In Case You Haven’t Heard, We Were Almost Hit By An Asteroid!

courtesy minorplanetcenter.net

Let’s say a huge boulder over a hundred feet in diameter was heading directly toward Earth. How much warning would we get?

If you answered, “Less than 24 hours,” ding, ding, ding! We’ve got a winner.

This asteroid was originally spotted by Sonear – Southern Observatory for Near Earth Asteroids Research, which as far as I can see is a dedicated hobbyist in Brazil!

asteroid

SONEAR discovered last night a small asteroid about 40 meters in diameter and that will pass 83,000 kilometers from Earth tonight at 22:25 Brasilia Time or 01:25 Universal Time, which means 1/4 Moon-Earth distance. The closest approach will be observed with a magnitude of 10.6, but the best place is Europe. The temporary designation is S510921 and as soon MPC assign an official designation, we will update the information.

The asteroid was just over 50,000 miles away, about ¼ the distance between us and the Moon. That is really, really close.

It’s tough to say what a rock that size might do, but it was certainly capable of being the worst natural disaster in recorded history.

As you were.

The Jeffrey Open Space Trail

IMAG0184-ANIMATION

There are trade offs living in Irvine. This is a planned city. Instead of the acre we had in Connecticut our SoCal lot is hardly larger than our house.

Making up for that are the immense set asides for common space. You’re never more than a block or two from a park or playground. Biking and walking trails are everywhere. There are around 50,000 acres of dedicated permanent open space, much of it unspoiled wilderness.

This morning Stef, Helaine and I headed to the Jeffrey Open Space Trail. The trail runs parallel to Jeffrey Road, a major artery.

The JOST is around 3.5 miles long featuring large meadows and beautiful landscaping. All road crossings are via bridge or tunnel, at grade.

Dogs are welcome. We’ll be back.

Planet Hype From NASA

Artist's impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri

Big space news today. NASA says a new planet has been found in ‘the habitable zone.’ I beg you not make too much of their somewhat meaningless discovery nor their meaningless artist’s illustration at the top of this entry.

Even when the NY Times wails, “One Star Over, a Planet That Might Be Another Earth,” be wary.

The planet has been dubbed Proxima b. It orbits the star Proxima Centauri, around 4 light years away.

First, an admission. NASA has some of the smartest people in the world. NASA employs rocket scientists… and everything that implies. Just yesterday they reestablished contact with a satellite that went missing a few years ago. Amazing!

Planet hype, however, is different. This is surely planet hype.

“Habitable zone” is supposed to make you feel it’s like Earth, like home. Even Earth isn’t all that habitable.

Man can only live on a tiny portion of Earth. Most of our planet is either too hot, cold, wet or dry to support life. Plop down randomly on Earth and you’ll likely drown. Our planet is mostly covered by undrinkable salt water.

What does this Earth cousin look like? We don’t know. We haven’t seen it. We only know it’s there because scientists at the European Southern Observatory in Chile “traced subtle wobbles in the star revealing, the presence of a star-tugging planet. – NASA release

That’s a valid way to find a planet, but it’s scant information.

We do know its about as distant from its star as Mercury is from our Sun. Daytime temps on Mercury run about 800° Fahrenheit. Because its in a closer orbit, a year on Proxima b takes 11 days.

It’s also far away. Space is really big. Four light years may sound close, but it’s 6,000,000,000,000 miles (six trillion). but it’s 24,000,000,000,000 miles (twenty four trillion). The fastest space probe ever, Juno, achieved about 135,000 miles per hour. At that rate we’re 5,000 years away!At that rate we’re 20,000 years away!

Bottom line, there’s something out there too far away to really care about. Congrats on the discovery.

As If A Crest Commercial Had Come To Life

We have neighbors living behind us the past few years. He’s blond. She’s gorgeous.

Actually, they’re both tall, thin and gorgeous. Their children are adorable and well mannered. It’s as if a Crest commercial had come to life.

“You look like the couple on a wedding cake,” I said earlier as they marched by with their five month old baby girl and three more blond daughters.

“I’ll take that as a complement,” he said.

It was. Absolutely.

I walked up to see the baby. At the moment she’s the only one in the family with body fat.

Her piercing blue eyes caught me as I walked up. Her face turned serious. I was being scoped out. Stranger danger.

I learned a lot watching Stef grow up. She understood what we were saying long before she could respond. It wasn’t she was mentally incapable, she just didn’t have the fine motor skills and muscle control necessary to make the right sound. Same today with this little girl.

My niece Melissa and her husband Mark taught their daughter Charlotte sign language so she could ‘speak’ a little sooner. Welcome to 2016, featuring workarounds.

The world is this little girl’s puzzle. She’s working on making all the pieces fit. It’s a tough job for an infant and there are no instructions.

I sad goodbye and the family continued on. It looked like the happy scene in a life insurance commercial.

About Getting Those Jobs Back

A Bell System switchboard where overseas calls are handled. Not all of the services shown are available during wartime conditions. December 22,1943 88-WWT-28-3 11900_2005_001

Hillary says it. Trump says it. We’ve lost too many jobs. We’ve got to bring them back. They are both living in a fairyland and too chicken to tell the truth.

Deep down where it counts, most business people hate employees! We’re a pain in the ass. We’re demanding. Some of us take-it-easy on company time.

When everyone in the newsroom knows of a person or two scamming sick time, you don’t think the boss knows? And what’s her takeaway?

So they hate us. With faster computers, higher speed connections and a pinch of AI (Artificial intelligence) they’re working to replace us. We’ve gone way beyond robots that can weld.

Back when I filled in on Good Morning America (when bags of money were falling from the sky in television) there were often 15 people in the control room and another eight or nine on the floor in the studio. They had a seamstress on staff.

Today I do every job providing weather for five stations in Nebraska. The industry is headed toward my garage.

An American made 1954 19″ RCA B&W TV cost $189.95. In 2016 dollars that $1669.66. Every component was wired by hand.

Let’s say we brought the brass industry back to Waterbury, CT. The skies were never quite as blue back then. Smokestacks belched round-the-clock. Jobs that took a crew of men when Anaconda left are now performed by machines that never go on vacation nor need insurance.

For the last 40+ years we have allowed business the upper hand over employees. They have taken advantage at every juncture. I would have too. We gave them a leg up and they used it. And they hate employees.

When I was a kid an operator connected long distance calls by hand, department store elevators had white gloved operators and there was a cameraman on every TV studio camera–sometimes two. Those jobs are gone. Driving jobs are next.

As a nation we have to make a decision. Do we want a country solely made of rich people and poor people? Most of the world has been that way since the beginning of time. It was 1950’s America where the middle class was born. We shouldn’t give that up.

But the jobs aren’t coming back.

What do we do? First, we need to swing the pendulum back toward labor a little. Companies ‘play the refs’ when it comes to labor laws knowing time is on their side (yes it is).

We need more antitrust enforcement — as we had during America’s most successful decades. Aetna, I’m talking to you. The same goes for all the airlines and the conglomerate TV and radio station owners. Yeah, your consolidation has served the public well, not.

We need to tax the wealthy and wealthy corporations based on the benefits they’ve received and are receiving from the United States. No one seriously thinks GE, Apple or Google are paying their fair share?

OK, with the exception of Tim Cook.

There must be a government safety net providing access to care and services in a way that’s not confusing, off putting or demeaning. We’re going to need fewer working people. That’s not their fault.

Consistently we have allowed business to receive 100% of the benefit from technology, often to the detriment of their workers. That’s got to stop.

Hard choices must be made. Meanwhile our pols are waving a magic wand at the problem then closing their eyes. Great.

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My (Long) Trip To Outlaw Radio

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