Good afternoon. Today is Tuesday, the 21st day of August. It's the 233rd day of the year. We're not in a leap year, so there are 132 days remaining in 2018. On the Jewish calendar, today is the 10th day of Elul in the year 5778. On this day in 1961, Motown released what would be its first Number One hit, "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes.
This website is a demonstration of smart content rendering. The content updates continuously without the help of Internet monkeys. All the information was current at the time you arrived here. If you're looking for information on the technology, it's at the bottom of this page.
Today in History: Homo sapiens Sends a Bottle into Space
On this date in 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 spacecraft. The timing of the launch coincided with a rare planetary alignment that allowed the craft to make use of each planet's gravity to boost it on its way. The original purpose of the mission was to explore Jupiter and Saturn; it's since passed Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, and is now considered an "interstellar mission" because it still has enough velocity to leave the solar system. It's currently flying through the heliopause--the area where the solar wind is opposed by hydrogen and helium gases from interstellar space, forming a kind of bubble around the solar system. Scientists believe it will be able to continue sending back signals until at least 2025. Voyager 2 was launched as the second phase of the Voyager project, which which started with the launch of Voyager 1 on September 5, 1977, just a few days before the launch of Voyager 2, but with enough time between the launches to determine that the first craft was far exceeding it's expected set of specifications.
Voyager 1 and 2 carry golden records (gold plated disks that resemble LP albums from a few decades back) with pictographic instructions on how to play them. The records contain sounds familiar to us--including music--images, and welcome messages from Earth, as well as a map to our location. Carl Sagan chaired the committee that decided what should go on the record. He said, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this 'bottle' into the cosmic 'ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet." President Jimmy Carter included his own message on the record saying, "This is a present from a small, distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our images, our music, our thoughts and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours." (Source: The Writer's Almanac)
Editor's note: The image in the illustration is Jupiter and its four moons, called the Galilean satellites. The individual shots of each were photographed in early March of 1978 by Voyager 1 and assembled into a collage. They are not to scale but are in their relative positions.
Etchings on the face of the golden records provide details for retrieving the data from the disks, including both audio and video. Without a universal visual language, it is a given imperative that the instructions include a large set of images that logically lead to the decoding process, which begins with fundamentals--the first being a representation of a hydrogen atom. President Carter was only one of many to record a greeting from our planet. There are short greetings in numerous languages. Perhaps the most logical to include was in Latin, which for many centuries has been a dead language. However, it's the most universally recognized, so it's unlikely that it will ever become extinct in technical usage--at least on this planet. Outside our solar system, it's a virual guarantee it's not recognized as "universal," but none the less, you can hear the Latin greeting from the golden disk if you click the play button below.
Today's Birthday Boys and Girls
Today is the birthday of Afonso VI of Portugal (1643), William IV (1765), Aubrey Beardsley (1872), Count Basie (1904), Chris Schenkel (1923), Jack Weston (1924), Thomas Monson (1927), X.J. Kennedy (1929), Margaret Rose, Countess of Snowdon (1930), Melvin Van Peebles (1932), Wilt Chamberlain (1936), Kenny Rogers (1938), Loretta Devine (1949), Harry Smith (1951), Kim Cattrall (1956), Stephen Hillenburg (1961), Sergey Brin (1973), and Carly Steel (1987).
On Wall Street
About the stock numbers: There's no current stock market reporting at the moment because of a snag in the link that retrieves the data and gets it to the screen. The stock market stuff is on the work bench until it's working again.
The New York Stock Exchange is open and trading. Currently, The S&P500 index is at , up by . The NASDAQ is up by to . The link to the Dow Jones Industrial Average is not working.
Note: During trading hours all data is in real time. The data is preserved at the end of the trading day. It remains until the next opening bell. The process of retrieving stock info involves many links between the sources and what you're reading on the screen. At the moment, there's a technical issue up the line with the DJ average. Occasionally, the data appears as random characters. If there's numerical data on the screen, it's accurate. The other indicies are working and accurate.
Earth and All Spheres
The overall weather conditions at Love Field were reported as a few clouds at 11:53 AM CDT. The temperature was 88°F, and the relative humidity was 46%, pushing the heat index up to an uncomfortable 90°F. That translates to REALLY hot outdoors!
Love Field's average high and low temperatures for today, August 21, are 95° and 76° respectively. In general, Dallas temperatures were much colder during the winter than usual, but that's history at this point, and summer is as hot and sultry as usual. The temperature on this day reached a record high of 107° in 1980. An all-time evening low of 62° was recorded in 1953. More [...]. For the seven-day forecast [click here].
We are under a waxing crescent moon. At the time you accessed this page, its exact age was 10 days, 3 hours, and 50 minutes. We will be under a new moon again on Sunday, September 9th at 9:15 PM CDT. The moon will reach full luminescence on Sunday, August 26th at 2:52 AM. For now, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter are visible in the night sky. Mars, seen in the southern sky, is clearly visible and its red glow clearly identifies it. It can be seen beginning at nightfall; it moves slowly in a westerly fashion before disappearing. Mercury can be seen in the eastern sky just before dawn.
We are under the constellation of Leo in the 62nd day of summer, which arrived on Thursday, June 21st at 5:07 AM CDT with the occurrence of the Summer Solstice. On the day of the Solstice, the sun rose at 6:15 AM CDT and set at 8:26 PM CDT. For today, our sunrise and sunset times (at -96.852/32.847) are 6:48 AM and 7:54 PM, giving us 13 hours and 6 minutes of daylight. For now, we're on Daylight Saving Time. We will switch to Standard Time on Sunday, November 4th at 2:00 AM when our clocks will magically roll backward 1:00 AM, following the NIST standard.
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Lest we forget...
Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.