Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 23, 2011

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 23, 2011

School Pupils to Partner with Research Scientists

The Van Allen radiation belts are a hazardous 
environment, full of “killer” electrons that can 
be lethal to orbiting satellites. And when those 
electrons sometimes hit the Earth’s atmosphere, 
they alter its chemistry—with implications for 
climate variation. Now, students at a school in 
Yorkshire, England, are set to help scientists better 
understand the belts. Dr. Andrew Kavanagh 
presented this innovative project between 
Lancaster University and Headlands School and 
Community Science College on April 20 at the 
Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy 
Meeting (NAM 2011) in Llandudno, Wales. 

 The Van Allen belts were discovered at the 
dawn of the space age by the Explorer 1 satellite, 
launched in 1958, but scientists still do not really 
understand how they form and how they change 
with time.

 In the new partnership, Headlands School will host 
a sensitive radio receiver supplied by ionospheric 
physicists from the Space Plasma Environment 
and Radio Science Group at Lancaster University. 
The receiver will form part of the global Antarctic–
Arctic Radiation-belt (Dynamic) Deposition–
VLF Atmospheric Research Konsortium 
(AARDDVARK) consortium of international 
universities and will pick up signals from very low 
frequency transmitters from around the globe.

 Van Allen belt electrons 
that drop into the atmosphere 
between the transmitters and 
the receiver will change the 
radio signals between them. 
The Headlands receiver is 
particularly well placed as it 
will monitor signals that cross 
right under the footprint of the 
radiation belts.

 Long-term monitoring will 
let AARDDVARK scientists 
determine how much of the 
change in the radiation belts is 
due to loss to the atmosphere 
and how much of a direct 
impact geo-magnetic storms 
have on the middle and lower 
regions of our atmosphere. The 
project will support the aims 
of the NASA Radiation Belt 
Storm Probe Mission due to be 
launched in 2012.

 The students from Headlands 
School will have direct access 
to the data and will undertake 
projects looking at how the 
signal varies and will look at 
sources of radio noise such 
as lightning. They will also 
be in direct contact with 
the project scientists giving 
them an insight into how 
modern scientific research 
is carried out.

 Dr. Kavanagh sees the 
collaboration as a real way 
to engage schoolchildren 
with science. “We hope 
that by interacting with 
this project the students 
will get a better feel for 
how important science can 
be for their everyday lives, 
as well as stimulating them 
to ask questions about the 
wider Universe,” he says.

TO HOME, another 
program that links 
schools with professional 
astronomers is being 
offered through NASA and 

IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, gets 
teachers involved in authentic astronomical 
research. According to Dr. Luisa Rebull, Research 
Scientist at Caltech’s Spitzer Science Center, “We 
partner small groups of educators with a mentor 
professional astronomer for an original research 
project. The educators incorporate the experience 
into their classrooms and share their experience 
with other teachers.” 

 Dr. Rebull points out that each team does original 
research using real astronomical data, not canned 
labs or reproductions of previously done research. 
“Most, but not all, of our educators are grade 8-13, 
but informal educators have participated as well, 
she adds. “The kinds of educators we are looking 
for are those who already know the basics of 
astronomy, and are interested in learning exactly 
how astronomy research is conducted.”


 The program runs January through January. 
Applications are available now and due on 
September 23.

You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@

Ask jai……

Ask jai is a weekly column that will strive to honestly answer your job search questions relating to job searching 
techniques, networking skills, resume writing and interviewing. The employment situation is getting better, however, 
it is still a challenge finding were the jobs are located and how to get pass the “gate-keepers”. As an Executive 
Recruiter I was privy to working directly with Corporate Recruiters and understanding their process in selecting 
which candidates to interview and hire. I will candidly answer your questions, possibly bluntly answering you 
questions, but I will be totally honest. My objective is to help you achieve your employment goal.


Q: I received an e-mail from an unsolicited company stating they had a position that they felt I was the perfect 
match. The e-mail went on to explain that I met all their requirements and qualifications for their position and 
they wanted to hire me. But, first I needed to send them my resumé and complete an attached application. They 
requested that I e-mail the items back to them ASAP at info@xcyz. No name, no identifying company, and no 
information about the job. The e-mail said I would be hired once they received all the request information and 
documents. The application requested my Social Security number and credit card information, which they said 
was needed in order to conduct a background check. I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity, or to get a 
position. What should I do? Seriously Confused.

Dear Seriously Confused:

 What position? What opportunity are you missing? The fact you are asking me what you should do … is telling 
me you know what to do. Do not respond! This most likely is a job scam and the people are out to steal all your 
personal identity and confidential information. Job scammers have been in existence for over 50 years. However, 
the scammers have evolved and successfully use the internet to reach out and target disparate job seekers. This can 
happen when you post your resumé on public job boards (which I can not and will not name). The job boards 
are not responsible for the scamming so you really can not hold them responsible. You, the job seeker have to be 
very diligent or thorough in monitoring who contacts you regarding positions. As always, research and investigate 
anyone who contacts you about a position. My advice is to never blindly submit your resumé, an application or 
personal information. Don’t pay fees to get a position. Never give out your credit card information or Social Security 
number until you are actually offered a position or hired by a company. Don’t give out your bank account numbers, 
not even on an application. Some scammers ask you to give them your bank account numbers before hiring you so 
they will be ready to direct deposit your paycheck. Avoid companies you have not researched that ask you to buy 
their equipment before you are hired. Let’s not forget, the old Bait and Switch job scams. This is where you apply 
for one job, the scammers contact you and say the position no longer exists and want you to apply for a different 
position. However, the position is usually a sales job and commission base only. 

 Red flags should always go up when an unsolicited company contacts you and requests your resume. Your first 
question should be, “why are they contacting me?” Then delete the e-mail or do not return the phone call. It’s better 
to play it safe then to be sorry later. 

Earlier this week Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic 
Compute Cloud) Cloud Services 
platform experienced a major outage 
which caused several major online 
services to be knocked out of service. 

Critics of the cloud computing model 
are describing it as a real “told ya-so” 
moment. More than likely this entire 
episode was just a bad day for Amazon 
and not much more than that. Users 
looking for some of their favorite 
web sites yesterday were greeted with 
responses ranging from sluggish load 
times to outright “Site Not Found” 
messages for hours on end. As of this 
writing the technical staff that supports 
the EC2 organization is still scrambling 
to restore full operation to its massive 

Because of the sheer size of Amazon’s 
cloud, the effect of this outage has 
been felt across the internet although 
the actual faulty sector of activity 
appears to be confined to the N. 
Virginia data centers in Amazon’s 
North American Zone. A visit to the 
Amazon Web Services System Health 
Dashboard (
com/) confirms that several key areas 
of the North America zone area still 
experiencing difficulty and users of the 
service have reported that calls to tech 
support for an ETA as to the restoration 
of full service have not been answered 
with a definite time. 

While system downtime is hardly a 
new experience for most computer 
users one of the main selling points 
of the cloud services model is that the 
redundancy built into the system would 
in most cases make downtime a thing 
of the past or at least as disruptive as 
possible for as short a time as possible.

The Amazon EC2 SLA (Service Level 
Agreement) found on their website 
guarantees an uptime of 99.95% (4.3 
hours of unscheduled downtime in a 
year) most users report much better 
uptime stats. Even when downtime 
falls within the contractually obligated 
terms 4.3 hours can seem like forever, 
especially when that time translates 
into lost revenue as might be the case 
with an e-commerce site.

To those unfamiliar with how Amazon 
EC2 works and what products and 
services they offer, go to the Amazon 
Web Services homepage http:// In a nutshell, 
AWS offers the opportunity to rent 
computer services and storage space 
for individuals and businesses for the 
purposes of web hosting, program 
development, site management and 
other cloud-related services. “Instances” 
or virtual computers can be rented in a 
wide variety of sizes and configurations 
to fit individual user needs ranging 
from a single-site, single-purpose 
micro-user to a full-blown program 
development team’s virtual server cloud 
offering online services to thousands or 
millions of users. AWS also offers many 
other monitoring and web support 
features such as Site Monitoring and 
DNS Hosting. 

If you want a better picture of what 
“the cloud” is and what it has to offer, 
Amazon Web Services is a good place 
to start. 

Everything you ever wanted to know about how to get a job ….but did not know who to ask. ASK jai. Send your 
questions to: or visit website www.resumeandcareerservicesc.

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc.

Canyon Canine Dog 

Walking & Pet Sitting Services


 As a young child, I was terrified 
of every bug or insect with which 
I came into contact, particularly 
those that I knew could bite or sting 
me. I will never forget the first time 
I was stung by a bee. Or, to put it in 
more specific terms, the first time 
I was stung by an entire swarm of 
angry bees. I was five years old, 
and had not yet learned about how 
nature works. I did not understand 
any of those creeping, crawling, 
flying creatures who inhabited the 
space beyond the four walls within 
which I lived. The angry bee attack 
was my own fault. I had been 
teasing them as they came and went 
to and from the hive they had built 
on the outside sill of my parents’ 
bedroom window. My sister and 
I had both spent the morning 
obnoxiously tapping on the glass, 
apparently aggravating them to a 
point of frenzy! Well, I must say it 
came as quite a shock to me, when 
I stepped out of the front door 
later that day and was suddenly 
covered in buzzing, bothered bees. 
The moment I closed the door 
behind me, several of them flew 
toward me and found their way 
into the backside of my t-shirt neck 
opening. They then proceeded to 
plant their tiny, needle-like stingers 
deeply into the delicate skin of my 
neck and shoulders. I immediately 
panicked and began screaming 
at the top of my lungs, yelling for 
someone to come and rescue me. 
Within moments my mother came, 
yanked my t-shirt off and dragged 
me back into the house where she 
prepared a home remedy made of 
baking soda and milk, and spread 
it heavily over the bee stings on my 
back. I don’t know which was more 
swollen by the end of that fiasco, my 
face (from crying so hard), or my 
back from the numerous bee stings 
I had sustained. Within an hour, 
my temperature rose to 102, and 
I became quite queasy. Eventually 
the raised, rosy-red marks where 

the bees had stung, shrank down 
and my fever subsided. Afterwards, 
I was so amazed that my mother 
knew enough to use a homemade 
baking soda remedy to draw out 
the poison that those bothered 
bees had injected into my skin. As 
it turns out, my loving mother had 
all kinds of alternative health care 
tricks up her sleeve, but then again 
I guess she had to, being the mom 
of seven children!

 To this day, I am unsure why my 
sister and I felt the need to pester 
those poor bees. I guess we were 
acting out of fear, knowing that 
they had the power to terrorize 
us when we were outside, where 
they could get to us. We must have 
found some sense of satisfaction in 
annoying them from the safety of 
our home, inside. What we didn’t 
realize, was that bees have no desire 
to terrorize other beings, they are 
simply going about the business 
that God created them for, which is 
to work hard transporting pollen, 
to breed freely and to make honey. 
Later in life, I learned about the 
God-given purpose of bees and the 
important part they play in nature, 
and I finally shed my fear of them.

 Bees only attack as a response 
to aggravation; it is not in their 
nature to do so at random. So many 
aspects of life depend on the bee’s 
persistent activity, so it is important 
that the human understand, and 
allow them to go about their 
business. A bee can actually feel 
the vibration of fear being emitted 
from the human, or any other being 
capable of emitting fear, much in 
the same way a dog can smell fear or 
danger. With this in mind, the best 
thing to do, if you happen to come 
in contact with a swarm of bees, 
is to remain calm, keep quiet, and 
walk away slowly. If you handle the 
situation in this manner, bees are 
more likely to ignore you and 

continue their work than to become 
aggravated and attack. Conversely, 
if you are fearful and make loud 
noises or sudden movements, 
they are likely to respond with 
aggression and give chase. For bees, 
it’s all about completing the task at 
hand, protecting their hives, and 

 Since I have figured this out 
for myself, I am able to relax and 
enjoy watching bees do their work 
and fly about, with no fear. It is a 
fabulous feeling to sit calmly, listen 
to them buzz and observe them as 
they fly about and do what they 
were created to do, with no fear 
or concern. This lesson in nature 
came with an additional bonus, 
above and beyond the fact that 
bees no longer tend to sting me. 
Somehow, understanding what 
makes a bee “tick“, and learning to 
trust them not to attack, has helped 
me understand a bigger picture in 
life. Getting to know what bees are 
all about has taught me to relax 
and let nature, in general “do its 
thing“. Certainly this approach to 
life beats living in fear and causing 
a disruptive ripple in the process of 
nature. How many experiences do 
you know of that have the capacity 
to teach such a valuable lesson? I 
guess the proverbial “birds and the 
bees” story that we attempt to tell 
our children during adolescence 
has more substance than we 
might have expected! It’s not just 
about the facts of life (ie: sex and 
reproduction), it provides us with 
a way of explaining what life is 
all know, the “bigger 
picture”. As I like to say, “love and 
let live“. Relax, and enjoy your 
surroundings fear-free. Even if this 
“thought for the day” doesn’t mean 
as much to you as it does to me, 
if you are willing to apply it, you 
are certainly way less likely to get 


First off, I want to 
publicly thank God for 
sacrificing His Son that 
we might be saved from 
the punishment of our 
sins; for that reason, I 
see Resurrection Day as 
the most important day of the year and of 

Now, on to my typical scintillating 
commentary on the secular holiday of 
Easter. Easter is one of the two occasions 
(the other being Christmas) that you might 
coerce your non-church-going relatives to 
attend a service. Since the pastor knows 
this is his biannual opportunity to win 
over more souls, you’re not likely to hear a 
fire and brimstone sermon that day. Some 
churches do a sunrise service, which can 
be very inspirational 
and moving. If you’re 
unfamiliar with this 
practice, the idea is 
that the service starts 
(outside) sometime 
during the semi-dark 
morning hours, so that 
sunrise coordinates with 
the end of the sermon. 
The one and only time 
I went to one of these I 
started to doze off, only 
to be jolted back to reality 
by the trumpet blast at 
the start of a hymn. I knew I shouldn’t have 
sat by the orchestra. These days, I go to the 
regularly scheduled service. I figure God 
appreciates my staying awake to worship 
and learn.

Whether or not church is on your Easter 
docket, you might have a few traditional 
Easter activities planned. I fondly 
remember the Easters of old. My grandma 
would make a lemon meringue pie (almost 
from scratch) because it was my cousin’s 
favorite. We’d dye at least a dozen eggs and 
even use all those little stickers, crayons, and 
plastic egg wrappers. I think we only had 
an egg hunt once, because I recall finding a 
very old, smelly egg that had been forgotten 
by one of our ducks. Best not to look too 
carefully in our backyard, I suppose. The 
dyed Easter eggs were always made into 
sandwich spreads or enjoyed with a generous 
sprinkling of salt. The odor of boiled eggs 
has always reminded me of flatulence, so I 
have never partaken. Maybe I’m missing 
out on a great taste sensation; I guess I’ll 
never know. As with most holidays, the age 
of the participants influences the degree of 
festivity. The equations look something like 
this: [More kids = More decorations, games, 
etc.] [Less kids = Less energy required]. Since 
I am the youngest on my side of the family, 
and my husband’s relatives aren’t really into 
Easter, we’ve reduced the celebration to a 
pretty bare bones affair.

The first Easter to really break with 
tradition occurred when my mom turned 
vegan. She hosted the meal, 
which consisted of seitan 
(phonetically “Satan,” maybe 
not good for Easter), tempeh 
(another soy manifestation), 
a variety of legumes, whole-
wheat eggless muffins (a 
bit crumbly, but palatable), 
and numerous greens, raw, 
baked, or boiled. Since most 
people mistake me for a 
vegan anyway, I didn’t mind 
the menu change, except the 
fruit sorbet. If you’re going 
to eat a healthy holiday meal, you should 
at least be able to look forward to some 
creamy, buttery, decadent dessert. I mean, 
Easter comes but once a year, you know?

 In the years since my mom’s initial 
conversion, we’ve adapted the menu, and for 
the most part, it’s returned to its carnivorous 
roots with a few vegan alternatives. My 
pie-baking Grandma has since gone to 
celebrate Easter with Jesus Himself, so the 
dessert responsibility has been delegated to 
me. And I must say, I do provide a decent 
lemon meringue pie –with the help of Marie 
Calendar’s. Happy Resurrection Day/Easter 
to you all, and I hope you make it to church 
and eat decadently!