Saturday, November 3, 2012

No Marathon. Nasa's Curiosity. Space Shuttles. Nastiest Elections. NYC Gas Crisis. Drowned Rats. “A World Without Cancer”. World War II Pigeon. Space Dog. Detroit-Windsor Tunnel. “Bitter Seeds”.


For “Summary Saturday”, News, Some New, Some Old:

New York City Marathon Canceled After Sandy Outcry

“Mayor Michael Bloomberg bowed to public pressure today and canceled Sunday's running of the 2012 ING New York Marathon.

NYC Marathon

The mayor's action came amid an outcry that the event would take away from efforts to help thousands of New Yorkers who are without power or homeless because of superstorm Sandy.

"While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division," the mayor said in a statement. "The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it."”


Staten Island Hotel Owner, Refuses To Evict Hurricane Refugees For NYC Marathon Runners

“Richard Nicotra, owner of Hilton Garden Inn in Bloomfield, who expressed his concern for Staten Island residents who have sought refuge at the hotel and have nowhere else to turn.

"How do I tell people that have no place to go, that have no home, no heat, that you have to leave because I need to make room for someone who has to run a marathon? I can't do that," Nicotra said.”    More at:


Curiosity Mars rover finds soil similar to Hawaii's

Curiosity rover's scoop of soil Curiosity's chief scientist said the most important thing about the mobile laboratory is that it eats dirt

“Nasa's Curiosity rover has found soil on Mars to be similar to Hawaii's after sifting and scanning its first sample on the Red Planet.  The robot's CheMin instrument shook out fine particles of soil and fired X-rays at them to determine their composition.

These sandy samples should give clues about Mars' recent geological history.  As had been theorized, much of the sample is made of weathered "basaltic" materials of volcanic origin, like that seen on the islands of Hawaii.  The sample seems to contain dust carried from afar by Mars' global-scale storms, as well as coarser sand of more local provenance.”     More at:


NASA rover doesn't detect methane on Mars

LOS ANGELES (AP) November 2, 2012 — “Scientists say initial sampling of Mars' atmosphere by the NASA rover Curiosity did not definitively detect methane, a gas that can be a clue to determining if the red planet ever was hospitable to microbial life.

On Earth, methane is somethingTest results released Friday in a teleconference from Jet Propulsion Laboratory are not conclusive but are in line with past studies that found no regular methane on Mars.  The results do stand in contrast to other research such as observations by Earth-based telescopes that indicated Mars belched thousands of tons of methane in 2003.

On Earth, methane gas is overwhelmingly a byproduct of life, but it can also be produced by non-biological processes.  Mission scientists will continue to search for methane.”


All NASA’s space shuttles are retired or gone: a look at where they are now, November 2, 5:49 PM

Space shuttle Atlantis takes

The last of NASA’s space shuttles to fly, Atlantis, is the last to move to its new retirement home, just 10 miles away at Kennedy Space Center’s main tourist site.

“A look at each of the shuttles in the order they flew, including the test model:”  More at:


US history's strangest, nastiest presidential elections

“Reading the political news, you'd think this election is the nastiest, most contentious and most important our nation has ever faced. No doubt the outcome matters, but in the annals of American elections, this one barely registers for sheer strangeness.

(Editorial Note: This post

In fact, electoral politics have always been a down-and-dirty business, starting at least as early as 1800, when our founding fathers proved themselves adept at bitter battles. Other elections have featured nasty accusations, bizarre happenstance and even the death of one of the candidates.

Read on for five of the strangest presidential elections in U.S. history:”


Gas Panic Stirs Fear Among Those Left In Sandy's Path

“New Jersey, New York residents report hours-long lines, dry pumps

Some New York, New Jersey

In theory, industry analysts say there's no reason that victims of Hurricane Sandy's devastating path should face gas shortages or long lines at the pump. In reality, many gas stations are shuttered. And at ones that are open, customers face lines that are hours and miles long. Tempers are raging, and even fights are breaking out.
It's not necessarily happening because of a lack of gas.
"Right now, we don't have a gasoline crisis or an oil crisis or a diesel crisis," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service told The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J.   "We have an electricity crisis."”


At last some good news for New Yorkers:


Thousands of RATS may have drowned in superstorm as water swept into city's tunnels

Casualties: A family of rats drowned on the FDR Drive as they were trying to escape the flood waters

Casualties: A family of rats drowned on the FDR Drive as they were trying to escape the flood waters

“In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, fears were rife that the streets would be overrun with rats escaping the flooded tunnels and subways.  But it now looks as if those fears may have been groundless as there have not, as yet, been any reports of rodents roaming the streets.  Experts are saying the water likely rushed into tunnels so fast that the rats - despite being strong swimmers - had no time to escape and died.”    Read more:

Margaret Cuomo, MD: Cancer Research Has Failed

“Her just-released first book is titled A World Without Cancer, and she means it.  But the billions of federal dollars spent over the last 40 years to defeat this disease are not getting us there, she says. She calls instead for a new emphasis on prevention, on diet, exercise, and by focusing on the hundreds of chemicals we are exposed to in our daily lives.”

See video at:


World War II Carrier Pigeon With Coded Message Found In England

“A retired probation officer in England cleaning out his chimney recently was startled to sweep up a 70-year-old secret amid the soot: the skeleton of a World War II carrier pigeon with a coded message still attached to its leg. David Martin, 74, found the bird's remains while renovating a unused fireplace at his Surrey home not far from the wartime headquarters of Gen. Bernard Montgomery, the Daily Mail writes. The British commander planned the D-Day invasion at a hotel in nearby Reigate.”

“Government code-breakers are working on deciphering a message that has remained a secret for 70 years.   It was found on the remains of a carrier pigeon that was discovered in a chimney, in Surrey, having been there for decades.

It is thought the contents of the note, once decoded, could provide fresh information from World War II.”        

Video showing some info about this, and other war pigeons, plus some interesting views of Bletchley Park, Bucks., England at:

“Bletchley Park is an estate located in the town of Bletchley, in Buckinghamshire, England, which currently houses the National Codes Centre and the National Museum of Computing.”    More at:


On This Day:

Detroit-Windsor Tunnel opens to traffic, Nov 3, 1930:

At 12:05 A.M. on this day in 1930, the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel between the United States and Canada is officially opened to car traffic. As Windsor Mayor Frederick Jackson had bragged at the tunnel's elaborate dedication ceremony two days before, the structure--the only international subaqueous tunnel in the world--made it possible to "pass from one great country to the other in the short space of three minutes." (For his part, Detroit Mayor Frank Murphy cheered that the project signified "a new appreciation of our desire to preserve peace, friendship, and the brotherhood of man.") The first passenger car through the tunnel was a 1929 Studebaker.

Construction on the tunnel began in May 1928 and relied on all sorts of innovative methods and technologies. Workers known as "sandhogs" excavated the gray muck under the river by blasting at it with air-driver knives; then, they used powerful hydraulic jacks to push a huge shield forward through the mud. Behind the shield, workers lined the new tunnel with giant steel plates. Next, they completed the underwater part of the tunnel using a process they called the "trench-and-tube": After the sandhogs had lined the underwater trench with steel plates, they sank nine 250-foot-long, 8,000-ton steel and concrete tubes to the bottom of the river, where divers welded them together.

The tunnel had an amazingly sophisticated ventilation system. Each end of the tunnel had a 100-foot–tall ventilation tower; each tower held 12 huge fans, six for pumping fresh air into the tunnel and six for exhaust. (Each tower had 3,000 of what one engineer called "gill-like glass openings for the admission of fresh air to the blower system.") The powerful blowers pumped (and still pump) 1.5 million cubic feet of air into the tunnel each minute, completely changing the air in the tunnel every 90 seconds. As a result, though many people were concerned about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the tunnel, the air under the river was actually cleaner than the air on the Detroit streets outside.

The tunnel's ventilation system still works just as well as it did 80 years ago. In fact, the air quality is so good that every year the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is a part of the Free Press Marathon--the only international underwater mile in road racing.”



The Soviet space dog, Nov 3, 1957:

“The Soviet Union launches the first animal into space—a dog name Laika—aboard the Sputnik 2 spacecraft.

Laika, part Siberian husky, lived as a stray on the Moscow streets before being enlisted into the Soviet space program. Laika survived for several days as a passenger in the USSR's second artificial Earth satellite, kept alive by a sophisticated life-support system. Electrodes attached to her body provided scientists on the ground with important information about the biological effects of space travel. She died after the batteries of her life-support system ran down.

At least a dozen more Russian dogs were launched into space in preparation for the first manned Soviet space mission, and at least five of these dogs died in flight. On April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space, aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1. He orbited Earth once before landing safely in the USSR.”



For once, I didn’t have to get up and rush around to be ready to do anything, or go anywhere.   Even the little kitten slept in, so she didn’t have her bottle until 7.00AM.  After I had published the journal, fed the animals and dressed, I happened across the video “Bitter Seeds”.  As I was in a lazy mood, I watched the whole 1¼ hour video.

“Bitter Seeds is about India which has more farmers than any country in the world, and they are in a crisis that is unprecedented in human history.  Every 30 minutes a farmer in India kills himself in despair.  In a village at the center of the suicide epidemic, a farmer and his family struggle to keep his land and a teenage girl makes her first steps to become a journalist and tell the world about the crisis.  Bitter Seeds raises questions about the human cost of genetically-modified agriculture and the future of how we grow things.”

That wasn’t any surprise to me, we have all heard about the Indian farmer’s suicides over the evil Monsanto seeds.   The part which interested me was their simple, hard-working way of life. They use oxen for most of the chores, which just plod along, uncomplaining, doing their work, even though some of them had their ribs showing. Daughters are considered a liability, and sons are rejoiced.  Even a very poor father has to have a dowry before his daughter can marry the man the elders have chosen for her.  If she has a ‘love marriage’, it shames the family, and the other daughters cannot marry.   Very different from life here in the USA.

“Bitter Seeds”

At least some good is happening there in India:

“Dr Vananda Shiva has been championing heritage seeds and natural farming methods and opposing GM crops for a long time. This month, Oct 2012 saw her win the Supreme Court case where a ten year ban was imposed on GM testing on Indian soil.”  See: 

Misty and I did take a break halfway into the video, and had our walk-about down to the mail boxes, as I had a letter to mail yesterday.


Sandra said...

I wish North America could be convinced to give up on GMO planting. I doubt it will happen, too interested in the almighty dollar. I wonder if they let their families eat GMO foods.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi Sandra,Thank you for your comment.

The powers that be don't let their families eat GMO foods. See my article on 26th. Oct:

Congrats on being able to eat an egg!!

Happy Trails, Penny.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

And here is another one:

That should tell us something when they don't even serve GMO foods in Monsanto's cafeteria!!

Happy Trails, Penny.