Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On Planetary and Corporeal Systems and Places

If our Moon were replaced with the planet Saturn, this is how it might appear in the sky of Earth. The mighty "Lord of the Rings" world would fill a large portion of the heavens.

Consider that the Moon subtends 0.5 degrees in the sky of Earth (as does the Sun wholly coincidentally). Saturn is 34 times bigger in its diameter, so it would subtend 17 degrees. And at least 300,000 km wide, the rings are nearly 90 times bigger than the Moon in terms of apparent radius, which means they would subtend about 45 degrees of sky. Yikes.

On a related note, here is the APOD from April 7th, 2013 of a close-up image of the Moon about to occult Saturn as seen from an observatory in Germany in 2007.

Of course, at this distance, Earth would be engulfed in massive electromagnetic radiation fields that would probably render life impossible on the surface, not to mention in a massive gravitational well that would keep Earth firmly tidally locked to Saturn (or maybe it would eventually be flung out into space).

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I guess I should post a really quick update, except I simply have no pictures to accompany this entry, so instead I'm posting some whimsical ones from this YouTube clip "If the Moon were replaced with some of our planets". The sign in the foreground is for "Yeti PC," which appears to be in Huntsville, Alabama.

The same as above except if Jupiter were placed where the Moon is. It would subtend about 20 degrees of sky -- and the electromagnetic radiation and gravitational well would be even more disruptive because Jupiter is over 3 times as massive and just a lot more active than Saturn.

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I completed the report I needed to on geothermal energy production technologies (in particular, hydraulic stimulation) -- staying up all night to do so -- and working from home today (with one uncomfortable sleep from about 830AM to about noon). As you may imagine, I am very tired. As I was working last night and today, I was able to watch lots of old TV sitcom reruns of the sort I like.



This particular episode of Are You Being Served? (which I've seen many times) on MPT really made me laugh. It's the episode "It Pays to Advertise." It's actually the last episode featuring Mr. Grainger. (Coincidentally (?),the show first aired on April 8, 1977 -- so I was watching it on the 36th anniversary of its first airing on BBC.)

Favorite line (as they are trying to film a TV commercial in the department):


Mr. Lucas (to Mr. Grainger, who is playing "Henry*, the lovable old bartender"): "Well, why don't you just stand there and arrange your nuts??"

Mr. Humphries: "Mr. Lucas, I am the director of this film, and if I find ANY artistic value in his arranging his nuts, I shall be the one to tell him!"

*No, not Matthew Henry.

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Although I was so tired, I still made it to the gym tonight and had a rather (surprisingly) good workout including 53 minutes of cardio, an hour of weight-lifting (OK, not continuous and not particularly strenuous, but still), and a half hour in the pool including a fair number of laps.

Here is the case if Uranus were placed where our Moon is located. That might possibly "work" (unsure though).

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I weighed myself just before the pool, I was just a tad over 157 pounds, which is my new low since I started at the gym -- and down 26.5 pounds from the first time I weighed myself on June 23, 2012 on that big scale at the YMCA.

And here is the case if Neptune were placed where our Moon is located. Neptune is a tad smaller and less massive than Uranus, although in this image, it looks basically identical.

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In addition, I reckon with a few pounds of muscle added, I've shifted almost 30 pounds out of fat (and in point of fact, I was probably more like 185 to 188 at my peak). This is half the fat weight I gained over an 8 year period. But I think going much lower will be difficult, and mostly now I seem to fluctuate between 157 and 162 pounds.

I may not go to the gym either Tuesday or Wednesday. For tomorrow, I may walk around the Tidal Basin after work. For tomorrow, I may take a walk around the Tidal Basin after work.

The Yoshino Japanese cherry blossoms are now at peak. I've not seen them at peak on the Tidal Basin (except in the middle of night on those walks I've taken there with Gary) in many years. This is because I go out of my way to avoid the place outright. But I may try tomorrow. As it is, I work quite close to the spot.

Left: A photo of the Yoshinos along the Tidal Basin at floral peak that I found online, year uncertain.

The weather this Monday (April 8th) was suddenly warm: It climbed to 80F at KDCA and 81F at KIAD (and 78F at KBWI). Thus, the first 70F day of the season (on April 7th) was followed immediately by the first 80F day of the season in Washington, D.C. Looking ahead, it could flirt with 90F the next couple of days (unless there is a backdoor front off the Atlantic Ocean). Hopefully, a frontal passage on Friday will bring some decent rains.

A topless young female protester flashes Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose reaction is priceless, during a state visit to Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also in the picture. The Austerity Frau is probably dreaming of more austerity for everybody except Germany and France.

The protests that greeted Putin were over the treatment of gays (not to mention any other group he doesn't like) in Russia. Full story here.

Of note, former British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher died on Monday April 8th at age 87. While I always admired Thatcher and liked her for the personality and "Iron Lady" fierceness in doing things, I think on balance she did more harm than good to Britain.

I feel the same away about her American 1980s counterpart --  President Ronald Reagan.

As ever, the British press will probably have a more even-handed and varied treatment of her legacy than the whore mainstream American one, which will seek unicorns, rainbows, and free market utopias everywhere. I refer to what Alex Pareene called the "David Gregory interviewing Lindsey Graham" coverage and analysis, not that on MSNBC. As for the Fox News Channel, its coverage really will be vintage right-wing fantasy land. To that point, I refer you to the latest Tourette outburst from the actually insane Rep. Steve Stockman.

Updated 12:38PM 4/9/2013: Speaking of Alex Pareene, he has a nice summery (complete with poverty rate and Gini charts) and numerous links to British commentary on The Woman who wrecked Great Britain.

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Annette Funicello also died on April 8th at age 70 after a long battle with MS. Here is her website.

OK, that's all for now.

--Regulus

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