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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

What Time Is It On the North Pole, South Pole, Moon?

     First off, as I write this, at the South Pole it is 30 below zero with more sun than clouds and the sun is up all day. The time is a different story. Bases and stations in Antarctica tend to keep either the time relating to their home territory or the supply line that feeds them. 
     Officially Antarctica Standard Time is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Greenwich Mean Time is clock time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London and it is the same all year round and is not affected by Summer Time, or as it is also known, Daylight Saving Time. 
     When the sun is at its highest point exactly above the Prime Meridian, it is 1200 noon at Greenwich. GMT is also a time zone, used by Great Britain and Northern Ireland when Daylight Saving Time is not in use, from October to March. 
     Until 1972, Greenwich Mean Time (also known as Zulu time) was the same as Universal Time (UT). Since then, GMT is no longer a time standard. Today, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is only the name of a time zone that is used by a few countries in Africa and Western Europe, including the UK during winter and all year in Iceland. 
     The Greenwich Meridian (Prime Meridian or Longitude Zero degrees) marks the starting point of every Time Zone. Every 15 degrees of longitude represents one hour's difference in time. 
     Another time...Coordinated Universal Time (abbreviated UTC). UTC is the time standard commonly used across the world and the name Coordinated Universal Time is used. 
     Two components are used to determine UTC: The International Atomic Time (TAI) which is a time scale that combines the output of some 400 highly precise atomic clocks worldwide, and provides the exact speed for our clocks to tick. The other is Universal Time (UT1), also known as astronomical time or solar time. 
     Strictly speaking the South Pole operates GMT but you can walk through all 24 time zones in a few seconds. In practice, polar explorers and scientists there simply choose whatever time zone is most convenient. Those working at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, for example, have chosen to use New Zealand local time.
     Here’s a quirky fact...electric clocks are usually wrong. It has something to do with the generators running at 60.1 hertz that makes the clocks run fast. So every couple of days, they have to go around and set them back 5 minutes or so. 
     What about the North Pole? At the North Pole, where the sun also rises and sets only once per year, all lines of longitude meet and hence all time zones converge. There is no permanent human presence at the North Pole and no particular time zone has been assigned. 
     And, while we are on the subject of time, what time is it on the Moon? If were to ask a scientist about it, they would explain the complications of Einstein’s Special Relativity, but ignoring that, it’s the same time as it is on Earth, but what’s that mean? 
     Here on Earth time is defined by the motion of the Sun in the sky so the local time depends on where you are on Earth. i.e. what time zone you’re in.
     There exists a similar time system based on the motion of the Sun as seen from the Moon that’s known as Lunar Standard Time, but almost nobody cares about that. 
     So, if you were talking to an astronaut on the moon and asked him what time it was, what would he say? It goes back to that time that doesn’t vary with location…UTC. 
     The time on the Moon is the same as the UTC time on earth. But for the most part time is based on local time of the astronaut’s blast off point. Some mission constraints require that the sun be at an elevation of a specified number degrees above the horizon during the mission, so the actual time is irrelevant.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Who's better?

The lady in red or the old guy?

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Vitamin D

     What is the difference between vitamin D and vitamin D3? Vitamin D3 comes from animals while Vitamin D2 comes from plants and fortified foods. Since vitamin D2 is cheaper to produce, it's the most common form in fortified foods.
     Vitamin D is a fat-soluble and promotes the absorption of calcium, regulates bone growth and plays a role in immune function. Your skin produces vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. If you spend most of your time indoors or live at a high latitude, you’ll need to get this vitamin from your diet. 
     Good dietary sources include fatty fish, fish oils, egg yolk, butter and liver. However, it may be difficult to get adequate amounts of this vitamin from your diet alone, as rich natural sources are rare. For these reasons, it’s common for people to not get enough. Consequently many food manufacturers add it to their products, especially milk, margarine and breakfast cereals. Supplements are also popular.  Also, it seems that doctors prescribe it a lot for old people. 
     Vitamin D is unique because your skin actually produces it by using sunlight. Fair-skinned individuals and those who are younger convert sunshine into vitamin D far better than those who are darker-skinned and over age 50.
     Vitamin D is needed to keep your body functioning well, but it’s bad to get too much. Vitamin D toxicity, also called hypervitaminosis D, is a rare but potentially serious condition that occurs when you have excessive amounts of vitamin D in your body. 
     The condition is usually caused by megadoses of vitamin D supplements and not by diet or sun exposure. That's because your body regulates the amount of vitamin D produced by sun exposure, and even fortified foods don't contain large amounts of vitamin D. 60,000 international units (IU) a day, many times higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for most adults of 600 IU, for several months has been shown to cause toxicity. The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Symptoms might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones. 
     Vitamin D helps with strong bones and may help prevent some cancers. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include muscle weakness, pain, fatigue and depression. Some of its functions are: 
# Keeps bones strong. You need vitamin D so that calcium and phosphorus can be used to build bones. 
# Absorbing calcium. Calcium helps build bones and keep them strong and healthy. Weak bones can lead to osteoporosis, the loss of bone density, which can lead to fractures. 
# Works with parathyroid glands: The parathyroid glands work to balance the calcium in the blood by communicating with the kidneys, gut and skeleton. When there is sufficient calcium in the diet and sufficient active Vitamin D, dietary calcium is absorbed. If calcium intake is insufficient, or vitamin D is low, the parathyroid glands will ‘borrow’ calcium from the bones in order to keep the blood calcium in the normal range. 

     Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that's related to changes in seasons, may be due to changing levels of vitamin D3, which may affect serotonin levels in the brain. 
     Although vitamin D supplementation may improve mood, vitamin D is only a small, but critical, part of treatment; depression has myriad causes. Low blood levels of vitamin D are linked to more signs of depression, but depression can have many causes and a Vitamin D problem may be only one. The research is still unclear on whether vitamin D will help prevent or ease the problem. 
     Getting enough vitamin D may also play a role in protecting against the following conditions and possibly helping to treat them: 
# Heart disease and high blood pressure 
# Diabetes # Infections and immune system disorders 
# Falls in older people 
# Some types of cancer, such as colon, prostate and breast cancers 
# Multiple sclerosis

     The amount of vitamin D that your skin makes depends on such factors as: 
# The season: This factor depends on where you live. In areas such as Cleveland, Ohio or Buffalo, New York, the UV-B light does not reach the earth for six months out of the year due to the ozone layer and the zenith of the sun.
# The time of day: The sun's rays are most powerful between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 
# The amount of cloud cover and air pollution
# Where you live: Cities near the equator have higher ultraviolet (UV) light levels. It is the UV-B light in sunlight that causes your skin to make vitamin D. 
# The melanin content of your skin: Melanin is a brown-black pigment in the eyes, hair and skin. Melanin causes skin to tan. The darker your skin, the more sun exposure is needed in order to get sufficient vitamin D from the sun. 

Medical News Today -  What are the health benefits of Vitamin D?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Pro Football

     The NFL made quick work of disciplining the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers when both teams were hit with a $250,000 fine for the brawl that erupted with eight seconds to play in the game on 11-14. Of course for pro football teams a quarter of a million dollars is chump change, but at least it's a gesture. 
     Cleveland’s defensive end Myles Garrett ripped the helmet off Steelers' quarterback Mason Rudolph and beat him over the head with it, sparking a brawl that descended into chaos as players from both sides spilled onto the field. It was claimed that Garrett could have killed Rudolph...what if he'd hit in him the temple? 
     Pittsburgh's Maurkice Pouncey punched Garrett and kicked him in the head after Garrett had been thrown to the ground and was being held down. 

     The NFL suspended Garrett indefinitely (at least for the rest of the season, including any playoff games). Pouncey was suspended three games and Cleveland's Larry Ogunjobi, who pushed the quarterback from behind, was suspended one game. 
     Pouncey is considered a “hero” for defending his teammate. I am not sure how kicking somebody in the head after they have been wrestled to the ground and are being held down if defending somebody. If the police had done it, it would be considered police brutality. 
     Naturally, nobody involved thinks they did anything wrong and they are all appealing their punishment. 
     I don’t watch professional football. While it’s true the arrest rate among the 1,700 NFL players is lower than the national average, the average days between arrests for NFL players is 7 days and the top reasons for arrests are DUI, drugs, domestic violence, assault and disorderly conduct. They are not nice people. 
    The main objection I have is their childish behavior. Any “accomplishment”, a tackle, a touchdown, and intercepted pass, anything is cause for a stupid dance, chest bump or other immature behavior you would expect to see from a six year old. 
     I suspect a lot of this is the result of early chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disorder caused by repeated head injuries. CTE is most often found in athletes who have experienced repeated head injuries, such as former boxers, hockey players, and football players. The changes progress and worsen over time, and may not be noticed for months, years, or decades. Common symptoms include memory loss, impaired judgment, aggression, and depression. Some of former athletes have committed suicide or murder.  
     Watching over-paid boys who can’t control their emotions and who off field have been guilty of such things as abusing women, abusing animals, starting fights, drinking, carrying guns and using drugs is not something that interests me. 
     But that's just me. Every society has had a high tolerance for brutality in sports...the ancient Romans and their gladiators, throwing Christians to the lions, Elizabethan England's bear baiting, dog fights and gladiatorial combat involving chimps, etc, Spanish bullfighting are just a few examples.  Viewed historically pro football isn't all that bad I guess.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Recommended Shampoo

     Earlier this summer while trimming hedges I inadvertently got into poison oak and the rash showed up on my arms and...my scalp! Apparently I had taken my cap off and run my hands through my hair. In any case, dealing with the rash on my arms was no problem as Calamine Lotion worked very effectively. 
     It’s interesting that in a 1992 press release, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that no proof had been submitted showing calamine to be effective in treating the irritation of insect bites or stings, or the rashes from poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. 
     But then in a September 2, 2008 document, the US Food and Drug Administration recommended applying some topical over-the-counter skin products, such as calamine, to absorb the weeping of the skin caused by poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. For relieving the pain or itching caused by these plants, the same document recommends a cold water compress and cortical steroids. 
     If that seems odd, it shouldn’t. The FDA is crooked as a dog’s hind leg. Some of the FDA’s own scientists have charged that politics, not science, is behind the FDA’s actions. 
     One of the most controversial questions that has consistently plagued the FDA is related to its approval process. Considering some of the ads for medicines seen on television with their long list of side effects (one I saw even admitted in the fine print that its success rate was only one in four!) I would not trust the FDA. 
     In fact, one physician I know will not prescribe any new drug until it’s been on the market for two years because he wants to see what they aren’t telling him about it. 
     As for Calamine Lotion, my dad worked on the railroad all his life and he got into poison ivy at least once a year and his go-to treatment was Calamine Lotion. The FDA aside, it works. 
     Unfortunately, you can’t put Calamine Lotion in your hair, so the only solution was to wait for it to clear up on its own. It did, but another problem developed that plagued me for 2-3 months...hard bumps on the back of my head that wouldn’t go away and itched like crazy. A dermatologist recommended a topical steroid to be applied one or two times a day. It helped a tad with the itching, but that’s all.     
     Then I bought some Neutrogena T/Sal Scalp Therapeutic Shampoo that cost almost nothing...$6.00 a bottle. It contains 3 percent salicylic acid and the bottle said it’s good to get rid of dandruff, psoriasis and it’s an anti-seborrheic, so what could it hurt to try it? 
     Recommended use is twice a week and I really didn’t expect to see immediate results, but there was a noticeable improvement with the first use as the itching was less. After about a week there was almost no itching and the bumps were fewer and smaller. After a month, the bumps were gone. Good stuff!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Lead Belly

Huddie William Ledbetter (stage name Lead Belly) was a folk and blues singer, musician and songwriter notable for his strong vocals, virtuosity on the twelve-string guitar. He was born January 20, 1888 in Mooringsport, Louisiana and died December 6, 1949 in Bellevue Hospital Center, New York, NY. 
Lead Belly is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Something is wrong

     I saw a meme on Face book that was interesting. It was about 16-year-old Greta Thunberg and 25-year-old Boyan Slat, neither of whom I ever heard of.
     Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old loudmouth described as a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Googling her name showed 107 million results. 
     She first became known for her activism in August 2018 when, at age 15, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying "School strike for the climate". Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one million students each. 
     Thunberg is known for her blunt, straightforward speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. 
     At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat. 
      She has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and has been named as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 by Time magazine. 
     Thunberg was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize which was ultimately awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. Googling his name gets only 3.8 million results. 

     The Ethiopian Prime Minister was awarded the prize for his efforts to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea. It was a monumental achievement ending a 20-year military stalemate, but his sweeping reforms have also been instrumental in transforming years of armed conflict within Ethiopia.
     Interesting. A loud-mouthed 16-year old who can offer no solutions, only criticisms and complaints, gets more media coverage and creates greater interest than Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali who actually accomplished something. At least the Nobel Prize people got it right. 
     As for 25-year-old Boyan Slat, Googling his name only shows about 612,000 results. Slat is a Dutch inventor and entrepreneur. A former aerospace engineering student, he is the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. 
     He has been doing engineering projects and building things since he was two years old. He set a Guinness World Record by launching 213 water rockets simultaneously when he was 12. 
     Back in 2011, at age 16, Slat came across more plastic than fish while diving in Greece. He decided to devote a high school project for deeper investigation into ocean plastic solution and why it was considered impossible to clean up. 
     He later came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the circulating ocean currents to his advantage, which he presented at a talk in Delft in 2012. 
     Slat discontinued his aerospace engineering studies to devote his time to developing his idea and in 2013 founded The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization of which he is now the CEO. The group's mission is to develop advanced technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic. 
     The point is, as a teenager Slat, instead of just shooting off his mouth, actually went out and did something about a problem that concerned him. But, he got nowhere the media attention that Thunberg is getting. Also, the the fact that she gets more attention than Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali indicates that something is wrong.

Monday, November 4, 2019

An Amazing NASA Site


     The mission of Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet is to provide the public with accurate and timely news and information about Earth’s changing climate, along with current data and visualizations, presented from the unique perspective of NASA, one of the world’s leading climate research agencies. 

A few of the sections are...
* Satellites Now-NASA has more than two dozen missions that study Earth science. Tap on a satellite to view its 3D model 
* Visible Earth-How the Earth appeared from space the previous day 
* Air Temperature, Carbon Dioxide , Carbon Monoxide, Sea Level, Soil Moisture, Ozone, Water Vapor 
* Gravity Field Facts
* Articles
* Explore
* Resources
* NASA Science

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Chum Bait On Yahoo

     In fishing chum bait is fish parts, bone and blood, which attract other fish, particularly sharks owing to their keen sense of smell. The first phrase coined for chum was "offal", meaning rejected or wasted parts of killed animals including their internal organs. 
     Internet sites use something called “chum boxes” to attract readers. Groups add chum box modules to internet sites for free, with just a few lines of code, and start making money immediately from the traffic they deliver to paying partners. 
     The old time banner ads have dismal click rate of around one-tenth of a percent, but chum box ads rake in millions of dollars. Every time you sign on to Yahoo there are tons of news stories, fake and otherwise. And, many of the so called news stories are in reality chum box advertisements. 
     Chum boxes contain “sponsored content” or “suggested reading.” They’re generated by a variety of companies, but the largest two are Taboola and Outbrain, both founded in Israel. 
     They get you to clicking with stuff like sex (e.g., hot singles in your area, “your area” determined using your IP address), some shocking and/or drastic changes in your city’s government (again, determined by your IP address), celebrity “news”, miracle cures, weight loss, finances, slide shows, junk objects like tine hearing aids, etc. etc. 
     One such story that always draws a chuckle is the gut doctor that is begging Americans to throw out “this vegetable” now! This news is accompanied by a different image nearly every time, a hand chopping up what appears to be green apples, a petri dish with a worm in it, gut bacteria giving off electricity, inside of a lotus root, illustrated rendering of roundworms, etc. 
     The gut doctor’s chum box contains what’s known as hidden content...you are redirected someplace totally unexpected, a website unrelated in any obvious way to what you originally clicked, and lead you on a wild goose chase between loosely connected sites that are also littered with ads. 
     What’s the vegetable this elusive top U.S. gut doctor is begging Americans to throw out? The doctor it would seem is Dr. Vincent Pedre, “a Certified Medical Doctor, a Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner, and Chief Wellness Officer at United Naturals.” He takes an holistic approach to medicine. 
     United Naturals is dedicated to providing “lasting relief from bloat and other embarrassing digestive issues,” in the form of probiotic capsules called Synbiotic 365 ($45 per box or $229 for six boxes). United Naturals also sells a collagen powder dietary supplement called ActivMotion for $45 a pouch, and offers a testimonial from a customer who says it cured their depression. There is no information here about vegetables. 
     However, this is not Dr. Pedre’s only website. His Integrative Health site has lots of information about weight loss and bowel movements and HappyGutLife.com sells a 28-Day Happy Gut Cleanse Kit for $399 which has been marked down from $499. 
     In January 2016, the New York Times interviewed Dr. Pedre. He stressed the value of vegetables, but never said that there is one vegetable that is literally poison and should be banished. 
     In July 2018, Dr. Pedre told Microsoft’s news there are five foods he would never eat again: cereal, milk, coffee, sandwiches, and pasta. Sandwiches make him “super sleepy.” 
     There is also a Facebook group for Happy Gut Cleanse that features Dr. Pedre where he conducts polls, asking his followers if they would buy one-page gut health advice sheets for $7 to $9 a page, and what advice they would like specifically. 
     He also shares links about why children in the Mediterranean region have the “highest rates of severe childhood obesity” and about “The Bacteria You’ve Never Heard of That Promotes Weight Loss” and other such foolishness. 
     Foods you should eat include kimchi, asparagus, broccoli, dark chocolate, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, mangoes, onions, pickles, and sauerkraut and cabbage. 
     Foods you should not eat had no vegetables on it. Just whole grains that contain gluten, soy products like miso, yogurt and also all dairy and GMO foods. Corn is apparently bad...maybe even the food you should never eat again. Who knows for sure?