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Science: Martian Lander, UFOs, Solar Eclipse

By Bob Snodgrass
Posted: 06/15/2021

Present: Sally A, Gretchen, Bruce, Dave, Bob, Dick, Sharon

We had a pleasant meeting as usual, but with only 3 presentations: stalwart Sally presented interesting photos from the Chinese Martian lander, I hope that you all are paying attention to the ambitious Chinese space program which has launched its own space center with astronauts. We should have enough published material for someone to do an informative presentation about the history, failures, and successes of the Chine space program in the next few months. Gretchen who had told me months ago that she was sick of Zoom, gave an impassioned discussion of UFOs and discussion of space invaders going back centuries & more associated with energy release and human malfunction - it was great, but to me a better argument for Jung’s collective unconscious than for aliens from outer space - maybe I argued too vigorously that the only credible UFO reports came from pilots and their numbers haven’t changed much. There is room for differing opinions about UFOs and maybe we should revisit this subject after the publication of the Federal UFO report in the next 2 months. There should be ways to download it for free.

I filled the gaps with a brief discussion of the annular solar eclipse coming Thursday the 17th (the but only to the far north near the Arctic circle) and a longer, perhaps numbing discussion of the HERITAGE project, ongoing since the 1990s trying to find the basis for how exercise improves cardiorespiratory fitness associated with exercise in sedentary humans (39% black). The project found no simple answer and has evolved to studying thousands of plasma proteins before and after a 20 week course of supervised exercise in a ‘bicycle ergometer’ with these results:

No protein contributed more than 3%and few contributed even 1% and ~ 15% of subjects had worse fitness after this supervise exercise - this could be predicted from their protein profile- I’ll send a copy of the latest paper to any masochist who wants one. 

Our big problem is our poor attendance or better put, lack of presentations. Those who don’t bring presentations are our friends and often have valuable comments, but 3 presenters are way too few. Science news is abundant and vibrant. We learned only this week that the much discussed dimming of the giant red star Betelgeuse (now clearing up) was/is due to dust from the giant’s cooling outer layers. Red supergiants are the largest stars in the universe. They represent a stage in the evolution of giant stars in which they expand outward, begin to cool and lose mass as they progress toward going supernova with a big blast in the end. This giant will certainly form a black hole someday. Its dimming had been seen as a sign that the end was near, but that conclusion was hasty. Betelgeuse is the 10th brightest star seen from earth and is visible without a telescope, if you get away from the light pollution of LA County.

Remember what an excellent presentation Jay Marx gave us on the LIGO project. Maybe we can find another presenter from JPL. Cal Tech, or elsewhere. In our Zoom era, they can be in their own office. If we can’t improve with more presentations, the board may kick us out of our Zoom slot. 

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