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Ralph Roberts

Ralph Roberts 

✔ Verified - Author (over 100 books), publisher, producer, profilic and entertaining poster on G+

Occupation: Author, publisher, producer (CopyRalph.com)

Location: Asheville, North Carolina

Followers: 39,563

Following: 4,732

Views: 110,186,033

Added to CircleCount.com: 08/22/2011That's the date, where Ralph Roberts has been indexed by CircleCount.com.
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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 24

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2016-01-08 13:06:01 (24 comments; 25 reshares; 48 +1s)Open 

NASA’s New VASIMR Plasma Engine Could Reach Mars in 39 days ... "NASA recently provided $10 million in funding to Ad Astra Rocket Company of Texas for further development of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), an electromagnetic thruster capable of propelling a spaceship to Mars in just 39 days. NASA’s funding was part of the “12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership.” Ad Astra’s rocket will travel ten times faster than today’s chemical rockets while using one-tenth the amount of fuel.

The VASIMR system would cut the trip to Mars by months according to Franklin Chang Diaz, a former MIT student, NASA astronaut, and now CEO of Ad Astra.

According to Diaz, “this is like no other rocket that you may have seen in the past. It is a plasma rocket. The VASIMR Rocket is not used for launching things; it is used for things alreadyin orbit. Thi... more »

Most reshares: 25

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2016-01-08 13:06:01 (24 comments; 25 reshares; 48 +1s)Open 

NASA’s New VASIMR Plasma Engine Could Reach Mars in 39 days ... "NASA recently provided $10 million in funding to Ad Astra Rocket Company of Texas for further development of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), an electromagnetic thruster capable of propelling a spaceship to Mars in just 39 days. NASA’s funding was part of the “12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership.” Ad Astra’s rocket will travel ten times faster than today’s chemical rockets while using one-tenth the amount of fuel.

The VASIMR system would cut the trip to Mars by months according to Franklin Chang Diaz, a former MIT student, NASA astronaut, and now CEO of Ad Astra.

According to Diaz, “this is like no other rocket that you may have seen in the past. It is a plasma rocket. The VASIMR Rocket is not used for launching things; it is used for things alreadyin orbit. Thi... more »

Most plusones: 66

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2016-01-18 14:34:54 (3 comments; 16 reshares; 66 +1s)Open 

Cosmic first: Flower blooms in space aboard space station ... Successfully growing the first flower in space brings explorers one step closer to growing fresh produce on long space missions. ... "For the first time ever, a flower has bloomed in space, aboard the International Space Station. This brings cosmic explorers one step closer to growing other flowering plants in space, like tomatoes, which NASA says it hopes to do in 2018.

On Saturday, American astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been working since March 2015 on the space laboratory and has become its resident gardner, gleefully announced on Twitter that he successfully coaxed the brightly colored Zinnia to blossom, a big accomplishment, as less than a month ago, the plants were moldy and shrivelled.

But even the space mold held some interest to researchers, so it was collected and frozen so it can be returned to Earth... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2016-04-24 18:51:51 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

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2016-04-18 19:20:38 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

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2016-04-18 14:20:45 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 9 +1s)Open 

Radio Ham heard Titanic’s call for Help ... from South Wales Argus via http://QRZnews.com by Martin Wade -- "ARTIE Moore was born in 1887, Victoria was still on the throne and he lived in a 17th century water mill. But his fascination for the very modern technology of wireless communication meant that on the night of April 15 1912 when a disaster happened which would be known across the world, it would change his life forever.

As a child, Artie had an accident at the mill badly injuring his leg, which had to be amputated. Perhaps spurred by this setback he developed a fascination for engineering, which saw him make a device so he could still pedal his bicycle while wearing a wooden leg.

The water mill at Gelli Groes was the perfect workshop for the youngster. He used a lathe driven by the water-wheel to build a working model steam engine. Having entered a competition inThe... more »

Radio Ham heard Titanic’s call for Help ... from South Wales Argus via http://QRZnews.com by Martin Wade -- "ARTIE Moore was born in 1887, Victoria was still on the throne and he lived in a 17th century water mill. But his fascination for the very modern technology of wireless communication meant that on the night of April 15 1912 when a disaster happened which would be known across the world, it would change his life forever.

As a child, Artie had an accident at the mill badly injuring his leg, which had to be amputated. Perhaps spurred by this setback he developed a fascination for engineering, which saw him make a device so he could still pedal his bicycle while wearing a wooden leg.

The water mill at Gelli Groes was the perfect workshop for the youngster. He used a lathe driven by the water-wheel to build a working model steam engine. Having entered a competition in The Model Engineer magazine, his prize was a book called ‘Modern Views of Magnetism and Electricity’. It was to be the spark which would ignite his interest in radio. ...

Artie used his engineering skills to store electricity in his batteries using a generator hooked up to the water wheel. He would also charge batteries for local businesses and farmers, who must have come and gazed in wonder at the sparks generated by his radio transmitter.

The thin strand of copper strung across the Sirhowy, near Ty Llwyd farm, would be the magical thread connecting the talented man to the world in a way that was unthinkable to most people then.

He soon became known beyond the Gwent valley when the Daily Sketch featured him on their front page after he intercepted the Italian government's declaration of war on Libya in 1911.

A bigger story was looming in which Artie would play a part.
The RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat when it entered service. Graceful, palatial and vast, she carried 2,224 passengers and crew – some in luxury, but all in comfort. The White Star Line ship was on her maiden voyage, and having left her final port of call, Queenstown in Southern Ireland, steamed out into the Atlantic bound for New York.

The Titanic's radio equipment was manned 24-hours a day sending and receiving passenger telegrams, handling navigation messages including weather reports and ice warnings.
A sound-proofed radio room on the boat deck was manned by two operators and had an aerial strung from its roof along the length of the ship. This strand of wire would send its faint signals which Artie Moore’s spindly cable could pick up thousands of miles away.
Just after midnight on April 15 1912, while steaming in the North Atlantic the Titanic collided with an iceberg 375 miles south of the coast of Newfoundland. As millions of tons of water poured through a massive gash in the ship’s hull, the two radio men frantically sent out their signals.

Meanwhile, in the early morning at Gelli Groes mill, Artie was at his desk, listening. He heard a faint signal in Morse code: "CQD Titanic 41.44N 50.24W." The cryptic ‘CQD’ meant simply ‘Come Quickly Distress". The numbers gave the ship’s position.

It was quickly followed by a further call. Radio was in its infancy and terms familiar to us were new then. The operators, more desperate now used the new SOS signal: "CQD CQD SOS de MGY Position 41.44N 50.24W. Require immediate assistance. Come at once. We have struck an iceberg. Sinking." ‘MGY’ was the radio call-sign for the Titanic.

Moore frantically wrote down the messages, but still they carried on.

"We are putting the passengers off in small boats" said another. "Women and children in boats, cannot last much longer - Come as quickly as possible; our engine-room is filling up to the boilers."
Then, finally: "SOS SOS CQD CQD Titanic. We are sinking fast. Passengers are being put into boats. Titanic."

Moore continued to copy the desperate messages until the Titanic went silent about two hours after the first distress call.

As the signals faded, he ran to the police station to tell them. But the police and everyone else he told didn’t believe him. And who could blame them? He was the one-legged boffin who tinkered with his mysterious contraptions and strung wires across the valley. But they were soon proved wrong. As newspaper reports appeared, they read of the 1,500 people who drowned in the icy Atlantic. They found out too that, just as Artie had claimed, the Titanic had been using the new SOS distress signal.

The skill Artie showed that night was eventually rewarded. As proof came of his fantastic story, a local resident wrote to radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, who had worked in South Wales, telling him of Moore’s achievement. Marconi came to meet him and offered him a job with his fledgling wireless company.
Two years later, as war broke out, Artie’s talents were even more in demand. He was employed as a technician for the Royal Navy. He supervised the fitting of equipment similar to that which he used on that fateful night on naval battleships. As HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible then steamed 8,000 miles south to the Falkland Islands in 1914 to meet a German naval force off the Falkland Islands, they could easily communicate with home and eachother.
Still working with the Marconi Company he did research in developing the radio valve without which vital advances in wireless technology would not have happened.

After the war he kept working in the field. In 1922 he fitted the first fishing boat to be equipped with wireless equipment and in 1932, he patented the Echo-meter - an early form of sonar.

He retired in 1947, but with failing health, he moved to Jamaica to recuperate. But after only six months, he returned to Britain and died at a convalescent home in Bristol. The end of his days mirrored his most famous moment. As those fateful messages crossed the Atlantic, so did he in the final months of his life.

full article: http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/14428359.THE_LONG_VIEW__The_Blackwood_man_who_heard_the_Titanic___s_call_for_help/___

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2016-04-13 13:05:55 (1 comments; 3 reshares; 22 +1s)Open 

A new plan to send spacecraft to the stars: replace rockets with lasers ... Interstellar travel means thinking both very big and very small ... "PACEX and Blue Origin, two American space companies, can now return their rockets to Earth and reuse them, which promises to reduce the cost of launches. But what if, instead of bringing a spacecraft’s boosters back to Earth, you could build a booster that never leaves it? Your propulsion system could be arbitrarily large and powerful, since you wouldn’t have to lift it; your spacecraft, no longer needing engines or fuel, could be stripped down to its barest essentials.

Such a split sounds impractical, but beams of light could make it work. One of the counterintuitive implications of the theory of relativity is that, although light has no mass, it still has momentum. Thus when light bounces off a mirror it exerts a tiny pressure; if thelig... more »

A new plan to send spacecraft to the stars: replace rockets with lasers ... Interstellar travel means thinking both very big and very small ... "PACEX and Blue Origin, two American space companies, can now return their rockets to Earth and reuse them, which promises to reduce the cost of launches. But what if, instead of bringing a spacecraft’s boosters back to Earth, you could build a booster that never leaves it? Your propulsion system could be arbitrarily large and powerful, since you wouldn’t have to lift it; your spacecraft, no longer needing engines or fuel, could be stripped down to its barest essentials.

Such a split sounds impractical, but beams of light could make it work. One of the counterintuitive implications of the theory of relativity is that, although light has no mass, it still has momentum. Thus when light bounces off a mirror it exerts a tiny pressure; if the light is bright enough, and the mirror light enough, the mirror will start moving.

...

The propulsion system Mr Milner sees as the final goal would consist of perhaps 10m lasers, each delivering 10 kilowatts or so, spread over a square kilometre of otherwise empty desert. For a launch their output would be combined into a single 100GW beam focused on a sail just a few metres across up in space. If that sail and its starchip were to have a mass of just five grams, then after ten minutes of the array’s 670-newton attention the probe would be a third of the way to the orbit of Mars and travelling at a quarter of the speed of light—fast enough to get to the nearest stars in less than 20 years. At its destination it would beam back pictures of the star’s planets with its on-board laser. No current observatory could possibly pick up such a signal—but the kilometre-wide launch array should be able to. The optical systems used to meld the output of the lasers could be used in reverse as a vast and sensitive telescope. ..."

full article: http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21696876-interstellar-travel-means-thinking-both-very-big-and-very-small-new-plan___

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2016-04-13 13:05:17 (9 comments; 12 reshares; 30 +1s)Open 

A new plan to send spacecraft to the stars: replace rockets with lasers ... Interstellar travel means thinking both very big and very small ... "PACEX and Blue Origin, two American space companies, can now return their rockets to Earth and reuse them, which promises to reduce the cost of launches. But what if, instead of bringing a spacecraft’s boosters back to Earth, you could build a booster that never leaves it? Your propulsion system could be arbitrarily large and powerful, since you wouldn’t have to lift it; your spacecraft, no longer needing engines or fuel, could be stripped down to its barest essentials.

Such a split sounds impractical, but beams of light could make it work. One of the counterintuitive implications of the theory of relativity is that, although light has no mass, it still has momentum. Thus when light bounces off a mirror it exerts a tiny pressure; if thelig... more »

A new plan to send spacecraft to the stars: replace rockets with lasers ... Interstellar travel means thinking both very big and very small ... "PACEX and Blue Origin, two American space companies, can now return their rockets to Earth and reuse them, which promises to reduce the cost of launches. But what if, instead of bringing a spacecraft’s boosters back to Earth, you could build a booster that never leaves it? Your propulsion system could be arbitrarily large and powerful, since you wouldn’t have to lift it; your spacecraft, no longer needing engines or fuel, could be stripped down to its barest essentials.

Such a split sounds impractical, but beams of light could make it work. One of the counterintuitive implications of the theory of relativity is that, although light has no mass, it still has momentum. Thus when light bounces off a mirror it exerts a tiny pressure; if the light is bright enough, and the mirror light enough, the mirror will start moving.

...

The propulsion system Mr Milner sees as the final goal would consist of perhaps 10m lasers, each delivering 10 kilowatts or so, spread over a square kilometre of otherwise empty desert. For a launch their output would be combined into a single 100GW beam focused on a sail just a few metres across up in space. If that sail and its starchip were to have a mass of just five grams, then after ten minutes of the array’s 670-newton attention the probe would be a third of the way to the orbit of Mars and travelling at a quarter of the speed of light—fast enough to get to the nearest stars in less than 20 years. At its destination it would beam back pictures of the star’s planets with its on-board laser. No current observatory could possibly pick up such a signal—but the kilometre-wide launch array should be able to. The optical systems used to meld the output of the lasers could be used in reverse as a vast and sensitive telescope. ..."

full article: http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21696876-interstellar-travel-means-thinking-both-very-big-and-very-small-new-plan___

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2016-04-09 05:43:09 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

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2016-04-08 12:45:12 (1 comments; 3 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

Giant presidential statues crumble in abandoned wasteland
... Photographer David Ogden traveled to Virginia to capture the abandoned statues that used to sit in President Park until the park closed in 2010. The impressive statues, sculpted by Houston-based artist David Adickes, were placed in the park back in 2004. ... more photos: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/giant-presidential-statues-crumble-abandoned-wasteland-gallery-1.2535082

Giant presidential statues crumble in abandoned wasteland
... Photographer David Ogden traveled to Virginia to capture the abandoned statues that used to sit in President Park until the park closed in 2010. The impressive statues, sculpted by Houston-based artist David Adickes, were placed in the park back in 2004. ... more photos: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/giant-presidential-statues-crumble-abandoned-wasteland-gallery-1.2535082___

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2016-04-02 15:08:29 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 13 +1s)Open 

 *May 18, 1953 – At Rogers Dry Lake, California, in her Canadair Sabre, American Jackie Cochran became the first female pilot to break the sound barrier.* ... "... Postwar, Cochran began flying the new jet aircraft, going on to set numerous records; most conspicuously, she became the first woman pilot to "go supersonic".

Encouraged by then-Major Chuck Yeager, with whom Cochran shared a lifelong friendship, on May 18, 1953, at Rogers Dry Lake, California, Cochran flew a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet borrowed from the Royal Canadian Air Force at an average speed of 652.337 mph, becoming the first woman to break the sound barrier.

Cochran was also the first woman to land and take off from an aircraft carrier, the first woman to reach Mach 2 in a Northrop T-38 Talon, the first woman to pilot a bomber across the North Atlantic (in 1941) and later to fly a jet aircraft on atra... more »

 *May 18, 1953 – At Rogers Dry Lake, California, in her Canadair Sabre, American Jackie Cochran became the first female pilot to break the sound barrier.* ... "... Postwar, Cochran began flying the new jet aircraft, going on to set numerous records; most conspicuously, she became the first woman pilot to "go supersonic".

Encouraged by then-Major Chuck Yeager, with whom Cochran shared a lifelong friendship, on May 18, 1953, at Rogers Dry Lake, California, Cochran flew a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet borrowed from the Royal Canadian Air Force at an average speed of 652.337 mph, becoming the first woman to break the sound barrier.

Cochran was also the first woman to land and take off from an aircraft carrier, the first woman to reach Mach 2 in a Northrop T-38 Talon, the first woman to pilot a bomber across the North Atlantic (in 1941) and later to fly a jet aircraft on a transatlantic flight, the first pilot to make a blind (instrument) landing, the only woman ever to be president of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (1958–1961), the first woman to fly a fixed-wing, jet aircraft across the Atlantic, the first pilot to fly above 20,000 ft with an oxygen mask, and the first woman to enter the Bendix Transcontinental Race. She still holds more distance and speed records than any pilot living or dead, male or female. ... more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_Cochran___

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2016-04-02 15:05:50 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

c. 1858: Photos of Veterans of the Napoleonic Wars ... "Napoléon Bonaparte's final defeat was the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Even after his death in 1821, the surviving soldiers of Grande Armée revered his historic leadership. Each year on May 5, the anniversary of Napoléon's death, the veterans marched to Paris' Place Vendôme in full uniform to pay respects to their emperor.

These photographs were taken on one of these occasions, possibly in 1858. All the men — at this time in their 70s and 80s — are wearing the Saint Helena medals, issued in August 1857 to all veterans of the wars of the revolution and the empire.

These are the only surviving images of veterans of the Grande Armée and the Guard actually wearing their original uniforms and insignia. ..." ... http://mashable.com/2014/10/27/napoleonic-wars-veterans/

c. 1858: Photos of Veterans of the Napoleonic Wars ... "Napoléon Bonaparte's final defeat was the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Even after his death in 1821, the surviving soldiers of Grande Armée revered his historic leadership. Each year on May 5, the anniversary of Napoléon's death, the veterans marched to Paris' Place Vendôme in full uniform to pay respects to their emperor.

These photographs were taken on one of these occasions, possibly in 1858. All the men — at this time in their 70s and 80s — are wearing the Saint Helena medals, issued in August 1857 to all veterans of the wars of the revolution and the empire.

These are the only surviving images of veterans of the Grande Armée and the Guard actually wearing their original uniforms and insignia. ..." ... http://mashable.com/2014/10/27/napoleonic-wars-veterans/___

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2016-04-02 15:05:39 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

The Wave Swept Lighthouses of Brittany, France ... "The province of Brittany, in North-western part of France, forms a large peninsula that stretches towards the Atlantic Ocean bordered by the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. The waters located between the western coast and Ushant island form the Iroise Sea. This section of the coastline of Brittany remains one of the most dangerous seas in Europe with frequent violent storms, huge waves and strong currents. Over thirty ships were lost in this region between 1888 and 1904. Because of this, the rugged coastline is crowded with lighthouses - more than one third of all the lighthouses and fire towers illuminating the French coast are located here. These granite fortresses have been warning distant sailors of the dangers of this jagged coastline and treacherous rocks since the 18th century. ..." ...... more »

The Wave Swept Lighthouses of Brittany, France ... "The province of Brittany, in North-western part of France, forms a large peninsula that stretches towards the Atlantic Ocean bordered by the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. The waters located between the western coast and Ushant island form the Iroise Sea. This section of the coastline of Brittany remains one of the most dangerous seas in Europe with frequent violent storms, huge waves and strong currents. Over thirty ships were lost in this region between 1888 and 1904. Because of this, the rugged coastline is crowded with lighthouses - more than one third of all the lighthouses and fire towers illuminating the French coast are located here. These granite fortresses have been warning distant sailors of the dangers of this jagged coastline and treacherous rocks since the 18th century. ..." ... http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/11/the-wave-swept-lighthouses-of-brittany.html___

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2016-04-02 15:05:22 (1 comments; 3 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

The Tiny Fishing Community on Migingo Island ... "Migingo is a tiny rock island, less than half-an-acre or about half the size of a football field, located in Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. Although tiny in size, the island is home to 131 people (according to 2009 census) living in crammed huts made of corrugated sheets and wood. Despite shabby living conditions, Migingo Island boasts of five bars, a beauty salon, a pharmacy as well as several hotels and numerous brothels.
Most of island’s inhabitants are fishermen and fish traders. The first to arrive were two Kenyan fishermen, Dalmas Tembo and George Kibebe, who claimed to have settled there in 1991. At that time, the island was covered with weeds and infested with birds and snakes. They were later joined by 60 members of their fishing group who followed after receiving informationt... more »

The Tiny Fishing Community on Migingo Island ... "Migingo is a tiny rock island, less than half-an-acre or about half the size of a football field, located in Lake Victoria, the largest lake in Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. Although tiny in size, the island is home to 131 people (according to 2009 census) living in crammed huts made of corrugated sheets and wood. Despite shabby living conditions, Migingo Island boasts of five bars, a beauty salon, a pharmacy as well as several hotels and numerous brothels.
Most of island’s inhabitants are fishermen and fish traders. The first to arrive were two Kenyan fishermen, Dalmas Tembo and George Kibebe, who claimed to have settled there in 1991. At that time, the island was covered with weeds and infested with birds and snakes. They were later joined by 60 members of their fishing group who followed after receiving information that the area was rich with Nile Perch. Subsequently, other fishermen from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania came to the island turning it into a thriving commercial center. ..."

MORE: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/01/the-tiny-fishing-community-on-migingo.html___

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2016-04-02 15:05:12 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 3 +1s)Open 

Meoto Iwa, the Wedded Rocks ... Amusing Planet -- "Meoto Iwa, also called the “husband and wife rocks” or “wedded rocks”, are a pair of small rocky stacks in the sea right in front of the Futami Okitama-jinja Shrine in Futami Bay, Japan. According to Shinto beliefs, the rocks represent the union of the creator of kami – the spirits, and therefore, celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman.

The larger rock, named Izanagi, is the husband and stands 9 meters tall with a girth of about 40 meters. Izanagi has a small Shinto torii gate on its peak. To his right is the 3.6 meter high “wife”, Izanami, which is about 9 meters round. Being married, they are joined by the distinctive sacred ropes particular to Shinto shrines and holy places, made of braided rice stalks called Shimenawa. The ropes biding the two rocks weigh almost a ton, and are replaced in a special ceremonyheld three ti... more »

Meoto Iwa, the Wedded Rocks ... Amusing Planet -- "Meoto Iwa, also called the “husband and wife rocks” or “wedded rocks”, are a pair of small rocky stacks in the sea right in front of the Futami Okitama-jinja Shrine in Futami Bay, Japan. According to Shinto beliefs, the rocks represent the union of the creator of kami – the spirits, and therefore, celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman.

The larger rock, named Izanagi, is the husband and stands 9 meters tall with a girth of about 40 meters. Izanagi has a small Shinto torii gate on its peak. To his right is the 3.6 meter high “wife”, Izanami, which is about 9 meters round. Being married, they are joined by the distinctive sacred ropes particular to Shinto shrines and holy places, made of braided rice stalks called Shimenawa. The ropes biding the two rocks weigh almost a ton, and are replaced in a special ceremony held three times a year, in May ..."

more: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/02/meoto-iwa-wedded-rocks.html___

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2016-04-02 15:04:56 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 14 +1s)Open 

Mocona Falls: A 3 km Waterfall That Runs Parallel to The River ... "Iguazu Falls may be the most popular waterfalls in Argentina, but Mocona Falls take the crown for the most unique. Mocona does not follow the normal downward and forward trajectory that most waterfalls do. Instead, it runs along the length of the river with water spilling off the side into a gorge. At 3 km long, it is perhaps the only waterfalls in the world to run parallel to the river rather than perpendicular.

Mocona Falls, also known as Yucumã Falls, is located in the Uruguay river, in the province of Misiones, in Argentina, 337 kilometers from the city of Posadas and 322 kilometers from Iguazu Falls. Since the Uruguay river acts as a natural border between Argentina and Brazil, this unique geological feature is shared by both countries. The name Moconá means “to swallow everything” in the Guarani languageand i... more »

Mocona Falls: A 3 km Waterfall That Runs Parallel to The River ... "Iguazu Falls may be the most popular waterfalls in Argentina, but Mocona Falls take the crown for the most unique. Mocona does not follow the normal downward and forward trajectory that most waterfalls do. Instead, it runs along the length of the river with water spilling off the side into a gorge. At 3 km long, it is perhaps the only waterfalls in the world to run parallel to the river rather than perpendicular.

Mocona Falls, also known as Yucumã Falls, is located in the Uruguay river, in the province of Misiones, in Argentina, 337 kilometers from the city of Posadas and 322 kilometers from Iguazu Falls. Since the Uruguay river acts as a natural border between Argentina and Brazil, this unique geological feature is shared by both countries. The name Moconá means “to swallow everything” in the Guarani language and is used mostly in Argentina. Yucumã means “the big fall” and is popular in Brazil. ..."

MORE PHOTOS: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/09/mocona-falls-3-km-waterfall-that-runs.html___

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2016-04-02 14:59:56 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 19 +1s)Open 

The Most Valuable Man on the Seas ... "With roughly 100,000 large merchant ships in the water at any time, scores sink, burn, break apart, run aground, or explode each year—often with toxic consequences. It is Captain Nick Sloane's job to board troubled vessels and salvage what he can. Against heavy odds, he recently refloated the doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia. William Langewiesche explains why Sloane may be the most valuable man on the seas ..."

read article: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2014/12/nick-sloane-costa-concordia-salvage

The Most Valuable Man on the Seas ... "With roughly 100,000 large merchant ships in the water at any time, scores sink, burn, break apart, run aground, or explode each year—often with toxic consequences. It is Captain Nick Sloane's job to board troubled vessels and salvage what he can. Against heavy odds, he recently refloated the doomed cruise ship Costa Concordia. William Langewiesche explains why Sloane may be the most valuable man on the seas ..."

read article: http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2014/12/nick-sloane-costa-concordia-salvage___

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2016-04-02 14:57:36 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

Hay-on-Wye: The Town of Books ... my kind of town! ... "Hay-on-Wye is a small market town and community on the banks of the river Wye in Powys, Wales, adjacent to the English border. Often described as "the town of books", Hay-on-Wye draws a large number of book lovers looking for bargain across more than 40 bookstores selling mostly second-hand books. The town is also home to the Hay Literature Festival which brings some 80,000 writers, publishers and literature fans from all across the world at end of May each year.

... internationally known as the "Town of Books". Today, the town receives an estimated 500,000 tourists a year. ..."

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/11/hay-on-wye-town-of-books.html

Hay-on-Wye: The Town of Books ... my kind of town! ... "Hay-on-Wye is a small market town and community on the banks of the river Wye in Powys, Wales, adjacent to the English border. Often described as "the town of books", Hay-on-Wye draws a large number of book lovers looking for bargain across more than 40 bookstores selling mostly second-hand books. The town is also home to the Hay Literature Festival which brings some 80,000 writers, publishers and literature fans from all across the world at end of May each year.

... internationally known as the "Town of Books". Today, the town receives an estimated 500,000 tourists a year. ..."

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/11/hay-on-wye-town-of-books.html___

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2016-04-02 14:57:17 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

Mitchell Falls in Australia ... Amusing Planet -- "Mitchell Falls is a beautiful four-tiered waterfall located in the remote north of the Kimberley Region in Western Australia, about 2,140 kilometers northeast of Perth. It is located within Mitchell River National Park and is one of the park’s main attractions.

Mitchell Falls can be accessed only helicopter or by foot during the dry season when the Gibb River Road is open from around May to November each year. The wet season starts from December and lasts until May during which the Mitchell Plateau area gets an average annual rainfall of some 1,600 mm. Torrential rains make rivers run wild eroding riverbeds and carrying away every thing in their path. As the torrents flood the high country, they fall in stupendous cataracts and waterfalls into deep gorges. ..."

more:h... more »

Mitchell Falls in Australia ... Amusing Planet -- "Mitchell Falls is a beautiful four-tiered waterfall located in the remote north of the Kimberley Region in Western Australia, about 2,140 kilometers northeast of Perth. It is located within Mitchell River National Park and is one of the park’s main attractions.

Mitchell Falls can be accessed only helicopter or by foot during the dry season when the Gibb River Road is open from around May to November each year. The wet season starts from December and lasts until May during which the Mitchell Plateau area gets an average annual rainfall of some 1,600 mm. Torrential rains make rivers run wild eroding riverbeds and carrying away every thing in their path. As the torrents flood the high country, they fall in stupendous cataracts and waterfalls into deep gorges. ..."

more: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2014/03/mitchell-falls-in-australia.html___

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2016-04-02 14:56:53 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 5 +1s)Open 

This may be the oldest surviving photo of a human (1826 or 27) ... "... It was taken by Louis Daguerre, the French photographer famous for pioneering the daguerreotype, an early type of photo produced on a silver plate or a silver-covered copper plate.

According to Retronaut's Amanda Uren, the exposure time for the image was around seven minutes. The street appears deserted because while the two human figures were relatively still, other pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages were moving too fast to register on the plate. ..." ... http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/06/living/oldest-photograph-human-daguerre/index.html?hpt=hp_t5

This may be the oldest surviving photo of a human (1826 or 27) ... "... It was taken by Louis Daguerre, the French photographer famous for pioneering the daguerreotype, an early type of photo produced on a silver plate or a silver-covered copper plate.

According to Retronaut's Amanda Uren, the exposure time for the image was around seven minutes. The street appears deserted because while the two human figures were relatively still, other pedestrians and horse-drawn carriages were moving too fast to register on the plate. ..." ... http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/06/living/oldest-photograph-human-daguerre/index.html?hpt=hp_t5___

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2016-04-02 14:56:33 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper ... http://www.wired.com/2014/05/reading-on-screen-versus-paper/

Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper ... http://www.wired.com/2014/05/reading-on-screen-versus-paper/___

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2016-04-02 14:55:44 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

There is Nothing in Arizona .. "In a bare stretch of US Highway 93, between mile markers 148 and 149, stands Nothing, a small abandoned “town” with literally nothing to see or do. The most noteworthy structure in this 6-acre patch of ground is a sign hoisted high in the air decades ago that declares the spot as “Nothing”.

Another smaller signs reads:

Town of Nothing Arizona. Founded 1977. Elevation 3269ft.
The staunch citizens of Nothing are full of Hope, Faith, and Believe in the work ethic. Thru-the-years-these dedicated people had faith in Nothing, hoped for Nothing, worked at Nothing, for Nothing.

The “town”, or rather a settlement, was founded in 1977 and originally had four inhabitants who together ran a gas stop and a garage. The gas station had a flat bed truck where the guys sold rocks and minerals scavenged from the surroundings aslocal souve... more »

There is Nothing in Arizona .. "In a bare stretch of US Highway 93, between mile markers 148 and 149, stands Nothing, a small abandoned “town” with literally nothing to see or do. The most noteworthy structure in this 6-acre patch of ground is a sign hoisted high in the air decades ago that declares the spot as “Nothing”.

Another smaller signs reads:

Town of Nothing Arizona. Founded 1977. Elevation 3269ft.
The staunch citizens of Nothing are full of Hope, Faith, and Believe in the work ethic. Thru-the-years-these dedicated people had faith in Nothing, hoped for Nothing, worked at Nothing, for Nothing.

The “town”, or rather a settlement, was founded in 1977 and originally had four inhabitants who together ran a gas stop and a garage. The gas station had a flat bed truck where the guys sold rocks and minerals scavenged from the surroundings as local souvenirs. There were originally two buildings, but only one appears to be standing now.

In any case, Nothing apparently had a good run until 2005 when the owners decided to retire and sold the land. The new owner closed the store, tore out the gas tanks, for some reason, surrounded it with chain-link fence and put it up for sale again. The settlement got bought in 2008, and its new owner Mike Jensen opened a pizza business, run from a portable oven. Jensen had plans to revive the place but it didn’t work out, and by 2011 it was abandoned once again.

According to the most latest reports dating May 2014, Nothing still has no activity. ..."

MORE PHOTOS: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2015/10/there-is-nothing-in-arizona.html___

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2016-03-31 11:56:18 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

The Goat Doctor ... In the high mountains of Western North Carolina's Jackson County sits two roadside monuments -- one to the the man who placed the other monument to his beloved Aunt Sally. Dr. John R. Brinkley was a quack who made millions in the early19th century from patent remedies for such afflictions as the one addressed in more modern times by drugs like Viagra(r). He gained his "Boat Doctor" nickname for the practice of implanted goat glands into men for ... well, this is a family social network.

Dr. Brinkley was a true pioneer in radio and advertising. The monstrous radio station he build just out of US government control across the Mexican border from Del Rio, Texas. It was said to be so strong that it "lit lightbulbs in Kansas City." An exaggeration but the huge transmitter dominated the airwaves of the central United States with Brinkley's... more »

The Goat Doctor ... In the high mountains of Western North Carolina's Jackson County sits two roadside monuments -- one to the the man who placed the other monument to his beloved Aunt Sally. Dr. John R. Brinkley was a quack who made millions in the early19th century from patent remedies for such afflictions as the one addressed in more modern times by drugs like Viagra(r). He gained his "Boat Doctor" nickname for the practice of implanted goat glands into men for ... well, this is a family social network.

Dr. Brinkley was a true pioneer in radio and advertising. The monstrous radio station he build just out of US government control across the Mexican border from Del Rio, Texas. It was said to be so strong that it "lit lightbulbs in Kansas City." An exaggeration but the huge transmitter dominated the airwaves of the central United States with Brinkley's unregulated advertising.

He rode high for many years, the "Little Johnnie" mountain boy as he named himself on his tribute to his Aunt Sally. In the end, the government brought him down for his medical shenanigans (he was not a real doctor and his "cures" not effective). He died penniless. Yet, these monuments stand between Highway 107 and the rushing, rocky Tuckasegee River in the high green hills of his boyhood. They recall that even charlatans are human and can exhibit a good side. Aunt Sally would have been pleased at this aspect of Little Johnnie and tanned his hide for all the rest.

--Ralph Roberts

for more about the Goat Doctor, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Brinkley

https://goo.gl/photos/3pg7AXASmDwPVLb57___

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2016-03-23 22:15:43 (3 comments; 2 reshares; 10 +1s)Open 

Love coffee and experiment with the different methods of making just the right cup. I have French presses, percolators, dripolators, and even a Krupp espresso machine -- all not cheap. However, was in the local grocery supermarket yesterday and found the red box on the right below in the coffee section. Invented early in the 20th century by a German housewife, Melitta Bintz, it makes pour over coffee and was only $6.95. I had read ravings by coffee experts about the pour over method. Am much impressed. It's fast (just heat up the kettle) and easy and tastes great. Just sharing the coffee love here.

Love coffee and experiment with the different methods of making just the right cup. I have French presses, percolators, dripolators, and even a Krupp espresso machine -- all not cheap. However, was in the local grocery supermarket yesterday and found the red box on the right below in the coffee section. Invented early in the 20th century by a German housewife, Melitta Bintz, it makes pour over coffee and was only $6.95. I had read ravings by coffee experts about the pour over method. Am much impressed. It's fast (just heat up the kettle) and easy and tastes great. Just sharing the coffee love here.___

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2016-03-14 17:33:18 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 0 +1s)Open 

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2016-03-12 00:36:04 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

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2016-03-09 14:13:25 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s)Open 

Future? :)

Future? :)___

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2016-03-06 19:37:37 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s)Open 

___

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2016-02-28 00:13:18 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 10 +1s)Open 

some mighty fine dirt road driving in the mountains of Western North Carolina today.

some mighty fine dirt road driving in the mountains of Western North Carolina today.___

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2016-02-21 17:53:53 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

I hope so.

America stands on the cusp of a new era in aviation that’s dramatically cleaner, quieter, and even faster. If approved, President Obama’s recently released federal budget request will be the first in a bold 10-year plan to achieve huge goals in reducing fuel use, emissions, and noise by the way aircraft are designed, and the way they operate in the air and on the ground. Details: http://go.nasa.gov/20LT8ms #FlyNASA___I hope so.

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2016-02-21 17:32:03 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 2 +1s)Open 

Meet Ivy ... As Publisher of Creativity, Inc. it is my pleasure to introduce our latest release (read an excerpt via Inside the Book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Qu3AQ5). Kindle edition now available, paperback and hardback coming soon. ...

Creativity, Inc. proudly presents Ivy in Africa, a powerful coming of age story. Ms. Birdie Jackson gifts us with an exciting story in this stand-alone novel of elephant shifters, wizards, callous ivory poachers, vicious Triad criminals, and deadly lizard men, full of interesting characters and action. Not to give things away, but the climactic battle to save the world on the top of Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro, is worth the cost of admission alone — elephants vs. dragons, who wins? We think you’ll love Ivy and her friends as much as we do.

Ivy Johnson eagerly looks forward to her senior year of high school. After alifet... more »

Meet Ivy ... As Publisher of Creativity, Inc. it is my pleasure to introduce our latest release (read an excerpt via Inside the Book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Qu3AQ5). Kindle edition now available, paperback and hardback coming soon. ...

Creativity, Inc. proudly presents Ivy in Africa, a powerful coming of age story. Ms. Birdie Jackson gifts us with an exciting story in this stand-alone novel of elephant shifters, wizards, callous ivory poachers, vicious Triad criminals, and deadly lizard men, full of interesting characters and action. Not to give things away, but the climactic battle to save the world on the top of Africa’s tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro, is worth the cost of admission alone — elephants vs. dragons, who wins? We think you’ll love Ivy and her friends as much as we do.

Ivy Johnson eagerly looks forward to her senior year of high school. After a lifetime of being chubby, she’s suddenly and mysteriously slim and smokin’ hot. She imagines boys stumbling into each other and their open locker doors when she walks down the corridor. But, okay, like any teenager she's got a few problems — nightmares of being an elephant chased by deadly poachers, visions or "daymares" of lizard men wanting to kill her, and she's developing magic with sparks flying at embarrassing moments.

Her parents, both retired doctors, suddenly announce they’ve accepted positions in a jungle hospital and the family is moving to Kenya. There her magic continues to develop and she learns she's an elephant shifter, with the first Change coming on her 18th birthday, only a couple of weeks away.

At her new school in Kenya, she finally has several friends. Her favorite class is Elephant Studies. Good news, her longtime boyfriend comes over from Kansas and he’s an elephant shifter also. Bad news, she’s dying real soon, like next week. Her special magic and the Change do not mix; the first mandatory shift to elephant form will kill her.

A gang of vicious elephant poachers wants to cull the local elephant herd for their tusks including the shifters that run with them, like her real mother. She must save them while she can. Things deteriorate from there. A Hong Kong criminal triad, dominated by evil and immortal ancient wizards, decides to take over the ivory poaching, ivory being the source of their power, a little more and the world’s theirs as well. In addition, the lizard men find her. They still intend to kill her.

Ivy must overcome the impossible to survive (that’s optional), save her new friends (a must) and the world from age-old evil (or else). Pressure much?

Read an excerpt via Inside the Book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Qu3AQ5___

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2016-02-18 14:16:02 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 28 +1s)Open 

Legendary river that BOILS its victims alive is discovered deep in the heart of the Amazon ... "A mysterious, four-mile long river, deep in the heart of the Amazon, is so hot that it boils.

The river has long been a legend in Peru, but when geoscientist Andrés Ruzo's heard about it, he thought such a phenomenon was impossible.

He believed that it would require a huge amount of geothermal heat to boil even a small river, and the Amazon basin is far from any active volcanoes.

But then, Ruzo saw the legendary boiling river with his own eyes.

Ruzo first heard about the Mayantuyacu river when his grandfather told him a story about how Spanish conquistadors killed the last Inca emperor.

The story goes that after the murder, the Spanish conquistador headed into the Amazon rainforest in search of gold.

When they returned, the men... more »

Legendary river that BOILS its victims alive is discovered deep in the heart of the Amazon ... "A mysterious, four-mile long river, deep in the heart of the Amazon, is so hot that it boils.

The river has long been a legend in Peru, but when geoscientist Andrés Ruzo's heard about it, he thought such a phenomenon was impossible.

He believed that it would require a huge amount of geothermal heat to boil even a small river, and the Amazon basin is far from any active volcanoes.

But then, Ruzo saw the legendary boiling river with his own eyes.

Ruzo first heard about the Mayantuyacu river when his grandfather told him a story about how Spanish conquistadors killed the last Inca emperor.

The story goes that after the murder, the Spanish conquistador headed into the Amazon rainforest in search of gold.

When they returned, the men spoke of a terrifying experience that involved poisoned water, man-eating snakes and a river that boils from below.

Twelve years later, at a family dinner, Ruzo heard the river mentioned again when his aunt said that she had visited it.

As a PhD student in geophysics at Southern Methodist University, Ruzo wanted to find the river for himself.

'I began asking that question. Could the boiling river exist?, Ruzo said in Ted Talk.

'I asked colleagues from universities, the government, oil, gas and mining companies, and the answer was a unanimous no.

'And this makes sense. You see, boiling rivers do exist in the world, but they're generally associated with volcanoes. You need a powerful heat source to produce such a large geothermal manifestation. ..."

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3451773/Don-t-fall-legendary-river-BOILS-victims-alive-discovered-deep-heart-Amazon.html
___

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2016-02-03 14:50:52 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 4 +1s)Open 

Lots of rain today in Western North Carolina ... but a lot better than the heavy snow two weeks ago.

Lots of rain today in Western North Carolina ... but a lot better than the heavy snow two weeks ago.___

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2016-01-29 22:00:17 (1 comments; 2 reshares; 9 +1s)Open 

playing with 3D animation, creating a cartoon ladder truck.

playing with 3D animation, creating a cartoon ladder truck.___

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2016-01-23 14:50:38 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 18 +1s)Open 

W5VEmobile still snowbound... about a foot of snow here at the home QTH near Asheville NC.

W5VEmobile still snowbound... about a foot of snow here at the home QTH near Asheville NC.___

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2016-01-23 02:11:07 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 18 +1s)Open 

Taken as I walked over from my office building here on the Bookfarm near Asheville NC. We have over 12 inches of snow and it's still coming down. ... The amazing thing to me about these photos is a) I survived the trek in the snow and b) I shot them using my new LG V10 phone (fantastic camera!) using available light.

Taken as I walked over from my office building here on the Bookfarm near Asheville NC. We have over 12 inches of snow and it's still coming down. ... The amazing thing to me about these photos is a) I survived the trek in the snow and b) I shot them using my new LG V10 phone (fantastic camera!) using available light.___

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2016-01-22 18:02:05 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 9 +1s)Open 

and still coming down here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, about five miles from Asheville.

and still coming down here in the mountains of Western North Carolina, about five miles from Asheville.___

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2016-01-22 15:25:12 (5 comments; 0 reshares; 19 +1s)Open 

scientific snow depth measurement using calibrated boots: deep. 

scientific snow depth measurement using calibrated boots: deep. ___

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2016-01-22 15:00:09 (3 comments; 0 reshares; 21 +1s)Open 

Staying home today next to nice warm computers and ham radios.

Staying home today next to nice warm computers and ham radios.___

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2016-01-20 13:14:43 (2 comments; 1 reshares; 14 +1s)Open 

Snow on the Bookfarm and 23F here near Asheville NC ... snowing harder now.

Snow on the Bookfarm and 23F here near Asheville NC ... snowing harder now.___

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2016-01-19 23:49:01 (1 comments; 0 reshares; 15 +1s)Open 

Leave a mostly-gone cup of Diet Coke(r) in your car overnight during 12-degree F weather and it results in a very cool (yep) Popsicle with a red drinking straw handle. It's not as simple as it looks. Melted ice refrozen adds a winsome complexity you gaze in wonder at whilst trying to get your tongue now frozen to this concoction unstuck. It is, however, not fattening.

Leave a mostly-gone cup of Diet Coke(r) in your car overnight during 12-degree F weather and it results in a very cool (yep) Popsicle with a red drinking straw handle. It's not as simple as it looks. Melted ice refrozen adds a winsome complexity you gaze in wonder at whilst trying to get your tongue now frozen to this concoction unstuck. It is, however, not fattening.___

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2016-01-19 21:13:35 (0 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

Downloaded a VNC app for my LG V10, Ripple Runner.... here I'm running my Raspberry Pi 2 with it. ... It has a really neat onscreen mouse! Never seen that before. Clever.

Downloaded a VNC app for my LG V10, Ripple Runner.... here I'm running my Raspberry Pi 2 with it. ... It has a really neat onscreen mouse! Never seen that before. Clever.___

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2016-01-18 14:35:38 (0 comments; 1 reshares; 20 +1s)Open 

Cosmic first: Flower blooms in space aboard space station ... Successfully growing the first flower in space brings explorers one step closer to growing fresh produce on long space missions. ... "For the first time ever, a flower has bloomed in space, aboard the International Space Station. This brings cosmic explorers one step closer to growing other flowering plants in space, like tomatoes, which NASA says it hopes to do in 2018.

On Saturday, American astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been working since March 2015 on the space laboratory and has become its resident gardner, gleefully announced on Twitter that he successfully coaxed the brightly colored Zinnia to blossom, a big accomplishment, as less than a month ago, the plants were moldy and shrivelled.

But even the space mold held some interest to researchers, so it was collected and frozen so it can be returned to Earth... more »

Cosmic first: Flower blooms in space aboard space station ... Successfully growing the first flower in space brings explorers one step closer to growing fresh produce on long space missions. ... "For the first time ever, a flower has bloomed in space, aboard the International Space Station. This brings cosmic explorers one step closer to growing other flowering plants in space, like tomatoes, which NASA says it hopes to do in 2018.

On Saturday, American astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been working since March 2015 on the space laboratory and has become its resident gardner, gleefully announced on Twitter that he successfully coaxed the brightly colored Zinnia to blossom, a big accomplishment, as less than a month ago, the plants were moldy and shrivelled.

But even the space mold held some interest to researchers, so it was collected and frozen so it can be returned to Earth for study.

For scientists back on Earth, the flowering experiment, called “Veggie,” will allow them to better understand how plants grow in microgravity. For the astronauts in space, growing the quick-sprouting Zinnias is important practice for growing fresh food on longer space missions in the future.

“I think having this fresh food source available is going to be critical,” Gioia Massa, a project scientist at NASA Kennedy Space Center and the brainchild behind Veggie, told The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview in November.

Astronauts eat mostly food that has been freeze-dried for long storage. Fresh fruits and vegetables do show up occasionally at the space station with other supply deliveries, but they run out quickly.

"The farther and longer humans go away from Earth, the greater the need to be able to grow plants for food, atmosphere recycling and psychological benefits," Massa said in a NASA announcement. ..."

FULL ARTICLE: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0117/Cosmic-first-Flower-blooms-in-space-aboard-space-station___

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2016-01-18 14:34:54 (3 comments; 16 reshares; 66 +1s)Open 

Cosmic first: Flower blooms in space aboard space station ... Successfully growing the first flower in space brings explorers one step closer to growing fresh produce on long space missions. ... "For the first time ever, a flower has bloomed in space, aboard the International Space Station. This brings cosmic explorers one step closer to growing other flowering plants in space, like tomatoes, which NASA says it hopes to do in 2018.

On Saturday, American astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been working since March 2015 on the space laboratory and has become its resident gardner, gleefully announced on Twitter that he successfully coaxed the brightly colored Zinnia to blossom, a big accomplishment, as less than a month ago, the plants were moldy and shrivelled.

But even the space mold held some interest to researchers, so it was collected and frozen so it can be returned to Earth... more »

Cosmic first: Flower blooms in space aboard space station ... Successfully growing the first flower in space brings explorers one step closer to growing fresh produce on long space missions. ... "For the first time ever, a flower has bloomed in space, aboard the International Space Station. This brings cosmic explorers one step closer to growing other flowering plants in space, like tomatoes, which NASA says it hopes to do in 2018.

On Saturday, American astronaut Scott Kelly, who has been working since March 2015 on the space laboratory and has become its resident gardner, gleefully announced on Twitter that he successfully coaxed the brightly colored Zinnia to blossom, a big accomplishment, as less than a month ago, the plants were moldy and shrivelled.

But even the space mold held some interest to researchers, so it was collected and frozen so it can be returned to Earth for study.

For scientists back on Earth, the flowering experiment, called “Veggie,” will allow them to better understand how plants grow in microgravity. For the astronauts in space, growing the quick-sprouting Zinnias is important practice for growing fresh food on longer space missions in the future.

“I think having this fresh food source available is going to be critical,” Gioia Massa, a project scientist at NASA Kennedy Space Center and the brainchild behind Veggie, told The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview in November.

Astronauts eat mostly food that has been freeze-dried for long storage. Fresh fruits and vegetables do show up occasionally at the space station with other supply deliveries, but they run out quickly.

"The farther and longer humans go away from Earth, the greater the need to be able to grow plants for food, atmosphere recycling and psychological benefits," Massa said in a NASA announcement. ..."

FULL ARTICLE: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0117/Cosmic-first-Flower-blooms-in-space-aboard-space-station___

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2016-01-18 12:16:08 (2 comments; 0 reshares; 6 +1s)Open 

not sure how the cup knows I'm hot but appreciate the compliment.

not sure how the cup knows I'm hot but appreciate the compliment.___

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2016-01-12 13:18:50 (6 comments; 0 reshares; 23 +1s)Open 

Walking over to my office building here on the bookfarm this morning in 19 degree F weather. The amazing thing about this phone? I shot it with my new LG V10 phone into the sun! An it came out this well. Wow. My old Galaxy 5 would've been whited out.

Walking over to my office building here on the bookfarm this morning in 19 degree F weather. The amazing thing about this phone? I shot it with my new LG V10 phone into the sun! An it came out this well. Wow. My old Galaxy 5 would've been whited out.___

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2016-01-08 13:06:28 (1 comments; 1 reshares; 8 +1s)Open 

NASA’s New VASIMR Plasma Engine Could Reach Mars in 39 days ... "NASA recently provided $10 million in funding to Ad Astra Rocket Company of Texas for further development of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), an electromagnetic thruster capable of propelling a spaceship to Mars in just 39 days. NASA’s funding was part of the “12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership.” Ad Astra’s rocket will travel ten times faster than today’s chemical rockets while using one-tenth the amount of fuel.

The VASIMR system would cut the trip to Mars by months according to Franklin Chang Diaz, a former MIT student, NASA astronaut, and now CEO of Ad Astra.

According to Diaz, “this is like no other rocket that you may have seen in the past. It is a plasma rocket. The VASIMR Rocket is not used for launching things; it is used for things alreadyin orbit. Thi... more »

NASA’s New VASIMR Plasma Engine Could Reach Mars in 39 days ... "NASA recently provided $10 million in funding to Ad Astra Rocket Company of Texas for further development of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), an electromagnetic thruster capable of propelling a spaceship to Mars in just 39 days. NASA’s funding was part of the “12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership.” Ad Astra’s rocket will travel ten times faster than today’s chemical rockets while using one-tenth the amount of fuel.

The VASIMR system would cut the trip to Mars by months according to Franklin Chang Diaz, a former MIT student, NASA astronaut, and now CEO of Ad Astra.

According to Diaz, “this is like no other rocket that you may have seen in the past. It is a plasma rocket. The VASIMR Rocket is not used for launching things; it is used for things already in orbit. This is called “in-space propulsion.”

VASIMR heats plasma, an electrically charged gas, to extremely high temperatures using radio waves. The system then provides thrust by funneling the hot plasma out of the back of the engine. According to Diaz, VASIMR will save thousands of gallons of rocket fuel and tens of millions of dollars a year. ..."

MORE: http://www.industrytap.com/nasas-new-vasimr-plasma-engine-reach-mars-39-days/33646___

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2016-01-08 13:06:01 (24 comments; 25 reshares; 48 +1s)Open 

NASA’s New VASIMR Plasma Engine Could Reach Mars in 39 days ... "NASA recently provided $10 million in funding to Ad Astra Rocket Company of Texas for further development of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), an electromagnetic thruster capable of propelling a spaceship to Mars in just 39 days. NASA’s funding was part of the “12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership.” Ad Astra’s rocket will travel ten times faster than today’s chemical rockets while using one-tenth the amount of fuel.

The VASIMR system would cut the trip to Mars by months according to Franklin Chang Diaz, a former MIT student, NASA astronaut, and now CEO of Ad Astra.

According to Diaz, “this is like no other rocket that you may have seen in the past. It is a plasma rocket. The VASIMR Rocket is not used for launching things; it is used for things alreadyin orbit. Thi... more »

NASA’s New VASIMR Plasma Engine Could Reach Mars in 39 days ... "NASA recently provided $10 million in funding to Ad Astra Rocket Company of Texas for further development of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), an electromagnetic thruster capable of propelling a spaceship to Mars in just 39 days. NASA’s funding was part of the “12 Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnership.” Ad Astra’s rocket will travel ten times faster than today’s chemical rockets while using one-tenth the amount of fuel.

The VASIMR system would cut the trip to Mars by months according to Franklin Chang Diaz, a former MIT student, NASA astronaut, and now CEO of Ad Astra.

According to Diaz, “this is like no other rocket that you may have seen in the past. It is a plasma rocket. The VASIMR Rocket is not used for launching things; it is used for things already in orbit. This is called “in-space propulsion.”

VASIMR heats plasma, an electrically charged gas, to extremely high temperatures using radio waves. The system then provides thrust by funneling the hot plasma out of the back of the engine. According to Diaz, VASIMR will save thousands of gallons of rocket fuel and tens of millions of dollars a year. ..."

MORE: http://www.industrytap.com/nasas-new-vasimr-plasma-engine-reach-mars-39-days/33646___

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2016-01-06 14:35:12 (6 comments; 1 reshares; 7 +1s)Open 

my latest cover design for a novel we're releasing this month ... comments appreciated.

my latest cover design for a novel we're releasing this month ... comments appreciated.___

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2015-12-29 17:21:28 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 12 +1s)Open 

The Painted Cliffs of Maria Island ... "The beautifully patterned sandstone rocks of Painted Cliffs are one of Maria island’s most popular attraction. The mountainous island located in the Tasman Sea, off the east coast of Tasmania, Australia, was once a penal colony for convicts who committed offences against the French colonists. Today, the entire island and the ocean around is a national park full of birds, animals and marine life.

The Painted Cliffs are located at the end of Hopground beach. The wonderful patterns on the exposed rocks along the shore were caused by ground water percolating down through the porous sandstone rocks and leaving traces of iron oxides, which have stained the rock formation. The regular patterns of red, orange and yellow bands and rings are due to fractures, joints and layers present within the sandstone.

The iron in the groundwater probablyc... more »

The Painted Cliffs of Maria Island ... "The beautifully patterned sandstone rocks of Painted Cliffs are one of Maria island’s most popular attraction. The mountainous island located in the Tasman Sea, off the east coast of Tasmania, Australia, was once a penal colony for convicts who committed offences against the French colonists. Today, the entire island and the ocean around is a national park full of birds, animals and marine life.

The Painted Cliffs are located at the end of Hopground beach. The wonderful patterns on the exposed rocks along the shore were caused by ground water percolating down through the porous sandstone rocks and leaving traces of iron oxides, which have stained the rock formation. The regular patterns of red, orange and yellow bands and rings are due to fractures, joints and layers present within the sandstone.

The iron in the groundwater probably came from two prominent hills known as Bishop and Clerk and Mt. Maria, located at the highest point of Maria island. These peaks are composed of iron-rich dolerite rocks that weathered over millions of years ago when the climate was monsoonal, contributing to the iron-oxide staining on the Painted Cliffs.

Aside from the painted patterns, weathering of the rocks by salt crystal from sea spray have created a beautiful honeycomb pattern. Rock fragments moved around by the water have gradually worn small potholes and notches into the cliff face, eventually resulting in the undercutting of the cliff. ..."

MORE GORGEOUS PHOTOS: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2015/12/the-painted-cliffs-of-maria-island.html___

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2015-12-29 16:59:00 (0 comments; 2 reshares; 31 +1s)Open 

Why we’re going back to the Moon—with or without NASA ... The discovery of lunar water has changed everything for human exploration ... "It was time for the spent rocket to die. So the 2,000kg Centaur upper stage, about the size of a yellow school bus, detached from its spacecraft and began falling toward the Moon six years ago. Soon lunar gravity took hold, tugging the Centaur ever faster toward the Moon’s inky black South Pole. An hour after separation, the rocket slammed into terra incognita at 9,000kph (or roughly 5,600mph).
Named for a mythical creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse, the empty Centaur burrowed several meters into a crater that had not seen the Sun’s light for billions of years. The impact kicked a plume of Moon dust as high as 20 km into space. The detached spacecraft followed just minutes later, sampling the plume. “We knew withinhours tha... more »

Why we’re going back to the Moon—with or without NASA ... The discovery of lunar water has changed everything for human exploration ... "It was time for the spent rocket to die. So the 2,000kg Centaur upper stage, about the size of a yellow school bus, detached from its spacecraft and began falling toward the Moon six years ago. Soon lunar gravity took hold, tugging the Centaur ever faster toward the Moon’s inky black South Pole. An hour after separation, the rocket slammed into terra incognita at 9,000kph (or roughly 5,600mph).
Named for a mythical creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse, the empty Centaur burrowed several meters into a crater that had not seen the Sun’s light for billions of years. The impact kicked a plume of Moon dust as high as 20 km into space. The detached spacecraft followed just minutes later, sampling the plume. “We knew within hours that we had measured something really interesting,” recalled Anthony Colaprete, the mission’s principal investigator.

Interesting indeed. After more than a decade of speculation and intriguing findings, the Centaur had blasted up grains of pure ice. It provided dazzling confirmation that a world once thought entirely barren and desiccated harbors the most valuable commodity for human exploration—water. Yet even as Colaprete and other scientists announced their findings in the fall of 2009, NASA’s lunar program was dying.

The Constellation plan to return humans to the Moon had by then become bloated and fallen desperately behind schedule. Less than four months after the Centaur slammed into the Moon in October 2009, the White House formally canceled Constellation. Ironically, almost from the very moment scientists found a compelling reason to go back, NASA had forsaken the Moon.

Yet the ever-shadowed poles of the Moon, some of the coldest places in the Solar System, are nonetheless some of its hottest frontiers yet again. Since the Centaur impact, a number of US companies started drawing business plans to unlock the Moon’s water ice for everything from powering spacecraft with liquid hydrogen and oxygen to accessing a wealth of rare metals or building a space-based solar power network.

America’s largest rocket company, United Launch Alliance, has noticed. With an eye on its future, the company is doing critical research on storing and transferring hydrogen and oxygen propellants in space. Many European countries, as well as China and Russia, have also made clear their interest. And just last month, the US Congress signaled its approval, too, by legalizing the mining of lunar resources. More than five years after abandoning it, the space industry appears headed for the Moon all over again.

“We’ve been there before”

NASA turned away from the Moon at the very place where America’s Apollo journeys began. In April 2010, President Obama visited Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver his single space policy speech. As Buzz Aldrin looked on, Obama said of the Moon, “I just have to say pretty bluntly here, we’ve been there before. Buzz has been there before.”

With this one line, Obama had transformed the Moon into a taboo subject within the halls of the NASA administration in Washington DC. Instead of the Moon, Obama said, NASA would send astronauts to an asteroid and then, one day, Mars. ..."

READ THE REST OF THE STORY: http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/12/why-were-going-back-to-the-moon-with-or-without-nasa/?mbid=synd_moz_newssci1___

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2015-12-29 16:58:26 (13 comments; 4 reshares; 13 +1s)Open 

Why we’re going back to the Moon—with or without NASA ... The discovery of lunar water has changed everything for human exploration ... "It was time for the spent rocket to die. So the 2,000kg Centaur upper stage, about the size of a yellow school bus, detached from its spacecraft and began falling toward the Moon six years ago. Soon lunar gravity took hold, tugging the Centaur ever faster toward the Moon’s inky black South Pole. An hour after separation, the rocket slammed into terra incognita at 9,000kph (or roughly 5,600mph).
Named for a mythical creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse, the empty Centaur burrowed several meters into a crater that had not seen the Sun’s light for billions of years. The impact kicked a plume of Moon dust as high as 20 km into space. The detached spacecraft followed just minutes later, sampling the plume. “We knew withinhours tha... more »

Why we’re going back to the Moon—with or without NASA ... The discovery of lunar water has changed everything for human exploration ... "It was time for the spent rocket to die. So the 2,000kg Centaur upper stage, about the size of a yellow school bus, detached from its spacecraft and began falling toward the Moon six years ago. Soon lunar gravity took hold, tugging the Centaur ever faster toward the Moon’s inky black South Pole. An hour after separation, the rocket slammed into terra incognita at 9,000kph (or roughly 5,600mph).
Named for a mythical creature with the upper body of a human and lower body of a horse, the empty Centaur burrowed several meters into a crater that had not seen the Sun’s light for billions of years. The impact kicked a plume of Moon dust as high as 20 km into space. The detached spacecraft followed just minutes later, sampling the plume. “We knew within hours that we had measured something really interesting,” recalled Anthony Colaprete, the mission’s principal investigator.

Interesting indeed. After more than a decade of speculation and intriguing findings, the Centaur had blasted up grains of pure ice. It provided dazzling confirmation that a world once thought entirely barren and desiccated harbors the most valuable commodity for human exploration—water. Yet even as Colaprete and other scientists announced their findings in the fall of 2009, NASA’s lunar program was dying.

The Constellation plan to return humans to the Moon had by then become bloated and fallen desperately behind schedule. Less than four months after the Centaur slammed into the Moon in October 2009, the White House formally canceled Constellation. Ironically, almost from the very moment scientists found a compelling reason to go back, NASA had forsaken the Moon.

Yet the ever-shadowed poles of the Moon, some of the coldest places in the Solar System, are nonetheless some of its hottest frontiers yet again. Since the Centaur impact, a number of US companies started drawing business plans to unlock the Moon’s water ice for everything from powering spacecraft with liquid hydrogen and oxygen to accessing a wealth of rare metals or building a space-based solar power network.

America’s largest rocket company, United Launch Alliance, has noticed. With an eye on its future, the company is doing critical research on storing and transferring hydrogen and oxygen propellants in space. Many European countries, as well as China and Russia, have also made clear their interest. And just last month, the US Congress signaled its approval, too, by legalizing the mining of lunar resources. More than five years after abandoning it, the space industry appears headed for the Moon all over again.

“We’ve been there before”

NASA turned away from the Moon at the very place where America’s Apollo journeys began. In April 2010, President Obama visited Kennedy Space Center in Florida to deliver his single space policy speech. As Buzz Aldrin looked on, Obama said of the Moon, “I just have to say pretty bluntly here, we’ve been there before. Buzz has been there before.”

With this one line, Obama had transformed the Moon into a taboo subject within the halls of the NASA administration in Washington DC. Instead of the Moon, Obama said, NASA would send astronauts to an asteroid and then, one day, Mars. ..."

READ THE REST OF THE STORY: http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/12/why-were-going-back-to-the-moon-with-or-without-nasa/?mbid=synd_moz_newssci1___

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2015-12-27 16:02:36 (8 comments; 0 reshares; 51 +1s)Open 

Good morning, G+.

Good morning, G+.___

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