Cosmic Whacks as Creative Forces

first_img(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Asteroid impacts are some astronomers’ answer to everything, except when they are shown to be unworkable.Titan as a billiard fusion:  Most collisions break things up and send pieces scattering, but a new theory proposes that Saturn’s giant moon Titan represents a merger of moonlets.  “Did several moons collide to form Saturn’s Titan?” Richard Kerr teased on Science Now.  He heard that rumor at a meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences (DPS) in Denver:“The Origin of Titan—So Big … So Alone.” That was the playful title of a talk given here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences. The gist? Saturn’s relatively huge moon Titan, which orbits unaccompanied by the usual retinue of similar-sized moons, started out as three or four standard-issue satellites of the ringed planet that ran amok, collided, and merged into one huge moon and a few scraps of debris.Douglas Hamilton got creative about Titan before the crowd because “the biggest mystery is how it came to be in the first place.”  He didn’t see it happen except in a computer model.  Might as well speculate, then: “Hamilton acknowledges he’s not sure how he would ‘prove’ that he is right.”  Contrarily, though, Titan has few impact craters, showing it has a young surface, Science Daily said.  Hamilton may want his new theory to motivate NASA to keep the funding flowing for the Cassini mission.  It makes a nice story at least—kind of like the one that other planetary scientists say created Earth’s moon.Whoops, about that moon theory:  The theory of the origin of the moon by a collision has run into trouble.  Daniel Clery wrote for a Science News focus, “Planetary scientists thought they had explained what made the moon, but ever-better computer models and rock analyses suggest reality was messier than anyone expected.”  So the “Impact Theory Gets Whacked” itself, he titled his report from another scientific gathering.Over the past decade, increasingly sophisticated computer simulations have shown that the tidy scenario clashes with what geochemists have discovered about moon rocks and meteorites from elsewhere in the solar system. As a result, researchers are casting around for new explanations. At a meeting at the Royal Society in London last month—the first devoted to moon formation in 15 years—experts reviewed the evidence. They ended the meeting in an even deeper impasse than before, as several proposed solutions to the moon puzzle were found wanting.Bring in a bigger impactor:  Because of the lunatic problems, some of the modelers are looking for an even wilder theory: the idea that Venus helped form the Earth’s moon.  David Stevenson explained why: “It’s got people thinking about the direction we need to go to find a story that makes sense,” where story is the operative word.Daniel Clery spends some time reviewing all the theories since Apollo that have ended up on the trash heap, the impact theory being the latest.  “The giant impact has major problems,” Stevenson told his colleagues.  “It doesn’t produce the moon as seen.”  So much for all those simple-looking animations on TV.  None of the latest ideas are simple.  Jay Melosh remarked, “The solutions are contrived; they’re not natural.”Also falling onto the trash heap is the notion that isotope ratios vary with radius across the solar system.  Tossing that assumption opens up new plots for storytelling:That explains why at the London meeting, when the session chairs jokily asked each speaker what single measurement they would most like to perform, many said they would like to examine a piece of rock from the planet Venus. Venus is Earth’s rogue twin, and together the two planets contain 80% of the mass between the asteroid belt and the sun. If it turns out that Venus has very similar isotope ratios to Earth, then it is much more likely that an impactor might have had them as well. “Venus is the key,” Stevenson said.Since getting a piece of Venus from its hellish surface is highly challenging, this experiment won’t be done for some time.  Space.com gave the “Wild new theory” good press anyway, giving the impression that the storytellers are “still on the trail of the detailed scenario” with their notion that “Back then, there were still a lot of things whizzing around.”Not the Cambrian explosion, too:  Astrobiology Magazine asks, “Did a Huge Impact Lead to the Cambrian Explosion?”  Needless to say, even if a meteor hit the Earth way back when, it would say nothing about the origin of two dozen new animal body plans.  Most likely, it would have destroyed life instead.  It’s hard to know how anyone could take seriously the statement, “The ensuing environmental re-organization would have then set the stage for the emergence of complex life.”  What if they set a stage, and nobody showed up?  A stage setting is necessary, but not sufficient, to hold an intelligently-designed play.  The notion sounds like an act of desperation to counter the argument for intelligent design that Stephen Meyer presented in his new book, Darwin’s Doubt.  At least NASA got this right: “Animal life on Earth suddenly blossomed, with all of the major groups of animals alive today making their first appearance.”  Almost sounds like Genesis.See also the 9/23/13 entry, “Comet, Asteroid Impacts As the Answer to Everything.”As we have repeated often before, when one’s theory reduces to random actions for no particular reason, one has abandoned science.  If all one can say is “Stuff happens,” one has not explained anything.  The story is no better than one made up by a fiction writer or cartoonist.  What we observe is a smooth, well-differentiated Titan with a young atmosphere, and a moon around our Earth that supports life.  Those are the facts.  The most elegant explanation to be preferred, therefore, is one based on our common experience with ordered systems: that they were designed.  That should be seen as superior to invoking a “wild new theory” that depends on “a lot of things whizzing around” that somehow did a bang-up job of creating an orderly solar system, just because stuff happens, even though the stories are “contrived” and “not natural.”  Now who’s promoting pseudoscience?  Look how long the Mars-sized impact theory for the origin of the moon was bandied about in the media as the scientific explanation for the moon, and now they tell us it has “major problems.”  We don’t want scientists “jokily” asking each other what wild idea is next.  We want them to face reality: the Earth and its moon appear designed for life.  If they want to tell jokes, let them go into stand-up comedy instead.last_img read more

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Zim author publishes chiShona sci-fi

first_imgZimbabwean author Masimba Musozda isadvancing chiShona, with the publicationof the first sci-fi novel in that language.(Image: Dread Eye Detective Agency)MEDIA CONTACTS • Lion Press marketing department+44 784 985 9804RELATED ARTICLES• Young writer to publish 18th book• The Axe and the Tree• Local author gets top sco-fi award• Giving Zimbabwe’s diaspora a voiceMark ReidZimbabwean literature has taken a step forward with the publication of author Masimba Musodza’s book MunaHacha Maive Nei?, the first science fiction novel in the chiShona language.ChiShona, one of Zimbabwe’s two main languages, is Musodza’s mother tongue.The novel, also described as a horror/thriller, is the first in chiShona available for purchase as an ebook on Amazon.com’s Kindle store.This achievement is expected to promote, not only chiShona, but all African languages in the modern world of information technology and new media.The print edition is due for imminent publication by Coventry-based Lion Press Ltd, an independent publishing house that focuses on Zimbabwean and African literature.Young talentBorn in Zimbabwe, or Rhodesia as it was known then, in 1976, Masimba Musodza developed his interest in the written word at an early age, as both his parents encouraged him to read. He honed his skills by writing in the school magazine, youth magazines and other outlets.Musodza moved to the UK in 2002, and is now based in the Yorkshire town of Middlesbrough. He is the owner and CEO of production company Oriit Films.A member of the Rastafarian faith, Musodza published his first book in 1997, a short story collection titled The Man who turned into a Rastafarian, and is perhaps best known for his Dread Eye Detective Agency series which feature a Zimbabwe-based Rasta brother and sister.Although only recently coming to public attention as an author, Musodza has gained a reputation for his film and television screenwriting, having sold his first screenplay in 2002. His writing covers many genres, reflecting his diverse influences and his own interest in the world around him.He uses science-fiction, drama, horror, mystery, and satire to explore issues close to his heart. These include social development, history and politics, religion and spirituality and the human condition in general.Musodza lists the Dune books and film, the Star Wars film series, and the 1993 South African comedy There’s a Zulu on my Stoep among his favourites.Blending the modern and traditionalMunaHacha maive nei? is a thrilling tale that blends African folk beliefs and the modern world of globalism, sustainable development, genetically modified agricultural produce and political manipulation.Chemicals from a research facility conducting illegal biological experiments contaminate the local ecosystem, causing birds and animals to mutate. Soon a child is attacked by a giant fish, but the villagers, not having the remotest concept of chemical mutation, believe the creature is a mermaid – in their tradition this is the guardian of nature.Because the guardian is obviously angry, they try to appease it according to their traditional beliefs and practices – but in vain, and the situation gets worse.Boosting marginalised languagesAlthough Africa is scattered with hundreds of traditional languages which vary widely from country to country and community to community, the colonial languages of English, Portuguese, French and Spanish – and localised variations thereof – are still the dominant forms of communication in many nations.The promotion of endemic languages is a controversial subject throughout Africa. Some academics are opposed to it and prefer to conform to western standards.Others think it’s time for Africans to promote their cultures and languages without apology and be proud of their heritage. South Africa, too, is one of these countries, with its national Department of Arts and Culture embarking on a drive in the mid-2000s to promote the use of the mother tongue in writing and publishing.The department also launched a multilinguism campaign in 2010, to strengthen the situation of all the country’s official languages.Musodza is a supporter of Kenyan academic Ngugi wa Thiong’o‘s Decolonising the Mind, and firmly believes that African authors need to use their own languages in order to advance their literature rather than the language of their colonial legacy.He says that his target audience is anyone who finds the time to read, and dispels the notion that it is impossible to write “complicated stuff” in a language that is often shunned by the educated back home.last_img read more

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Bloom Carroll FFA’s Smith makes Extemp Speaking top four

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest At the 89th National FFA Convention currently underway in Indianapolis, Evan Smith of the Bloom Carroll FFA Chapter made the top four of extemporaneous public speaking, one of the more unique and challenging of the public speaking events. He finished third in the nation.Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood spoke with Smith about the honor and his preparation for the finals in this video.last_img

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Military Spouse Employment: A Personal Story by a FINRA Fellow

first_imgOn Oct. 23, the MFLN Personal Finance team will host Employment Resources for Military Families, a 90-minute professional development webinar. To broaden our perspective of the employment situation for many military families, we reached out to military spouses working as FINRA Fellows with AFCPE to earn their accreditation as Accredited Financial Counselors. In this post, Christine Maxwell shares her story as a military spouse and the challenges and joys she has encountered in her personal and professional journey. By Christine Maxwell, FINRA FellowPhoto courtesy of Christine MaxwellMy background is in corporate and government finance. I’ve worked for some great companies and I’m very proud of my work experience. I even have a Master of Aerospace Engineering Management from a career I had before I “married into the military”. Even with all this experience and education, it’s still difficult to find a new job when you’re constantly moving.Photo courtesy of Christine MaxwellLike clockwork, every one to two years, I was re-inventing my career due to frequent Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves required by my husband’s Army career. Even though I knew what I signed up for when I married into military life (as more seasoned spouses often reminded me), it didn’t make leaving my career behind any easier each time we moved. My typical PCS related job-hunting routine went like this:  Job-hunt, find a great job, work hard, get a promotion, receive PCS orders, pitch remote-work, and be turned down. Rinse, repeat.ChangesAside from the difficulties of constant job searching, it’s soul-crushing to feel like you are continuously starting over with your career with each move. On our fifth PCS, we moved to Fort Hood for a one year assignment when I was seven months pregnant with our son. Although I knew I was fortunate to have the choice to decide to stay at home during the rest of my pregnancy, I wasn’t happy about it.Seven months pregnant and jobless, I didn’t know who I was if I wasn’t working. In retrospect, it sounds silly, but I realized that I had tied my self-worth and value to my career. I looked up my cohort of former co-workers from my first job out of college on LinkedIn. They were all senior managers and directors now. When I renewed my passport, I cried as I typed in “homemaker” for occupation.Photo courtesy of Christine MaxwellI met a new friend at that duty station who brought me out of my fog. We had our babies within two weeks of each other. She taught me to sew, we worked out, and learned how to make kombucha. We learned how to be new moms together. Unknowingly, she helped me to realize that I wasn’t just “Christine and I work at….” I realized that I was actually, Christine, a wife, mother, friend, a creative, and world traveler. My time off from work helped me to realize that I’m much more than just my job.RefreshedA year after I had my son, I felt ready to return to the workforce. Luckily, I didn’t have to return to work because we needed the money or because I felt lost anymore without working. I returned willingly, knowing I was refreshed and ready to try something new.At our new duty station, I found a great new job as a budget manager for a local university. It was new and challenging, and I loved it! Like clockwork, we received our PCS orders a few months later and I was devastated to be leaving. Surprisingly, my manager asked me to stay on and work remotely after I told her I would be leaving at the end of the year.Photo courtesy of Christine MaxwellRethinking the NormalDuring our move to our sixth duty station, my husband deployed in route, and I moved there on my own with our toddler and my remote job. This time I was happy and challenged, but not stressed. Ten years after my first job out of college, I wasn’t a director like my corporate friends, but I was happy. I had time to meet new friends at this duty station. I volunteered and I was even social! I met other military spouses who were entrepreneurs. They inspired me to think about what I was passionate about and what skills and experiences I had to offer. Talking with other military spouses, I realized so many of us were struggling with personal finances and career issues.I started a blog about personal finances and careers for military spouses. I started freelance writing about finance. I decided I want to know more about personal finance and help more people. I applied for the FINRA Military Spouse Scholarship and was accepted into the Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) program.HindsightAlmost ten years of living the Army life, I wish I could go back and talk to my 22-year-old self. I would tell her she’s more than just her job. I would remind her that all her friends who climbed past her in her career never had the chance to experience all that she has. They haven’t lived all across the U.S., South Korea, or the Italian Riviera. They haven’t felt the lows of a military deployment but they also haven’t felt the highs of a redeployment ceremony. The military life has afforded me the opportunity to travel and meet new people. My friends are diverse, not just from around the country but around the world. Whether they are working outside the home or not, they are holding down the Homefront while their spouses are away.Photo courtesy of Christine MaxwellLooking back, I wouldn’t trade my experiences with military life for any job. I may not be in the military, but as part of the military community, I’m a part of something bigger than myself. I have a passion for educating others about personal finance and I know that as a FINRA Fellow, I will be able to take my professional knowledge of personal finance to the next level. Working in the field of finance I also know that I have a portable career that will move more easily with each PCS.Final ThoughtsWe have choices in life. I could have decided to stay unhappy about the career I thought I was supposed to have. Instead, I’m happy that I was able to pivot. I finally realized that even though I’m not where I thought I would be ten years ago, I’m actually in a better place now. I’m doing what I love and helping others at the same time.There is still much work to be done for the military spouse employment issue. Not everyone can or wants to work remotely or own their own business. There must be more solutions to this dilemma. However, I’m happy and satisfied with my portable and developing career in personal finance.last_img read more

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SC defers hearing on Nath’s plea on M.P. draft voter list

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Thursday deferred to September 27 the hearing on Congress leader Kamal Nath’s plea seeking draft voter list of Madhya Pradesh in word format, and said the issue requires substantive hearing. The Congress leader said that Election Commission of India (ECI) had provided voter lists in word format during Karnataka and Rajasthan elections as also during Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls in 2013. ECI said it received complaints of voter profiling and to prevent the misuse of data it has taken a conscious decision to provide it in PDF format (non-editable). A Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that the matter requires substantive hearing and listed the matter for further hearing on September 27. During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr. Nath, said that when the ECI can provide the draft voter list in word format in other States, then what is the problem in providing the list in Madhya Pradesh. “We want the list to be provided in word format. They have provided us during Karnataka election, they are giving us in Rajasthan and even in Madhya Pradesh they have given in 2013. Now they are saying it was a mistake,” Mr. Sibal said.PDF format Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for ECI along with advocate Amit Sharma, said that they have received complaints of voter profiling and therefore a conscious decision was taken to provide the draft list in PDF format. He said it was done to thwart any attempt of misuse of voters data. Mr. Sibal said that in PDF format they are providing the same data like they will do in word format, then where is the question of misuse.last_img read more

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