Wayback Wednesday: Challenger Expedition 1872
One hundred and fifty years ago, today…
The Challenger expedition of 1872–1876 was a scientific program that made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography. The expedition was named after the naval vessel that undertook the trip, HMS Challenger.
The expedition, initiated by William Benjamin Carpenter, was placed under the scientific supervision of Sir Charles Wyville Thomson of the University of Edinburgh and Merchiston Castle School, assisted by five other scientists, including Sir John Murray, a secretary-artist and, a photographer. The Royal Society of London obtained the use of Challenger from the Royal Navy and, in 1872, modified the ship for scientific tasks, equipping it with separate laboratories for natural history & chemistry. The expedition, led by Captain Sir George Strong Nares, sailed from Portsmouth, England, on [December 21, 1872]. Other naval officers included Commander John Maclear.
Under the scientific supervision of Thomson himself, the ship traveled approximately 68,890 nautical miles (79,280 miles/127,580 kilometres) surveying and exploring. The result was the Report of the Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873–76 which, among many other discoveries, catalogued over 4,000 previously unknown species. John Murray, who supervised the publication, described the report as “the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.” Challenger sailed close to Antarctica but, not within sight of it. However, it was the first scientific expedition to take pictures of icebergs.
From Deep Sea to Laboratory (The First Explorations of the Deep Sea by H.M.S. Challenger 1872-1876)/ISTE UK Website
Then & Now: The HMS Challenger Expedition & the Mountains in the Sea Expedition/NOAA Ocean Explorer/2003
HMS Challenger Expedition/Natural History Museum UK/2014 (Web Archive)
HMS Challenger/USCD Aquarium/2008 (Web Archive)
POTD: Staghorn Fern
This is a crazy looking thing. A pilot’s wife has a plant & animal sanctuary behind her house, two blocks west. A platycerium bifurcatum, it is also called an Elkhorn Fern. ~Vic
Picture of the Day
POTD: Winter Creeper
In the family of Celastraceae and the species of Euonymus Fortunei, I believe this may be a Coloratus. Also called the Spindle or Fortune’s Spindle, it is named for Scottish botantist Robert Fortune. It is native to East Asia and has become invasive here in the US. It can kill a tree, despite being very pretty. ~Vic
POTD: Chinese Fir
Cupressaceae conifer family (Cypress) and, possibly a Cunninghamia Lanceolata, per Pl@ntnet & Wiki. ~Vic
Picture of the Day
Story Sunday: All Hail Covid
From a UK doctor… I encourage you to read the entire article. I’m shocked. ~Vic
What has been witnessed in the last two years is not medical science. It is the death of reason and the birth of a religious cult. The Church of Covid [was] fathered, illegitimately, by the financial elite and delivered from the womb of governments. Its Holy Trinity…the Pfizer, the Moderna and the Aztec-Zeneca. Baptism is by experimental vaccination. Its priesthood (SAGE), itself controlled by the papal WHO. Pope WHO mediates between the people and the Viral Gods mostly through belief systems of fear and disgust. The cult even possesses strange triplet mantras, ritual ablutions and symbolic headgear. Fit, healthy children are being sacrificed at its altars. Those who willingly joined are too scared to leave, many were coerced [and], a minority resist, hoping for a saviour and a promised land. It is more effective and covid-safe to believe in garlic, silver bullets and wooden stakes.
To hold dominion, the cult practices peculiar sorcery. It redefines our currency of ideas…words. If it cannot cherry-pick statistics, it invokes alchemy to make them lemons. It inculcates a suspension of critical faculties and delusional mass behaviours by an indoctrination with fixed, false beliefs. Hence, the public seems hypnotised to suspend belief, in their own eyes and ears, replacing it with the cult’s doctrine that everyone is at risk of a horrible, premature death. [O]ur sole saviour is the covid jab. The NHS piously chants along reinforcing it all like a church choir. If one effectively challenges the beliefs, it casts more spells…censorship, cancellation [and bigger lies]. Heretics are exhorted to drink from the poisoned chalice, lest excommunication. It falsely stains outsiders as unclean, unbelievers [and] anti-vax infidels. The masses flock to the cult. They are thrilled! [E]ach could help save the world. Finally, little lives had big meanings, mission and a free holiday. They would do whatever it took in an extreme solidarity. Why on earth would they wish to return to reality?
One Last Cult Ward Round
Renal failure man, 60[…]. He calls. My headset is ready. He is desperate to have the third jab. He has called the 119 covid call-centres and exhausted their algorithms. Okay, I say, book in with the vaccination nurse for your booster. However, it is not okay. I am thinking “…your immune system, suppress and interfere with it at your peril.” Renal man cries “…but, they only do the booster. I need the third jab!” I confess, I do not know the material difference…but who will? He moaned, becoming more frustrated. I apologised, knowing I would not have either (over my dead body), [let] alone three. He said his renal specialist had advised him to have the third. Before I even speak to say [that] I would write to confirm what my colleague meant by ‘the third, not the booster’, he slams down the phone. Regardless, I write to my colleague to resolve my desperate patient’s personal covid nightmare.
The answer comes two weeks later. Lymphoma man, 74, calls. The NHS has written to him. “Doctor,” he asks, “do I need four jabs?” I raise my eyebrows. What is this new NHS hell? I have a copy of the letter filed in his notes. There is no date on the letter, where it should be [and] there is a menacing QR code, looking like a mutant space invader. The letter confesses it does not know if he is immuno-compromised or merely a normal punter. In either case, it recommends a further jab. The letter reasons, if you are immuno-compromised, let us call it “the third jab of a course” (as if the third jab six months later was always the intention). The letter explains, “It is different to the booster, as it is part of the first (‘primary’) course.” It appears like a sentence constructed in the abstract by a team of highly-paid, clueless government lawyers, not medics.
It continues, sagely, “If you…have already received a booster, following your first and second dose, please treat this as your third dose.” I shake my head. Curious. The answer seems to be same jab, different nomenclature. So, what do these semantics mean for the future of my patients? Who should have the booster? How many boosts will they need? When will they need them? How is it decided? The language seems to anticipate a ‘secondary’, three-course covid meal for the immuno-compromised. It does seem all rather arbitrary. Sadly, lymphoma man is not done. He couldn’t care less if he has three or four jabs. He just wanted to know…know what his duty to Queen and country is. I probed, tactfully, testing his feelings[…]. [D]idn’t the language disturb him? No. Didn’t he find it concerning that, four weeks ago (after his glorious first and second super jabs), he was hospitalised with a primary covid diagnosis and treated for a secondary bacterial pneumonia on the hospital ward? No. Given this, did he have any reservations about a third jab? No. Not one tooth of one cog could be turned. He was sold on it, ‘til death would he and the Nth jab part. The degrees of covid irony are infinite.
Then, there are the jab mix-sceptics. This is what our triggered health secretary thinks of them. Mr. Agonised, 81, smells a rat. He had the AZ custom clot-shot twice. He survived. He is aggrieved. Why can’t they give him a third-time lucky AZ? He is being offered Pfizer. Can it be safe or effective to mix them? It’s a good question […], [but] not the only one he needs to ask. He rang the call-centres [and] they cannot help him. They have referred him to his doctor. ‘Doctor’ is likely going to refer him to the corporatised government advice…Just do it! He tells me his daughter is a district nurse and is going to do her research. Good luck. She will need access to the Dark Net to get an iota of truth. He asks me what I think and, while he’s here (he is not, he is on the phone), should he have the flu jab at the same time? Just do it! I tell him he should do nothing of the sort while he is on antibiotics and steroids. He [needs] to be well. [B]esides, Pfizer [doesn’t] want his immune response to be suppressed by steroids. They want to see its full glorious spectacle. As for mixing vaccines, Lord knows… [I]t is as speculative as the whole show. I tell him I cannot comment, [as] it is all so novel and phase three trials are not even complete for two shots. He is frustrated. I mitigate. Does he really want the AZ? Did he know that it has been withdrawn from under 40s because of the clot risk? He did not. All he knows is he needs a third something and will make [god-damned] sure he gets it by hook or crook. He resiles a little. Should he have flu and covid jabs together? I tell him that’s what the government would advise but, it would hide the culprit should he become unwell with one. It would be best for him [to] get well, get off steroids and to stagger them. What’s the rush? Of course, for the vaccine companies, the more immunogenic the response, the better for efficacy…[but], it comes with the risk of unpredictable inflammation. Besides, a significant number of patients, paradoxically, develop respiratory infections after the flu vaccine (and, [possibly], the covid jabs). Vaccine-derived viral interference may be responsible.
Mr. The Tide-is-Turning, 76, is similar. Should he get the third Pfizer with the flu jab? I run through the basics. He is with me. He confides in me [that] his neighbour got the third [shot], recently and then ‘got covid’, whatever that means. He is skeptical. Next week he returns, calling me for more advice. I have made an ally. I discover his son works in the practice admin department.
Mr. & Mrs. Compliant in their 30s. She asks when [he can] get his booster. Will his piles delay this? I can tell that this is an important social rite of passage from her excitable tone. She does not need Dr. Party Pooper. Her man needs to hold down a job with a triple jab and feed the three little ones. Besides, what would the neighbours on her row of terraces say?
Parkinson’s man, 65. He said the job was very stressful. Three of his colleagues all had TIAs at the start of the year. I took a double take. That was not the medical stuff of stress. If it were, I would also be in the stroke unit, most days, over the last two years. Could it be the jab? [I]t was too early for most. I checked his notes. He (and his colleagues) had the first jab Feb 2021, as they were key workers in a high security government facility. We eye each other. He was a canny fellow. He left, remarking it was ‘nice talking to someone who thinks like me’.
Possible Parkinson’s man, 70, cannot speak properly, probably due to Parkinson’s but, no one really knows. He has been waiting for [an] NHS neurologist’s diagnosis for two years. Again, it is all on a headset…[t]he weak, distant, shuffling bradykinetic monotone of a suffering man. A simple generic medication would cure it and release him from a covid-measures jail sentence. There is no emotion in the voice because he is neurologically unwell. A colleague wrote, self-appeasingly, that the mask-like facies of Parkinson’s was not observable because of his face mask. Really? She did not dare even peak through a gaping aperture? This was written to abrogate clinical responsibility for a simple diagnosis. The universal excuse for everything is “’cos of covid”. I apologise and do what has become a daily ritual…a letter to expedite what was already urgent a year ago. Non-specialist GPs would not generally make the formal diagnosis nor initiate treatment for Parkinson’s. He is trapped in a manufactured, immoral situation of spineless, supine risk-aversion. However, I will make an exception in this horrific situation. I instruct him to call me if there is no progress within seven days […]. I will diagnose and treat him myself. This is the real emergency…[not] covid.
Quinsy man, 46, is a medical misnomer of three months standing. His battle-axe wife strong-armed me through the headset. He could not speak (she said he had a speech impediment). It would become clear why that was the case…he hasn’t been seen in two years by you! Sure enough, the frequent patient contacts, meticulously documented and crafted to feign the safety of physical presence, were all by telephone. She went on. He had been given three courses of [antibiotics] via telephone consultation for Quinsy over three months. That was really interesting, given Quinsy is a medical emergency. Something was not right. I sacrifice a precious face-to-face slot. He confesses to being an ex-smoker and a heavy drinker. I look in his oropharynx. It looked like tonsillar carcinoma until proven otherwise. Shocking. His wife pulls the ‘whilst we’re here, doctor’ manoeuvre, twice. I am glad she does. A ten-minute consultation, again, becomes thirty but, how can I ignore these poor people, deceived by the government into, vainly, still relying on an NHS they can no longer rely upon. He had a four month neck lesion. He was promised a referral three months ago. It never materialised. I take a peak…barn door rodent ulcer. [It’s] [s]kin cancer, festering and eating away at this pale, ginger fellow’s neck. Two fast track cancer referrals in rapid succession for one patient. Patients are meant to be seen within two weeks but, it is not happening. I anticipate this by asking them to call me if there is a millisecond of delay. It is not that surprising, after two years of neglect, given the lifetime risk of cancer is 1 in 2. It might get worse. Dr. Ryan Cole explains cancer is a possible effect of covid jabs upon TLR receptors. Moreover, it might, if as suspected, the jab-manufactured spike protein does in fact ‘strongly interact with p53 and BRCA-1/2 proteins. p53 and BRCA are the well-known tumour suppressor proteins’.
Sleeping Beauty is 21. She fell asleep at the wheel driving to the gym, dreamed of the impact and was later woken up by a prince passing by. My task at the end of a long chain of practitioners was to tell her, conclusively, that her TATT bloods (Tired All The Time) bloods were normal. No cause for tiredness, bye-bye. She was about to accept the good news and slam the phone down [b]ut, I am genuinely concerned for my patients. I stop her and ask, ‘but are you sleepy or tired? No, it just happens at the most unexpected of times. I know the likely diagnosis. I click on the patient’s list of medications. Tragic, really. I need to be tactful. No one believes they are unsafe or ineffective. They get offended. I ask when her woes began. Is she sure? Yes. Did you have anything new around that time? No. Are you sure? Yes. This is the problem. The event is so insignificant as to be forgotten. Did she realise she had the second jab two weeks before? No. No memory of this life-changing event. I politely apologise for casting aspersions but, explain she may have narcolepsy. I explain this is extraordinarily rare and one of the causes is vaccine injury. I self-deprecate more, I am only telling her because no one else might and I will be mentioning this to the neurologist, just for her information. I will request an urgent brain scan, since, at the current rate, she might receive a telephone call from an NHS neurologist in a year or two. Scans are one of the only primary care requests to hospitals which seems to happen more quickly during covid. She must report it to the DVLA. She must not drive until advised by them [that] she can. She seems to take it in her stride. The seed does not seem planted. Even if it is, evil fairy Malepfizer is immune, unless it is proven [that] it was [underhanded] in some way, that would put her in additional danger (as happened with the swine flu narcolepsy cases). Pfizer is rich enough to settle out of court, with a non-disclaimer to boot but, it probably won’t have to. For the nominal vaccine damage scheme, £120,000 is all she could get but, she won’t. Who will class her as 60% or more disabled? She can jolly well walk and reduce her carbon footprint at the same time.
Dot Cotton is 73. The worst of the deranged zealots are the nicotine-stained COPDs. She is part of a new wave of chain-smoking, geriatric, covid wokeness. A bronchitic terrorist… She puffs in, suffocating herself further with her mask + face-shield combo. She is one of the brand-new radicals, readying themselves for the Nth booster while they roll up tobacco. She is chesty but, mostly paranoid about being more chesty. Complaining that she hasn’t seen a GP for over two years, she does not recognise the irony of the NHS managing to jab her three times in 10 months while she continues to insist on her divine right to smoke herself to death. These are the NHS red-carpet patients whom sensible doctors and nurses, like me, will wave goodbye to as we are escorted off the premises as NHS lepers. She slaps her biceps and beams. I’ve had my booster! Wow, rub it in my face whilst I’m at work, won’t you. I appear underwhelmed, whilst she is expecting extra social credits. I gently challenge her health ideas for the heck of it. It is patently clear I am not going to find a member of the French résistance hidden under her storm trooper headgear. You do realise that government advice is not necessarily the same as medical advice? Oh yes, of course, Doctor, she fawns. I become adventurous…[Y]ou do appreciate the benefit of the government advice is not conclusive? Her eyes, distorted by [the] bent plastic visor, briefly scan me. As she leaves, she turns like Columbo (she is wearing a beige mackintosh), asking, pointedly, if I’m ‘not one of those against vaccines.’ Rather than asking if she ‘is one of those who does not believe in stopping smoking’, I answer politely, ‘I believe all sides should be respectfully heard.’ She concedes courteously and disappears. Everything is between the lines, all eyes and smiles and, a sliver away from professional crucifixion.
Swab Refusenik is 57. He is livid. He is double-jabbed, and asymptomatic, and the hospital still want to swab him before he has his colonoscopy. He cannot fathom it. What the hell is going on? He is scared, too. While booking a date for the procedure, he protested at being swabbed […]. [T]he lady at the other end was reactive, like only the NHS can be…‘so are you refusing the colonoscopy, sir?’ No, just the swab. She puts the phone down on him. Now, he confides in me and asks what [on] earth he is going to do. I sympathise and agree to write to his consultant to sort it all out. He admits me he only got jabbed to make life normal, again. He did not want either. He is not having the booster, [a]llegedly.
Mr. Plumber, 53, tells me he developed bad guttate psoriasis after the first jab, shingles after the second and he is worried about the third. What could be in store for him next? Smallpox? Leprosy? We will find out. He still wants it. He is confused as, all he ever deals with are covid call-centres. I counsel him on alternative strategies, such as not having it but, feels he should have it. The propaganda is too strong. Even offering a speculative exemption letter sounds schismatic to him. He becomes anxious. His daughter is a nurse and is looking into it but, what more does he need to know? He is alive and kicking two years later, after the world’s most over-hyped and over-televised pandemic. He is low risk. The jabs are producing disease in him. I am dealing with a mental health pandemic.
Ms. Clock-Ticking, 36, is desperate for pregnancy. Irregular periods post-jab are so common, they have passed into folklore. She shrugs of the three month lapse of her Swiss clock-like menses as mere piffle to her wish to be with child. ‘Yes, doctor, my period became irregular after the jab as I thought it might.’ Presumably, as the regularity returned, her faith in the non-science government narrative returned. She thinks the rot stops there. I wish her luck.
Ms. Siren, 40. Periods absent since the second jab. Nevertheless, she went back for the third a month ago. She wonders about menopause but, her mother went through it, […] aged 55. She admits that her periods became irregular and prolonged after the first jab in January. She is part of a hospital study (SIREN) into the jab and, has regular PCR and antibody tests. No one has [asked] her about jab adverse effects.
Village fête lady, 65, takes the biscuit one busy morning. She hobbles in sporting a blue rinse perm and a home counties accent. The conversation degenerates from her poorly ankle to ‘you must be so busy these days’ to covid, rapidly. She is restrained in her frustration but, her voice quivers…‘why oh why can’t they all just get vaccinated, doctor?’ She asks as if it is a matter of mere politesse. ‘Can’t they all just say please and thank you, doctor? Why can’t they? Then, we could all go back to normal and have a merry Christmas together.’ She quickly moves on to covid Santa Claus…ooh, and Dr. Whitty…‘isn’t the country so lucky to have him?’ This time, words nearly fail me. I remind [her] that her view is predicated on the assumption that the vaccines are safe and effective but, tens of thousands are dying from them and there are millions of ADRs. It beats the mortality of all the other vaccines, rolled together over decades and it hasn’t even been out a year. ‘No, it’s not’, she retorts, coldly. This time words do fail me. Whatever her view is predicated on or not, it is not worth being detected and singled out. The programming is way too deep. Props to the propagandists. [T]hey have done an incredible job.
Chris Thomas: Global Warming & Pole Shifts
A Forum Blog Post From: The Chris Thomas Files
We have all seen the increasing number of newspaper articles where the scientists and climatologists, who were the main protagonists of “man-made” global warming, withdrawing their research and claiming that governments misquoted them. The outcome being that there is now a great deal of doubt over whether the world is warming up, man-made, or not. Most of the arguments have been used to back up the Oscar winning film by Al Gore called An Inconvenient Truth. This film is now part of UK school curriculums for children over the age of eleven. In 2007, a concerned parent began a court case against the British Government claiming that this film, and its supporting material taught in schools, was full of false claims. The court case eventually ended up in the High Court and was adjudged to be tantamount to propaganda as the claims made could not be substantiated by government scientists. The judges ruled on a number of points and declared that, if the film was shown in schools without “balancing” material being taught alongside it, the teacher could also be breaking the law, as teaching propaganda is not legal (section 406 of the Education Act 1996).
So, what is the real truth about Global Warming?
The climate has always changed in accordance with the amount of energy we receive from the Sun. For example, in Roman times, Britain’s climate was an average of about three degrees warmer than currently and the Romans were able to grow grape vines along Hadrian’s Wall. Since then, the average temperature has risen and fallen several times, sometimes warmer than now, sometimes cooler than now. Between 1000 and 1350, the average global temperatures were about one degree warmer than currently and, is known as the Medieval Warm Period. However, in about 1400, the average temperature began to drop to about one and a half degrees below current levels and, a Mini Ice Age began. This was the reason why the Thames froze over in London and the fashion for winter fayres began. The last winter fayre took place in 1815 (PDF has typos) as the temperature began to rise and the Thames no longer froze. Average global temperatures have been rising ever since.
This date of 1815 has been used as the basis of the argument that global warming is man-made as this date also coincides with a growing use of fossil fuels. If the global temperatures are rising because of the carbon dioxide from fossil fuels then, it should continue to rise as we produced more and more carbon dioxide. However, in 1995 global temperatures stopped rising and have generally dropped ever since (official figures from the Meteorological Office). This period of cooling also coincides with a reduction of the Sun’s activities (called a Maunder Minimum) which is still continuing and hence, the slow drop in temperatures. This is why all of the scientists are back-tracking on their claims. [T]here is no evidence to support them.
So where did the claims for man-made global warming arise?
The first evidence of it being a deliberate attempt to mislead us was uncovered by researcher and presenter Ian R. Crane in a document written by the Club of Rome. This document is called The First Global Revolution and was written in 1991. This document outlined a plan where if humanity was made to believe that fossil fuels were responsible for global warming, a “carbon tax” could be levied which would be used to finance “The New World Order”. This is the same New World Order that every head of government, worldwide, has proclaimed for the last twenty years. In other words, carbon based man-made global warming is a deliberate hoax. This deliberate hoax is confirmed by the hundreds of emails released from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit.
I can hear you all whispering “conspiracy theory” behind the back of your hands and giggling about what I’ve said here. Except, the High Court ruling, together with the release of the emails, means that this is not a conspiracy “theory” but, a conspiracy “proof”.
Always “feel” for the truth of a claim before you believe it.
But, we are likely to see temperatures rising again in the near future as the Maunder Minimum comes to an end, estimated in 2011/2012 and the Sun increases its energy output. Other changes are also to come as the Earth’s axis continues to shift to vertical (see The Universal Soul). This shift of axis has recently been confirmed by the Inuit peoples of Canada by their long-term observations of celestial constellations. The Inuit noticed that the constellations are in a different position leading them to conclude that the Earth’s axis is moving towards the vertical.
This observation by the Inuit is also backed up by the observations of hundreds of amateur astronomers. The axis shift also accounts for the Magnetic Pole shift. The Magnetic Pole isn’t actually shifting. That is staying in the same place. It is the relationship between the Pole and land masses that is changing as the Earth’s axis changes. In other words, the Pole is staying put but, it is the Earth that is moving. This axis change will also bring about climate change but, it is more likely to bring about a stable climate than storms and floods.
However, this does not mean that we should abandon our obligations to the planet and to the environment. The strategies adopted by many people, who took their responsibility for responsible use of fossil fuels seriously, needs to continue. Don’t forget that every tree cut down is a tree lost and, all coal, gas and oil used depletes the Earth’s resources, as well as adding to pollution. [S]o, we all need to continue to be aware of the impact of our actions.
Make your footprints as small as possible…carbon or otherwise
© 2011 Chris Thomas
One Vibration Forum Blog Post (Web Archive)/February 16, 2011
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Story Sunday: Ig Nobel Prize Goes For Alligator On Helium
“Alligator sucking on helium wins parody Ig Nobel Prize”
Scientists are answering a question no one is asking. What would it sound like if an alligator sucked up helium? When a team of international researchers wanted to find out whether a gator’s vocalizations relate to its body size, they devised an experiment that would earn them the 2020 Ig Nobel (a wordplay on “Nobel” and “ignoble”) Prize for acoustics. Researchers captured footage of the snorting alligator in a helium-filled tank. In perhaps one of the biggest letdowns in the history of scientific study, it sounded nothing like a cartoon chipmunk. Now in its 30th year, the annual Ig Nobel Prize awards ceremony, usually presented at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre, was conducted remotely due to pandemic restrictions.
Among this year’s other elite competitors, a study which demonstrated that meticulously groomed eyebrows are a reliable indicator of grandiose narcissism took home the prize in psychology. The prize in economics went to an international team of creeps (presumably) who wanted to know whether the rate of French kissing correlated with national income inequality. Based on data from 13 countries across six continents, they found that where kissing was more frequent, income inequality was also more likely to occur. Go figure. American Richard Vetter took home the prize in entomology for his brave study on spiders (which aren’t technically insects) that revealed most of his peers are, allegedly, arachnophobic. And, the award for materials science went deservedly (because it’s gross) to a collaboration between the US and the UK to study whether frozen human feces could be made into usable knives. Spoiler alert: It certainly cannot.
But, who could forget the most Ig Nobel moment in recent history? The medical education prize went to a roundup of sometimes ill-advised world leaders for showing that “politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can” during the global coronavirus pandemic.
New York Post
September 18, 2020
Researcher Receives Ig Nobel Prize (Lund University/Stephan Reber)
Theodolite Thursday: Satellites Interfere With Astronomy
“A report warns that fleets of new communication satellites in low-Earth orbit will spoil some astronomical observations, even if all known mitigation strategies are taken.”
Astronomers and the operators of new, thousands-strong […] low-orbiting satellites will have to work together to prevent them from having a devastating impact on ground-based observations of planets, stars and other celestial objects, says a [recent] report […]. Even then, there is no escaping some harm from the fleets of commercial orbiters.
“All optical and infrared observatories will be affected to some degree,” [stated] astronomer Anthony Tyson of the University of California, Davis, […] at a briefing on the report.
“No combination of mitigation will eliminate their impact,” added astronomer Connie Walker of the U.S. National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory.
The satellites, designed to provide internet access in remote areas, now number in the hundreds. [Following] the launch of the first batch by SpaceX in May 2019, astronomers were alarmed by how bright they appear in the sky. If all the planned [launches] go ahead, the number of satellites will grow beyond 100,000. Since last year, there have been a number of independent studies of [satellites’] possible impact. [The] workshop’s report is the first time the satellite companies, and those who would be affected (astronomers to the agencies that fund them and their telescopes), have pooled their results and worked out a strategy for the future.
The satellite trails are very bright, and out of focus slightly, so they’re wide and cover several pixels on images taken with a test version of the (soon to open Vera C.) Rubin Observatory’s camera, notes Tyson. [Telescopes] that need to work during twilight will also run into problems. Because the satellites are in low orbits, they will often be seen close to the horizon and will be most visible when they are still in sunlight but, the observer is not. If, however, satellite operators choose orbits above 600 kilometers, the situation gets worse because, then, their spacecraft are visible for more of the night, and in [the] summer, all night long. Astronomers should also develop software tools to remove satellite trails from images and the companies should make accurate orbital data available for their orbiters so telescopes can try to avoid them.
The only measure the report could offer to totally eliminate the damage to astronomy was to launch fewer or no low-orbiting satellites…likely not an option given the financial investments the companies are making in the [satellites] and the lucrative market they foresee.
Tyson and his colleagues have been working with SpaceX engineers to modify their satellites to reduce their brightness. His team has also modeled trying to steer the Rubin Observatory telescope to avoid passing satellites but, Tyson says there are simply too many. Astronomers are already actively pursuing image processing solutions but, he says “the jury’s out” on how much that can help.
August 25, 2020
Report Offers Roadmap (American Astronomical Society)
SATCON Report (NOIRLab)
Satellites Could Spoil View of Giant Sky Telescope (Science Magazine February 27, 2020)