Yet another month has passed by, and what a month it has been! In my most recent post, on 2019-06-21, I talked about the international space station (ISS) and even made an update later on. But here comes more!
1. More about ISS
Further to my previous facts about the ISS, the following also deserves to be told.
We saw a most spectacular flyover in the early hours of 2019-07-22, about one hour before the sun rise. It came in from the North West and left us in the South East. The whole passing over the American continent took exactly 27 minutes, from the entry close to Oil City, WA, USA until the exit on the shores of the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina by the town of Barra Velha.
Below you can see two instances of its route, first when it was at its highest peak for our viewing, in the town of Inajá, state of Paraná, 35 km away from our location, and then after 5 more seconds, when even our town appears on the Google map below the world chart.
In reference #1 below is a link to the web site from which the above maps were taken, and reference #2 gives extensive background information about the ISS.
And finally, here is a photo taken at the same moment:
2. Walking on the moon
Everybody has of course heard about the historic feat in July 1969 when two American astronauts first set foot on the moon. But do you know the story behind the spacesuit that they wore?
It was made by the International Latex Corporation at their Playtex division, known for producing female garment. Their employees were responsible for manually sewing all the 4 000 pieces that made up each spacesuit. It consisted of 21 layers of synthetics, neoprene rubber and metallized polyester films, which protected Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from the extreme climate conditions on the moon surface. Each suit cost in the region of US$ 100 000 to US$ 250 000!
Read more about this fantastic story in reference #3 below. And in reference #4 is mentioned a book called ‘The golden thread’ in which the author Kassia Saint Clair gives even more details about the whole process of developing and manufacturing this lunar edition of a spacesuit.
3. Dog years
In my post of 2016-06-14, I wrote about our dog Prins, who has was commemorating his 7th birthday, counted in human years, that day. Thus, last month he completed 10 human years.
However, as I also wrote then, the second year and onward for a dog corresponds to a 7 times longer period of time. That means that last Sunday, 2019-07-28, Prins turned himself into the oldest living creature in our family, at least within his conception!
And here is a photo of Prins in his spacesuit, somewhat cheaper than Neil’s and Buzz’s, but equally well made by his human mother:
Today is the brightest day of the year on the Northern hemisphere, it is the day of the Summer solstice. You may remember that I already wrote about it briefly three years ago, on 2016-03-20, but here are some more interesting facts:
1. Summer solstice
The Summer solstice is the day of the year when one of the Earth’s hemispheres is located as close to the sun as possible. On the Northern hemisphere it happens around June 21 and on the Southern hemisphere around December 21. As a consequence, this is also the longest day of the year, considering the time from sun rise to sun set. But it also means that on the opposite hemisphere, it is the shortest day of the year. Read reference # 1 below for more information about the solstice.
So, which is the difference in duration of daylight in a particular place, if we compare those two dates? Well, the closer you live to the North Pole or the South Pole, the bigger the difference in time. You have probably heard about the expression “Midnight sun”, which is a phenomenon observed by those who live within the Arctic circle. As an example, in Kiruna, the northernmost city in Sweden, this year its habitants are lucky to have days with 24 h daylight from May 28 all through to July 16, a total of 50 days! But at the time around the December equinox, it is of course the opposite. From December 11, 2019 to January 1, 2020, during a total of 22 whole days, the Sun does not appear above the horizon not even a single minute!
And the closer one lives to the Equator, the less difference in time between the longest and the shortest day of the year. As an example, in Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazônia, located 2 degrees South of the Equator, the difference is only 22 minutes, and in Macapá, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amapá, located exactly on the Equator, every day in 2019 is 12 h 7 min long. In my town Paranavaí, located slightly North of the tropic of the Capricorn, thus within the tropics, today is only 10 h 43 min long, whereas on December 21 it will be 13 h 34 min, a difference of 2 h 51 min. Reference #2 below has a link to a site that gives such information for any place on Earth, well worth studying.
2. UTC #1
And speaking about time, maybe you have noticed that the old abbreviation GMT (which stands for Greenwich Mean Time) is more often these days exchanged to UTC, how come?
I believe it is a matter of jealousy. Although the time settings for the globe are maintained within a zero meridian passing through the Greenwich observatory in UK, why should the British people have the privilege also to the name? So instead, UTC was introduced. Now, what does UTC stands for, exactly?
The fact is that it is a fabricated “abbreviation” involving English and French. Some centuries ago, the French had their own zero meridian for time, passing through Paris, but they had to succumb to Greenwich in that sense. So, as a compromise, they managed to enforce the denomination UTC. In English it would be similar to “Coordinated Universal Time” (CUT), and in French “Temps Universel Coordonné” (TUC), so UTC is not a bad compromise. Reference #3 has the whole story about it.
3. UTC #2
While I was doing research about UTC #1, I remembered that UTC is also the (real) abbreviation of a technical university in France, where I studied in the 1970s. I already wrote something about it on 2017-11-11, but here comes more. This UTC means Université de Technologie de Compiègne. It is a technical university belonging to the French state, created in 1972, and since 2012 it makes part of the group of Sorbonne Universities. It has a reputation of being more integrated into the society, with frequent trainee periods in the French industry, as well as many interchange programs with other international universities, than the traditional theoretical French technical universities, e.g. École Polytechnique.
I studied there between September, 1978 and June, 1979, exactly 40 years ago. During that year happened an interesting fact, a group of students from China came to study at our university. It was a sensation at that time, because China was extremely closed to external activities. This photo shows the Chinese students, taken in February, 1979. They have since kept the contact and met year after year and update themselves. See also reference # 4 below. At the bottom of that page you can also find the complete magazine edition of April 2019, both in French and English.
4. ISS flies over Paranavaí
The sensation today here in my home town was the passing of the international space station (ISS). I had heard about it before, that it would be possible to see it with the naked eye, but never had the chance to actually see it. See also reference #5 with the announcement.
Update on 2019-07-12
Today we had a chance of viewing the ISS even better and for longer. And it did not hurt at all that the moon was eager to also play a vital part of the scene, being half way between the crescent and full moon phases. See the photo below. Reference #6, which tells the ISS passing date and time for any location on the earth, said the following about this event:
This is post # 150 of my blog. So let us celebrate with a good piece of grilled meat!
Dalolio, a popular store meat store in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil. People line up to buy meat for the weekend, either raw for them to grill it themselves or already grilled meat, from one of the big smokers to the left. Photo taken on 2017-04-23.
The photo above shows people lining up to buy the main ingredient for their Sunday lunch, the meat. During the week, this popular store sells only raw meat, but on Sundays there are also the big smokers you can see on the left side of the photo, so that its patrons can enjoy their lunch without the need for grilling the meat themselves. It was taken on 2017-04-23 in Paranavaí, PR, Brazil.
But people do not live only off food, the soul needs its take, as well. However, another store in the same city, which main activity is to sell religious articles, also offers grilled food, true to their motto ‘Burger and Bibles’. See for yourselves below:
Lunch is being prepared outside the store for religious articles. Photo taken on 2017-07-14.
Maybe you remember my post in the beginning of this year, 2017-01-29 ? In it I showed that there is a movement in the US state of California which aims to break away from the US federation. Since I had not heard so much about it afterwards, I decided to take the opportunity and ask the former correspondent for Radio Sweden in New York, Agneta Furvik, during her radio program last Thursday, when her listeners could call in (or send a message) and ask about anything they want to know about USA. By her side, Agneta had other experts in American matters: American political scientist, Katherine Angelo Hanly; Professor of North American studies at Uppsala University, Dag Blanck; and her former colleague as correspondent in Washington DC, Inger Arenander. You can see them and hear their opinions (in Swedish) in reference # 1 below.
For those of you who do not understand Swedish, I can summarise that neither of them believes that there is any major risk of a Calexit in 2019.
Although we are in the winter season on the southern hemisphere, there are so many beautiful things to enjoy. A good example of that is shown in the photo below. It is the glorious tree named Ipê roxo in Portuguese or Pink trumpet tree in English, with its intense lilac colour. I took the photo in the geographical center of Paranavaí, PR, Brazil, this morning. More information can be found in reference #1 below.
A photo from Marco Zero, the city’s geographical center, in Paranavái, PR, Brazil, showing the magnificient Pink trumpet tree (Handroanthus impetiginosus) in bloom, taken on 2016-07-03.
But not all Brazilian cities are that pleasant. Folha de S. Paulo today reports that neither of the four environmental problems, which the organizers of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro had promised to solve, will be concluded for the games. They are: treating the waste before dumping it into the sea, where the olympic sailing events will take place, cruising in the middle of the garbage; clean the lake of Jacarepaguá, bordering the olympic village; clean the lake Rodrigo de Freitas and open it for bathing; and plant trees in the native forest known Mata Atlântica. Read also reference #2 below.
So, where would you like to be in August, Paranavaí or Rio de Janeiro? Although I am a sports fan, I have already made my choice, and maybe I will see some highlights from the games on TV.
Finally, here are two interesting topics from today’s program “Godmorgon, världen” on Radio Swedens channel 1, in Swedish:
What is wrong with referendums? A very interesting column by Göran Rosenberg (Reference #3 below)
Which is the secret of Iceland’s success in football? Fagnaðarlæti Island! (Reference #4 below)
Training for 8- and 9-year old kids on the Icelandic island of Vestmannaeyjar, population 4 000. Photo taken by Jonna Burén / Sveriges Radio.
Rio de Janeiro is scheduled to host the 31st Summer Olympic Games later this year. But how was it that the city got its name and what does it mean?
Rio de Janeiro literally means the January River. The reason is that when the Portuguese explorer Gaspar de Lemos discovered the Bay of Guanabara on January 1, 1502, the Portuguese word for both river and bay was ‘rio’, and hence the origin of the name. When the city was founded by Estácio de Sá on March 1, 1565, its name was designated as São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, as a tribute also to the ruling Portuguese king, D. Sebastião.
Every city in Brazil has a day once a year when they pay a tribute to their patron saint, and when there is a local holiday. In the case of Rio de Janeiro, in consequence with what was said above, it is Saint Sebastian, and since his day is January 20, today is a local holiday in Rio de Janeiro, as well as in many other Brazilian cities, that also venerate Saint Sebastian, e.g. São Sebastião (state of São Paulo), Paranavaí (state of Paraná), Paraisópolis (state of Minas Gerais), as well as some other 250 cities all over Brazil.