Thursday, June 18, 2015

Be a Loving American: Shootings in South Carolina Church and Community Concepts of Race

Race is absolutely a false construct. 

Scientifically there is absolutely no defined genetic boundary between people which constitutes a "racial" divide. People across the planet exhibit numerous variations and a flowing, ever changing intermingling of genetic material.


Even if one wants to use different terminology and call it families, groups, breeds, or any other false construct of division there is no significant evidence that differences between groupings of people are anything more than cultural. Aside from certain inherent health markers prevalent in genetic groups from areas of the world, or from particular lineages which can be traced back to regional adaptation, there are no differences at all. 

Skin tone adapted to filter or absorb light in relation to the environment. Certain blood conditions evolved relative to survival rates of those exposed to localized strains of this or that. Everything we see as differences, those things that are so objectionable to those among us who are too short sighted or narrow minded to appreciate the joy that diversity of experience can provide for humanity, are cultural. These differences are all about what foods were available, where people lived, what clothes were needed... nothing more.

The problem with those of us who respect and appreciate science and truth is that we think this somehow makes a difference. We assume that once people realize the truth behind society's ignorant concept of race, it must lead to enlightenment. 

It does! Of course it does. The percentage of people who can use modern technology, read news online, be exposed to science, view other cultures through media, or personal exposure made possible by advances in travel, etc. is greater today than ever before. People are more informed about world events than at any other time in history.

But we, the modern, forward thinkers, hold it as certain that this will make a difference. We think it will make "that" difference. That difference we want it to make, bringing about peace, harmony and prosperity. 

This may, and hopefully will, eventually work out to be the result of our new found enlightenment. But revolving around this revelation, this truth that race is not in any way a credible scientific classification, darting in and out of our current human experience like some carnivorous psycho harpy, is a harsh reality. It continues to surge in, forging swaths of destruction and chaos, fueling hatred and murder in spite of our knowledge of Truth.

People, are the problem with people. 

We could have it all, if not for ourselves. We continue to delude ourselves with ancient concepts and outdated ideas that will only serve to cause us pain and suffering. It's all tangled up together in the minds of the fearful, the hateful and the naive. People willing to be led down the path of stupidity by their failure to investigate the world around them. They trust in the concepts spoon fed to them by those men and women corrupt enough to consider leadership as their birthright. Preachers, politicians, musicians, entertainers... you name it. The followers can find somewhere to nestle their heads. 

The curious, inquisitive, forward thinkers among us, who can see the potential for discovery in the Universe, both within and without, are aghast. Because that is the community with which these gentle people identify, the community of being aghast, the one which can't comprehend the hatred and fear. But those harsh realities are also the truth of things. People live in communities. They divide themselves up by thoughts, looks, likes, wants, beliefs, etc. 

Today we are blessed with so much inter-connectivity that we can merge more easily with multiple communities. This modern inclusivity is our only chance at a harmonious, balanced society. Acts like the shooting in South Carolina are further evidence that this inclusivity is needed. The idea that we can all live side by side but still consider ourselves inherently different is untenable. We need the cohesion of commonality. 

Constantly we are assaulted with a barrage of ignorance from social media, traditional media, people on the elevator, images in magazines that strategically divide us into demographics. Diversity is essential in maintaining a healthy culture. Of course we need all the elements of society to bring their differences into the fold. But yes, there must be a fold. And therefore we must allow ourselves to be part of something, part of the greater community. 

The murderer in South Carolina was mentally ill. Regardless of any clinical diagnosis, this person was suffering from an illness. Police who brutalize citizens, thugs who brutalize their victims, the state when it brutalizes inmates, a husband who brutalizes his wife, the football player who brutalizes his date, are all suffering from the illness of brutality. 
 

This community, our community, needs to pull together and care for these people before they get a gun in their hand. As tragic as this incident is, as obviously "racial" as these murders are, we have to come together, even those who self identify as different races, or religions. 

We are currently failing at that. Every person who excludes his fellow man based on skin tone, sub-culture, music preference, haircut, etc. is fueling this illness of brutality. As long as someone is "different," less human, not of you, they are easier to dismiss. We care less if "others" are beaten or murdered.

The commonality around which our community must coalesce is diversity. 

Acceptance of diversity in all aspects of life needs to be the rallying cry of every good-loving person in the world. This was once at least the proposed ideal of Americans. We had managed to pull from our past the positive attributes of our society, at least in our goals, if not always in our results. 

Of course there need to be core concepts. We pretty much have them right there in The Constitution. It is an anchor. It is adaptable. It has the potential to guide us even today. It has the potential to represent gay people, black people, white people, music lovers, lovers in general, lovers of beaches, etc. 

Bear with this digression briefly. It is all interconnected.

For decades, since WWII in fact, the chaos in the rest of the world and the weakness of a post-war world allowed the US and the Soviet Union to maintain a stranglehold on most everything. In as much as it was a cold war, it was also a partnership. Two common enemies which grasped the globe in a common, smoldering fear enabling governments and corporate interests to control most comings and goings of humanity.

In the absence of that, we have created terrorism. 

Granted, terrorism is a real thing, as was the cold war. But it is a thing, as was the cold war, that is steered, directed and manipulated by human beings. 

Just as we are controlled and manipulated by the international divisiveness, we are also controlled by it here at home. As long as things are compartmentalized, they are easier to manage. So the divisive hatred and racial warfare that we see taking place still today, is part of a system of repression and control which is once again evidence of the illness of brutality.

People who have fallen victim to this illness of brutality must, of course, be effectively treated or removed from society, either until they are better, or permanently if necessary.

One thing that must be remembered is that our soldiers are exposed to this on a day to day basis. Our police are exposed to it on a day to day basis. Whether they were trained and conditioned to perpetrate it, or have simply succumbed to it via exposure, some of these men and women charged with protecting us and our freedoms have fallen prey to the illness. Expecting them to deal with a world of violence without being affected and harmed by it is ridiculous.   

Yes, even those sitting high atop the mountain, though wrapped in the physical comforts of power and material things, are in absence of the family of man. Though some think themselves benevolent in their arrogance, that they are somehow "guiding" humanity, the powerful are infected even more so. They consider themselves inherently different.

The perpetrators are also victims of this illness of brutality.

Whether or not murders like those of the innocent people in Charleston are coordinated, some part of some sick, delusional race war, or they are just the demented act of some sick young man who fell victim to his own warped mind, the problem is obviously systemic. And it is spreading.

America is our community. America has an illness. America is in trouble.

This spiraling fear that has begun to take hold in all aspects of our lives is man made. We can argue till we're blue in the face who exactly is behind the fear, the hatred, the spiraling. We can debate day and night, search and seek for the people pulling the strings. Each group as it identifies itself, or others identify respective groupings, whatever they are, can continue to find the points of separation that provide for this dividing and conquering of America, which, regardless of its genesis, authors and actors, is definitely a thing which is occurring, if only in as much as we might just be violently conquering our potential and future, as opposed to conquering the common enemy of failure. 

Whether we identify others or ourselves by race, religion, what we do, what we watch, what we eat, how we dress, what we listen to, we can still put all our efforts into creating a healing environment for all. Difference does not need to mean war and strife and struggle. Why has it? Why does it?

With the exception of some obvious nation building, foreign policy nightmares, New American Century, American Exceptionalist, NWO, WHO and World Bank maneuvers designed to cement the direction of world affairs toward the benefit of established monied interests, and just the generally fucked up nature of human relations these days, the ground level interaction between humans is too complex to be effectively orchestrated and manipulated if people give half a shit. This kind of crap has always occurred. Yet somehow there are times when humanity gets its shit together a little better than it currently does. It seems like when we collectively admit that the powers that be are in one way or another not looking out for our best interests, we do better. But perhaps we can't blame every shitty thing that happens on the higher ups. 

Some powers above the average person's pay grade, some cabal, conspiracy, corporate greed or demagoguery, or just our combined ignorance is leading us into dark times for sure. Who can be certain exactly what this problem stems from? Aside from the general knowledge that the haves don't give two shits about the have nots, those who say they can draw up the flow chart of evil are most assuredly pulling from some myth of explanation, cobbling together unfounded ideas into a flawed, generally self serving conclusion of their own bias, ignorance or hate.

The bottom line is to remember, regardless of the diagnosis, the prognosis sucks. It is obvious we are killing ourselves. 

Maybe all the chaos is stemming from the dark plans of some spell casters or puppet masters orchestrating some evil performance, piping like pied pipers to draw, us, their perceived rats into macabre self slaughter.

Who am I to say for sure. Could be. It would seem though, even if that is the case, even if there is some evil higher power playing the tune, perhaps it's simply time for the puppets to change their dance. 

All of this being said, I completely understand the desire many would have to tear Dylan Roof limb from limb, the young man who murdered 9 innocent church goers. I hold no blame for those who feel this way. His reasoning was completely insane. His targeting of people praying, so wrong. He allegedly stated his reasoning as the need for black people "to go" because they "rape our women" and are "taking over our country." That is just so fucked up. And on top of all that, he just killed people IN CHURCH...old people! 

What it is is sick. So, knowing hate to be a disease. I would only hope his illness doesn't spread even that much more. Embracing his hate, you become him.

And for any of you that feel even the slightest inkling of kinship with this young man's actions, regardless of your excuses and justifications, let me plead with you to get help. You really, truly need to find a priest and get an exorcism, even though I don't believe in that hocus pocus. For someone who even in the back of their mind thinks that killing old people in church is somehow justified, I will make an exception. You need a priest.    
   
My heart goes out to the latest victims of this mass illness and their families: Cynthia Hurd, Suzy Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson. Mourn for them. Mourn for our country. Mourn for the lost souls in America and the soul of America that we have lost. 
   

 
                     

     

 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Spacecraft Detects Impact Glass on Surface of Mars


NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected
deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, such deposits might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet.


During the past few years, research has shown evidence about past life has been preserved in impact glass here on Earth. A 2014 study led by scientist Peter Schultz of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, found organic molecules and plant matter entombed in glass formed by an impact that occurred millions of years ago in Argentina. Schultz suggested that similar processes might preserve signs of life on Mars, if they were present at the time of an impact.

Fellow Brown researchers Kevin Cannon and Jack Mustard, building on the previous research, detail their data about Martian impact glass in a report now online in the journal Geology.

“The work done by Pete and others showed us that glasses are potentially important for preserving biosignatures,” Cannon said. “Knowing that, we wanted to go look for them on Mars and that’s what we did here. Before this paper, no one had been able to definitively detect them on the surface.”

Cannon and Mustard showed large glass deposits are present in several ancient, yet well-preserved, craters on Mars. Picking out the glassy deposits was no easy task. To identify minerals and rock types remotely, scientists measured the spectra of light reflected off the planet’s surface. But impact glass doesn’t have a particularly strong spectral signal.

“Glasses tend to be spectrally bland or weakly expressive, so signature from the glass tends to be overwhelmed by the chunks of rock mixed in with it,” said Mustard. “But Kevin found a way to tease that signal out.”

In a laboratory, Cannon mixed together powders with a similar composition of Martian rocks and fired them in an oven to form glass. He then measured the spectral signal from that glass.

Once Mustard had the signal from the lab glass, he used an algorithm to pick out similar signals in data from MRO’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), for which he is the deputy principal investigator.

The technique pinpointed deposits in several Martian crater central peaks, the craggy mounds that often form in the center of a crater during a large impact. The fact the deposits were found on central peaks is a good indicator that they have an impact origin.

Knowing that impact glass can preserve ancient signs of life -- and now knowing that such deposits exist on the Martian surface today -- opens up a potential new strategy in the search for ancient Martian life.

“The researchers’ analysis suggests glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “These areas could be targets for future exploration as our robotic scientific explorers pave the way on the journey to Mars with humans in the 2030s.”

One of the craters containing glass, called Hargraves, is near the Nili Fossae trough, a 400-mile-long (about 650-kilometer-long) depression that stretches across the Martian surface. The region is one of the landing site contenders for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, a mission to cache soil and rock samples for possible return to Earth.

Nili Fossae trough is already of scientific interest because the crust in the region is thought to date back to when Mars was a much wetter planet. The region also is rife with what appear to be ancient hydrothermal fractures, warm vents that could have provided energy for life to thrive just beneath the surface.

“If you had an impact that dug in and sampled that subsurface environment, it’s possible that some of it might be preserved in a glassy component,” Mustard said. “That makes this a pretty compelling place to go look around, and possibly return a sample.”

MRO has been examining Mars with CRISM and five other instruments since 2006.

"This significant new detection of impact glass illustrates how we can continue to learn from the ongoing observations by this long-lived mission," said Richard Zurek, MRO project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, provided and operates CRISM. JPL manages MRO for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver built the orbiter and supports its operations.

For more information about CRISM, visit:
For more information about the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, visit:

Friday, June 5, 2015

NASA Television to Air Return of Three Space Station Crew Members


After more than six months of performing scientific research and technology demonstrations in space, three International Space Station crew members are scheduled to depart the orbiting laboratory Thursday, June 11. NASA Television will provide coverage of their station departure and return to Earth.

Coverage begins at 10:40 a.m. EDT Wednesday, June 10, when Expedition 43 Commander Terry Virts of NASA hands over command of the space station to cosmonaut Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos).

At 6:20 a.m. the following day, Virts and Flight Engineers Samantha Cristoforetti of ESA (European Space Agency) and Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos will undock their Soyuz spacecraft from the space station and land in Kazakhstan at 9:43 a.m. (7:43 p.m. Kazakh time).

Their return wraps up 199 days in space, during which they traveled more than 84 million miles since their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 24. Their return date was delayed four weeks to allow Roscosmos to investigate the cause of the loss of the unpiloted Progress 59 cargo ship in late April.

NASA Television will broadcast departure and landing activities at the following times:

Wednesday, June 10
  • 10:40 a.m. - Change of command ceremony in which Virts hands over station command to Padalka
Thursday, June 11
  • 2:30 a.m. - Farewell and hatch closure coverage (hatch closure scheduled for 2:55 a.m.)
  • 6 a.m. - Undocking coverage (undocking scheduled at 6:20 a.m.)
  • 8:30 a.m. - Deorbit burn and landing coverage (deorbit burn scheduled at 8:51 a.m., with landing at 9:43 a.m.)
  • noon. - Video File of hatch closure, undocking and landing activities
  • 10 p.m. - Video File of landing and post-landing activities and post-landing interviews with Virts and Cristoforetti in Kazakhstan
When the Virts, Shkaplerov and Cristoforetti land in Kazakhstan Thursday, Virts will have logged 212 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on space shuttle mission STS-130 in 2010. Shkaplerov will have spent 364 days in space on two flights, the first of which was on Expedition 29/30 in 2011. This was Cristoforetti’s first flight into space.

Expedition 44 formally begins aboard the station, under the command of Padalka, when the Soyuz undocks. He and crewmates Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos will operate the station until the arrival of NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, who are scheduled to launch from Kazakhstan in July.

Kelly and Kornienko are spending one year in space, twice the typical mission duration, to provide researchers the opportunity to learn more about the medical, psychological and biomedical challenges faced by astronauts during long duration spaceflight.



For the NASA TV schedule and coordinate information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

NASA’s Hubble Finds Pluto’s Moons Tumbling in Absolute Chaos

This set of computer modeling illustrations of Pluto’s moon Nix shows how the orientation of the moon changes unpredictably as it orbits the “double planet” Pluto-Charon. Credits: NASA/ESA/M. Showalter (SETI)/G. Bacon (STScI)
If you lived on one of Pluto’s moons, you might have a hard time determining when, or from which direction, the sun will rise each day. Comprehensive analysis of data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows that two of Pluto’s moons, Nix and Hydra, wobble unpredictably.

“Hubble has provided a new view of Pluto and its moons revealing a cosmic dance with a chaotic rhythm,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “When the New Horizons spacecraft flies through the Pluto system in July we’ll get a chance to see what these moons look like up close and personal.”

The moons wobble because they’re embedded in a gravitational field that shifts constantly. This shift is created by the double planet system of Pluto and Charon as they whirl about each other. Pluto and Charon are called a double planet because they share a common center of gravity located in the space between the bodies. Their variable gravitational field sends the smaller moons tumbling erratically. The effect is strengthened by the football-like, rather than spherical, shape of the moons. Scientists believe it’s likely Pluto’s other two moons, Kerberos and Styx, are in a similar situation.

The astonishing results, found by Mark Showalter of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California and Doug Hamilton of the University of Maryland at College Park, will appear in the June 4 issue of the journal Nature.

"Prior to the Hubble observations, nobody appreciated the intricate dynamics of the Pluto system,” Showalter said. “Our research provides important new constraints on the sequence of events that led to the formation of the system.”

Showalter also found three of Pluto’s moons are presently locked together in resonance, meaning there is a precise ratio for their orbital periods.

“If you were sitting on Nix, you would see that Styx orbits Pluto twice for every three orbits made by Hydra,” noted Hamilton.

Hubble data also reveal the moon Kerberos is as dark as a charcoal briquette, while the other frozen moons are as bright as sand. It was predicted that dust blasted off the moons by meteorite impacts should coat all the moons, giving their surfaces a homogenous look, which makes Kerberos’ coloring very surprising.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which will fly by the Pluto system in July, may help settle the question of the asphalt-black moon, as well as the other oddities uncovered by Hubble. These new discoveries are being used to plan science observations for the New Horizons flyby.

The turmoil within the Pluto-Charon system offers insights into how planetary bodies orbiting a double star might behave. For example, NASA’s Kepler space observatory has found several planetary systems orbiting double stars.

“We are learning chaos may be a common trait of binary systems,” Hamilton said. “It might even have consequences for life on planets if found in such systems.”

Clues to the Pluto commotion first came when astronomers measured variations in the light reflected off Nix and Hydra. Analyzing Hubble images of Pluto taken from 2005 to 2012, scientists compared the unpredictable changes in the moons’ brightness to models of spinning bodies in complex gravitational fields.

 

Pluto's moons are believed to have been formed by a collision between the dwarf planet and a similar-sized body early in the history of our solar system. The smashup flung material that consolidated into the family of moons observed around Pluto today. Its binary companion, Charon, is almost half the size of Pluto and was discovered in 1978. Hubble discovered Nix and Hydra in 2005, Kerberos in 2011, and Styx in 2012. These little moons, measuring just tens of miles in diameter, were found during a Hubble search for objects that could be hazards to the New Horizons spacecraft as it passes the dwarf planet in July.
(The illustration to the right shows the scale and comparative brightness of Pluto’s small satellites. The surface craters are for illustration only and do not represent real imaging data.)
Credits: NASA/ESA/A. Feild (STScI)

Researchers say a combination of Hubble data monitoring and New Horizon’s brief close-up look, as well as future observations with NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will help settle many mysteries of the Pluto system. No ground-based telescopes have yet been able to detect the smallest moons.

“Pluto will continue to surprise us when New Horizons flies past it in July,” Showalter said. “Our work with the Hubble telescope just gives us a foretaste of what’s in store.”

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For images and more information about Hubble, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

and

http://hubblesite.org/news/2015/24