Mar 22: Today Is World Water Day
Did you know that 75% of our body is made up of water? That is right. Our bodies are walking reservoirs. Meanwhile, 70% of the beautiful planet Earth we live on is water. Perfect, that means we are more or less in balance. Except there is a slight problem!
Nearly 96.5% of water on earth is in the oceans. It is salty and not fit for human consumption. Moreover, nearly 2.5% of the water is frozen in glaciers and on the poles. That leaves us about 1% of water as surface and ground water available for humans to consume.
Since 1992, the United Nations has identified March 22 as World Water Day to bring attention to freshwater. Don't miss our excellent article from last year HERE. This year has been designated as the International Year of Water Cooperation (U.N Website HERE)
Here is the message from U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the importance of conserving water -- our precious resource.
Mar 21: Could Stonehenge have been tombstones?
The mystery surrounding the bizarre giant sand blocks that make up the precise circular formations at Stonehenge have puzzled archeologists for a long time. The alignment of the stones with the equinox have led many to believe that Stonehenge could have once been a temple, an observatory, a solar calendar or even a site for rituals and healing.
New analysis of ancient human remains now show that people were buried at the southern England site from about 3000 B.C. until after the first large stones were raised around 2500 B.C. This leads experts to believe that the site may have been intended as a cemetery from the very start, around 5,000 years ago. Since DNA analysis is currently prohibited on the bones recovered, it will remain a mystery if the bones recovered belonged to some special people.
Stonehenge is the largest Stone Age site that has puzzled archeologists for the fact that over 2000 tons of stones were quarried from far away locations, and dragged and shaped to construct the monument that we know of today.
Mar 20: Today is Vernal Equinox, a.k.a., First Day of Spring
Yay! Spring is here!... Well at least in the Northern Hemisphere, at exactly 7:02 EST. At that moment, the sun will cross directly over the Earth's equator during a moment when both day and night are about equal. Known as the equinox, it signifies change in seasons - spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
Spring will last three months until June 21st and summer will carry on until the autumnal equinox on Sept 22nd.
The equinox in March, known as Vernal equinox has had a special significance for humans from time immemorial. The need to explore and understand the Sun, moon, planets and stars have been overwhelming in ancient cultures that we see the celebration of the equinox in ancient architecture such as the Stonehenge and Mayan pyramids.
Normally people expect Vernal equinox to occur on March 21st. It is early this year. Want to know why? Don't miss our next issue where when we explain it for you....
Mar 19: ALMA Telescope Goes Online In The Atacama Desert
At maximum observational power, the ALMA telescope will have a resolution 10X greater than the Hubble Telescope. At an inauguration ceremony last week, The $1.4 billion value Earth-based observatory ALMA - Atacama Large Millimeter/ Sub Millimeter Array, was commissioned. It was the work of years of global collaboration between US, Europe and East Asian nations.
Scientists chose Atacama's high desert landscape to install the telescope because at that height, there is little water vapor in the air. These conditions are perfect for ALMA because water in the air blocks starlight in the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that scientists want to study. Being larger than Hubble, and the most powerful telescope yet to be constructed, astronomers hope to get more information from this telescope.
Astronomers hope to learn the details of where stars like our sun and planets like our Earth come from. Today the process of star and planet formation is still poorly understood. The ALMA array - with its ability to see infrared wavelengths, should help us probe the vast clouds of dust surrounding new stars and planets.
Mar 18: St. Patricks Day Parades Mark An Irish Holiday
You are probably aware of St. Patrick's Day - the traditional Irish holiday celebrated each year on March 17. It is a day when everybody dresses up in their best green and older folks meet friends at Irish pubs. This year St. Patricks Day was celebrated with floats and parades in Ireland and other cities around the world with large Irish population on Sunday.
The holiday honors St. Patrick, the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and putting an end to pagan practices. St. Patrick established christianity in Ireland in 4th century AD. He is most known for driving snakes from Ireland and used the clover to teach about the holy trinity - Father, Son & holy spirit, to his disciples.
These days St. Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish - anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.