Monthly Archives: January 2013

Stuck in Atlanta

First of all, thank you to all who have donated money to Behind the Black. You cannot imagine how much this is appreciated.

Second, I am stuck in Atlanta due to bad weather, including a tornado, plus the typical lies of airport employees. Had the Delta airline agents told me the truth about the bad weather in Atlanta when I was still in Phoenix, I would have grabbed a different flight to get to New York and make my flight to Israel. Instead, they lied — a typical behavior I have found from too many airline customer service agents — and told me I would have no trouble meeting my New York connection. I didn’t. They lied. GRRR.

Anyway, as I am here I have decided to try to take advantage of the delay to begin the tedious process of adjusting to Israeli time, getting up at 3 am, which is 10 am in Israel. Hopefully this will make the transition in Israel much easier.

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Off to Israel

For the next week my posting might be lighter than usual. Today I am heading to Israel to visit family and do a bit of sightseeing. Whether I have sufficient access to the internet to keep up with events as well as continue to post will not be clear until I get there and get settled in.

In the meantime, I will also be celebrating my sixtieth birthday while in Israel. If you have been a regular reader of Behind the Black and would like to help me celebrate this milestone with a donation to the website, I would be most grateful. The tip jar is located at the bottom of the right column, just below the search box.

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Kepler is back in operation after a ten day rest to safe the mission.

Kepler is back in operation after a ten day rest to save the mission.

When Kepler launched in March 2009, it had four reaction wheels — three for immediate use, and one spare. But one wheel (known as number two) failed in July 2012, so a major problem with the currently glitchy wheel (called number four) could spell the end of the $600 million Kepler mission. It’s unknown at the moment if the 10-day rest period will bring wheel number four back into line. “Over the next month, the engineering team will review the performance of reaction wheel #4 before, during and after the safe mode to determine the efficacy of the rest operation,” Hunter wrote.

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Norwegian scientists admit that the climate has shown no warming since 2000.

Norwegian scientists admit that the climate has shown no warming since 2000.

They then spend a lot of time trying to explain this — and failing — in the context of the theory of global warming. The bottom line remains, however. All the predictions and models of the global warming advocates have been shown to be wrong. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has continued to rise, without causing any increase in global climate temperature.

Or to put it plainly: We don’t know what’s going on.

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Shakespeare – The Wind and the Rain, music Ben Toth

An evening pause: How about a bit of real Shakespeare this time, this time his song, “The Wind and the Rain” from Twelfth Night, set to music by Ben Toth and sung by Zak Resnick. Undeniably one of the most beautiful versions written.

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
‘Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain, it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain, it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain, it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain.
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

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An appeals court has unanimously decided that Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he tried to make appointments to the NLRB when the Senate was not in recess.

The law is such an inconvenient thing: An appeals court has unanimously decided that Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he tried to make appointments to the NLRB when the Senate was not in recess.

The Constitution is very clear on this issue (see article I, section 5). It is up to the Senate to decide when it is in recess, not the President. Obama’s attempt to ignore the clear words of the Constitution here is an ugly example of his willingness to place himself above the law, something no American citizen of either party should take lightly.

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The Russian foreign minister today denied that there is any friction between Kazakhstan and Russia over the use of the Baikonur spaceport.

The Russian foreign minister today denied that there is any friction between Kazakhstan and Russia over the use of the Baikonur spaceport. More here.

Despite the denial, it appears that they are in some tough negotiations which to their chagrin got leaked to the press.

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The seasons change on Mars.

The seasons change on Mars.

With three years of data in hand the researchers report on the sequence and variety of changes that take place over the spring, including outbursts of gas carrying sand, polygonal cracking of the ice on the dunes, sandfalls down the slipface of the dunes, and dark fans of sand propelled out onto the ice. Gas escaping from under the seasonal layer of dry ice erodes channels in the dunes, reminiscent of the erosion that carves more permanent “spider” channels in the southern hemisphere polar region.

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