The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, September 26, 2016

Plume Observations at Europa NASA Says

Europa. Courtesy of NASA
At the 2 p.m. news conference today, NASA's team states they believe they have recorded plumes coming intermittently from Europa. The plumes were seen in the infrared spectrum using an instrument of the Hubble Space Telescope to its limits to observe the plumes. They believe the broadband imaging technique has recorded plumes, strongly indicating a subsurface ocean envelopes Europa below miles of ice. What makes this an exciting announcement is that such plumes would allow for an analysis of water coming from the ocean below (and its potential for life) without needing to find a way to burrow through unknown miles worth of ice to reach that ocean.

It's technically exciting, opening up tantalizing possibilities ... but not as exciting as finding a monolith on Europa would be.

For all the details, see:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

American Baptist Response to Unrest

I'm an American Baptist and proud to be part of the most diverse denomination in the US. In the past few months, the American Baptist Home Mission Societies has taken on some really volatile topics and done it with a great deal of compassion and grace. What you read in their work is the very opposite of what you so often hear in the mostly bungled and often confused reports centering on extremists that are always dredged up when some inflammatory quote is needed with which to tar all of Christianity.

Let the following readings counter some of that nonsense and give you some balm and encouragement in the face of the turmoil we currently face. See: for a digital magazine, the Christian Citizen, dealing with the current unrest in the U.S.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies also had a powerful response following the Orlando night club shootings:

Surprising Discovery at Europa Says NASA

Europa. Courtesy of NASA
I love this kind of story.

Tomorrow, Monday, September 26, at 2 p.m. NASA will hold a news conference to discuss surprising new finding from the moon Europa with all the water believed to be held in a massive ocean beneath its frozen surface. It is believed that Europa's gravitational interplay with Jupiter keeps the moon warm inside, creating a massive ocean with more water than that covering the earth.

With much hullabaloo upon the initial tease from NASA, they had to come back with a statement that, no, it isn't aliens. No, they haven't received a warning to steer clear of Europa from some alien super race, as in the novel 2010.

What we do know so far is that the Hubble Space Telescope has made some mighty interesting observation of that icy moon, something that may well have to do with better proof of the watery realm below the icy shell. One thing scientists have long said is that where there is liquid water there is likely to be life. We may well be on step closer to finding life outside of our bright and shining earth. Tomorrow we'll know for sure.

If you want to see for yourself what little there is to know today, check out the following:

We'll return to this subject when the big reveal is made. I expect the information to be more "sciencey" than spectacular ... but you never know.

Your Life Is Too Important to be Eaten Alive!

We live in a society that tells you over and over again that you are your work, your work is vitally important, and very little else if anything comes first. Go to a party and what do people ask? "What do you do for a living?" they ask, or some variation of that.

Well, if you let it, that attitude will allow your work to eat you alive. How do you know this is happening? It's a lot of little things combined. You start putting in longer and longer hours at the job. You begin to fret when you can't solve each and every problem everyone brings to you. You stop doing the things you love and replace those things with work. Family life, social life, and private down time suffer as work consumes you whole. If you take solace in writing, the writing stops. You convince yourself that caffeine is an adequate substitute for sleep.

It is something that is insidious. The increased work load gives you a false sense of importance and a correspondent bloating of the ego, In time your health begins to suffer, your mental and emotional resources wane as well ... and in time some major physical damage is done as the body demands the abuse ends (either temporarily with a hospital stay and some return to sanity or permanently).

It has been a near thing with this blogger my friends. I caught myself before the physical symptoms could take hold, but am now forcing myself to take the time for all that I enjoy and truly need (including books on disc during my commute to and from work instead of a diet of news), novels and favorite shows at home, purposeful downtime now jealously guarded, and adequate sleep at night (well, truth be told, I'm still working on that one).

So, take heed, please. Don't let your job eat you alive. Or your worries, your fears, or whatever else is taking every greater control of you each and every day. Pull yourself back from the brink, while there is still time.