Sirius in the early evening

Phoenix | February 15, 2020

I saw Sirius in the clear sky tonight about four hand-breadths above the horizon at 7:15 PM Mountain Standard Time.

The constellation Orion seemed to be overhead, which it wasn’t of course. But it was very high over the horizon, much higher than I had ever seen it in Kansas City or Chicago.

Extra strength pain relief

If  there are no regular strength pain relievers on the shelf – 325 mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol) – is a 500 mg tablet really extra strength?

What’s really important is that acetaminophen is dangerous in amounts that people are liable to take. It’s dangerous to the liver. An overdose could be fatal.

The directions for the package I just bought are to take 2 tablets every 6 hours while symptoms last. Some people might be inclined to take 8 tablets a day. But, “do not take more than 6 tablets in 24 hours.”

So, pharmaceutical companies encourage us to buy a product that is not safe unless you read the the fine print.

Another reason for disdaining Big Pharma.

A caveat: I live in a town where most people are seniors – arthritis city. Maybe there’s little demand for regular strength pain relief. Thank G-d that I don’t have joint pain.

Sirius in October

Friday, October 11, 2019 | Phoenix, Arizona

I spotted Sirius in the south this morning at 4:40 Mountain Standard Time – about 45 minutes before local sunrise.

Sirius appeared three or four hand-breadths above the horizon.

The constellation Orion appeared sharply in the clear Arizona sky.

This is the first time I saw Sirius since it reappeared in the sky in late August. I haven’t been out and about so early before sunrise until today.

Sirius on the TV screen

The star Sirius appears over the London skyline as the camera pans upward. The constellation Orion appears, and it becomes clear that the bright star is Sirius – pointed to by Orion’s belt.

Miss Marple, by Agatha Christie

At Bertram’s Hotel,” Episode 3.1

first aired September 23, 2007 (begins at about minute 43:14)

Streaming from hulu.com

P.S.: The cinematography is above average, especially for a television show.

Daylight Savings Time and the Oil Embargo of 1974

In about 1974, the U.S. Congress mandated that the entire country remain on a daylight savings clock all year long. The oil producing countries (OPEC) were holding back petroleum exports to the U.S. By retaining daylight savings time in the winter, our basic work and school days occurred during daylight hours. Offices didn’t need to turn on lights during the last hour or so of the 9-5 workday. Presumably, using less electricity during daylight savings time would reduce usage of petroleum.

K-12 schools were in session during daylight hours. However, people discovered that children were heading off to school while it was still dark. Young people who had after-school activities were also coming home in the dark. As a safety matter, parents didn’t like the idea that their children were between home and school in the dark. Parents who would not let their children ride bicycles at night found that they were in a position to decide whether the youngsters would take bicycles to and from school.

After one winter, Congress resumed the previous winter clock of standard time. Youngsters, for the most part, were again outside during daylight hours.

To cite examples for the northern tier of states, the sun rises in December, January, and February at about 7 – 7:15 AM. In terms of daylight savings time, the sun rises between 8 and 8:15 AM.

At the same time, in most of the southernmost states, the sun rises in December, January, and February at about 7 AM. In terms of daylight savings time, the sun rises a little before 8 AM except in January when the average is about 8:15 AM.

However, on Florida’s panhandle (in the eastern time zone) the winter sunrise is around 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM daylight time. A legislative discussion in Florida has been to enact daylight savings time all year long. As such, youngsters in Tallahassee, the state capital, would be heading to school in the dark during the winter.

It seems that legislators in Florida do not have the experience of winter 1974 at their fingertips. Some hadn’t yet been born; others wouldn’t remember, of course.

Only Southern California seems to have an advantage over most other populous regions of the country by about fifteen minutes, though.

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.