Astronomy

RED SPRITES OVER THE USA: Around Earth’s northern hemisphere, thunderstorm season is in full swing. That means it’s a great time to see sprites.  Paul Smith photographed these specimens on July 14th:

I was at Kaw Lake in Oklahoma when the sprites started leaping up from the thunderheads,” says Smith.

Sprites are an exotic form of upward-directed lightning, reaching from the tops of electrical storms all the way up to the edge of space. Because they emerge from the tops of storms, the best place to see sprites is from a distance where the camera can point over the edge of the thunderhead. [snip]

In recent years, citizen scientists like Smith have been photographing sprites in record numbers. One reason is raised awareness. More photographers know about sprites, so more sprites are being photographed. Another reason might be a genuine increase in sprite activity. Some researchers think that sprites are linked to cosmic rays. Subatomic particles from deep space strike the top of Earth’s atmosphere, producing secondary electrons that trigger the upward bolts. Cosmic rays are now intensifying due to the decline of the solar cycle. More sprites, anyone?

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Historical happenings

7/16/1882 ~ Mary Todd Lincoln, the widow of Abraham Lincoln, dies of a stroke.

7/16/1945 ~ The United States detonates the first atomic bomb in a test at Alamogordo, N. M.

7/16/1969 ~ Apollo 11 blasts off from Cape Kennedy, Florida, heading for a landing on the moon.

If today musicians put on a show…

… that had some variety and talent.

Sunday Toon

Good deeds…

…always have adverse effects when the Watermelons augment them.

Starbucks Bans Plastic Straws, Winds Up Using More Plastic

2018 will forever be remembered as the year that hating plastic straws went mainstream. Once the lonely cause of environmental cranks, now everyone wants to eliminate these suckers from daily life.

In July, Seattle imposed America’s first ban on plastic straws. Vancouver, British Columbia, passed a similar ban a few months earlier. There are active attempts to prohibit straws in New York City, Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. A-list celebrities from Calvin Harris to Tom Brady have lectured us on giving up straws. Both National Geographic and The Atlantic have run long profiles on the history and environmental effects of the straw. Vice is now treating their consumption as a dirty, hedonistic excess.

Not to be outdone by busybody legislators, Starbucks, the nation’s largest food and drink retailer, announced on Monday that it would be going strawless. [snip]

The World Wildlife Fund and Ocean Conservancy both provided ebullient quotes for Starbucks’ press releases. Liberal magazine The New Republic praised the move as an “environmental milestone.” Slate hailed the Starbucks straw ban as evidence of as a victory for a bona fide anti-straw movement, one that would hopefully lead to bans of more things plastic in years to come.

Yet missing from this fanfare was the inconvenient fact that by ditching plastic straws, Starbucks will actually be increasing its plastic use. As it turns out, the new nitro lids that Starbucks is leaning on to replace straws are made up of more plastic than the company’s current lid/straw combination.

Right now, Starbucks patrons are topping most of their cold drinks with either 3.23 grams or 3.55 grams of plastic product, depending on whether they pair their lid with a small or large straw. The new nitro lids meanwhile weigh either 3.55 or 4.11 grams, depending again on lid size.

(I got these results by measuring Starbucks’ plastic straws and lids on two separate scales, both of which gave me the same results.)

This means customers are at best breaking even under Starbucks’ strawless scheme, or they are adding between .32 and .88 grams to their plastic consumption per drink. Given that customers are going to use a mix of the larger and smaller nitro lids, Starbucks’ plastic consumption is bound to increase, although it’s anybody’s guess as to how much. [snip]

The individuals pushing this are the ones who stated a dead whale had some wild number of straws in it’s stomach.They also claim that there is plastic trash and garbage the size of Texas floating mid-Pacific. Weird since satellite images never seem to image this monster.

These are the same “concerned” clods that coffee, donuts, eggs, breathing, sex, cars, polyester, fast food, elevator farts and backyard grilling were bad for you. The only way to survive all this was to send them money for more fax paper.
(they may be right about elevator farts, jury still out on this)

Toon in

More from the Watermelons

Vermont has it’s share of Loons, both in Congress and out.Those not in office line up to follow the prevaricating Piper.

Rep. Welch looks to expand subsidies for electric vehicles as ‘green’ claims fade

Last week at an electric car charging station in Burlington, Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt, announced legislation to expand subsidies for the electric vehicle market. The federal program currently has a cap limiting the taxpayer dollars that may be used to incentivize EV purchases.

“Transportation is the single largest contributor to greenhouse emissions in the United States. It is urgent that we transition to cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation,” Welch said at the event.

“My legislation will make electric vehicles and their charging stations more affordable while saving Vermonters money at the gas pump and reducing their environmental footprint.”

While buyers of electric vehicles currently may receive a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 to offset the higher cost of the cars, automakers each have a cap that limits the offer to only 200,000 cars. Some automakers expect to hit that cap this year

To free up even more taxpayer subsidies, Welch’s legislation, H.R. 6274, would eliminate the cap for 10 years and enable buyers to get the credit at the time of the purchase instead of having to wait until they filed their annual income tax return, as the law currently requires. [snip]

The news comes on the heels of an announcement from Tesla Motors last month that the EV manufacturer is laying off 9 percent of its workforce, about 3,600 workers. [snip]

H.R. 6274 is cosponsored in the U.S. House by Reps. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., and Jared Huffman, D-Calif. In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Rep. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., is expected to introduce similar legislation.

All this of course is the dream of the Watermelon Nation. Vermont as part of this group is destroying the views of the mountains and solar farms blight the once green farmland. Most Vermonters cannot afford a windup car much less a Tesla. As usual, the Progressives don’t care who gets wounded in the fight for a totally petro-free lifestyle.

The peasantry has trouble finding work; the Legislators work hard to drive out small for profit businesses by mandating a $15/hr wage for those flipping burgers or smoking their brains out. One can’t believe that the dopers need or want a Tesla to motor around looking for the next score.