Cluster Map

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pollyanna goes to Canada and the USA

Pollyanna has gone through an election campaign and its aftermath and now would like to get on with her life and yours. We shall presumably get a right wing government based on 67 out of 120 members and we shall see how well these idiots can really run a country. Maybe. if the public gets a good look at them not hiding behind some scapegoat such as Lapid, we can hope for an awakening. Pollyanna also announces that she, Titan and YandA are going to Canada in order to come out of Egypt and there will be no blogs until late April. Enjoy your respite. All four of them wish all their readers a happy and kosher Pesach. We wish all our Christian friends and readers a Happy Easter.

For starters, let us refer you to the Miriam Shlesinger Human Rights action blog. Over two years have gone by without Miriam and we continue to realize what we have lost. She got us into the human rights struggle. Please act on behalf of people who are so much in need of support in their trials and tribulations at the hands of oppressive regimes and corporations.


Pollyanna refers you this week to  the African Wildfife Foundation. Their mission:The African Wildlife Foundation, together with the people of Africa, works "to ensure the wildlife and wild lands of Africa will endure forever." In addition to the link given above to the Foundation Web site, Pollyanna offers you also a link to the Charity Watch analysis of the society. We think this charity is  worthy of your support.



Pollyanna mourns terrible and unnecessary loss of life. Seven children of one family died in a fire  in their home in Brooklyn a week ago  Friday. The mother and one daughter who managed to escape are in critical condition in the hospital. The children were taken to Jerusalem for burial. The  father is naturally distraught and no one can blame him. Yet, one must ask why there were no smoke detectors in the living quarters of the home and why a defective hot plate was left on overnight. He was away from his family for a Talmud study retreat. The poor man must be racked with guilt.. This is not the first fire in Brooklyn connected with observance of the Shabbat. It is wonderful to trust in the Lord, but one also needs to be competent. The tragedy has sparked a lively discussion of Shabbath safety. J.J. Goldberg in the Forward points out the dangers in observance. Certainly this is not a time for bashing the Orthodox, but more care should be taken with Sabbath observance.


An Airbus 320 of Germanwings (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) collided with a mountain in  the French Alps on Tuesday while en route to Dusseldorf from Barcelona. All 150 people on board perished. It is one of the worst air disasters in recent history and initially was inexplicable. The aircraft was flying in perfect weather and there were no distress calls from the crew. The plane crashed after an eight-minute descent from 38,000 feet.When French air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane at 10:53 a.m., it was flying at just 6,000 feet and it flew into the mountainside shortly afterward. The terrain in that region reaches heights well over 6,000 feet.

A rescue helicopter over the French Alps near the crash site of the Airbus A320 on Tuesday. Credit Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters
Among the passengers there was a class of 16 German high school students and two teachers, who were returning from a study program near Barcelona. It has now come out that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, locked the captain out of the cockpit and crashed the plane deliberately. It is hard to imagine why and it is doubtful if we shall ever know.

Loss of life is terrible and the loss of young life is the worst. Pollyanna weeps.


British Army pallbearers carried a coffin containing the exhumed remains of King Richard III to his final resting place: a marble tomb next to the altar in Leicester Cathedral. Credit Matt Short/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The skeletal remains of Richard III were reburied this week in Leicester Cathedral. He was killed at Bosworth Field in 1485 in the battle that led to the Tudor dynasty founded by Henry VII. He is still a controversial historic figure and the question of his guilt in the murder of his two nephews has never been fully resolved. In the meantime, we see him laid to rest with the final words of the Archbishop of Canterbury. “We have entrusted our brother Richard to God’s mercy,” he said, “and we now commit his human remains to the ground, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”


Exams that can determine a future for a person are far too often the motivation for massive cheating. Academic and educational institutions try to fight against it,but often the scale is too great. In India a new level of cheating has caused a major scandal to erupt. Family members scaled the walls of buildings in which the exams were held and over 300 people were arrested in Bihar province. Near riots took place as police were forced to evacuate the area by firing in the air. It is obviously a societal issue of massive scale and the government will have to address it, if they really want to preserve the integrity of the education system.
View image on Twitter
India Today         @IndiaToday
300 arrested in anti-cheating operations in 


Former star NFL safety Darren Sharper has pleaded (or plans to plead) guilty or no contest to rape and sexual assault charges involving nine women in four states. But thanks to his plea agreements and parole laws, it appears that he will end up serving only 10 years in prison for all those crimes.
Pollyanna thinks that this is outrageous as do many other progressives including one of his former teammates.
Sharper with attorney Leonard Levine.
One year per rape--give us a break.

BIRTHDAY PAUL ERDOS March 26 1913-September 20, 1996. 

Erdos and Terence Tao
In this 1985 photo taken at the University of Adelaide, Erdős explains a problem to young mathematician Terence Tao — who was 10 years old at the time. Photo by Wikipedia
He was one of the great mathematicians of the last century. During his stay in Israel in the 1950's, we actually heard a lecture from him. He was in many ways an eccentric, but his genius was beyond dispute.



We have promised to keep you up to date on the Dawn-Ceres news.


It appears that Ceres may be spewing water from a geyser as do Europa and Enceladus. If this works out, Ceres will join the club of objects in the solar system that may harbor life or have done so in the past.  Curiosity, the rover on Mars, has come up with more indications that, in the past, Mars may well have supported life. Stay tuned.
Curiosity rover on Mars
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, shown at the John Klein drill site, has found signs of nitrates, compounds that could have provided essential nutrients to living things, if they ever existed on the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Pollyanna likes this stuff.


Ruth Schuster, writing in Haaretz, tells us that a porcupine, innocently making a burrow in an archeological site, came up with a perfectly preserved oil lamp from the Roman-Byzantine period, about 1,400 years ago. Alas, it was confiscated by human archaeologists before the poor critter could sell it to a collector. Read all about it.
The Byzantine-era lamp found by a porcupine at Horbat Siv (IAA)
The Byzantine-era lamp found by a porcupine at Horbat Siv. Photo by Israel Antiquities Authority


Over the last century various challenges have been raised against Einstein's Theory of General Relativity and they have all failed. The problem is that the theory is not consistent with Quantum Mechanics and one or both will have to be modified. The Grand Unified Theory is the Holy Grail of physics. A new study, led by Tsvi Piran of the Hebrew University, a former student of ours, has provided another buttress for General Relativity in that it shows that photons in a vacuum have the same speed, regardless of their energy. One of the models that tries to reconcile General Relativity and Quantum Theory postulates a "foamy" structure of space-time. The result obtained by Piran and his team shows that if such foam exists it is on an impossibly small scale and the larger bubbles predicted do not exist. Cheers Tsvi!
Photo credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The different energies of light from a gamma ray burst arrived


There is no new What If? this week, so we will go with the latest Solar System prediction by Randall. Indeed, the Mars Rovers are wonderful.

Squirrel astrophysics is also of interest.

Squirrel Plan


We know people who blame Isaac Newton whenever something falls inconveniently. It apparently held in his lifetime as well:

Barney & Clyde Cartoon for Mar/25/2015

Below the Beltway used to be a feature of the Washington Post and Pollyanna loved it. Gene Weingarten still writes it now and again and here is the latest with which we identify strongly.

WuMo do a great job of making Shakespeare relevant to our times, both with Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet..

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