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 on: Oct 07, 2015, 05:16 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
October 6, 2015

Get stoked! Draconid meteor shower peaks this week

by Savanna Walker
Red Orbit

The Draconid meteor shower will be happening this week! Get stoked. In 2012, viewers recorded up to a thousand meteors per hour, but the shower has a temperamental history, with some years being much more impressive than others, according to National Geographic.

This shower is Draco Malfoy's favorite for obvious reasons.


The shower will be in the general area of the constellation Draco in the northwestern skies. It will peak the 8th and the 9th of October, just after sunset.

Generally, this particular shower doesn’t have too many meteors, averaging only a few per hour. A show like that of 2012 isn’t expected to happen this year, but the shower isn’t exactly predictable so don’t rule it out yet!

How to view it

Even if it isn’t as spectacular an event as in previous years, the viewing conditions for the Draconid shower are expected to be excellent, so it's worth a shot. The moon will be in waning crescent and won’t rise until early morning, so the sky will be dark for the shower. And these meteors are generally quite slow, which makes them very easy to spot.

The best time to view the shower is right before nightfall, facing the northwestern sky. It will be most visible in the Northern Hemisphere, specifically Europe, the U.S., Canada, and northern Asia.

The meteors emanate from the head of the Draco constellation, looking on good years like fire coming out of the dragon’s mouth. They're produced by the debris tailing Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner, and are sometimes called the Giacobinids, after the comet’s discoverer, Michel Giacobini, who discovered the comet in 1900.

The comet’s debris produced amazing displays in 1933, 1946, and in 2011 there were over 600 meteors per hour! Dang. Maybe we'll get lucky.

The Draconid shower is also a precursor to the Orionid shower, which will peak around October 21 and last until November 14. The Orionids have the second highest entry velocity and are even known to showcase green or yellow meteors, and if we’re very lucky, the occasional fireball (a big, slow-burning meteor).

 on: Oct 07, 2015, 05:14 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
October 6, 2015

NASA joins forces with the Navy to prepare for Mars mission

by Chuck Bednar
Red Orbit

NASA officials are working with members of the US Navy submarine force to learn more about how people cope with month-long simulations of transportation into non-terrestrial environments such as space or the deep sea, according to media reports published on Monday.

According to The Washington Post, NASA and the Navy are collaborating at a Naval base in Groton, Connecticut in order to measure how personnel deal with stress during four-week mock space flights. Astronauts, like sailors traveling through ocean depths, are isolated for long periods of time and have to rely on their crew mates to survive.

Brandon Vessey, a scientist with NASA's human research program, told the Associated Press that the organization has “a shared interest with the Navy in team resilience. The agencies started working together about five years ago when the submarine force extended an invitation to NASA to search for ways to help tactical team members work together better.

While working at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory in Groton, Navy scientists developed a way to evaluate the performance of those tactical teams. Their method focused on a series of essential team practices, including dialogue, critical thinking skills, and decision-making capabilities, and they devised a way to measure how well they were able to deal with setbacks.

New experiments scheduled to begin early next year

In January or February, NASA and the Navy will begin a new experiment designed to shed light on the potential behavior issues that crew members will experience while traveling on upcoming missions to an asteroid in 2025 and to Mars sometime in the 2030s, according to AP reports.

Using a capsule roughly the same size as a two-bedroom apartment, NASA will be monitoring the performance and behavior of astronauts participating in longer-term space missions during a series of experiments conducted at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Four volunteers are to live and work in the habitat for 30 day periods at any given time.

The habitat, which is called the Human Exploration Research Analog, will also feature a model airlock and will be supported by a miniature version of mission control. Audio and video records of the subjects will be kept and sent to Navy scientists at the Groton lab for analysis.

Former submarine commander Ronald Steed said that traveling on a space ship would be similar to being a member of a submarine crew. In particular, he said, just as a sub commander “can’t always call to shore, you can’t just call back to Earth for advice... [he/she must] have a set of tools that let him or her look at the crew and make a determination about where they are.”

 on: Oct 07, 2015, 03:07 AM 
Started by Maya - Last post by Skywalker
Hi Maya,

To explain awareness/consciousness to others maybe you can explain that in any experience we have, brushing our teeth, walking, working etc, there is always a part of us that knows, that sees what we are experiencing. The way I have explained it to others is that there is always a witness, watching, seeing, knowing and self aware of any experience.

Hope that is clear enough.

all the best

 on: Oct 06, 2015, 10:52 AM 
Started by Daniel - Last post by Rad
Hi Daniel,
Yes, we can do that here on the mb. Let me know how you want to do this/ proceed. The EA axis does work in country charts. For example, the USA chart starts with a 9th House Pluto in Cap conjunct the S.Node in Aquarius, ruled by Uranus in Gemini in the 1st correlates with the original group of white people coming to that country from Europe because of the religious persecution they were feeling in their homelands. So rebellion against that, and then traveling all the way to the N.American continent in order to start their own religious communities. Just a simple example to illustrate that, yes, the EA axis does apply to countries, and the people that make up those countries. Anyway, let me know how you would like to proceed.

God Bless, Rad

 on: Oct 06, 2015, 10:10 AM 
Started by Maya - Last post by Maya
Hi All,

How would you translate: "awareness consciousness", or say it in other words? I know what it means,
but how to explain it to others?

Thank you.

 on: Oct 06, 2015, 09:18 AM 
Started by Daniel - Last post by Daniel
Hi Rad and EA community,

I would like to reframe my question from a couple of days ago. What is the EA approach to mundane astrology?  Do countries have an evolutionary axis in a way that is similar to people?  Specifically, I am interested in understanding the birth chart of the United States from an EA perspective. Is that something that is within the scope of this mb? TIA.

Prayers for peace,


 on: Oct 06, 2015, 09:01 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
'Look what you've done': an open letter to Pig Putin'

Oleg Kashin

In a searing indictment of Russian leaders, journalist claims government is failing to prosecute those responsible for an attack that nearly killed him

Tuesday 6 October 2015 15.45 BST

Oleg Kashin’s open letter to president Vladimir Putin and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev is both a personalised cry of anguish about the failure to arrest the man he believes responsible for an attack that nearly killed him, and a searing indictment of the current Russian political system.

The attack on the journalist in 2010 left him with a broken jaw, fractured skull, broken leg and broken fingers, one of which had to be amputated. None of his valuables were taken.

When the attack took place, there were any number of potential suspects: as one of Russia’s most prominent independent journalists, Kashin had offended a lot of people.

Russian journalist 'nearly killed' in doorstep beating..Read more:

A few months later, while Kashin was recuperating in an Israeli hospital, he was visited in person by the then-president, Dmitry Medvedev, who wished him a speedy recovery and promised that the murder would be solved.

There have been a number of high-profile murders or attacks on journalists in Russia, with few of them solved. Even when the direct assailants are put on trial, as in the case of Anna Politkovskaya, the trail stops before it reaches those who ordered the attack; critics allege because if government officials are involved, they are untouchable.

Last month, Kashin named the men he believed were responsible for the attack, including the governor of Pskov region, Andrei Turchak. Kashin had criticised the politician in a blog post two months before the attack.

He claimed that while the men who allegedly carried out the attack had been arrested, the fact that their testimony appears to implicate Turchak meant the case was too politically sensitive.

Turchak has not commented on the allegations against him, while one of his deputies denied the allegations in an interview with the BBC.

In a statement released on Monday, Putin’s spokesman reportedly confirmed the president’s office had read the letter, but that no comment would be made on the allegations. Medvedev has not responded.

In the letter below, Kashin elaborates on those claims, in an angry tirade against Putin and the system he has built over the past 15 years.

Dear Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev,

My colleagues have already written you open letters about my case. You haven’t responded (and, more importantly, neither has your Investigative Committee), though this actually makes perfect sense: you were asked to “sort it out” but there’s no need for anything like that.

    You have complete and absolute control over the adoption and implementation of laws in Russia

I understand perfectly well that you “sorted it out” a long time ago, and you’ve known for just as long that it was your little Governor Turchak who was behind this crime against me. My case was solved a long time ago. You know this and I know this. And I see no reason to pretend that the problem here is that you still need to “sort it out”. Your decision not to act is clear.

You’ve decided to side with your Governor Turchak; you’re protecting him and his gang of thugs and murderers. It would make sense for somebody like me – a victim of this gang – to be outraged about all this and tell you that it’s dishonest and unjust, but I understand that such words would only make you laugh.

You have complete and absolute control over the adoption and implementation of laws in Russia, and yet you still live like criminals. Consider Inspector Vadim Sotskov, who’s been handed my case.

Sotskov put it elegantly when he said recently: “There’s the law, but there’s also the man in charge, and the will of the boss is always stronger than any law.”

Put bluntly: he’s right and that’s reality. Your will in Russia is stronger than any law.

I’ve known Sotskov for over a year now. He and I belong to the same generation. At one time, he was even a journalist at Narodnoe Radio. I can easily imagine him in his first year of law school, studying Roman law, still full of enthusiasm, honesty and dreams about changing the world. And what’s become of him now? He’s a terrified bureaucrat, dreaming about keeping his job long enough to earn a pension. Who made him this way? It was you.

For some reason, we weigh the last 15 years of your reign purely in certain materialist terms. Oil costs so much, the dollar is worth so much, GDP rose so many percentiles, and so on.

But it’s not about oil or GDP. History will judge these 15 years precisely on the fate of men like Sotskov.

It was you who turned an enthusiastic young man – someone who hurried to the studio from lectures to read the news on an opposition radio station – into a uniformed cynic, who admits openly that the will of his superiors is more important than any law.

    Don’t flatter yourself: the last ​​15 years haven’t been a revival for Russia – the country hasn’t risen from its knees

But don’t flatter yourself: the last 15 years haven’t been a revival for Russia, and the country hasn’t risen from its knees. This time has been a monumental moral catastrophe for our generation. And both of you, Mr Putin and Mr Medvedev, are personally responsible for it.

In Russian society today, even obvious questions about good and evil have become impossible. Is it OK to steal? Is it OK to cheat? Is murder ethical? With each of these questions, it’s become customary in Russia now to answer that things aren’t so simple. All your good works have left the nation demoralised and disoriented.

But you carry on, managing your problems without even realising that you’re digging the hole yourselves. “Things aren’t so simple” is what the angry crowd will tell you in unison, when it comes time for you to run away. I suspect that you’re afraid of this crowd, but just remember that it was you who created it, and you’ve got nobody to blame but yourselves.

Having cut yourselves and your elites off from society, you’ve also cut yourselves off from reality. There’s a wall separating you from the rest of us, and everyone on our side shudders each time the next one of your goons decides to show what a thinker he is by stepping up to a podium and talking about how the population is being controlled by computer chips, about the “Euro-Atlantic conspiracy,” or about how the Americans are weaponising cellular research.

Whoever comes after you will have to create Russia all over again, from scratch. This is your only service to history– what you’ve spent 15 years achieving. Your favourite justification for all this (the only one, there are no others) are the troubles of the 1990s, but it’s important to understand that you preserved and strengthened everything about this period that we’ve come to hate today. You didn’t fix anything. You only made it all worse.

You like to think of yourselves as the heirs to two empires, Tsarist and Soviet. You take pride in your neo-Soviet militarism, but if anybody told Dmitriy Ustinov [who created the USSR’s military-industrial complex] that a man was beaten with steel pipes and it was paid for with official state funding [according to evidence presented in court proceedings in St Petersburg], Ustinov would have thought he was hearing a nasty anti-Soviet joke.

Veterans of Turchak’s factory told me that, 20 years ago, the young future governor would ride around the grounds in a black Volga, firing from a pistol at stray cats. The portrait of your era and your elites will be full of details like this, and you’ve got no reason to expect anything more.

Your main problem is that you simply don’t love Russia. You treat it like another disposable resource that’s fallen into your lap.

Oleg Kashin: 'Men who nearly killed me charged but not their paymaster'..Read more:

In recent days, I’ve heard many times that all the noise around my case is getting kicked up thanks to some war among the factions who surround you. This is another feature of the system you’ve imposed: nothing just happens, someone is behind everything, and there are conspiracies everywhere.

As a participant in this so-called conspiracy, I can say that a battle among the factions is certainly raging, but the shared goal of all the factions [appears to be] to save your Governor Turchak and his associates from criminal prosecution. I suspect this battle is won.

I can see perfectly well that the worst thing Turchak faces now is a quiet resignation, timed long after any developments in my case. This is the only justice citizens can expect, and it means that your system isn’t capable of any kind of justice at all.

You do what you want, but I wonder how comfortable life can be, when you know that you yourselves won’t be able to count on justice or the law, sooner or later.

Oleg Kashin

Introduction by Shaun Walker. Translation by Kevin Rothrock for Global Voices online

 on: Oct 06, 2015, 08:44 AM 
Started by cat777 - Last post by Rad
Christian group says the world will be permanently ‘annihilated’ on Wednesday

Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian
06 Oct 2015 at 10:15 ET                   

While our planet may have survived September’s “blood moon”, it will be permanently destroyed on Wednesday, 7 October, a Christian organization has warned.

The eBible Fellowship, an online affiliation headquartered near Philadelphia, has based its prediction of an October obliteration on a previous claim that the world would end on 21 May 2011. While that claim proved to be false, the organization is confident it has the correct date this time.

“According to what the Bible is presenting it does appear that 7 October will be the day that God has spoken of: in which, the world will pass away,” said Chris McCann, the leader and founder of the fellowship, an online gathering of Christians headquartered in Philadelphia.

“It’ll be gone forever. Annihilated.”

McCann said that, according to his interpretation of the Bible, the world will be obliterated “with fire”.

The blood moon – a lunar eclipse combined with a “super moon” – occurred without event on 27 September. This was despite some predictions that it would herald the beginning of the apocalypse. Certain religious leaders had said the blood moon would trigger a chain of events that could see our planet destroyed in as little as seven years time.

According to this new prediction, however, there will be no stay of execution. On the day of 7 October, the world will end.

“God destroyed the first earth with water, by a flood, in the days of Noah. And he says he’ll not do that again, not by water. But he does say in 2nd Peter 3 that he’ll destroy it by fire,” McCann said.

The expectation of the world ending this fall stems from an earlier prediction by Harold Camping , a Christian radio host who was based in California. In 2011 Camping used his radio station, Family Radio, to notify people that the world would end on 21 May of that year. When that turned out to be incorrect, Camping revised his prediction to October 2011. That also turned out to be incorrect, and Camping retired from public life soon after. He died in 2013, at age 93.

McCann believes that Camping’s 21 May 2011 prediction did have some truth, however. That day was declared to be “judgment day” because it was actually the day God stopped the process of selecting which churchgoers will survive Wednesday’s massacre, McCann said.

Following 21 May 2011, God turned his attention to deciding which non-churchgoers to save, according to McCann. The eBible Fellowship believes that God said he would devote 1,600 days to this task – bringing us to 7 October 2015.

“There’s a strong likelihood that this will happen,” McCann said, although he did leave some room for error: “Which means there’s an unlikely possibility that it will not.”

The eBible Fellowship, which McCann was at pains to point out is not a church, is a predominantly online organization. The group does hold meetings once a month, however.

Scientists have several theories about when earth will be destroyed, although none of the data points to this Wednesday. The most widely accepted theory is that the sun, which is already gradually increasing in temperature, will expand and swallow up the planet. Some scientists believe this could happen as soon as 7.6bn years time.

Whether the planet is destroyed next week or several thousand million years in the future, McCann’s plans for the coming week will remain the same. He and his wife, a fellow believer in Wednesday’s end date, had three birthdays in the family before then, which they planned to celebrate.

 on: Oct 06, 2015, 08:33 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
60 million people in sub-Saharan Africa risk famine: Red Cross

05 Oct 2015 at 15:57 ET                   

Some 60 million people across sub-Saharan Africa are already going hungry and the situation could deteriorate dramatically as climate phenomena hike the risk of drought, the Red Cross said Monday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned that a series of climatic shocks in 2014 and 2015 had decimated harvests and left many people in Gambia, Mauritania, Malawi, Namibia, Senegal and Zimbabwe dependent on food aid to survive.

Floods and drought had dramatically reduced maize production, the regional staple, in southern Africa, while the region was also hit by erratic rainfall, failed crops and violence.

Yet the worst is yet to come, IFRC warned, pointing to the strengthening of the El Nino climate phenomenon, which comes with warming sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, causing heavy rains in some parts of the world and drought elsewhere.

“The Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre predicts a higher likelihood of flood conditions developing in equatorial Africa, and increased risk of drought in parts of southern Africa and the Sahel region,” it said.

– ‘Surviving on leaves’ –

“Many families are surviving on one meal a day made from leaves, which have very little nutritional value. Or, they are even going without food for days because of the erratic rainfall,” Miriam Grove, IFRC operations manager in the Sahel region, said in the statement.

“These people need urgent assistance,” she said, adding that “if we can help them now, we can maintain their nutritional status and give them the tools and seeds necessary to survive worsening conditions next year.”

The organisation warned that without more aid to the region, “the prospect for many affected people is bleak.”

Michael Charles, IFRC acting regional representative in southern Africa, acknowledged that “the regularity with which we see food insecurity in Africa has left many people apathetic.”

“But the crisis currently facing millions of families is not inevitable and should not be acceptable,” he said, insisting “there are many things that we can do to stop this food crisis in its tracks and alleviate the impact on vulnerable people, but we need international support to make this happen.”

Malnutrition is already high in the region, with the UN children’s agency reporting that a full 37 percent of children there are stunted — a clear indication of long-term nutritional problems.

“Further decreases in the availability of nutritious food may be life-threatening for children, people living with HIV, and other vulnerable groups,” IFRC warned.

The organisation said it needed around eight million Swiss francs ($8.1 million, 7.25 million euros) to provide 205,000 of the most vulnerable people across six countries with urgently needed food aid and help equip their communities to withstand further climatic shocks.

 on: Oct 06, 2015, 06:23 AM 
Started by Steve - Last post by Rad
Storing wild seeds will save harvests—and lives

The Economist

FARMING is more efficient than ever. But the search for high yields has also made it more concentrated. From the wheat in steaming noodles to the maize of fresh tortillas, just 30 crops now sate almost all of humanity’s nutritional needs.

But monoculture carries great risks. A single disease or pest can wipe out swathes of the world’s food production, an alarming prospect given that its growing and wealthier population will eat 70% more by 2050 (see article). The risks are magnified by the changing climate. As the planet warms and monsoon rains intensify, farmlands in Asia will flood. North America will suffer more intense droughts, and crop diseases will spread to new latitudes. Pests are on the move, too. Since the 1960s, unwanted beasties, spared harsh winter frosts, have moved polewards at an average of around 3km (2 miles) a year.   

The solutions to some of these problems lie in the genes of wild relatives of food crops. Botanists can screen them for valuable traits, and use the genes to breed new domestic varieties. Asian paddy fields were saved from the brown planthopper 40 years ago thanks to one wild Indian rice species. This is often cheaper and less controversial than genetic modification. But success depends on having thousands of varieties to test.

The burden of preserving biodiversity must fall on governments. Biotech firms focus on just a few commercial crops, and control the distribution of their seeds. Developing and maintaining seed banks, which currently hold 7.4m samples of the Earth’s bounty in their vaults, is essential. But most seed banks were built in the 1970s and 1980s and have seen little investment since. Some have disappeared altogether owing to war, as in Afghanistan, and fire, as in the Philippines. And keeping samples healthy requires regular propagation, not just dehydration and freezing. That means hiring and training plenty of botanists—who can also search for new species.

The world’s seed banks co-ordinate their work through the International Seed Treaty, which came into effect in 2004 and has been signed by 135 countries and the European Union. It identifies 35 food crops as so essential to global food security that their genetic diversity should be shared widely.

But some countries’ regulations on “biopiracy”—the uncompensated commercialisation of plants and seeds—stop the treaty from being properly implemented. In the 19th century rubber barons enriched themselves by sneaking seeds out of the Amazon. One explorer, Sir Henry Wickham, got 70,000 of them through customs; many were used to establish rubber plantations in Asia, breaking Brazil’s monopoly. India, among others, now offends too far the other way. Scientists working there struggle to get permission to export samples, even when they cite the treaty’s provisions, for fear of piracy. And the list of 35 essential crops fails to include some important ones, such as soyabeans and peanuts. It needs to be expanded.

Money well spent

Much harm has been done. In the past century about three-quarters of global crop genetic diversity is thought to have been lost, and with it many potentially beneficial traits. Preserving what remains is an insurance policy against the effects of climate change: Britain’s Millennium Seed Bank, the world’s largest, cost £73m ($112m) to complete in 2010. The damage from the brown planthopper came to $1 billion in today’s money. Governments should share species and fund seed banks. Their work is a vital safeguard against hunger.

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