Earth’s Magnetic Field Protects Us from Solar Sneezes

first_imgby Dr Henry RichterAudio Playerhttps://crev.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/CEH-31-7-17-HenryRichter.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.CME ‘sneeze’ takes aim at Earth. Credit: SOHO/NASAA recent article about an attribute of the Van Allen Belts and how they operate strikes me as another prime example of how the Earth and its environment are designed to allow and protect life. Every now and then, the sun sends a large coronal mass ejection (CME) toward the Earth. This is a lot of dangerously destructive plasma which is a hazard to life and to electronic devices and systems. If the CME reached an unprotected Earth, it would cause widespread damage. The article on Phys.org, “Sun eruptions hit Earth like a Sneeze‘, say scientists,” describes what would happen without protection by our magnetic field.CMEs are huge blasts of solar plasma and magnetic fields from the sun’s atmosphere that can reach Earth in one to three days. A direct hit could have catastrophic consequences, as CMEs are capable of damaging satellites, destroying electronic devices and potentially exposing people at high altitude, such as astronauts and aviation crew and passengers, to cancer-causing radiation. They occur frequently, but predicting which ones will impact Earth and how severely is difficult.Thankfully, the Earth glides through space in a bubble called the magnetosphere which deflects moving plasma and charged particles so that they rarely reach the surface of the Earth. Some are captured by the field lines and end up as radiation in the Van Allen belts. [See 11/09/14, “Star Trek for Real,” about how the Van Allen Belts create an impenetrable force field that prevents high-energy electrons from reaching the Earth.] New research by scientists at the University of Reading was published in Nature Scientific Reports. The ‘sneeze’ analogy appears related to this finding about CMEs:Comparing our results with observed properties of over 400 CMEs, we show that CMEs cease to be coherent magnetohydrodynamic structures within 0.3 AU of the Sun. This suggests Earth-directed CMEs are less like billiard balls and more like dust clouds, with apparent coherence only due to similar initial conditions and quasi homogeneity of the medium through which they travel.The Van Allen belts have a special interest to me, having played a small role in the discovery of the belts. I played a role in choosing Dr. James Van Allen’s cosmic ray Geiger counter instrument to fly in the first Explorer satellites [see 9/20/16]. We had no inkling of the possibility of particles or radiation being trapped in the earth’s magnetic field. During the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year (IGY), I was mainly interested in getting a world-wide picture of the incidence of cosmic rays, especially over a range of magnetic field conditions. As a matter of fact, we at JPL had an IGY-approved cosmic ray experiment which we were developing on our own. However, when Sputnik jolted us awake in 1957, and the Navy Vanguard test rocket blew up on the pad, the Department of Defense approved the final design and launch of the Explorer series. We did not have a flight ready JPL instrument, but Dr. Van Allen did, and he was clever enough to have designed the bolt holes to fit either the Vanguard satellite or the Explorer satellite. So when it came time to finalize the payload, as manager of instruments for the program, I had no choice but to recommend and choose the Van Allen package.Dr Richter at 50th Anniversary of Explorer 1 (2008) holding up model of the instrument package he designed that included the Geiger counter.It took some time to recognize the existence of the radiation belts. The first satellite, Explorer 1 (January 31, 1958), had a simple telemetry system so we only got data when it was within range of the dozen or so tracking stations. We were puzzled early on as occasionally we got no counts from the Geiger tube detector, and this was worrisome because we did not know what was wrong. I think Dr. Van Allen had an early inkling of what was going on as the missing data periods seemed to happen in a few geographic regions. It was not until we orbited Explorer 3 on March 26 (which had a data tape recorder – giving us the full orbit) that it became really clear that the Geiger tube ran into a region of increasing counts, until it saturated and stopped giving data. The Russians had missed this because Sputnik 3, which had a cosmic ray instrument, only recorded data when it was near the Russian ground stations. Those were under the orbit at its lower points, and therefore below the radiation belts.A direct hit could have catastrophic consequencesNow, almost 60 years later, as we learn more about the wonders of this phenomenal earth on which we ride, we find that the existence of the trapping and shielding effect of the earth’s magnetic field is just one of a myriad of features that allow life to exist and flourish here. Our Creator had to put many, many things in place to make the Earth open to support life, and in particular advanced life. It is awe inspiring to have a small glimpse into why we can exist, and to marvel at it all. Thank goodness for the creation of the Van Allen belts.We are honored to introduce Dr Henry Richter as a contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. A key player at NASA/JPL in the early days of the American space program, Dr Richter (PhD in Chemistry, Physics and Electrical Engineering from Caltech) brings a perspective about science with the wisdom of years of personal involvement. His book America’s Leap Into Space: My Time at JPL and the First Explorer Satellites (2015), chronicles the beginnings of the space program based on his own records and careful research into rare NASA documents, providing unequaled glimpses into events and personnel in the early days of rocketry that only an insider can give. His next book, Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers, is due out later in 2017. For more about Dr Richter, see his Author Profile.5th Anniversary of Explorer 1 at JPL (1963): L to R, James Van Allen, Jack Froelich, Henry Richter, Bill Pickering, Al Hibbs, John Small, Homer Joe Stewart, Bob Stevens, Walt Downhower, Casey Mohl, and Carl Linnes.(Visited 627 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

SA a top adventure destination

first_img20 February 2008US adventure travel website iExplore, which caters for high-end travellers searching for adventure and unique experiences, has listed South Africa as second in its list of top worldwide travel destinations for 2007 – a steady climb from third in 2006 and sixth in 2005.Established in 1999, Chicago-based iExplore.com sells tours all over the world, focusing on adventure and experiential destinations, and has won awards from magazines such as Forbes, Time and Travel & Leisure for being the best adventure travel website.According to its iExplore, adventure travel includes activities like hiking, biking, diving, and multi-sport tours, while experiential travel includes activities like cultural, expedition cruising, wildlife safari and culinary tours.“This is a wonderful accolade for our country,” Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold told local newspaper The Weekender last Saturday. “Cape Town Tourism applauds the efforts of our adventure industry and the valuable contribution made to keeping SA top of mind when it comes to accolades and visitor choice.”Du Toit-Helmbold said it was vital to build on the experiential tourism market, adding that South Africa’s experience-rich destinations were perfectly positioned to attract a bigger slice of the market.Egypt held on to its top position for the third straight year, with the rest of iExplore’s top 10 largely unchanged from 2006.“We continue to see heavy demand for the man-made and natural wonders of the world, as evidenced by the destinations on this list,” iExplore founder and CEO George Deeb said in a statement.Other destinations showing strong growth in 2007 included Venezuela (up to #13), Jordan (#16), Nepal (#17) and Morocco (#18). Bumped from last year’s top 10 were Italy (down to #26) and Argentina (#21).“These movements largely reflect emerging destinations like Venezuela, stabilising political situations like Nepal and the devaluation of the US dollar, impacting demand to Italy and the rest of Europe,” iExplore said on its website.SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Spray Foam in Cold Climates

first_img BLOGS BY ERIC NORTH Problems with Crawl SpacesHow to Avoid MoldSealed-Combustion Appliances and Hot Tub PartiesDoes More Wall Insulation Reduce Cooling Costs? RELATED ARTICLES GBA Encyclopedia: Spray Foam InsulationSpray Foam Insulation Is Not a Magic BulletAir Leaks in Homes Insulated With Spray FoamSpray Foam Insulation Is Not a Cure-AllGetting Spray Foam RightJoe Lstiburek on Spray FoamHow to Build an Insulated Cathedral CeilingCreating a Conditioned AtticHow to Insulate a Basement Wall Insulating Rim Joists Thermoset polymers and youSpray foam insulation is a thermoset polymer. For those of you without an advanced chemistry degree (or those, like me, who haven’t yet read Wikipedia), a thermoset polymer is a heat-activated plastic polymer. It usually starts in a liquid or malleable solid form; through chemical curing, it assumes a solid form. Spray foam is a great tool for insulating and weatherizing. It can be applied to horizontal and vertical surfaces. Once it is cured, it can be the air barrier and vapor and thermal control layers (at least closed-cell foam can), and it provides some of the highest R-values per inch available. It slices! It dices! It makes great sushi!Well… it does have some drawbacks. Since spray foam is a fossil-fuel-derived product, its green benefits are hotly debated. Its tremendous utility comes at a price: all flavors of spray foam are costly compared to other types of insulation. Citing health reactions to the product, some customers have filed a class-action lawsuit against foam manufacturers.Lastly, installing the product is tricky. Minimum substrate temperaturesThe surface onto which the foam is sprayed needs to be within the manufacturer’s specified range. An important note here is that we’re talking about the substrate surface temperature, not the ambient air temperature. Most spray foam manufacturers spec a surface temperature range between 60°F and 80°F. An uninsulated wood sill on a very cold January day could easily get below 60°F. Hell, it would probably get below 45°F.This problem can easily be sussed out with a simple laser thermometer. You should check the actual temperature of the surface that will be sprayed. When applied to an overly cold surface, the final foam cure can be gummy and shrink away from the edges. Spray foam shrinkage and other funThe manufacturers of spray foam are a pretty meticulous bunch. The technical specs are pretty clear, detailing the proper temperature ranges and substrate conditions. (The substrate is the surface being sprayed.)Although most installers are top-notch, there can be issues. Cold weather can play hell with foam applications, leading to the most common problems: shrinkage and poor adhesion to the substrate.Spray foam is a two-part polymer. The two components are referred to as the ‘A’ and ‘B’ components. Improperly mixed foam is a fairly common problem that can occur in any climate. In this article, we’ll look at challenges that are specific to a cold climate.center_img Spray foam insulation of the sort we’re discussing here is made from two chemical components; when these components are mixed, the foam heats up rapidly and cures into a solid form. This seemingly straightforward process can be problematic, especially when the insulation is installed in cold weather. Component temperaturesSpray foam rigs are large temperature-controlled trailers. The two-part component tanks are stored in these trailers, which maintain an appropriately warm temperature. The components must be maintained at a specified temperature range, just like the surfaces that will be sprayed.When one or both components are off temperature, the mix can be off, affecting the final foam set. The application may end up not adhering well. If it is ‘A’-rich, it will end up crunchy and fibrous; if it is ‘B’-rich, it will be gummy and pliable. None of this is good. Ice and moisture on the substrateIf you’re insulating a modern foundation wall — one made of formed concrete — then XPS foam board may be an option. But older rubble or brick foundations need to be spray foamed. It’s very common for these foundations to have heavy moisture levels; in some cases, they can be freezing. If ice has formed on the spray surface, and the ice was sprayed over, there will be no connection between the substrate and the foam. Once the ice melts, the foam could pull off the surface. Another “not good.”Spray foam is one tool used by insulation contractors and energy auditors to address house problems. Spray foam works; just be aware of the effects that cold weather can have on it. Erik North, the owner of Free Energy Maine, is an energy auditor and home performance specialist in Westbrook, Maine. He is also the author of the Energy Auditing Blog.last_img read more

My iPhone Supports Gay Marriage. Does Yours?

first_imgRelated Posts Values Equal ProfitsThere does not yet exist a robust analog for finding and supporting businesses I want to promote because of their values, and not simply their price, location or customer service. Why is that? In today’s connected world – when anyone can get anything from anywhere, and always at the best price – values can become a core differentiator.I don’t want my money going to a business that is opposed to gay marriage. Perhaps that’s exactly what you do want. Why not incorporate a “values” layer into Foursquare, for example and discover and share those businesses that have the very best lattes – and the strongest support for the values most important to me.Foursquare users, for example, can “discover and learn about great places nearby, search for what you’re craving, and get deals and tips along the way.” The app’s 30 million users have checked in to various establishments more than 3 billion times. Consider the potential social good Foursquare could foster if values were made into a searchable variable. The Trust IssueCan people be trusted to not list a business as, say, homophobic, just because they were angry over the price or a long line to check out? Is it possible to know if a business legitimately supports climate-change improvements, for example, or is really working to limit poverty? It may be hard for a business to lie about its prices but all too easy to claim social and political stances that it doesn’t back up with actions. brian s hall Why not an app that alerts me to a store’s values as I walk inside? Or that alerts me to a product whose maker I want to support? For example, when I stare at that massive beer selection in the grocery store, perhaps my “values app” can remind me that Bud Light used social media to support gay marriage.Plenty of apps and sites focus on a specific value or set of values, or utilize a top-down approach, where those who create the app set the rankings. This is a good start, but does not fully empower smartphone user to personally rate businesses by the values that matter to them. For example, the Good Guide site rates an array of products that are “healthy, green and socially responsible.” While useful, the information covers only selected products and is rated by a “team of scientific and technology experts,” not actual users.The FishPhone app offers a similar service and provides the seafood ratings system for Whole Foods. Of course, Whole Foods’ CEO was famously opposed to Obamacare. The app would never tell me that. This is a critical problem with single-focus and those not maintained not by the end users. For example, Ceres, “a network of over 130 investment funds, environmental organizations, unions and interest groups” promotes major companies that are making significant progress on sustainability goals. Ford was a recent winner. That’s great, unless you believe that a large automobile manufacturer should never be included on a list of sustainability leaders.Getting Comfortable With Controversial TopicsThe issue preventing a user-driven values based shopping app is not a technical one. The larger issue is that too many of us are not yet comfortable with the very idea of values-based recommendations.When it comes to choosing goods and services, we have spent our whole lives focused on price, quality and convenience. Values are fuzzy, harder to quantify – and can lead to difficult decisions. What if your friendly, neighborhood grocer, for example, turns out be a climate change denier – and you live in area prone to flooding? Once you learn the values of a business and determine you are in opposition, would you continue to shop there? Will supporting only businesses whose values align with yours merely serve to divide society instead of promoting the values in question?The technology to make this possible already exists, so it’s likely we’ll have the answers soon enough.iPhone image courtesy of Apple. Fortunately, with more than a hundred million smartphones in use in America – more than 1 billion worldwide – the aggregate numbers and big data “smoothing” of billions of values-based check-ins and reviews should mitigate any lies or mistakes. For example, Amazon product reviews can generally be relied upon as a valid barometer of popular sentiment, even though they’re completely subjective.A few websites already provide a limited form of “values-based” recommendations for businesses. For example, OutGrade, launched earlier this year, lets users “rate places by gay friendliness or homophobia.” Users rate establishments on a scale from -5 to +5, and the site color codes businesses based on their overall score: red is homophobic, green is ” gay friendly.” The OutGrade site accepts ratings for any business: restaurant, dentist office, pub, hotel, etc. and in three months has garnered reviews on more than 3,500 businesses. OutGrade plans to release a mobile app “in the coming weeks.” This is vital as it allows users to simply pull out their smartphones and find acceptable places in their immediate vicinity. While a website may offer a more robust experience, only an app can provide real-time location-based ratings and reviews, while boosting the reliability of recommendations by letting users initiate reviews on the spot.One More Step A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit If I can recommend a great local restaurant, leave a review for future patrons, alert my followers on Twitter, update my Facebook friends on my great new find – all in a few seconds – using only Yelp and my iPhone, why can’t I similarly promote those businesses whose values I support?Why is it so easy to tell thousands of people, literally, how awful a coffee shop’s service is, for example, but I can’t as easily steer people away from a store whose values I deplore? It seems to me there should be an app – or maybe lots of apps – that make it easy for me to find, check-in, rate, review and recommend those businesses whose values align with mine. Forget pet friendly – are they gay friendly, Earth friendly? Do they seek a massive reduction in the size of government, do they refuse to buy from China, will they never cross a union picket line and can I count on them to support a strong national defense?With the Yelp app, for example, I can easily set various parameters for a restaurant search: proximity, price range, type of food and customer ranking. But values is not one of the choices. This seems like a rather significant gap within the mobile-social-local nexus.  The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Tags:#Android#Apple#apps#iPhone#mobile#social networks Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationlast_img read more

Film Study: How J.W. Walsh Does Work at the Goal Line

first_imgWelcome back to this week’s film study, today we are going to take a look at three different plays from the K-State game. Below is a screenshot of the goal line Walsh package.Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.59.29 AMOn this play OSU is set up with three wide, single back, and one tight end (both are Cowboy Backs). The defense is lined up with five down linemen, three linebackers, two corners and a safety. The third linebacker is standing up on the line of scrimmage, so technically KSU has six men on the line. The play sets up with six on six and a fullback on a linebacker.AdChoices广告What I love about this play is the versatility it brings. J.W. has so many options, and it keeps a defense on their toes. From the snap, this is clearly a QB run. J.W. can hand off to Sheperd, throw it to the flats, or throw a jump ball to the single-covered WR. So many options, I’d really enjoy being able to call plays out of this formationOn hut (or loud clap) the entire offensive line blocks down except for the LG who is pulling back towards the right. The WR is motioning back right, which essentially takes the backside corner out of the play, since he is playing man and has to run around the LBs.Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 12.01.32 PMI am such a huge fan of this blocking scheme; OSUs offensive line doesn’t block well in straight up run blocking schemes. OSU blocks left and runs right. It confuses the linebackers and takes most of the defensive line out of the equation. As a former, albeit terrible, offensive lineman (only in high school and barely actually played), it is much easier to block someone with the flow instead of having to block head to head. The defensive line all step the same direction as the offensive line. This kind of misdirection is something that could drastically improve the run game.Unfortunately the LG falls down as he’s trying to pull. If you’ll look closely, his right leg and body are on completely different pages. Note to the rest of the offensive line — it is hard to make blocks when you forget to bring both legs with you.Now the way the play is supposed to run is the WR continues to take the backside corner out of the play. The fullback kicks out the linebacker on the LOS, the middle linebacker has to keep an eye out for the full back and the pulling guard pulls into the hole JW is supposed to run, and blocks the backside backer.J.W. should walk into the end zone untouched. Play design and the fact that OSU has thrown out of this formation takes all but two players out of the play with little effort. This is such an important piece to OSUs offense.Mike Gundy made note of that on Monday. Here’s the O’Colly.“There’s not enough plays in the game and the scenarios haven’t been built,” said Gundy. “There’s a bigger package for him. There’s two ways to look at that. One: I wish he could do more because he’s good for our offense. Two: I don’t want to be disruptive of the flow that Mason has in the game. I’m not sure that I have the answer for that, and I’m not sure that anybody else does.”I personally don’t like pulling the starting QB in favor of backup QB in any situation, but when you have such a nice weapon in J.W., I completely understand it. Plus J.W. has been such a hard worker and ambassador to OSU, I just want to see him do well.I’d like to take a moment and endorse him to be OSUs next head football coach, maybe between the 2025-2030 range. Let him go off and coach under Holgerson for a few years and come back to become OC/head coach in waiting. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more