09/27/2015 archive

The Super Blood Moon

Tonight most of North America, especially the east coast, will enjoy the site of a full lunar eclipse. The full moon of September is also the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the Vernal Equinox. It’s also a super moon, when the moon’s closest to the earth in its orbit, thus the moon will appear brighter and larger than usual. Because of its proximity during the eclipse, the moon will take on a reddish hue as the earth’s shadow passes across its surface. This is known as a “blood moon.” This is the fourth blood moon over the last 2 years which is called a “tetrad” in astronomical circles. The last time this occurred was in 1982 and will not happen again until 2033.

Needless to say, the event has also brought out the religious fringes, who believe the event is a signal for the end of time. However, according to NASA, there is no current threat of the earth being destroyed by a comet or asteroid for the “next several hundred years.”

For those of you who are camera buffs, Huffington Post Science has some helpful tricks for photographing tonight eclipse

Smartphones have made it easy to capture all sorts of fleeting moments — from a seal riding a whale to the pontiff gliding past in his popemobile.

But if you’re hoping to capture an Instagram-perfect shot of this weekend’s supermoon lunar eclipse, it will take a bit of preparation. After all, you’ll be shooting a darkened moon against the night sky. [..]

Keep your camera steady and your exposure long.

Whether you’re using a smartphone, a point-and-shoot or a DSLR, keeping it steady is essential. As Andreo explains, “Taking photos at night almost always drives up the exposure time, which means you need a stable tripod to mount your camera to in order to keep your pictures from turning out blurry.” If you don’t have a tripod, try resting your camera on a stool, or just try this hack that uses a piece of string.

Once your lens is steady, long exposure will help capture details of the moon’s surface despite the darkness. [..]

Get some magnification.

There are two kinds of zoom. One is desirable for this purpose, and the other is not. With a point-and-shoot camera, zoom until your lens is fully extended toward your subject. But then stop. After the lens is fully extended, your camera switches over to ‘digital zoom’ — which makes your photo look pixelated. It “just crops into your picture to make your subject take up more of the frame, but it isn’t true telephoto,” Leuchter explains. [..]

Pay attention to composition.

Unless you’re able to capture all the tiny details on the surface of the moon, you’ll need other objects in the shot to make it interesting. Snap while the moon is low on the horizon, and “try to find interesting objects to juxtapose with the full moon, like shooting through trees, or using silhouettes and other objects to show size contrast,” says Gerard. [..]

Use a self-timer

Sometimes you set up the perfect shot, but the act of actually pressing the button to snap the picture ruins it. A self-timer allows you to take a hands-off shot — you can even download an app that does it for you! Gerard explains that “using a self-timing feature helps to prevent vibrations in the camera by allowing it to settle before it takes the picture.”

Moon rise in the East at 6:36 p.m. The first shadow on the moon’s “face” will begin around 8:11 p.m. However, the total eclipse starts at 10:11 p.m. and peak at 10:47 p.m.  The process then reverses itself and the moon will be back in full view after midnight.

Check your local paper for community events for watching the eclipse. If the weather is overcast in your area, you can watch it here with NASA starting at 8 PM EDT, or you can join us here at 8 PM.

On This Day In History September 27

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 27 is the 270th day of the year (271st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 95 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1922, Jean-François Champollion deciphered the hieroglyphs of the Rosetta Stone with the help of groundwork laid by his predecessors: Athanasius Kircher, Silvestre de Sacy, Johan David Akerblad, Thomas Young, and William John Bankes. Champollion translated parts of the Rosetta Stone, showing that the Egyptian writing system was a combination of phonetic and ideographic signs.

Thomas Young was one of the first to attempt decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, basing his own work on the investigations of Swedish diplomat Akerblad, who built up a demotic  alphabet of 29 letters (15 turned out to be correct) and translated all personal names and other words in the Demotic part of the Rosetta Stone  in 1802. Akerblad however, wrongly believed that demotic was entirely phonetic or alphabetic. Young thought the same, and by 1814 he had completely translated the enchorial (which Champollion labeled Demotic as it is called today) text of the Rosetta Stone (he had a list with 86 demotic words). Young then studied the hieroglyphic alphabet and made some progress but failed to recognise that demotic and hieroglyphic texts were paraphrases and not simple translations. In 1823 he published an Account of the Recent Discoveries in Hieroglyphic Literature and Egyptian Antiquities. Some of Young’s conclusions appeared in the famous article Egypt he wrote for the 1818 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

When Champollion, in 1822, published his translation of the hieroglyphs and the key to the grammatical system, Young and all others praised this work. Young had indicated in a letter to Gurney that he wished to see Champollion acknowledge that he had made use of Young’s earlier work in assisting his eventual deciphering of hieroglyphics. Champollion was unwilling to share the credit even though initially he had not recognized that hieroglyphics were phonetic. Young corrected him on this, and Champollion attempted to have an early article withdrawn once he realized his mistake. Strongly motivated by the political tensions of that time, the British supported Young and the French Champollion. Champollion completely translated the hieroglyphic grammar based in part upon the earlier work of others including Young. However, Champollion maintained that he alone had deciphered the hieroglyphs. After 1826, he did offer Young access to demotic manuscripts in the Louvre, when he was a curator. Baron Georges Cuvier (1825) credited Champollion’s work as an important aid in dating the Dendera Zodiac.

The Breakfast Club (Ripple, Sprung Style)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Roger Sprung & Friends Play “Ripple” at ROMP 2009

Today in History: September 27th

Warren Commission concludes Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in JFK’s assassination; Taliban captures Afghanistan’s capital; First steam locomotive to haul passengers; ‘The Tonight Show’ premieres. (Sept. 27)

Something to Think about, Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson; U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power; Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA); and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA).

The roundtable guests are: ABC News contributor Matthew Dowd; Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard; Democratic strategist Donna Brazile; and Robert Costa, The Washington Post.

Face the Nation: Host John Dickerson’s guests are: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH); Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich (R-OH); and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-VT).

His panel guests are: CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes; Kim Strassel, Wall Street Journal; Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post; and Susan Page, USA Today.

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on Sunday’s “MTP” are: Democratic presidential candidate Hillery Clinton; Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina; and author George Weigel.

The discussion guests are: David Brooks, The New York Times; Andrea Mitchell, NBC contributor; Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post; and Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Democratic presidential candidate former Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-MD); and Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

France launches Syria anti-IS strikes



France has carried out its first air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria.

The president’s office said that French planes struck targets identified during reconnaissance missions conducted over the past fortnight.

France co-ordinated with regional partners for the operation, a brief statement said.

French jets have previously carried out air strikes against IS targets in neighbouring Iraq.

“Our country thus confirms its resolute commitment to fight against the terrorist threat represented by Daesh,” the French Presidency said, referring to the militant group by another of its acronyms.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Saudi Arabia rebuffs Iran’s accusations over hajj stampede

 To Progress and Back: The Rise and Fall of Erdogan’s Turkey

Australian filmmaker Christopher Doyle films Hong Kong’s ‘umbrella revolution’

Black hole is 30 times bigger than expected

Thousands mark anniversary of missing Mexico students

Rant of the Week: Stephen Colbert – Diploma of Lies

Diplomas Of Lies

Formula One 2015: Suzuka

So 1 year ago Jules Bianchi died on this track.

Not to bring you down and all, just that you’ll be hearing a lot about it.

Last week’s debacle (well, for Mercedes) at Marina Bay gave rise to some conspiracy theories (remember, it stands for completely true) about Pirelli messing with the silver ones’ tires.  Well, that wasn’t the problem at all.  Their engine management software was wonky which has happened to every team this year it seems.  Oh, and that guy on the track?  Just some dumb British fan, not a repeat of 2000 at all.

Or that’s what they would like you to believe.

This week Mercedes is back to form and it’s Verstappen with gremlins.  Kvyat parked hard at the end of Q3, is going to need a new chassis at least, and will start from the pit.  Rosberg was on the pole at the time with Hamilton beside him, otherwise it’s as you have come to expect.  Suzuka is one of the longer and faster tracks so the Mercedes power advantage should be decisive if the cars don’t break.  We’ll be going on Hards and Mediums.

In news of the ‘Hmm…’ Toro Rosso will probably go Honda next year, doubling the number of teams with that power plant.  The reason is that since Red Bull is determined to sever all ties with Renault and a set of Ferraris is committed to Haas, Maranello can’t meet the demand.  The only other game in town is Honda.

In sad news it looks like this may be Jenson Button’s last season.  His negotiations with McLaren are not going well, most of the top spots are locked up and the only team below McLaren is… well, Manor.  If you’re hopeful maybe Haas will decide they need an experienced driver, a former World Champion and marquee name on the team to get the first season sorted out, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.  Button is reportedly very unhappy and even the encouragement of his fellow drivers who like him a damn sight better than ‘Crash’ Maldonado has been insufficient.