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Archive → October 2nd, 2017

Earth moving off its axis/ NASA Study solves mysteries

The relationship between continental water mass and the east-west wobble in Earth's spin axis.
Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles.
Before about 2000, Earth's spin axis was drifting toward Canada (green arrow, left globe).
Earth does not always spin on an axis running through its poles. Instead, it wobbles irregularly over time, drifting toward North America throughout most of the 20th Century (green arrow). That direction has changed drastically due to changes in water mass on Earth. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Using satellite data on how water moves around Earth, NASA scientists have solved two mysteries about wobbles in the planet’s rotation — one new and one more than a century old. The research may help improve our knowledge of past and future climate.

Although a desktop globe always spins smoothly around the axis running through its north and south poles, a real planet wobbles. Earth’s spin axis drifts slowly around the poles; the farthest away it has wobbled since observations began is 37 feet (12 meters). These wobbles don’t affect our daily life, but they must be taken into account to get accurate results from GPS, Earth-observing satellites and observatories on the ground.

In a paper published today in Science Advances, Surendra Adhikari and Erik Ivins of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, researched how the movement of water around the world contributes to Earth’s rotational wobbles. Earlier studies have pinpointed many connections between processes on Earth’s surface or interior and our planet’s wandering ways. For example, Earth’s mantle is still readjusting to the loss of ice on North America after the last ice age, and the reduced mass beneath that continent pulls the spin axis toward Canada at the rate of a few inches each year. But some motions are still puzzling.

A Sharp Turn to the East

Around the year 2000, Earth’s spin axis took an abrupt turn toward the east and is now drifting almost twice as fast as before, at a rate of almost 7 inches (17 centimeters) a year. “It’s no longer moving toward Hudson Bay, but instead toward the British Isles,” said Adhikari. “That’s a massive swing.” Adhikari and Ivins set out to explain this unexpected change.

Scientists have suggested that the loss of mass from Greenland and Antarctica’s rapidly melting ice sheet could be causing the eastward shift of the spin axis. The JPL scientists assessed this idea using observations from the NASA/German Aerospace Center Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, which provide a monthly record of changes in mass around Earth. Those changes are largely caused by movements of water through everyday processes such as accumulating snowpack and groundwater depletion. They calculated how much mass was involved in water cycling between Earth’s land areas and its oceans from 2003 to 2015, and the extent to which the mass losses and gains pulled and pushed on the spin axis.

Adhikari and Ivins’ calculations showed that the changes in Greenland alone do not generate the gigantic amount of energy needed to pull the spin axis as far as it has shifted. In the Southern Hemisphere, ice mass loss from West Antarctica is pulling, and ice mass gain in East Antarctica is pushing, Earth’s spin axis in the same direction that Greenland is pulling it from the north, but the combined effect is still not enough to explain the speedup and new direction. Something east of Greenland has to be exerting an additional pull.

The researchers found the answer in Eurasia. “The bulk of the answer is a deficit of water in Eurasia: the Indian subcontinent and the Caspian Sea area,” Adhikari said.

The finding was a surprise. This region has lost water mass due to depletion of aquifers and drought, but the loss is nowhere near as great as the change in the ice sheets.

So why did the smaller loss have such a strong effect? The researchers say it’s because the spin axis is very sensitive to changes occurring around 45 degrees latitude, both north and south. “This is well explained in the theory of rotating objects,” Adhikari explained. “That’s why changes in the Indian subcontinent, for example, are so important.”

New Insight on an Old Wobble

In the process of solving this recent mystery, the researchers unexpectedly came up with a promising new solution to a very old problem, as well. One particular wobble in Earth’s rotation has perplexed scientists since observations began in 1899. Every six to 14 years, the spin axis wobbles about 20 to 60 inches (0.5 to 1.5 meters) either east or west of its general direction of drift. “Despite tremendous theoretical and modeling efforts, no plausible mechanism has been put forward that could explain this enigmatic oscillation,” Adhikari said.

Lining up a graph of the east-west wobble during the period when GRACE data were available against a graph of changes in continental water storage for the same period, the JPL scientists spotted a startling similarity between the two. Changes in polar ice appeared to have no relationship to the wobble — only changes in water on land. Dry years in Eurasia, for example, corresponded to eastward swings, while wet years corresponded to westward swings.

When the researchers input the GRACE observations on changes in land water mass from April 2002 to March 2015 into classic physics equations that predict pole positions, they found that the results matched the observed east-west wobble very closely. “This is much more than a simple correlation,” coauthor Ivins said. “We have isolated the cause.”

The discovery raises the possibility that the 115-year record of east-west wobbles in Earth’s spin axis may, in fact, be a remarkably good record of changes in land water storage. “That could tell us something about past climate — whether the intensity of drought or wetness has amplified over time, and in which locations,” said Adhikari.

“Historical records of polar motion are both globally comprehensive in their sensitivity and extraordinarily accurate,” said Ivins. “Our study shows that this legacy data set can be used to leverage vital information about changes in continental water storage and ice sheets over time.”

GRACE is a joint NASA mission with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ), in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin. For more information on the mission, visit:

http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov

http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace

NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records. The agency freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world to gain new insights into how our planet is changing.

For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earth

News Media Contact

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
818-354-0474
Alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team

2016-100

Source: Will County News

Facebook’s Downward Spiral

Facebook’s Downward Spiral
Monica Savaglia Photo By Monica Savaglia
Written Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) had a rough start to the week, and it’s all thanks to some recent news involving the company.

This past Friday, Facebook announced that it no longer plans to issue a new class of non-voting shares.

The plan would have protected CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s control over the company even as he sells 99% of his shares. It was approved by a special committee of the company’s board back in April 2016.

The controversial stock split would have created a third class of non-voting shares that would allow Zuckerberg to retain his control over the company while giving away his shares and wealth for philanthropic reasons.

When news of this stock split was announced, investors weren’t happy and decided to file a suit against Facebook because the new class of stock would give Mark Zuckerberg an unfair economic advantage.

A class-action trial was scheduled for this week in Delaware, but it ended up being called off after the markets closed on Friday, September 22nd, when Zuckerberg announced that the company was no longer seeking to issue a new class of non-voting shares.

Stuart Grant, a lawyer who was representing Facebook shareholders in the lawsuit, had this to say:

We’re thrilled that Facebook has dropped the reclassification… Today’s move is a total victory for shareholders.

This seems like a win for Facebook investors. This kind of restructuring had the potential to harm investors by diluting their power over the company’s decisions.

Facebook Changes Its Mind

Zuckerberg was scheduled to give a testimony for the trial on September 26th, which increased the possibility of revealing information about the company to the public because he would be under oath.

Some rumored information includes texts between a Facebook board member and Zuckerberg when they were communicating to sway other board members toward approving the restructuring proposal.

The possibility of more information being revealed to the public because of Zuckerberg’s testimony was a significant catalyst to Facebook and its CEO backing off from its plan to introduce a new class of stock.

Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post:

Over the past year and half, Facebook’s business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more… As a result, I’ve asked our board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify our stock …

Following the settlement, Zuckerberg said he intends to sell between 35 million and 75 million shares of Facebook over the next 18 months to support his other company, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which invests in technology focused on addressing social issues.

Probe into U.S. Election Advertisements

This isn’t the only recent controversy that’s been affecting Facebook stock.

The Washington Post reports that Facebook could have known about a possible operation as early as June 2016 that involved Russian influence over the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

At the time, Facebook claimed it didn’t find any solid evidence that would have led it to believe there was any kind of Russian involvement on its social media platform.

Only recently did the company say it uncovered proof of suspicious activity from a tracking firm called the Internet Research Agency, which is a well-known Russian hacking operation.

Facebook discovered over 3,000 ads centered on social and political issues that the firm posted between 2015 and 2017. In addition to finding those 3,000 ads, Facebook discovered that up to $100,000 in ads was purchased by Putin-backed Russian groups.

A company spokesman said, “We believe in the power of democracy, which is why we’re taking this work on elections integrity so seriously, and have come forward at every opportunity to share what we’ve found.”

Without a doubt, Facebook is a huge influencer on our society. People check their accounts at least once a day, and for some people it happens to be a source of information. Because of that, Facebook should be held responsible. The company needs to make sure that the information its users encounter every day isn’t misrepresented or propaganda.Zuckerberg has been feeling the pressure to fully determine what exactly happened during the 2016 election and Facebook’s involvement with misinformation. Last Thursday, he directed his staff to provide Congress with the 3,000 ads that are believed to be linked from Russian profiles.

There’s no room for Facebook to be naive about the kind of influence social media has on its users. Social media is prominent in our lives, which makes it an easy target for hackers and anyone else trying to spread misinformation.

Facebook needs to expand its efforts into sifting through what’s displayed on its platform so it can prevent future incidents. Right now, ads and fake news are filtered mostly by algorithms, but Facebook does employ human content gatekeepers who are on the lookout for violent or sexually explicit materials.

The company felt the aftermath of both the lawsuit settlement announcement and the investigation into election advertisements during the 2016 U.S. presidential elections — its shares fell 4.5% on Monday, September 26th.

Facebook holds a lot of responsibility, and it needs to do its best to prevent future issues. Right now, investors are concerned with how frequently the company has been scrutinized.

Until next time,

Monica Savaglia
Wealth Daily

Source: Will County News

ISRA Thursday Bulletin – September 28, 2017

ISRA Thursday Bulletin – September 28, 2017

 

Executive Directors Message

The SHARE Act (H.R. 3668) is beginning to draw fire from the hysterical left-wing media who, of course, is spreading fake news.  For example, after decrying lead in ammunition, “they” are now claiming any ammunition that does not contain lead is armor piercing.  Regulations regarding armor piercing ammunition is unaffected by H.R. 3668, but facts don’t matter.  The goal, of course, is to scare the non- gun owning public.  Now is the time to call your congressman and tell them to support the SHARE Act.  I would also ask them to become a co-sponsor if they have not already signed on.
I must apologize for an error I made in last week’s Thursday Bulletin.  The SHARE Act does not include national reciprocity.  The National Reciprocity Act of 2017 (H.R. 39) covers that.  As long as you are calling your Congressman, you should ask them to support H.R. 38 also.
The Chicago Tribune recently carried an article on the increasing number of black women who are getting their Illinois Concealed Carry Licenses (ICCL).  These ladies are clearly tired of being defenseless against the thugs and gangs that roam the City of Chicago.  Congratulations to these ladies for standing up for themselves.  We are with you!
After a steady decrease in the crime rate in the last couple of decades, crime is on the rise again.  Of course, Chicago does more than its share in driving that rate up.  I am sure part of this has to do with the so-called Ferguson Affect.  Whatever the case, the more ICCLs, the less likely you are going to be a victim.  If you have not gotten your ICCL yet, I would waste no time in getting it.  The only person who is going to help you if you are confronted by these thugs is you.
Tomorrow, I will be at the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Dallas-Fort Worth.  If you ever have a chance to go to one of these, please attend.  It is the most information you can get in a two-day period on the state of our Second Amendment rights.
Thanks for being a member.
Upcoming events: ISRA Calendar
For more information, visit www.isra.org
Thursday, September 28, 2017
ISRA Smallbore/Rimfire F-Class Thursday Night League
Saturday, September 30, 2017
2017 ISRA Illinois State Outdoor Pistol Championship
Sunday, October 1, 2017
2017 ISRA Illinois State Outdoor Pistol Championship
Combat Pistol League/3 Gun/ CCW Scenario
American Legion Regional Individual 80 NMC
ISRA Black Powder League
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
ISRA Tuesday Night Irregular League
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
ISRA Benchrest League
F-Class League
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Range Work Day
ISRA Sighting-In Day
Women on Target Pistol Clinic at Chillicothe Sportsmen’s Club
Check out ISRA’s website at www.isra.org! Tell us what you think!
Follow the ISRA on Twitter and Facebook.

Give the gift of an ISRA membership.   Not an ISRA Member?  Join Today!

Source: Will County News

STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP/ on Las Vegas attack

 

STATEMENT FROM PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP


My fellow Americans, we are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief. Last night, a gunman opened fire on a large crowd at a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. He brutally murdered more than 50 people, and wounded hundreds more. It was an act of pure evil.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are working closely with local authorities to assist with the investigation, and they will provide updates as to the investigation and how it develops.

I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of the first responders for their courageous efforts, and for helping to save the lives of so many. The speed with which they acted is miraculous, and prevented further loss of life. To have found the shooter so quickly after the first shots were fired is something for which we will always be thankful and grateful. It shows what true professionalism is all about.

Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one — a parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims: We are praying for you and we are here for you, and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.

Scripture teaches us, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve. To the wounded who are now recovering in hospitals, we are praying for your full and speedy recovery, and pledge to you our support from this day forward.

In memory of the fallen, I have directed that our great flag be flown at half-staff.

I will be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with law enforcement, first responders, and the families of the victims.

In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one — and it always has. We call upon the bonds that unite us — our faith, our family, and our shared values. We call upon the bonds of citizenship, the ties of community, and the comfort of our common humanity.

Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bonds cannot be broken by violence. And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today — and always will, forever.

In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy. But we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light, and even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.

Melania and I are praying for every American who has been hurt, wounded, or lost the ones they love so dearly in this terrible, terrible attack. We pray for the entire nation to find unity and peace. And we pray for the day when evil is banished, and the innocent are safe from hatred and from fear.

May God bless the souls of the lives that are lost. May God give us the grace of healing. And may God provide the grieving families with strength to carry on.

Thank you. God bless America. Thank you.

Source: Will County News

Homer 33C Restoration work begins at Ross School

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High

Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628

 

For Immediate Release:

Sept. 28, 2017

Restoration work begins at Ross School

Staff members volunteer to save piece of community history

 

Thanks to three Homer 33C staff members and two area businesses, Ross School will remain standing for generations to come.

 

The one-room schoolhouse, which was moved to the entrance of Homer Junior High School/Hadley Middle School 20 years ago, was on the verge of collapse.

 

But thanks to Filotto Roofing, Richards Building Supply Company and Homer 33C staff members Phil Ackland, Bill Kocanda and Ed Malley, the school will be saved.

Filotto Roofing donated new shingles for the school; Richards Building Supply Company donated the plywood, roof felt, roofing nails and ice & water shield; while Ackland, Kocanda and Malley donated the labor to install the new roof.

 

But first, before adding the weight of the plywood and new asphalt shingles to the 160-year-old school, the team of volunteers had to add additional bracing. Using an adjustable steel column and come alongs, they were able to raise the sagging roof and draw in the bowed out walls on Sept. 27.

 

They returned the next day to add collar ties every 6 feet to secure the walls.

 

Once the structural work is complete, they can begin tearing off the old roof and installing the new.

 

The goal is to have a new roof on by winter, giving the district time to raise funds to repair/replace the siding, windows, doors and hardwood flooring.

 

Needed for that phase of the project are:

  • 392 square feet of Dutch Lap cedar siding
  • Two 7-foot doors that are 34 inches wide (Original doors had 6 lights on top and three horizontal panels below) One door is left swing; the other door is right swing
  • 40 linear feet of 1X6 cedar for door trim
  • 5 14-foot pieces of 1X6 cedar for window trim
  • 8 8-foot pieces of 1X4 cedar for corner trim

 

So far, the district has received monetary pledges from Ultimate Driving School, United Express Delivery, Gaston Bistro, Jet’s Pizza and Time 4 Sweets.

 

Several Homer 33C parents have also donated using the district’s EZ School Pay online system.

 

Crockett Construction has agreed to donate the labor to install the new siding and doors. Will-Cook Ace Hardware has agreed to donate the paint to complete the project.

 

If you would like to join the effort to Save Ross School, please contact Homer 33C Communications/Public Relations Manager Charla Brautigam at 708-226-7628.

Source: Will County News