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Antarctica / Re: Thwaites Glacier Discussion
« Last post by baking on Today at 04:15:07 AM »
I've been keeping a close eye on the sea ice off of Thwaites.  The Tongue is in such rough shape that I fear it could be devastated if the sea ice retreats much during this upcoming warm season.  It was protected by the fast ice it last year, but the year before it was very bad.  I am worried that it could be even worse this year.
The rest / Re: Good music
« Last post by wili on Today at 03:11:47 AM »
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« Last post by wili on Today at 03:07:39 AM »
W wrote: "...current spike in cases, with much fewer deaths..."

is probably mostly proof that we have been living and dying with and being horribly maimed by...this virus for nearly a year now, and medical staff and researchers have not been asleep...they have learned--from hard experience of watching under what care people were more likely to die than to live--how best to care for patients to make it most likely that they survive.

They are still learning, so, if we don't so totally blow it that the entire health infrastructure goes down in flames, the death rates per case should continue to go down.

If there is any mutation making this thing less deadly, we could all be grateful for that indeed. But there is no clear evidence of that at this point
The rest / Re: SpaceX
« Last post by Sigmetnow on Today at 01:52:42 AM »
—- Rocket Re-use —-
Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) 11/24/20, 7:30 PM
The NASASpaceflight broadcast for the Starlink mission will begin in 45 minutes. This launch will be the first time that a Falcon booster flies for the seventh time!

—- Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket was recovered after its recent launch
Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) 11/22/20, 1:44 PM
Electron is home. Engineers will now begin poring over the stage to assess its condition and will use the data to inform future recovery efforts. More updates soon!

Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) 11/23/20, 11:51 AM

Before and after the journey to space
⬇️ Two photos below, another at the link.
< Some of the soot got washed away, but the booster is probably unusable due to the salt water, isn't it?
<< I don't think they planned to reuse this booster anyway. They just wanted to look at it and learn if it could be reused if caught by a helicopter. So they don't care about salt water damage just the damage that occured from the re-entry.

This begins a discussion thread about what constitutes a “reusable orbital class rocket;” whether just parts of it being recovered count; also does the part recovered need to be reused to be counted?  And what of rockets in the same family, like F9 and Falcon Heavy?  Space Shuttle is a special case.  Excerpts:
Everyday Astronaut:
Am I right in thinking this is only the third orbital class rocket in history to be returned in one piece?! (Buran doesn’t count because it was purely a spacecraft and not part of the launch vehicle, Energia, which on both flights wasn’t reusable)

[Here’s one summary:]
Jrcraft (@Jrcraft__)11/22/20, 4:13 PM
Shuttle: Reusable boosters, partially reusable upper stage
Ariane V: Recoverable boosters, expended core & 2nd stage
F9: Reusable 1st stage, expended 2nd stage
FH: Reusable boosters, recoverable core, expended 2nd stage
Electron: Recoverable 1st stage, expendable 2nd stage

~ Both Electron stage one & FH core stage have not demonstrated reusability, but have been recovered. Ariane V boosters are recoverable, but have not demonstrated reuse.

—- Starship refueling
Marcus House (@MarcusHouseGame) 11/24/20, 8:08 AM
What what!? My new video is up!
Recently granted funding for SpaceX to develop refilling tech will go a long, long way. Here is a video talking about why this is so important. This tech alone would change the world in many ways.
Elon Musk:
Rapid & complete rocket reuse, low cost propellant, orbital refilling & propellant production at destination are the four essential elements of making life multiplanetary

< When will you start utilizing / practicing ISRU and sabatier fueling at the pad? Are you actively engineering portable fueling plants yet for Mars?
Elon Musk:  Maybe start on that a year from now. Depends on how Starship progress goes.

< I see Starship enabling so much growth & innovation: humongous space stations, space telescopes, space-based solar power, space tourism, etc.  What a great time to be alive!
<< Totally agree with you there! Just need things to get back to normal human connection wise.
Policy and solutions / Re: Electric cars
« Last post by sidd on Today at 01:46:09 AM »
Re: toyota prius gas consumption

I know two people who own the things, and that seems to be a common complaint. One of them stops charging the car evry few months for a week or so, because the daily drive uses very very little if any and he dont want the gas going bad. He just refills the tank to a 1/4 every 6 months. The other has had a mostly full tank (with stabilizer added) for over a year. I believe the tanks are about 10 gallons.

The rest / Re: SpaceX
« Last post by Sigmetnow on Today at 01:23:47 AM »
—- Starlink launch in two hours!
SpaceX (@SpaceX) 11/23/20, 4:45 PM
Now targeting Tuesday, November 24 at 9:13 p.m. EST for Falcon 9’s launch of Starlink, when weather conditions in the recovery area should improve

—- Just now:  Starship 3-Raptor static fire complete
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 11/24/20, 6:59 PM
Good Starship SN8 static fire! Aiming for first 15km / ~50k ft altitude flight next week. Goals are to test 3 engine ascent, body flaps, transition from main to header tanks & landing flip.
⬇️image below: screencap from NSF replay. It was short, only 2 or 3 seconds.

LIVE: Starship SN8 Static Fire #4 - YouTube

< How are you feeling about Starship’s chances of landing in one piece?
Elon Musk:  Lot of things need to go right, so maybe 1/3 chance
Elon Musk:  But that’s why we have SN 9 & SN10

—- Cargo Dragon FRR complete, Dec. 5 launch targeted
NASA and SpaceX “Go” for Dec. 5 Cargo Resupply Launch
November 23, 2020
NASA and SpaceX managers conducted a Flight Readiness Review (FRR) Monday, Nov. 23, for SpaceX’s 21st Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-21) mission to the International Space Station.

To enable additional time to evaluate flight data from Crew-1 and close out certification work ahead of this first flight of the cargo version of Dragon 2, teams are now proceeding toward a planned liftoff at 11:39 a.m. EST on Saturday, Dec. 5, from Launch Complex 39A at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, with the Dragon spacecraft arriving to autonomously dock at the orbiting laboratory on Sunday, Dec. 6, at approximately 11:30 a.m.

The science to be delivered on this mission includes a study aimed at better understanding the effects of microgravity on cardiac function in human heart tissue, research into how microbes could be used for biomining on asteroids, and a tool being tested for quick and accurate blood analysis in microgravity.

The first commercially owned and operated airlock on the space station, the Nanoracks Bishop Airlock, will arrive in the unpressurized trunk of the Dragon spacecraft. Bishop will provide a variety of capabilities to the orbiting laboratory, including CubeSat deployment and support of external payloads.
Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« Last post by vox_mundi on Today at 01:13:48 AM »
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams is pleading with Americans to grasp "the severity of the moment" and to stay vigilant against Coid-19, as a record number of hospitalizations has pushed health-care professionals to the brink, Reuters reported.


Gov. Polis Warns Colorado’s Cornavirus Trajectory Could Overwhelm ICUs, Lead To More Deaths


US Will Distribute 6.4 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses In First Tranche

The US plans to distribute 6.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the first week after it is cleared for emergency use, which is likely next month, officials said Tuesday

General Gustave Perna, chief operations officer for the government's Operation Warp Speed, told reporters some 40 million doses of vaccine would be available by the end of December.

That figure includes another vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes for Health, which announced some preliminary efficacy results last week and is also close to applying for emergency approval.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that the U.S. federal government is conducting a practice run this week of its coronavirus vaccine distribution networks with some test shipments as the drugs await emergency approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in “just a few weeks.”

The shipments, which won’t contain the actual vaccine vials, will test the systems used by state health departments to order vaccine doses to “ensure that all goes smoothly,” Azar said.

“If all goes well, we could be distributing vaccine soon after Dec. 10,” ... Perna said that 64 jurisdictions across the US—including the 50 states, territories like the capital Washington and Puerto Rico and Indian reservations—received their allocation numbers on Friday.

The amount they receive will be proportionate to their population size.



CDC Celebrates Biden Transition, Expects “Rebuilding,” More Press Briefings

After being muted, sidelined, and disparaged by the Trump administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reportedly reveling in the transition to the Biden administration and eyeing a major comeback amid the still-roaring coronavirus pandemic.

“This is what we've been waiting for,” an unnamed senior CDC official told CNN Tuesday, after the ascertainment declaration from the General Services Administration. With the transition underway, senior officials are eager for Biden’s people to “send their landing team here and set up shop.”

The CDC has a lot of ground to regain in the aftermath of the Trump era. The administration has spent the pandemic censoring CDC officials and nearly halting once-regular press briefings held by agency officials. Trump appointees also meddled with the agency’s scientific reports and watered-down critical public health guidance aimed at defeating the worst public health crisis of our time. ...


YouTube Suspends One America News Network, Trump's Favorite News Source, for Violating Its Coronavirus Misinformation Policy

YouTube barred One America News Network from posting new videos and livestreaming for one week, after the right-leaning media organization uploaded a fake cure for the coronavirus.

YouTube also demonetized the organization’s channel, meaning it can’t make money from YouTube ads.

Tuesday’s move marks YouTube’s largest crackdown against OANN. The social media giant has been criticized for allowing OANN to spread misinformation, such as false claims that President Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Trump and his allies have urged followers to tune into alternative news sources such as OANN and Newsmax, eschewing Fox News, which they feel has gone soft.

YouTube says it does not consider OANN an authoritative news source.


Putin Still Hasn't Taken Russia's Vaccine, Months After His Daughter Did

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn't been vaccinated against the coronavirus yet, months after he announced his country's Sputnik V as the "world's first" approved Covid-19 vaccine and said his own daughter had taken it.

The Kremlin said Tuesday that Putin cannot get a vaccine that has not yet finished the final stage of trials, even though the jab has already been given to some Russian frontline health care workers, teachers and several top level officials outside the clinical trials.

"The President cannot use an uncertified vaccine," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said during a call with reporters. Peskov did not explain the difference between the vaccine being "certified" and "approved," but said: "Mass vaccination has not started yet. And, of course, the head of state cannot take part in vaccination as a volunteer. It's impossible."

Putin first announced Russia's vaccine was approved for public use in August, even though at that point it had been tested only on several dozen subjects in a non-blind study. The announcement came before the start of Phase 3 trials, which are key to establishing its safety and efficacy, and drew skepticism from the international community.

"I know that it works quite effectively, it forms a stable immunity," Putin said at the time, adding that one of his daughters had already taken the jab -- a rare move from the President, who is notoriously secretive about his family. He said she had a slightly higher temperature after each dose, but added "now she feels well."


Putin: ... is good - trust me!

Consequences / Re: COVID-19
« Last post by Shared Humanity on Today at 12:22:55 AM »
Walrus, Covid-19 spreads early in the infection cycle and people infected die weeks later. So what does it matter to the corona virus whether we live or die after a prolonged illness ? What matters more is  whether the virus mutates fast enough to evade or deter the efficacy of vaccines or immunity from a prior bout of Covid.

The rest / Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
« Last post by vox_mundi on Today at 12:18:23 AM »
Rock Art In California Cave Was a Visual Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants

At a cave in Southern California, archaeologists recently found centuries-old bundles of hallucinogenic plants tucked into crevices in the low ceiling, near a painting that may depict a flower from the same plant, called datura. The painted images may have been a visual aid to help people understand the rituals they experienced in the cave.

University of Central Lancashire archaeologist David Robinson and his colleagues describe the bundles of leaves and stems tucked into the domed ceiling of California's Pinwheel Cave. The five-armed pinwheel that gives the cave its name is painted in red nearby, attended by a bizarre-looking figure with antennae, eyes pointed in different directions, and a long body. Archaeologists have dubbed it the Transmorph, perhaps because it wouldn’t answer to anything else they tried. Based on radiocarbon dates of the bundles, people placed them in the room’s nooks and crannies over several centuries, from about 1530 to 1890.

That matches the age of charcoal from nearby chambers in the cave, where people left behind traces of more mundane activities: cooking meat, grinding seeds and nuts, and making stone projectile points. Whatever rituals happened in Pinwheel Cave, they weren’t hidden away or separate from everyday life.

Using a technique called mass spectrometry, Robinson and his colleagues studied the chemical composition of four of the bundles and found the compounds scopolamine and atropine—the same chemical mixture that’s found in datura. The Chumash people of California call the plant Momay and see it as the embodiment of a supernatural grandmother figure.

The microscopic examination revealed that the ends of the bundles had been crushed and matted together, and some even had tooth marks still pressed into them. Clearly, people had chewed on these bundles of datura leaves and stems before tucking them away into nooks and crannies in the chamber. That matches historical descriptions of Chumash and Tübatulabal people occasionally eating parts of the datura plant for other rituals. Sometimes the goal might be to heal a physical wound; other times it could be supernatural protection, help finding a lost object or looking into the future, or an extra burst of strength for a hunt.

... Prior to the discovery in Pinwheel Cave, archaeologists hadn’t found any clear evidence that people actually used datura at any of the sites where that artwork was preserved on cave walls or beneath rock shelters. That’s part of what makes the Pinwheel find so interesting. The cave paintings, combined with the datura bundles, suggest that art played a role in some of the rituals in which people used datura for trances and visions.

When a datura bud opens into a flower, its five petals unfold in a spiral that looks almost exactly like the five-armed pinwheel in Pinwheel Cave. And Robinson and colleagues suggest that the Transmorph, with its antennae and its strange bug-like eyes, may actually be a hawkmoth, the insect that does most of the work of pollinating datura plants.

Robinson and his colleagues used portable X-ray fluorescence to study the layers of paint on the ceiling of Pinwheel Cave. They found that the pinwheel—the datura flower, probably—had been repainted and touched up many times over the centuries. Generations of people had maintained it, and generations of people had looked up at it as they chewed bundles of datura and slipped into the world of visions.

Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site, PNAS, (2020)
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