and that is an idea whose time has come.
- Victor Hugo
There is one thing stronger than all the armies of the world,
and that is an idea whose time has come.
- Victor Hugo
Last night, for the first time in decades, the full Moon fell on the June solstice. Jeff Burkes of Chester County, Pennsylvania, watched the Moon herald the change of seasons, like so:
"It was an amazing sight to see," says Burkes. "And the filtering action of the clouds added a strawberry hue to the rising orb."
According to folklore, this was the Strawberry Moon. It gets its name from June-bearing strawberry plants, which have a short harvest season that begins about now.
From Kryon Live Channeling, "Hearing the Voice of Spirit--The Dark and Light Balance" February 2016 in Memphis, TN, USA
What is happening now supports what we are saying. What is going on right now on this planet? We said it earlier: Right now as I speak, you have the most dysfunctional politics you've ever had in this country. The reason? There is massive change going on! The fighting, drama and seemingly odd behaviors of many represent those who are tired of an old establishment government that is itself dysfunctional. The thought is, "Anything would be better than what we have now and the past!" This is what happens when higher consciousness can see something better as it starts to grow from a lower one that it has been participating in.
~ KRYON, through Lee Carroll, the Original Kryon Channel
It was faint, brief, and enormous. On June 8th, amateur astronomer Thomas Ashcraft photographed a 300 km-wide donut of light over a thunderstorm in southeast Colorado. The video can be seen at:
ELVE and Sprite June 08 2016 Southeast Colorado with Radio Scatter Reflection from Thomas Ashcraft on Vimeo.
"It only lasted about a millisecond," says Ashcraft, "but it was definitely there."
This is an example of an ELVE (Emissions of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources). First seen by cameras on the space shuttle in 1990, ELVEs appear when a pulse of electromagnetic radiation from lightning propagates up toward space and hits the base of Earth's ionosphere. A faint ring of light marks the broad 'spot' where the EMP hits.
ELVES often appear alongside red sprites. Indeed, Ashcraft's camera caught a cluster of sprites leaping straight up through the middle of the donut. "Play the complete video to see the sprites," says Ashcraft.
ELVEs are elusive--and that's an understatement. Blinking in and out of existence in only 1/1000th of a second, they are completely invisible to the human eye. For comparison, red sprites tend to last for hundredths of a second and regular lightning can scintillate for a second or more. To catch an ELVE, a high-speed video camera is required. Stay tuned for more captures as thunderstorm season unfolds. www.spaceweather.com
People are always teaching us democracy
but the people who teach us democracy
don't want to learn it themselves.
- Vladimir Putin
RT: 17 May 2016
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed a see-through wood which is stronger and more insulating than glass. The transparent wood could be used in car manufacturing, for light-based electronics systems, and as a building material, according to the study published in Advanced Materials.
"It can be used in automobiles when the wood is made both transparent and high strength," said Dr. Mingwei Zhu, the co-author of the paper. "You could also use it as a unique building material."
The team led by materials scientist Liangbing Hu removed the molecule in wood -'lignin' - that makes it rigid and dark in color. They did this by boiling wood in a bath of water, sodium hydroxide and other chemicals for about two hours. This process left behind a colorless cell structure which the team then filled with epoxy to make it four to six-times stronger.
The treated wood can then pass light along it similar to the way it had previously moved nutrients up and down as a tree. This would be useful, Hu said, both in making devices comfortable to look at and in helping solar cells trap light.
So far the team has tested the process only on blocks of wood about four inches wide but according to Hu the process is "completely scalable" to larger pieces that could make up bigger building blocks.
It's still at least five years before the glassy wood could be manufactured for use as a building material, the researchers say.
Alice Klein : New Scientist : 06 Jun 2016
Take a leaf out of this book. A common desert moss sucks water directly out of the air instead of from the ground. The discovery could be used to inspire ways of collecting clean drinking water in developing countries.
Most desert plants, including cacti, rely on extensive root systems to mop up scarce groundwater. But the desert moss Syntrichia caninervis collects fresh water straight from the atmosphere. Tiny fibres attached to the tips of the moss leaves, known as awns, allow S. caninervis to harvest fog and mist droplets, says Tadd Truscott of Utah State University, who filmed the plant's drinking behaviour.
Truscott and his colleagues used an environmental scanning electron microscope and camera to study how these delicate awns, which are between 0.5 and 2 millimetres long, capture atmospheric water. They studied S. caninervis growing in the Great Basin in the US and in the Gurbantünggüt desert in China, but it is also widely found in other northern hemisphere deserts.
The camera images show water vapour condensing on nano-sized grooves on the surface of the awns. Miniature barbs then push this water into larger droplets that move along the length of the awn into the leaf. "The droplet can travel from the awn to the leaf as fast as 10 to 20 millimetres per second," says Truscott.
Two other plant species have previously been found to possess fog-harvesting abilities - the cactus Opuntia microdasys and the alpine plant Cotula fallax - but S. caninervis is the first species in which a detailed mechanism involving barbs and grooves has been elucidated.
Scientists can try to replicate these plants' mechanisms in order to build novel water collection systems, says Truscott. "Our lab has already started making artificial awns to determine if these structures can be man-made," he says.
The greatest beneficiaries of fog-harvesting devices would be people in developing countries with limited access to clean drinking water, says Jas Pal Badyal of Durham University, who is trying to mimic the mechanisms of C. fallax.
Even dry places like the Namib desert in Africa have regular fog episodes, meaning that clean water vapour could be harvested and stored, he says. "The idea is to trap pure water from air."
Journal reference: Nature Plants, DOI: 10.1038/nplants.2016.76
Souvik Ray : India Times
Saalumarada Thimmakka lives in the Hulikal village of Karnataka. At 103, she still lives on to tell the story of her life which was filled with hardship but bore fruit in a different kind of way. As a young girl, she was married off to a farmer who made a meagre income and was looked down upon by his fellow villagers for not fathering a child with his new wife. Instead of following social protocol, they decided to plant tree saplings and tend to them as their own children.
Nurturing the 10 grafted saplings on a bare stretch of land four kilometres from their village (between the villages of Hulikal and Kudoor, about 80 km away of Bangalore) they endured the hardships of tending to the plants despite their limited economic resources. The following years, they planted more saplings, in the hope that they would grow and beautify the land. Today, the fully grown banyan trees are at an economic value of Rs. 15 Lakh and are managed by the Government of Karnataka.
Despite being felicitated and awarded by several state and national organisations, Thimmakka still lives below the poverty line. Her home cannot accommodate the certificates and medals while her bills still remain unpaid. Her only means of income is a government pension of Rs. 500. She is still a staunch supporter of afforestation and does all she can to spread awareness. Her belief is that every person should leave behind an asset that benefits all humanity.
After adopting a son, whom she inspired to be passionate about the environment, Thimmakka still dreams of starting a hospital. She hasn't given up on her hopes and aspirations yet.
This story, with more photographs, can be found here.
Vic Bishop : Waking Times : 06 Jun 2016
Many of the world's most inspiring entrepreneurs and inventors never fit the typical mould and have made their marks on the world after abandoning standard education. From India, Mansukhbhai R. Prajapati is one such person, and even though he never finished high school, he has built a very successful and forward-thinking company that provides needed jobs in his community manufacturing products that are changing the world for the better.
Mansukhbhai R. Prajapati grew up more interested in sports and fun than in learning, but after working in the clay industry for some time as a potter he started his own company and first revolutionized the way clay roof tiles were made.
"During his childhood, he saw earthen pans/hot plates being manufactured manually on the potters wheel. Using this, one person can only make about 100 units per day. He had seen roof tiles being manufactured in large quantity on hand press, which made him think why cannot earthen pans be made the same way? In 1988, he left his job and took a loan from a money lender to start his own earthen plate manufacturing factory. He purchased a small piece of land for the factory, dyes and presses, soil mixing machine, electric potters wheel and other scrap objects. Then he modified the roof tile making hand press and developed a hand press machine having capacity to produce 700 earthen pans per day." [Source]
While very successful with this idea, his ingenuity led him to develop a line of products that is even more revolutionary than his industrial tile maker. Mitti Cool, as his company is called, produces an entire line of kitchen products made from clay.
"He has developed an entire range of earthen products for daily use in the kitchen. These products include water filters, refrigerators, hot plates, a cooker and other such items of daily use." [Source]
The refrigerator he designed uses the science of water evaporation to keep food cold in a small earthen fridge that uses no electricity and is already being sold in several countries.
His idea is taking off globally, and Mitti Cool is receiving much international attention, so much so, that Mansukhbhai has even met with important public figures and he has been featured in televised talks to explain his green products that are changing the lives of many poor people.
The rest of the article, together with two videos, can be found here.
Something interesting is happening on the sun. On June 3rd the sunspot number dropped to 0, and the solar disk is still blank on June 5th. Latest images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory reveal no significant dark cores:
What does this mean? The solar cycle is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between periods of high and low sunspot number every 11 years. Today's blank sun is a sign that the pendulum is swinging toward low sunspot numbers. In other words, Solar Minimum is coming.
The spotless state of today's sun is just temporary. Underneath the visible surface of the sun, the solar dynamo is still churning out knots of magnetism that will soon bob to the surface to make new sunspots. The current solar cycle is not finished. It is, however, rapidly waning.
Forecasters expect the next Solar Minimum to arrive in 2019-2020. Between now and then, there will be lots of spotless suns. At first, the blank stretches will be measured in days; later in weeks and months. Don't expect space weather to grow quiet, however. Solar Minimum brings many interesting changes. For instance, as the extreme ultraviolet output of the sun decreases, the upper atmosphere of Earth cools and collapses. This allows space junk to accumulate around our planet. Also, the heliosphere shrinks, bringing interstellar space closer to Earth. Galactic cosmic rays penetrate the inner solar system with relative ease. Indeed, a cosmic ray surge is already underway. Goodbye sunspots, hello deep-space radiation!
It begins with a sneeze. Pollen floating through the air tickles your nose, and your body responds by expelling the allergen. Gesundheit! When the paroxysm subsides, look up at the sky. The same pollen that makes you sneeze can also make beautiful coronas around the sun, like this one photographed on June 1st by Vesa Vauhkonen of Rautalampi, Finland:
"Pine is strongly flowering now in middle Finland, and the coronas have been quite impressive over the past few days," says Vauhkonen. "Pollen is everywhere--not only in noses and eyes, but also around the setting sun."
Atmospheric optics expert Les Cowley explains the phenonenon: "Coronas are produced when light waves scatter from the outsides of small particles. Tiny droplets of water in clouds make most coronas, but opaque equal-sized pollen grains do even better. They make small but very colorful multi-ringed coronas."
"Unlike water droplets, pollens are non-spherical--and this adds to their magic," he continues. "Many have air sacs to help carry them in the wind. These align the grains to give beautiful elliptical coronas with bright spots." This is why Vauhkonen's pollen corona looks the way it does.
As northern spring turns into summer, pollen coronas become increasingly common. Look for them the next time your nose feels a tickle. www.spaceweather.com
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
- Albert Einstein
Venus is about to pass directly behind the sun, an event astronomers call "superior conjunction." Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) are monitoring Venus as it disappears into the glare:
On June 7th, Venus will be at superior conjunction--a wonderful sight if only we could see it.
Like the Moon, Venus has phases and on June 7th it will be gloriously full. The entire hemisphere facing Earth will be illuminated. Venus's acid-laced clouds are terrific reflectors and a full Venus would surely be visible in broad daylight, an intense pinprick of light in the blue sky.
Venus's passage behind the sun marks an important transition. Earlier this year, Venus was a "morning star." After it emerges from behind the sun, it will become an "evening star" later in June. www.spaceweather.com
_This section is for interesting items which are brought to my attention but which do not merit a separate article.
I welcome your comments, questions or suggestions on any topics you wish to contribute to this section.