Why Peter Parker Denied to attend Dawn of monsters mission!

The suspended dust Pitt’s character marvels at while speeding across the lunar surface seems non-sensical in that air-less environment at first. But the Apollo astronauts observed what they called a “horizon glow” along the night/day line near where this scene supposed to take place. Recent studies have explained this phenomenon as a permanent dust cloud around the Moon created by impacts from high-speed particles from passing comets. The Geminid meteor shower is particularly strong contributor.

The film also gets the blue sunrise on Mars right. The sun appears about 2/3 the size of sunrises on Earth and blue in color as other wavelengths of light are scattered by dust particles in the atmosphere-starved Martian sky.

Fixing a punctured spacesuit with duct tape isn’t unreasonable. Duct tape has been an important part of the space program. It helped saved the Apollo 13 astronauts and was used to repair a lunar rover fender on Apollo 17. Ad Astra’s spacesuits are also very familiar – from the orange “pumpkin suits” worn by shuttle crews after the Challenger disaster to the helmet design which relied on the skills of the cinematographer to light actors faces rather than internal lighting used in films like Armageddon.

The interplanetary engines pictured in the film look like ion drives. These are already in use by the Deep Space 1, Hayabusa and Dawn missions. Ion drives use electricity to accelerate ions of a fuel like xenon or argon gas proving a small but steady amount of thrust.


Mexico’s Missing Marijuana Mystery

Every year, soldiers roam Mexico’s hinterland in search of illegal marijuana plots. Massive eradication campaigns have been part of Mexican life since the 1940s. No other country on Earth has impounded so much cannabis for so many years.

That could be changing. According to recent official numbers (p. 51), marijuana seizures and eradication declined steeply in 2013, to lows unseen since the early 1990s. Does this signal a major policy shift? Maybe. Here are the facts:

  1. Between 1995 and 2012, marijuana seizures averaged 1631 metric tons per year. In 2013, the total haul was 972 tons, 40% below the historical average. Even more surprising, less than half of the impounded volume was captured in the second semester (Note: I estimated second semester numbers by looking at this, p. 34). Traditionally, marijuana seizures are heavily concentrated in the months of October and November, right after the crop. Somehow, that did not happen in 2013.
  2. Eradication numbers are even more striking. From 1995 to 2012, Mexican authorities destroyed an average of 24,120 hectares (59,601 acres) of marijuana plots per year. In 2013, only 5,364 hectares (13,254 acres) were eradicated, almost 80% below the historical norm. And again, not much seems to have happened in the second half of the year, i.e., the prime months for marijuana eradication.

So what explains those less than impressive results? There are three distinct possibilities: Continue reading “Mexico’s Missing Marijuana Mystery”