Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 26, 2015

MVNews this week:  Page 13



Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 26, 2015 


A team of Spanish astrophysicists has obtained precise 
measurements for the innermost region of a disc of 
matter in orbital motion around a supermassive black 
hole in the lensed quasar known as Einstein’s Cross 
(Q2237-0305). It constitutes the most precise set of 
measurements achieved to date for such a small and 
distant object.

 The researchers used microlensing to resolve the 
distorted images collected by the OGLE and GLITP 
gravitational microlensing projects, which have had 
their instruments trained on Einstein’s Cross for over 
a decade. By studying the variation in brightness of 
four different images (the four points of the ‘cross’), 
they have been able to obtain precise measurements 
of what is likely the innermost stable orbit of its 
accretion disc.

 “Over recent years we have shown how 
microlensing allows us to analyze the structure of 
accretion discs in quasars, and now we have obtained 
precise measurements for a structure right at the 
innermost rim, potentially its last stable orbit before 
the black hole event horizon,” explains José Antonio 
Muñoz, lecturer at the Department of Astronomy 
and Astrophysics at the Universitat de València, who 
took part in this research alongside colleagues at 
the universities of Granada, Cadiz and the Canary 
Islands Astrophysics Institute.

 His colleague, Jorge Jiménez Vicente at 
the University of Granada, adds that “the big 
breakthrough here is that we have been able to do 
this for such a small disc, so far away—it is like being 
able to detect a one euro coin located over 100,000 
kilometers away.”

 Currently only one in every 500 quasars can be 
measured in this way. However, Jiménez Vicente 
points to a future, when large-scale monitoring 
programs (like the 8.4 meter Large Synoptic Survey 
Telescope planned for northern Chile by 2022) 
are up-and-running, where “the detection of high 
magnification microlensing events like this one will 
be possible for thousands of quasars.”

 A gravitational lens refers to a distribution of matter 
(such as a cluster of galaxies) between a distant source 
and an observer that is capable of bending the light 
from the source, as it travels towards the observer. 
This effect is known as gravitational lensing and the 
amount of bending is one of the predictions of Albert 
Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

 Einstein’s Cross (also known as quasar Q2237+030 
or QSO 2237+0305) is a gravitationally lensed quasar 
that sits directly behind ZW 2237+030, Huchra’s 
Lens. Four images of the same distant quasar 
appear around a foreground galaxy due to strong 
gravitational lensing, which bends and splits the 
starlight, causing the single quasar to appear as four 

 The quasar’s redshift indicated that it is located 
about 8 billion light years from Earth, while the 
lensing galaxy is at a distance of 400 million light years. 
The apparent dimensions of the entire foreground 
galaxy are 0.87x0.34 arcminutes, while the apparent 
dimension of the cross in its centre accounts for only 
1.6x1.6 arcseconds.

 Einstein’s Cross is located in the constellation 

 You can contact Bob Eklund at:


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




From a practical standpoint, 
and if I am anything I am practical, well, 
practically, this year has gone by rather quickly. 
The fact I have survived this past year has to 
count for something.

 I was musing on this with the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage just the other day. 
I was feeling rather comfortable with myself 
and was congratulating myself on making it 
through another year. After all, the facts speak 
for themselves.

 “Well,” my wife began rather deliberately, “I 
guess you did survive the year.”

 “What in the world is that supposed to mean,” 
I queried. I must say I was a little agitated by the 
tone of her voice. After all, I did survive the year.

 It was quiet for a few minutes and then she 
said, “What about your New Year’s resolutions?”

 I informed her I was working on a brand-new 
set of New Year’s resolutions for the upcoming 
year. I think it’s rather important to jot down 
a few things you would like to do, maybe some 
improvements you would like to make or maybe 
something I should like to give up for the New 

 “That’s not what I mean.”

 I looked at her quizzically not really 
understanding what she was talking about.

 “What about the New Year’s resolutions for 
this year.” And she looked at me with one of 
those looks.

 You do not have to hit me with a baseball bat 
for me to understand what’s going on, although 
sometimes it does help. To be quite truthful I had 
not thought of those New Year’s resolutions, well, 
for the whole year.

 “Would you like me to recite the New Year’s 
resolutions you made last year?”

 Oh boy. I saw a news story the other day about 
people who could remember every day of their 
life in minute detail. I do not know how that feels, 
but I do know how it feels to live with someone 
who can remember every detail of my life.

 I have a photographic memory; the problem is 
I have been out of film for three decades.

 It got me to thinking about my New Year’s 
resolutions for this year. I must say that after 
looking at this list I did not fare too well.

 I had resolved to improve my diet and lose 
some weight. Fortunately, I did not put down 
how much weight I proposed to lose. I did lose 1 
pound 974 times but it always found its way home. 
I spent some time in Michigan this past summer 
and just as I was leaving, I threw a pound out the 
window and hurried on. By the time I got home 
to Florida that pound was waiting for me at the 
front door munching on an Apple fritter. What’s 
a person to do?

 Also, another item on my New Year’s resolution 
list was, “I resolve not to work harder but smarter 
this coming year.” At the time, I thought it was 
a very brilliant thing to say. And, don’t get me 
wrong, it is.

 I have mastered the part of not working 
harder, but the smarter aspect of that resolution 
eluded me. Whose definition of smarter should 
apply here? Certainly, I will not appeal to my 
wife’s idea about smarter. She has an altogether 
different concept of this whole area of working 

 My only consolation is that my definition of 
the subject is, it is always smarter not to work 
harder. If we apply that definition to my New 
Year’s resolution, I passed with flying colors.

 Then my good wife reminded me of another 
part of my New Year’s resolution. According to 
her memory, and I am in no position to challenge 
it, I had resolved to exercise more during the year. 
At the moment, I exercised my right to object to 
her memory. But, I lost that one.

 The only actual exercise I got this past year 
was several times I had a runny nose. Believe me, 
that exercised me to no end, but it was not on 
track with my wife’s idea of exercise.

 At this point of life, I think exercise is blown 
way out of proportion. I tried to persuade my 
wife that working my elbow at breakfast and 
lunchtime as well as suppertime was all the 
exercise I really needed. She said to me, “When 
was the last time you saw your feet?”

 At the moment, I exercised my right to shut 

 Then it dawned on me. I actually did get my 
share of exercise in this past year.

 I exercised my right to be wrong when 
confronted by my wife.

 I exercised my right to keep quiet when my 
wife was giving me instructions.

 All that exercise may not have helped me lose 
weight but it helped me gain in my relationship 
with my wife.

 I pondered this for some time and realized 
that many times it is better to admit you are 
wrong and save your relationship. Those who 
have to be right all the time are those who end 
up never being right. I thought of what the 
apostle Paul said. “Now therefore there is utterly 
a fault among you, because ye go to law one 
with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? 
why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be 
defrauded?” (1 Corinthians 6:7 KJV).

 Sometimes it is better to suffer wrongfully for 
a good purpose.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God 
Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road , Ocala , FL 34472 . 
He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call 
him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@att.
net. The church website is www.whatafellowship.

[Nyerges is the author of 
“Guide to Wild Foods and 
Useful Plants,” “Foraging 
Edible Wild Plants of North 
America,” “How to Survive Anywhere,” and other books. 
He has led wilderness trips since 1974. He can be reached 
at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA, or www.SchoolofSelf-]

 Knowledge of edible wild mushrooms can really 
enhance your outdoor experience and give you a 
little bit of self-reliance. Yet, there is this mystique 
about mushroom hunting. Lots of folks are very wary 
about venturing into the field of mycology. And this is 
understandable, considering the fact that even “experts” 
occasionally die from eating the wrong mushroom. For 
example, in March of 2009, life-long mushroom hunter 
Angelo Crippa collected some mushrooms in the hills 
above Santa Barbara, California. He sautéed them, 
and ate them, and told his wife they were delicious. 
Unfortunately, rather than an edible species, he collected 
a close-lookalike, Amanita ocreata, which is deadly. Even 
with hospital treatment, he died in 7 days.

 I often have told my students that they should avoid 
eating any wild mushrooms if they do not devote 
considerable time to studying mushrooms, and learning 
how to positively identify different genera and species. 
One of the biggest hurdles to studying mushrooms 
is that they appear, as if by magic, and then a few days 
later, most have decayed back to nothing. By contrast, 
most plants are available for inspection all throughout 
their growing season. You can leisurely study the leaf 
and floral structures, clip some for your herbarium, and 
casually take (or send) samples to a botanist to confirm 
your identification. Generally, you don’t have the luxury 
of time with mushrooms. Furthermore, there seem to be 
far fewer mushroom experts than plant experts, so even 
if you have a perfect specimen, there may not be anyone 
to take it to for identification. 

 Despite the obstacles, thousands of people collect 
wild mushrooms throughout the United States on a 
regular basis. Many -- such as myself - began the pursuit 
of mycology by joining a local mushroom group which 
conducts regular field trips. 

 Nearly everyone I’ve met who collects wild 
mushrooms for food collects only those few common 
mushrooms which are easy to recognize. These very 
common, easy-to-recognize edible mushrooms include 
field mushrooms (Agaricus sps.), inky caps (Coprinus 
sps.), fairy rings (Marasmius oreades), chantrelles, 
Boletus edulis, chicken-of-the-woods, and many others. 

 Today we’ll take a look at the chicken-of-the-woods, 
also known as the sulfur fungus ((Laetiporus sulphureus, 
formerly known as Polyporus sulphureus)

 The sulfur fungus is a polypore, or shelf fungus. 
Instead of the more-familiar cap on a stem, this one 
grows in horizontal layers. It is bright yellow as the 
fungus begins its growth, and then, as multiple layers 
appears, you will also see orange and red. As it grows 
older, it fades to a very faded yellow or nearly white color. 

 Typically, the chicken-of-the-woods grows on tree 
stumps and burned trees. It can grow high on the stump, 
or right at ground level. Though it can appear on many 
types of trees, in my area (Southern California), it is most 
common on eucalyptus and carob trees, both imported 
from Australia and the Middle East respectively. 

 This fungus is very easy to positively identify. If 
you are uncertain, you can call around to the botany 
departments at local colleges, or nurseries, or check to see 
if there are mycology groups in your area. Most full color 
wild mushroom books include this mushroom with 
color photos. Fortunately, you can collect a sample of the 
chicken-of-the-woods and put it in your refrigerator or 
freezer until you can get it to someone for identification. 
This mushroom will keep well. 

 In fact, when I locate some of the fresh chicken-of-the-
woods, I cut off as much of the bright yellow tender outer 
sections as I think I can store. I only cut back a few inches; 
if I have to work my knife, then I am into the tougher 
sections of the fungus, and those are not as good eating. 
Typically, I will simply wrap the chunks of this fungus 
and freeze them until I am ready to use. 

 Once I am going to prepare some for eating, the 
process is the same whether I am using frozen or fresh 

 I put the chicken-of-the-woods into a pan and cover 
it with water, and bring it to a hard boil for at least 5 
minutes. I pour off this water, and repeat the hard boiling. 
Yes, I am aware that some people do not seem to need to 
do this. However, if I do not do this boiling, I am likely 
to vomit when I eat the mushrooms, however prepared. 
I find vomiting one of life’s most unpleasant experiences, 
and I try to avoid it whenever possible. Thus, I always boil 
my chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms twice. 

 If you are experienced with this mushroom and you 
know you can eat it without all this boiling, that’s fine. 
Just be sure to thoroughly cook it for your neophyte 
friends when you have them over for dinner. 

 Once boiled, I rinse the pieces, and cut them into small 
nuggets on a breadboard. I roll them in egg (whole eggs, 
whipped) and then in flour. In the old days, we would 
then deep fry the breaded pieces. But since we now know 
all the bad things that deep-frying does to our arteries, 
we gently saute the breaded chicken-of-the-woods in 
butter or olive oil, maybe with a little garlic, in a stainless 
steel or cast iron skillet at very low heat. When browned, 
we place them on a napkin and then serve them right 

 We have made these little McNuggets, packed them, 
and taken them on field trips for a delicious lunch.

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