. Even today, a Monday, there is a whole bunch of stuff and I have opinions about it all.


It just seems harder today. For all the stuff that is so typical of Talk Radio and the “It’s the other sides fault” mantras, I have hit a problem that my brain recognizes but my heart will not allow me to ignore. First off, I just cannot see very well right now. I have needed new glasses prescription for more than a year, but it keeps getting put off.

At the same time, I am starting to wonder about the absolute avalanche of information that bombards me every minute of every day. I know that it is a manifestation of Dave’s 2nd Law and corollary, at the same time, I haven’t a clue what to do about it.

Once upon a time, I could start with an idea and pull at threads until I made sense of the idea. Nowadays, it’s become, “OH LOOK, A WOMAN MARRIED HERSELF!” threads that lead nowhere except to frustration and depression.

Or Game of Thrones. It’s no wonder people need brain candy these days.

Truth From a Well


Let’s say that Person A says that he or she thinks that something is so.

Let us also accept that Person B disagrees with what Person A says.

Once upon a time, there would be a discussion, some reasoning, some logic, some research and maybe even a snarky comment or two. Ultimately though, for the most part, the facts of the matter would win out. Sure, some people would still cling to whatever person was incorrect, but it wasn’t a matter of life and death.

Over the last weeks, Person A, who made the discovery that he thinks is highly significant, wanted to let people know about his potentially significant discovery. So… he wrote the paper, submitted the research paper to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences – and when the journal announced that it would publish it, the University he works with sent out a Press Release announcing the discovery.

Or… at least hinting at what the discovery might be. Or at least stirring the pot about what the discovery could possibly represent…

It set off a firestorm of argument, debate, furious Social Media postings, and even a text chat between myself and my favorite Paleontologist.


All of this over a bed of fossils that may or may not have been formed when an asteroid hit the Earth 65 Million years ago.

But there is a lesson in it for the rest of us…

What Is Red?


“What is Spain?” Yossarian once famously asked.

Just think about it for a second. What IS Spain? A Country? an idea? A people?

What is red? Scientists tell us that light reflected at specific wavelengths is what we perceive as color. But how do we KNOW that what I perceive as “red” is exactly the same thing that you perceive as “red?” The answer may surprise you.

So given that it is actually impossible to know that what I see as red is what you see as red, why are we surprised that we perceive other things differently? I often say this: “The people who most loudly insist that we must accept the principles of evolution are the least willing to accept its consequences.”

And why is that, because we have no way of knowing what another person’s true perception of any issue actually is. We know what makes us feel good, what makes us angry, what we pretend offends us and what makes us cry. But we have absolutely no way of knowing beyond the shadow of a doubt what somebody else feels or thinks or perceives.

Given that, can we use that understanding of perceptions to move forward in our corporate lives in a functional way? Or are we doomed to scatter and tribalize like the people at the Tower of Babel?

Given that understanding of perceptions, how am I supposed to actually choose between what I see as essentially the same option in another country from which we get 6% of our imported oil?


Astronomers Find What May Be First Exomoon—And It’s an Absolute Unit | Smart News | Smithsonian

Astronomers suspect that there’s Neptune-sized celestial body trailing an exoplanet about 8,000 light years

In what would quite literally be a colossal first, astronomers may have finally found an exomoon, or a moon orbiting a planet outside of our own solar system. The new alien moon is roughly the size of Neptune, which has a diameter four times larger than Earth’s and is 17 times as massive.

The moon was discovered circling Kepler 1625b, a massive gas giant three times the size of Jupiter orbiting a star in the constellation Cygnus about 8,000 light years away, reports Sarah Kaplan at The Washington Post. Unlike some notable space discoveries, this find wasn’t random; Mike Wall at Space.com reports that Columbia University astronomers David Kipping and Alex Teachey were doggedly hunting for exomoons—a truly challenging feat—when they found the beast.

Since researchers first began detecting exoplanets, or worlds orbiting stars other than our Sun, in the early 1990s, we’ve gone on to catalogue almost 3,800 alien planets, with thousands more sightings waiting for confirmation. Despite finding all those planets, researchers have never detected a moon.

To detect exoplanets, astronomers usually observe their transit, which shows up when a star’s brightness dips, indicating that a planet is passing in front of it. The problem is only large planets that orbit close to stars are detectable, and those types of planets typically don’t have moons.

So Kipping and Teachey poured over data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, an exoplanet-hunting satellite. They decided to look at exoplanets with the widest orbits, or those that take about 30 days to circle their stars. That narrowed their focus to 284 planets. But just one of them, Kepler 1625b, showed the type of anomaly they were looking for.

Later, the team used the powerful lens of the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the planet and found a pair of unexpected abnormalities. First, Kepler 1625b begins its transit of the star over an hour early, an indicator that something with relatively strong gravity is tugging on it, alternating its center of gravity and affecting its orbit.

Second, once the planet finished passing by the face of the star, they observed another decrease in brightness about 3.5 hours later, consistent with “a moon trailing the planet like a dog following its owner on a leash,” says Kipping in a press release.

Both of these data points are best explained if a huge Neptune-sized moon is orbiting Kepler 1625b. If confirmed, this would be the first moon discovered outside our own solar system, according to the new study published in the journal Science Advances.

“We hope to re-observe the star again in the future to verify or reject the exomoon hypothesis,” Kipping tells Wall at Space.com. “And if validated, the planet-moon system—a Jupiter with a Neptune-sized moon—would be a remarkable system with unanticipated properties, in many ways echoing the unexpected discovery of hot Jupiters in the early days of planet hunting.”

While some may want to define such a massive moon as a planet caught in a binary system with Kepler 1625b, the researchers define it as a moon since its mass is only 1.5 percent that of the planet it orbits, roughly the same as Earth and our moon.

How such a moon would form, however, is the big question. Kaplan reports that there are no easy explanations. It could be rogue planet caught in the gravity of the Kepler 1625b or, like the moons of Jupiter, it coalesced out of gas, dust and other space debris. Because it’s a gaseous moon circling a gas giant, it’s possible—but unlikely—that it was formed like our moon when a cosmic collision broke a chunk off its host planet.

“It’s raising new questions about sort of the dynamical processes that go on to create the planets and moons,” Teachey tells Kaplan.

But the astronomers are careful to emphasize that this is only a candidate moon. It will take more observation with the Hubble to confirm it. And finding future moons will require looking at planets much further out from their stars, something that is difficult now, but should possible once the powerful but long-delayed James Webb Space Telescope finally begins scanning the skies.

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/astronomers-find-what-may-be-first-exo-moon-180970465/#uCQBd1VBTH70MYDM.99
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Source: Astronomers Find What May Be First Exomoon—And It’s an Absolute Unit | Smart News | Smithsonian