Guinea worm is almost eradicated*

*And other good news. 

It’s really easy to focus on all the things that are “getting worse”.  Like, the number of hours per day dedicated to reading about one of the Kardashians, or the stupidity of Trump’s tweets.  But this article takes the long view on a number of important measurements, in the US and WW.  Things like world hunger, homicides rates, and poverty are getting better.  It’s not a comprehensive list, but if you think things are going to “hell in a handbasket”, first take a look at the stats in the article.  And smile.

2018-10-21_8-11-14

Vandenberg rocket launch

Marty S. and I drove down to Vandenberg AFB this AM to see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.  We had never seen a launch and it was on my bucket list.  It was around 4:30AM and I didn’t get any pictures, but here’s a video taken from the actual rocket.  We’ll do it again I’m sure and next time we’ll shoot for a daytime launch.

If you ever decide to do this, consider three places to view a Vandenberg launch on pads 3 or 4.  And consider bringing along binoculars.  Options include:

  1.  On Ocean avenue near or on Renwick Ave.  About as close as you can get to the pads, about 5 miles.  Could be foggy.  Park off Ocean or on Renwick.
  2. Providence Landing Park.  About 5 miles further, but at 330′ elevation, might get you out of the fog, if it’s foggy.  You don’t have to get there early.  Look south.
  3. Harris Grade Road up in the hills, at 1000′ if it’s really foggy, but it is further away.

There’s some old info on internet sites.  For instance, you probably can’t reach Surf Beach and Hawk’s Nest is sadly closed.  Having said that, here’s a pretty useful map, including info on seeing other launch pads.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?ll=34.67556999999999%2C-120.594177&spn=0.27105%2C0.439453&msa=0&z=11&source=embed&ie=UTF8&mid=1eJ71ff_mISR9o8ndMX7nwrvQlTw

Note that pads 6 and 8 are quite a bit further from the viewing spots I mention than 3 or 4.  If you have a better place to see 6 or 8, let me know.  There’s a coast road but others mention that it’s closed for launches.  I’ll keep this blog updated as I learn more.

Leg exercise is critical to brain health

Interesting article in ScienceDaily says that using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells.  The study gives doctors new clues as to why patients who are bed-ridden often rapidly decline in health.  They not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted.

legsThe study was done on mice, but it doesn’t take much of a leap to see the implications for you and me.  I’m sure it’ll spark more study but it seems like a good idea to avoid long periods of inactivity.

You are who you hate

Interesting comment in issue 872 of the Editor’s Letter in The Week magazine:  “For much of the electorate, politics is a ritualized display of tribal identity, not a mere choice of policies.  You are who you hate.”

IMO, it’s in the self-interest of our political parties (tribes) to drive ever harder wedges between one another, because the #1 function of a tribe is to out-compete other tribes.  It’s hard-wired into our genes from our primate ancestors.

George Washington warned against the formation of political parties and urged the nation to choose leaders for reasons that transcended partisan politics.  Hmmm.

foo