LOOK UP AT NIGHT BUT DON’T FALL IN A HOLE

I will be writing a monthly article about the amazing and beautiful stars and other objects in the night sky. I’m excited about that! I will describe objects that can be seen with just your eyes or with binoculars. No need for telescopes. For August I’d like to interest you in the giant star Arcturus. It is the major star of the group of stars named Bootes. One Greek tradition considers Bootes as “ox-driver,” or “herdsman.”It looks kite-shaped in the sky. Bootes can be easily found by first finding the Big Dipper in the northwest ...

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THE CASE FOR A FEE ON FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS

As I type this article, a voice on the radio reports in an unemotional monotone on yet another natural gas explosion. This time it is in Kentucky and took another vibrant human life and injured five other people. Sun Prairie exploded not that long ago from another gas leak. Another life taken. Coal dust clogs the lungs of today’s young coal miners creating a generation of high school students in mining country whose fathers will likely not be alive to watch them receive a diploma. More lives sacrificed unnecessarily for the dirtiest fossil fuel we can easily ...

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Asian Carp: Too Little Too Late

“It is time that a permanent and effective solution be implemented to prevent the spread of this invasive species. The Great Lakes are the crown jewel of the Midwest, and the potential damage both environmentally and economically from Asian carp is too great to risk, which is why we have asked the corps to close the Brandon Road Lock.”   Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong”  Murphy's Law Wisconsin Public Radio recently had a story on the latest public statement on the Asian carp problem. The take ...

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CAN A HUMAN BEING REALLY EXIST ON MARS?

(James A. Lewis is from the Village of Maine and is a member of “Stars Are US” Astronomy Club) There has been a lot of discussion recently on TV about sending astronauts to Mars in the future. This seems exciting, but I am very much opposed to the idea. Why? The dangers pose huge risks to the astronauts. The cost of this trip is more than excessive. Regarding the dangers, the voyage to Mars and return will take about 22 months. The trip one-way takes nine months. The time spent on Mars will be about 4 months. Mars and the Earth must be ...

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WIND POWER: HOW SAFE IS IT FOR BIRDS?

Wind power is one of the sources of energy for our future. But how safe is it for birds and bats? Before I talk about the birds and bats, here are some other foes of birds. Pesticides kill 67 million birds a year. Autos kill 200 million birds a year. Outdoor cats kill 2.4 billion birds a year. The biggest long-term threat to birds and other wildlife is climate change. All of these foes are part of our current fossil-fuel society which is in the process of changing. Wind now supplies 6 per cent of our nation’s electricity which is ...

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DO YOU MISS FARMING?

“Do you miss farming?”I’ve heard that question often in the past few months. I appreciate being asked. Occasionally it comes from farmers who admit they couldn’t do what I’ve done—leaving the farm, that is.I understand. I realize because we were more of what I call a one-off situation. It was truly easier for us. There wasn’t a long line of previous family owners in our case.There are a number of things that make me realize the difference. The most significant is the pride folks take in how many generations of direct descendants are linked to the ...

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR

I had a good talk with a friend recently. I told him that I was really concerned about climate change, and why. In response, he said that the facts I shared were new to him. I suspect that more people need to know the facts and why appropriate action is required. Here is a brief summary: A certain amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide or CO2) has been necessary to keep our world from freezing. For many centuries the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere was roughly 280 parts per million ppm) and was maintained at this level by ...

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MUELLER REPORT FINDINGS

Have you read the Mueller Report or the summaries? Here are some highlights: The Mueller Report did not exonerate Donald Trump. Mueller said: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly didn’t commit obstruction of justice, we would so state.” Mueller also said, “…while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it does not exonerate him.” Mueller’s Report did not indict Donald Trump because of a Justice Department policy that a sitting president ...

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CHILD POVERTY IN WISCONSIN

Wisconsin has made little progress in reducing child poverty over the last two years, in spite of Wisconsin’s growing economy and record low unemployment rate, according to a report released earlier this week.The eleventh annual Wisconsin Poverty Report shows that according to the Wisconsin Poverty Measure, Wisconsin’s child poverty rate in 2017 was 10.1%, virtually the same as it was in 2015.  While higher earnings by parents led to a reduction in child poverty from 2016 -- from 12.0% to 10.1% -- this was offset by increased work-related costs and medical ...

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Questions About Patriotism

Tell a lie a thousand times and it becomes truth. Repetition is essential to influencing people. Repetition of lies and half-truths is used to manipulate and control people. Advertisers, dictators, and politicians understand this strategy. But repetition is also essential for learning. Truth also needs to be repeated if we are to learn and avoid repeating past mistakes. It is in this spirit that I repeat last year's 4th of July article. ********************************************************************************************************** “...

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