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These days, everybody and their dog is getting into the space race. Something is afoot. Great Britain, Mexico, China and India are all funneling large sums of capital, into their respective emerging space agencies.

With regard to one of NASA’s newest Astronauts José Moreno Hernández; oddly enough, the greatest criticism has come from the ranks of the ethnic Hispanics–lo Mexicanos de Mexico–if you will, instead of the ‘Norte Americanos or Chicanos.’

…an American engineer of Mexican descent and a NASA astronaut. He is currently assigned to the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-128.

Mission Specialist Hernandez, earned his astronaut wings, in August of 2009.  STS-128 (ISS assembly flight 17A) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Mr Hernandez is the US-born son of Mexican migrant farm workers. …Hernandez wanted to fly in space ever since he heard that the first Hispanic-American had been chosen to travel into space.

The first Mexican in space was Rodolfo Neri Vela. There seems to be some rivalry between the two astronauts–not on a personal level–so for as I know, but between the Mexicans and North American Hispanics. The Mexicans don’t really claim Hernandez as one of their own, favoring Neri Vela, instead. A Mexican National, Neri Vela, flew on the US Space Shuttle (STS-61-B) in 1985, and served as Hernandez’s inspiration to become an astronaut.

Incidentally, STS-128 also marked the first time two Hispanic Americans flew on the same Space Shuttle crew. John “Danny” Olivas of El Paso, Texas, made his second trip up into space, on STS-128, along with Hernández.

Always read the comments, please.

One commenter referred to him as: “…the second latino-american astronaut.” Another commenter, again referring to Hernandez as: ” no un chicano que habla espanol con acento gringo.” Translation. …not [really] a Chicano, but [a] Spanish speaker with a North American accent.

Either way, I think you’ll agree with Dr. F., when I say; the story of NASA engineer / astronaut José Moreno Hernández, is quiet an inspiration, regardless of which side of the river you grew up on.

see also:  Mexico Enters The Space RaceJose M. Hernandez – NASA’s Mexican Astronaut, John D. Olivas, Rodolfo Neri Vela

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last updated: 03-10-2010

Just like Laura Palmer, ticket kiosks and ticket validation machines are shown here, wrapped in plastic, on the occasion of Dr. F’s recent visit to the MetroRail’s MLK Jr. station.  Whether this new covering was for the protection of the fancy new machines from the elements or from vandalism, I cannot say. Last Summer’s brutal heat, sent the computers in the newly installed ticket machines, into a tizzy. Simultaneously, moisture was also a problem, as  “horizontal rains,” soaked the ticket machines temporarily disabling them. These and many other problems contributed to the delay in opening the Red line.

The weeds are all gone from last springs visit still, the rails are looking a bit rusty;  that should all soon change though, as a March opening is promised by Cap Metro for MetroRail’s Red Line.

Today we sent word to the Federal Railroad Administration…we expect to be operationally ready to begin service at the end of February.

Trains will be running again, but no paying customers–not just yet, anyway.

This doesn’t mean we’ll open the service at that time, though. At that point, Herzog will simulate full testing of everything for two weeks, and if things go well we’ll be ready to open later in March.

Originally scheduled to launch in 2008, passenger rail service, was delayed by a host of engineering, computer programing and signaling issues, several of which have yet to be resolved. In spite of this,  Cap Metro leaders say they are confident, and expect the rail line to begin operating sometime in March.

None of these are going to keep us from opening the system. Let’s be clear on this. These are not issues that will stop us from opening up…

Issues–smissues.  After firing its contractor Veolia Transportation,  Cap Metro awarded the commuter rail contract to Herzog Transit Services and the freight line contract to Watco Companies Inc., three-fourths of the rail’s “new start” FRA requirements have been addressed leaving only four major issues yet to be resolved.

But there are still issues with signal and crossing programs, the linchpins that delayed startup before.

Whatever label you hang on this story as it’s cause:  stumbling-block, linchpin, programing issues, the fact is, Austin has a passenger railroad, but without any riders, and by default no revenue being generated, no extra automobiles being taken off crowded roadways or carbon emissions saved.

Someday, hopefully someday real soon, this railroad’s gonna open, and when it does there will rise up a cry from the people of  “Hallelujah–it’s about damn time”.

see also:  capmetroblog.com, We’re opening in March, Cap Metro could begin running MetroRail by mid-March, Cap Metro confident MetroRail nearing completionMayor pulls support for vote on urban light rail

This is a follow-up to the original 2009 Frankensteam blog entry titled:  All Systems Go Capital MetroRail Prepares For Service

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The supposed “global cooling” consensus among scientists in the 1970s — frequently offered by global-warming skeptics as proof that climatologists can’t make up their minds — is a myth, according to a survey of the scientific literature of the era

“I was surprised that global warming was so dominant in the peer-reviewed literature of the time,” (1970’s) says Peterson, who was also a contributor to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 report.

see also: Revealed: the secrete evidence of global warming Bush tried to hide, guardian, Study debunks ‘global cooling’ concern of ’70s, COOLING CLIMATE ‘CONSENSUS’ OF 1970S NEVER WAS

 ...the majority of stations are reporting departures below normal thus far -- only Arizona, New Mexico and Texas have all stations reporting above normal.

"...the majority of stations are reporting departures below normal thus far -- only Arizona, New Mexico and Texas have all stations reporting above normal."

…developing.

see also:  3,000 Low Temp Records Set This July!,  Study debunks ‘global cooling’ concern of ’70s, COOLING CLIMATE ‘CONSENSUS’ OF 1970S NEVER WAS, AccuWeather.com

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Thanks to all the new visitors who commented on this blog entry, when Coast To Coast Am linked over to FrankenSteams’ Log.

As an amateur weather observer, one of the first things I do in the morning after I turning on the computer, is check the East Conus Water Vapor Loop and today, this is what I saw.Summer_from_Hell-ECWV

GOES Eastern US SECTOR Water Vapor un-retouched Image -- July 15th, 2009

Demons fiery breath roasts Texas -- Summer from Hell

Demon's fiery breath roasts Texas, in the "Summer from Hell," a phrase recently popularized by George Ure of urbansurvival.com fame.

updated:  July 26th, 2009

As if it were ripped straight from the front page of a supermarket tabloid, this morning’s satellite image shows what we’ve all been thinking:  namely, there must be some exceptional reason it’s so damn hot in Texas and now we know. Demons! The fiery-hot breath of flaming demons, stoke “The Summer from Hell, ” roasting Texans in their own juices.

Austin-Camp Mabry weather records go back to 1898 and show that no other 30 day period has been hotter than what we’ve just endured!  —Burton Fitzsimmons

Hottest 30 Days in Austin Weather History!

“THE 30 DAY PERIOD FROM JUNE 15 TO JULY 14 AND AGAIN JUNE 16 TO JULY 15 THIS YEAR IS SO FAR THE WARMEST 30 DAY PERIOD OF RECORD AT AUSTIN MABRY SINCE 1898 AND AT SAN ANTONIO SINCE 1885.” — National Weather Service

San Antonio residents encouraged to ‘rat-out‘ water wasters. Deep in the heart of Texas, cattle are not king.

see also:  State Drought MonitorGOES Eastern US SECTOR Water Vapor Image, Burton Fitzsimmons, National Weather ServiceUrban Survival, Summer From Hell, CoastToCoastAM, Internet meme, Pareidolia

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updated January 25th, 2010.   

After a bang-up start to ss24 in November of 2009, the Sun, again entered a quiescent period, devoid of sunspots–until January 15 or there about, when an M class flare disrupted terrestrial radio reception, creating spectacular auroral light shows in Earth’s polar regions.    

Last week, the sunspot’s magnetic field erupted five times, producing a string of M-class solar flares that marked the strongest spate of solar activity in nearly two years. Although it has since calmed, the [maelström] could erupt again at any time.  

see also:  ss1041, spaceweather.com  

updated:  November 30th, 2009    

Got off to a good start but has ‘petered out,’ so ta speak. A check of spaceweather.com, as of Monday, November 30th 2009, reveals sunspot activity has again returned to zero.    

The sun is blank–no sunspots.    

Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 7 day
2009 total: 250 days (75%)
Since 2004: 761 days
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
     

The new solar cycle has began with a bang. A cluster of sunspots 60 to 80 times the size of the Earth have emerged on the far side of the Sun signaling the beginning of what astronomers refer to as, “Solar Cycle 24.” This newest sunspot is thought to be 60 to 80 times the size of Earth and shaped like the letter “S”. The last major sunspot activity happened over two years ago and produced the most powerful x-class flare yet –measuring x28. …and then all went quiet as far as solar storms go. pictured above: A typical sunspot compared to the size of the Earth.     

 7191_ss_earth    

Sunspots have all but vanished in recent years sparking vigorous debate in the scientific community as to the effect reduced solar output would have on the Earth’s climate. Some even speculated a global cooling was in the works if solar activity didn’t pick up soon.      

Fire and Ice     

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.     

-– Robert Frost      

 Global climate change is upon us…No one ever thought a black man would (really) become president of the United States…at least it was said…if or when and until pigs fly…now we have Swine Flu. No one ever expected frost in July, but it is Canada were talki’ about, after all.      

Temperatures dropped to a record low in Prince Edward Island overnight Tuesday, with reports of frost throughout the province.  An official record low of 3.8 C was set early Wednesday morning at Charlottetownairport. The previous record for that date was 5.1 C, set in 2005.  Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said that to his knowledge, frost has never been reported before in July in P.E.I.  “That 3.8 we got last night kind of sticks out as being lower than some of the other records for anytime in early July,” Robichaud told CBC News on Wednesday.  “So we’re looking at a significant event,” he said.     

Summer from Hell continues… Mean-whiles, deep in the heart of Texas, temperatures soar to record breaking levels as air conditioners drone on trying to keep southerners perspiration free. Meteorologist, Burton Fitzsimmons sums it up for us in his daily post.    

 Yesterday’s hottest included a record 106 at Austin-Mabry and 105 at Austin-Bergstrom, while Waco posted 102. The peak Wednesday heat index: 113 at Fort Hood. Yikes! Today’s records to beat: 105 Mabry, 102 Bergstrom, 104 Waco.         

 I‘ll be darned!         

Doc. F, awoke to cries and moaning — out I go at 3 am — squeezin’ oil into our old window unit, in a vain attempt ta keep it alive, for just one more Summer. We’ll see what mañana brings… same ol’ same ol’, I’ll bet.         

update:  she’s bought the farm…        

FrankenSteam’s 10 year old AC, has gone to it’s reward. The ‘Summer from Hell,’ was just too much for it;  the bearings froze up, and as my old pappy used ta say: That’s all she wrote.        

At this rate, Canada doesn’t sound so bad.        

soho_top see also:  SOHO, Space WeatherNew Solar Cycle Prediction, Sun’s storms set to intensify, We Never Had Frost In July, News8weather … previously noted. Solar.Cycle. 24 September 26, 2008         

         

Currently, awaiting ‘Solar Cycle 24’ to begin. So far, all we have is a clean disk –no sunspots.         

…the sun went through a period of sunspot ‘inactivity’ [emphasis added] from about 1645 to 1715. This period of sunspot minima is called the Maunder Minimum…The “Little Ice Age” occurred…during the Maunder Minimum. So the question remains, do solar minimums help to create periods of cooler than normal weather, and do solar maximums help to cause drought[s]…?       

The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle — and coldest part — of the Little Ice Age, during which Europe and North America, and perhaps much of the rest of the world, were subjected to bitterly cold winters. Whether there is a causal connection between low sunspot activity and cold winters is the subject of ongoing debate (e.g., see Global Warming).            

seee also: Solar Cycle PredictionTHE SUN AND SUNSPOTSMaunder Minimum Solar Cycle 24, Spotless Sun: Blankest Year of the Space Age,  We Never Had Frost In July       

pictured above: Solar Cycle 23-24 Updated Sept. 2008       

Recovered from YAHOO! 360 Blog

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