Saturday, February 05, 2022

CoViD-19: US Surpasses 900,000 COVID Deaths | CDC Study: Masks Actually Work (Duh) | Disabled Shouldn't Mean Disposable | Oil at $100 A Barrel is 100% Intentional |

Nova's First Wood Shop Project, Modeled By Jacaranda (Taken 2.3.22)

I wasn't really gonna finish a post today, but Nova has a derby scrimmage on Saturday morning so everyone else is asleep and I am wide awake for two reasons: I drank a bottle of Mexican coke with our late dinner and I was pretty much in bed all day with miserable cramps. Nobody tells you that this is what happens in middle age: your periods suck worse than ever, you can't recover from anything as quick as you used to, and you become invisible to the world. I finally sucked it up and took some Advil so hopefully that was the worst of my week. 

We actually did have a good night when I finally forced myself vertical. We've always wanted to go to Astronomy nights at Mission Trails but always have something else going on, poor visibility with our typical coastal cloud cover, or we forget. This time I set an alert on my phone, so we piled on layered of clothes and jackets and went to the Kumeyaay Campground day use parking lot, where about 15-20 astronomy enthusiasts set up telescopes. These guys (and they're all older, white men...this sort of hobby has a very expensive barrier to entry) had so much gear. Tables with laptops and scopes and laser pointers and screens and cameras and tablets and massive telescopes, some 4-5' long and a foot in diameter. And they all love their hobby and want to talk to everyone about everything they know. We saw the moon, but among them that is considered super basic, so most of them were focused on the Orion Nebula, the Flame Nebula, and one guy was obsessed with a cluster called Almach, or Gamma Andromedae - visible and bright to the naked eye, but actually made up of 4 stars that dance in a beautiful rotation, which he made 4 volunteers demonstrate, including Nova. We also learned about Betelgeuse, which they said is an enthusiast's touchstone because it could explode at any second and would be visible for two weeks, even in the day sky, though they assured us is no danger to us. 

On our way to grab El Panson, Nova commented how it can all make you feel so insignificant as a blip on a blip in a blip of a moment in the expanse of space and time, and I guess that's what people love about astronomy -- getting out of your own little head for just a minute. It was super cool and I think we'd definitely go back again, or maybe join a similar gathering when they group up in Anza Borrego. 

After dinner we helped my dad and these back and forths are killing us on gas, especially after two years of barely driving at all, so I thought about the cost of gas and had some thoughts below. Meanwhile, the US surpassed 900k known deaths, California surpassed 8M cases, and at the current pace, San Diego could hit 5000 deaths in the next 12 days or so. 

Stay safe out there. 

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