It Depends

Monthly Challenge Roundup:

Though not as painful leaving as it entered, November on the whole was not my favorite month this year (and 2016 has not been my favorite year in general).  It was chaos and frustration and anger and fear.  And turkey, though.  Can’t forget the turkey.  Or the pounds of butter in the side dishes.  Still, November did not leave a lot of time for yard work, blogging, writing, or really even breathing normally.  So last month’s challenge of taking back the yard is rolling over into this month (my minutes may not rollover, but my challenges can gosh darn it).  I am also going to do an unofficial challenge of trying not to gain a goggol (no that’s not a typo.  Look it up!) pounds.  I already have a few hitchhiking pound that I’m trying to pry off.  If anyone lost some of their weight, the good news is I found it.  You can have it back anytime you want.

Weekly Roundup:

It Was Totally Planet Nine (from SciFi podcast): There are a lot of so called Planet Nine scientists out there (Pluto says stop hatin all you haters).  One of them is Konstantin Batygin (awesome name, I have to admit).  He claims/has evidence for Planet Nine in the influence of Niku’s orbit (whatever the heck Niku is).

Le Theatre (I’m too lazy to go through the character map to type this word correctly) du Grand-Guignol (from Stuff You Missed in History Class): So Le Theatre du Grand-Guignol was a horror theater in France back in ye good ole days.  Their special effects were so good that audience members were known to faint.  There would be murder and eye removal, torture, etc.  And yet apparently the “skyboxes” in the back of the theater were often the sight of romantic trysts.  To which I can only say: WHAT?!?!  What kind of weirdo wants to be going at it when people are on stage stabbing each other and murdering one another?  That has to be one interesting sex drive.

Electron Microscopes (from SciFi podcast): Electron microscopes reveal their images in black and white.  Why?  Because the magnification is so great that the image is on a level too small (anything less than about 0.2 micrometers) for photons to resolve.  Electrons are used instead of photons on this level, and electrons don’t pick up color.  Now they are using rare earth metals called lanthanides to add color to the images.  Pretty cool.

Also, October 25th was a milestone for New Horizons.  It sent back its last batch of data from the Pluto fly by (traversing distances that large, you don’t even complain about old dial up speeds).  Pretty swag.

The Future of Climate Change (from the David Biello SciFi podcast): A couple of people with the USGS are going through old records of big earthquakes in California and correlating it with the oil drilling.  They have come up with a hypothesis that some of the major ones (including one in 1933) were caused because of the drilling out there (I believe near LA).  This archival data may be able to cast a light on the current earthquakes in Oklahama.

They also suggested in this podcast that Trump should commission Musk (read: SolarCity) to line The Wall with solar panels.  Most of it is, after all, in the desert.  And when you’re already looking at a 50+ billion dollar project, what’s a couple more billion when the solar energy will help pay for the panels?  And if Mexico has to pay for the wall, then they can keep the energy.  And if we put the panels on the US side and then angle them into a Fresnel lens, you could aim the light beams at the mouths of the tunnels people use to sneak in and out of the respective countries as a deterrent as well (not that I’m saying I want to burn people alive.  Please don’t believe that.  Not the intention at all).

Sin Taxes (from the SYSK podcast): Did you know that in 1764 the American colonies had a sugar tax?  It was called The Sugar Act (how original) or, actually, The American Revenue Act of 1764 (I guess that’s a bit better).  I wish we could do this in America now.  Our health care system is more of a sick care system and a lot of the illnesses we have are self inflicted.  Whenever I think about taxing sugar my mind always comes back to Parks & Rec:

Did you know that the first excise tax levied by the US government was a Whiskey Tax?  Up until 1913, sin taxes were the US government’s major source of revenue (until they proposed the beloved income tax).

Do sin taxes actually work?  Well…. it depends it seems.  But that’s a topic for another day.

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