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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 17, 2017 11:19 am 
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mtnhsmama wrote:
exactly. wind power is intermittent - what's the storage capacity of the batteries? they apparently are expecting nuclear cloud cover and haven't provided solar power. and if a geothermal power plant will be destroyed, who's to say the wind turbine will survive? what's the water supply resource? sewer & waste management? how is the general store stocked w/ consumables (other than food)? if departure turns impossible, the residents best be really creative as to how to support their hobbies and keep their sanity - you can only stock & reread so many books. lotsa questions for the serious purchase contenders. seems to be a truly 'spare change' venture, like a novelty to boast about. and since i don't have the cash, not worth looking for serious answers. love the entertainment factor of the post tho!

and i LOVE the spotted lake post! i was so near but pressed for time, so couldn't even explore the wineries of the region (they weren't open after 9p or at dawn anyhow). but gives me a clue of the bodies of the vino i missed. minerality is acceptable in reds but not my favorite in whites! still, sounds like a good road trip side drive, on par with researching the extremophiles that can survive the yellowstone hot springs!

and maybe i can check for jobs & housing while i'm up there. speshly before the skies turn dark, which it's feeling more likely all the time w/ the new 'leadership' at the helm. being in the hills isn't the absolute safety zone i like to think it is. ;-)


Wind turbines also require maintenance and can be damaged. According to a wind energy trade journal 20% of wind turbines are down for maintenance or repair at any one time.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 18, 2017 8:37 am 
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An Astronomical Flop

In 1985, Bary Bertiger, an engineer with the high-tech giant Motorola, had an intriguing idea: If a company could put enough low-orbit satellites in the air to attain direct access to the entire surface of the Earth, and use that network to support a satellite telephone system, then people could use the satellite phones to make calls to virtually anywhere in the world.

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This was very early in the cell phone era (Motorola had released the first one only a year earlier, in 1984), and people were becoming familiar with a problem that still exists today: if you’re too far away from a cell tower network your phone won’t work. With the proper satellite network, Bertiger figured, that problem could be overcome.

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Motorola chairman Robert Galvin gave Bertiger’s idea the go-ahead, and work on the project began in 1987. In 1991, it was spun off as its own company, Iridium LLC. Why “Iridium”? The plan was to put 77 satellites into orbit—and the element iridium is number 77 on the periodic table. (The number of satellites was later reduced to 66 for cost-saving reasons, but the name remained.)

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It took another six years to develop the technology necessary for the project, but in 1997, Iridium started launching its satellites. A year later, amid much fanfare—and after a $180 million advertising campaign—Iridium LLC started operations. “Iridium,” said the October 1998 cover story of Wired magazine, “may well serve as a first model of the 21st-century corporation.”

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Iridium starts launching in 1997

But it soon became clear that there were serious flaws in Iridium’s business plan. When Bertiger came up with his idea in 1985, cell phones were as big as bricks, nearly as heavy, and cost about $4,000.

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Older cellphone

They were owned by very few people, and worked in very few places. By 1998, the technology had progressed enormously. Millions of people owned small, sleek, pocket-sized cell phones served by nationwide cellular networks, and the cost had dropped to about $200.

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Modern cell phone

What was Iridium offering? A heavy, boxy phone that cost about $3,000. Cost to use it: from $3.00 to $8.00 a minute. By comparison, typical cell phone charges were already down to about 10¢ a minute. But probably the worst feature of all: Iridium phones didn’t work inside buildings, under trees, or inside cars without additional and expensive antennas. In order to work, the phones had to have direct line-of-sight access to a satellite. This, of course meant that their use was limited – at best.

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How much had Iridium spent in its 13 years of development? More than $6 billion. (Iridium had calculated that they would need a million subscribers just to break even. Impossible? No problem! Company analysts confidently predicted they’d reach that number in two years. The harsh reality: By August 1999—after nine months of operation—Iridium had just 55,000 subscribers. That same month, they defaulted on $1.5 billion in loans and filed for bankruptcy.

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The 12 years of development—and the $6 billion - were toast. At the time it was one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history, and it remains one of the most expensive technological flops ever. (Iridium’s single largest investor, Motorola, lost about $2.5 billion.)

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Aftermath: In 2000, a group of investors bought what remained of Iridium, including all of its 66 satellites—as well as several spares that had been launched—for $35 million.

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The company exists today as Iridium Communications, and they have about 600,000 subscribers, many of them in the U.S. military. And while the phones are smaller, lighter, and less expensive (Amazon sells them for about $1,000), they still don’t work inside buildings.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 19, 2017 8:36 am 
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Why Does a Doughnut Have a Hole?

The doughnut didn’t always have a hole! These round, flat, fried cakes were once filled, with soggy centers. At least, that’s the way they were eaten when early Dutch settlers brought them to Colonial America.

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Then in 1847, a 15-year-old boy, Hanson Crockett Gregory, was in the kitchen of his Rockport, Maine, home watching his mother make these fried cakes. When he asked her why the centers were so soggy and uncooked that they gave him indigestion, she didn’t have the answer for him.

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So Hanson took some of the uncooked cakes and poked out the centers. This time when his mother fried them, they were delicious, for the hole let the dough cook more thoroughly, making the cakes much easier to digest.

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Today, doughnut makers put their dough into special machines that leave out the centers. The dough is then cooked in a vat of boiling oil until it is a puffy, crisp doughnut.

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And the house in Rockport, Maine, where Hanson Crockett Gregory was born, bears a plaque commemorating the day that a boy invented a hole!

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So, get yourself a cup of coffee, a hot chocolate or even a cold glass of milk and … well … enjoy!

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Post Posted: Feb 20, 2017 8:31 am 
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Boston Sidewalks Have Secret Poems That Only Show Up In The Rain

"Raining Poetry" is an art installation in which poems are stenciled onto concrete sidewalks with a water-repellant paint and show up after rainstorms.

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Public art installations are awesome, because they make culture available to the masses. But public art installations that are kind of like a treasure hunt and only reveal themselves in the rain? That's just brilliant.

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That's what happens with "Raining Poetry," a collaboration between Boston's City Hall and the nonprofit group Mass Poetry. The project, which launched in April 2016 and kicked off a second installation in September, involves stenciling poems on Boston city streets in water-repellant spray paint. After a rain storm, the words show up, adding a much-needed pick-me-up from bad weather. The poems include works by Langston Hughes, Elizabeth McKim, and Kathi Aguero, and all touch on the theme of rain and water.

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If you have friend in Boston, he or she should run, not walk, to one of these locations, where the current poems can be seen:

- 1961 Centre St. in West Roxbury
- 1520 Dorchester Ave.
- 500 Columbia Road in Dorchester
- 1328 Blue Hill Ave. in Mattapan


Pro tip: If it's not raining, just bring some water, dump it out, and prepare to be wowwed.

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Other cities have their own version of “Raining Poetry”. They include Atlanta and Seatle.

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Post Posted: Feb 21, 2017 8:26 am 
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James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST or just Webb) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity. The longer wavelengths enable JWST to look much closer to the beginning of time and to hunt for the unobserved formation of the first galaxies, as well as to look inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today.

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With seven times the collecting power of Hubble, the JWST will operate in a distant Earth orbit and mainly observe the infrared spectrum of distant stars. The JWST’s sunshield will be 22 meters (72 feet) in length, - the size of a tennis court - and its mirror will be 6.5 meters (21 feet) wide, which is over twice the size of the Hubble Space Telescope. The JWST will be the largest space telescope ever launched. Launch date has been set for October of next year.

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The giant mirror of the JWST is made of 18 individual hexagonal segments composed of lightweight beryllium. It is almost three times the size of Hubble’s mirror, boasting a light-collecting area seven times greater, but both mirrors weigh almost the same owing to the lighter materials used on the JWST’s mirror.

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The angular resolution of the JWST, which is the sharpness of the images, is incredibly precise. It can see at a resolution of 0.1 arc-seconds, which means that it could resolve a penny 24 miles (40 kilometres) away or a football 340 miles (550 kilometres) away. Such enhanced resolution will allow the JWST to peer deeper into space than any other man-made instrument. Although Hubble has some infrared capability, its primary mission is to look at shorter wavelengths of light, while JWST will focus on longer (red-shifted) wavelengths typical of the first stars that formed after the Big Bang.

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The JWST is designed to look deeper into space to see the earliest stars and galaxies that formed in the Universe and to look deep into nearby dust clouds to study the formation of stars and planets. In order to do this, Webb will have a much larger primary mirror than Hubble, giving it more light-gathering power. It also will have infrared instruments with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity than Hubble. Finally, the JWST will operate much farther from Earth, maintaining its extremely cold operating temperature, stable pointing and higher observing efficiency than with the Earth-orbiting Hubble.

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JWST will orbit at the Lagrange Point 2 (L2)

Besides the James Webb Space Telescope, the Giant Magellan, and the Large Synoptic Survey are also in the works—oh my!

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 22, 2017 8:43 am 
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Why Did Judge Roy Bean Of Langtry Texas Fine A Corpse $40 For Carrying A Concealed Weapon?

Judge Roy Bean liked to call himself “the law west of the Pecos.”

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He presided over his jurisdiction from his combination court and barroom in Langtry, Texas.

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An article in Smithsonian Magazine characterized his unschooled judging as “unfettered by legalities and governed by simple greed, prejudice, and rough-handed common sense.”

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When he discovered that a corpse was carrying both a gun and $40, Bean confiscated the money, explaining that he could use it better than the corpse could.

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He often interrupted trials to ask if anybody in the courthouse wanted to buy a drink.

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His life inspired the movie “The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean”, starring Paul Newman.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Feb 22, 2017 9:46 am 
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Bean did receive copies of Texas statutes.

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Post Posted: Feb 22, 2017 11:12 am 
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dieselpop1 wrote:
Bean did receive copies of Texas statutes.


Yep ... and I'm pretty sure that fining a corpse wasn't one of them. ;)

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Post Posted: Feb 23, 2017 8:45 am 
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What Is the Legend of the “Smoking Mountain”?

Popocateptl, a volcano about 50 miles from Mexico City, is the fifth highest mountain in North America, at 17,887 feet.

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Popocatptl (background), Mexice City (foreground)

The volcano hasn’t erupted since 1802, but it still belches smoke occasionally, and its name means smoking mountain.

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According to Indian legend, Popocateptl was once a giant, the lover of another giant named Iztaccihautl. But the two lovers angered the gods, who turned them into stone.

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Popocateptl became the volcano, and Iztaccihautl became the nearby 17,000-foot mountain of that name, which is sometimes called the “white woman. On occasion, Popocateptl shakes with grief for his lost love, producing the earth tremors common in the region.

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In 1519, Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes sent a party of ten men up the slopes of Popocateptl. He did it to show the Indians that his forces were greater than the gods to whom the mountain was sacred. The altitude achieved by Cortes’s men stood as the world’s mountain climbing record for almost 3 years.

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