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Wednesday, May 31, 2017


“...Smoking is a classy way to commit suicide...”
- Kurt Vonnegut - American author

World No Tobacco Day (May 31) serves to generate awareness about the health risks of tobacco use and to advocate for more effective policies that can help reduce worldwide tobacco use. In 1987, the World Health Organization established
World No Tobacco Day in an effort to draw attention to the risks of tobacco use and move towards safer and better public health for all.  Since then, World No Tobacco Day has evolved into an important annual event that generates awareness for other tobacco related issues such as illegal trade, secondhand smoke and tobacco control.

--Think about your health. Quit smoking or encourage others to do so. Many help books are available online to coach you through the withdrawal and help you find alternative solutions to the cravings.
--Educate youth and teenagers in your neighborhood about the negative effects of smoking and encourage them to quit if they have already picked up the habit. The best way to eradicate smoking is by educating the new generation of the negative effects of tobacco use.
--Volunteer for the Freedom from Smoking program or another like program that helps smokers quit.
--Watch a movie or documentary about smoking and tobacco. Our favorites: The Tobacco Conspiracy, We Love Cigarettes and Passion for Cigarettes.
--Lobby for stricter tobacco advertisement laws and smoking laws in your community. Tobacco companies continue to be pressured legally to disclose the negative effects of their product and your help in supporting this legal action can lead to even stricter laws.

Tobacco, a brown product prepared by curing the leaves of a tobacco plant, is believed to have originated thousands of years ago somewhere in the Americas. It was later discovered by Christopher Columbus and subsequently introduced to the rest of the world. Tobacco contains the alkaline nicotine, a stimulant which makes tobacco very addictive. Tobacco use is known to cause a myriad of cancers and according to the World Health Organization, is the largest preventable cause of death and disease today.

World No Tobacco Day Notes.
--According to the World Health Organization, nearly 80% of the world's 1 billion smokers live in low and middle income countries.
--Arsenic, lead and tar are just three of the 7,000 chemicals that are found in tobacco smoke.
--In 2015, 15.3% of American women smoked, compared to 20.5% of American men.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


GIFT OF LOVE--Kevin Ryan is a graduate of West Point who served in the U.S. Army for eight years, including commanding two companies in Iraq. He says his love of brewing was inspired by the love of his life, his fiancee Meredith Sutton, who in 2011 purchased Kevin a homebrewing kit as a gift.  Fast forward Kevin is now head of his Service Brewing Co. in Savannah, Georgia.  Thanks to that brewing kit.

In honor of Memorial Day Weekend,, a blog of the national Brewers Association, a group championing small independent craft beer makers in the U.S., has posted a timely and interesting article on craft beer breweries founded, owned and/or run by veterans of U.S. military.

The article “America’s Veteran Owned Breweries Build Community, Honor those who Serve," was written by Jonathan Cooper.

To read this excellent article please click here.

Service Brewing Company with the Talmadge Bridge (background) that crosses over the nearby Savannah River.

Monday, May 29, 2017


NASA: “What might have happened to Apollo and NASA overall, had Kennedy spent another five years in the White House, can only be a matter of speculation. 

We know the public’s association of the space program with Kennedy was so strong that six days after JFK was assassinated, the new President Lyndon Johnson, announced in a nationwide television address that the NASA center from which our moon voyagers would launch would be named in Kennedy’s honor.

A less grand but very fitting tribute to the assassinated president took place on the evening of July 20, 1969, when an anonymous citizen placed a small bouquet of flowers on the Kennedy gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery with a note that read, ‘Mr. President, the Eagle has landed.’”


Rice Stadium, Houston Texas
President Pitzer, Mr. Vice President, Governor, Congressman Thomas, Senator Wiley, and Congressman Miller, Mr. Webb, Mr. Bell, scientists, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate your president having made me an honorary visiting professor, and I will assure you that my first lecture will be very brief.

I am delighted to be here, and I'm particularly delighted to be here on this occasion.

We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a State noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today, despite the fact that this Nation¹s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, despite that, the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.

No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man¹s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power.

Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America's new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.

This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward.

So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward--and so will space.

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage.

If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.

Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it--we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

Yet the vows of this Nation can only be fulfilled if we in this Nation are first, and, therefore, we intend to be first. In short, our leadership in science and in industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation.

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say the we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency.

In the last 24 hours we have seen facilities now being created for the greatest and most complex exploration in man's history. We have felt the ground shake and the air shattered by the testing of a Saturn C-1 booster rocket, many times as powerful as the Atlas which launched John Glenn, generating power equivalent to 10,000 automobiles with their accelerators on the floor. We have seen the site where the F-1 rocket engines, each one as powerful as all eight engines of the Saturn combined, will be clustered together to make the advanced Saturn missile, assembled in a new building to be built at Cape Canaveral as tall as a 48 story structure, as wide as a city block, and as long as two lengths of this field.

Within these last 19 months at least 45 satellites have circled the earth. Some 40 of them were "made in the United States of America" and they were far more sophisticated and supplied far more knowledge to the people of the world than those of the Soviet Union.

The Mariner spacecraft now on its way to Venus is the most intricate instrument in the history of space science. The accuracy of that shot is comparable to firing a missile from Cape Canaveral and dropping it in this stadium between the the 40-yard lines.

Transit satellites are helping our ships at sea to steer a safer course. Tiros satellites have given us unprecedented warnings of hurricanes and storms, and will do the same for forest fires and icebergs.

We have had our failures, but so have others, even if they do not admit them. And they may be less public.

To be sure, we are behind, and will be behind for some time in manned flight. But we do not intend to stay behind, and in this decade, we shall make up and move ahead.

The growth of our science and education will be enriched by new knowledge of our universe and environment, by new techniques of learning and mapping and observation, by new tools and computers for industry, medicine, the home as well as the school. Technical institutions, such as Rice, will reap the harvest of these gains.

And finally, the space effort itself, while still in its infancy, has already created a great number of new companies, and tens of thousands of new jobs. Space and related industries are generating new demands in investment and skilled personnel, and this city and this State, and this region, will share greatly in this growth. What was once the furthest outpost on the old frontier of the West will be the furthest outpost on the new frontier of science and space. Houston, your City of Houston, with its Manned Spacecraft Center, will become the heart of a large scientific and engineering community. During the next 5 years the National Aeronautics and Space Administration expects to double the number of scientists and engineers in this area, to increase its outlays for salaries and expenses to $60 million a year; to invest some $200 million in plant and laboratory facilities; and to direct or contract for new space efforts over $1 billion from this Center in this City.

To be sure, all this costs us all a good deal of money. This year¹s space budget is three times what it was in January 1961, and it is greater than the space budget of the previous eight years combined. That budget now stands at $5,400 million a year--a staggering sum, though somewhat less than we pay for cigarettes and cigars every year. Space expenditures will soon rise some more, from 40 cents per person per week to more than 50 cents a week for every man, woman and child in the United Stated, for we have given this program a high national priority--even though I realize that this is in some measure an act of faith and vision, for we do not now know what benefits await us.

But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun--almost as hot as it is here today--and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out--then we must be bold.

I'm the one who is doing all the work, so we just want you to stay cool for a minute. [laughter]

However, I think we're going to do it, and I think that we must pay what needs to be paid. I don't think we ought to waste any money, but I think we ought to do the job. And this will be done in the decade of the sixties. It may be done while some of you are still here at school at this college and university. It will be done during the term of office of some of the people who sit here on this platform. But it will be done. And it will be done before the end of this decade.

I am delighted that this university is playing a part in putting a man on the moon as part of a great national effort of the United States of America.

Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, "Because it is there."

Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

Thank you.


Sunday, May 28, 2017


Greek mythology is like a convoluted dream with a cast of thousands.  One such story is that of Odysseus.  We all know Odysseus as the wandering hero of Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad epics.

But, few know the back story and how life was for Odysseus outside of Homer’s epics.  It’s an exhausting story.   Thanks to for bringing this literature to the public domain.

To start, Odysseus was the son of Laertes and Anticlea, and is well known as an eloquent speaker, ingenious and cunning. Before the Trojan War started, Odysseus was one of the suitors that wanted to marry Helen, step-daughter of king Tyndareus of Sparta. However, the suitors were many and there didn't seem to be a way to solve who the husband would be. Odysseus told Tyndareus that he would provide a solution if he helped him marry Tyndareus' niece, Penelope.

Tyndareus agreed and Odysseus proposed to draw straws. Before that, though, he made everyone swear an oath that they would all support the husband and wife in any ill fate that they might face in the future. As a result, Menelaus drew the lucky straw, while Odysseus married Penelope.

After Helen's abduction by Prince Paris of Troy, all suitors were summoned to help Menelaus in his quest to bring her back. Odysseus did not want to join the expedition, for an oracle had informed him that if he participated, it would take him a long time to return home. So, he decided to feign madness by harnessing a donkey and an ox to a plough and sowing salt on a field.

Palamedes did not believe that Odysseus was actually mad, so he put Odysseus' baby boy Telemachus in front of the plough; Odysseus immediately changed course, thus exposing his plan. For this reason, Odysseus always had a grudge against Palamedes since then.

After Odysseus' plan was foiled, they all tried to recruit the hero Achilles, as an oracle said that the Trojan War would be won only if Achilles joined. Before they reached the island of Scyros where Achilles lived, his mother Thetis disguised him as a woman, because of another prophecy that said Achilles would either live a long, peaceful life, or have a glorious death while young.

Odysseus made a plan to find out who Achilles was, among the women; he laid various weapons on a table, and Achilles was the only one who showed real interest in them. Odysseus then sounded a battle horn, and Achilles instinctively picked up a weapon ready to fight. As a result, Achilles joined in.

After the Greeks reached Troy and the war started, Odysseus played a particularly influential role as a strategist and advisor. He was the main character who maintained the morale of the Greeks in a high level, and managed to prevent Agamemnon from withdrawing from the war.

He also managed to appease Achilles' rage when Patroclus was slain. However, holding a grudge against Palamedes, it seems that Odysseus played a role in his demise; some versions say that Odysseus made a plan to expose Palamedes as a traitor and was stoned to death.

According to another version, Odysseus and Diomedes told Palamedes to descend a well because of a treasure that was supposedly hidden there; when Palamedes reached the bottom of the well, the two men buried him inside.

Odysseus was most famous in the war for his contribution to create the Trojan Horse, a huge wooden horse that was supposed to be a gift to the Trojans by the retreating Greeks. The Trojans accepted the gift joyfully and started celebrating around it. When the night fell and everyone was drunk, the Greek warriors, who had hidden in the hollow body of the horse, revealed themselves and slew the Trojans, winning the war.

After the Trojan War, Odysseus made a ten-year journey to reach his home, Ithaca; his adventures were recounted in the epic Odyssey. On his way home, storms led Odysseus' ships to the island of the Cyclops Polyphemus, who started eating the crew of the ships.

Odysseus managed to trick Polyphemus and along with his companions, blinded the Cyclops. Before they left, though, he did the mistake of revealing his identity to Polyphemus, who then told his father, the god Poseidon; this had a major impact on the hero's travel, as the god sent rough seas throughout the journey.

The ships then reached the island of the god of winds, Aeolus, who put all winds except the west wind in a bag and gave the bag to Odysseus. As a result, the west wind blew the ships all the way to Ithaca. However, just before they reached the shore, Odysseus' companions took the bag of winds from Odysseus, and thinking it contained gold, opened it and released all of the winds. The ships were blown away from the island, back to where they had started.  Aeolus did not accept to help them again, and they left.

They went to the island of the Laestrygonians, a cannibalistic tribe that ate all of the crew, except that of Odysseus' ship. They quickly left the island and reached that of the witch Circe. She turned Odysseus' companions into pigs, but Odysseus, who had been given a magical herb by Hermes, resisted her witchcraft. Circe fell in love with Odysseus and transformed the pigs back into men. After they stayed on the island for one year, they left to continue their voyage.

They reached the western edge of the world, where Odysseus took advice from the spirit of the prophet Teiresias, and later encountered his mother's spirit, who told him that back home, his wife Penelope was being surrounded by potential suitors.

They then returned to Circe's island, who advised them on how to continue; they managed to avoid the Sirens, as well as the monsters Scylla and Charybdis.

In the island of Thrinacia, Odysseus disregarded the advice of Teiresias and Circe, and caught the cattle of the sun god Helios. Helios, enraged, demanded that Zeus punish them, or he would make the sun shine in the Underworld.

Zeus obliged by causing a shipwreck in which only Odysseus survived. He reached the island of Ogygia, where the witch Calypso kept him captive for seven years, before Hermes intervened and released the hero.

Odysseus then reached the island of the Phaeacians (the modern day island of Corfu), who helped him reach his destination. He reached Ithaca late at night, and he was disguised by Athena as a beggar in order to learn what had happened during his absence. Penelope, his wife, had just announced that she would marry the person who was able to string his husband's bow and then shoot an arrow through twelve axe shafts.

She knew that this was impossible to do for everyone except her husband. None of the suitors managed to do it, but Odysseus still in disguise completed the challenge and revealed himself; helped by his son Telemachus, he slew the suitors.

Penelope did not believe that it was her husband but instead a god in disguise. To believe him, she asked him to move their bed to another room. Odysseus said that this was impossible, as he had made the bed and knew that one of the legs was a living olive tree.

Years later, the son of Odysseus and Circe, Telegonus, reached adulthood and wanted to meet his father. He went to Ithaca, but as he reached the shore, he killed some sheep as he was hungry. Odysseus went and fought with him, not knowing who the other person was.

 Odysseus was eventually killed by Telegonus. Telegonus took Penelope and Telemachus to the island of Circe, where she made them immortal.