Equi-Nox means [Day] Equals Night -- Right?

Wrap this around your mental astronomical-phenomena spindle and see if you can make of it more of a skein than a snarl:

Where I live on the west coast of the U.S.A., astronomical equinox is at 1:20AM Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday 23 September 2015.  The time from sunrise to sunset should be equal to the time from sunset to sunrise, right?

Doesn't work that way.

Wednesday actually has six more minutes of daylight than Friday.  On Friday 25 September we actually get 12 hours zero minutes between sunrise and sunset.


First, the astronomical definition of equinox is at the moment the earth in its orbit around the sun crosses a particular point in reference to what astronomers call the fixed stars.  We know that point wanders with respect to the earth's axis-wobble and the earth's elliptical orbit (precession of the equinox) -- ve-e-e-r-r-y s-slo-o-o-owly!  But can it make a difference of a day or two?

Second, there's the spin of the earth.  Does the spin, added to the round-the-sun motion, make a difference?

I admit I haven't done the research.  But hey, give me some credit for finding the conundrum.


Papa Francisco's Optics

No, I am not interested in the Pope's eyeglasses.  I do find it distressing, however, that the Holy Father does not seem concerned with the optics surrounding his visit to North America.  Specifically, doesn't it look like he is offering comfort and appeasement to Obama and Castro?

I firmly believe the pope is not intending to aid democrats and communists in a direct political way. But it is too easy to believe that the good Pope Francis is just to naive for the world scene.

Who won the fight over anti-Catholic guests at the scheduled White House meeting?  We'll see how that whole thing plays out.  And why offer the appearance of legitimacy to the murderous tyranny that is Cuba?

Don't hold your breath waiting for world-shaking words of courage from the pope. I will be happily surprised if he has a Brandenburg Gate moment while visiting down where the bananas grow: "Mr. Castro, tear down this police state!"


Words Mean Things - And Opposite Things

In Charles Dickens' The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (Chapter VI), Mr. Tupman is wounded by a small bore "rook rifle" shotgun, when Mr. Winkle demonstrates what happens when you ignore three or four of the rules of gun safety. Pickwick, Snodgrass, and Winkle then depart to enjoy a local cricket match with their host Mr. Wardle, leaving Tupman "in charge of" the ladies of the household. Dickens is not saying that Tupman has been vested with authority to police the ladies' behavior. Quite the opposite. The ladies are to see to the well-being of Tupman.

When did the change in meaning occur? How is it that words can flip meanings?

Then there's Subject and Object. Some time between the 12th and the 21st centuries, Subject and Object passed each other going in opposite directions on the towpath of language, and as they passed they traded meanings. "Subjective" used to mean, "of or pertaining to the subject," where "subject" meant the thing being "subjected" to scrutiny.  Now, of course, the subject of scrutiny is called the "object", and if you object to that, you will be subjected to the ignominy of being misunderstood.  What you study is the "object", unless you're talking about your school schedule -- in which case you still study the "subjects" on the list. The final lens on a microscope or telescope is the "objective" lens.  But how handy to introverts it could be when attending a social function, to be able to pull out a little lorgnette or pince-nez or opera glasses holding high-quality subjective lenses!  Perhaps then the (unspoken) object of the person talking to you would be magnified, their point revealed. All the feels they subjectively hold, all the bias they subjectively project, would be visible in shifting pleochroic auras under an optical-quality subjective lens!

And if I were to look at myself in a mirror through the subjective lenses of my hypothetical binoculars, would I stumble across the threshold of some kind of Burnsian satori?
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
On second thought, I will pass on the subjective lenses and go on seeing myself as richer, younger, healthier, and handsomer than I may look to "ithers."


MS Edge U Doin It Wrong

Here's a funny thing:

Having installed Windows 10 on the laptop many weeks ago, I decided for some unknown reason to try out Microsoft Edge, the new  I'm-Not-Windows-Exploder web browser.  Meh.  Then I tried to import bookmarks from Chrome.

The good news I guess is that the bookmarks did, technically, move from Chrome to Edge.  The bad news is that all my bookmarks in Edge are upside down.  Inverted.  Sorted precisely backward from where they were in Chrome.

Careful, Microsoft, or somebody might think you suck and you hate us.



Seventy years ago, the formal articles of the unconditional surrender of Japan were signed aboard USS Missouri (BB-63).

"It's V-J Day!  Go kiss a sailor!,"  as my mother used to say.  (Dad, of course, was in the Navy!)


Compressed Garbage Trucks

I get junk email at work.  This one actually makes more sense than many do.  You have to grab all the humor you can wherever you can find it!

Dear manager.
Good morning, glad to meet you. Thanks a lot that you had read my E-mail.
We are a manufacturer. We design and supply different non-standard hydraulic cylinder for compressed garbage trucks, dump trucks, arm-swing trucks and swill collectiong trucks. Hope that we will have a chance to contact more about your cylinders for these kind trucks, thanks.
Please keep in touch.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Have a nice day and best regards,
Future Automatic Equipments Co., Ltd
Int'l Sales Manager


Hiroshima Day

The atomic bombs made my life possible.  At the time Truman gave the go-ahead, my father was on an LST in the Pacific, preparing for the invasion of the Japanese home islands.

The use of the atomic bombs saved lives, compared to anticipated casualties from the planned invasion.

The tyranny of the government of Imperial Japan was the cause of so much suffering.

Yes those photos are ghastly.  But every time Hiroshima Day rolls around I thank the One True God® that the bombs were used and the surrender was secured.