THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 250


THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 250

…how many times had their sons looked at Orion the constellation, unaware of their parent’s presence, there 10 light-years distant…

How many times?

The huge sliding door at the Spaceship Expository, which looks like it weighs a million pounds, unseals like a floating bee, leading to the spaceship “NOT FOR SALE” showroom.

That opening, for Celeste and Cerella along with Deimostra, heralds Stellar Explorer’s imminent arrival. Of these three bounding beauties, it is difficult to tell who is more excited, their silky white robed trains straining to keep pace.

Ekcello was already aware {of course he was}, Sammy Mac guesses as much {dumb luck}, but it is Ekcello who has poured cold H2O on Cerella’s parade.


#I think it best that our newest visitors be restored slowly. They will be greeted by the McKinneys alone. We cannot have them reacting irrationally#

#But it is I who has made the necessary preparations for them. I am disappointed at not being allowed to greet them in person#

#Disappointment is futile, cherished one. You will have your chance once they have fully grasped their fate#

The McKinney women reach out and touch her empathetically. Sampson shrugs his shoulders; just another telepathically shared moment that passes him by.

#We hope that your reunion goes well# Ekcello and Cerella float away, the latter is let down for a different reason..

These newly unplanned duties discombobulate the apprehensive Eridanus McKinneys momentarily. Just as Deke & Gus, who had given up all hope of seeing mother and father again, likewise mother and father have already dealt with their grief. How many times they had longed to send the equivalent of a letter to their sons, recounting their story of survival; first on Mars, then aboard the NEWFOUNDLANDER, and finally on the misty world named Eridanus?

And how many times had their sons looked at Orion the constellation, unaware of their parent’s presence, there 10 light-years distant?

What are the inexpressible words which will best describe the twisted path that brought them here, against all odds?


Twisted Path

Episode 250

page 293

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 244

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 244

…for those left behind by Stellar Explorer, it is impossible to learn from the mistakes — when you are not apprised of the actual outcome…

There are no concrete answers let alone solutions, in this speculative world of SOL technology, but man struggles for answers anyway.

When you test drive a new automobile/sky-car/jet-cycle, does one try out every color of your preferred model? Does the red one go faster than the black, or does it only look faster? In the case of the SOL Image result for variablesProject, the only variable being 397 pounds of human beings, could that have changed the norm to such a radical degree?

Many other like questions and some more technical ones has crossed Roy Crippen’s mind. Perhaps the most humble of those drives to the fundamental heart of the matter: Does man belong in space? In other words, are they technically capable of tackling projects such as SOL or going twenty years back, Space Colony 1?

You can have everything right, cover all your bases and this happens:

  1. a killer satellite from a rogue nation blasts the first orbiting space colony out of  Martian orbit, stranding the world’s most prominent and popular married couple and they disappear before they can be rescued
  2. the accelerator on a spacecraft, that has only been on a couple test-drives, gets stuck just as two of your young and brightest test-pilots reach the speed-of-light and those brave young men are related to their folks in number 1

Bad luck–maybe, bad science or bad math—probably, but in either case it is impossible Image result for it doesn't add up gifto learn from the mistakes, when you are not apprised of the actual outcome:

  1. Either branch of The Space Family McKinney tree is alive and well. Without the clueless people on Earth knowing, their math is incorrect
  2. Courtesy of the planet Eridanus, instead of -4, the count of McKinneys in space thought lost currently stands at +5, with the actual addition of Deimostra.


Episode 244

page 287

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 239

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 239

…That would be “Sammy Mac” not MacSammy and he is feeling a bit left out, quite literally in-the-dark and in-adequate…

… In the quiet locale, as dark and empty as space itself, three Eridanians stand silently, fingertips touching to complete a triangular circle. With no outside influences to affect the intent psychic aura, no stray thoughts to disturb times’ continual flow, the trio bends the temporal fabric, reaching out across fifty trillion miles without so much as a blink.

Cerella, heiress to the High Counsel of Eridanus and two time/space travel historian experts are poised to place a very different form of humanoid aboard the Stellar Voyager.

Ekcello attaches himself to this aggressive undertaking, before they depart minds from bodies, #Celeste McKinney has convinced me that she is capable of contributing to this effort. She can comfort her offspring, when they become disoriented by our intent and discouraged by the failure to complete their mission#

In a rare emotional reflective moment, he admits, #We can only wonder what was going through the minds on our own Explorer at the point of their perishing in Earth’s Solar System#

So without fanfare, Celeste joins the group..

Sampson, who was not about to let Ekcello out of his sight at this critical juncture, expresses distress over the decision to allow Celeste to “go” along, “Are you positive that she will be able to do this… and survive with her wits?”

#Your mate is most persuasive MacSammy, but she is also worthy of our trust and we consider her as a peer. You need not fear for her life, it is only her spirit that makes the journey#

That would be Sammy Mac and he is feeling a bit left out, quite literally in-the-dark and in-adequate.

Once Sampson is calmed, Ekcello’s aura makes five among his mental emissaries, for the duration of this unprecedented enterprise. The only Earthling that has not mastered some sort of psychic dexterity {if you do not count still-teenage Deimostra} will have to wait until the hyperphysical transmigration is complete.


Transmigration by eReSaW  on

Episode 239

page 281

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 238

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 238

…Before they lapse into whatever fate awaits them, they reach across and bump their fists; someone had to do it and this is what we signed up for…

warp core

— As Deke & Gus prepare for SOL, all phases are not aligned.

“SLAV we are losing contact with the chrono-link. The ship is breaching the threshold, but it’s like we are watching it via remote hookup…,” Deke tries to explain what is happening.

“Gus,” he urges, “wake up. There is something wrong here!”

Gus snaps out of his funk to check his instruments, “Everything is fine. We have passed Warp One !!!”

Stellar Explorer2

“No, look at the chrono-link, it’s reversing itself, like we are being heading back in time.”

Gus’s image, or Deke’s perspective of his brother’s appearance looks like something their generation never had to put up with; the fading signal from an analog receiver. In the digital realm, when you are losing the frequency, things pixelate, stop and start and rearrange. In the cabin of the Stellar Explorer, everything is wavy, like seeing things through the delirium of desert animated air.

“Yeah, I’m not feeling all here, how about you?”

“… like our molecular structures our breaking down? Try engaging the emergency decelerator.”

“I can’t, my hand gets within an inch, they stop short,” Gus is straining against an unknown barrier. “It’s no use. Our bodies cannot maintain structure at these speeds.”

Atlas 9

“The 3 unmanned went off without a hitch! I absolutely do not get this?”

“That may be the key… unmanned… they didn’t know how the human body would respond when they broke the sound barrier either.”

“Or if man could stand the G-Forces of a Redstone rocket or Atlas 9  liftoff in the Mercury Program,” Deke recounts.

“Or what is was like to experience prolonged weightlessness.”

All of those barriers had been crossed without major incident.

But there is a theme developing at SOL: You can only make your best guess as to what happens, if you have not done it before.

“Well if we cannot slow this thing down and our bodies cannot keep up, something has to give.” Deke’s assessment of the situation is simplistic, but consistent with the philosophy of the test-pilots that had blazed trails before, which means that they can only deal with what is directly in front of them.

But the faster SEx goes the behind-er they get. It is like there are two versions of the same movie playing at once. But which one is the correct reality and can both test-pilots survive the ordeal?

Before a waiting and wondering while, the McKinneys lose all control contact with the SLAV ship and as well as each other. Before they lapse into whatever fate awaits them, they reach across and bump their fists; someone had to do it and this is what we signed up for.


Time distortion

Episode 238

page 280

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 230

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 230

…Given their druthers, Ekcello and his like may well have dismissed Earth as a lost cause…

The Lost Cause, a.k.a “T-L-C”, started as a graffiti writer and consistently built up a body of work transitioning into characters, stickers and technicolor murals

Cerella, the most familiarly physical of these “people” and heiress to the High Counsel of Eridanus, has taken it upon herself to make the new resident aliens her personal project; the three+ on site and the not-so uncomplicated task concerning the fate and ultimate destiny of the other two McKinneys, one Deke and one Gus. A truer friend or advocate they could never find on this or any other distant world.

As constant companion to Deimostra Samantha McKinney, child of space and stellar student, Cerella has immersed herself into the Eridanian experience, from the visitors’ point of view.  “XO”, as Sampson refers to him, has assigned his daughter to assimilate the McKinneys to the ways of their new life. And now the stage is set for two additional contacts. She has displayed the knack for learned, deep compassion, a singular ability among her peers. She will require every ounce of that very soon.

For all the superiority and refinement on Eridanus, a tendency has rooted itself over the millennium. The auras of love and friendship have been supplanted by pragmatic substitutes, ones that infer oneness and shared ideals, a collective mentality if you will. Whether this switch to emotional temperance was coincidental or contrived, the task of not losing touch with those fleeting human qualities has fallen to Cerella. There is a worthiness factor to emotion that will benefit Eridanus, particularly because their current Earth-induced interaction is not going to end.

And that this prominent heiress has taken such interest is truly a stroke of luck for the McKinneys specifically and Earth in general. Given their druthers, Ekcello and his like may well have dismissed Earth as a lost cause. Without the “love” Cerella has shown, even Celeste would not have been able to comfortably call Eridanus “home” —



Episode 230

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Incredible Maps – WIF Geography


Cool Maps

of the Modern World

(and Beyond)

Mapping things is an incredibly useful tool for humanity. By analyzing a given situation or development and then putting the results on a map, scientists and researchers can better understand and predict future trends around the world. And more detailed that map is, the more accurate the predictions are. Now, maps don’t even need to be about something in particular to be cool or entertaining, but the more they are about something, the better… right? So with that being said, let’s take a look at some of the maps out there and see what we can learn from them about the world we live in… and beyond.

 10. Lights On Lights Out

With so many satellites orbiting our planet these days, it’s almost impossible for a person with access to the internet not to see the occasional photo of the Earth at night. But to their benefit, these maps are downright amazing and cool in their own right. And knowing how big the planet actually is by comparison to humans living on it, it does kinda make it look like we’re a bunch of bacteria that have just recently evolved to glow in the dark, right? Well, keeping in the spirit of mapping out the changes happening on Earth, cartographer John Nelson has made a map showing the changes in man-made light intensity around the world. He called it the ‘Lights On Lights Out’Map. He overlapped NASA’s 2012 Earth at Night map with the one from 2016. And in doing so, he was able to show the world what regions of the planet have been lit up more, while others dimmed over the course of four years. To mark the changes, he used the color purple to highlight the regions that become darker, while cyan stands for an increase in illumination.

Now, the map doesn’t explain the reasons for the changes in light intensity, but we can deduce them in some places, at least. The first region of the world that catches our eye is India. Without a shadow of a doubt, India has brightened over the past four years. The reason for this is the Indian government’s project to bring electricity to its rural areas and investing heavily in renewable sources of energy. Syria, on the other hand, has become dimmer. This might not come as a surprise, given the conflict happening there. Surprisingly enough, Puerto Rico is also dimming, but the reason is their fight to curb light pollution. In the United States, North Dakota has developed a huge bright spot – which is the result of the boom in the fracking industry there. Other regions’ change in light intensity is harder to explain. For instance, while Georgia is getting dimmer, the two Carolinas are brightening up. One explanation for this could be that these states have taken a different approach in regards to street lighting infrastructure.

9. The Gini Coefficient Map


According to the World Bank, the Gini coefficient “measures the extent to which the distribution of income among individuals or households within an economy deviates from a perfectly equal distribution.” In other words, it highlights the difference in wealth and income between citizens of any given country, while at the same time taking into account other various factors such as taxation or social assistance. The figures range from zero – which represents perfect income equality among all citizens – to 100 – which expresses complete income inequality where only one person holds the entire wealth of that country while the rest have nothing. Both 0 and 100 are hypothetical scenarios, mind you, with no country being in either situation, but ranging somewhere in between. According to the CIA database, the countries with the highest Gini coefficient are Lesotho and South Africa, with 63.2 and 62.5 respectively, while on the other end of the spectrum we have Finland with an index of 21.5, and the Faroe Islands with 22.7.

Now, in and of itself, the Gini index doesn’t tell us all that much about the state of an economy or the general well-being of the citizens. A relatively poor country like Romania, for instance, has a coefficient of 27.3, whereas the United States is at 45. This index is often used as a frame of reference, and in combination with other statistics, in order to better understand what a country is doing right or wrong. For example, poorer countries as a whole have a higher crime rate than richer ones. But by combining this information with the Gini coefficient, it turns out that the crime rate usually drops the lower their respective coefficient is. There are, of course, other factors at play here, like the quality of education, but the trend is there. The same thing applies to richer countries as well.

Similarly, by combining the Gini index with the Human Development coefficient we can deduce which countries have or don’t have a broad middle class – the backbone of every thriving economy. Super wealthy people tend to hoard their earnings in bank accounts, never to see the light of day again. They might buy a yacht or a mansion (and even a mansion they’ll likely see as an investment as much as a dwelling) now and then, but most of their money will never return to the economy. The middle class, on the other hand, has enough saved for retirement while at the same time is able to invest in both business and pleasure – which in turn generates more business, an even wealthier and broader middle class, and a stronger economy in the process.

8. The Greening Earth


Over the past three decades, the planet has become greener and greener. This might seem a bit counterintuitive given the high levels of deforestation, and other such man-made activities, but believe it or not, this increase in vegetation is also because of indirect human involvement. Like with all carbon-based life forms on Earth, plants need carbon to grow. And with more CO2 in the air these days, it’s no wonder that plants have seen rapid growth in some areas. This phenomenon is known as CO2 fertilization.

“We were able to tie the greening largely to the fertilizing effect of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration by tasking several computer models to mimic plant growth observed in the satellite data,” says Prof. Ranga Myneni of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. And this increase in leafy growth is not marginal, either. According to the study, the Earth has experienced a total of over 7 million square miles of greening since 1982. That area equals twice the size of mainland USA. This might seem as good news, given that more plants means less CO2 in the air, but this development may have some unforeseen side effects as well.

For starters, much of this greening has happened in areas previously unsuited for it – places like semi-deserts or arctic regions. Furthermore, the extra foliage in these areas can have unknown effects on the water and carbon cycles in nature that can negatively impact other regions in unexpected ways. It’s also important to note that plants can and will acclimatize to these rising CO2 levels and the effect of this fertilization will diminish over time. This trend has been observed in various experiments, as well as the fossil record from when the Earth had high levels of CO2 in the air.

7. Livestock Density

As we’ve said before, mapping things out can have a wide range of unexpected uses. By gathering information about something and then placing it on the map, researchers can determine with greater accuracy certain patterns or future events. And mapping out the density of livestock around the world is no different. In fact, the International Livestock Research Institute, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Environmental Research Group of Oxford, and the Université Libre de Bruxelles have all come together for this one. They’ve mapped out the overall density for cattle, pigs, chickens, and ducks for the entire world. And while it’s definitely interesting to see that neither Africa nor South America have any interest in raising ducks, and not surprising that Muslim countries have a general dislike for pork and India is full of cows, it’s also fascinating to see that Europe has a somewhat even distribution of all types of livestock over its entire surface, unlike most other places on Earth – except maybe China. But while these are more cultural factors than anything else, there are other reasons for the creation of these maps as well.

One such reason is acid rain. Acid rain forms when there are large quantities of ammonia in the air, and livestock are responsible for 68% of all ammonia in the atmosphere. This means that areas with high concentrations of livestock are more prone to this phenomenon. Large numbers of cattle are also responsible for land degradation in the form of trampling, which can cause a change in the natural water cycle. A high density area of livestock also produces large quantities of waste that ends up polluting rivers and lakes. And we should not forget the risk of disease. Domesticated animals have always played an important role when it comes to disease. Various strains of influenza, like the infamous swine and avian flues can and have jumped to humans. By knowing where the high risk areas are, scientists and governments can better prepare in case of a possible outbreak.

6. Fukushima and the Pacific


On March 11, 2011, Japan was hit by the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since record-keeping began in back 1900. The undersea megathrust earthquake occurred some 43 miles off the coast, registering a whopping 9.1 on the Richter scale. The Japanese Prime Minister called it “the most difficult crisis for Japan since WWII.” Almost 16,000 people lost their lives, another 2,500 went missing, and more than 1.1 million buildings were either partially or completely destroyed. Tsunamis reached 6.6 feet high as far away as Chile, some 11,000 miles away, while in some parts of Japan, particularly in Miyako city, the waves were almost unimaginable – 128 feet high. The tsunamis also severely damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, damaging six reactors and leading them to release their radiation into the air and the ocean. Now, despite the Japanese’s best efforts at containing the problem, the power plant is still leaking, six years after the event.

This map shows how much of that radiation has spread throughout the Pacific Ocean ever since. But Ken Buesseler from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution tells us that the map, though accurate in the spread of radioactive material, can be misleading. He and his team have been studying the radiation leak ever since it started back in 2011. He went on to say that the rate of radionuclides release has slowed down significantly since the first month of the disaster, and it would take another 5,000 years before the plant will release the same amount of radioactive isotopes that it did during the first month after the meltdown. Most of the isotopes released have a short half-life of decay, spanning from a few days to a few months. Only cesium-134 has a half-life of 30 years, but as it spreads over the ocean, its radioactive power dissipates. The highest levels of cesium found in the ocean were some 1,500 miles north of Hawaii, but even if someone were to swim in these waters every day, the dose of radiation would be 1,000 times smaller than a single dental x-ray. He also goes on to say that we shouldn’t disregard additional sources of radiation in the ocean above the natural sources, but even the waters surrounding Japan are safe to swim in and there is no threat to marine life.

5. Beyond the Sea


Almost anyone who has ever gone to the beach has, at least once, wondered what piece of land or country lies over the horizon. To answer that question, the people at the Washington Post have come up with a series of maps that put different countries on different continents on the same latitude across the oceans. But cartographer Andy Woodruff wanted to go a step further. He argued that coastlines aren’t actually straight lines – they bend and curve in all directions. So, depending on where you are on the coast, and assuming that you’re perpendicular to the ocean, you could actually be facing faraway places, uninterrupted by other landmasses. For instance, if you were to stand on a piece of coast in Southern Australia, depending on your angle, you could be looking straight at the East Coast of the United States. Incredible, right?

Well, yes and no. Our constant exposure to the world map that we’re all familiar with makes it kinda difficult to come to terms with this, but it is true. The Earth, as we all know, or should, is a sphere, and the shortest way between two points on the planet is actually a great circle arc, not an actual straight line drawn on the map. Another misconception that comes from looking at flat, rectangular maps is that Earth doesn’t really have any edges, or ups and downs for that matter. The continents are also skewed in size and shape, depending on how far away they are from the equator. So, the next time you see Antarctica covering the entire bottom of the map, know that its actual size is close to Brazil’s. With that in mind, if you were on the coast in Newfoundland, you could look all along the Atlantic, around Antarctica and onto Australia’s southern coast.

4. Large Mammals With or Without Humans


It does seem kinda strange that Africa is the only continent in the world today that has large mammals, right? Okay, there are still bears and tigers on other continents, yes, but where are Europe’s equivalent to giraffes, or North America’s hippos, or Australia’s own type of rhino? The short answer is that they’re all gone. Now, of course these continents never had those species of animals in the first place, but there were once giant wombats, giant kangaroos, and large birds at least until humans made it to Australia. In Asia and Europe, cave bears, Irish elks, cave hyenas, and woolly rhinos were roaming the lands up until the end of the last ice age some 12,000 years ago. And let’s not forget America’s own giant sloths, car-sized armored herbivores, and the famed Saber-toothed tigers. What happened to them? Well, the answer is kinda obvious, isn’t it?

In case it’s not, let’s discuss it a bit. One reason could be climate change. After all, the planet was emerging from an ice age, and there were changes happening that could have affected some of the animals. But as Yadvinder Malhi, professor of ecosystem science at Oxford University said:

Creatures like megatherium, the giant sloth, and the glyptodon, a car-sized species of armadillo, disappeared in North and South America about 10,000 years ago, when there were major changes to climates – which some scientists believe triggered their extinctions. However, it is also the case that tribes of modern humans were moving into these creatures’ territories at these times – and many of us believe it is too much of a coincidence that this happened just as these animals vanished. These creatures had endured millions of years of climate change before then, after all. However, this was the first time they had encountered humans.”

These maps show the current distribution of large mammals around the globe and their possible distribution if humans didn’t exist.

3. Ideological America


“The country has been arguing about a lot of fundamental things lately including state roles and individual liberty. In order to have any productive conversation on these issues you need to know where you come from. Once you know where you are coming from it will help move the conversation forward,” says Colin Woodard, an award winning journalist, who also conducted the research for this map. Illustrator Brian Stauffer is responsible for the creation of the actual map. Based on their research into ideology, Stauffer divided North America into 11 distinct nations.

One of them is Yankeedom and is comprised of the Northeast and the Great Lakes region. According to Woodard, the region put a “great emphasis on perfecting earthly civilization through social engineering, denial of self for the common good, and assimilation of outsiders.” Then there’s New Netherland, made up of the lands surrounding New York City. They are “materialistic, with a profound tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity and an unflinching commitment to the freedom of inquiry and conscience… It emerged as a center of publishing, trade, and finance, a magnet for immigrants, and a refuge for those persecuted by other regional culture.” Tidewater is made out of part of North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. They started off as a feudal land that embraced slavery.

The Midlands are described by Woodard as “America’s Great Swing Region.” It’s an ethnic mosaic tied together by the “inherent goodness” of the Quakers. South of The Midlands we have Greater Appalachia. During the Revolutionary War, they shifted their alliances depending on who“appeared to be the greatest threat to their freedom.” The Deep South was made by slave lords from Barbados who styled their society based on the West Indies. New France has two separate areas. One is centered in New Orleans and the other is in Southeastern Canada (so, centered in French Quebec, obviously). These are quite liberal, and are a “blend of ancient régime northern French peasantry with the traditions and values of the aboriginal people.”

The region of El Norte is characterized as “a place apart” and heavily influenced by Hispanics. They value independence, hard work, and self-sufficiency. The Left Coast is a sort of combination of Yankeedom and Greater Appalachia. The Far West region is by far the largest, and was influenced mostly by the harsh environment, rather than by the ideology of the first settlers there. And lastly, the First Nation is inhabited by Native Americans that never truly relinquished their lands or old ways of life. Located so far north, it’s also the most sparsely populated.

2. Our Fair Share of Arctic Ice


It’s no surprise that the Arctic Ice is melting at an alarming rate. And it’s no surprise either that we’re all to blame for it. Now, when talking about air pollution, people are quick to point the finger at China – and with good cause, too. It’s the world’s leading polluter, after all. But there’s more to the story than that. China is also the leading producer of renewable sources of energy, particularly when it comes to solar panels. To date, China is spewing roughly twice as much CO2 into the air as the United States, but its population is more than four times as large. This means that on average, each US citizen is responsible for two times as much CO2 than an average person from China. But this doesn’t make the average American the most pollutant person, either. By looking at the CO2 emission per capita in every country, we see that China is at 6.52 tons of CO2 per person, while the US is at 17.62. Saudi Arabia and Australia are at 19.65 and 18.02 respectively. In India, every citizen is responsible for just 1.45 tons.

Now, what this map shows is the amount of arctic ice melt every person in the world is responsible for, based on the CO2 per capita in their respective country. Dirk Notz, a climate scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany has made the calculations to see how much carbon is needed in the air to melt the ice. And as it turns out, each ton of CO2 emissions translates to about 3 square meters, or about 32 square feet. Based on data from 2013, each US resident led to the melting of about 49 square meters (527 sq. feet) of ice in the Arctic. This map and these numbers shouldn’t be taken as a means to pass blame on others, but rather as a way to look at ourselves and what we can do to lower our own CO2 emissions. Air pollution, after all, doesn’t keep track of national borders, so we’re all in this together.

1. The Geological Map of Mars

Now, we can’t go through an entire list of maps about the modern world without addressing the Red Planet. Mars is, or will soon be part of the modern world, so we need to have it in here.People have been studying Mars and have been trying to guess its geology for the past 400 years. But it was only during the 1970s with the Mariner 9 and Viking programs that we were able to take a closer look. In more recent years, however, with the advent of high resolution cameras and sensors, astronomers were able to pinpoint with even greater accuracy the entire geology of the planet. An interesting feature visible even for those who have no idea at what they’re actually looking at is the fact that the Northern Hemisphere is basically one large depression – seen on the map in green. The crustal thickness here is approximated at a maximum of about 20 miles, whereas the southern part of the planet is at 36 miles.

Close to the equator on the Western Hemisphere, we can also see some of the most striking features the Red Planet has to offer. On the one hand, we have Olympus Mons, the tallest mountain in the entire solar system. It’s actually three times the size of Mount Everest, and covers an area roughly the size of Arizona. Close to it rise another three huge mountains, and all of them are shield volcanoes. This means that every time there’s an eruption, there’s no volcanic explosion, and the lava gently slides along their sides. We still don’t know whether these volcanoes are active or not. That’s probably for the future colonists to find out. Hope they have fun with that!

Another equally striking feature is the Valles Marineris. This is the largest canyon in the entire solar system and sits there like a huge scar on Mars’ face. To understand its immenseness, know that it stretches for 1,900 miles, is 500 miles wide, and 5 miles deep. The Grand Canyon, on the other hand, is 500 miles long, 18 miles wide, and one mile deep. Its creation still remains a mystery, but some speculate that it initially formed as a crack that got wider and wider as the planet cooled. Now, if you think that geological maps of Earth are important, you can only imagine how important this one will be for the people who will hopefully call Mars home one day.

Incredible Maps

– WIF Geography

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 226

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 226

…Sammy Mac, that pretentious Earthling, has mastered the art of changing the tone of a conversation with the Supreme Elder of Eridanus on a dime…

At times like this, Celeste will listen; merely listen for positive signs of sanity in her man.

Out of a combination of boredom and sarcasm, Sampson starts whistling the slow, soulful, deep-south 19th Century slavery tune, Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”.

Ekcello must have been snooping, whisking in behind Sampson’s rendition of yet another strange sound from a likely strange source.

#What is that curious music you produce Sampson McKinney? I did not know you could musically communicate#

“It’s called whistling Ekcello old man. If it tickles your ears, well if you have ears, then your senses, I have a million more like it…” He jumps into the,Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Sammy Mac, that pretentious Earthling, has mastered the art of changing the tone of a conversation with the Supreme Elder of Eridanus on a dime, before it has a chance to start. Whenever he did this, the Eridanian man of meditation’s expression takes on #Now where was I?# look, extremely unsettling for one of such intense concentration.

On track once again, Ekcello emotes in his lyrical style, #You have two male offspring#

“Yes, Deke & Gus,” Celeste steps in to address an issue never far from her heart; quickly and longingly in her audible voice.

#The High Council has begun to journey back to your Earth and its yielded disturbing revelations concerning their future#

Suddenly Sampson grasps Ekcello on Eridanian terms, “Are they in some sort of trouble?” he wonders aloud.

#Only in the sense that they are in the forefront of a flawed space vehicle propulsion project#

“They haven’t abandoned The SOL Project!” A proud papa speaks of children he never had a chance to see grow up. “I knew my boys would become astronauts!”


Episode 226

page 267

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