1 kilometer

Because of their bulk, pythons move by traveling forward in a straight line, which is known as “rectilinear progression.” This is accomplished by stiffening the ribs to provide support, then lifting a set of ventral (on the belly) scales and moving them forward so the loose ends grip the surface, pushing the snake ahead. This type of movement works on the ground as well as in trees. Pythons can’t move very fast though—only about 1 mile per hour (1.6 kilometers per hour) on open ground. But since they don’t have to chase their food, they don’t really need to move quickly. (photo: Peter Csanadi)

washingtonpost.com
Poverty, despair breed new generation of Philippine rebels
The rebellion “will not disappear because of the fundamental needs of the people. The problems have persisted, and that’s the platform of the rebellion.”

SIERRA MADRE MOUNTAINS, Philippines — In the late-night hours and amid the chirp of crickets, Katryn welcomed a huddle of exhausted Filipino journalists in cheerful spirits like she was home. “Coffee?” she asked with a comforting smile.

Comrade Katryn is her nom de guerre, however, and for her, home is a rebel encampment concealed in the rain-soaked wilderness of the Philippines’ Sierra Madre Mountains. The 24-year-old walked away from her family two years ago to join one of the world’s longest-raging Marxist rebellions.

Mostly in their 20s and 30s, a few dozen New People’s Army guerrillas lugged M16 rifles and grenade launchers on a plateau where red hammer-and-sickle flags adorned a makeshift hall. Most wore mud-stained boots while cooking over wood fires or guarding the peripheries of the encampment, just 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the nearest army camp.

They’re part of a new generation of Maoist fighters who reflect the resiliency and constraints of an insurgency that has dragged on for nearly half a century through six Philippine presidencies while Cold War-era communist insurgencies across much of the world have faded into memory. They are driven by some of the same things as their predecessors, including crushing poverty, despair, government misrule and the abysmal inequality that has long plagued Philippine society.

“The New People’s Army has no other recruiter but the state itself,” a young rebel, Comrade May, told The Associated Press.

The Silk Road Spread Sickness?

There is new evidence of something that researchers have long suspected: along with people, goods, and ideas, the Silk Road also transported infectious diseases. Studying preserved poop in a latrine at a Silk Road waystation, which was in use from 111 BCE to 109 CE, researchers discovered four species of parasitic worm. One particularly interesting find is the Chinese liver fluke. It is a parasitic worm which causes diarrhea, jaundice, and liver cancer. It’s life cycle requires time in well-watered, marshy areas. The way station is in the eastern end of the Taklamakan Desert. Therefore Chinese liver fluke could not have been picked up at the way station. In fact, the fluke’s closest habitat today is around 1,500 kilometers from the way station where the fluke was found.

Put together, the evidence suggests the unfortunate infected traveler must have come from quite a distance, carrying the parasite with them. Other infectious diseases might have been carried along the Silk Road in a similar way.

Sunlight truly has come to Saturn’s north pole. The whole northern region is bathed in sunlight in this view from late 2016, feeble though the light may be at Saturn’s distant domain in the solar system.

The hexagon-shaped jet-stream is fully illuminated here. In this image, the planet appears darker in regions where the cloud deck is lower, such the region interior to the hexagon. Mission experts on Saturn’s atmosphere are taking advantage of the season and Cassini’s favorable viewing geometry to study this and other weather patterns as Saturn’s northern hemisphere approaches Summer solstice.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 51 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 9, 2016 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 728 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 46 miles (74 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, Cassini

Time And Space

8

The most spectacular test track of the world⬇Lingotto
If you thought that Lingotto is only the name of the track,you were wrong. Lingotto is a district of Turin, whose appearance and development was essentially defined by the FIAT Group, which built an automobile factory there in 1916.
The factory is located on Via Nizza and was opened in 1923 after 7 years of construction.
Le Corbusier called it “one of the most impressive sights in industry”, and “a guideline for town planning”.
The production facility was the largest and most advanced of its time and even had a 1-kilometer-long test track as a circular course on the roof. The finished vehicles could be driven to the roof directly after the production and completed test rounds. Until the 1970s, up to 80 different car models, including the FIAT Topolino in 1936, were produced. The final closure took place in 1982.

After the general decline of the quarter and the steady decline of the site, the population expressed the desire to revive the site. After numerous demonstrations, the authorities intervened and opened an architectural competition to redesign and modernize the site. Winner of the competition was Renzo Piano, who designed a modern cultural and exhibition center with a concert hall, a multiplex cinema (Paté Lingotto), a 5-star hotel Le Meridien, a shopping center & a cube on the roof of the Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli While at the same time preserving the external shape of the plant. The conversion and modernization work was completed in 1989.
The Lingotto building is featured extensively in the Alberto Lattuada film Mafioso (1962).
The original Lingotto rooftop test track features briefly in the getaway sequence in the film The Italian Job (1969).
The building is also featured in the fourth episode of the 20th season of The Amazing Race, originally aired in the US on March 11, 2012.
The Building and test track was featured on the first episode of James May’s Cars of the People.
Similar rooftop tests tracks exist: Imperia in Nessonvaux in Belgium & Palacio Chrysler in Buenos Aires. From 1928 to 1958, Imperia had a track over 1 km long which was built partially on top of the factory.

“On August 6, 1945 during World War II, an atomic bomb was dropped on the town of Hiroshima, Japan. 140,000 people were killed or injured. There was a home eight blocks (about 1 kilometer) from where the A-Bomb went off . This home had a church attached to it which  was completely destroyed, but the home survived, and so did the eight  German Jesuit missionaries who prayed the rosary in that house  faithfully every day. These men were missionaries to the Japanese  people, they were non-military, but because Germany and Japan were  allies during WWII they were permitted to live and minister within Japan  during the war.
Not only did they all survive with (at most)  relatively minor injuries, but they all lived well past that awful day  with no radiation sickness, no loss of hearing, or any other visible  long term defects or maladies. Naturally, they were interviewed and  examined numerous times (Fr. Schiffer, a survivor, said over 200 times)  by scientists and health care people about their remarkable experience  and they say “we believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home.”

-Famous rosary miracle-

2

New Ceres Views as Dawn Moves Higher


The brightest area on Ceres stands out amid shadowy, cratered terrain in a dramatic new view from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, taken as it looked off to the side of the dwarf planet. Dawn snapped this image on Oct. 16, from its fifth science orbit, in which the angle of the sun was different from that in previous orbits. Dawn was about 920 miles (1,480 kilometers) above Ceres when this image was taken – an altitude the spacecraft had reached in early October.

Occator Crater, with its central bright region and secondary, less-reflective areas, appears quite prominent near the limb, or edge, of Ceres. At 57 miles (92 kilometers) wide and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) deep, Occator displays evidence of recent geologic activity. The latest research suggests that the bright material in this crater is comprised of salts left behind after a briny liquid emerged from below, froze and then sublimated, meaning it turned from ice into vapor.

The impact that formed the crater millions of years ago unearthed material that blanketed the area outside the crater, and may have triggered the upwelling of salty liquid.

“This image captures the wonder of soaring above this fascinating, unique world that Dawn is the first to explore,” said Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer and mission director, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

Dawn scientists also have released an image of Ceres that approximates how the dwarf planet’s colors would appear to the human eye. This view, produced by the German Aerospace Center in Berlin, combines images taken from Dawn’s first science orbit in 2015, using the framing camera’s red, green and blue filters. The color was calculated based on the way Ceres reflects different wavelengths of light.

The spacecraft has gathered tens of thousands of images and other information from Ceres since arriving in orbit on March 6, 2015. After spending more than eight months studying Ceres at an altitude of about 240 miles (385 kilometers), closer than the International Space Station is to Earth, Dawn headed for a higher vantage point in August. In October, while the spacecraft was at its 920-mile altitude, it returned images and other valuable insights about Ceres.

On Nov. 4, Dawn began making its way to a sixth science orbit, which will be over 4,500 miles (7,200 kilometers) from Ceres. While Dawn needed to make several changes in its direction while spiraling between most previous orbits at Ceres, engineers have figured out a way for the spacecraft to arrive at this next orbit while the ion engine thrusts in the same direction that Dawn is already going. This uses less hydrazine and xenon fuel than Dawn’s normal spiral maneuvers. Dawn should reach this next orbit in early December.

One goal of Dawn’s sixth science orbit is to refine previously collected measurements. The spacecraft’s gamma ray and neutron spectrometer, which has been investigating the composition of Ceres’ surface, will characterize the radiation from cosmic rays unrelated to Ceres. This will allow scientists to subtract “noise” from measurements of Ceres, making the information more precise.

The spacecraft is healthy as it continues to operate in its extended mission phase, which began in July. During the primary mission, Dawn orbited and accomplished all of its original objectives at Ceres and protoplanet Vesta, which the spacecraft visited from July 2011 to September 2012.

Dawn’s mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate’s Discovery Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.

TOP IMAGE….Occator on Ceres’ Limb This image of the limb of dwarf planet Ceres shows a section of the northern hemisphere. Prominently featured is Occator Crater, home of Ceres’ intriguing brightest areas.
At 57 miles (92 kilometers) wide and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) deep, Occator displays evidence of recent geologic activity. The latest research suggests that the bright material in this crater is comprised of salts left behind after a briny liquid emerged from below, froze and then sublimated, meaning it turned from ice into vapor. Dawn took this image on Oct. 17 from its second extended-mission science orbit (XMO2), at a distance of about 920 miles (1,480 kilometers) above the surface. The image resolution is about 460 feet (140 meters) per pixel.


LOWER IMAGE….Ceres in Color This image of Ceres approximates how the dwarf planet’s colors would appear to the eye. This view of Ceres, produced by the German Aerospace Center in Berlin, combines images taken during Dawn’s first science orbit in 2015 using the framing camera’s red, green and blue spectral filters. The color was calculated using a reflectance spectrum, which is based on the way that Ceres reflects different wavelengths of light and the solar wavelengths that illuminate Ceres.

Like a cosmic bull’s-eye, Enceladus and Tethys line up almost perfectly for Cassini’s cameras.

Since the two moons are not only aligned, but also at relatively similar distances from Cassini, the apparent sizes in this image are a good approximation of the relative sizes of Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) and Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across).

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from 0.34 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in red light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 24, 2015.

The image was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) from Enceladus. Image scale on Enceladus is 7 miles (12 kilometers) per pixel. Tethys was at a distance of 1.6 million miles (2.6 million kilometers) with a pixel scale of 10 miles (16 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Time And Space

10

Plazuelas (600-900 CE)  is a prehispanic archaeological site located just north of San Juan el Alto, some 2.7 kilometers (1.57 mi.) north of federal highway 90 (Pénjamo-Guadalajara), and about 11 kilometers (6.8 mi.) west of the city of Pénjamo in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico.  The original settlement was considerably larger, with a large, circular structure called El Cajete marking its eastern extent. According to INAH, site remains and evidence confirms the influence of many cultures merging on this site, although it is not certainly known who constructed this city, INAH believes the hunter-gatherer Chichimecas inhabited the Bajio region at the end of the postclassical period, and that many other sedentary cultures lived here before, but these cultures are not mentioned nor identified.

Click pictures for captions.

3

The Roman Road in Cilicia is the remains of an ancient road located near the city of Tarsus in Southern Turkey. It is believed to be part of the major road which connected the regions of Cilicia and Cappadocia in antiquity. The road is believed to have begun in the city of Tyanna (present-day Bahçeli) in southern Cappadocia and ended in Tarsus, the capital city of Cilicia. The total distance of the ancient road is unknown. However, the modern highway distance between Tarsus and Tyanna is approximately 148 kilometers (92 miles). Only about 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) of the road have been unearthed.

Near the southern end of the road there is a stone gate (pictured above) which is believed to have served as a border checkpoint. The gate was originally built during the reign of Caracalla in the 3rd century CE but was demolished and replaced with the present gate sometime in the medieval era.

The current remains were constructed by the Romans in the 1st century CE, but it is known that a road connecting Cilicia and Capadoccia has existed since the Bronze Age. Some scholars believe that a passage has existed as early as the Neolithic era due to reports of Neolithic petroglyphs near the location of the road. Today, the Roman road is a popular spot for local pastoralists.

This view of Jupiter shows the giant planet’s cloud tops taken by the Pioneer 10 spacecraft as it flew past Jupiter. This view was taken from 2,695,000 kilometers (1,842,451 miles) away. It shows the 25,000 mile long Great Red Spot, which is large enough to swallow up several Earths. Individual cloud formations are visible in some detail. The bright zones appear to become split up into the detailed flow patterns of Jupiter’s atmosphere and clouds. The area surrounding the Spot in the bright South Tropical Zone, suggests a flow pattern about the Spot which is bulged toward the north by the Spot. The Spot may be a gigantic “permanent hurricane.” The gigantic cloud swirls are thousands or more miles across. Pioneer 10 flew past Jupiter in December 1974 and flew past the orbit of Pluto in 1987. A sister spacecraft, Pioneer 11 reached Jupiter in December 1975. The Pioneer Project was managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calafornia. The spacecraft was built by TRW Systems.

So, if anyone remembers my math tips post over here, I found an old sheet with the conversions below that saved my life throughout school. This is extremely helpful but just remember, I’m Canadian, so most of these are for Canadians.

IMPERIAL CONVERSIONS

LENGTH

1 foot = 12 inches
1 yard = 3 feet
1 mile = 1760 yards
1 mile = 5280 feet

WEIGHT

1 pound (lbs) = 16 ounces (oz)
1 ton = 2000 pounds

LIQUID CAPACITY

3 tsp = 1 tblsp (teaspoon, tablespoon)
2 tblsp = 1 fl oz (fluid ounce)
8 fl oz = 1 cup
2.5 cups = 1 pint (Canadian)
2 cups = 1 pint (American)
2 pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon
1 bbl = 42 gallons (barrel)

AREA

1 acre = 4840 yd² (yards squared)
1 square smile = 640 acres

TIME

60 sec = 1 min
60 min = 1 hour
24 hours = 1 day
365 days = 1 year

VOLUME

1 imperial gallon = 277 in3 (inches cubed) (Canadian)

METRIC ↔ IMPERIAL CONVERSIONS

LENGTH

1 inch = 2.54 cm (centimeters)
1 foot = 30.84 cm
1 yard = 0.9144 meters
1 mile = 1.6093 km (kilometers)

AREA

1 in² = 6.452  cm²
1 ft² = 0.0929 m²
1 yd² = 0.836 m² (yard)

SOLID VOLUME

1 in3 = 16.387 cm3
1 yd3 = 0.765 m3

LIQUID VOLUME

1 fl oz= 29.574 ml (millilitres)
1 cup - 240 ml
1 gallon = 4.54 l (liters) (Canadian)
1 gallon = 3.785 l (American)

WEIGHT

1 lb = 0.454 kg (kilograms)
1000 kg = 1 tonne
1 ton = 2000 lbs

MISC

1 dm3 = 1 liter
1 liter of water at 0 °C weights 1 kg

I once learned that the surface of the earth relative to its center travels roughly 1,000 kilometers per hour; the earth, relative to the sun, 67,000 kilometers; the solar system, relative to the Milky Way, 490,000 kilometers. 

The world is such a bewildering thing, isn’t it–just dancing its way across the cosmic background in its grand manner, while we live our oblivious little lives. How do I even begin to comprehend how far I’ve come when the universe gets so much done in seconds, while I can account for so little in the 21 years I’ve lived my life? How do I get there, you know, to go the distance and get on the motion of the stars? 

Then again the universe is not obligated to anyone; it goes as such because it’s untethered to consequences. Being human, on the other hand, means to rail against change; everything’s magnified because it takes up so much of our finite time and space. When we love someone, for instance, it’s as though they become the standard against which everything moves; when they leave, everything grinds to a halt. In the background the world has traveled yet another million miles, but the distance it has covered sure as hell does nothing for a broken heart that finds it unbearable to move onward.

That’s what I resist so hard against, I think: dead weight. Moving fast means I cannot afford to get hurt. So there is me: just constantly moving, going, leaving. Away and away, never staying.

Alongside me the world steps in utter disappointment. 

4

SpaceX completes first-ever rocket landing following launch.

For the first time in history, an orbital rocket successfully landed back on Earth following the completion of its primary objective.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 11 satellites for Orbcomm at 8:29 pm EST. Nine minutes later, at 8:38, the 156-foot tall first stage of the rocket landed at Landing Zone-1, seven kilometers south of where it started from, SLC-40.

Following its landing, SpaceX technicians will safe the rocket and lower it to a horizontal position. From there, it will be sent to a facility for further safing and inspection. Sometime in 2016, the stage will be used for fit checks at the company’s newly-acquired and renovated LC-39A at Kennedy Space Center.

Photo credits: SpaceX and Michael Seeley.

theatlantic.com
Scientists Have Discovered a 600-Mile Coral Reef
It’s at the mouth of the Amazon River.
By Robinson Meyer

A team of Brazilian and American scientists have discovered a new sponge and coral reef more than 600 miles long (1,000 kilometers), located at the mouth of the Amazon River. The reef appears to sprawl across more than 3,600 square miles of ocean floor at the edge of the South American continental shelf, from the southern tip of French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhão State.

Part of what surprised the researchers is that the reef could exist at all, because all the gunk in the Amazonian plume often sheltered it from the sun. Later cruises by Moura and other Brazilian researchers have indicated that the reef’s biology varies depending on its location. The southern section is only covered by the plume three months of the year, so its environs can complete more photosynthesis. (Most corals live in symbiotic relationships with photosynthetic algae that inhabit their pores.) The southern section contains more staghorns and other colorful corals, “much more what you might imagine a coral reef would look like,” says Yager. The north section, dominated by sponges and carnivorous creatures, is shielded from sunlight by the muddy plume more than half of the year.