Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, March 17, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 16



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 17, 2012 


 For the past month the two brightest planets, Venus and 
Jupiter, have been an eye-catching duo in the western sky after 
sunset. Week by week they’ve been gradually sliding closer 
together, and their celestial performance has just culminated.

 By March 9th these dazzling evening “stars” were less than 5 
degrees apart, about the width of three fingers at arm’s length. 
Then, from March 12th to 14th, the gap between them closed 
to just 3 degrees as they passed one another in the evening 
sky. The pairing of these bright lights is dramatic, though not 
especially rare.

 Venus is the brighter one, for three reasons. First, it’s close 
to the Sun, as planets go, basking in sunlight twice as bright as 
we receive on Earth and about 50 times more intense than the 
sunlight that reaches distant Jupiter. Second, it’s almost seven 
times closer to Earth. And, its cloudy atmosphere is slightly 
whiter than Jupiter’s, reflecting a little more of the sunlight that 
strikes it. These advantages combine to make Venus appear 
seven times brighter than Jupiter.

 However, Jupiter is the far larger planet, and despite being 
522 million miles away (versus 76 million for Venus) right now, 
it appears about twice as wide as Venus through a backyard 

 After March 14th, Jupiter continues to slide down closer 
to the Sun. By mid-April it will be too low to see after sunset, 
lost in the bright twilight. Venus, however, appears to edge a 
bit higher each night. It shines well over 40 degrees above the 
horizon at sunset for most of the United States—about as high 
in the evening sky as it can ever get—and lingers in the sky after 
sunset for 4 hours through mid-April.

 This month’s celestial show has a second act! Before the end 
of March, the new crescent Moon will enter the western sky after 
sunset, adding to the spectacle. The delicately thin crescent appears close to Jupiter at nightfall on March 25th (especially so for eastern North America). The next night the Moon will be 
higher, paired now with Venus. Bob Eklund at:

Venus and Jupiter form a spectacular pairing in the evening sky during mid-March. These scenes show the sky's appearance 
looking west about an hour after sunset. A third planet, Mercury, can be glimpsed just above the western horizon.

A long time ago when desktops ruled the landscape, PC 
manufacturers used to get the buying public worked up by 
hyping the notion of the almighty Megahertz. In a nutshell, PC 
sellers wanted us to believe that the clock speed of a computer 
was the key measurement of its responsiveness. It turns out 
that a processor’s design, RAM capacity, hard drive rotational 
speed and other factors all worked together to determine just 
how ‘fast’ a computer truly is, but at the time the Megahertz 
explanation sounded good enough to a lot of us. 

 A more up-to-date version of this pitch is the megapixel 
theorem; a camera that captures more megapixels produces 
better digital photos. These days sellers of hi-tech equipment 
and services are dealing with a public more acclimated 
to handling with technology and a public that has 
been exposed to marketing techniques far more 
sophisticated than it was exposed to back in the good 
ol’ days.

 Both marketers and hi-tech equipment manufacturers 
appear to have learned the lesson of avoiding murky 
technical jargon in order to sell more widgets. Now, 
however, it does seem that they may be going back to 
the well one more time with the “4G” appellation. That 
label, which theoretically specifies a device’s wireless 
data speed, doesn’t really tell you anything about how 
fast your gadget might surf the Web. 

 If you see any phone, tablet, toaster, or fridge that’s capable of 
“4G” networking, you should assume the guy who’s selling it 
to you thinks you may not be too bright and if you blindly do 
put any stock in the label, you might not be, either. 

 “4G”—and often “3G”— don’t always mean what they say, 
and it might just be time we got rid of them, once and for all. 

The emptiness of 4G was highlighted last week, when people 
who installed the latest iPhone 4S operating system upgrade 
noticed something that seemed too good to be true: The 
network indicator on their phones began displaying “4G” 
rather than “3G.” This change occurred only for people 
who use AT&T’s cellular service; Verizon iPhone users who 
installed the upgrade still saw the 3G indicator. 

Some people took the change to mean that their phones had 
gotten faster wireless Internet access, but that wasn’t true—
the OS upgrade did nothing to change how your phone 
communicates with cell towers. All that changed was AT&T’s 


Early last year, essentially overnight, AT&T began rebranding 
its 3G network as a 4G network. So now that tired old 3G 
phone is fresh again—lucky you, you’ve got 4G!

 The confusion about what constitutes real “4G” comes from 
the fact that different carriers use different standards (HSPA+ 
or LTE) that both are capable of delivering “4G” speeds on 
“3G” or “4G” networks, depending on the combination of 
phone device and networks. To further complicate matters it 
seems that the older “3G” standard may eventually outpace 
the newer “4G” standard in terms of raw speed, but that is not 
likely to happen in the very near future. 

 The best one can do to avoid being undersold is thorough 
research and effective comparison-shopping. 

3G VS 4G:



During a walk I had last year with “Tatertotts“, 
my ten-year-old black & tan bloodhound, we 
were enjoying the peaceful ambience of dusk, 
with stars slowly beginning to twinkle in the sky 
and not another soul in sight, when she suddenly 
engaged in a series of intense bays, taking me 
very much by surprise. You see, Tater rarely ever 
bays or barks during our walks. She is typically 
too involved with sniffing out subtle scents, 
keeping her nose trained to the trail in hopes of 
tracking a furry critter, or dream-of-all-dreams 
finding a discarded bag of fast-food left-over‘s 
thoughtlessly tossed out by a previous passerby. 

We were hiking along the short trail that begins 
where South Sycamore ends in Sierra Madre, 
between the ball parks and the city yards. 
That’s where the pavement turns to a dirt path 
surrounded by overgrown grass, floral fauna 
and shady trees. It was a great evening for a 
walk; the moon was full above the eastern hills, 
and everything seemed calm and peaceful. We 
were both relishing the solitude of the evening 
when all of a sudden, Tater stopped sniffing the 
ground and threw her head back, pointing her 
nose & tail upward and sending her huge ears 
flopping wildly. She let out the loudest baritone 
bay I think I have ever heard from her, shattering 
the silence and shocking me out of my peaceful 
state. Her first howl was followed by several 
more, before her voice slowly faded to a whimper 
as she became calm again and resumed her trail 
tracking endeavor.

When I looked up to see what had excited her I 
saw a flock of what appeared to be Canada Geese 
flying low on the horizon, headed for one of the 
settling basins, just about 100 yards away. As they 
landed one by one on the surface of the pond, 
they made quite a splash! I thought, how happy 
they must be to have found a water hole where 
they could refresh themselves and rest before 
continuing their long journey, and how lucky I 
was to be in the right place at the right time to 
see them land so close to where I was standing. 
That rare moment with nature inspired me to 
learn more about the migratory habits of Canada 
Geese. I hope you find the facts about migrating 
geese as interesting and remarkable as I do!

Canadian Geese are native to North America 
and best known for their distinctive honking as 
well as the “v” flock formation they assume while 
migrating over the continent. The “v” formation 
is by no means random. It is their instinctual 
way of utilizing the power of wind and air foil by 
following behind and slightly to the side of one 
another to make the most of the wind beneath 
their wings and stored energy as they travel. 
Geese are much larger and heavier than they 
appear to be, so it takes a lot more energy for 
them to fly than you might think. By using the 
“v” formation technique they reserve energy and 
increase their endurance while traveling. In the 
summer months, most Canada Geese reside in 
the Canadian region of the Arctic Circle, where 
they nest and raise their new-born goslings in 
the safety and solitude of the wilderness. Fresh, 
snow-fed waterways and reservoirs provide them 
with plenty of water and food resources for the 
season, as they foster the bonds within their 
growing family, and prepare for the impending 
multi-mile migration south.

By the time Fall comes around, the temperatures 
in the Arctic will have dropped dramatically, 
and the geese will have prepared themselves 
for the 2500 mile flight that will take them to 
the Gulf of Mexico, their seasonal destination. 
There they spend the winter months avoiding 
the frost of the Arctic north. The flight south 
can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months, 
depending on their point of origin and the route 
they follow. Male and female geese maintain a 
monogamous relationship with the same partner 
throughout their lives and raise their family as 
an integral unit, caring for their young until they 
are adults. Research has shown that familial geese 
fly closely together during the migration process, 
and communicate among themselves using 
honking calls that are unique to their own family 
members, in order to keep from being separated 
along the way.

We have all heard the term “bird brain” used to 
refer to someone who acted stupidly or used poor 
judgment. I remember hearing it as a kid, and I 
assumed that meant birds must be pretty stupid. 
Of course, later in life I learned the more facts 
about birds and I realized that couldn’t be further 
from the truth. The next time someone calls you a 
bird brain, you can take it as a compliment!

Looking into the life of the migrating goose, I 
was inspired to draw a few parallels between 
their sensational migration and my own personal 
navigation through life on this earth. Life 
presents some pretty difficult challenges at times, 
but if we take a lesson from the goose by “flying” 
efficiently and in a way that helps those behind 
us keep up and stay strong, and if we support 
those in our family unit and communicate as 
clearly and intimately as geese do, we could 
handle the challenges of life more like the goose 
handles that 2500 mile flight; with unity, strength 
and determination! Observing animal behavior 
brings me to a higher level of understanding 
what life is all about. It’s yet another reminder 
from nature that here is much more to life than 
making money and collecting toys. One thing’s 
for sure, I do hope to be in the right place at the 
right time for many more close encounters with 
nature, such as the one Tater and I had with 
the migrating geese. Those rare moments can 
help teach us how to live life more fully and to 
appreciate and better understand the families and 
loved ones we are all blessed with, and I think 
that is truly sensational!

KATIE Tse..........This and That

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc.

Canyon Canine Dog 

Walking & Pet Sitting Services

 If you like 
classical piano 
music, are a closet old person 
like myself, or both, you may 
remember the legendary Victor 
Borge. Borge was as well 
loved for his musical mastery 
as he was for his hilarious 
stand up acts. Performing 
before American audiences 
and coming from a Danish 
background, Borge crafted 
many signature routines that 
parodied American culture and 
the English language.

 One of his most popular 
numbers was called 
“Inflationary Language,” in 
which Borge took words 
containing numeric values 
and increased them by one. 
For example, “tennis” became 
“elevenis,” and “wonderful” 
turned into “twoderful.” Great 
stuff! However, in this massive 
financial regression, I propose 
that we institute “Deflationary Language.” 

 We can start by settling for only 30 flavors at 
Baskin Robbins. Fifty-six varieties of Heinz 
products will have to suffice. NASCAR fans 
will attend the Indy 499. Girls may enjoy 
reading “Sixteen Magazine” and shopping at 
“Forever 20.” Fashionable people would be 
dressed to the eights. You will not be able to 
connect with your friends quite as much on 

 “Pepsi One” would be “Pepsi Zero,” as 
“Coke Zero” would be “Coke Negative-
One.” “S’mores” would become “Enough’s.” 
“Smart and Final” will become “Smart 
and First.” Yuppies will have to acclimate 
themselves to Incomplete Foods Market, 
rather than “Whole.” “Bed, Bath, and 
Beyond” would need to stop at just “Bed 
and Bath.” The Dollar Tree store would 
become the 99 Cents store, and the 99 Cents 
store would be decreased to 98 Cents. A 
few restaurants would have to be renamed, 
like “Numero Cero” and “Smaller Caesar’s” 
pizzerias. Motorists will pump gas at the 
Union 75 Station. “Payless” will be “Pay 
Even Less!” 

 The “Ocean’s Eleven” movies would go 
in reverse order (e.g., “Ocean’s Ten,” etc.). 
“Final Fantasy” would be all the name 
implies, instead of coming out with its 13th 
edition. Classics like “The Dirty Dozen” 
would be reduced to “The Dirty Eleven.” 
The iconic eighty’s high school show will be 
renamed “91023.” “Two and a Half Men” 
would either be “One and a Half Men” or 
“Two Men,” depending on how drastic CBS 
needs to be. Kate Gosselin is ahead of the 
game by having already eliminated Jon. 
Even newspaper articles might need to be 
cut short. “This & That” might become just 



Call Patricia - 626-818-2698