Eight Small Satellites Will Give Us a New Look Inside Hurricanes
The same GPS technology that helps people get where they’re going in a car will soon be used in space in an effort to improve hurricane forecasting. The technology is a key capability in a NASA mission called the Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS).
The CYGNSS mission, led by the University of Michigan, will use eight micro-satellite observatories to measure wind speeds over Earth’s oceans, increasing the ability of scientists to understand and predict hurricanes. Each microsatellite observatory will make observations based on the signals from four GPS satellites.
The CYGNSS microsatellite observatories will only receive signals broadcast directly to them from GPS satellites already orbiting the Earth and the reflection of the same satellite’s signal reflected from the Earth’s surface. The CYGNSS satellites themselves will not broadcast.
The use of eight microsatellite observatories will decrease the revisit time as compared with current individual weather satellites. The spacecraft will be deployed separately around the planet, with successive satellites passing over the same region every 12 minutes.
This will be the first time that satellites can peer through heavy tropical rainfall into the middle of hurricanes and predict how intense they are before and during landfall.
As the CYGNSS and GPS constellations orbit around the Earth, the interaction of the two systems will result in a new image of wind speed over the entire tropics every few hours, compared to every few days for a single satellite.
Another advantage of CYGNSS is that its orbit is designed to measure only in the tropics…where hurricanes develop and are most often located. The focus on tropical activity means that the instruments will be able to gather much more useful data on weather systems exclusively found in the tropics. This data will ultimately be used to help forecasters and emergency managers make lifesaving decisions.
CYGNSS launched at 8:37 a.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 15, from our Kennedy Space Center in Florida. CYGNSS launched aboard an Orbital ATK Pegasus XL rocket, deployed from Orbital’s “Stargazer” L-1011 carrier aircraft.
Pegasus is a winged, three-stage solid propellant rocket that can launch a satellite into low Earth orbit. How does it work? Great question!
After takeoff, the aircraft (which looks like a commercial airplane..but with some special quirks) flies to about 39,000 feet over the ocean and releases the rocket.
After a five-second free fall in a horizontal position, the Pegasus first stage ignites. The aerodynamic lift, generated by the rocket’s triangle-shaped wing, delivers the payload into orbit in about 10 minutes.
Pegasus is used to deploy small satellites weighing up to 1,000 pounds into low Earth orbit.
And success! The eight CYGNSS satellites were successfully deployed into orbit!
What if the Pokémon world... had a Eurovision-esque contest??
Kanto: Doesn’t matter how terrible they are, because Johto
will always give them a high score.
Johto: Doesn’t matter how terrible they are, because
Kanto will always give them a high
Hoenn: Tends to submit a good-to-okay song, though is
usually forgotten about by the end of the night.
Sinnoh: Always submits a peace song
and ends up in the Top 5 because they get their friends to vote for them.
Unova: That one region that
purposefully tries hard not to win.
Kalos: Used to be one of the best
regions, with multiple wins in their history. Now so terrible, they’re
rivalling the Orange Islands for most last place entries.
Orre: The YOLO region. Will submit anything, from a serious ballad about
unrequited love and heartbreak to an old guy dressed as a Charmander rapping
Fiore: Also used to be one of the
Pokévision greats, recently slipped into a dark age of not doing too well.
They’re bad… but not as bad as Kalos.
Almia: Usually ends up in the top 5,
courtesy to the Ranger bloc-voting.
Oblivia: Resorts to doing weird shit to
Orange Islands: Complains incessantly about
how nobody votes for them because “They have no neighbours” In reality, no one
votes for them because they’re crap.
Sevii Islands: Will have to re-apply for the
ability to compete if they ever gain independence from Kanto.
The scores are read out in… Kalosian? Kaloese? PokéFrench anyway.
The maximum number of points a region can give is 12, therefore the highest
score possible is 132. Nobody has yet managed a perfect score. The record high
score is 116, achieved by the Orre region.
Kalos and Fiore share the record for most number of wins, with four each.
The Orange Islands have finished in last place 7 times, on four occasions
with no points.
All the regions have won at least once.
The sixth contest ended in a three-way tie between Kalos, Fiore and the
Orange Islands. This has been the only time the Orange Islands have won.
The second contest was won by the Kanto region, who used Jigglypuffs to lull
the audience and viewers to sleep, and making them miss or forget the entries
which followed. The incident caused Kanto to be disqualified for the next five
contests, and Jigglypuffs have not been allowed to compete since. They are the
only Pokémon banned from competing.
The minimum age for performers is 10 (surely if you can leave home to
travel your country and catch and tame wild monsters at age ten, then surely
you can perform on an international singing competition, right?)
Oblivia holds the record for least number of words in a winning song. Also,
their one winner is also the only winning song to be performed entirely by a
Pokémon. For the record, the song was
performed by a ukulele-playing Pichu and consisted of only 12 words.
The nation of Panem, formed from a post-apocalyptic North America, is a country that consists of a wealthy Capitol region surrounded by 12 poorer districts. Early in its history, a rebellion led by a 13th district against the Capitol resulted in its destruction and the creation of an annual televised event known as the Hunger Games. In punishment, and as a reminder of the power and grace of the Capitol, each district must yield one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 through a lottery system to participate in the games. The ‘tributes’ are chosen during the annual Reaping and are forced to fight to the death, leaving only one survivor to claim victory.
When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. , she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
In Germany, New Year’s Eve is called Silvester. It's a huge event with special foods, public and private fireworks all over the place, a lot of Sekt (champagne) and assorted alcohol inside and on the street, and some traditions very particular to Germany. As a cult thing for many, the evening traditionally starts with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn9vPG8s4ss - an obscure, old 1963 sketch that somehow became a German tradition for Silvester night. (Possibly even more fun with some alcohol already in your system . :D)
Many German New Year’s traditions can be traced back to the pagan Rauhnächte practices of heathen Germanic tribes, which took place in late December and early January. Instead of recognizing a single day as the winter solstice, the tribes observed 12 Rauhnächte. Bringing very little sun to the northern regions, these 12 nights were considered days outside of time, when the solar and lunar years were allowed to re-synchronise. Silvester took place right in the middle of it and was the night of the god Wotan’s wild hunt, a time of particular commotion and celebration.
Germany celebrates Silvester with fireworks, champagne, and boisterous social gatherings. Making noise is key - music, fireworks, firecrackers, drums, whip-cracking, and banging kitchen utensils has been driving away evil spirits since the days of the old Teutons. One of the most famous German firework displays happens in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. Private celebrations and house parties with all kinds of fireworks in the streets and gardens are also common. Since this happens everywhere and there’s a party mood and public drinking all around, some foreign visitors describe Germany on New Year’s Eve as a war zone… ;) On the flip side, when we travel elsewhere where Silvester isn’t as happening as in Germany, we usually wonder why there’s no one partying and shooting off fireworks in the streets. The Rauhnächte were also a time when the future for the New Year could be divined. Silvester in Germany still calls for oracles in the form of party games. Another current tradition involves Krapfen (jelly-filled freshly baked donuts), cake, and champagne at midnight. Parties often last to the daylight hours. For good luck in the new year, acquaintances may give good luck charms to each other in the form of ladybugs, four-leafed clovers, horseshoes, and marzipan pigs.
So Guten Rutsch ins Neue Jahr to all and have fun tonight! :)
During my hiatus, I had the wonderful experience of playing with the Region 12 Symphony Orchestra. It was such an honor, and I had a pleasure working with so many talented musicians, as well as an amazing guest conductor!
Part of our repertoire was the Masquerade Waltz by Katchaturian. Needless to say, I fell in love with the song! It inspired me to transpose this Waltz version of BOA’s Every Heart.
This 4-part piece consists of piano, violin, viola, and cello. I tried to keep the same feel of the song going from 4/4 to ¾, and I hope you guys like it!
P.S. It sounds really pretty toward the end when all of the instruments are present!
The ride-sharing app that beat Uber in China is available in English for the first time
Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hail behemoth that is a key ally of Apple and most recently took over Uber’s business in China, is going global. The English-version of Didi’s app will only be available in beta in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to start out, with more cities added in the near-term. Didi will also offer real-time, in-app, instant text messaging translation between English and Chinese to “facilitate rider-driver communication.” The app will also now support users with mobile phone numbers and credit cards from 12 regions in the world, including the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, the US, and Brazil. Read more
Currently Alecani are a CLOSED SPECIES!I plan on making them an open species in the future, but I need to develop their 12 distinct clans before that. If you want an Alecani character, please wait till all the information is available!
The Alecani are the main species in TeaFeathers, a race of sapient, winged, canine creatures with a love for song and tea! I made this guide as an introduction to the species. Let’s get started!
The Basics Alecani are typically between three and four feet tall when standing upright (some are as tall as five and a half feet), though they are just as comfortable walking on four legs. They have large, powerful, feathered wings and a set of tail feathers located at the base of their fox-like tail that can open and close to help them steer while flying, just like a bird. Tail feather shapes can vary greatly between individuals. They are fairly light-weight animals with the hollow bones of a bird, but with surprising strength and tenacity for their size.
Head and Face Most Alecani have faces and head shapes similar to the crab-eating fox of South America: wedge-shaped and sleek (though some can look rather wolf-like). Their pointed fox-like ears are held in a swept back position when at rest, but they do move their ears around for expression and to hone in on sounds. They have a crest consisting of a single row of wide feathers, starting at the front of the head and ending at the base of the neck where the shoulders begin. This crest also aids in expression, laying loose and flat when relaxed.
They have very large eyes with round pupils; the sclera (whites of the eyes) are not very visible most of the time. So their eyes are like large, glassy, colored orbs in their heads. Think domestic feline in terms of eyes-to-face proportion: big and forward-facing.
Torso, Arms, and Legs In this regard, they are more critter than human. Their shoulders are very narrow and sloped, not wide like a human’s. They lack a collar bone, and their arms are very flexible much like a cat’s limbs. They have shorter upper arms reflecting a more animalistic appearance than a human one, and their legs are digitigrade (like a dog’s).
Hands and Hind Paws An Alecani’s hands are very deft, sporting opposable thumbs like humans. In place of dog-like paw pads, the palms and bottoms of their feet are bare of fur, much like a squirrel or raccoon. Each digit is tipped with a curved claw. The rear feet are something of a meld between canine and bird feet, with the thicker toes of a canine being lengthened some to have the grasping capability of a bird’s. They have a fifth toe that is semi-opposable so they can pick up objects with their feet.
Colors There are 12 different regional clans, all adapted to a different environments (I will cover the clans later). Colors vary depending on which clan they descend from, which depends on the geographic origin. Some will shed and regrow their coats in creams and whites for the winter if there is a snowy season where they come from. Coat and feather colors are limited to“natural” colors, such as various blacks, browns, greys, tans, and creams you would find on most mammals. No bright bird coloration! Some Alecani, however, may have some iridescence to their feathers, like you may see on a crow. Skin color and patterns range between pinks, browns and greys, with possible splotches like you would see in a dog.
Alecani might bleach and dye their feathers for various reasons (fashion, ritual, etc), but no bright colors, such as orange or blue, are naturally occurring. Markings on Alecani are pretty diverse. While they can’t have solid patterned fur like rosettes or tiger stripes (let’s leave that to the Pylura), you can find a pretty wide variety of patterns and markings in their fur and feathers. In addition, all Alecani have round eyebrow markings above their eyes, unless they are solid black or albino.
Diet Alecani are omnivores, with a high need for animal protein sources over plant. Their favorite foods are fish, eggs, and root vegetables, but they enjoy a huge variety of plant based foods like leafy greens and fruits. They’re extremely good at fishing and foraging, and as large airborn predators they are fierce hunters as well. Alecani grow a lot of their own foods, but with an abundance of wild places, they also have ample space to hunt and forage.
Alecani have a respiratory system similar to birds. Their breathing is circular rather than in and out, which allows them to provide more oxygen to their muscles for the athletic act of flying. This also allows them to perform continuous songs without pausing to breathe in.
They posses dual voice boxes, which makes them capable of some pretty advanced mimicry and singing. They can harmonize with themselves and create very beautiful natural song. Howling, human-like singing, bird song, and other sounds comprise their natural range, but they enjoy mimicking as well. Alecani have a strong knack for picking up new languages, including those of other species. As a result they are great communicators, and have learned to speak with a variety of species.
Quick Culture Overview
The species consist of 12 clans, all with their own unique traditions, which I will detail later. Here are some of the commonalities that bind the species together as a single culture.
Alecani live in a world saturated with nature spirits, who are very much respected. They often pay tribute at shrines with offerings of food, tea, song, or incense. Spirits inhabit so much of the natural world, that expanding any settlements requires an agreement and an exchange with the spirits in the area. The very few large Alecani cities in existence are occupied by powerful patron spirits, who watch over the inhabitants.
All clans have different sorts of homes, ranging from elaborate dens dug into the side of hills (think hobbit holes) to built up nests and tree house complexes. Nym’s clan carve their homes directly into the red canyon rock of their biome. Though their homes will vary, each one has similar comforts; sleeping chambers for individuals, a common area a kitchen, and lots of tea!
Alecani are not alone in this world. They live side by side with the Pylura, a sapient race of cat people who value discovery, metallurgy, and curiosity. They have been together so long that the first meeting between their kind has passed into legend. I’ll discuss Pylura more in their very own species profile. The economy is very trade based, valuing spices and tea over most other commodities. In areas with a higher population, a more common currency of metal rings has arisen, sometimes supplemented with rations of salt. The farther into the wild areas you get the less the metal rings are used.
Alecani LOVE song, stories, and language. It’s common to find talented singers and bards performing for small crowds. A singing Alecani tends to attract small spirits into the audience as well. The better the voice, the larger and more powerful of spirits are attracted. The very best singer/storyteller of each generation is called The Harp. The Harp attracts a special large spirit, one that can only be called by the sweetest or most compelling voice. This spirit performs alongside the chosen Alecani by manipulating strings of the individual’s soul and playing them like a harp, a truly stunning concert to behold.
Half of all Alecani possess the ability to use magic. Magic in TeaFeathers consists of energy from the spirit world channeled through the individual’s body in an intuitive manner. It manifests in an elemental fashion, in a way that reflects the individual’s personality. Water, steam, air, trees, gemstones, sand, storms, flowers, and things along those lines. For instance, Nym’s magic manifests as leaves and ferns, but doesn’t consist of REAL leaves and ferns. It’s just spirit energy in that shape, which exists and interacts with the world only as long as she puts energy into it. Fire and heat based magics are extremely uncommon in Alecani (less than .001%), but prevalent in Pylura. Usually elemental magic users with fire, magma, or lightening are ostracized from Alecani society.
Ages 1 to 3 During the toddler stage, they begin to move around and speak, much like human children, and a new layer of feathers starts growing into their wings. These new feathers won’t let them fly, but do help provide air resistance when they flap their wings so they can get stronger.
Age 3 to 11 As small kits, Alecani have successive feather molts when their feathers get closer and closer to being functional flight feathers. They might be able to achieve short glides during these years.
Age 11 to 16 First sustained flight is a special occasion, celebrated as a right of passage. It’s a group holiday, gathering the entire village to see kits off into the sky for the first time. At this age, the kits are no longer totally dependent on their parents and are expected to start exploring on their own more. This is around the preteen stage, just before puberty.
Age 16 to 20 During puberty, Alecani reach their full height and wingspan, though they might not grow into their adult weight for some years. Pubescent Alecani are flush full of hormones and can be extremely erratic. They test one another’s strength and flight capabilities often at this age, engaging in dangerous games and contests. Alecani cannot biologically have kits until a few years into puberty, nature’s way of avoiding having a young kit dumped into the arms of an adrenaline junkie. At this age they leave home and live in adolescent colonies, where they can be rambunctious without effecting the rest of the population.
Age 20 to 55 At this age Alecani have settled into their adult size and have calmed from the hormonal rush of puberty. They can bear kits if they choose, and the come back to live with the general population again. An adult Alecani’s return is a special occasion which is celebrated by an intimate elaborately prepared meal with their closest family and friends.
Age 55 to 80 Around age 65 both male and female Alecani loose their ability to breed. Females go through a gradual menopause starting around age 55 to 60, lasting up to a decade. Males go through a similar hormone reduction period during which mating hormones and sperm potency reduce. By the time they hit 65, they are pretty much out of the game of making kits. At this age they might start to put on a little weight, their tail fur may thin a little, and they start to grow tufts of longer hair in places on the face.
Elderly Alecani are very long-lived animals, reaching the early years beyond their 100th birthday with ease. The oldest known Alecani lived to be 146. The elderly often loose their ability to fly due to the effect the years can have on the body. Their facial fur tufts get very long and wild at this age, and are often decorated and braided. As they age it gets longer, and very old Alecani can sport some pretty goofy or majestic looking tufts.
Justin Oluransi is by absolutely no means the first scientist at the Samwell Institute to accidentally blow up his lab. Only three weeks earlier, Jenny and Mandy down in particle physics had blown something up, and one of the other men in Justin’s lab, Will Poindexter (mechanical engineering), had accidentally soldered a – well, Justin wasn’t really sure what it was, but he thinks magnesium was involved, and they’d needed to call the fire department.
And maybe Justin had been paying too much attention to the fire department closest to them after that, because one of their lieutenants was…
Well, he was six foot four and blond and had this ridiculous dimple in his chin and Justin had only ever seen him in his turnouts, but oh god how badly he wanted to see him in something else. Justin did not intentionally explode his lab, he wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last, but he was absolutely the first biologist.
This is how he finds himself sitting on the tailgate of an ambulance breathing into an oxygen mask while the unnecessarily hot firefighter stands a few feet away conferring with their director. He’s taken off his turnout coat, which is maybe Justin’s new favourite thing, because his t-shirt looks a little too small and the man looks damn fine in navy blue and he’s got an IAFF logo tattooed on the back of his triceps and Jesus.
“Now, how are my favourite lab monkeys?” the unnecessarily hot firefighter asks, coming over to the ambulance. Poindexter is sitting next to him with his own oxygen mask, Justin remembers. The third man in their lab, Derek Nurse (astrophysics) is leaning casually against the back of the vehicle since he hadn’t actually been in the lab when Justin caught it on fire.
“Can we go back to work yet?” Poindexter asks.
“Director Zimmermann says the cleaning crew is going through your lab first,” the unnecessarily hot firefighter replies. “But we’ll let you know.”
The four of them look over at the building of Samwell Institute. One of the windows is gently smoking and Justin knows it’s his own damn lab because he’s stupid. Well, no, he’s not stupid, he has a PhD from Stanford, but he’s apparently an idiot.
The Guardian Picture Desk elected Turkish photographer Bulent Kilic from AFP as the best photographer of the year. Here is a look back on 2014 through his lens. Unrest in Ukraine to the refugee crisis on the Turkish-Syrian border through the plane crash of MH17 flight.
So what are the good things about Bernie Sanders? (I just wanted a list of all the good things about him, so I could show someone it)
His main issues he is focusing on are:
Campaign finance: Limit corporate and interest-group spending in campaigns.
Sanders proposes a Constitutional amendmentthat would effectively reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling and ban corporations and nonprofits from unlimited campaign expenditures. The independent senator would also require disclosure of any organizations spending $10,000 or more on an election-related campaign.
Climate change: Charge companies for carbon emissions
Health care: Change to single-payer government-provided health care
Sanders voted for the Affordable Care Act, but believes that the new health care law did not go far enough. Instead, he espouses a single-payer system in which the federal and state governments would provide health care to all Americans. Participating states would be required to set up their own single-payer system and a national oversight board would establish an overall budget.
Immigration: Offer path to citizenship. Waive some deportations now.
Sanders generally agrees with President Obama that most of the undocumented immigrants in the country now should be given a path to citizenship. He voted for the senate immigration bill in 2013, which would have increased border security and issued a provisional immigrant status to millions of undocumented residents once some significant security metrics had been met. In addition, Sanders has supported President Obama’s use of executive orders to waive deportation for some groups of immigrants, including those who were brought to the United States as children.
Taxes: Raise some taxes on the wealthy. Cut taxes for middle and lower class.
The current ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders wouldnearly double taxes on capital gains and dividends for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. In addition, this year Sanders asked President Obama to use executive action to close six tax deductions benefitting corporations and hedge funds. The Vermont senator would use some of the revenue gained from higher taxes on the rich to lower taxes for middle and lower class Americans.
Iraq, Islamic State and Afghanistan: Opposed the Iraq war. Calls for troop withdrawal as soon as possible.
A living wage (he did the following while he is senator):
Proposed a national $15 per hour minimum wage.
Introduced a budget amendment to raise the minimum wage.
Introduced the “Workplace Democracy Act” to strengthen the role of unions and the voices of working people on the job.
Reforming Wall Street:
Introduced the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act,” which would break up the big banks and would prohibit any too-big-to-fail institutions from accessing the Federal Reserve’s discount facilities or using insured deposits for risky activities.
Led the fight in 1999 against repealing the Glass-Steagall provisions which prevented banks (especially “too big to fail” ones) from gambling with customers’ money; is a co-sponsor of the Elizabeth Warren/John McCain bill to reinstate those provisions.
Has proposed a financial transaction tax which will reduce risky and unproductive high-speed trading and other forms of Wall Street speculation; proceeds would be used to provide debt-free public college education.
Is co-sponsoring Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s bill to end Wall Street’s practice of paying big bonuses to bank executives who take senior-level government jobs.
Introduced a tax on Wall Street speculation to make public colleges and universities tuition-free Supports capping credit card interest rates at 15 percent.
Sponsored an amendment calling for an audit the Federal Reserve. The audit found that far more had been spent in the Wall Street bailout than previously disclosed, and that considerable funds had been spent to bail out foreign corporations.
Warned about the risks of deregulation eight years before the fiscal crisis of 2008.
Has proposed limiting the ability of bankers to get rich from taxpayer bailouts of their institutions
(March 31, 1999) In the most active starburst region in the local universe lies a cluster of brilliant, massive stars, known to astronomers as Hodge 301. Hodge 301, seen in the lower right hand corner of this image, lives inside the Tarantula Nebula in our galactic neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud. This star cluster is not the brightest, or youngest, or most populous star cluster in the Tarantula Nebula, that honor goes to the spectacular R136. In fact, Hodge 301 is almost 10 times older than the young cluster R136. But age has its advantages; many of the stars in Hodge 301 are so old that they have exploded as supernovae. These exploded stars are blasting material out into the surrounding region at speeds of almost 200 miles per second. This high speed ejecta are plowing into the surrounding Tarantula Nebula, shocking and compressing the gas into a multitude of sheets and filaments, seen in the upper left portion of the picture. Hodge 301 contains three red supergiants - stars that are close to the end of their evolution and are about to go supernova, exploding and sending more shocks into the Tarantula. Also present near the center of the image are small, dense gas globules and dust columns where new stars are being formed today, as part of the overall ongoing star formation throughout the Tarantula region.
Image # : PR99-12