Monthly Archives: June 2015

Water in the cold of deep space

Liquid water cannot really exist for very long on Mars because of the low pressure and the low temperature. However, scientists believe that liquid water can/does exist on some moons of Jupiter even though it is much farther from the sun. How can that be you say…well, because of the many different moons in the Jupiter system the orbits are elliptical which means that the moons are often closer to Jupiter at times. This means that there are tidal forces at work that cause ‘tidal heating’ which is the stretching of the moon and the rocks moving and creating a lot of friction. This causes the heat which is enough to allow liquid water on the moon.

(The Great Courses – Life in Our Universe)

James Bland who was known as the Black Stephen Foster eventually got so popular that he got to perform without black-face.

When minstrel shows became popular the white performers wore black-face and the audiences got so used to everyone wearing that shade of black that even black performers had to wear black face so that there were no different ‘shades’ of black.

(The Great Courses – Great American Music: Broadway Musicals)

This is how DeGaulle came to power in post WWII France

When France was liberated after WWII Charles DeGaulle helped reestablish the government and elections, In 1946 he withdrew from all politics in France. Except for a brief period when he helped set up a new political party he kept away from politics and never attempted to be elected to any office. It was’t until 1959 that Charles DeGaulle became the leader of France and even then it was under very unusual circumstances. France was losing it’s foreign empire as countries such those in Indochina were fighting for independence. However many in France were insistent┬áthat Algeria remain a French colony despite a growing independence movement. The politicians in France were growing weary of the war and were ready to grant Independence but the military, especially in Algeria were not going to accept this. France was on the verge of civil war with the threat of a coup by the military when it was agreed to ask DeGaulle to become the leader with ‘extraordinary’ powers and no parliament for six months to deal with the situation. DeGaulle agreed and in the next couple years tried to steer a middle course that would eventually lead to Algerian independence but also to appease the military leaders with certain guarantees for France in Algeria. But the independence movements would not bargain which forced DeGaulle to back down as he could see that France was not going to win. ┬áThe military was again unhappy and did try a coup to take over but it was thwarted despite some early success in some areas of Algeria. Even after this attempt there were many plans to assassinate DeGaulle over this issue and one came very close to killing him and his wife as the were being driven in their car.

(Book – DeGaulle: The Ruler – Jean Lacouture)

The number of them trumps their size

It is estimated that there are 10**30 (that is a 1 followed by 30 zeros) microbes on the earth. Each one is about 1 / 1,000,000 meters long. If we put them side by side they would stretch for 10**24 meters. the average galaxy is 10**21 meters in length so the microbe line would span about 6 galaxies!

(The Great Courses – Life in our Universe)