talon: (Default)
( May. 10th, 2011 08:55 am)

If you want to get up before sunrise (or haven't gone to bed yet), Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Mars will be visible without magnifying devices. Uranus and Neptune will be visible with binoculars or a small telescope.

This is the alignment that is presumably predicted for the End Of The World, either May 21, 2012 or December 21, 2012.

According to astronomers, this alignment of planets will not be made at any point next year.

Does this mean the end of the world is upon us right this minute?

Hardly.

So, what does this mean?

Only that these planets appear to be aligned when viewed from Earth. They aren't really aligned at all, not like 1979, when Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune actually were aligned. NASA took stupendous advantage of that knowledge and built and sent out Voyagers 1 and 2, which provided us with a trove of data that has yet to be duplicated.

Were these planets actually aligned, it would have presented us with another such grand opportunity, but, alas, they aren't.

It's all illusion, just as the end of the world prediction predicated upon this alignment is just illusion.

talon: (Default)
( May. 10th, 2011 09:36 am)

I do still want this book: Modernist Cuisine," by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Billet (The Cooking Lab, 2011; 2,438 pages in six volumes; $625, but the price is well out of my reach. I can only hope to find it someday in a garage sale or flea market, or perhaps an estate sale where the family knows nothing of the value of this set of books.

Or perhaps I will find them at a Friends of the Library Sale, one volume at a time, as I've collected other series of cookbooks.

But it will be a few years before that happens.

talon: (Default)
( May. 10th, 2011 12:35 pm)

I have no idea who wrote this (no link!), but it is worth sharing and if I do learn who wrote it, I will edit this post to reflect that.

It appeared as a quote in a DKOS Cheers and Jeers diary.

GOP Bill Targets Children, Goobers
WASHINGTON---In a move that has enraged childrens groups and their supporters, House Republicans plan to introduce legislation that, if passed, would literally allow lawmakers to take candy from a baby.
The Juvenile Confection Freedom Enhancement Act would allow members of Congress to legally confiscate Tootsie Pops, Runts, Milk Duds, holiday candy, Everlasting Gobstoppers, Skittles, Razzles and other sweets that would appear on a new federal Yummy Watch List.
House Speaker John Boehner made the announcement yesterday. "We're bored to death talking about jobs, and we're not making much headway separating seniors from their Medicare," he said. "But it's pretty hard to screw up taking a lollipop from a two-year-old."
The law would apply to all children up to age four, Boehner said, with exemptions for certain older children. "If a youngster appears capable of fighting back, either alone or by assembling a posse of pals brandishing dodgeballs, we'll look the other way out of self-preservation," he said. When asked what he would do with the confiscated candy, Boehner said he intended to store it on a really high shelf in his office.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the primary author of the bill, said it was originally targeted at keeping candy out of the hands of so-called "terror babies."<http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/08/rep-louie-gohmerts-terror-baby-meltdown> As more co-sponsors signed on---224 so far---the parameters changed, he said. "Walking up to a child and seizing his candy dovetails nicely with the spirit of our party. If we can't take health care away from old people, we'll take Heath Bars away from kids. It produces the same kind of endorphin rush, anyway."
The current draft contains exemptions for children of Republican members of Congress and the unborn. "But once the umbilical cord's cut, the Kool-Aid in their sippy cups is fair game," said co-sponsor Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
The response from juvenile advocacy groups was swift and fierce. "They'll have to pry these Sour Patch Kids from my warm, soft, tiny and adorable child hands," said Wendell Petersmith, 4, of the Center for American Num Nums.
"Just wait until we become eligible to vote," added Natalie Woolich, 6, of the advocacy group Candyless Grocery Store Checkout Counters NO! "In a dozen years, their days in office will be numbered."
A vote in the House is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. If approved, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid plans to send the bill on a path of gumdrops to the Senate floor for a vote. "I look forward to letting America see just which Republicans are willing to lay a finger on our childrens' Butterfingers," he said.
President Obama has promised to veto the legislation if the Juvenile Confection Freedom Enhancement Act reaches his desk. He had no immediate comment, as his mouth was full of Raisinettes.

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