Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 11, 2015

MVNews this week:  Page 14



Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 11, 2015 


The Sun undergoes a type of seasonal variability 
with its activity waxing and waning over the course 
of nearly two years, according to a new study by 
a team of researchers led by the National Center 
for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). This behavior 
affects the peaks and valleys in the approximately 
11-year solar cycle, sometimes amplifying and 
sometimes weakening the solar storms that can 
buffet Earth’s atmosphere.

 The quasi-annual variations appear to be driven 
by changes in the bands of strong magnetic fields 
in each solar hemisphere. These bands also help 
shape the approximately 11-year solar cycle that is 
part of a longer cycle that lasts about 22 years.

 “What we’re looking at here is a massive driver 
of solar storms,” said Scott McIntosh, lead author 
of the new study and director of NCAR’s High 
Altitude Observatory. “By better understanding 
how these activity bands form in the Sun and 
cause seasonal instabilities, there’s the potential to 
greatly improve forecasts of space weather events.”

 The overlapping bands are fueled by the rotation 
of the Sun’s deep interior, according to observations 
by the research team. As the bands move within the 
Sun’s northern and southern hemispheres, activity 
rises to a peak over a period of about 11 months 
and then begins to wane.

 The quasi-annual variations can be likened to 
regions on Earth that have two seasons, such as a 
rainy season and a dry season, McIntosh said.

 The study, published this week in Nature 
Communications, can help lead to better 
predictions of massive geomagnetic storms in 
Earth’s outer atmosphere that sometimes disrupt 
satellite operations, communications, power grids, 
and other technologies.


AFTER CERES ARRIVAL. Since its capture by 
the gravity of dwarf planet Ceres on March 6, 
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has performed flawlessly, 
continuing to thrust with its ion engine as planned. 
The thrust, combined with Ceres’ gravity, is 
gradually guiding the spacecraft into a circular 
orbit around the dwarf planet. All of the spacecraft’s 
systems and instruments are in excellent health.

 Dawn has been following its planned trajectory 
( on the dark side of 
Ceres—the side facing away from the Sun—since 
early March. After it entered orbit, the spacecraft’s 
momentum carried it to a higher altitude, reaching 
a maximum of 46,800 miles on March 18. 
Today, Dawn is about 26,000 miles above Ceres, 
descending toward the first planned science orbit, 
which will be 8,400 miles above the surface.

 By early May, images will improve our view of 
the entire surface, including the mysterious bright 
spots that have captured the imaginations of 
scientists and space enthusiasts alike. What these 
reflections of sunlight represent is still unknown, 
but closer views should help determine their 
nature. The regions containing the bright spots will 
likely not be in view for the April 10 images; it is 
not yet certain whether they will be in view for the 
April 14 set.

 On May 9, Dawn will complete its first Ceres 
science phase and begin to spiral down to a lower 
orbit to observe Ceres from a closer vantage point.

 Dawn previously explored the giant asteroid 
Vesta for 14 months, from 2011 to 2012, capturing 
detailed images and data about that body.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@ 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder

by Christopher Nyerges


[Nyerges is the former editor of Wilderness Way magazine, and the author of 14 books, including 
“Guide to Wild Foods,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” “Foraging California,” and others. He leads 
regular outdoor field trips to identify edible and medicinal wild plants. He can be reached at www. or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]



As may be expected, Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Although 
I prefer to call it Resurrection Sunday, I am not easily offended by words. Remember the old 
saying, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”

 It is amazing to me how some people get all bent out of shape when it comes to words. I 
think it is impossible to keep up with the political correctness that some people insist. I have 
never known a single day or an hour in which I have wanted to be politically correct about 

 I try to be as sensitive to people’s feelings as possible. I do not want to needlessly offend 
anybody, but it is nearly impossible not to in the day in which we live. It has come to the place 
that you do not know quite how to greet anybody anymore.

 “Merry Christmas,” seems to enflame some people, which is why I always give the greeting 
to everyone I meet, even when it is not Christmas.

 The least little thing offends so many people. Many people have thin skin, but very thick 

 Just the other day the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage brought a situation to my 
attention. At first, I thought she was pulling my leg, so to speak. It became quite evident that 
she was not.

 According to the article, somebody was objecting to the Easter Bunny. For some reason 
the person writing this article was objecting to Religious holidays. In his opinion, everything 
related to Religion needs to be stripped from our society.

 He gave several examples, but one stood out among all the rest. That one was the humble 
little Easter Bunny. I have been a Christian for a long time and read my Bible through dozens 
of times and I have yet to run across any reference to the Easter Bunny. However, this person 
became very irritated at the Easter Bunny symbol. I am not sure what he thought that symbol 

 His attack on the Easter Bunny was because, in his opinion, it was a religious symbol of 
some sort. He did not go into any detail about what that symbol was; simply that it needed 
immediate extraction from contemporary society. In reading the article, I picked up the 
idea that this person was particularly agitated about everything religious. And he took his 
vengeance out on the Easter Bunny.

 I really do not mind people attacking Christianity. After all, they did it to Jesus while he 
was alive. However, I wish if they are going to attack Christianity, they would at least read the 
Bible and know what to attack. If this person is as stupid in other areas of the article, as in this 
particular aspect, how can we believe anything he says? Dumb is as dumb writes.

 I have been thinking about something for a long time and it might soon be time to put it 
into action. My plan is to spread the rumor that Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, 
is actually a religious symbol. I do not have to mention what it is a symbol of; simply that it is 
a religious symbol. That will be enough to have people, like the one who wrote this particular 
article, get in an uproar and demand that this symbol be eradicated from contemporary 

 I think good old Punxsutawney Phil could handle himself on this particular issue. Even if 
people should succeed in getting rid of the old boy, he probably could use the sleep.

 If this plan succeeds, and the likelihood is pretty high, I might go on to my next plan. I will 
begin spreading the rumor that Thursday has a significant religious symbolism to it. Again, I 
need not define what that symbolism is, only that there is the possibility.

 Soon high-minded plans will be in place to attack Thursday and do away with it. There will 
be a bill in Congress to call Thursday, “The Day after Wednesday.” Of course, on the Senate 
side there will be those who will want to call it, “The Day before Friday.” Soon it will be a hot 
topic headlining every media news program in America. The pros and cons will be heatedly 
debated. Some may even want to call it, “Wednesday Part 2.”

 No matter what they decide on, it will be certain that nobody who is politically correct 
could say the word “Thursday,” ever again.

 Personally, I would not mind that, because like Punxsutawney Phil, I could use the rest.

 The only holiday that has not yet come under attack is the one celebrated on April 1. My 
thinking behind this is, every fool should have his or her day. Now, I never object to a fool 
celebrating on April 1. It seems to me that the celebrants of this holiday are vastly increasing. 
I make it a point every year to join in the celebration.

 Easter is my special holiday. The apostle Paul defined it, “For I delivered unto you first of 
all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 
Corinthians 15:3-4).

 Many people hop over the truth, skip around reality and never find the real purpose of 
God’s intention for them.

 Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 
34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or 
e-mail or website


Many years ago, when I 
was still in high school and 
beginning my earnest study of 
botany, I got a phone call from friend Joe Hall. Joe and 
I were both interested in wild foods and herbs, and 
Joe told me that he’d located a patch of horehound. I’d 
read about horehound, I’d heard about horehound, 
and it supposedly grew all around us. Yet, I’d never 
knowingly seen the plant. I hopped on my bicycle and 
within 30 minutes I met Joe just north of Pasadena’s 
famous Rose Bowl. He was squatting next to a small 
inconspicuous plant, and I eagerly got off my bicycle 
and down on the ground to examine the plant. 

 “Here it is,” said Joe, still looking at the plant 

 “That’s it?” I said in near disbelief. It was, after 
all, a plant I’d casually noticed but paid no attention 
to. I looked at the opposite leaves, typical of mints. 
I examined the square stems covered in fine white 
hairs. Apparently, these “hoary” stems are what gave 
rise to the name “horehound.” I got up close to look at 
the typical mint-shaped leaf with the typical wrinkled 
pattern. Yes, it was a very familiar looking plant. 

 The mints that grew in my mother’s garden were 
more like vines, however, which grew out of control 
and gradually spread everywhere. This horehound 
was more like a single bush that grew taller as it 
produced flowering stalks and then seed. 

 “What do you think?” asked Joe, still examining 
the plant himself. 

 “It doesn’t smell like a mint,” I told him as I crushed 
a single young leaf and detected none of the strong 
fragrance so common to nearly every other mint. 

 “That’s right,” said Joe. “Try tasting it.”

 I picked off a clean leaf and slowly chewed it. The 
texture was furry, like an old mustard leaf perhaps. 
The initial flavor was fresh and pungent, but as I 
chewed it became more and more bitter. I spit it out 
and Joe laughed at my reaction. 

 “It doesn’t taste great” said Joe, “if you just eat it 
like that. But you know that this herb is good for sore 
throats, right?” 

 “Yes,” I told him. I was aware of horehound candy. 
My mother once gave my brother and I a horehound 
drop, and I spit it out as soon as I put it into my mouth. 
But I gradually got used to it. Plus, despite the odd 
flavor, it was very effective at minor coughs and sore 

 After Joe showed me a few other plants in the area, 
I collected some horehound leaves for experimenting. 
Then we each bicycled home. 

 That night, I tried my first horehound tea. You do 
not boil the leaves in water (a decoction), but rather, 
you make an infusion. You put the fresh or dried 
leaves into your cup or pot, add boiling water, and let 
it sit until it is cool enough to drink. 

 I had my first taste with no sweetening. It had an 
interesting flavor, and it was even tolerable as a simple 
beverage. But there was no getting around it – it is a 
bitter herb and it really is an medicine. 

 Over the years, I have had horehound many 
times, but I usually add honey or lemon juice to the 
horehound infusion to make it easier to consume. 

Herbalist Michael Moore (author of Medicinal 
Plants of the Mountain West), says that horehound 
(Marrubium vulgare) is the herb for coughs and lung 
congestion. He also points out that the hot tea helps to 
reduce feverish coughs, promotes sweating, and has a 
long history as a bitter expectorant (a substance that 
stimulates the outflow of mucus from the lungs and 

 Either the dried or fresh leaves of horehound can 
be made into tea. As a hot tea, horehound has been 
commonly used as a tonic, and for chronic sore throat, 
coughs, colds, and breathing problems associated 
with asthma. Horehound leaves should be gathered in 
the spring when the plant is young and the leaves are 

This plant provides the raw ingredients for horehound 
candy, which has long been sold in drugstores and 
markets as a mild cough drop. Here is a recipe for those 
of you who’d like to try to make the candy yourself. 
Cook (don’t boil) one cup of the fresh herb (or 3 cup 
of the dried herb) with two cups of water for about 15 
minutes. Strain. To each cup of liquid, add one cup 
of honey. Cook until the mixture thickens. Keep at a 
low heat or it will run over. Pour onto a cookie sheet 
and let it cool. Break (or scoop) off pieces as you need 
or want it. It is best to refrigerate 
it, since it tends to 
spread. (For details on making a truly “hard” candy, 
consult a candy cookbook.) This candy is pleasant as 
a snack or energy food on the trail, as well as being 
useful for sore throats. 

 I was living in Ohio when I first read about 
horehound, and my reference book said it should 
be growing in that state. I never found it in Ohio, 
but when I returned to California, and was shown 
the horehound by my friend Joe, I realized that 
the plant was quite widespread and common in 
California. The plant is a European native, found 
throughout the U.S., but most widely naturalized in 
the Southwestern. You can find it by the roadside, 
in open field areas, and in areas disturbed (plowed, 
disced, etc.) by man. 

 Discovering and learning about new herbs (wild 
and cultivated) can be a life-long process. There is 
no shortcut to learning about wild plants and their 
uses. You need to treat each one as an individual, and 
take the time that’s required to get to know each one