Category Archives: Science & Health

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EarthSky | What is time, and why does it move forward?

Posted by EarthSky Voices September 19, 2021 and
By Thomas Kitching, UCL

We think of the universe as having a timeline, a point at which it began, until now. But how much do modern cosmologists really know about time? Image via Alex Mittelmann/ Wikimedia.

A bell-shaped funnel with grid lines on it and ‘Big Bang’ written at the narrow end.

Imagine time running backwards. People would grow younger instead of older and, after a long life of gradual rejuvenation – unlearning everything they know – they would end as a twinkle in their parents’ eyes.

That’s time as represented in a novel by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick but, surprisingly, time’s direction is also an issue that cosmologists are grappling with.

While we take for granted that time has a given direction, physicists don’t: most natural laws are “time reversible” which means they would work just as well if time was defined as running backwards. So why does time always move forward? And will it always do so?

Source: EarthSky | What is time, and why does it move forward?

Cry macho: Why scared white guys are so dangerous | Salon.com

Too many white men suffer from irrational fears and deep-seated insecurity — and the social consequences are dire

By Joe Hayden, Published September 19, 2021 12:00PM (EDT)

Armed protesters on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, demanding the reopening of businesses (JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

I once lived next door to a guy in Memphis who owned more than a hundred firearms, some of which were strewn around his two-bedroom house and even lying on the kitchen counter.

I saw them when he asked me to come over one afternoon to help him move his 700-pound gun safe. Neil, as I’ll call him, also kept two large dogs, one of which was a cane corso that was so unpredictable it couldn’t be allowed near his two young children.

Neil was a nice guy but perpetually anxious and nervous, which in turn made me uneasy about his family’s safety. I worried about a gun accident or one of the dogs getting loose and mauling a passerby.

The fact is, there are a lot of Neils in America — white guys in a near-constant state of fear about their personal safety.

And rather than being merely pitiful, guys like Neil are actually dangerous.

Source: Cry macho: Why scared white guys are so dangerous | Salon.com

Celebrate The End Of Summer With Monday’s Harvest Moon : NPR

By Dustin Jones, September 18, 20218:57 PM ET

Last year’s harvest moon took place on Oct. 1. The lunar event is designated as the full moon occurring nearest to the autumnal equinox every year.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

For those in the Northern Hemisphere, summer will come to an end next Wednesday.

Slowly but surely since the middle of June, days have been getting shorter. With the arrival of the autumn equinox comes cooler weather and a change of color amongst the trees.

And Monday, two days before the official start of fall, the harvest moon.

For three days, moonrise will come shortly after sunset, but the harvest moon will reach its peak illumination at 7:54 p.m. ET Monday.

Historically this lunar event provided farmers a little extra light to harvest their crops. However, unlike the equinoxes, which take place at the same time each year, the harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. Which means it can fall in September or October, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Source: Celebrate The End Of Summer With Monday’s Harvest Moon : NPR

Amtrak’s Plan to Connect the U.S. – Railway Age

Written by Kevin Smith, Editor-in-Chief, International Railway Journal
September 14, 2021

From article…

Biden has been a vocal supporter of the federally owned passenger operator for almost the entirety of its existence: from his days as a U.S senator when he would regularly ride the train from Wilmington, Del., to Washington D.C.; to his time as the U.S. Vice President, when he presented the Obama Administration’s plans for several short-lived high-speed passenger projects as part of a 2009 economic stimulus package.

Now as the 46th President, Biden has made rebuilding and reviving the country’s infrastructure, including its passenger rail operator, the signature policy of his first term. The American Jobs Plan was announced by Biden on March 31 and has since moved to Congress for debate and negotiation.

From article…

The Administration hopes the legislation that emerges will satisfy Biden’s objectives so he can sign it into law this autumn. Inevitably, given the variety of views on the scale and ambition of the proposal on both sides of the political spectrum, there have been several compromises.

From a $2.3 trillion plan when Biden presented it, the Senate scaled it back to a $1 trillion initiative, including $550 billion of new spending.

However, the legislation took a significant step forward on Aug.10 when 19 Republican senators joined with their 50 Democratic colleagues to pass a bi-partisan Infrastructure bill, a move praised by Biden.

As it stands, the bill includes $66 billion for intercity passenger rail, with $22 billion of this figure set to go directly to Amtrak. This includes $6 billion for the Northeast Corridor, and $16 billion for the national network, including state-supported services.

Source: Amtrak’s Plan to Connect the U.S. – Railway Age

National Park Service to Hikers: Leave Dogs at Home – Sunset Magazine

Before bringing your furry friend on a hike, consider these important things.

By Teaghan Skulszki  – September 9, 2021

Courtesy of Barking Labs

Animal shelters emptied out amid the COVID-19 pandemic as people adopted furry friends to quarantine with through 2021.

But the adventures you may have planned with your pet may need some rethinking, according to the National Park Service.

The service is urging people to reconsider hiking with their dogs after three dogs died on the trails in July. Additionally, NPS and local search and rescue teams in Los Angeles and Ventura County reported about a half dozen canine rescues already in 2021, a year that has seen scorching temperatures across the West.

“Keeping canine companions safe during a hike requires planning and a heavy dose of realism,” Ken Low, an NPS ranger at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, said in a press release.

Source: National Park Service to Hikers: Leave Dogs at Home – Sunset Magazine

Looking for Interstellar Monuments – Scientific American

An ancient civilization from a distant star could have created immortal machines to roam the Milky Way and keep its legacy alive

By Avi Loeb on September 11, 2021

Credit: Getty Images

By now I have reached an age at which my birthdays can be thought of as a countdown to the inescapable end.

We live our life without knowing when that end will come. But acknowledging its inevitability encourages us to build monuments of our accomplishments that will outlast us.

Of course, our DNA can give us that sort of longevity through our children. But we often wish to add meaning to the world we leave behind that goes beyond our genetic code.

Source: Looking for Interstellar Monuments – Scientific American