Wandering Wednesday

First, from Wikipedia:

 

Wandering, in people with dementia, is a common behavior that can cause great risk for the person, and is often the major priority (and concern) for caregivers. It is estimated to be the most common form of disruption from people with dementia within institutions. Although it occurs in several types of dementia, wandering is especially common in people with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This can be due to forgetfulness and also to a frequent need for stimulation.”

 

My post titles are not intended to be disrespectful or to make fun of people with illnesses. As regular readers know, I like alliterative titles and alliteration, in general, and sometimes my posts are not “linear.”

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I found a statement by GM Vice-President Steve Hill, as reported here, to be most interesting. Hill remarked that the median household income of a mid-engine Corvette buyer is $76,000 higher than those who purchased a C7 Corvette. That is not a small difference.

If this difference holds, it is evidence that many people in the market for high-performance cars were, indeed, put off by the front-engine design of previous Corvette generations. Maybe Chevrolet/General Motors knew what they were doing, at least in this context. OK, a couple of photos:

 

See the source image

 

I can’t imagine anyone reading this blog wouldn’t know, but the top photo (credited here) is of a C8 Corvette and the bottom photos are the C7 Corvettes that my wonderful wife and I own. I no longer feel that she will definitely buy a C8 convertible.

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I found this CNBC video to be most interesting as well. It is a 15-minute report on why Japanese automakers are still producing sports cars in the “age of SUVs.” If you’re reading this blog, then I think you would enjoy watching it.

One of the reasons the Japanese auto industry is still making cars like the new Supra is to distinguish themselves from the rest of the industry by giving people the option of buying cars for the fun of driving and not for grocery shopping and schlepping the kids. With rare exceptions like the Corvette, American car companies (at least GM and Ford) have basically abandoned the coupe and sedan markets. In the piece, the narrator also quotes some “experts” who think it is premature to assume that SUVs and pickup trucks will always have at least a 70 percent share of the US market. From autonxt.net a picture of the aforementioned Supra:

 

See the source image

 

Yes, many JDM fans are unhappy with Toyota’s partnership with BMW that created the new Supra, that the car can be considered to be a re-skinned BMW. Hey, I think it’s better that the partnership was used to create this car and the new Z4 than to create another pair of SUVs.

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After the landslide in the 1972 Presidential election, many pundits proclaimed the death of the Democratic party. After Watergate just a couple of years later, many of those same pundits proclaimed the death of the Republican party. History is replete with examples of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future.

Today, a new administration takes office. While I am not a fan of either party, I hope that the rancor and vitriol of recent years fade, at least a little. The anger and extreme disrespect prevalent today are, in my opinion, a manifestation of arrogance and ignorance. NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology. Oh, the remark about arrogance and ignorance is not an attempt to channel Bull Durham.

 

Stay safe and be well.

 

#WanderingWednesday

#WealthyC8Buyers

#JapaneseSportsCars

#ToyotaSupra

#ArrogantAndIgnorantAmericans

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Getting Old Tuesday

I had quite the fall yesterday, caused simply by trying to get out of my jeans so I could put on my “night clothes.” It is a VERY good thing that the floor of the master bedroom is now covered in carpet instead of hard wood, but I am still quite sore this morning.

The combination of Meniere’s Disease and advancing age is wreaking havoc on my balance. While living in a one-story house usually accelerates the decline in bone density and cardiovascular health, I know that if I had had a similar fall at the top of the stairs, I wouldn’t be writing this post now. EVERYTHING is a trade-off.

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Some more pictures from the desert:

 

 

With a little research I have figured out why the smudged picture of Venus turned out that way. In low light an iPhone camera slows the shudder speed (to allow more light) so almost any movement will make the picture blurry. I cannot hold the phone still enough to get good photos in low light with my phone. Is that another manifestation of advancing age and/or Meniere’s? I don’t know.

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From this CNBC article comes a list of the states to which people are moving and from which they are leaving, according to U-Haul. OK, people using U-Haul to move may not be representative of the entire population, but it’s still interesting to see. Here are the top five growth states in 2020:

 

1. Tennessee
2. Texas
3. Florida
4. Ohio
5. Arizona

 

California ranked last in 2020, behind Illinois and New Jersey. California has been in the bottom three states since 2016 and Illinois has been in the bottom two since 2015, when U-Haul began ranking states. Everyone repeat after me: People Vote With Their Feet.

From this US News article comes this list of the top and bottom states in population growth since 2010:

 

1.Utah (17.1%)
2 (tied). Idaho (16.3%)
2 (tied). Texas (16.3%)
4. Nevada (16.1%)
5. Arizona (15.8%)
6. Florida (15.3%)
7. Colorado (15.1%)
8. Washington (14.1%)
9. North Dakota (13.4%)
10. South Carolina (12.6%)

41 (tied). Michigan (0.9%)
41 (tied). New Jersey (0.9%)
43. Pennsylvania (0.6%)
44. Rhode Island (0.3%)
45. Mississippi (-0.1%)
46. New York (-0.3%)
47. Vermont (-0.4%)
48. Connecticut (-0.6%)
49. Illinois (-2.0%)
50. West Virginia (-3.7%)

 

The first list is just a 2020 measure while the second list uses a ten-year period so I am not calling this an apples-to-apples comparison. By the way, I had to deliberately leave out the space between 1. and Utah or otherwise the WordPress editor would have indented the list. WHY does WordPress assume that every numbered or bulleted list has to be indented?! I had to copy the list to Microsoft Word and paste it from there, but WordPress still wanted to indent the list unless I left out the space.

Eight of the ten fastest growing states are west of the Mississippi River and all ten of the slowest growing states are east of the Mississippi. Most of the latter group are also in the Rust Belt and/or Northeast. More from the article:

 

“Of the 10 most populous states, eight have seen population growth decline since 2010, while California, once touted for its population growth that boomed between 2000 and 2010, has seen stark declines in growth, losing population between 2019 and 2020 for the first time since 1990. Illinois and New York also saw population losses in the last few years, with both states’ 2019-2020 population loss marking their highest such decrease in the last 30 years.”

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With the purchase of the 2015 Cadillac ATS, all of the ruminating over what to buy has ceased. With it, a large source of blogging material has disappeared as well.

As the vehicle world seems to be moving ever faster towards electric and SUVs/pickup trucks, I wonder just how much material I will have for writing about cars. I open the floor to suggestions about what to use as a source for automotive content. In the interim, a picture of the only car in my “inner sanctum” among Ultimate cars that could be acquired for a five-figure sum:

 

See the source image

 

Remember that the quest for a car to accompany our Corvettes began with a car like this 1965 Buick Riviera GS. At this moment in time, such an acquisition will simply not happen. Oh well…

 

#GettingOldTuesday

#DesertViews

#PeopleVoteWithTheirFeet

#EditingForFascists

#1965BuickRivieraGS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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A Surprise Addition To The Family

My wonderful wife and I certainly did not plan on this happening…no, she is not pregnant. We are both way past the age for that.

First, somewhat of a detour. Do you remember this car?

 

 

While on a “fact-finding” mission yesterday, look what we found:

 

 

The top photo was taken at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale in January, 2019; the bottom was taken yesterday while we were out test-driving more cars. Yes, it’s the same car, “The Blue Meanie” as I have dubbed it. What a small world!

I bid on the car–a custom 2014 Corvette convertible–at the auction and just missed winning it as my bid of $65,000 ($71,500 all in) was the next-to-last bid. Ultimately, the car was purchased for $77,000 all in. The car is being offered for sale for not much more than that, about $79,000.

At the dealership with “The Blue Meanie” we test-drove a Lexus RC and, holding my nose, a BMW 435i convertible. While it was a beautiful car (in Orange!) and drove well, the back seats in the RC were, indeed, too small to be useful. In fact, after we returned from the test drive, the manager asked us what we were looking for and then told us that the RC was not really suitable for four adults. Also, the asking price on both cars–above $30,000–was more than we wanted to spend.

This dealership was an independent without a large inventory and too many SUVs and 4-door sedans in that inventory. We were treated well, but they were trying to sell us a car.

We stopped for lunch (Jack In The Box drive-thru that we ate in the parking lot, I’m up to 44 tacos) and afterwards I suggested we see if we could find another Cadillac ATS coupe to drive. We were simply gathering more information, or so we thought.

While I drove, my wonderful wife found an ATS coupe not close to where we were or to where we live, but it was listed at what AutoTrader called a “Great Price” so we decided to see it. We arrived at the third largest Toyota dealership in the country in the middle of a big sales event.

Supposedly, this place had about 100 salesmen working yesterday. Anyway…we arrived and then notified the salesman who came out to see us that we wanted to see and to test drive the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe in their inventory. Here it is:

 

 

We took the car for a test drive and after we returned we asked for some “privacy” (not that we could actually have any in that setting) so we could discuss the situation. My wonderful wife has learned some things from me about negotiating and made what I thought was a fairly aggressive offer for the car. To our surprise, after the obligatory “I have to see my manager” they accepted our offer, almost 10% below the “Great Price.” I guess the offer wasn’t that aggressive, after all. However, I never expected to buy a car with a purchase price beginning with a “1.” That 2015 ATS is now ours although we still haven’t picked it up as we need to arrange a wire for the rest of the purchase price.

I also never expected to buy an ATS with the 3.6 liter/217 cubic-inch V-6 engine (321 HP/275 LB-FT of torque), but that’s what we bought. The color is called Majestic Plum Metallic and although the interior is black, the car’s windows have a decent amount of tinting.

This ATS drove very well, like the other one we drove. It is well-appointed and has usable rear seats and a decent-sized trunk. It has four new tires with a date code indicating they were manufactured in the 38th week of 2020.

I am under no allusion that the dealership didn’t make a healthy profit on the car. That’s their business and as long as we are happy with what we paid, then they are entitled to make a profit. Thanks to Austin for taking care of us and yes, I am aware he wanted to make a sale.

When we woke up yesterday we absolutely had no idea we would end the day with another car in our possession. Wish us luck with our new car.

 

#ASurpriseAdditionToTheFamily

#TheBlueMeanie

#2015CadillacATS

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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No, I haven’t forgotten the 50th anniversary of the Baltimore Colts winning Super Bowl 5. You can read the linked post to read about my experience that day.

 

990

 

The End Of Frugal Friday?

Originally, I was going to call today’s post “Frugal Friday, 25 Miles From Home Edition” and briefly talk about Charles Edwin Hatcher, better known as Edwin Starr. (He was a singer and the first of his two top ten hits was “25 Miles From Home.”) I was going to show the least expensive cars with engines of at least 8 cylinders no more than 25 miles from my home zip code.

All of those cars were either Camaros, Challengers or Mustangs. As my vehicle universe is far smaller than that of the rest of the world I am beginning to wonder if Frugal Friday has outlived its usefulness. I will always be grateful to David Banner (not his real name) for suggesting the feature, but after almost two years (the first Frugal Friday post was in February of 2019), I am reminded that all things must come to an end.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the topic? I would be happy to read them.

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One of the reasons Chevrolet/GM made the “radical” change to a mid-engine design for the Corvette was to bring new buyers to the Corvette market. Granted, the rollout was compromised by the damn virus and UAW strike, but so far that seems to be the case. According to Vice President of Chevrolet Steve Hill, two out of three C8 buyers are new to Chevy. [emphasis mine]

Interestingly, prospective C8 customers have been cross-shopping the new Stingray with its long-time rival, the Porsche 911, more than any other car. Since the 911’s price is in six figures and one can buy a nice C8 for $70,000-$75,000, it should be no surprise that many people are choosing the Vette. Of course, the Corvette has long been an unbelievable bargain in the world of performance cars. It’s just that a lot of buyers in that market would not consider buying a front-engine car. You can call them “snobs” if you like, but people’s perceptions and preferences are what they are.

From Car Buzz, a picture of a 2021 Corvette:

 

See the source image

 

We see a lot of C8 Corvettes here in the desert, but we see A LOT more Porsches. Obviously, the former is a brand-new model while the latter is not.

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The tile and carpet work are all done. My wonderful wife and I are very happy with the outcome. Although no one reading this has any frame of reference (well, except maybe K Squared), we are just overwhelmed at the transformation of the house from dark space to light space. Remember this photo?

 

 

We chose a local company over a “big box” retailer. The latter wanted significantly more money AND wanted additional bullsh*t fees AND wanted us to do some of the work! So far anyway, we are happy with our choice. Yes, the newly carpeted rooms have that new carpet smell. This, too, shall pass. Of course, little carpet fibers are still everywhere as you can see in the picture. We will vacuum this weekend.

Speaking of the weekend, I hope all of you enjoy yours.

 

#FrugalFriday

#2021ChevroletCorvette

#NewTileAndCarpet

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Throwback Thursday, TV Commercials

First…I must admit I am disappointed at the lack of votes for yesterday’s A Or B feature. Enough said…

 

These days, it is easy to avoid TV commercials and based on those I do see, almost all of them should be avoided. I have written of my extreme disdain for the Limu Emu and Doug commercials. I can happily report that we no longer do business with that company, in large part due to those commercials.

Some commercials, though, are still clever, but certain commercials from the past seem to continue to resonate. How many of you know who Jack Somack was? If I show you a picture you might recognize him:

 

Alka-Seltzer’s “Spicy Meatball” Grows Better With Age

 

The picture is from Ace Metrix, which is, apparently, a company that tests the effectiveness of commercials. This is a still from the famous Alka-Seltzer “Spicy Meatball” commercial. Reluctantly, I will publish a link to the commercial from a Minion of The Evil Empire. Jack Somack is the man in the commercial suffering through ruined take after ruined take. By the way, political correctness is not that new. According to Somack’s biography on imdb.com, despite its success the commercial was pulled from the air after protests from Italian-American anti-defamation groups that the commercial promoted unflattering stereotypes of Italians. By the way, according to imdb, Somack did not begin acting professionally until he was in his 50s. Maybe it’s not too late for me… 🙂

What commercials from the past do you remember fondly?

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Speaking of TV, 50 years ago was the middle of the 1970-71 TV season in the US. What was the #1 rated show for that season? Marcus Welby, M.D. That was significant as it was the first show aired on ABC to finish #1 in the Nielsen ratings for an entire season.

Robert Young came out of a seven-year retirement to play the lead role. I could swear I have read that thousands of people wrote letters to “Marcus Welby, M.D.” every year asking for medical advice, but I cannot find corroboration. From Nostalgia Central, a picture of the cast of the show:

 

See the source image

 

On the left, of course, is Robert Young. Elena Verdugo, who played nurse Consuelo Lopez, is in the center and James Brolin, Dr. Steven Kiley, is on the right. The show ran for seven seasons. As regular readers know, I am a fan of many TV medical dramas. My favorite show ever is House, M.D. My favorite show currently airing on US television is Transplant, a Canadian show airing on NBC about a Syrian refugee doctor working in a Toronto hospital.

 

#ThrowbackThursday

#TVCommercials

#MarcusWelbyM.D.

#disaffectedmusings

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A Real A Or B

OK, two pics first…

 

 

That white smudge is Venus. Not sure why the pic is so blurry; it looks fine on my phone. Must be a resolution thing. Any help, photobyjohnbo? Ironically, I named the photo “A Better Picture Of Venus” before I saw it here. No rest for the “wicked,” I guess.

 

 

That is my wonderful wife holding up my newest acquisition. While Guck Foogle T-Shirts are plentiful, I had to have this made. I will wear it as often as possible and when it wears out, I will buy one or two more. Fack Fucebook!

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OK, today’s A Or B is not a theoretical exercise. Tangent…looking out my office window can be quite the distraction. I can’t get a good picture because of the window screen and schmutz (“dirt” in Yiddish), but my eyes and brain are having quite the feast at present with the bands of orange, the cactus and the distant mountain peaks. Just since I began writing this tangent, the sky has developed a large orange-pink feature. (Sorry, I am partially color-blind and terrible at assigning the “right” name to many colors.) It’s still 10-15 minutes before “sunrise.”

Anyway, back to the cars…as every regular reader of this blog knows, my wonderful wife and I are on the verge of buying a car, I think. While we will make the final decision, of course, I would like to get your choice and read your thoughts about these two cars:

 

See the source image

 

The photo comparison is not apples to apples because the picture of the Lexus RC is of “studio quality” and the picture of the Cadillac ATS coupe is not.

OK, what do you want to know? For this exercise price does matter and assume the Lexus is $5,000 more expensive, let’s say $30,000 compared to $25,000 for the Cadillac. Assume the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine for each car.

The rear seats in the Cadillac are larger, but the trunk space is virtually the same. I have no “data” on how the RC drives because we haven’t driven one, yet.

If you want more info before casting your vote, please feel free to let me know. OK, Lexus RC or Cadillac ATS coupe? Thanks.

 

#AOrB

#FackFucebook

#LexusRC

#CadillacATSCoupe

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Tuesday Realization

Originally, I had intended to begin today’s post by offering my opinion/lament that real political choice in America has all but disappeared, etc. Many would argue with that assertion saying the difference between drumpism and socialism could not be more stark. I would say that if those are our only two choices, then we have no choices. I guess I did write what I had intended, after all.

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What do you think of this car?

 

See the source image

 

From the appropriately named Lexus Enthusiast comes this picture of a Lexus RC. This car is now on the radar screen as a candidate to be the Grocery Car/Taxi/Corvette Companion.

I have been trying to avoid “Been There, Done That” for this car and my wonderful wife has owned two Lexus cars. While the second one, an IS 250 C, was a disappointment, she really liked her first one, an SC 430.

Her first Lexus never gave her a day of trouble in the six years she owned it. It had plenty of power and a great ride. I think we could probably do a lot worse than an RC. By the way, I think the exterior styling of these cars is quite sharp.

The problem is that the least expensive of these are really just beyond what we want to spend for a car that is not likely to be driven more than 1,500-2,000 miles a year. Even non-F versions are usually in the low 30s, although examples without too many miles are occasionally offered in the mid to high 20s.

Those cars whose asking price begins with a “2” are almost always powered by a 2-liter/122 cubic-inch turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine that produces 242 HP/258 LB-FT. With rear legroom of less than 30 inches I don’t know how usable the rear seats are. The trunk has a very similar volume to that of the Cadillac ATS, which upon inspection seemed large enough to be practical. I guess we’ll have to test drive an RC. Oh darn…

Not having enough real choices is not optimal and neither is having too many.

 

#TuesdayRealization

#NoRealChoice

#LexusRC

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Three Years!

On this day in 2018 I wrote the first post for this blog, Disaffected Musings. I didn’t really want to include the link to the first post, as I think it is not worth reading, but decided that for the vast majority of readers who have not been following this blog since the beginning, it might be amusing to see.

I was literally in shock after the Evil Empire (aka Google) deleted my first blog and its 600+ posts because I had the “nerve” to appeal their decision to remove ads from the blog. America, Google and Facebook are evil. I do not understand how that has seemingly glanced off the collective skull of this country.

It is likely that later this month I will write the 1,000th post for this blog. I think WordPress will send me the code to display a badge acknowledging that “milestone.”

What does the future hold? This morning, during a text exchange with our good friend Eileen–whose birthday is today–I recounted a Vin Scully story. Do I have to tell you who Vin Scully is? How sad…he is an acclaimed sportscaster who called games for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 2016. That is the longest tenure of any broadcaster with a single team in professional sports history.

During a broadcast, he was talking about an injury to a Dodgers player quoting the team line that the player was day-to-day. Scully then said, “Aren’t we all?” We are all here one day, gone the next; we just don’t know when that transition will happen. I don’t mean to be morbid; what I am actually trying to do is to exhort all of you (and me) to take advantage of every day. Life is not about doing as little as possible. The path of least resistance is often a path to nowhere. Carpe Diem!

Thanks for reading.

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I have written about taking pictures of our Corvettes in our new venue. I had the opportunity to do so yesterday, although the picture displayed is merely the best of a bad lot. We had to wash our cars as they were covered in dust, probably exacerbated by the tile work which was completed on Saturday. Anyway…

 

 

The photo was taken post-wash. Actually, the wash simply consisted of hosing down the cars and then wiping them dry with a microfiber towel. The cars were not really dirty, per se, they were just dusty. I will get better photos and share them with you.

I have already begun a dialogue with a well-known “speed shop” in the area about more engine mods to my car. Here is one excerpt (Edgar!) from one of the emails I received from the owner of the shop, “…these cars are extremely reliable even with more power.”

The question is always “How much for how much?” I could get my Z06 close to 1,000 HP at the crank for about a third of what I paid for the car, but that’s more than I want to spend. If I am not willing to spend five figures, I can still get the car to well above 800 HP at the crank and about 700 at the rear wheels. Barring something awful and unforeseen, that’s probably the path I will take. The work will even include a dyno run, which makes me anxious and excited at the same time.

Carpe Diem! Life is what happens after you leave your comfort zone.

 

#ThreeYears!

#CarpeDiem!

#TwoCorvettes

#somanycarsjustonelife

#disaffectedmusings

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Solar System Sunday

First…the number of views for It Was The Best Of Days, It Was The Worst Of Days was a little more than half the number for An Extraordinarily Significant Day. In all honesty, that proportion is a little disappointing to me, but I thank those of you who viewed the earlier post.

When I include a hyperlink in this blog, it looks like this and I will never include a link to a site whose URL begins only with http and not https. Please feel free to click on hyperlinks; that’s part of the Internet. Thanks.

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OK, to the astronomy buffs in the audience. I live in metro Phoenix (really?, I had no idea!). At this time of year in the southeast sky before sunrise, a bright object appears. Is it Venus? Here is an attempt to show you and no, I am not referring to the moon, wiseguys.

 

 

If you look very closely just above and just to the right of the tall cactus, you can see the object. I woke up too late this morning to get a better picture. Anyway, anyone who can tell me what that is will receive major kudos.

More from the solar system:

 

 

That is, supposedly, the last photograph Cassini captured before it was vaporized by Saturn’s atmosphere. The Cassini mission (more accurately, the Cassini-Huygens mission, Huygens was the name given to the probe that landed on Saturn’s giant moon, Titan) was the result of a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

Here are some of the discoveries made during the mission:

 

  • Showed Titan to be an Earth-like body with seasonal cycles, wind and rain
  • Discovered a watery ocean beneath the surface of Enceladus, one of Saturn’s moons
  • Observed previously unknown structures, which were named “propellors,” in Saturn’s rings
  • Showed giant hurricanes at Saturn’s poles, including an hexagonal jet stream

 

 

This article is about NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, which has spent more than 3,000 Martian days on the surface of the Red Planet. A country/society that spends most of its time gazing at its collective navel instead of exploring is doomed to mediocrity. Here are some photos from NASA/JPL-Cal Tech/MSSS via the BBC:

 

Curiosity's Dusty Selfie at Duluth

Earth and Venus

Drillholes

 

Missions like the incredible Voyagers I and II, Curiosity, and Cassini-Huygens have increased our knowledge of our cosmic neighborhood by orders of magnitude and given us strong hints that extra-terrestrial life might be our neighbors. The day when political correctness squashes efforts at exploration is the day when we will become less human.

 

#SolarSystemSunday

#Cassini

#Curiosity

#KeepExploring!

#disaffectedmusings

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