1) Picture of the Day

 

Caption from NASA site:

 “Lengthy detective work with data NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit collected in late 2005 has confirmed that an outcrop called “Comanche” contains a mineral indicating that a past environment was wet and non-acidic, possibly favorable to life.

Spirit used its panoramic camera to capture this view of the Comanche outcrop during the 689th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s mission on Mars (Dec. 11, 2005). The rover’s Moessbauer spectrometer, miniature thermal emission spectrometer and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer each examined targets on Comanche that month.

On June 3, 2010, scientists using data from all three spectrometers reported that about one-fourth of the composition of Comanche is magnesium iron carbonate. That concentration is 10 times higher than for any previously identified carbonate in a Martian rock.

Carbonates originate in wet, near-neutral conditions but dissolve in acid. The find at Comanche is the first unambiguous evidence from either Spirit of its twin, Opportunity, for a past Martian environment that may have been more favorable to life than the wet but acidic conditions indicated by the rovers’ earlier finds.

In this image, Comanche is the dark reddish mound above the center of the view. The image is presented in false color, which makes some differences between materials easier to see. It combines three separate exposures taken through filters admitting wavelengths of 750 nanometers, 530 nanometers and 430 nanometers. The main Comanche outcrop is about 5 meters (16 feet) from left to right from this perspective. The paler material visible at bottom right is part of another outcrop, “Algonquin.”

2) Happiness May Come With Age

That’s the headline in a recent article in the New York Times.  Overall I have had a mostly happy life.  I can also say with complete confidence that I have never enjoyed life more than I do now.

From the article, by Nicholas Bakalar:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/health/research/01happy.html?hpw

“It sounds miserable, but apparently it is not. A large Gallup poll has found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older, and researchers are not sure why.

“It could be that there are environmental changes,” said Arthur A. Stone, the lead author of a new study based on the survey “or it could be psychological changes about the way we view the world, or it could even be biological — for example brain chemistry or endocrine changes.”

The telephone survey, carried out in 2008, covered more than 340,000 people nationwide, ages 18 to 85, asking various questions about age and sex, current events, personal finances, health and other matters.

The survey also asked about “global well-being” by having each person rank overall life satisfaction on a 10-point scale, an assessment many people may make from time to time, if not in a strictly formalized way.

Finally, there were six yes-or-no questions: Did you experience the following feelings during a large part of the day yesterday: enjoyment, happiness, stress, worry, anger, sadness. The answers, the researchers say, reveal “hedonic well-being,” a person’s immediate experience of those psychological states, unencumbered by revised memories or subjective judgments that the query about general life satisfaction might have evoked.

The results, published online May 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, were good news for old people, and for those who are getting old. On the global measure, people start out at age 18 feeling pretty good about themselves, and then, apparently, life begins to throw curve balls. They feel worse and worse until they hit 50. At that point, there is a sharp reversal, and people keep getting happier as they age. By the time they are 85, they are even more satisfied with themselves than they were at 18.”

If you are over 60 do you enjoy your life more, less, or as much as you did when you were younger?

For everyone else what is your expectation of how much you will be enjoying your life when you pass 60?

3) “There Is No Frigate Like A Book” by Emily Dickinson

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry – 
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll – 
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.
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