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The Paper Moon above Oetztal

This is the full moon near Sölden (Austria) in the Valley Oetztal last Wednesday. It was here that about 6000 years ago a lonely walker failed at his planed crossing through the alp mountains and lost his life. His mumified corps was release in 1991 from a melting glacier.
I hope that during this last tragic night of this winter passage, he also saw the moon as impressing as we saw it.


Indoctrination: FB "presents" its new style

What I am doing right now ???? The most stupid question Facebook came up with, because each time I open Facebook I am pissed off by their arrogant attempt to interfere with my life. So although I am a quite happy and relaxed and positive person, each time I read the Facebook inquiry "What are you doing right now" I have to admit: "This very moment, I am once again pissed off by Facebook". The latest rediculous move by FB: They let me know that they have just changed the design of my FB page. Very much reminds me of the announcement of the alien superpower in "Hitchhikers guide through the Universe" saying: We have decided to build a galactic superhighway through your solar system. For this reason the planet earth will be destroyed by tomorrow. What the hack these stupid FB managers think they are ? Just because they conquered a lot of webspace and attracted half the mankind (must have been the stupid half of it) to register for FB accounts, only to get completely addicted to meaningless text messages from so-called friends, this FB octopus dares to INFORM ME (!!!!!!) that they are going to change the design. They perhaps think they can keep half of mankind in a pre-embryonal state of mental development. Where are you, hackers, when we need you ?? When will you change the FB design into something really cool and groundbreaking, with smoke and guns and skulls giving some spice to this boring FB menues, and when will you turn this boring faint blue into a million of colours like at Woodstock, and add some annimation, please, like jumping logos, exploding icons, characters that dance around like in a tornado, and clocks that rotate counter-clockwise.

Happy Persian New Year - سال نو مبارک

Haft Sheen:  The 7 S..., a set of objects all starting with the persian letter Sheen   
People in and from Iran, Kurdistan and Afghanistan celebrate the beginning of their new year today. By precise astronomical calculation it started already yesterday at 11:02 GMT, since astronomers calculated that at this very minute the duration of day and night is equal (vernal equinox).
For today, I'd only like to wish all Iranian people a happy Nowruz, hoping that 2572 will be the last year of a 34 years long period of political and intellectual oppression in their home country.

I will later today add an alternative calculation here proposing a more rational estimation of the precise timepoint of Nowruz.


This incredible Moon

Ghazal Dear,
Why are so many people fascinated by the moon, which in fact has a much lesser impact on our physical life than the sun has? It is perhaps not only its position in space next to ours, but also the notion that the moons movement depends on the earth. So unlike the sun, which is like a superpower that nurishes us with its energy but would in fact equally be there without the Earth, the moon is more like the Earth' little sibling. Assuming that the Earth would suddenly disappear from its position, the moon would fly away into the endless space with a velocity of about 8800 km/h. The sun, however would not even recognise that the earth has disappeared. It is perhaps this fascination that an object as large as the moon and 380 thousand km away from us completely dependens on our existence what makes us feel an almost intime relationship with the moon.
Some people believe that the moon phases have a direct and immediate influence onto living organisms on Earth. But appart from the obvious changes in night darkness between new and full moon, and the corresponding impact on sleep or nocturnal activity of creatures and people, there is very little solid scientific proof that human health or plant physiology changes with the moon cycle. But it is not only myself who is amazed ones every month when the full moon rises above the horizon. Have a look at this short video sequence some astronomers did in New Zealand during January full moon. It is a real-time video shot at night with people observing the rising full moon (source: NASA Astronomers Picture of the Day).

It is most likely that the idea of the moon interfering with human physiology and health has its origin in the coincidental similarity of the period of femal oestrus cycle with the duration of the lunar cycle. But despite the apparent similarity between the 29.5 days lunar cycle period (or 27.3 days rotation period around the Earth) and the average 28.5 days of the femal oestrus cycle, there is no synchronity between these two oscillations.
But there was one observation that - for a short moment - made me wonder: Almost with the same frequency that I send to you images of the full moon every 28 days, you send back answers. It did not matter whether I send you just one or twenty e-mails per month: You always answered one per month, and this in very fixed intervalls. Therefore I was almost wondering if it is not so much your free will to write me occasionally, but more the result of a regular hormonal up and down that prompts you to reply to my letters.
Take Care Michael


Allert: Attempted Misuse of the Reputation of Science to whitewash Criminal Activities

Recently, the decade long abuse of young boys in schools and shelters of the catholic church in Germany was made public. These acts of sexual harassment and mental rape appeared to be a common practice in many institutions, where catholic priests had been given the right to “teach” or “supervise” children and adolescents. The higher church authorities up to Roman Curia had only one concern: to hide these practices from the public, therefore indirectly supporting the abusive priests over decades. When many of these activities were made public in 2010 and 2011, the judges decided that because of the long time passed away, most of the cases could not been sentenced any more. Following a public outcry and anger that let many people to leave their parishes, the Germany episcopal conference decided to install a council to evaluate the extend and circumstances of the sexual abuses under their roofs. The whole extent of these abuses are now described in a report, which is trivialized as a SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION. This reminds me of reports about planed animal experiments. 

Since 1986 whale hunting is banned by an international memorandum. But Island, Norway, South Korea and Japan successfully lobbied to the United Nations and were granted an exclusive status as SCIENTIFIC whale hunters. In total, several thousands of Mink, Fin and Humbpack whales are killed every year and declared a CONTRIBUTION TO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.

Iran is setting up all necessary compounds for high-level Uranium enrichement and nuclear fission reactors. It is obvious, they have sufficient other energy ressources, and it is not difficult to imagine that their real intention is to build a nuclear bomb. But at least this lesson they already learned from the politicians in the West: The easiest thing to fool the publicity about your real bad intentions is to simply brand it as PURE SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITIES. Therefore, the Iranian mullah regime insist that these nuclear activities are only SCIENTIFIC PROJECTS. 

During the nazi-dictatorship in Germany, millions of Jews and Gypsies were murdered in concentration camps such as Auschwitz, Meydanek, Sobibor. In some of these places, doctors performed abusive medical experiments on the people before referring them to the gas chambers. Later on, they claimed to have done nothing but SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTS on their victims, intended for the progress of MEDICAL RESEARCH. 

It is easy to misuse the historically high reputation of science for malevolent activities. But once this high reputation is lost, it will be almost impossible to re-establish it.


When the Lap-Poodle wants to become a Wolf

Dear Michael,
I recently observed the rediculous attempt by one guy in our University to change his traditional role. We all knew him as the deans “Lap Poodle”, a guy who had the official function as a speaker for the research departments, but in fact never showed any ambition to help the scientists. Quite in contrast to his duties, he only enforced the deans policies when it came to further reductions of the research sector. So quite in violation of his official duties, i.e. representing the researchers interest to the dean, he in fact did exactly the opposite: promoting and justifying any adverse decision of the dean and the university administration. This was as we knew this guy for the last years.
But recently, for some reason, his “star declined” and I don’t know why, but he lost his prominent position as the dean’s lap poodle. First we greeted this new development with a sort of “Schadefreude” (I think you will understand this term, which from German made it into many other languages). But what happened next left me simply speechless: This guy now wants to turn into the leader of the anti-dean scientist coalition. So he not simply changed his mind in face of the ungrateful move of the deans office, but he wants to turn from one privileged position to another one, so to say from the farmers lap-poodle to the leading wolf.
Funny, how similar types of characters you can find all over the society and in different cultures. So often I am disgusted to see to what extent the Iranian society is coined by political opportunism, and how little support the minority of brave political activists receive. Large parts of the society simply decline to the pressure and indoctrination of the inhuman regime of the mullahs and their thugs. But I am sure, as soon as the IRI regime will begin to fall apart, many of the former 120% supporters will present themself as leading characters of the green opposition movement.
How similar the human characters are, here in the free and democratic West or there in an undemocratic society.
best greetings, Take Care