Cosmic Rays and their effect on earth

Reposted from:  Space Weather, including links, with my own emphasis noted.
Updated: Sept. 29 2016 // Next Flight: Oct. 1, 2016

Sept. 20, 2016: Readers, thank you for your patience while we continue to develop this new section of We’ve been working to streamline our data reduction, allowing us to post results from balloon flights much more rapidly, and we have developed a new data product, shown here:

This plot displays radiation measurements not only in the stratosphere, but also at aviation altitudes. Dose rates are expressed as multiples of sea level. For instance, we see that boarding a plane that flies at 25,000 feet exposes passengers to dose rates ~10x higher than sea level. At 40,000 feet, the multiplier is closer to 50x. These measurements are made by our usual cosmic ray payload as it passes through aviation altitudes en route to the stratosphere over California.

What is this all about? Approximately once a week, and the students of Earth to Sky Calculus fly space weather balloons to the stratosphere over California. These balloons are equipped with radiation sensors that detect cosmic rays, a surprisingly “down to Earth” form of space weather. Cosmic rays can seed clouds, trigger lightning, and penetrate commercial airplanes. Furthermore, there are studies (#1, #2, #3, #4) linking cosmic rays with cardiac arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in the general population. Our latest measurements show that cosmic rays are intensifying, with an increase of more than 12% since 2015:

Why are cosmic rays intensifying? The main reason is the sun. Solar storm clouds such as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) sweep aside cosmic rays when they pass by Earth. During Solar Maximum, CMEs are abundant and cosmic rays are held at bay. Now, however, the solar cycle is swinging toward Solar Minimum, allowing cosmic rays to return. Another reason could be the weakening of Earth’s magnetic field, (see also Climate and Earth’s Magnetic Field) which helps protect us from deep-space radiation.

The radiation sensors onboard our helium balloons detect X-rays and gamma-rays in the energy range 10 keV to 20 MeV. These energies span the range of medical X-ray machines and airport security scanners.

The data points in the graph above correspond to the peak of the Reneger-Pfotzer maximum, which lies about 67,000 feet above central California. When cosmic rays crash into Earth’s atmosphere, they produce a spray of secondary particles that is most intense at the entrance to the stratosphere. Physicists Eric Reneger and Georg Pfotzer discovered the maximum using balloons in the 1930s and it is what we are measuring today.


Hillary rally at Temple University, Philadelphia – video perspectives

Since my daughter is still completely undecided about who she will vote for, and because I like to see what information is out on the internet about the campaigns, I thought I would check on how Hillary’s campaign has gone recently and not depend on the network’s limited coverage, but even I was astonished at the difference between what I heard on the radio and what I found online.

Over the past year I have attended as many pre-Primary rallies as possible in our area just to hear what everyone had to say. One was a Kasich rally at a senior center in Greece, New York and we stood in a long line for 45 minutes and it was PACKED when we went in; people had to stand in overflow rooms and even in the hall, way more people there than at this event! Even the balcony area was 3-4 people deep! Unfortunately I missed Bernie’s rally because I had to teach that day, but people who went told me the turnout was massive and there were plenty of traffic issues getting there and parked. His popularity was evident.

But now for what I found out about Temple University. First a video courtesy of local media. I was looking for inside footage, but that is the ONLY crowd shot – kids behind her? Seriously? Static shot with no panning? No images of audience reaction?

So I searched for amateur footage and found this:

Nicer, more human, and gives a better idea of the room. However, it showed a fair amount of open space. Not a large crowd? I wanted to see if I could get more information on the venue itself, both in and out.

Following is a different video. You will see plenty of outside shots before the event, but it hardly looks different from any typical between-class foot traffic you can see at any university. Where are the crowds? The lines? The vehicle traffic? Also, never mind who she is reporting for, this gal makes some interesting observations about Hillary’s cards-to-the-chest approach towards letting the public know where and when to attend her rallies. Weird behavior for someone running for president!
The girl got in after it was over and I was able to see the setup (8:10). Folding chairs for a “rally”? And not very many, at that. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe I haven’t been to enough different rallies, but the only time I can imagine having chairs is when your venue has them affixed to the floor (like a LARGE auditorium), but then that limits how many people can be there, which seems counter-productive.


But to REALLY give you a good visual, look at this picture. I couldn’t embed the video at (of course you can always go there to see it), but the screenshot is telling and, frankly, if I was her I would be embarrassed. Come on! She’s at a University and that’s all the people she could get? More to the point, why did she request such a small room to begin with if she is so popular in the polls?
But what has upset me was a presidential-rally-related video that showed up while I was searching for information about this particular rally, about events which clearly did not happen at that rally.
I find Hillary’s duplicity and “ends-justify-whatever-means-to-gain-power” reprehensible, but it is her continued toleration of THAT kind of behavior that absolutely cements that I would rather vote for a dead skunk, even if she was the only one running, because so many of her supporters are GENUINELY, violently, intolerant! THAT is what “deplorables” really look like!
I even saw overt hostility while leaving at least one non-Democratic primary rally, but have NEVER, not even ONCE observed it done by Trump supporters/Republicans against those at non-Republican rallies! Good thing there were plenty of police that particular day because they were clearly attempting to incite violence.
I do recall that in the beginning there were some issues with aggression AT Trump rallies against dissenters, but he shut that down quickly, as a good leader should, and since then there has ONLY been violence against THEM, with Hillary (and Bernie, before) apparently continuing to take no responsibility, saying nothing to supporters to stop that deplorable behavior.


American History in Black and White – part 3 of 3

And finally, the last video in the series.

So what have you learned? What do you think? Frankly, the scrubbing and silencing of American history makes my blood boil.


Quote of the day


In consideration of the impending presidential elections, a quote by former President Theodore Roosevelt.

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
Theodore Roosevelt


On a rather unrelated note, it seems, a bonus of excerpts from a speech he gave at Carnegie Hall, March 12, 1912. Recorded August 1912 by Thomas Edison. Duration 4:07., “The Right of the People to Rule.”
[This is neither an endorsement or disagreement with what he said, just some political history to give some perspective by showing that strong disagreement and widespread dissatisfaction is not new.]

Text of this speech:

THE great fundamental issue now before [the Republican party and before] our people can be stated briefly. It is: Are the American people fit to govern themselves, to rule themselves, to control themselves? I believe they are. My opponents do not. I believe in the right of the people to rule. I believe that the majority of the plain people of the United States will, day in and day out, make fewer mistakes in governing themselves than any smaller class or body of men, no matter what their training, will make in trying to govern them. I believe, again, that the American people are, as a whole, capable of self-control and of learning by their mistakes. Our opponents pay lip-loyal to this doctrine; but they show their real beliefs by the way in which they champion every device to make the nominal rule of the people a sham.

[As regards the dean’s last paragraph, I can only say that I wish somebody else whose suggestions would arouse less antagonism had proposed it; but nobody else did propose it, and so I had to.] I am not leading this fight as a matter of aesthetic pleasure. I am leading because somebody must lead, or else the fight would not be made at all. I prefer to work with moderate, with rational, conservatives, provided only that they do in good faith strive forward towards the light. But when they halt and turn their backs to the light, and sit with the scorners on the seats of reaction, then I must part company with them. We the people cannot turn back. Our aim must be steady, wise progress.

It would be well if our people would study the history of a sister republic. All the woes of France for a century and a quarter have been due to the folly of her people in splitting into the two camps of unreasonable conservatism and unreasonable radicalism. Had pre-Revolutionary France listened to men like Turgot, and backed them up, all would have gone well. But the beneficiaries of privilege, the Bourbon reactionaries, the short-sighted ultra-conservatives, turned down Turgot; and then found that instead of him they had obtained Robespierre. They gained twenty years freedom from all restraint and reform, at the cost of the whirlwind of the red terror; and in their turn the unbridled extremists of the terror induced a blind reaction; and so, with convulsion and oscillation from one extreme to another, with alternations of violent radicalism and violent Bourbonism, the French people went through misery toward a shattered goal.

May we profit by the experiences of our brother Republicans across the water, and go forward steadily, avoiding all wild extremes; and may our ultra-conservatives remember that the rule of the Bourbons brought on the Revolution, and may our would-be revolutionaries remember that no Bourbon was ever such a dangerous enemy of the people and of freedom as the professed friend of both, Robespierre. There is no danger of a revolution in this country; but there is grave discontent and unrest, and in order to remove them there is need of all the wisdom and probity and deep-seated faith in and purpose to uplift humanity we have at our command.

Friends, our task as Americans is to strive for social and industrial justice, achieved through the genuine rule of the people. This is our end, our purpose. The methods for achieving the end are merely expedients, to be finally accepted or rejected according as actual experience shows that they work well or ill. But in our hearts we must have this lofty purpose, and we must strive for it in all earnestness and sincerity, or our work will come to nothing. In order to succeed we need leaders of inspired idealism, leaders to whom are granted great visions, who dream greatly and strive to make their dreams come true; who can kindle the people with the fire from their own burning souls.

The leader for the time being, whoever he may be, is but an instrument, to be used until broken and then to be cast aside; and if he is worth his salt he will care no more when he is broken than a soldier cares when he is sent where his life is forfeit in order that the victory may be won. In the long fight for righteousness the watchword for all of us is “spend and be spent.”

(I am currently finding it difficult to find a source which concisely explains the Turgot and Bourbon historical references in the correct time frame, but they are all French references, not American. If anyone finds one, let me know.)

Text of the FULL speech.




Wealth – it’s emptiness, deception, and an alternative view

It is popular nowadays to point at people with a lot of money and try to blame them for the wrongs of the world, for certainly there are those who seek and use wealth to create trouble. However, the root of this attitude is largely based on covetousness, which is breaking the 10th of the Ten Commandments, so you are in as much trouble with God as a murderer. Think about that!

There are even those who foolishly imagine that wealthy people have somehow escaped the curse of humanity (and may even try to take a philosophical &/or humorous approach to it), but you couldn’t be more wrong – they experience turmoil, too.

It’s all for the Best – Godspell

When you feel sad, or under a curse!
Your life is bad, your prospects are worse.
Your wife is sighing, crying,
And your olive tree is dying,
Temples are graying, and teeth are decaying
And creditors weighing your purse…

Your mood and your robe are both a deep blue.
You’d bet that Job had nothing on you!
Don’t forget that when you get to Heaven you’ll be blessed.
Yes, it’s all for the best.

Some men are born to live at ease, doing what they please,
richer than the bees are in honey.
Never growing old, never feeling cold,
pulling pots of gold from thin air.
The best in every town, best at shaking down,
best at making mountains of money.
They can’t take it with them, but what do they care?

They get the center of the meat, cushions on the seat,
houses on the street where it’s sunny…
Summers at the sea, winters warm and free,
all of this and we get the rest.

But who is the land for? The sun and the sand for?
You guessed! It’s all for the best!

Don’t forget that when you get to Heaven you’ll be blessed!
Yes, it’s all for the…..(all your wrongs will be redressed..)
Yes, it’s all for the…..(you must never be distressed….)
Yes, it’s all for the…..(someone’s got to be oppressed!)
Yes, it’s all for the best!!!

There was a time in my life when I lived around people with more money and “influence” than they knew how to wisely handle. Few had REAL friends – most people just wanted something from them, not the pleasure of their company. This limited them to associating with others with money, even if they hated their politics, religion, morals, attitudes, lifestyles, shallow approach to life, or living with the peer pressure to live and dress certain ways.

They worked to pay to live in isolation, often behind walls and barred gates with security to protect them and their stuff, because jealous people target them. Some life, eh? Imagine people keying your cars, breaking your windows, breaking into your home (or trying), knowing that people say nasty things about what they think you are like, and more. Fame and fortune that you brought on yourself is a curse, not a blessing.

I quickly realized they were to be pitied, not envied, and decided I NEVER wanted wealth, but to have just enough to live on and help others. If you don’t get it, I pity you as much as them. Their marriages are no better (they are often targeted by gold-diggers), they often end up having to sell their fancy houses or cars because they are money pits, they vainly seek privacy, and they are just as prone to addictive behavior and suicide.

“The Power of Gold” by Dan Fogelberg

The story is told of the power of gold and its lure on the unsuspecting,
it glitters and shines, it badgers and blinds, and constantly needs protecting.
Balance the cost of the soul you lost with the dreams you lightly sold.
Are you under…the power of gold?

The letters and calls got you climbing the walls, and everyone wants a favor.
They beg to remind you of times left behind you, but you know the past is a loser.

The face you’re wearing is different now,
and the days run hot and cold.
Are you under…the power of gold?

You’re a creature of habit, run like a rabbit, scared of a fear you can’t name.
Your own paranoia is looming before you, and nobody thinks that it’s a game.

Balance the cost of the soul you lost,
with the dreams you lightly sold.
Then tell me that you’re free of the power of gold.
The power of gold!

The women are lovely, the wine is superb,
but there’s something about the song that disturbs you…
The women are lovely, the wine is superb,
but there’s something about the song that disturbs you…
The women are lovely, the wine is superb,
but there’s something about the song that disturbs you…

Money can’t buy freedom from trouble, disaster, disease or death, and you can’t take it with you… Wealth is a cold and heartless “god” and master and waves goodbye at the end, leaving you with…nothing. Remember, Jesus warned “what benefit is it to a man if he gains the world, but loses his soul?”

I follow the Savior of the world and daily understand, better than the day before, that since God made everything, when we are gone all that remains is His. My heavenly Father really does own everything, so why do I need to pursue stuff as if I could take it with me? He will provide what I need, if I ask, and has a history of doing just that. For now, we are just caretakers of what becomes part of our lives.


American History in Black and White – part 2 of 3

Now for Part 2 of the video “American History in Black and White.”

Tune in at this time next week for the third and final part.

“Hear My Heart”

I wasn’t going to post again so soon, but my son just came in and said I had to see this video. I’m glad I did. Andy Mineo is a Christian rapper and he just TODAY released this video in honor of his sister, who is deaf (and this is International Week of the Deaf). It is his apology for not learning sign language and apologizing. My husband is also deaf, and he really liked this, too. It’s very catchy. Enjoy!



When you are in turmoil…

Life is full of turmoil (and all the people shouted “Well, duh!”). For some it is more difficult than others, but here’s a big, obvious news flash: EVERYBODY suffers! NOBODY is immune to pain, sorrow and trouble, even the wealthy, so let this excellent music video encourage everyone.

God, who chose the children of Israel, and then offered salvation to us all, is a personal being. He can be known (to the extent that humans are able), and actually loves us and cares about puny people, as evidenced by Him choosing to live as one, then dying for us so we can become His children if we will just accept the gift. He will be there to help us through the troubles of this broken world. We don’t have to go it alone. I speak from experience.


American History in Black and White – part 1 of 3

For me, this is now “old news,” because as a homeschooling family we have always sought out a better and well-rounded history, but for many people, this will be new, and astonishing, information!

If you find history interesting, if you don’t, or just think you know the history of slavery in America, this video will blow your mind.

Points in this part:

  • American revolution – black soldiers, fully integrated armies. Famous revolutionaries: James Armistead, Peter Salem, Prince Whipple.
  • Paintings with surprises
  • Historic Black Writers about blacks in history: William Nell, Carter Woodson, Benjamin Quarles, Joseph Wilson, Booker T. Washington, Edward A. Johnson
  • The Constitution and the “3/5 clause” arguments, origins, intent.
  • Frederick Douglass – history, education, writings, discovery that 3/5 clause is anti-slavery.
  • 1789 – Northwest Ordinance passed, forbidding slavery in new areas
  • 1792 – Democratic National Committee founded
  • 1808 – Congress abolished slave trade (Rev. Absalom Jones, first black bishop in Episcopal Church, gave sermon in Philadelphia commemorating it)
  • 1820 – Jefferson’s Democratic Party now in majority. Their Congress passed Missouri Compromise (reversing Northwest Ordinance), permitting slavery in almost 1/2 of federal territories. Several states then admitted as slave states and, for the first time since the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, slavery officially promoted by Congressional policy.
  • 1850 – Fugitive Slave Law, passed by Democratic Congress. A disaster for free blacks and Underground Railroad at its peak in this time.
  • 1854 – Kansas-Nebraska Act, passed by Democratic Congress, allowed slavery to be introduced into parts of new territories where previously forbidden.
  • May 1854 – Anti-slavery Democrats in Congress formed the (new) Republican party to fight slavery and secure equal rights for black Americans. One founder: Sen. Charles Sumner (had championed desegregation of Boston public schools).
  • 1856 – Sumner’s 2-day long speech in U.S. Senate against slavery. Preston Brooks (Rep – D) from South Carolina clubbed down Sumner on floor of Senate, nearly beating him to death. Many Democrats thought it amusing and that he deserved it. Sumner recovered enough after 3-1/2 years, to return to Senate and give another anti-slavery speech.
  • 1856 – Republicans’ first Presidential election. First party platform had 6 of the 9 planks with bold declarations of equality and civil rights for African-Americans. Democratic Platform was boldly opposite.

Some people may continue on their own to watch the 2nd and 3rd parts, but I will be posting those out next week at this time, anyway.

There is an associated book: “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White” which is “a unique view of the religious and moral heritage of African-Americans.”

Looking back in time with music

Some of you know that I am partial to songs that tell stories. Some are very poignant and can make your heart long for a memory, or make you feel like you had the experience, especially if there is a good back story and even a music video to go with it.

There are times when I’ll hear a song somewhere and can’t get it out of my head; that happened recently. In fact, this morning I woke up with “Your Wildest Dreams” still echoing in my mind after several days of haunting me, so I grabbed my phone and Googled it, determined to play whatever video came up just to make it stop nagging me.

There are usually multiple videos on YouTube from which to choose and I didn’t want to have to pick one just to hear the song. Interestingly, video from the web search was the original music video! I didn’t even know it existed, and it was good enough that it had won awards. Then, right after I heard the first song, they played another (“I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”) that was its actual sequel! So I have created a 2″story-song” playlist for the two.


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