Category Archives: Current Events

‘Super blue blood moon eclipse’ coming for the first time in 150 years

Mark the date, the blood moon or blue supermoon is coming in a rare lunar event which happens only every 150 years.

Three separate celestial events — a supermoon, a blue moon and a full lunar eclipse — will occur simultaneously on January 31.

Just weeks after 2018’s first supermoon on January 1 and 2, this astronomical rarity of events is being called a super blue blood moon eclipse.

This particular blue moon will likely look red in some areas, because of the total lunar eclipse which can give the moon a red tinge, giving it the name blood moon.

This confluence of events has not happened since the second half of the 19th century. And January’s blue moon will be followed by another blue moon in late March.

They are also in a supermoon trilogy, which began last month.

The phenomenon “supermoon” occurs when the moon becomes full on the same day it is at or near its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

NASA said this year’s first supermoon, which illuminated skies across the world, was the “biggest and brightest” one for 2018.

It appeared 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the supermoon on July 27, 2017, with pictures of it posted on social media by people around the world.

Also called a “Wolf Moon,” because in early times it appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages, its arrival caused tidal surges worldwide.

The full moon on January 31 is called a blue moon because it is the second full moon in a calendar month. This only happens every two to three years on average, giving rise to the saying “once in a blue moon.”

Even rarer is the fact there will be two blue moons in the first quarter of 2018, and they are in a series of three supermoons.

Following the two full moons occurring in January, the calendar month of February will have no full moon.

In March, however, there will be two full moons, with the blue moon on March 31.

NASA is encouraging people to use these rare lunar events as a chance to study the moon.

“The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the moon, not just that once but every chance they have,” said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.



England: New $3 Billion Dollar Aircraft Carrier Has A Huge Leak



The vast warship is letting in 200 litres of water every hour due to a faulty seal around one of its propeller shafts

THE Royal Navy’s new £3.1billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has a leak so serious it may need to go back into dry dock — for repairs that will cost millions.

A faulty seal around one of the vast warship’s propeller shafts means 200 litres of sea water pour in every hour.

The Royal Navy’s new £3.1billion aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has a ‘significant’ leak that may cost millions

Insiders said there is a “significant” defect with the stern seal, an inflatable rubber ring that fits around one of the propeller shafts.

The problem was spotted during sea trials.

Top Brass are furious because the carrier, the UK’s largest ever warship, had the fault when it was delivered by ship building partnership the ­Aircraft Carrier Alliance.

That means the manufacturers will have to pay for the repairs, not the Ministry of Defence.

New Britian father facing deportation takes sanctuary at Old Lyme church


New Britain father that was set to be deported Friday has taken refuge at a church in Old Lyme.

Mariano Cardoso Senior was given a deportation order by Hartford Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials with a departure date set for Friday, December 15th 2017. Cardoso has taken refuge at the First Congregational Church on Ferry Road in Old Lyme.

Mariano Cardoso Senior was given a deportation order by Hartford Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials with a departure date set for Friday, December 15th 2017. Cardoso has taken refuge at the First Congregational Church on Ferry Road in Old Lyme.


What Goes Around, Comes Around: Rentals

GameStop is launching a game rental subscription called PowerPass


Game Stop 

the video game store that has fallen from grace in the era of digital downloads, will start offering a subscription rental program, according to Mashable.

Over the past decade, it’s become incredibly easy to get your hands on a new video game without ever leaving the comfort of your couch. Alongside Steam, both Sony and Microsoft offer digital download access to just about any game you might want, making the prospect of getting up and buying a physical disc much less attractive.

So GameStop is changing up the business model.

For $60, subscribers will have the ability to rent as many pre-owned games as their gamer heart desires, so long as they only rent one game at a time. The $60 subscription, called PowerPass, lasts for six months at a time, and will include one free game to keep at the end of the subscription period.

To get in on the rental subscription, users must sign up for GameStop’s Power-Up Rewards program. Luckily, this program has a free tier, which makes users eligible for the rental subscription.

GameStop has had a rough go of it recently, with share prices falling 8 percent on the heels of its latest earnings report. It’s video game retail business, in particular, dropped 3.4 percent in Q2.

A rental subscription allows GameStop to offset its troves of pre-owned game inventory while getting revenue from subscriptions.

Mashable reports that the program will launch in November 19, just in time for the holidays, and could prove to be the gift that keeps on giving.

L’histoire de la Journée Columbus et de la Journée des peuples autochtones

Vandalized Christopher Columbus statue à New Haven.


Pour certains, le deuxième lundi d’octobre est une célébration de Christophe Colomb, l’explorateur italien venu dans les Amériques. Pour d’autres, c’est l’occasion d’examiner de manière critique l’héritage de Colomb et de célébrer les gens qui vivaient ici bien avant son arrivée dans le cadre de la Journée des peuples autochtones.

Columbus Day est une observation de l’anniversaire de l’arrivée de l’explorateur sur une île dans ce qui est maintenant les Bahamas le 12 octobre 1492. De nombreux Américains italiens honorent leur héritage à la Journée de Colomb avec des défilés et des festivals.

Cependant, ces dernières années, les indigènes et d’autres se sont ralliés contre les vacances, affirmant que Colomb a asservi et assassiné beaucoup de peuples autochtones. Il y a maintenant un mouvement croissant pour réclamer la journée en l’honneur des peuples autochtones et leurs cultures et contributions uniques.

Yom Kippur, Holiest Day Of The Jewish Year, Begins Tonight

Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, begins at sundown Friday.

Yom Kippur is the day of atonement. It marks the end of a 10-day period of reflection and repentance beginning after Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

Observant Jews will fast for 25 hours.

Yom Kippur ends at sundown Saturday with a blast from the shofar, an ancient instrument made of a ram’s horn.

What Ameican Commuter Trains Can Learn From Paris

Starting in the 1970s, Paris connected its suburban rail lines to form the RER network. Instead of ending in stubs in the central city, the RER runs as an express subway through the city proper. Using time-of-day trip data*, we can compare the RER to its American counterparts.
While the largest share of boardings in the Paris suburbs is in the morning peak, there is also substantial ridership in the afternoon and evening. In contrast, commuter rail in the U.S. is tilted much more heavily to peak hour ridership.”
U.S. commuter railroads are often full to seated capacity during peak hours but only carry a few people per car at other times. An entire off-peak MBTA train might have, at its fullest, 60 passengers. This is not the case in Paris, where midday RER trains routinely leave the city with every seat full.
There are two main reasons for this: service frequency and land use.
American commuter rail stations are typically surrounded by parking. The intent is for suburban commuters to drive to the park-and-ride and take the train to the central business district. Few middle-class workers would be willing to live car-free near such stations and take the train to the city: They’d need a car to run errands, and the stations themselves are too hostile to walking…

In contrast, there is ample development next to suburban train stations in Paris. In Bourg-la-Reine is high-rise housing projects — behind the buildings  there’s a supermarket. Many Parisian suburbs are poor, but Bourg-la-Reine is solidly middle-class, and even in rich suburbs, such as those on Transilien lines L, N, and U, there is high off-peak ridership. In those areas, people can live car-free near a train station, do most errands on foot, and take the train downtown for work.
In California we are slowly making progress building new higher density housing near regional and transit rail stations. This is a recent photo at the Claremont Metrolink Station in Los Angeles County near the San Bernardino County border. Photo by Noel T. Braymer

AMTRAK’S Mr. Fixit

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

I’m a plumber, Amtrak’s new president and chief executive said at the outset of a conversation this week with writers for Trains Magazine. Wick Moorman began by noting that he didn’t take the top job last September 1 with an eye toward staying very long. He’s vague on how long his short tenure will be—I’m going to guess 12 to 18 months. But he wants to accomplish a few things before he leaves, and one of them is to fix the railroad’s plumbing.

By that, he means the way the company is run and managed. Let’s be frank and admit that Amtrak has drifted more and more toward acting and behaving like an agency of the U.S. government. That’s what the Federal Railroad Administration would no doubt like it to be, and Congressional directions to FRA to act as Amtrak’s overseer have pushed the company in that direction.

Moorman would like to have Amtrak behave more like a for-profit company, which in fact it is. He wants employees and their managers to be trained to do the jobs they are hired to do and then be held accountable. He wants Amtrak to be respected within the railroad industry for its competence (today I don’t think it is). He wants customers to get off his trains believing they got their money’s worth and feeling that they were treated with respect.

But he doesn’t think Amtrak is “broken.” It just needs some fixing, and he is Mr. Fixit, the plumber who will tighten the management pipes.

His other overarching goal is to find and groom a permanent successor who will continue to run Amtrak in a professional manner. There are a couple of people within the organization capable of this. I won’t ruin their chances by revealing their names. But I suspect that by the middle of 2017 someone will be hired from outside or promoted from within to a job just under that held by Moorman, and then you’ll know who the successor-in-training is.

I get the impression from our conversation with Moorman that his day-to-day attention will be directed first of all to securing funding for needed improvements to the Northeast Corridor, which Amtrak owns, and secondly to improving Amtrak’s relations with states that support the shorter-haul trains. It’s fair to say most states which pay for Amtrak trains feel they are overcharged based on what they get in return. Indiana has rebelled, putting marketing and equipment of the Hoosier State in the hands of short line operator Iowa Pacific Holdings. Other states would like to do the same, but don’t know how. Frictions between Amtrak and the states are a sore that begs to be healed, and this appears to be high on Moorman’s agenda.

As for long-distance trains, he recognizes that they are Amtrak’s face to the world. But they are not where his energies will be concentrated.

In short, don’t look for Amtrak’s world to be visibly changed by Wick Moorman. Much of what he accomplishes will be below our radar. But if Wick does what he has set out to do in his few months there, Amtrak will be changed for the better, if mostly out of sight. We would all applaud such an outcome. The flip side is that if it’s more trains and billion-dollar orders for new equipment you want, wait for his successor.

This is my take on the meeting, from 35,000 feet. Read much, much more in the March issue of Trains, from my colleagues Don Philips and Bob Johnston.—Fred W. Frailey

GE to establish energy firm combining several businesses

HARTFORD, Conn. — General Electric Co. has established an energy company that combines its LED, solar, energy storage and electric vehicle businesses and a software system to help customers improve efficiency.

The Fairfield, Connecticut-based conglomerate said Wednesday the company, known as Current, will begin with more than $1 billion of revenue and build on the company’s energy businesses. It will be based in the Boston area and have a presence in California’s Silicon Valley, though exact locations weren’t provided.

Through its software GE will analyze energy consumption and provide customers with data detailing patterns of use and recommendations to improve efficiency.

GE says customers include Walgreens, Hilton Worldwide and JPMorgan Chase.

Current is expected to create about 200 jobs. Maryrose Sylvester, a former president and CEO of GE Lighting, will serve as CEO.