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Dragon Will Devour the Moon August 20, 2007

Posted by psmc in astronomy, Moon, Science, Sun.
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On August 28 there will be a total lunar eclipse. For those living in the eastern US the eclipse begins at 3:54 AM EDT.  But you really won’t notice anything until the Moon starts to enter the umbra, or main shadow at 4:50 AM. Totality starts at 5:52 AM EDT. This will last for nearly 90 minutes. Which means that for people on the East Caost the moon will set still undergoing eclipse.

For those who like to rise early in the Central Time zone for an early morning jog will be treated to seeing eclipsed moon. During totality the color of the moon darkens to a deep blood red, but in some years it has darken even more.  Each eclipse is slightly different.

For people in Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hawaii will be able to see the entire eclipse.  Provided the weather cooperates.  For those in the UK, Europe and Africa will not see it.  Sorry Kathy.

Two weeks later, on September 11 there will be solar eclipse.  However it will be a partial solar eclipse and will be visible from western South America and Antarctica.

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I pronounce you man and wife…. August 19, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, Arkansas, Familiy, Government, humor, Jerry Springer, LAw, Marriage, Politics, Society.
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In a horrible case of life imitating a bad episode of Jerry Springer, the state of Arkansas has mistakenly lowered the age that people can marry to, well, now there is no minimum age.  Infants can now get married.  Before this law went into effect the age of consent was 16 for women and 17 for men.  They had wanted to make it 18 for everyone.  But the bill had an exception in case of pregnancy. If there was a pregnancy involved and one or both participants under 18, then they could marry with parental consent.

However due to a typo the new law read: “In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage.”

In other words, if the parents say yes, then kids can get married at any age. I’m not sure but I believe due to this wording,  makes marriage in case of pregnancy IS prohibited.  At least while the pregnancy lasts.

Amazing the power of one three letter word.  Even more depressing,  two houses of a state legislature along with the governor’s office bothered to read the law they were passing.  Makes you wonder what else is has been made legal, or illegal, and no one yet  figured it out.

In order to fix this, another law has to be passed.  This will require a special session of the Arkansas legislature since it is now in recess and won’t meet again until 2009.  Frankly I think the people of Arkansas would be better served if these turkeys never would have convened in the first place.

The story can be seen at http://tinyurl.com/yvu29d

A grieving grandmother and her lawyer August 16, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, Familiy, LAw, money, Society, Wrestling, WWE.
1 comment so far

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As you may recall, there was a tragic event in Georgia last month.  The wrestler Chris Benoit suffered some type of breakdown and murdered his wife, his son and then committed suicide.  As tragic and disgusting as this was, it entered a new level this week.  What is at issue now  is the order in which the victims died.

The mother of the wife of Chris Benoit wants a piece of his estate, which is worth millions.  As it stands now, it will go to Chris Benoit’s two children from a previous marriage.  However, some lawyer has obviously convinced this woman that she is entitled to some of this money.  It seems under Georgia law, if the mother died after the child then then the mother’s family is entitled to a piece of the estate.

This seems to be an esoteric fact of Georgia law.  It looks like a lawyer, smelling an easy payday, contacted this grieving mother, and convinced her she has a legitimate shot at the estate.

Unfortunately the police have consistently said that the mother died first then the son.  And if I recollect correctly, it was some time between the two deaths.  So there should be little doubt of the order of death.  But when it comes to money, especially millions of dollars, the truth is often a victim as well.

You’re Afraid of What?! part 2 August 14, 2007

Posted by psmc in humor, Language.
1 comment so far

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In case you wanted to know….

Photografiakremazophobia – Fear of hanging pictures on the walls of your home.

Evolution on Talk Radio August 14, 2007

Posted by psmc in biology, Coast to Coast AM, Evolution, paranormal, religion, Science, Society, Uncategorized.
2 comments

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Before I continue, a disclaimer. I am not a Biologist nor am I an Anthropologist. My degree is in Mathematics with extensive coursework in Physics and Computer Science. And for most of my career I have been working with computers. Needless to say, I have a firm grasp of the principles Logic and of the Scientific Method. I have taken courses in Biology and Anthropology and have been very fortunate to have good friends and a few roommates who were anthropologists and have had many discussions with them on this subject. Sometimes, the best education one can get is having a lively discussion with knowledgeable people in a field over beer and pizza. The point I am making however is that one need not be a PhD candidate in a field in order to understand concepts that are fundamental to that field.

The other night I was listening to an overnight national radio show that specializes in the Paranormal, UFOs and other things that go bump in the night. They had a small piece on new hominid fossil finds that seem to put the time lines of the emergence of certain hominid species into question. The host was interviewing an individual while a biologist, did not seem to be one that agreed with Sir Darwin. The host seemed very excited and was eager to know if this discovery signaled the final death knell for Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. To be honest, he never used those words, but the tenor of hos voice iimplied he was hoping it was so. He also wanted to know that since this discovery totally invalidates Evolution (which it doesn’t) does it mean that Intelligent Design is the only theory left that makes any sense.

Normally, I try to ignore these comments and questions. I understand that they are frequently made out of ignorance and are usually designed to generate interest amongst the listeners which leads to higher ratings (ie more money). But for some reason, this interview was, for me, the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Is it so hard for a nationally broadcast program with one of the largest listening audiences in US and Canada, if not the world, to find an accredited expert in the field of Biology to explain WHAT Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is? Especially when they like to make the claim they are trying to enlighten the minds of the listening audience. I also wished that they would interview their guests more aggressively.

This scientist they were talking to made a statement that was patently false and it went unchallenged. He claimed we have NEVER seen new species evolved. Well, where the heck are all these drug-resistant strains of bacteria coming from? How did AIDS arise? Is it just a coincidence there’s a similar virus that affects the other species of primates?

It’s clear that there are many critics and doubters of Darwin and his theory. It’s also clear that many of these people have no idea what his theory is, yet they oppose it just the same. And a lot of these people vote as well. Although I am sure that they decide ballot issues with more thought than they oppose Evolution.

I just find it particularly, well, immoral, for this radio program to do this. They claim that they want to inform and educate their listeners. (How is educating a person different than informing them?) Yet, they don’t seem to educate themselves on what they are talking about. I don’t care if they support Evolution, Intelligent Design or full blown Creationism. They can say and support any theory or no theory. All I ask is that they get reasonably informed on a subject before they attempt to trash it.

Amish Outlaw? August 14, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, humor, religion, Society.
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Well if they are using radar to control the Amish and their speeding buggies, then what I saw yesterday makes more sense.   I was at a local fast food restaurant and I saw a van pull-up with the name Renegade painted across the front of the van. After the van parked, about 10 Amish got out.  I found it amusing that a van full of law-abiding, traditionalist, pacifist Amish  were happily riding in a van named Renegade.  I was wondering what made these Amish renegades.  Maybe they used buttons and zippers, or perhaps they drove around listening to the farm reports on the van’s radio.

After all if they are speeding around in their buggies, Lord knows what other type of mischief they are up to.

Ain’t America Grand? August 14, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, Society, Uncategorized.
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America certainly has some unusual place names. I wonder if the name of the town is an indication of what the nature of the town. Do you think Coatesville really is full of coats?

Star Light Star Bright….. August 11, 2007

Posted by psmc in astronomy, Enviroment, Science, Uncategorized.
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During the next three weeks, we will be treated to, hopefully, two rather impressive meteor showers.

First are the Perseids. This is one of the two most prominent and dependable meteor showers of the year. This year the peak of the Perseids, Aug 12-13, corresponds to a New Moon. This means the moon will not interfere with the observing of any meteors since it wont be in the sky. The rate at which metewros are expected tofall will build over the weekend: 30 per hour on Saturday morning; 45 per hour on Sunday morning and 80 per hour on Monday morning.

Best results are in the dark skies after midnight. Don’ t be discouraged if you can’ t stay up past midnight. They will be observable all night long. The hourly rate won’t be as high as it is before midnight as it is after midnight. But it should be higher than a typical night. If you are clouded out on these nights, the Persieds are a meteor shower that persists for a week or so so you should be able to see some decent displays for the whole week.

The second meteor shower, however is not as dependable. It is called the Alpha Aurigids an will peak on September 1. This is a rather sporadic, ie unpredictable, meteor shower that has only made an three impressive showings in the last century, in 1935, 1986 and 1994. The scientist who has studied the comet from which these meteors come from has determined this should be a good year for them, in fact the best for the next 50 years. It is expected they will appear at a rate of 200 per hour and will be green in color.

It turns out the pre-dawn skies of North America on September 1st will be the best place to see them. So if you live in a place with dark skies, like rural Alabama or some such place, then you can expect a nice show on this night, as well as on the Aug 12-14.

You’re afraid of what???? August 1, 2007

Posted by psmc in humor, Language, Uncategorized.
2 comments

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The other day the subject of phobias came up. If your phobia is severe enough, you can get disability for it. The discussion arose because someone we know seemingly develops phobias for no apparent reason then gets over them to be replaced by another. I did a little research, partly to be prepared with the next phobic problem and to see if maybe there is one we can get disability for. There are a LOT of phobias out there. Here are but a few.

Allodoxaphobia- Fear of opinions. I know a lot of people like this
Androphobia or Arrhenphobia- Fear of men.
Atomosophobia- Fear of atomic explosions. this one seems sensible
Autodysomophobia- Fear of one that has a vile odor.
Automatonophobia- Fear of ventriloquist’s dummies
Barophobia- Fear of gravity. I suppose these people prefer to fly off into space
Bromidrosiphobia or Bromidrophobia- Fear of body smells.
Coitophobia- Fear of coitus.
Coprastasophobia- Fear of constipation.
Consecotaleophobia- Fear of chopsticks.
Coulrophobia- Fear of clowns.
Defecaloesiophobia- Fear of painful bowels movements. seems reasonable
Eurotophobia- Fear of female genitalia.
Geniophobia- Fear of chins. I bet they dont watch Jay Leno
Genophobia- Fear of sex. I bet they DO watch Jay Leno…a lot
Genuphobia- Fear of knees. Is genugenohobia fear of sex on your knees?
Gynephobia or Gynophobia- Fear of women. Gynogenogenuphobia fear of sex on knees with women ??
Helminthophobia- Fear of being infested with worms. again seems reasonable
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia- Fear of the number 666. This be a good scrabble word
Kolpophobia- Fear of genitals, particularly female.
Logizomechanophobia- Fear of computers. I bet they won’t be reading this
Luiphobia- Fear of lues, syphillis.
Medomalacuphobia- Fear of losing an erection.
Medorthophobia- Fear of an erect penis.
Menophobia- Fear of menstruation.
Nucleomituphobia- Fear of nuclear weapons. again seems reasonable
Oneirogmophobia- Fear of wet dreams.
Paraskavedekatriaphobia- Fear of Friday the 13th.
Parthenophobia- Fear of virgins or young girls.
Phallophobia- Fear of a penis, esp erect.
Proctophobia- Fear of rectums
Rhypophobia- Fear of defecation
Urophobia- Fear of urine or urinating Okay these last two are just down right silly
Soceraphobia- Fear of parents-in-law.
Venustraphobia- Fear of beautiful women.
Zemmiphobia- Fear of the great mole rat.