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The Grand Canyon with random-colored background

Picture Perfect Postcard of Erosion from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
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Nature and Science



Any change in the weather?

We know the World depends on precision weather data and information, as lives count on it.  When the snow is piled so high you cannot even open your front door, you look first to Other Letter, to get those forecasts for your tiny hamlet of Paducahville, U.S. of A.

You know by now our government-contracted, humanitarian mission at Other Letter is to save lives.  Think of us as you would the Red Cross, always here, and on the ready, to save your life in emergencies.  Such massive responsibilities make us humble, but we gladly assume them, because this is the kind of people we are at OL: humble life-savers.

Although these links are biased towards Long Island, these sites can easily be adjusted for Paducahville (assuming your Paducahville is in America, or at least, English speaking).  Without further ado:

  1. If you want to know where lightning struck in your town the last minute, or an hour ago, this site has the info.  The speaker toggle generates an audio click of every bolt of lightning from your local storm that hits the ground.  How this works is this organization has millions upon millions of volunteers on the ground reporting lightning day and night — that, and they use reporting antenna stations.  Here is a second one that does much the same as the first, with emphasis on global reporting.
  2. If you are going stargazing, you will need a clear skies predictor.  For some unknown reason, the Canadian Meteorological Center is the only data provider for North America.  Here is the one local to Half Hollow Hills on Long Island.  They all use a 24-hour, military-style clock.  For seeing, darkness, transparency, and cloud cover, the darkest blue represents the best viewing conditions, and white the worst.
  3. For Long Island weather data, let’s start with Other Letter’s Half Hollow Hills weather station, crossroads of America.  The Weather Underground can be set to work for Paducahville, just tinker with it for a few minutes, or hire that neighborhood kid who somehow knows your Amazon password.

  4. Here’s local radar resolvable to your town.  Click and drag diagonally to zoom in to your neighborhood; and select a heading to find many, major English speaking locales.  Click “Rain/Snow” beneath the map to know who’s getting snow...  If you live in the tri-State New York region, or you are traveling here, this is high-definitition radar for this area, while here we have ‘stitched’ radar with a greater mile range.

  5. National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the most accurate weather forecast you will find, because if this country ever needs to send troops into battle, they need to know travel conditions.  For local weather, just enter your zip code.

  6. A map of the forecasted snow bands from NOAA.  Don’t leave home without it, or don’t leave home, period, you decide.

  7. Snow cover of the United States and parts of Canada, for the cross-country skiers in our ranks, and those who just love to look at snow — we know you’re out there somewhere.  As of 5/13/17, there is still snow cover just North of Quebec City, and in parts of the Rocky Mountains.


Out of this World

This afternoon was the long-awaited, spectacular eclipse in the U.S. of A.  Out on Long Island, with the sun blocked, the temperature dropped six degrees between 1:30PM and 3PM (on average, it starts dropping near 4PM).  As we approached 70% of totality here, the birds and crickets started chirping as well.  While it would have been nice to also see midday stars, like they did in places such as Nashville, Oregon, and Charleston, maybe next go round in 2024, we’ll see them.

What is especially eerie is the fact that the moon just fits over the sun, the moon is neither too big nor too small to cover the solar system’s star.  Is this a property of physics, where the gravitational forces between the Sun and Earth position the moon’s orbit to where it entirely blocks all of the Sun’s rays, yet nothing more?  8/21/17.

On August the Twelfth near midnight, the Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak.  The showers will be seen originating from the North-Northeast, out of the Perseus constellation, a third of the way starting from the horizon to directly overhead.  Because the moon will be three-quarters full, it will make it a little more difficult to see the shooting stars, but not nearly so difficult as to obscure the display.  Meteors in this shower are a result of the Earth passing through the path of the Comet Swift-Tuttle.  Because this is how the meteors are generated, the showers will also be viewable from July 17th to August 24th, especially in locations with little light pollution (if you live on a farm that doesn’t night harvest, you are in luck).  7/22/17.

I will make this quick.  Go to Stellarium.org (a non-profit), and download their free planetarium software.  There are no two ways about this, you download this now.  Your parents and/or spouse won’t disown you, they’ll give you a gold medal.  It is free, and it is extremely powerful.  7/22/17.

The first, total solar eclipse in the States in over eighteen years will appear on the twenty-first of August from the one to two o’clock hours (2:45 P.M. on Central Long Island when totality is over Columbia, South Carolina).  There will be temporary, yet complete, darkness along the swath of the shadow that the moon will be casting.  Those from Oregon to South Carolina properly equipped with dedicated, eclipse goggles will see the eclipse in totality, and they should be able to see the stars of the night sky in the middle of the afternoon.  We’ll be hoping for clear (but obviously not sunny) skies that day.  6/27/17.


Weather Logged

At the end of summer, there is most often a few hours in a single day that signifies the end of the warmer, summer weather.  It is as if summer is resigning once more to autumn.  Yesterday, we probably received that change in the weather.  In a 15 hour span the temperature dropped 26 degrees.  If you wanted to get in some time swimming in the ocean or a lake, I hope you got it in already.  9/01/17.

The 0.87 inches of rain today was the first significant soaking on Long Island in two weeks. June the 24th had 2.37 inches and June 19th had 2.10 inches. This staves off watering your lawn for at least a week.  By the way, Long Island receives, on average, one inch of rain each week.  7/07/17.

In forty minutes this evening, one and two-thirds inches of rain fell.  Warm, humid air heading up the Eastern Seaboard met with a cold front from the West, and this caused very unusual amounts of rain as well as lightning strikes.  To give an idea of the severity associated with this rainstorm, a typical Long Island soaking might drop a half inch of rain over its entire duration.  6/19/17.

With inclement weather nearing, I was wondering why the barometer was holding steady today.  Well, at this point, it’s falling.  An inch or two of rain is expected within the next two days.  A single barometer reading of 29.99 inches or lower of air pressure is significant, but the best indicator of bad weather, outside of satellite imagery, is falling pressure.

Strong winds also indicate bad weather, but from a physics perspective, they only represent pressure differentials, either a gradient of rising, strong high pressure, bringing good weather, or significant low pressure, which predicates stormy conditions.  If you do not believe me, ask your local meteorologist.  I’ll wait...  5/04/17.

The near-Spring Blizzard of 2017 was no blizzard, it was a non-event on Long Island; and I had a feeling early on that the fine men and women of meteorology had missed the call.  As of 4:38PM prior to the big event, I could see on my weather station that it was 37.9 degrees, hardly enough for concerted snowfall eight hours distant.  If all the weather bureaus knew of my acumen, millions of dollars would have been saved in compensatory time for a mostly pointless snow day.  Master Trump will soon get nasty for the loss of his tax levies, but don’t accuse my person.  (We’re talking weather, a prime occasion to go high-brow and have a take on Charles Dickens.)  3/14/17.

Northerly winds bring in, or transport, cold, dryer air from the North; Southerly winds bring in the South’s warm, more humid air; strong Easterly winds on the East Coast of the United States, pull in moist, moderating, and humid ocean air.  A nor’easter is a cyclone with a double barrel of devastation.  That storm type has the North’s cold air, and the warmer moisture from the Atlantic Ocean in the East.

So if you know which way the wind blows with a weather vane, and how fast or turbulent it is getting here with an anemometer, that tells you much about the type of weather heading your way.  1/14/17.

Dew point is the temperature at which the outdoor air’s moisture condenses.  It indicates how humid the air is, and how much it needs to cool to precipitate.  In winter, the gap between dew point, and the air temperature shows the potential for significant snow.  The narrower of a difference, the more snow can fall.  Five degrees is narrow, twenty degrees is likely not enough for significant precipitation.  (This is per Nick Gregory, New York’s channel 5 meteorologist.)  1/14/17.
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This Year’s Mbeizzler Medallion Recipient

“Thanks for making me this year’s Mbeizzler Medallion Recipient, for my original work in astrophysics at Cornwall’s Taurus University.  I’ll explain a little bit about my winning thesis, The Universe is a 3-D Pinball Machine.  And by the way this is not pie-in-the-sky, these are rock-solid, verifiable, useful discoveries.

“What we have here is only partially derivative of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, but it improves on it greatly in giving causality and tactility to bodies in n-dimensional space.  I see we’re running out of time.  Essentially, planets collide and stars explode randomly and objects move in all directions, up and down, back and forth, round and round, in three dimensions, sometimes four (but don’t count on any fourth dimension), naturally aligning in disks.

“There was no Big Bang, the Universe is not bounded, it’s just this 3-D Pinball Machine fed with Mendelsohn Inertia, velocity reversals, and alternate, parallel universe shim-shams.  Yet no black matter, gray matter, neutrinos, none of that mumbo jumbo, obfuscation job security — just planetary pinball, because after all, we’re only talking about interstellar, inorganic, non-governed, rocks and dust.  Our rocks and dust, are Alpha Centauri’s rocks and dust, which are no different from what is found on visiting intergalactic asteroids.

“Once you get beyond a certain point in the Dark Sciences, no peer review is ever possible.  I become the sole arbiter of Creation’s design.  In light of, and to enhance, this new role of mine, we are now submitting a grant proposal for our new, 3-D Pinball Universe Department, with backing faculty and study center.

“Thank you, thank you to the British Academy for Astrophysicists for their faith in my work, now if we could just get the American, French, and German sister Academies on board as well.  My wife, Constantina, my kids who will be hopping across the pond: Boris who has applied at Harvard — this will get you in, Boris — and my beautiful Chechnya — Chechnya, Princeton’s doors will be open wide now, Chechnya, look at her glow.  Chechnya won the Mbeizzler Junior League Medallion, kinda runs in the family, but I digress...

“Thank you for my Chair, Vladimir Karensky, for your hours and hours of original work deciphering all those double-negative chromographs, then handing over this franchise to me when you knew it was time to move on, and let someone younger carry the torch, and ride the Taurus gravy train of science.  Vladimir, why don’t you stand and take a bow for a second?  Vladimir Karensky, everyone, my partner in crime.  I will serve Taurus well, Vladimir.  Chechnya, I’ll introduce you to Vladimir’s son after our program is done...

“And thanks most of all to my wife, Constantina, who told me I was just as good as anyone else playing this game, and that it’s just that, a game.  One played the way the players decide it should be played.  She said that once I understood that, we’d both be living in Oak Bay Estates, and she was right — oh, okay, lights up?  Good night.”
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Harvard is an easy A  9/14/17.  To be accepted into Harvard one must ostensibly be super-bright (or belong to every club in existence at their high school); but is getting admitted the hardest part about attending this university? The cumulative grade point average for a Harvard undergraduate senior is a 3.65, very close to a 3.67, or almost exactly an A-minus.  Harvard sure sounds like an easy A.  Once you get in, your cares are over, and you are set for life with all the prestige of a Harvard sheepskin.

Even more comical, or tragic, depending on how you want to look at it, is that the student body knows this, yet won’t think of this as grade inflation.  Only 28% believe there is actually grade inflation at Harvard.  On the basis of these grade evaluations, the leaders in every field, business, science, medicine, government, and finance, have been coasting since they were eighteen years of age.  This doesn’t even include those who are in Harvard because of the family fortune, yet not because of real academic excellence in high school.

Those benefiting from grade inflation would say that these are all super-geniuses, and they deserve A minuses.  Then why are they all getting the same grades, and why is this grade near the best grade possible?  In any statistical sample there will always be those outside the mean, or the average.  There should be a significant population of Harvard students who are smarter, or dumber, and harder-working, or lazier, than the average Harvard student, and these are not at all in evidence.  Perhaps a new term needs to be coined, “the Harvard, easy-A clone.”

The motto greeting new students at Harvard is “Veritas,” or truth.  Harvard’s motto instead should read “Welcome to country club living...”
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The Networked Rooms Model of Memory and Consciousness

Memory, and perhaps even consciousness, can be considered a traversal of unique, related, and networked rooms where each contains related and grouped words, thoughts, ideas, images, or senses.  The tree-like linkage — from rough recollection to detailed refinement — is based on prior associations, or denominators, between the rooms and what is contained within them.  To jog one’s memory, one browses the rooms known to be near in logical proximity where the memory might first have been placed.

For instance, at this point, if memory serves me, an example is generally provided.  I do not find a ready one, so by rote I know to consider the consequences for incompleteness.  While there are none, out of good graces I offer this: I think of a paparazzi photo I saw today, and concentrate on the image in the ‘room’ until the celeb’s name pops into my head — the image produced words associated, and also contained, within that ‘room.’

P.s., occasionally ‘stand back,’ and discern the thread your brain used to connect, or chain, between different thoughts.  I just hope though, that trying out this parlour game does not permanently add a layer of processing to your cognitive functioning, then suggest a rating on compliance, as an invasive cult like Scientology does.
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Holiday-bookended Summer versus the Astronomical One

There are two ways to determine when summer is half over, the holiday method, or the astronomical method.  With the former, the midpoint of Memorial and Labor Days is chosen; with the latter, the half way point is between the June 21st, Summer Solstice, and the September 22nd, Autumnal Equinox.

If one chooses the holiday method, July 17th becomes the mid point (September 4th - May 29th = 98 days, half of 98 days is 49 days, May 29th + 49 days is July 17th).  If one chooses the astronomical method though, Summer is half over on today, August 6th (September 22nd - June 21st = 93 days, half of 93 days is 47 days, June 21st + 47 days is August 7th).

The holiday method of defining Summer may have come into its own with the popularity of the season-bookending days off, but it may have also become popular with Global Warming because our Summer is starting earlier temperature-wise, yet not astronomically and traditionally.

Regardless of method selected, please bear in mind, folks, that Labor Day is the last day of the year that it is still fashionable for those in High Society to wear white or seersucker.
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Equinox and Lunar Eclipse, get your Program here.  9/20/15.  The Autumnal Equinox, or the beginning of Autumn, occurs on Wednesday, September 22nd of this year.  On this date, every place on earth will have equal daytime and nighttime, because the Earth’s axis of rotation points parallel to the Sun.  The next time that this occurs is the beginning of Spring, or the Vernal Equinox, on March 20th, 2017.

There are many more lunar eclipses then solar eclipses.  This is in part because the Earth is bigger than the Moon, so it casts a greater shadow.  During total solar eclipses, the moon’s shadow blocks light to Earth, and the earth goes dark during the daytime.  In Biblical times, its cause baffled and frightened all except the astronomers and their patrons, so eclipses were seen as the sign of an angry God.
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New York to London by Car

Wouldn’t it be great to some day pack up the sedan and travel around the world?  This is not as far-fetched as it may seem.  The main impediment is the Bering Straight dividing Alaska from Russia.  Averaging twenty degrees colder than New York City, the Straight is a sheet of ice in winter.  In the summer though, it could be a ferry route.

Mouse over for neon nightlife

Old World charm of Europe

The Old World charm of Europe,
see it like a local
(but not in an antique Lada)

A summer-only road, or auto on rail route, joining Fairbanks, Alaska and the Bering Straight would need to be constructed.  On the other side of the International Date Line, in Eastern Russia, a new highway would complete necessary construction.  It would connect the Bering Straight to the North Pacific’s Sea of Okhotsk.  After arriving at the town of Magadan by the same Sea of Okhotsk, car travel can proceed along the fully graded Trans-Siberian Highway (slated to be fully paved this year).  This will transport travelers to Europe, Pacific to Atlantic, and no further construction is required.

A circumferential highway would be a great idea in many ways.  It would increase the tourism, and thus better the economy, of those that have never seen a Yankee.  Every society on Earth would have greater appreciation and understanding of every other society.  Instead of traveling to Vegas or Atlantic City, bus tourists could get first-hand experience with another culture, another way of life.

The road would connect all the peoples on our earth, it would be a common thread of every man.  Asians and Europeans could drive to Quebec, California and Acapulco; Americans could drive to Tokyo, Saint Petersburg, Stockholm, and Paris.  Take the ultimate road trip, the vacation of a lifetime, one around the globe.

And if you’re wondering how you’ll get across the English Channel in a car; auto-carrying trains leave every two hours for the 35 minute ride.


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Cheap petrol rapes Mother Nature...

That lead-in must have grabbed your attention.  Here’s what it means ...

When gas gets more expensive, people adjust their driving habits, buy less gas, and use their car less.  This was definitely true during the summer of 2008’s, gas price surge as weekly purchases dropped more than five percent year to year.  What most do not realize is that when they use their car less, they are also releasing less greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.  The net effect is that this lessens global warming.

There is anecdotal evidence to support this correlation as well.  Many noticed that Long Island’s summer of 2008, with its outrageously high gas prices, was a welcome, mild one, without a single, long heat wave.  A few months later, Long Islanders had an anachronously frosty winter.  Alaska had an extremely frigid three weeks in the same winter of 2008-2009, with temperatures as cold as -80° Fahrenheit.  And that winter paradise, England, had eight inches of snow February of 2009, the most in 18 years.  The following New York summer, the one of 2009, was again mild and without a single heat wave.  Further evidence, the coldest New York State temperature, -52°F in Herkimer County, was recorded in 1979, months after the OPEC energy crisis began.

It is not even necessary to prove the correlation between temperature and oil’s price, it is proved by definition.  Green house gases like car emissions raise air temperature.  The price of petroleum increases, following a simple demand schedule, people use less petroleum; less green house gas is emitted, air temperature cools.

Determining the quantitative extent of the temperature change and how long it lasts, calculating how much temperature change lags gasoline price change, and gauging how this plays out regionally, are different matters.  Since motor vehicles are a principal polluter though, any factor reducing their usage is sure to significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions, and thus have a direct effect on temperature.


sign for expensive gas

Take comfort, this helps the environment

This does not mean we should put a crimp in petroleum demand by price gouging the motorist, leaving many of them to decide between buying gas or employing pedal power.  OPEC and Exxon Mobil have no right to piles of our hard earned cash regardless of what the New York Mercantile Exchange dictates.

Instead lightly tax gas purchases and use the proceeds to put cities, towns, and neighborhoods on an even footing.  Have the outer boroughs look like Manhattan, do beautiful things with the money.

This also holds true for drops in petroleum demand not keyed to the price of oil.  Any falloff in economic activity would have the same chilling effect on global warming.  Lowered economic output means less use of fossil fuels, either in transportation, manufacturing plants, or shopping destinations.

By the way, why am I paying 55 percent less for gas now than I did in August ’08?  Did they hit the mother lode in Alaska?  The Mayor of Alaska did not mention this in her bid for the Presidency.  Sorry for the break in tone there, Sarah Palin will do that.

Meteorology Economics  11/25/09.  It was only fourteen months ago that Hank Paulson, Bush’ Treasury Secretary, unexpectedly asked for, then received, $700 billion from Congress to buy up Wall Street’s under-performing assets.  Along with the stranglehold on credit, this vote of no confidence helped to pull the emergency brake on the economy, and the U.S. is now getting an unusually early and cold winter.

Winters from Back in the Day  2/12/10.  With further evidence of the economic activity-weather interconnection, the Southern United States is getting socked in with record cold and snow, right in tune with an inherited, sputtering economy.  It is not too difficult to see the interplay of commerce, fossil fuel consumption, and climate.

Is the Weather Channel perfect?  3/05/10.  The Weather Channel claims our unusual weather is the result of 2010 being an El Niño year, with a set of associated regional weather patterns.  The El Niño hundred-year weather model though, only predicts average precipitation and temperature in an El Niño year for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States.  In spite of this, that is where a lot of this year’s atypical weather occurred.

For winter months here in Downstate New York, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) El Niño model forecasted weather close to the norm, meanwhile Central Park had an all-time record for February snowfall accumulation.

Petroleum usage varies with the economy’s performance.  So global warming, being a consequence of petroleum usage, can be a product of the economy as well.  Thus, a downturn in the economy precipitates a drop in the mercury.  Today’s representations overlook this economy-climate relationship.
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The Economy’s Chilling Effect on Weather in Britain  11/27/10.  Unusually expensive gas and an unresponsive economy spell lower temperatures, this time in London and the rest of Great Britain.  The British Isles, even though they lie on the path of the Gulf Stream, had close to a half foot of snow this weekend.  Britons last had November snow in 1993.  William Hill, English gambling parlour operator, lowered their odds from 16/1 to 10/1 on bets this winter would be England’s coldest ever, with a White Christmas now paying six to one.
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The Tanked Economy and a White Halloween  10/28/11.  This weekend’s snowy weather is additional, cold hard evidence for Other Letter’s theory connecting the weather and the economy.  Because of a very stubborn economic recovery, less greenhouse gas is produced from lowered petroleum consumption in transportation, manufacturing, and consumer sectors.  For the New York City region, the consequence is lower temperatures, and snow before Halloween.

Makes one wonder though what is with this economy.  True, Congress is deadlocked, but recessions have lifted with divided branches of government.  And one would think that the brightest, most experienced economic minds in the world could kick start this engine of commerce.

I wonder if there has been a withholding of major, long-term purchases by consumers and businesses who possess a racist bent.  Their rationalization is that they will spend freely once they feel they have someone in the White House that gives them their requisite feeling of “confidence.”  That would be someone of their own kind, someone pale-skinned.
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Other Letter Decides the Weather  6/27/15.  Here’s an interesting scientific fact, Other Letter decides the weather.  OL is trending towards tens of millions of visitors each and every day, and when they’re reading this, they’re not polluting the atmosphere with planet-warming, greenhouse gas.  Why is this so?  Because they are not driving around in their cars, they are staying at home.  Our readership is greatest in the Northeastern United States, therefore we’re having a gorgeous, almost unseasonably cool summer here.  This is all thanks to your friends at OL.  You’re more than welcome.  We’re glad we could be of service to you.

This might also be caused by TV usage, say by a hot new TV show, but of course, there is no such thing any more.  Even if there was, it would only draw people inside their homes once a week; OL does this all day, every day.  Yes, this is irrefutable and undisputed, hard, cold science, people — OL determines your weather.  In fact, with a more precise audience metric system, stories could be run whose readership is known ahead of time.  Then OL would control when people use their car, and thus, OL may one day control the weather.  That’s right, instead of Obama, Sarkozy, Thatcher, or any of those other Presidents taking the credit for reversing climate change, it would just be me.  So on the next beautiful day, you know who to thank, thank the best blogs on this great Earth, the Other Letter family of blogs.
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...And the rape of Mother Nature began in 1843

1843, or thereabouts, is as exact an estimate as you will find.  This was when Canada’s Athabasca glacier started retreating from historic lengths.  Checking the graphic from the early to mid-1800’s, you’ll see many of the world’s glaciers measured prior to 1900 changed direction right around this time.  The yellow markers on the chart indicate the year that major glaciers started getting smaller, irreversibly so as of yet.

Around the 1840’s, the Industrial Revolution, and man’s use of coal as an energy source – in transportation, factories, and homes – made global warming a reality.  Like the rest of the earth antebellum, industry of the American South must have been building up steam (and at an alarming pace as far as the Union was concerned).  1843, though, that’s about when man’s ability to pollute the environment began to outdo nature’s ability to clean it up.  We may witness the end result; the lush, verdancy of this earth evaporating and going up in smoke, just to become an arid wasteland, home only to domesticated animals (such as ourselves).

There is a report that studies the question of global warming with far greater detail than this does.  It claims global warming started in the 1950s.  That report fails to explain why the world’s glaciers started receding circa 1850 as easily seen here.  The report also has a temperature graph that indicates much of the same — temperature started rising by 1880 at the latest.  I have much difficulty understanding how a report with 53 authors and 3 editors would gloss over evidence that powerful and easy to recognize.  This must be the ivory tower though.  Obfuscation passes for what’s called intelligence; and what’s called intelligence is tightly linked with the size of a professor’s paycheck.


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A Lifetime of Light from a Droplet of Water

Einstein let the world in on the fact that minute amounts of matter could be converted into vast amounts of energy.  Yet what does this mean on a practical basis?  For instance, how much energy does a droplet of water contain?  The question was raised, and the equation was then devised and solved by my father, an engineer.  My sole contribution was asking if the final conversion, to kilogram meters, could be translated further to more familiar terms, kilowatts for instance.  Here is the derivation.

Energy in Mass
E = m c^2

c = 300,000 Km/sec = 300,000,000 velocity of light in meters/sec

c = 300,000,000

c^2 = 9E+16 (meters/sec)^2

f = m * a   is the force required to accelerate a mass, m, at "a" meters per sec per sec (the acceleration being the increase of velocity in one second)

w = m * g   weight equals mass times the earth’s gravitational acceleration constant (gravity, g, differs on different planets)

g = 9.817073171,  the acceleration that the Earth imparts to objects.   Defined as the gravitational constant in meters/sec/sec (velocity increase, or acceleration, per second).

w = v * d   weight equals volume times density

v = (4/3)*(3.141596)*r^3 cu cm    equals the volume of a droplet of water which has a diameter of 1/16 of an inch, that is, a 0.002094789 cu cm droplet

d = 1 gram/cu cm, the density of water

w = v * d  or  0.002094789, weight of water droplet in grams

2.09479E-06   weight of water droplet in kilograms

m = w/g = 2.13382E-07   mass of water droplet in kilogram sec sec per meter

E = m c^2  =  19,204,401,111.95    kilogram sec sec per meter (meters/sec)^2

E = m c^2  =  19,204,401,111.95   kilogram meters (two sec and two meter units cancel)

E = m c^2  =  19,204,401,111.95  *  9.8 newton meters (mass to electrical conversion)

E = m c^2  =  188,203,130,897.07 newton meters or joules (1 watt a second)

1,882,031,309 energy ‘packets’ of 100 joules = ‘packets’ equaling 100 watts for a second (188,203,130,897.07 / 100)

522,786 hours of 100 watt packets (1,882,031,309 sec / (60 sec * 60 min))

21,783 days of 100 watt packets (522,786 hours / 24 hours)

59.7 years of 100 watt packets (21,783 days / 365 days)

The result, a droplet of water has enough energy to power a 100 watt bulb for sixty years.  This can be further converted into a home’s monthly electrical usage.  The same droplet of water will generate six years of kilowatt hours, or enough energy to power a typical 1kw/hour house for six years.  All without any pollution, or possibility of depletion.

Were our energy water-based, we would no longer need to justify the leveling of countries to get our precious fuel for our more precious gas-guzzler.  Almost incomprehensibly, every time it rained, it would be raining free fuel for turbine plants.  One downpour and there would be enough to power cities to perpetuity.


What is worth $10,512?  9/19/12.  If you guessed a droplet of water, you take home our door prize.  A kilowatt hour, or the electricity required to light ten, 100-watt light bulbs for an hour, costs approximately 20 cents.  Based on the calculations above, a droplet of water can supply a kilowatt continuously for six years.  $0.20 times 24 hours, times 365 days, times 6 years, equals $10,512.  Then the value in energy of a droplet of water is, surprisingly enough, $10,512.
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Finding the Phantom Railroad

The maps on a GPS include railroad lines that no longer exist.  If you follow one of those lines in your car you’ll notice out of use trestles, railroad ties, and older buildings that were first there with the railroad.  The only explanation I have for why these spurs are included on a GPS is that they’re U.S. Geological Survey maps and the government assumed railroad lines exist forever; and in this sense, they do.


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Glow Bugs only Glow when They’re Rising

The next evening you notice some fireflies, check the direction that they’re flying when they light up; they’re always flying upward.  This may be because they’re going against gravity, and that is when they’re converting food to motion at the fastest clip.  The by-product of this quickened metabolism for fireflies is light.  As for why fireflies would need its wings to flap with more effort and determination, it may be required on hotter days to fan themselves, on cooler days they disappear.  To think, this light show has been going on for at least tens of thousands of years.


Removing Insects without Pesticides  10/08/12.  Want to cleanly remove bugs or insects from a home, and still respect the ecology?  The following works very well, especially with the autumn crickets in the Northeastern U.S., or when there is no infestation.

Tarantula with a piece of cardboard to slide under it for removal

This is not as difficult as it looks.

Take a plastic see-through cup, and a wider, thin piece of cardboard (on Long Island, a real estate ad works well).  Cover the critter with the cup.  Lift the cup slightly and slowly slide the piece of cardboard under the cup.  Hold the bottom of the cup with your thumb, and the cardboard on top with your other fingers.  If you are using a taller cup, hold the cup in one hand, and hold down the cardboard with the other hand.  Go outside, lift the cardboard, and throw your haul back to nature.

The bug may eventually freeze, but it will not starve, and it will get to live another day where it was intended to live.  Of course you could crush it underfoot, or spray it with insecticides, but by disrupting the ecosystem you lose on two counts — you will have an insect to clean up, and some hungry wildlife like a bird may miss a meal.
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Pea-brained, yet jet flight-equipped?  9/13/13.  If you notice birds escape patterns, they take flight flying upwards.  This must be because groundlings can still catch them when they only fly laterally.  They also know the aerodynamics to fly in any direction, typically in speed-oscillated, arced intervals.  Their tail feathers serve as horizontal stabilizers controlling pitch, that is, flying them higher or lower, as well as slowing and stopping them.  Their wings serve as vertical stabilizers controlling yaw, or left and right travel.  Larger birds, usually birds of prey, can thermal or glide, without noticeable wing motion, circling and covering long distances.

Even very small birds dart in and out of shrubbery at speeds that must approach thirty miles an hour, yet they never bump into anything.  Just as cats and dogs have better night vision than humans, do birds process their visual field at a much faster clip than all others in the Animal Kingdon can?

Yet birds would not seem to have the cranial capacity to support all these levels of aeronautical sophistication.  Then again, they do not need the tremendous cerebral overhead necessary to process the symbolic logic of linguistics and mathematics.


The Tree Branch Balancing Act  9/13/13.  Branches will never grow on only one side of a tree.  In fact, look at a tree, and you will see that its branches are well-distributed to balance each other.  They are further balanced respective to branch thickness and age — so they are well-positioned regarding the limb’s weight.  Were they not, the tree would topple.  Then just as the rings of a tree trunk will determine the age of a tree, the diameter of a tree’s branches also give the relative age of its limbs.  The thinner branches would have to be the most recent additions.

Somehow the tree knows where to start new branches — a certain feedback loop is in place.  Is advantageous bough positioning just a product of the availability of light?  Then are its branches located where its food can best be found, from a particularly sunny side of the tree?  Yet branches in already shaded areas grow well too.  Regardless, just by looking at a tree, one can see which branches were there first, and which branches were next to counter-balance the weight of the first, and so on, until the tree is decked in full array.
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Do trees prefer a Southern exposure like many homeowners do?  2/28/16.  Next time you are surrounded by a stand of trees, take note of which direction their branches and leaves tend to lean.  Being phototropic and thus gravitating towards light, one would think that plants need the maximum exposure to light, and that this is accomplished by facing South.  Otherwise, it does survive as a biological-maximizer, one turning water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen.  This process, known as photosynthesis uses plants’ chlorophyll pigment to trigger a universal chemical reaction that enables all of life on Earth.

Getting back to our tree stand, you will see some trees that do seek Southern exposure, although they do tend to be in the minority in the sample I checked.  Another aspect to consider, is that any available light left beneath the tree canopy is where new growth must occupy, irrespective of predominant Sun direction.  By the way, you can easily find a surrogate for South by looking ninety degrees between you and the Sun at 6AM or 6PM, or near the direction of the Sun at noontime.

What is most difficult to believe about the chemical, food-producing complexity articulated by green and very tall, arching life forms, is that Darwinism claims that this is all the product of surviving molecular collisions, and DNA mutation.  These two hypothetical mechanisms do not hold up well as the explanation for the generation of the grand sum of Creation.  Even after millions of years of trial and error, chemicals, without being governed, can really only become chemicals.  That is unless there is another, unaccounted for, never seen or observed factor at work; one needed to explain the equivalent of biochemical miracles from only interstellar dust.
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A species is revitalized from extinction?

Can a species evolve a second time?  More specifically, if a species were to be driven to extinction by man’s adulteration of habitat, would the reintroduction of the finer environment that allowed for its creation, allow for its re-creation?  Likewise, can the natural, genetic alteration that created a new species, happen once more?

Because genetic mutations have been shown to be random, yet represent only a small portion of the specimen’s genetic blueprint (or genome), the odds of a complete revitalization of a species must be small, yet still possible.

This, of course, is not meant as apologetics for decimating flora and fauna.  Those forays on Mother Nature damage the interdependent, global ecosystem, and will likely prevent return to its pristine state.  Rather it is the hope that species already extinct, when given suitable environs, have a chance of again populating the earth.
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When kayaking, go left here?  Go right?

kayak-river bank cross section

The steeper bank gets
deeper nearer to shore.

Say you are paddling a kayak down a tidal river at slack low tide before the current starts coming back in.  You would prefer to not go aground, so you need a general rule or algorithm to determine your path.  Do you travel nearer the left bank or the right bank?

Generally speaking, current travels fastest on the inside bank of a turn, not as it fans out on the outside of a turn.  The inside bank’s current would thus carry off the most sediment and off its shore would be the deepest.  Or compare the steepness of the two river banks.  The steeper bank to water level is subject to faster current and would be angled deeper into the river bed; so this side should be the side to choose to have more water depth, where one would be less likely to hit bottom.


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The Lion Guarding the Gate

Lion statues as entrance way adornment may have been tribute from a practice of taming the felines.  They could attack marauding strangers like mauling dogs, yet purr like kittens for their scrap-offering masters.  Egyptians would then build their sphinx to honor the creatures and the practice.  During the games of the gladiators, the Romans must have had them partially trained to be released from the Hypogeum beneath the Colosseum.  Smaller cats can be domesticated, it stands to reason larger ones can be as well.
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Solving the Mystery of Mona Lisa’s Smile

The Mona Lisa was commissioned to celebrate a new home, and a new child, of Lisa del Giocondo and her husband, Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy Florentine silk merchant.

Notice the water all around Lisa.  She is looking to her left as if to say “Look over my shoulder, water everywhere, it is resplendent.”  She has water to drink, water to cook, water to bathe.  She can easily wash her garments, she does not have to trudge miles with swaddling clothes and buckets.  Her enigmatic smile may very well be concealing a wide grin.

To her upper left is a large harbor, conceivably a trading center with goods from far away lands.  The bridge to her lower left allows a natural, river border to be easily crossed — or defended, if need be.

This majestic view is attributed to imaginary, aerial perspective, I would suggest it is only a consolidated perspective from a hill-top.  Leonardo Da Vinci, consummate painter that he was, still did not possess a studio with this panorama.  As this was a commissioned work, he would have no need to invent background, the wealthy would supply it with the sitting, and the patrons would rather have a portrait in honor of their own environs.
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Beasts of Burden, the Pyramids, and Stonehenge

Beasts of burden, such as any oxen or horse, can pull slabs of log-rolled limestone or granite.  This may help to demystify two riddles of the ages; where was the brute force necessary to build the ramped, Great Pyramids in Giza, and England’s levered, Stonehenge monument?  Wikipedia, among others, claim these were solely the work of very numerous laborer or slave teams.

One may say that Africa did not have horses, although they would be mistaken, as Egyptians did ride chariots.  They definitely had cows as well, so they did have bulls, and castrated bulls, or oxen.  England, of course, had horses.

They must have known their work would stand through the ages, and some of its construction remains a mystery, perhaps deliberately.  The source of this horsepower may have been hidden, as knowing this makes for a substantially less impressive construction accomplishment.

Enslaved or not, the work crew and their animals would need to eat.  So one could even conjecture that any fertile area by the Nile they used for food were ultimately torched.  This destroys any evidence of the site’s creation method or presence of livestock.  Although upon its completion, they might all return to their settlements — then perhaps our age is the unkind one.
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Life 200 Years Ago

What amenities do we have today that we take for granted?  Are there luxuries our ancestors could only dream of, that they would have killed to possess?

Here’s a short list of modern conveniences we’ve learned we cannot live without: supermarket, non-locally prepared food; pre-butchered livestock; refrigerators preventing spoilage; fast yet never-tiring, mechanized transportation; weather forecasts; automatic climate control.  And before we forget: electric lighting; indoor plumbing; polio, typhus, and tuberculosis vaccines; land lines and cell phones; readily-available entertainment (and endless porn); and personal computers.

We were unprepared when most of these stopped working after Hurricane Sandy.  Our ancestors had learned to live their entire lives under the same conditions we loathed experiencing for just a few days.


Any Population with 46 Chromosomes has roughly the same Intelligence as any Other  10/28/16.  Native Americans may have lived primitively and remotely but their cranial capacity was not much different than our own.  They were about as smart as we are although they lacked: formal education, sophisticated tools, or the ability to retrieve info on past discoveries.

They had no place to store knowledge, either in books or machines, so it was all passed down informally via folklore.  As nomadic people, and being sparsely populated, their ability to manufacture from high-tech blueprints was never possible, as their capabilities and logistics never approached a critical mass of scientific enlightenment.

Consistent nutrition was lacking for them, so they tended to be shorter, but it’s doubtful that this made them mentally retarded.  The Native Americans’ fate was dictated by their mode of living, sparse population, and community organization, not any lower levels of intelligence.

The same can be said of the African Bushmen, or the traders on camel along the Silk Road.  Their migratory society never reached a critical mass of concentrated, technological sophistication.
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What were those crazy Pilgrims up to?  2/12/13.  Food of yore was largely mutton.  It was a stock for gravy that was poured over mutton patties.  Patties were preferred because it lessened the toughness usually associated with mutton.  The Pilgrims were known for many other dishes besides mutton though.

If the corn harvest was less than hoped, root vegetables were used.  These included okra — found today in most supermarkets by the mysterious tilefish, and yams — candied with maple syrup brought by horse and carriage from la Province des Québécois (Province of the French Canadien, pronounced “lah proh-vens day kay-bay-kwah”).

Indians played a significant role in the Pilgrims’ cuisine.  While not cannibals, the red men were major consumers of venison, or deer flesh.  Usually cooked over an outdoor hearth, it was often seasoned with a freshly-picked, wild strawberry confit.  The Native Americans’ liquors were often gratis the Pilgrim.

Little known is that the Pilgrims’ potato crop would be boiled in a kettle of pressed, locally-grown canolas to make what we today call french fries.  These were, of course, accompanied with mutton.

Semi-outdoor living brought new challenges — and newer rewards.  While firewood was at a premium, fresh air and camaraderie were not.  For the matriarch, every dish was an adventure — in both preparation and execution.  And, without exception, every meal began by saying grace.  A common one was: “I thank you Lord for all you have given us.  May our prayers be answered with haste.  Amen.”

A Pilgrim dessert was apple sauce made from only apples and rainwater.  The essential requirement for this rare treat?  They would have to live within a mile or two of an apple tree.

Because the settlers lost their teeth at such an early age, they made sausage which was easy to chew and digest.  This was a later, more advanced dish and was discussed as part of a presentation at a regional historic site, Raynham Hall in Oyster Bay, Long Island.  This was a delicacy as it required butchery skills, and very few butchers came over on the Mayflower.

Blessed with a somewhat limited list of ingredients, the resourceful Pilgrim second-in-command assembled food for her husband and family.  Old World godless luxury was thankfully replaced with New World ascetic charm.
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Slaughter-ready, pet blueberries?

Lowell Westing:  When we spoke to Dr. Frank Stein of Blueberry Farm Labs we were intrigued by his belief that our blueberries would one day be disease-free.  Dr. Stein said that beyond fruit protection, genetic modification would ward off, then temporarily disable, unwanted predators like birds and deer.  You’ll see that his science is truly amazing, but he has raised a red flag or two in the holistic community.  What we found will fascinate, as well as attract new investors for our ground-breaker.  Please note that the following is not recommended for young children.

Dr. Frank Stein:  We started by genetically re-engineering blueberries.  This created a genetically modified organism, or GMO, and now we have these.

Lowell Westing:  They’re, they’re walking blueberries.

Dr. Frank Stein:  Yes, blue, four paws, a head, with all the brains of a blueberry.  Kind of cute, aren’t they?

Lowell Westing:  Are they safe?

Dr. Frank Stein:  Yes, they’ve been raised in captivity for over six months now, so we know they’ll always be completely safe.  Our new food designs have factored in them every interaction with nature Man has ever witnessed.  Our biochemical models have always been infallible.  As a new species, we had to come up with a name, we’re calling it Blueberrius Velociraptor.

Lowell Westing:  Not a bad name.  I can see these cuddly little, little ... thingamajigs are GMOs.  If I go to the supermarket and buy a pint of blueberries, how can I be certain I’m getting a blueberry from the lab?

Dr. Frank Stein:  The FDA, Blueberry Farm Labs, and even the American Medical Association, are so confident in our labs’ designs, that no food labeling in the States is required on blueberries, or any other GMO.  So you are free to enjoy our version of blueberry from our lab’s bounty without even knowing it.  Eventually, all our food will be a GMO, you’ll have that much less with which to be nostalgic.

Lowell Westing:  Do these little critters bite?

Dr. Frank Stein:  They have never bitten anyone.

Lowell Westing:  They don’t look like they would go with your cereal.

Dr. Frank Stein:  No, they can be slaughtered for their meat though.  They’re quite tasty once you cut away the gristle.

Lowell Westing:  Where can blueberries be slaughtered?

Dr. Frank Stein:  We’ve just began constructing blueberry slaughterhouses in key, proliferation, containment states like Texas and Florida.  This has become the highest priority.

Lowell Westing:  Who green-lighted your genetics?

Dr. Frank Stein:  You are now — just kidding!  The FDA has given us its full stamp of approval.  We’re also developing a pilot program in the schools and amusement parks to get the kids on board.  We’ll be demonstrating how blueberries are slaughtered, as well as what great pets they make.

Lowell Westing:  Blueberry slaughterhouses at amusement parks?

Dr. Frank Stein:  We felt it would be educational for the youth, give them a glimpse of what they’ll be eating down the road.  See those four, they breed faster than rabbits.  We’ve sent cargo ships of them to Africa to help with malnutrition.

Lowell Westing:  What do they eat?

Dr. Frank Stein:  With those fangs and claws, they can eat anything they’d like, kibble, anything at all.  They eat their weight in about a day.

Lowell Westing:  How are these being marketed?

Dr. Frank Stein:  “Blueberries, the anytime breakfast sandwich, and they make great pets, too.  Find them today in your grocers’ freezer, and your local animal shelter.”

Lowell Westing:  Catchy.  Now, why is this one twice as tall as the rest?  And he’s foaming at the mouth.

Dr. Frank Stein:  We’re not quite sure what happened there, but we’ll find him a good home.

Lowell Westing:  Was your original intention a slaughter-ready, pet blueberry?

Dr. Frank Stein:  Actually, we were only trying to make blueberries disease-resistant, and ta-da, a new foodstuff and adorable toy for the family.

Lowell Westing:  We’ll be back after a word or two from Mercedes.

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In the Heavenly Skies Above



The Winter Constellation of Orion

The constellation of Orion the Hunter is easily seen in winter in the Northern Hemisphere.  Orion cannot be seen in the summer because that’s when it’s behind the sun.  The most distinguishing feature of Orion is Orion’s Belt.  This is comprised of three stars side by side all in a row (from left to right these stars are named Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka).

Contellation of Orion with light year distance
Constellation of Orion the Hunter with lightyears

Rollover stars for names
and beginning of trip here.

One light year is the distance light travels in a single year.  Each star in Orion’s Belt is over 825 light years away.  What this means is that when the light from the stars reach your eyes, the same light left the stars before 1191 AD.  In 1191 AD, Europe had barely even entered the Dark Ages, Christopher Columbus hadn’t set sail on the Santa Maria, and in fact he wasn’t even born yet, and neither were Sir Isaac Newton, Joan of Arc, or Leonardo Da Vinci.

The right shoulder of Orion the Hunter is a star called Bellatrix and the left shoulder is one called Betelgeuse (pronounced like the movie, Beetle Juice).  Bellatrix’ light left for your eye in 1774 AD, and Betelgeuse’s, in 1588 AD.  (If this is incorrect, blame Einstein, he proposed fundamental speed of light calculations.)

Betelgeuse may go supernova within a few thousand years.  In other words, it may explode.  Because it’s such a bright, well-fueled star it would light up the night sky for several months like a full moon.  Betelgeuse is so far away from us though, it would pose no threat to this earth.

What’s also of interest is this winter constellation’s name, Orion the Hunter.  One can easily imagine a society relying on hunting in the winter, but gathering or farming in the salad days of summer.  Perhaps the name was chosen by antiquity to signify to their successors something about their way of life, and when certain foods were plentiful.  Given this constellation’s shape it could just as easily been called the Archer Sagittarius, or the Goddess Virgo.  That it was instead called the Hunter, and given that it’s probably the most prominent seasonal constellation, may prove this conjecture.

One aside, for much of everyone’ birthday month, your astrological sign is the constellation behind the sun.  For instance, at this writing, the constellation Sagittarius is on the other side of the sun, and anyone born now is a Sagittarius.
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When the Moon locates the Sun

crescent moon pointing to sun

Simultaneous daytime and nighttime can be seen on the
Space Shuttle. What is seen here is just smoke and mirrors.

If you ever wonder where the sun is after it sets, the moon has the answer.  Draw a line between the two ends of the moon’s crescent.  Draw a second line at right angles to the first.  Fine tune the calculation.  Rotate the perpendicular line away from you if less than a quarter, or rotate it towards you if more than a quarter.  This line points to the sun.

As the moon waxes past a quarter moon towards a full moon though, it becomes more difficult to identify the end points of the crescent, because with gibbous and full moons there are no end points.  So when the moon is near full this method cannot be effective.  Instead the following should be used.

Gibbous moon with obscured soft edge shown with a dotted line

A gibbous moon with the soft and hard edges delineated.
Soft edge shows where the sun is located.
Vis-a-vis a quarter moon, the sun is at an angle closer to Earth here.

The hard edge of the moon is the obscuring edge; it obscures Sun-lit, otherwise visible, lunar surface.  The soft edge is the “natural” edge; it occurs naturally from the shadow that the moon’s surface casts.  When determining where the Sun is, the soft edge, and its hidden continuance, is the deciding factor, and not the hard edge.  Drawing out to near infinity from the center of that ellipse will split the Sun.


Ecliptic or solar plane diagram

The green grid represents the ecliptic, or solar plane.
(Orbits of several planets outside Mars are shown and not identified.
This image via Starry Night Backyard planetarium software.)

The moon points to the planets.

The moon points to the planets in most orbital positions.
It won't when the moon and the planets are right next to each other,
or at other ends of the sky
(it actually will, but that would be a long arrow to follow with your eyes).
Before you prejudge this, read the following article.
The “scientists” doubting this, also doubt global warming.

A Lunar Pendant with a String of Planetary Pearls  6/18/10.  If one follows the construction in the prior article, and draws a line perpendicular from the ends of a crescent or quarter moon, it will connect nearby planets in the night sky.  This means that the direction of the shadow that the sun casts on the moon can be used to identify the ecliptic, or solar system plane.

The moon has an orbital inclination of 5 degrees, it is 5 degrees above or below the ecliptic.  As a consequence, this “string of pearls” method will not be completely exact.  It can, though, help to define a planet on the ecliptic as being a planet and not a star; and it can be surprisingly impressive.

During occultations, when planets are visually “stacked up on top” of each other, this method is less effective as the planets are scattered around the moon.  Otherwise, any currently visible planet can be found somewhere along this moon-defined ecliptic.

The reason this works is because, at night, the sun’s shadow on the moon draws a line between the moon and the sun.  Because any other planets all occupy the same plane, these are also on that line.  Knowing the position of two objects relative to each other on one horizontal plane, allows one to deduce where the rest of the objects on that plane can be.  When seen edge on at eye level, this three-dimensional plane becomes two-dimensional, it becomes a line commonly known as the ecliptic.
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(geograph.org.uk, Ashley Dace)

Star Trails around Polaris

Extended Exposure Star Trails around Polaris

The Earth moves East, the sky, West  1/01/13.  The Earth rotates to the East — for example, America moves in Britain’s direction.  The moon, the planets, and its nearby stars in the night sky are relatively fixed, at least in one night’s sky, and if seen outside a rotating Earth.  Because the Earth moves East, the solar system objects of the stationary night sky appear to move West.  Thus, a full moon will cross from Eastern to Western horizons over a night.

There is a caveat.  As one looks further and further North, celestial bodies no longer move East to West, they travel counter-clockwise around Polaris, the North Star.
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Unnatural, non-planar, planetary orbits

An orbital system such as this
defies physical laws.  It may defy
a few graphical design ones as well.

Why major meteor events tend to happen in Siberia  2/17/13.  Both of the largest meteor impact events within the last 105 years happened in Siberia.  In astronomical time, a hundred years between meteor landings for one location is extremely brief as well as extremely rare.  Because Siberia is at the Northern reaches of our planet, away from the equator and the solar system plane (or ecliptic), meteors would more likely make impact here.  Meteors with a Siberia trajectory are above the full gravitational pull of the rest of the planets, and also outside the meteor-blocking path of the moon.  Siberia has forty million people and is well inhabited compared to the 160,000 Inuit Eskimo in far Northern Canada, so these meteors would be more likely noticed over Siberian Russia.

This raises many questions.  Why is the solar system situated on a plane, the ecliptic?  Why do the planets not revolve around the sun like the electrons of the atom, in any direction?  Is this the orbital path of least resistance?  Then how did each successive planet entering the solar system establish this plane?  Is there a toy top-like centrifugal dynamic at work?  Could the solar system even be planar because of gravity from massive celestial bodies outside the solar system?  Our enveloping galaxy, the Milky Way, is known to be disc-like and planar.  Do the Milky Way and the Solar System share the same infinite plane, that is, are they co-planar?  Is there a physics maxim that explains the tendency of orbiting planets to be planar?

My father, an M.I.T.-educated engineer, suggests that if the planets are all uniform in mass, they will have random orbits and never establish an ecliptic plane.  Once one planet collects nearby mass, and becomes larger than the rest, it will pull other smaller objects concentrically into closer and further circular, co-planar orbits.  This would then influence the orbits of the remaining planets on each other, one by one.  This gravitational influence would also occur over time, it would be continuous and would not manifest itself in just one moment.  Then this flat disc orbital plane model we see in the solar system and the Milky Way, would also be seen most anywhere else in the universe.
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The Far Side of the Moon

Many may not know this, but a moon seen illuminated in half is not called a half moon, it’s called a quarter moon.  This is because the half-illuminated moon has traveled a quarter way around the earth from a new moon, and three quarters of the way around the earth from a new moon, when it’s, respectively, at the first and last quarters.

There are two quarter moons, the first quarter “waxing” to a full moon, and the last quarter “waning” towards a moonless night, or new moon.  Adjoining photos of the first and last quarter moons renders the entire topography of the full moon.

The near side of the moon is always facing earth, the far side is always facing away from earth.  In 1959, the Russians were the first to photograph the craters of the far side of the moon, the back side, the side away from the earth.  This was done during a new moon when this far side of the moon is completely illuminated.

The dark side of the moon is not the same as the far side of the moon.  The dark side of the moon is the side away from the sun, the far side of the moon is the side away from the earth.

procession of moon phase, with the time of day on earth

Lunar phases with time of day they are visible.
(Distances and diameters not quite to scale.)
© Other Letter

Whether the moon is visible at any given time depends on its phase.  The moon is either outside the earth’s orbit and predominantly in the night sky; or inside it, between the earth and sun, and cloaked by daylight or the horizon.  When the moon’s phase is less than a quarter it is within the earth’s orbit around the sun.  When the moon’s phase is more than a quarter, it is outside the earth’s orbit around the sun.  This is not too difficult to visualize, and will hold true for any time of year.

The moon in the first quarter is visible until approximately midnight.  The next phase, a full moon, is visible all night, while a last quarter moon is only visible past midnight.  A new moon cannot be seen.

Changing your vantage point, either by latitude, or by advancing night, will not significantly change what you see on the ground.  No matter where you are you will see the same phase of the moon.

One final point, there is a quick way to determine if the moon is in the first or the last quarter.  When the moon is illuminated on the right side, the moon is in the first quarter.  If the left side is lighted, then the moon is in the last quarter (to remember: left lit is last).

Now this is very surprising, “left lit is last” is how the moon is lit in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the Southern Hemisphere, such as in Australia, the moon is finishing its cycle, the last quarter, when lit on the right.  The reason for this is because Australians are essentially looking at the Moon upside down from those in the Northern Hemisphere, so they see a inverted image of what Northerners view.

So that’s a hemi?  9/21/10.  As seen on Earth with the unaided eye, the moon may be mistaken for a two-dimensional disc.  Instead this is actually a portion of a three-dimensional hemisphere, and at full moon, a complete hemisphere.  (A hemi in hot rod jargon is a combustion chamber that is one hemisphere, a gas-devouring one half of a sphere.  Generous fuel usage is traded for speed.)
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(Wikipedia, Other Letter)

comparison of Earth and Lunar diameter

The moon is so far away, it appears miniscule
when compared to our planet.  In reality,
its diameter is 27% of earth’s.

Stacking the Earth’s Moon Four Times equates to the Earth’s Diameter  11/22/10.  The Earth’s average diameter is 7,913 miles, the moon’s measures 2,159 miles.  Stacking the Earth’s moon four times equates to the Earth’s diameter.  The similarity in dimension partly explains why the moon is cratered everywhere yet the Earth is free of craters — the moon’s size has Earth partially protected from meteor showers.  The strong luminosity of the moon’s surface may account for it being so easily visible when a quarter million (or 236,339) miles away.

Why isn’t the Earth cratered like the Moon?  7/25/11.  The Earth is not cratered with meteors of the tremendous girth that hit the moon.  Considering that many iron boulders heading for Earth would be too big to be pulverized into dust by our atmosphere, these boulders must have hit this planet.  Yet where can they be found on Earth?  There is scant evidence of them.  Earth-bound meteor showers that the moon was not in a position to intercept, somehow missed the Earth as well.

A possible explanation is that the moon’s surface was scarred by meteors before it even entered Earth’s orbit, perhaps outside the Solar System.  Of current explanations, only capture theory, where the moon is pre-formed elsewhere, accounts for the difference in cratering.

I can even offer this: perhaps the dinosaurs’ extinction was caused when the moon entered Earth’s orbit, and created a lunar dust cloud on Earth, making sunlight impenetrable.  This created unusual cold and perpetual darkness thus wiping out all plant life, the Velociraptor and T. rex ultimately had nothing to eat.
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The Other Side of Infinity

Think about this for a minute, is there infinite space beyond the ends of the known universe, or is the universe finite?  If the universe were finite, then what would be after the end of deep space?  If you get to the end of the universe wouldn’t there still be another universe ahead?  Does mankind’s inability to fathom infinity dictate that the models of our universe we create cannot be infinite as well?

From various observations including those concerning our Big Bang, it has become an established maxim in astrophysics that the universe is expanding, be it also curved (although no longer shaped like a soccer ball).

Yet what is at the other side of this curve enveloping the universe, nothingness?  How would you distinguish the universe part from the nothingness, volumeless part?  When the known universe finally collapses what happens to the space outside the curve it vacates, that could not vanish, could it?  And what if there were, or will be, other Big Bangs from universes besides our own?

Then there is the notion of an unknown universe, that we are looking out into a celestial sphere, placed in a fishbowl for some reckoning by a much greater order intelligence.  Our Space Program might disprove notions of that caliber, or at least effectively discredit them.  NASA may have a more difficult time, though, defining the end of the universe.  Anyway, one cannot help but wonder.


On a planet with less gravity than ours,
could rivers flow uphill?

Life is only possible on Earth?  12/02/10.  Life on Earth has been said to be the product of unique and precise levels of thousands of variables like temperature and atmospheric oxygen concentration.  As such, our planet is often thought as the only one in the universe capable of sustaining life.  It must be remembered though that life on Earth is only a manifestation of a single set of these biochemical values.  Couldn’t galaxies with entirely different ecologies emerge from other sets of points on environmental continuum?
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Say we were organic machines designed by other organisms.  6/05/11.  How do we know all living today are not machines, devised and manufactured by other organisms?  If reproducible life on Earth were in fact “machines,” followers of Darwin know them to be partially imparted with the designs of their predecessors (for instance, apes preceded Man).  Then it is conceivable there was one omnipotent, genesis, machine seed impregnating Mother Earth, giving rise to everything that lives today.

Continuing the framework: species would follow their preordained, evolutionary path; first as simple sugar-to-energy converters, then much later, as self-directed, well-tuned sensors and processors.  Kind of takes the life out of life, doesn’t it?  Shepherds for the Lord and their prayerful congregants may have difficulty conceptualizing humans as machines, how might one account for the undousable flame of consciousness?  Nonetheless, resolving a novel perspective can offer its own merits.

Dissecting life’s engine further, one discovers natural processes including, but not limited to, photosynthesis and metabolism — producing plant’s sugar from light, and consuming plant’s sugar for animal energy, respectively.  Both core life-givers are ultimately limited in their complexity because these are non-governed processes, these possess no guiding intellect.  They are only inanimate, molecular happenstance.  They cannot reason, or decide their future, they can only exist in time and space.
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The Test of Time

What is time?  Why would five minutes ago be any different than five minutes ahead, except for the movement of the hands on your watch.  How can you identify that ten minute span?  What is the defining characteristic of time?  Does time even exist?


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The Crucifixion Eclipse



The Crucifixion and its concurrent eclipse was predictable eighteen years in advance.  What exact day did the Crucifixion occur?  Here is the most precise answer you will ever find, April 17, 33 A.D.  Check this link for the date given and you’ll see it’s a Friday, Good Friday.  If you happen to have accurate planetarium software, set it for Jerusalem on this day.  You’ll see a solar eclipse, where the sun is obscured by the moon, happened close to 3 P.M. on the first Good Friday.

For the next piece of the puzzle, the New Testament indicates Christ was crucified during a sixth to ninth hour solar eclipse, see the Book of Luke chapter 23, verse 44 (noon to 3pm, by today’s clocks).  Completing the puzzle, Christ died at 33 years of age, in 33 AD.

The Moon’s Orbit is Slowing  10/10/09.  If you care to see this for yourself check this image generated by planetarium software (this graphic was created by Starry Night Backyard).  There is an interesting three hour discrepancy between when the Bible says the eclipse occurred and when the planetarium software indicates that it does.  Could this be an error in the software algorithm?  Probably not, they claim 10 arc second accuracy back 3,000 years.  What they cannot do is verify handbook algorithms against first hand observations in 33 A.D.

If not a software error, then today’s moon, and its derived rate of revolution, is slower now than the rate at the time of Christ.  What would that mean?  It would mean that eventually the centrifugal pull between the moon and earth will degrade, and the moon will stop circling the earth.  Eventually, one would have to think, the moon collides with our planet.  Given this eclipse and its slowing along its expected path, the question is raised for someone knowing the equations of celestial mechanics to find the year our satellite may hit the earth.

If one were to interpolate back to the Crucifixion using today’s rate of lunar orbit, that moon’s eclipse happened after the Bible’s account.  The moon is moving slower using today’s data compared to what is implied by the observation from 33 A.D.  Both rates are correct, they just cannot be used at any time other than their own.

As further proof, consider the eclipse as the finish line for when the moon crosses a stationary sun.  It crosses the finish line at noon based on the Bible’s first hand observation, it crosses six hours later based on today’s slower rate.  The moon is decelerating, and eventually will crash into the earth.

That the Moon is slowing might possibly be assumed, that there is exact, eyewitness proof of this cannot be, unless what is read here is kept in light.  The Bible provides the perfect frame of reference against which to calibrate today’s observations; we know exactly where three orbiting bodies were at a point in time two thousand years ago.

April 19th is the true day of Easter.

Timing the Crucifixion with the Eclipse  3/17/10.  Could Good Friday and the solar eclipse happen at the same time by accident?  If it was accidental, what would its odds be?  If it was not an accident, who would benefit more from a Crucifixion with the imprimatur of the heavens, Christians or the Roman Empire?

moon eclipsing the sun

The Crucifixion eclipse,
18 years in the offing.

Christ’s followers would obviously benefit more, because they could then proclaim Tiberius Caesar et al had blotted out the light of their Lord; but not only that, now the Heavens were demonstrating their dissatisfaction with a similar dousing of the Sun’s light.

Christ’s light show finale would not be very difficult to arrange.  Just before the eclipse, his followers would demand that Pontius Pilate order the impending crucifixion.  Yet how would these plotters know when the eclipse were to occur?

Every 18 years, 10 and 1/3 days, the sun, moon, and earth orbit back to the same starting position.  This is known as the saros, and it was discovered in pre-Roman times.  Assuming the Roman elders made note of their last total solar eclipse, they would know when the next one would occur (4/07/0015 AD + 0/10/0018 = 4/17/0033 AD).

If they knew about the eclipse, they could plan religious events for it.  That the Bible notes the perfect timing between the eclipse and the Crucifixion, offers additional evidence proving they knew of the saros.  This eclipse and Crucifixion could be timed eighteen years before Christ handed off his Crucifix to Simon the Cyrenian on Good Friday.

Then they would just need to get the spectacle going in time for the nearing eclipse.  The odds of a given locale’s Good Friday randomly occurring during a total solar eclipse are roughly 1 in 6,585 (the number of days in a saros).
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Do you believe in ghosts?  3/12/17.  If you believe in Jesus the Christ, you do.  You put your stock in a ghost the Vatican calls the holy ghost.  Why not put your faith in a lost parent?  Why put it in an anonymous Roman john from two thousand years ago?  He was a john, because he knew the hooker, Mary Magdalene.  Why was he such good friends with Mary — was it because of her scintillating conversation?  Why didn’t he know a homely farmer’s daughter, or the shy rabbi’s daughter, ones he could offer ready counsel?  Because he was a john hanging around with a hooker, he likely had syphilis and/or gonorrhea.

Why then are you putting your faith in this ghost of a john — because he died on the Crucifix?  Except that post-Crucifixion, in Luke 24:39 he states, “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” and “Have ye here any meat?”  He didn’t die on the Cross, because he was alive after he was crucified.  If you must believe in ghosts, I can think of plenty of much more worthy ones.  Believe in any lost ancestry, or our heroes, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, or even Jeanne d’Arc or Abraham Lincoln.  Otherwise, can you honestly feel good worshipping a john with syphilis?  Or better yet, just grow up and stop believing in ghosts.
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Was Jesus Christ a murderer? — or at minimum, an accomplice in murder?  9/08/14.  Christ’s Crucifixion was staged with an eclipse that was planned up to eighteen years in advance.  This makes the story handed down by the Church concerning Jesus’ hurried execution, and resurrection, a fabrication in opposition to the documentation presented by the Holy Bible, and the laws of astronomy.  Later, after the Crucifixion is said and done, Jesus asks, “Have ye here any meat?”  The solar eclipse turned the sky black, and threw the mob into a tumult.  When the sun reappeared, only Jesus the Christ was living and breathing.  Simon the Cyrenian, carrying the Cross to Golgotha for Jesus the Christ, was no more.

It was Simon the Cyrenian who carried Jesus’ Crucifix.  As the Crucifixion began, the Sun went dark, and then shone again three hours later, yet Jesus still claims to be of “flesh and blood,” asking for handouts when the dust finally settles.  Simon, a father of two, and thus more likely with the bearing of a King than bachelor Jesus, made an excellent substitution for this 33-year-old, becoming a fall guy in Jesus’ stead, the Cyrenian haplessly saving Christ’s fledgling Church.  A mob clamored for blood at Calvary.  When they get their wish, Jesus is still standing, Simon’s two children, Alexander and Rufus, by all appearances, are fatherless (strangely, the Holy Bible lists the names of the next of kin of Simon, only the Crucifix carrier).

As showtime neared on Jerusalem on Friday, April 17th, 33AD, a solar eclipse occurred — between Twelve noon and Three PM by today’s clocks.  Based on millenia-standing belief, the coincident Crucifixion occurred during the month of Easter, or in April, in the year 33AD, on Good Friday.  The Book of Luke, Chapter 23, indicates:

[44] And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
[45] And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

That the Crucifixion and the eclipse occurred simultaneously, and that those in power knew then of an 18-year orbital pattern between the moon, Earth, and Sun, called the Saros; demonstrates that the Crucifixion was timed to coincide with the solar eclipse up to 18 years in advance, allowing for the planning of maximum, frightening effect over a very superstitious people.  All the while the acquaintances of Jesus, and his women followers, were watching the Crucifixion from far off, likely not feeling discomfort from, nor meddling with, the executions; so also not permitting the identification of the players, Jesus and Simon the Cyrenian, and their roles.

If Christ chose life, his own, over martyrdom (and thus was intent on preventing the orphaning of his Church), then he could have interceded on his behalf, and against Simon the Cyrenian, at up to four junctures.

At the first, carrying a very heavy, human-bearing Crucifix, and seeing Simon the Cyrenian join the procession before Calgary, would Jesus the Christ think to himself: should I, humble and self-sacrificing Jesus, assume this load; or should I, the mighty Jesus, the one I have convinced everyone is God, be sure that Simon carries it?  Any conventional notions about Christ’s altruism aside, he let Simon carry the tree-trunk Crucifix.  The so-called “Mob” clamoring for Jesus’ death, oddly had no issue with the Crucifix hand-off from Jesus to Simon, even though it allowed for a great unburdening of their anti-hero.

At the second point before Christ’s flesh and blood resurrection, amidst the confusion during the beginning of the solar eclipse, would he have beseeched Simon the Cyrenian for the return of his Crucifix so Jesus might rightly be Crucified, and thus make his father God happy?  Or would he have saved his Church instead, and its as yet unwritten Testament, by letting Simon keep Christ’s burden, his burden of the Cross?  That Jesus stated post-Crucifixion that he was “flesh and blood,” and asking “Have ye here any meat?” offers sure proof that Jesus let Simon be sacrificed in his place.

Three, could Christ have played a role in, or even decided, the timing of the Crucifixion?  Jesus was shuttled from Pilate to Herod and back to Pilate “the same day” of the Crucifixion so the timing had to be like clockwork for this light show to be divinely stamped upon Pilate’s final release of Jesus.  This means Herod and Pilate were in on the Greek drama (and given the divine nature of this grand theater, Emperor Tiberius et al likely had a hand in it).  As this involved astronomy, the uppermost, most learned authorities in the Roman Empire must have been involved, and because Jesus made no elaborate effort, or any effort, to escape in transit, Jesus the Christ must have known what to expect.  The day before he may have even been strong-armed via smiting to guarantee his full participation.

How does this finale satisfy the major players of this drama?  A Crucifixion Eclipse makes the Church’s founding, and its founder, divinely-inspired; any potential threat of his Church to Rome with this “package deal” is shunted as Jesus must curtail his ever more riotous public appearances, he is officially only a spirit now; and Rome would approve of his civil obedience message of good behavior, respect, and duty.  After it was all concluded, Jesus the Christ may not have been entirely deferential to authority, but he was hardly a subversive worthy of this public, capital punishment spectacle.  This leaves Jesus living happily ever after with: a reputation as an immortal, and a bevy of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary (the Mother of James) — or all those getting back the word on Jesus’ missing body after the Crucifixion (saying it had “risen” explained the “cadaver’s” whereabouts while he trod Jerusalem).

The fourth and final question becomes: did Jesus actually survive the Crucifixion?  The Holy Bible, with a well-deserved reputation for being rather ambiguous, is very explicit on this count.  In the more open and honest Gospel, the Book of Luke, Chapter 24, Verse 39, describes Jesus Christ as being “of flesh and blood,” and he was hungry, asking, “Have ye here any meat?”  (Unlike the other three gospels, the Book of John does not even mention the eclipse.)  Since when did those just back from the spirit World require human nutrition?  A Crucifixion Eclipse made for a very tidy retirement, and golden parachute, for Jesus the Christ; one likely unheard of outside the Emperor’s throne.  If someone from the spirit World stopped over for lamb, would anyone of that era not welcome him?

From verse 34, of the same chapter and same book of the New Testament as discussed in the prior paragraph, there is this decipherable verse: “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.”  As the story goes, Christ is in Heaven by now, but what is he doing appearing to Simon of all the people in Creation, instead of his apostles, or Mary and Joseph Christ, Mary Magdalene, et al?  Is Jesus the Christ offering apologies to Simon for having him bear Jesus’ Crucifix?  Christ had set Simon up to be Crucified by a mob looking for whomever was carrying the burden of the Cross.  How else would one explain Christ asking for handouts following his own Crucifixion?  Simon the Cyrenian is supposedly only the Crucifix carrier, yet this very minor player of the Bible is who Christ sees upon entering the Kingdom of Heaven?

Jesus’ will to live should be considered here as well.  In a time when decisions in favor of your own livelihood over anyone else’s were the only ones sanely chosen, one would have to think Christ was at least complicit in the murder of Simon, if not entirely at fault.  The taking of Simon’s life would be an insignificant sacrifice compared to taking the life of the self-professed King, the Son of God.  Without Jesus the Christ, who would minister to Christ’s growing flock upon his unneeded departure?  Otherwise, from an ecumenical perspective, would God the Father, possess the cruelty to enjoy the spectacle before him of God the Son slaughtered as a sacrificial lamb?  If God the Father killed God the Son for our sins, why do we still sin, even though we still suffer because of them?

Then if we were to ask Jesus Christ today, if he was guilty of murder; he would likely only say what he said when asked if he was God incarnate, “Thou sayest it.”  Considering Jesus fraternized with prostitutes such as Mary Magdalene, and his parents did not even attend his Crucifixion, nor come to try to retrieve his body, then all this identifies the real Jesus, one later exaggerated beyond recognition by the imploring and brainwashing of the masses by his ancient, bigoted Church.

The Last Supper by this astronomically-verifiable calculus is only a dress rehearsal the day before Friday’s big show, a show staged for the last one standing, the one with the audacity to claim he was King.  If there is a lesson in any of this, it may be that the power to transform one’s life rests within one’s own heart and soul.  Because if you expect the ether to transform you, or transformed by someone who received handouts two thousand years ago, and was involved in a murder, you may be very disappointed.

So then the Bible leaves us with more whitewash, yet with traces of far-reaching truths barely perceptible but still readily-tangible to the open-minded, invisible to anyone else.  Traces kept so that one day, the entire truth, however profoundly troubling, might be known.  Yet the Crucifixion Eclipse tragedy, and its concomitant travesty of justice, sets the tone for the Church.  One where the sanctimonious are sanctioned that they are holier than thou, and others are nailed to the Cross, while the former preys on the latter claiming the latter are unholy, and all because Jesus the Christ did not have the guts to take his punishment like a man.
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When is Easter, and why is it always on the wrong date?  3/18/16.  Good Friday is the name given for the day when Christ was Crucified during a full solar eclipse, and Easter is two days later, when Christ was said to have risen from his grave.  Easter incorrectly falls on the Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (Spring typically begins March 20th).

If the date selected was Biblically accurate based on the Good Friday eclipse, every Easter would be after the first new moon (new defined as being when the moon is not seen, and between the Earth and the Sun, usually off the ecliptic plane).  This is because the Good Friday eclipse, and any other eclipse, occurs when a new moon is in front of the sun, but never a full moon behind the Earth and away from the Sun, as the Vatican instituted.

Then why did the Vatican choose the Sunday following a full moon to celebrate Easter, and not a new moon when the eclipse occurred in the Book of Luke Chapter 23:44-45?  Partly because it is much easier to notice a full moon than it is to notice a new one.  Further, without a broad-based understanding of astronomy or new moons, many parts of the World would always get this hypothetical Vatican date wrong.

There is a second reason for not using the much more accurate and authentic new moon.  If people knew the science behind a solar eclipse, one generated by the new moon, and then its eighteen-year periodicity (as a few did in ancient times), the masses would see how Jesus’ spontaneous capital punishment story falls apart.  That is because Jesus’ supposed crucifixion on Good Friday was planned up to eighteen years in advance to coincide with the eclipse.

(In 2016, instead of March 27th, Easter should really be April 10th).
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