Self Exam for Alzheimer’s

ALZHEIMER’S is serious, but please accept my lighter side on this devastating disease. No disrespect is intended.

….It takes less than 15 seconds….
If you are over 40 yrs. old, you SHOULD take this Alzheimer’s Test
How fast can you guess these words and fill-in the blanks?
1. _ _NDOM
2. F_ _K
3. P_N_S
4. PU_S_
5. S_X
6. BOO_S

5. SIX
You got all 6 wrong….didn’t you?
You do NOT have Alzheimer’s
…But you are a Pervert.


A WWII Japanese Submarine in an American Meadow

Sub in meadow

The incredible story of how two Type A Midget Submarines were left on Kiska island, Alaska by the Japanese as they withdrew in World War II.

The Japanese scuttled the submarines (then stored on a railroad) with explosive charges as they withdrew, confining them to dry land, where they still sit to this day.

The entire island of Kiska is littered with shipwrecks, rusting artillery guns and even piles of spent ammunition stomped into the ground.

The WW2 history of the island:

The Japanese No. 3 Special Landing Party and 500 marines went ashore at Kiska on June 6, 1942 as a separate campaign concurrent with the Japanese plan for the Battle of Midway. The Japanese captured the sole inhabitants of the island: a small US Navy Weather Detachment consisting of ten men, including a lieutenant, along with their dog. One member of the detachment escaped for 50 days. Starving, thin, and extremely cold, he eventually surrendered to the Japanese.

The military importance of this frozen, difficult-to-supply island was questionable, but the psychological impact upon the Americans of losing U.S. territory was tangible. During the winter of 1942–43, the Japanese reinforced and fortified the islands—not necessarily to prepare for an island-hopping operation across the Aleutians, but to prevent a U.S. operation across the Kuril Islands. The U.S. Navy began operations to deny Kiska supply which would lead to the Battle of the Komandorski Islands. During October 1942, American forces undertook seven bombing missions over Kiska, though two were aborted due to inclement weather. Following the winter, Attu was liberated and Kiska was bombed once more for over two months, before a larger American force was allocated to defeat the expected Japanese garrison of 5,200 men.

On August 15, 1943, an invasion force consisting of 34,426 Allied troops, including elements of the 7th Infantry Division, 4th Infantry Regiment, 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 5,300 Canadians (the 6th and 7th Infantry Divisions), 95 ships (including three battleships and a heavy cruiser), and 168 aircraft landed on Kiska, only to find the island completely abandoned. The Japanese, aware of the loss of Attu and the impending arrival of the larger Allied force, had successfully removed their troops on July 28 under the cover of severe fog, without the Allies noticing. Allied casualties during this invasion nevertheless numbered close to 200, all either from friendly fire, booby traps set out by the Japanese to inflict damage on the invading allied forces, or weather-related disease. There were seventeen Americans and four Canadians killed from either friendly fire or booby traps, fifty more were wounded as a result of friendly fire or booby traps, and an additional 130 men came down with trench foot. The destroyer USS Abner Read hit a mine, resulting in 87 casualties.

That night, however, the Imperial Japanese Navy warships, thinking they were engaged by Americans, shelled and attempted to torpedo the island of Little Kiska and the Japanese soldiers waiting to embark. Admiral Ernest King reported to the secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, that the only things that remained on the island were dogs and fresh brewed coffee. Knox asked for an explanation and King responded, “The Japanese are very clever. Their dogs can brew coffee.”

The Japanese occupation site on the island is now considered a National Historic Landmark (the highest level of recognition accorded to historic sites in the US) and is protected under federal law. The island is also a part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge (AMNWR) and contains the largest colony of Least Auklets (over 1,160,000 birds) and Crested Auklets. Research biologists from Memorial University of Newfoundland have been studying the impact of introduced Norway Rats on the seabirds of Kiska since 2001.

Much of the aftermath left behind from World War II is still evident in Kiska. The slow erosion processes on the tundra have had little effect on the bomb craters still visible both from the ground and in satellite images on the hills surrounding the harbor. Numerous equipment dumps, tunnels (some concrete-lined), Japanese gun emplacements, shipwrecks, and other war relics can be found all untouched since 1943.


Near or Far Side of the Moon

2 moons near & far

Which one do you like better? Here’s an image taken by the Clementine UV/Visible camera launched in 1994, courtesy of the Lunar and Planetary Institute.Something to think about as you enjoy the almost-Full moon this evening….Contrary to popular belief, the far side of the Moon is not permanently dark—it gets as much light and shade as the “Man in the Moon” side that perpetually faces us.

We have full moons, blue moons, Harvest moons, supermoons and any number of culturally relevant references to the moon. Maybe it’s time to unearth a few moon myths and misconceptions.

Myth 1. The moon has a permanent dark side. Most grammar school students know that the moon presents only one face or side to the Earth. This is (roughly) true and gives rise to the idea that there is a permanently dark side of the moon, a thought immortalized in Pink Flyod’s music and elsewhere.In fact, the side of the moon that is perpetually turned away from Earth is no more dark than the side we see. It is fully illuminated by the sun just as often (lunar daytime), and is in shade just as often (lunar night), as is the familiar Man in the Moon face we see.The Earth-facing side of the moon gives rise to another misconception that many people share, namely that we see only 50% of the moon from Earth. In fact, only about 41 percent of the moon’s far side (a much more accurate and preferable term than dark side) is perpetually hidden from earthly observers. A diligent observer on Earth can, over time, observe about 59% of the moon’s surface. This is because a phenomenon called librationcauses the moon’s viewing angle, relative to Earth, to change slightly over its orbit.Lunar libration is due to the fact that the moon’s orbit around Earth isn’t a perfect circle. Instead, it’s a slightly elongated circle called an ellipse. Imagine a race car on an elliptical track. At each elliptical end of the racecourse, the car is flung out slightly due to the change in angle. It is a bit likerounding a corner. The result for the moon is that it occasionally exposes slightly more of its surface on the eastern or western extreme (depending on the location in the orbit). That’s why, as viewed from Earth, about 59% of the moon’s surface is exposed over the course of the moon’s (roughly) monthly orbit around the Earth.

Myth 2. The moon is perfectly round. To the eye, the moon appears round, and it’s natural to assume that it is actually spherical in shape – with every point on its surface equidistant from its center – like a big ball. Not so. The shape of the moon is that of an oblate spheroid, meaning it has the shape of a ball that is slightly flattened. Look at a photo of Jupiter and you will see a good example of this. The moon exhibits very slight oblateness, but more important is the fact that the “side” of the moon that faces Earth is bit larger than the side turned away from us. This makes it slightly similar to the shape of typical bird egg that is larger on one “end” than on other. You might think of it as “gumdrop” shaped. So the moon is not exactly spherical. The deviation is small, but real.

Myth 3. The moon is bright white. Anyone who has seen a full moon high in a clear sky late at night has a right to believe this. Comparatively speaking, however, the moon is neither particularly bright nor actually white. It appears very bright relative to the dark sky, and ordinarily looks white to the eye. Remember the old-style incandescent light bulbs? Now imagine a 100-watt light bulb located about 150 feet away, and shining in an otherwise completely dark night. That is approximately how bright the full moon is. Really.And the color? Well, as with brightness, color is a subjective thing. The moon emits no light of its own, but rather shines by reflecting sunlight. Sunlight is composed of all colors, but peaks in the yellow-green range of the spectrum. The sun looks white when high in the sky, as does the moon, because of the way our eye-brain connection mixes all the colors together. The moon’s color varies somewhat according to its phase and position in the sky, although this color variation generally is too subtle for human eyes. However, the moon is actually gray rather than pure white, on average much like the well-worn asphalt on most streets.

Myth 4. There is no gravity on the moon. But of course the moon does have gravity. The idea that the moon has no gravity is frankly so ludicrous that I would not even mention it were it not so prevalent. Shown an image of one of the Apollo astronauts jumping high or seemingly floating across the lunar surface, some of my college students will reply that it is because there is no gravity on the moon. In reality, the force of gravity on the moon is only about one-sixth what it is on Earth, but it is still there.I think that this moon myth, widespread though it may be, is simply a misunderstanding of what the word gravity means in physics. Every physical body, whether it be the sun, the Earth, the moon, a human body or a subatomic particle – everything that has substance – has a gravitational pull. While the practicality of measuring your weight (the pull of gravity) on tiny objects, such as a grain of sand, can be debated, the force exists and can be calculated. Even photons of light and other forms of energy exhibit gravity. Gravity holds galaxy clusters, galaxies, stars, planets and moons together and/or in orbit about each other. If every physical thing did not exhibit gravity, the universe as we know it could not exist.

Myth 5. The moon raises significant tides in people. There is no question that the moon, or rather its gravity, is the major cause of oceans tides on Earth. The sun’s gravity raises tides, too, by the way, but its effect is smaller. Some folks use the indisputable fact of the moon’s effect on the tides to argue that the moon raises tides in the human body. However, to believe that ocean tides and human tides both are caused by the moon betrays a major misunderstanding about how gravity works to produce ocean tides.In short, gravity depends on two things: mass and distance. Tides are produced only when the two objects involved (say, the Earth and the moon) are both of astronomical size (far larger than a human!), and also close (astronomically) in distance. The moon is roughly 30 Earth diameters away from our planet, and roughly 1/80th of the Earth’s mass. Given that, the moon helps raise tides, which on average, are a couple of meters high in the fluid oceans.If tidal effects were even measurable in the human body, which they aren’t, they would be on the order of a ten-millionth of a meter, or about one-thousandth the thickness of a piece of paper. Those are still tides, you say? Perhaps. But they are far, far smaller tides than are raised within your body when a truck passes you on the highway … or even when another person walks past you on the street.So while the moon’s gravity can power the tides on Earth, its effect on a human body is utterly inconsequential.

Bottom line: Moon myths, take that! The moon doesn’t have a permanent dark side. The moon isn’t perfectly round. The moon is gray, like asphalt, not bright white. There is gravity on the moon. The moon may raise tides in people, but the tidal pull of the person sitting next to you is greater than that of the moon.


July 22nd: Another Supermoon

July 17th moon shot: big & bright, but another supermoon is almost here

July 17th moon shot: big & bright, but another supermoon is almost here

If you’ve seen the night sky, you know the moon is now waxing toward full.First quarter mooncame on the night of July 15 according to clocks in North America. The nextfull moon will fall on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 18:16 UTC. This month’s full moon will fall one day after July’s lunar perigee, which is the moon’s closest point to Earth for this monthly orbit. Astronomers will call this upcoming full moon a perigee full moon, but everyone else will call it a supermoon, according to a definition coined in recent decades by an astrologer.

What is a supermoon?

This upcoming July 2013 supermoon won’t be as “super” as the supermoon in June. On the night of June 22-23, the moon reached the crest of its full phase within an hour of the time of perigee, or the moon’s closest point. The July supermoon is actually the third full supermoon to happen in 2013. The first one was in May.

Why so many supermoons?

The reason is that the definition, as coined by astrologer Richard Nolle has defined a supermoon as:… a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. That’s a pretty generous definition and allows for many supermoons. By this definition, according to Nolle: There are 4-6 supermoons a year on average.Tired of supermoons yet? Most people aren’t. Like many of the special full moons – such as Blue Moons – supermoons seem to have an unending allure.As always, this July, although the full moon comes at the same instant for everyone worldwide, the clock reads differently according to time zone.

In the US, the July full moon will occur on July 22 at 2:16 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1:16 p.m. Central Daylight Time, 12:16 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time and 11:16 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Across the United States, the moon turns astronomically full – or stands most directly opposite the sun – during the daylight hours on July 22. But for general reference, we can say the July 22 moon is full all night for us and the rest of the world.This July 2013 full moon presents the second full moon after the June solstice. Normally, there are only three full moons in one season – the period of time between a solstice and an equinox, or vice versa.

However, in 2013, four full moons take place in between the June solstice and the September equinox. The third of four full moons to fall in one season will occur in August 2013, and some people will call this particular full moon a Blue Moon. In North America, we often call the July full moon the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon. At this time of year, buck deer grow velvety antlers, thunderstorms rage and farmers struggle to put hay into their barns.Watch the full-looking moon as it beams over the east-southeast horizon at evening dusk on July 22. Like any full moon, the moon will look large and spectacular as it fully reflects the light of the sun.

But the moon’s path across the sky tonight will vary, depending on where you live worldwide. The full moon’s trajectory across the sky will resemble that of the sun some six months from now, or in January. For the Northern Hemisphere, the moon will follow the low arc of the winter sun, whereas in the Southern Hemisphere, it’ll mimic the high-flying summer sun.Bottom line: The next supermoon will happen on July 22. A supermoon is a new or full moon that occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. That’s a generous definition, which is why there are so many supermoons! The July 2013 full supermoon is the third one this year.


Wanting what we already have

Bryan Patterson's Faithworks

A FRIEND of mine has two basic prayers – “help me” and “thank you”. She says: “I find them equally powerful, equally relevant and equally necessary”.

Gratitude, along with humility, is an unfashionable, almost forgotten virtue. It can offend our self-centred sense of entitlement by forcing us to admit that out lives, and everything within them, are gifts.

Poor billionaire Howard Hughes was once asked how much money it would take to make him happy. “Just a little bit more,” he reportedly said. He was never a truly happy man.

Satirist Dorothy Parker wrote that gratitude was “the meanest and most sniveling attribute in the world”. She wasn’t happy either.

Yet novelist Morris West, writing a series of autobiographical essays near the end of his life said at age 75 he needed only one word left in his spiritual vocabulary – gratitude.

“Life has served me as it serves everyone…

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War Trials – WWII – part one

Pacific Paratrooper

Just as the Japanese surrenders occurred in different places and on different dates, so were the trials. The regulations used differed and the criminal charges varied. Preparations for the war crimes started early in mid-1942 due to the heinous reports coming out of China during the Japanese invasion in 1937. The home front recollections of these proceedings might differ from the facts stated here because of the media slant at the time and sensationalism. Often, the stories were even inaccurate, such as in Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals. Soviet trials are not included here as these were held…

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