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Earth and Moon from Mars


[This is cool. It's the Earth and moon seen from Mars -- where Off-Planet Democrats are holding a caucus in just two weeks!!]

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 4, 2008; 4:58 PM ET
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Next: On to Guam!!!


Now I have "Starchild" as a tune cootie. Thanks, Joel.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

So I wasn't imagining it! It was real. I'm not losing my mind. Just wait until I tell Mr. Stripey. He'll be so pleased.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 4, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Only love
Can make it rain
The way the beach is kissed by the sea.
Only love
Can make it rain
Like the sweat of lovers'
Laying in the fields.

Love, Reign o'er me.
Love, Reign o'er me, rain on me.

Only love
Can bring the rain
That makes you yearn to the sky.
Only love
Can bring the rain
That falls like tears from on high.

Love Reign O'er me.

On the dry and dusty road
The nights we spend apart alone
I need to get back home to cool cool rain.
The nights are hot and black as ink
I can't sleep and I lay and I think
Oh God, I need a drink of cool cool rain.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 4, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mr. Stripey will like this picture. Now he can brag about his high-falutin' astrophysics ties to Harvey and the other invisible fellows at the Mad Hatter's Tearoom, RD.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, that is an epic picture. I mean, walk outside some night and find the tiny red dot that is Mars. Look hard at it. Then realize that people have built a machine that flies to that dot, orbits it, takes a picture of the Earth and Moon, and then sends the picture back.

Some might find this impressive.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 4, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I was going to mention Harvey, but was afraid of being called derivative.

See, I told you I have issues with being a writer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 4, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow -- Joel, you're making me dizzy with all these serial kits. Cool pic, though. I'll just bet that there are some *(^*%%*&* developers desperately wanting to put some luxury condos up there.

Posted by: firsttimeblogger | March 4, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't know Joel. This is your blog, you get to be unpredictable if you want to. IIRC, you live in a houseful of women. This is probably the ONLY place you will get to let 'er rip, so to speak.

Posted by: dr | March 4, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Some interesting Google ads!

By the way I think the Martians took the picture.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 4, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I do, RD.. also the Cessini probes to Saturn, flybys of all those planets, etc. The moons of Saturn and Jupiter are seriously alien.

This would seem to be an image taken a little closer than Mars actually is, or else it's been blown up a few times.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

No fair that it's an infinitely better picture than all those I took of the lunar eclipse a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

eerie photo! and yes, that will certainly inspire luxury condo development...

Posted by: Miss Toronto | March 4, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Photo? What photo? :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 4, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

When I look at that picture, I imagine myself a dot or perhaps a speck on that planet. Good picture, but odd. Maybe the Martians did it! I hope they're not the kind of Martians that played in that movie where Jack Nicholson is the president.

I am alone, and it is so quiet. The g-girl went with mom. I envision myself alone when she is here, and I find that thought comforting. Yet when she is actually gone, it feels like something is missing. This is going to take some time.

Ivansmom, your job description of the blond in tow was so funny. I suspect it is a job, and may not be that much fun if one doing the towing is consuming Southern Comfort.

I am reaching for the covers now. It is time for me to go. The body is crying out for sleep and rest. Have a good evening my friends. We're under a tornado watch until midnight. Perhaps I should hold off on the sleep...

Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 4, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Sleep well, Cassandra. There were 1.1 inches of rain in the gauge when I looked at 6:45, I hope we will have more but not wind. There's quite a band of rain on the way, about a county and a half away.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse


One of them, anyway. Short stature associated with longer life in women.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Onions make you cry... because they taste bitter inside your nose and make your trigeminal nerves beg for mercy?

Now I wonder if horseradish works the same way; it definitely seems to work at the back of my nose where the olfactory epithelum is.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, that means you and I will live into our nineties.

The elderly lady I'm watching over will be 91 in June. She's shorter than I, and I'm 5 feet on my tall days. We do not discuss the issue on my short days.

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

A gnome gen(i)e
Factors in growth real teenie
Know it at knome

Posted by: DNA Girl | March 4, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

The fun part of being an Ohioan today is getting to watch all the pundits pick apart all the demographic segments of my state and still not get the "big picture". Toledo is not Youngstown and Youngstown is not Columbus and neither reflects Cincinatti or Cleveland.

Whether change comes from a black man or a white woman, we could really give a flying duck. We just want our jobs back and we've had it with all talk and no walk. Message to the candidates: stick your promises up your arses, tell us you have a deal with a major manufacturer to put a plant here that will pay a decent wage for more than ten people.

Pulling numbers from their butts, that's all they're doing. Occupying airspace with methane so they can sell ads for erectile issues and drugs to lower your cholesterol. How about a non-drug that will lower blood pressure? Like jobs. JOBS. Can I say it more clearly? JOBS, you numbnuts.

I did my bit and voted today (for Obama, for any exit pollers out there). I also voted to raise sales taxes to bolster our anemic public transportation and a few other things, like assistance for the victims of deadbeat dads.

Gotta run... peace out and all that.

Posted by: martooni | March 4, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Martooni, good to hear from you. Still miss Error '08, that would be interesting.

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 4, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

I'm missing Error, too, daiwanian.

I would *so* like to write him in for President. I suppose I still could -- are there any rules against writing in someone who has moved on to the next level?

I have a feeling that Error -- considering his present state of being -- would be better for the country than those candidates who happen to still be breathing.

Call me jaded. Just don't call me late for dinner.

Posted by: martooni | March 4, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Funny to see that picture today. Son of G sent me this *highly unfamily-friendly* but hilarious link just last night and we IM'ed with each other about the moon landing...

I was 12 the summer of that first moon landing. Old enough to understand what an accomplishment it was, but too young to really appreciate that famous picture of the Earth taken from the moon's surface.

It was really only a few years ago that I looked at the picture and thought, "Oh my God." It really is quite an amazing sight.

Posted by: TBG | March 4, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

TBG, it was pointed out to me the other day that the computer age wasn't really upon us yet, and most of the details were worked out with graph paper and colored pencils. Heck of a way to get to the moon, but there ya go.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 4, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

You know what's really scary about it, LiT? All the components were low bid. Thank God they worked as well as they did.

Oh, and I expect slide rules were used also. Anybody remember those?

Posted by: slyness | March 4, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

I was just thinking about adding slide rules to my post, but thought that would date me!

Posted by: LostInThought | March 4, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Knome charges 390.000 for a complete human gene map. Do I need to know that detail of myself?

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 4, 2008 9:41 PM | Report abuse

For the dungeon masters among us (and you know who you are), I have posted a tribute to Gary Gygax tribute.

The embedded video is too eerily accurate to be funny. The video if you can't be bothered to read the post:

A generation of nerds mourns.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 4, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

It could be good material for your memoir, perhaps to be entitled:

'I turned Right at Albequerque and Still Fell In the Gene Pool' by Daiwanian (Unevolved).

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I caucused! Well, sort of. I stood in line for an hour and a half, signed in, noted my candidate, and left. In another 2 or 3 hours when they've gotten through the line, whoever's left will have a meeting of some kind that I guess may have something to do with what everyone wrote down when they signed in. The page I signed in on was majority Obama, if that's of interest. I wouldn't expect any more definite results out of Texas any time soon.

Posted by: bia | March 4, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Primo scoop, bia. Joel'll be all over it like white on a rice.

Unless he'll be busy sipping his bedtime toddy in his bunny slippers and bathrobe as he ponders bed instead. You never do know with a crazy, unpredictable madman like Joel.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Clinton is leading Obama in Ohio 57% to 41% yet the headline says they're "Running Close."


Posted by: TBG | March 4, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Couple of things to mention here:

I have a pic of the Earth taken from the surface of Mars by either Spirit or Opportunity over my desk at work.

The Earth/Moon system's just a bright star in the Martian sky. That pic makes me think a *lot*.

Going to the Moon with slide rules, graph paper and colored pencils - heck those were the days.

Oh, don't forget the duct tape. That stuff came in pretty handy for Apollo 13, IIRC.

One other thing: I've been fortunate enough to work with a *really* good editor. A good editor can bring the best out of a writer, as much a partner as a work supervisor. For me, it was a revelation. How many writers look forward to having their work edited? I do.


Posted by: bc | March 4, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

That's one he11 of a win for Hillary in Ohio. This campaign keeps on tickin'... I love it.

Posted by: TBG | March 4, 2008 11:18 PM | Report abuse

But of course, there's always this news...

Posted by: TBG | March 4, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Ah, here's one, with the "You are here" indicator:

We're all starchildren, depending your perspective.


Posted by: bc | March 4, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's hangin' tough in Texas, too.
Good stuff.


Posted by: bc | March 4, 2008 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Good night, Boodle.

I'm off to sleep, and all this talk of heavenly bodies... well, you know.


Posted by: bc | March 4, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

CNN says 56% clinton with only 72% reporting. That's probably good enough to call, but not really conclusive, TBG.

Glad you're happy with this endless primary season. I think Joel was really hoping it'd be over so he can get back to pointy-sciency fluff.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 4, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I copy/paste here -- toward end of this post -- the entire NASA citation on JA's posted NASA image. The word PHOTO seem to apply here, since the instrument is named as a camera. So many fascinating NASA images, based on telescope data sets, are not photos, yet we seem to want to interpret these images as photos. This shot ranks up there with the first Earth views, especially Earth Rise, and the Blue Marbles ones (iconic, now).

See Earth Rise, here:
And the beginning of the citation/caption:
Earthrise at Christmas
Thirty-five years ago this Christmas, a turbulent world looked to the heavens for a unique view of our home planet. This photo of "Earthrise" over the lunar horizon was taken by the Apollo 8 crew in December 1968, showing Earth for the first time as it appears from deep space.

Astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders had become the first humans to leave Earth orbit, entering lunar orbit on Christmas Eve. In a historic live broadcast that night, the crew took turns reading from the Book of Genesis, closing with a holiday wish from Commander Borman: "We close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you -- all of you on the good Earth."

Blue Marble here:
Clip of caption:
Image of the Earth from Apollo 17

View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the Moon. This translunar coast photograph extends from the Mediterranean Sea area to the Antarctica South polar ice cap. This is the first time the Apollo trajectory made it possible to photograph the South polar ice cap. Note the heavy cloud cover in the Southern Hemisphere. Almost the entire coastline of Africa is clearly visible. The Arabian Peninsula can be seen at the Northeastern edge of Africa. The large island off the coast of Africa is the Malagasy Republic. The Asian mainland is on the horizon toward the Northeast. Credit: NASA

--End of reverie about these two amazing photos

--Begin caption for JA's posted photo.

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera would make a great backyard telescope for viewing Mars, and we can also use it at Mars to view other planets. This is an image of Earth and the moon, acquired on October 3, 2007, by the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

At the time the image was taken, Earth was 142 million kilometers (88 million miles) from Mars, giving the HiRISE image a scale of 142 kilometers (88 miles) per pixel, an Earth diameter of about 90 pixels and a moon diameter of 24 pixels. The phase angle is 98 degrees, which means that less than half of the disk of the Earth and the disk of the moon have direct illumination. We could image Earth and moon at full disk illumination only when they are on the opposite side of the sun from Mars, but then the range would be much greater and the image would show less detail.

On the day this image was taken, the Japanese Kayuga (Selene) spacecraft was en route from the Earth to the moon, and has since returned spectacular images and movies (see

On the Earth image we can make out the west coast outline of South America at lower right, although the clouds are the dominant features. These clouds are so bright, compared with the moon, that they are saturated in the HiRISE images. In fact the red-filter image was almost completely saturated, the Blue-Green image had significant saturation, and the brightest clouds were saturated in the infrared image. This color image required a fair amount of processing to make a nice-looking release. The moon image is unsaturated but brightened relative to Earth for this composite. The lunar images are useful for calibration of the camera.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp., Boulder, Colo.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

---End of NASA caption for JA's post.

Sorry if this does not make sense. I am tired but in an evening box canyon of joy about this photo, and the two earlier photos. Pardon me also, this Biblical riff from Psalm 8:

"Oh Lord, our Lord, how wonderful is your name over all the heavens."

NASA stuff always sends me on spiritual flight. Good night all. Thanks to the overnight crew for keeping watch.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 4, 2008 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for steering the boodle firmly back to pointy-sciency fluff, CP.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 5, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for steering the boodle firmly back to pointy-sciency fluff, CP.

The poll results shall be debated tomorrow.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 5, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

No air raids in Bogota or Caracas so far. And some hope from Ambrose Evans-Pritchard at the Telegraph that commodity prices should be set to fall--including gas.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 5, 2008 12:27 AM | Report abuse

Geesh, I feel like I still work for the postal service in the past 2 weeks my commute has been snow,sleet,freezing rain,heavy fog and tonight heavy rain with flooding. Glad to be home and dry. Oh and there were also a couple of boulders that slid down the mountain. Well maybe not boulders as I was able to move them out of the road.

Seems like the campaigns are getting more interesting.I'm glad HRC did well tonight so far. Time to check radar as I have been seeing lightning.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 5, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

gee, one busy day and i'm three kits behind.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 5, 2008 2:04 AM | Report abuse

Morning, morning, friends. Scotty, get cracking, vacation over. And Mudge, where are you, young man?

Good morning, daiwalan. And good to hear from you, Martooni.

Well, is it all over but the shouting? I went to bed and did not see the results, and sort of getting a mixed bag this morning. I assume Clinton won in Ohio and Texas? Does this put her campaign back on track? I'm sure there is someone out there with an answer. Is the nomination now hers?

Today is the busy day. And of all days, the hearing-aid has decided not to work. I am so frustrated with this piece of equipment. Sometimes I just want to sling it. It is out of order more than in order. Moisture is the culprit. If I did not take a shower, I probably wouldn't have this problem, but look what I have to give up! NO WAY.

Have a great day, folks. Prayers have been said and blessings sought. Say one for me.

I hope we got a lot of rain. What's the verdict on that Slyness? It is so feeling like spring, well it was, and I want to plant something. I'm not good at it, but want to try again.

Loomis, glad your procedure turned out okay.

Missing you, Error, and hope you are well, Nani.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 6:10 AM | Report abuse

You see what happens when people get old? They forget.

Slyness, Mudge, Martooni, Scotty, morning to all, hoping for a great day.*waving*

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 6:11 AM | Report abuse

Read the editorial on the voting in Armenia. This is a letter written to the Post by the opposition candidate that has been placed under house arrest. He wants to know why the West hasn't cried foul in the election process in his country. It seems those in power are using tactics that reflect the old Russian regimes. Anyone familiar with this story?

And read Ruth Marcus's assessment of Clinton and the excuse she won't be able to use if she does not win the nomination. Marcus states it will not be because Clinton is a woman if she fails to win. But then she states the pitfalls that a woman faces in a serious race for the White House. Yet she contends that Clinton had everything going for her in the beginning, but she underestimated Obama, and did not rein her husband in. I got the impression Marcus was saying Clinton had the sliver spoon, but found out she had to work for it.

I find it odd that the very thing the Clintons claim that they don't represent is possibly the very thing that gave Mrs. Clinton the win. And may still get her to the White House. Three guesses.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 6:32 AM | Report abuse

No disses tonight!
Buckeye poltergeist zeitgeist
did Hillary hoist

Posted by: DNA Girl | March 5, 2008 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Cassandra! I hope the wind and rain didn't disturb your sleep. It was all over around here by 9:30, and I poured 1.5 inches out of the rain gauge. The morning paper says the signs are good for improvement in drought conditions. I'm glad to hear that. Now, back to winter.

And good morning to everyone!

Posted by: slyness | March 5, 2008 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes MA'AM, Cassandra! *saluting* :-)

Very little to report at this point; it's my turn to do the doctor's office visit today, apparently. No worries, folks.

*up-late-(for-me)-but-still-moving-fast Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 5, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I just wish I could give a sky report that would do this eastern sky justice.

above-Dark gray puffy and cottony with bits of white. a break of blue straight ahead. and hugging the horizon thick streaks of grays and blues and strips of white. looking to my left I see a spot where the sun almost peeks through. and then lower I see breaks where the sun colors it a thin white streak. and lower still at the very bottom a pinky fingers width of soft pink.

Oh gosh, beautiful morning

Hi everyone

Posted by: omni | March 5, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I hope everything is good, Scotty.

Slyness, it is cold here. And I mean the chill to the bone kind of cold. Is it the same in your neck of the woods?

Mudge, say something or else I'm going to be worried.

Got to make a cake this morning for the Bible Study group this afternoon. I figure coffee and a little piece of cake will warm us up.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse


Your sky report is beautiful. If Pat checks in, he's going to love it.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I eagerly await the results of that caucus (and love the picture). Your photography's getting better every day, Joel! :-)

It's not sunny in Philadelphia today, rather rainy and (still) warm. Came into work at 6, beating the usual accident on I-95.

And still bouncing off walls. Anybody want me to fax them some energy?

Posted by: dbG | March 5, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

'Mornin' everyone. It rained really hard here all night long and now it's just drizzly and gloomy. What weird weather - 2 ft of snow last week, a couple of days of (mostly) sunshine and warmer temps and now the rain. Puppy did his business and came right back in - he doesn't like "wet".

I fell asleep last night before the Texas predictions and woke up a few hours later to hear HRC won 3 of 4 states. I'm deeply conflicted about this. On the one hand, I think it's wonderful we have 2 great candidates and I like the idea that more and more states will have a say in who gets the nomination. On the other hand, I was kinda hoping that Obama would take TX and OH so the darn thing could be over already. Plus I'm afraid that fighting to the bitter end will become terribly divisive to the party as a whole. And this whole "super delegate" thing worries me - it's my opinion that the winner of the popular vote should get the nomination. Too much behind the scenes machinations possible with these delegates and lord knows, after 7 years of secrecy, we really need things to be straight forward and out in the open.

Cassandra, in regards to your earlier post about Prince Harry - I concur with the other boodlers that you are certainly NOT "nobody". Just to let you in on a little secret, when I was still just a sometime lurker to the boodle, your comments were the ones I always looked for - and looked forward to.

So there.

Posted by: TLF | March 5, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Thank you cassandra. but you know, what I wrote is less than half as beautiful as what I see.

Posted by: omni | March 5, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - nothing is over. Although there will be much shouting.

I think any Democrat with strategic sense will have been discouraged and annoyed by the results of last night's election results. And this has nothing to do with the relative capabilities of Clinton and Obama, per se, but rather with what I see as a destructive endgame.

Consider the two likely scenarios. In the first scenario Clinton continues to fire salvo after salvo, with increasing bitterness, at Obama only to lose because of the near mathematical certainty of a superiority in pledged delegates coupled with an unwillingness of the superdelegates to veto the popular will. The result will be the expenditure of millions of dollars better used to defeat McCain, who will have been resting, building up his war chest, and taking careful notes.

The second likely scenario is that the superdelegates decide to override the pledged delegates. This will have all the disadvantages of the first scenario as well as run the risk of alienating many enthusiastic Obama supporters. This will make closing ranks against McCain excruciatingly difficult. Lots of bitter pro-Obama Democrats might just decide to stay home in November.

These concerns are premised, of course, on my assumption that the Democrats will face stiff opposition from McCain. If anger at the Republicans over Bush, economic fears, and military outrage are great enough, the Democrats will be able to survive all this internecine conflict.

But I would not count on this. I think the only person happier with the extension of the Democratic primary season than Hillary Clinton is John McCain.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 5, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

TLF - I think we just said the same thing. But you managed to do so with considerably fewer words.

I too spent the morning standing in the rain with a dog and can confirm your observations.

Dingy canine insisted on sniffing the entire dang backyard.

And CP - I think the coolest astronomical pictures are of the earth taken from space. These are the ones that really shake up one's perspective.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 5, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I fear you are correct, RD, about McCain being the second happiest person this morning. I too wished this whole thing to be over. The increasingly nasty campaign between the Democrats is very off-putting. It is more important to take our country back and restore the Constitution than to fight over which candidate should get to lead the fight. I don't understand this super delegate thing and wish it was just regular delegates. Even better, I wish it was based on the popular vote alone. The whole state vs. federal thing irks me when it comes to electing a president.

Off to a day of working and lurking.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | March 5, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

RD, fortunately I don't have to stand out in the rain with the dog - I just hook him up from the back door and away he goes. Although not too far in recent days - the rain has uncovered evidence that he has apparently ventured no further than 4-5 ft from the steps to do his "business".


Posted by: TLF | March 5, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, TLF.

And oh, Omni, I do know what you mean. The beauty is so hard to put in words. It is so huge. There is so much of it. Too much to embrace and define. Words are so lacking.


I concede your point. Yet I think someone with good sense might head this thing off before it unfolds in that direction. I know, I know, it's already there, but before it gets further. I just hope people will remember the mess they're in now. And for those that have lost so much, I can imagine it is still fresh in their minds. I don't have anything against John McCain, in fact, I believed him to be an honorable man before he started to kiss all these folks so he could be president. But I think he's too old to be president, and he comes from that school of doing the same old thing. We have a generation of young people coming up, and being old as I am, I know things don't really change that much, but some forward thinking is always good in my book. We can't go back, no matter how hard we try. Time moves forward.

And nothing against old people, hey, I am one. Yet my uncle used to say an old rat still loves cheese.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be nice if someone really did "head this off"? Sooner rather than later.

But who could possibly convince Hillary Clinton to abandon her fight and avoid bringing down the house on the entire party?

I fear that if a pantheon of Angels were to appear with this recommendation she would only agree to take it under advisement.

Posted by: RD Paoduk | March 5, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! Fortunately, the rain held off for this morning's walk. Not so lucky last night. I delayed taking The Wonder Dog out for "last piddles" hoping that the rain would let up. Nope. Just rained harder and harder. Finally at 10:15 I asked him if he really wanted to go out in that mess or if he could manage until morning. He looked at me, tilted his head sideways, then ran up the stairs and to bed. Good dog.

On the mouse front, the Little Chef is secured in the seed bin, lid taped shut. Tonight we will take a little drive to the nearby county park, as far away from houses as possible, where I will turn him loose. Perhaps with a little seed to tide him over. Then I will return the bin (which, by the way, is turning out to be a dandy mouse trap) with the hope of catching any of his remaining family members and/or friends. That's the plan anyway.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 5, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

G'morning, everyone.

Yep, discouraged and annoyed pretty much sums it up for me. I wish I was among those who think the continuing primary fight is a good thing, because then I wouldn't have this unpleasant feeling that the Dems are driving very slowly off a cliff. I come from a long line of yellow dog Dems, as does the hubby. In our immediate family of 12 sibs and 2 parents, only 4 say they will definitely vote for HRC, 6 say they will vote for McCain if HRC is the nom and 4 are undecided. When she can't count on these folk's votes, I think she's got a problem. Of course, it isn't all about us and not very scientific, but I'm just sayin'.

Gorgeous morning in Tidewater and I'm off today. Yippee! Have a great day, boodle.

Loved the pics, Scotty!

Posted by: Kim | March 5, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Eh, for one, I'm happy the debate is continuing.

My gut feelins is Obama would have more difficulty winning over McCain, unless McCain chooses //name fundmentalist ultra-con here// as VP.

Posted by: dbG | March 5, 2008 8:43 AM | Report abuse

SCC: That would be *feeling.*

Posted by: dbG | March 5, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

'morning all. This was Coronation Tuesday for Mac and Resurrection Tuesday for Hill. The old warhorses had a good day yesterday.
RD, I didn't had to stand in the rain waiting for the dogs to do their business as it was snowing heavily. Yep, more snow. There is about 6 in. of stuff on the ground already and it's not supposed to stop until the afternoon. Oh joy. In the past 12 hours or so we received regular snow, ice pellets, micro-snowballs, partially melted and refrozen flakes and then some melting flakes. I'm sure the bus ride back home will be interesting.
I broke my glasses Monday and was fitted yesterday with my first pair of bifocal progressive lenses. Aging is the gift that keeps on giving.
I love the pichers of Earth from a distance.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 5, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

SD, there are some benefits for aging. As I get older, my myopia is improving. As I tell the optometrist, by the time I'm 80 I'll have 20/20 vision.

My new lenses came in yesterday.

Posted by: slyness | March 5, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

The picture is astounding and the moon appears to be much closer to the Earth than I would have guessed. I wonder what sort of angle that was taken from and if the moon is behind the Earth in some way.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about house mice, but our cute, big-eared native cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus) are impressively skilled at finding their way home.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 5, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Our mountain mice race you back to the house. And win. But Raysmom gets kudos for giving the mouse its first car ride. Such a good story to tell his mice buddies.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 5, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

What a great picture, and RD put it so well - how amazing it is that we can receive this from space (space!!), pull up this picture on the Internet, view it on our computers, print it out if we wish.

The Boy finished his report on the possiblity of alien life (thanks to all offers of help), using "Captured By Aliens" as a source. Maybe everyone in the sixth grade class will rush out to find it.

I don't know why we're making such a fuss about this "presidential race". Darth Vader, currently in an undisclosed location, is even now plotting the actual future political course of the country. The rest is window dressing (make mine Ranch, please).

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 5, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I think I'd like the garlic salad made famous in Mt. Vernon, OH, with the homemade red wine vinagrette dressing.

Posted by: dbG | March 5, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I recognize the possible futility of taking the little guy on a road trip. Perhaps I'm just channeling my inner Error.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 5, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Earth...

For all the interesting national and local election coverage this morning, it was this article at the top of the Metro section that caught my eye this morning.

Journalism at its best. The gist? Top donor to Gov. Rick Perry may possibly circumvent state scientists regarding possible nuclear waste site. The whistleblower? A former journalist. (This had everything to do with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality scientist with whom I stood in line for the first Obama rally in San Antonio.) Relevant grafs below:

AUSTIN -- The executive director of the state's environmental agency is poised to recommend a radioactive waste dump in West Texas despite a report from agency scientists who said nearby groundwater makes the site unsuitable.

Two geologists and two engineers who reviewed the proposed location in Andrews County, on the New Mexico border about 130 miles northwest of Midland, concluded in August that the license application by Waste Control Specialists, a politically connected Dallas company, should be denied. ...

WCS is seeking two licenses to store low-level radioactive material at a 1,300-acre former ranch in Andrews County. The company is owned by Harold Simmons, a top donor to Gov. Rick Perry and other state politicians.

LL: More on the whistleblower, the last three grafs placed at the end of the long article:

But more monitoring of the site won't address the fundamental problem of the area's geology, said Glenn Lewis, a technical writer who worked with the TCEQ team that evaluated the dump site until he resigned from the agency in December.

Lewis warned agency officials that their decision to support the license would subject TCEQ to "public ridicule." ...

Lewis, a 59-year-old former journalist who joined TCEQ in 1992, said the handling of the WCS application prompted him to resign from the job in which he earned about $60,000 a year.

He said he wants to speak publicly about the area he calls a "nuclear Las Vegas" because of a New Mexico uranium enrichment plant being constructed just across the border from the WCS site.

"It seems irresponsible to create a situation that is ultimately going to lead to a massive cleanup by people in the future," he said.

Posted by: Loomis | March 5, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle. Don't worry, Cassandra, I'm here; I just have major Internet issues with *^%$#*&^@%$ Comast at home, and had no Internet last night or this morning. Being cut off from the Boodle sure ain't easy.

Count me, too, among the annoyed and disappointed in the election results. This is just gonna wind up costing a heckuva lot of money and ill feelings, all with no good purpose.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 5, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Mudge: //all with no good purpose.//

Except, of course, that everyone gets to vote the way they want to? :-)

Posted by: dbG | March 5, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I am with you, though, on Comcast. Another outage this morning in Philly.

Posted by: dbG | March 5, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Martians may have taken some of those pics of Earth from Mars (from orbit in the Kit image, from the surface in the one I linked), but remember - they're illegal aliens there, filling jobs that Martian citizens are unwilling to do.

The Martians don't have the willingness to put up Homeland Security Fences as the Saturnians and Jupiterians have, so they have a more significant presence of foreign workers.

To CPs musings, I add that these kinds of images not only stir my scientific nature, but the poet in my sole, er soul.

When I accidentally cut myself and see the red blood, sometimeds I consider that the iron in my very bloodstream was forged in the heart of a long-dead star billions of years ago. A Sun gave its life that we may live, if you want to think of it that way.
Our blood, the blood of the Sun.


Posted by: bc | March 5, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The iron in the blood has three redox states, the good (+2) the bad (+3) and the ugly (+4). What irony.

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 5, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, *sigh* glad you're okay. Sorry about your Internet troubles.

Time to hop in the shower(can you imagine that), oh, the horror, the horror.


When my children were small, we lived in an apartment that was full of mice. When I got home from work at night, these guys would come out and smile at me. You'd think they would run, no way. It was if they dared me to live there. My son and I stayed up one night with mouse traps and peanut butter, and the traps just kept going. I can't remember how many we caught that night, but it was a lot. Good luck.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

well, since i'm a clinton supporter (although also moderate on that front), i'm happy with the results. i also like the fact that the media has not been able to narrate clinton out of the race. this is a good thing for democracy, whether you like clinton or not. i think it's also good for the first serious female candidate to keep going in the face of a tough campaign. put some cracks in that glass ceiling!

mccain can't really go full throttle until he knows who he's running against, so yes he has an advantage in some respects, but how do you attack the person named "clinton or obama"? well, i guess we'll find out.

my predictions is that we are now definitely looking at a democratic ticket with both obama and clinton on it, details to be worked out later. people keep saying that if clinton wins, obama has to be her veep. i agree, and i think after texas and ohio, the reverse is now also true.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 5, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Never Count A Clinton Out. More lives than cats and better luck than a rabbit's foot wearing horse shoes.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Every fall deer mice come into the old house through poorly executed insulation of steel post. Since the cat cannot be bothered to hunt inside, this is solely a place to eat and sleep after all, I have to do the mouse-catching myself. I relocate them to mouse heaven though, no mercy is wasted on the rodents. The bodies are recycled as crow food. It's quite amusing to see the crows gobbling them up whole.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 5, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Seeing how the kits were flying at a very fast pace yesterday, I just want to say, I'll put my vote in for dweebery. It's almost lyrical.

Voting goes as it should and yes Kim, it is ALL about you. The Alberta election results showed only 41 % of the voters turned out here Monday. Sad. Very very sad.

Posted by: dr | March 5, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse


When you say deer mouse, I think about the book I read to the g-girl at night, "Deer Mouse on Old Farm Road". She loves that book, and it puts her to sleep every time. She simply cannot hold her eyes open.

Ivansmom, we read your book too, and love the tigers. The g-girl took it to school for "show and tell", and we have not seen it since. I suspect it's in my daughter's car somewhere. And of course, those wonderful angels.

Posted by: cassandra s | March 5, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Dear Cassandra, deer mouse invoke different things for different people. I had to look up the English name of the "souris sylvestre". When I realized they were deer mice I had a passing vision of my living room wall covered by hundreds of tiny antlers mounted on tiny wood plates edged with green velvet.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 5, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Dr G keeps a tally sheet taped on the kitchen cabinet with his name and the number of mice kills so far in the current hunt. I'm afraid one day I may go downstairs to find a tick mark on the mouse's side.

Posted by: TBG | March 5, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Antlered mice would also explain the racket they make in the walls in the fall. It's the rutting males battling it out.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | March 5, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Boy, talk about losing the race back to the house; I think that Mighty could fly back to the house, and I'd be afraid of Stewart Little stealing my car when my back was turned. Maybe Toonces would be willing to chase Stewart down... that'd be *some* car chase. Like "Ronin" or "Bullitt," but without the skill.


Posted by: bc | March 5, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I have to say about deer mice...

Deer Mice,

Please stay out of my silverware drawer.


Posted by: TBG | March 5, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Good point, dbG; I meant "no good *larger* purpose" such as winning the White House and getting those $(*&%$#@&^% outa there.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 5, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt> The picture is astounding and the moon appears to be much closer to the Earth than I would have guessed. I wonder what sort of angle that was taken from and if the moon is behind the Earth in some way.

The moon looks somewhat set back in the photo to me.

Come on engineers and sciency types! Shouldn't the apparent diameter ratio compared to actual diameter ratio, along with the known distance between the two, allow this to be solved? This is where we show those other blogs what's what.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 5, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure that the Earth-moon distance is roughly 55 times the earth's radius. Of course, I'll go back and check my figures and find out that I'm horribly wrong!

Posted by: Bob S. | March 5, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

And the Permanent Campaign continues! At least through Pennsylvania late next month. This means that McCain will have about 4 months free to begin his presidential campaign, and hammer both Clinton and Obama along the way. They in turn are going to have to pay more attention to each other and their bases, rather than begin moving towards a national campaign. My feeling right now is that McCain and whichever Dem is the candidate will have a very close race in the fall. The difference may be how many far-right GOP-ers stay home because they think McCain is too liberal.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 5, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, your uncle's "old rats still like cheese" is too funny.
I always like hearing those sayings and such from the older generation.

Shrieking denizen, deer mice evoke the specter of hantavirus to me. I'd be wearing a biohazard outfit.

I wasn't sure Obama would even win Texas, but it was pretty close, as I predicted, and closer than anybody would have thought a year ago. It'll be interesting to see what the Texas caucuses say.

I agree with Cassandra about the R-word.

I'm not sure such a long season is a positive; while it keeps media coverage alive, I don't want to see a pyrrhic victory here (a joint ticket after long wrangling, for instance)

The Republicans have roughly 20 years' worth of attack ads and such written against both Clintons.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 5, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

there is a new kit.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | March 5, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Here's a site that claims:

"The average distance between Earth and Moon is approximately 30 times Earth's diameter."

Just using my thumb, it seems like the moon in that picture is about 10-12 Earth diameters away. This would indicate that the moon is either ahead or behind the Earth by 60 degrees or so. A picture with them both in the frame that close would happen about half the time. The real trick is getting the phase of the Earth/Moon combo sufficiently photogenic since that has to do with the position of Mars relative to the Earth.

Since Earth is nearly double the diameter of Mars, it would appear four times as big as Mars dies to us. The Earth's albedo is also much lower than Mars and is closer to the Sun, so Earth is much brighter in Mars's sky than vice versa.

That pointy-headed enough? And I don't even deal with space on a professional basis.


Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

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