Science

Black Moon is coming tonight: What that means

We’ve seen all kinds of interesting phases of the Moon, from “Super blood Moons” to “full worm supermoons” to even the stunning Strawberry Moon. But July 31 will mark a rare occurrence for Earth’s natural satellite — a phenomenon known as a black Moon. The sparse celestial event will be seen in North America, marking the first occurrence since 2016. The rest of the planet will see the black Moon on Aug. 30. Although there is no one single definition of a black Moon, according to Time and Date, it is most commonly used to represent the second new Moon of a month. This rarely happens outside of leap years, as lunar cycles largely take 29 days to complete. But every 32 months or so, there are two full Moons in a month, with the first being known as a blue Moon. Officially, the black Moon will occur at 11:13 p.m. EDT, for the Western Hemisphere according to Space.com. For the Eastern Hemisphere, it will occur after midnight on Aug. 1, but it is not the second new Moon, so it does not count as a black Moon. New Moons are not able to be seen, as they travel “across the sky with the Sun during the day,” according to EarthSky.org. “But the gravitational influence of the new moon and sun combine to physically affect our water planet, which people along the ocean coastlines may notice in the coming days.” Other meanings of a black Moon include a third new Moon in a season of four new Moons; no new Moon in February; and no full Moon in February. Tomorrow’s black Moon will also be a supermoon, which means the new Moon happens at the closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit.

Very cool!  So, again, it’ll be at 11:13pm EDT, or 9:13pm for those of us here in sunny Colorado.    🙂

What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a trending ingredient in the natural products industry and is the focus of a new area of cannabis research. CBD is one of many cannabinoids or molecules produced uniquely by the cannabis family. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the primary psychoactive element in marijuana), CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t have a strong effect on cognitive brain activity and doesn’t cause the “high” associated with marijuana. Every variety of the cannabis family produces cannabinoids, including hemp. While CBD and THC are the most well-known cannabinoids, there are many different types, and only recently have significant resources been poured into their study. Our brains have specific receptors designed to accept cannabinoids, known as CB1 and CB2. These receptors are responsible for the assimilation of cannabinoid molecules into your system, resulting in the psychoactive and immune responses correlated with cannabis consumption. In the last few years, there have been many advances in cannabis processing and consumption methods. Concentrated products such as oil and rosin (a sap-like product extracted via heat and pressure) have allowed for cleaner ingestion methods, such as vaporization, to become more widespread. These new technologies have brought more consistent, identifiable dosages to patients and enthusiasts alike, while potentially enabling safer methods of consumption. Finally, more accurate and detailed studies of cannabis effects and usage are underway, as prohibition continues to be challenged. According to non-scientific anecdotal evidence, CBD is good for treating discomfort and illness of all kinds. Sufferers of everything from anxiety and aches to epilepsy and cancer are evangelizing for the CBD molecule. But the largely prohibited status of cannabis has prevented many long-term, academically rigorous studies on most cannabinoids in isolation, leaving these anecdotal claims mostly uninvestigated until recently. “There is a great deal of interest in the possible therapeutic effects of CBD, but there is very little evidence of efficacy,” said Dr. J Hampton Atkinson, co-director of the Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR) at the University of California, San Diego. CBD may have health benefits, but the lack of research in this area means there just aren’t enough data points to support most of the anecdotal claims. Along that same line, the lack of research also means the potential health risks of consuming CBD are unclear. However, now that cannabis is enjoying a research renaissance by way of legalization efforts, medical science is gaining a much more detailed perspective on this popular and fascinating plant. According to ClinicalTrials.gov, a federal database of accredited clinical trials worldwide, there are about 150 trials in progress that are testing CBD as a treatment for a wide variety of health conditions, including autism, alcoholism, skin conditions and schizophrenia. For their part, the CMCR is conducting rigorous studies of CBD for its potential to treat schizophrenia and autism. Some research suggests that CBD may reduce anxiety and self-deprecating thoughts, and there’s evidence that CBD has antipsychotic effects in people with schizophrenia. But other studies show no significant benefit of CBD over a placebo.

Interesting…  For more, click on the text above.

Mysterious light flashes on the Moon have been baffling researchers for decades

Astronomers have been excited by the Moon for eons, a level that has grown considerably as technological advancements gave humanity access to its surface, and helped researchers make observations from afar. And though there have been several notable lunar-related discoveries since man first walked on the Moon in 1969, there is still one phenomenon that has perplexed researchers for decades. Mysterious, random flashes of light coming from the Moon’s surface. Known as “transient lunar phenomena,” these mysterious, bizarre flashes of light can occur randomly, sometimes several times a week. Often times, they last for just a few minutes but have also been known to last for hours. There have been a number of explanations over the years, from meteors to moonquakes to UFOs, but none have ever been proven. A new telescope in Spain, though, may provide the answer. The lunar telescope, built by Hakan Kayal’s team at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany, will be pointed at the lunar surface for 24 hours a day and take videos and pictures if both of its cameras register a luminous phenomenon. “The so-called transient lunar phenomena have been known since the 1950s, but they have not been sufficiently systematically and long-term observed,” said Kayal, a professor of space technology at the university, in a statement. Observations of the transient lunar phenomena go back even further, to 1787, according to CNET. The news outlet also noted that Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins told NASA in 1969 about the strange occurrence. “There is an area that is considerably more illuminated than the surrounding area,” Collins told NASA mission control on July 15, 1969, one day prior to the landing on the Moon. “It just has — seems to have a slight amount of fluorescence to it. A crater can be seen, and the area around the crater is quite bright.” The telescope will be in a private observatory in Spain, which Kayal said was chosen over Germany because it offers “simply better weather conditions for observing the Moon.” Kayal also said observations from the remote-controlled telescope will be compared with those from the European Space Agency. “If the same thing was seen there, the event can be considered confirmed,” he added. The astronomer also said that interest in the bizarre lunar flashes is high due to renewed interest in the Moon, thanks to a new “space race” from private companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin, as well as advancements from domestic and foreign governments, including China. “Anyone who wants to build a lunar base at some point must of course be familiar with the local conditions,” Kayal said in the release. In January, China landed its Chang’e 4 lunar explorer on the far side of the Moon, becoming the first country to ever land on the side facing away from Earth. More recently, Blue Origin, led by Jeff Bezos, announced plans to send its Blue Moon lander to the celestial satellite. “It’s time to go back to the Moon,” Bezos said in a press conference last month. “This time to stay.”

Fascinating!!   🙂

Mathematicians Edge Closer to Solving a ‘Million Dollar’ Math Problem

Did a team of mathematicians just take a big step toward answering a 160-year-old, million-dollar question in mathematics? Maybe. The crew did solve a number of other, smaller questions in a field called number theory. And in doing so, they have reopened an old avenue that might eventually lead to an answer to the old question: Is the Riemann hypothesis correct? The Reimann hypothesis is a fundamental mathematical conjecture that has huge implications for the rest of math. It forms the foundation for many other mathematical ideas — but no one knows if it’s true. Its validity has become one of the most famous open questions in mathematics. It’s one of seven “Millennium Problems” laid out in 2000, with the promise that whoever solves them will win $1 million. (Only one of the problems has since been solved.) Back in 1859, a German mathematician named Bernhard Riemann proposed an answer to a particularly thorny math equation. His hypothesis goes like this: The real part of every non-trivial zero of the Riemann zeta function is 1/2. That’s a pretty abstract mathematical statement, having to do with what numbers you can put into a particular mathematical function to make that function equal zero. But it turns out to matter a great deal, most importantly regarding questions of how often you’ll encounter prime numbers as you count up toward infinity. We’ll come back to the details of the hypothesis later. But the important thing to know now is that if the Riemann hypothesis is true, it answers a lot of questions in mathematics. “So often in number theory, what ends up happening is if you assume the Riemann hypothesis [is true], you’re then able to prove all kinds of other results,” Lola Thompson, a number theorist at Oberlin College in Ohio, who wasn’t involved in this latest research, said. Often, she told Live Science, number theorists will first prove that something is true if the Riemann hypothesis is true. Then they’ll use that proof as a sort of stepping stone toward a more intricate proof, which shows that their original conclusion is true whether or not the Riemann hypothesis is true. The fact that this trick works, she said, convinces many mathematicians that the Riemann hypothesis must be true. But the truth is that nobody knows for sure. So how did this small team of mathematicians seem to bring us closer toward a solution? Click here to see the answer to that question, and read the rest of the article.

Fascinating!    🙂

‘Spaceplane’ that flies 25 times faster than the speed of sound passes crucial test

A ‘spaceplane’ that flies 25 times faster than the speed of sound has successfully passed a crucial testing milestone. The hypersonic plane is so fast it could jet from London to New York in less than 60 minutes and transport you from the UK to Australia in four hours. Oxford-based Reaction Engines has been working with the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency, along with BAE Systems, to make the powerful aircraft. Reaction Engines has recently been testing a ‘pre-cooler’ for the plane, which is technology that would allow it to travel faster than ever before. The pre-cooler is critical in the plane’s development because it is required to stop the engine from melting by lowering the temperature of compressed air in the engine from more than 1,000°C to room temperature in one-twentieth of a second. Thousands of tubes inside the pre-cooler, which are thinner than human hair, contain liquid helium that can cool the air as it rushes past them. Until now, heat has been a limiting factor for how fast aircraft can travel, including Concorde which traveled at two times the speed of sound. This technology could now be combined with the spaceplane’s experimental engine, referred to as Sabre. Sabre is intended to be much lighter than a conventional rocket engine because it would carry less fuel-oxidant. It is being designed to draw oxygen into the engine to use for combustion from take off until it reaches just over 4,000 mph. After this point, the engine would need to burn liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen from on-board fuel tanks. The spaceplane would need to continue using this process until it reached 25 times the speed of sound to enter space. The company ultimately aims to create a reusable vehicle that has the fuel efficiency of a jet engine with the power of a rocket. Plans for the hypersonic plane don’t just include getting people around the world in a fraction of the time but also taking people or cargo into Space and back for just a fraction of the current cost.

Very cool!!    🙂

Joe Bastardi: Climate change agenda is being driven by hysteria, not facts

Throughout my 40 year career as a meteorologist, I have tried to live up to the responsibility I inherited from my predecessors. I was taught to strive for objective truth, irrespective of where the data would lead. Science is not a belief system based on feelings or subjective motives. It is about facts, evidence, theories and experimentation in search of a conclusion. The impassioned speech by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to Congress last week revealed volumes about the intent and commitment of those pushing the Green New Deal. I can’t help but question if their positions are based on facts. Ocasio-Cortez’s statements about adverse climate effects and policy proposals reflect a lack of knowledge about energy policy and the geopolitical and financial impacts of abandoning fossil fuels in a quick and reckless manner. “The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change,” she said earlier this year – a statement clearly designed to elicit panic but hardly based on fact. In this age of political hysteria, we must all educate ourselves on the facts – the actual science. Unfortunately, there seems to be a total lack of awareness about important issues that scientists like myself – who aren’t paid by research grants – are concerned about. Instead, climate science is being used as a political weapon, and the voices of scientists like me are being ignored or even vilified. I was under the impression that in the United States, all voices and arguments should be heard. Climate science is not settled science. If it was, why would there be a continuous flow of money to research it? For example, is AOC aware that in the fossil fuel era, in spite of a four-fold increase in population, deaths have plummeted? Or that personal GDP and life expectancy – true measurements of progress – have dramatically increased? Or that world prosperity is rising while poverty is falling? And does AOC know that in the geological history of the Earth, there is no apparent direct link between carbon dioxide and temperature? AOC is trying to capture the imagination of young people to exact a specific result – the adoption of policies that cripple our way of life and push us towards socialism. But the charts above are only a few examples of data that should cause us to pause and ask questions about the direction that the Green New Deal wants America to go in. We should also ask why there is such a hurry to get there. For every current event that is used to whip up hysteria, there has been a past event that was even worse, but that people either ignore or are ignorant about in the first place. Extreme weather has always occurred and will inevitably continue. If climate alarmists do not know about the many arguments that question the credibility of their ideas, how is it even possible for their ideas to be seriously considered? Much of what is being proposed in the Green New Deal should not only cause skepticism, but should be considered draconian and even geopolitically dangerous. The migration towards cleaner, alternative energy needs to be done in a methodical, sustainable and intelligent way, otherwise, the consequences could be far worse than anyone can imagine. Perhaps we should pause and consider why none of the global warming models from two decades ago have come to fruition. Perhaps we should slow down and think about the consequences of allowing our adversaries to supply the world with cheap energy, because one thing is for sure – wind farms and solar panels won’t get the job done. The objective reader should examine all sides of the climate debate and should ask himself: Are the consequences of acting hastily worse than not acting at all? I think many are skeptical of rushing forward. We must rein in the political hysteria and fear-mongering that is driving the climate change agenda.

Agreed!!  And well said, Joe.  Joe Bastardi is a pioneer in extreme weather and long-range forecasting and the chief meteorologist at weatherbell.com. He is the author of “The Climate Chronicles: Inconvenient Revelations You Won’t Hear From Al Gore — and Others.”       🙂

SpaceX Crew Dragon docks at International Space Station

A space capsule with a life-size test dummy named Ripley reached the International Space Station early Sunday in a test flight commissioned by SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon flight docked at the space station around 27 hours after liftoff from NASA’S Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The flight is designed to demonstrate the possibility for ferrying astronauts in commercial aircraft. “The @SpaceX Crew Dragon is attached to the @Space_Station! It’s a first for a commercially built & operated spacecraft designed for crew! #LaunchAmerica,” NASA tweeted. “To be frank, I’m a little emotionally exhausted,” SpaceX founder Elon Musk told reporters barely an hour after liftoff. “We have to dock to the station. We have to come back, but so far it’s worked … we’ve passed the riskiest items.” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called it “a big night for the United States of America.” The success of the launch drew a Twitter message from President Trump. “We’ve got NASA ‘rocking’ again,” the president wrote. “Great activity and success. Congrats to SPACEX and all!” “We’re on the precipice of launching American astronauts on American rockets from American soil again for the first time since the retirement of the space shuttles in 2011,” said Bridenstine, who got a special tour of the launch pad on the eve of launch, by Musk. NASA has provided private companies like SpaceX and Boeing $8 billion to build and operate capsules to transport astronauts to and from the space station. Russian aircraft are the ones to ferry astronauts to the station. The only way astronauts can get to space are via Russian rockets, yet the cost of using them has steeply risen over the years. NASA currently pays $82 million per seat.” The dummy Ripley – named after the lead character in the “Alien” film series – was strapped in a seat inside the capsule, which can accommodate as many as seven astronauts. A small toy resembling Earth was left to float around. The flight is also packed with around 450 pounds of supplies. SpaceX already has made 16 trips to the space station using cargo Dragons. The white Crew Dragon is slightly bigger — 27 feet tip to tip — and considerably fancier and safer. Musk said the redesigned capsule has “hardly a part in common” with its predecessor.

Very cool!!  Go SpaceX!!    🙂