Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, February 27, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, February 27, 2016 


The McMurdo Dry Valleys, located in the 
Antarctic Victoria Land, are considered to be 
the most similar earthly equivalent to Mars. 
They make up one of the driest and most hostile 
environments on our planet, where strong winds 
scour away even snow and ice. Only so-called 
cryptoendolithic microorganisms—capable of 
surviving in cracks in rocks—and certain lichens 
can withstand such harsh conditions.

 A few years ago a team of European researchers 
traveled to these remote valleys to collect 
samples of two species of cryptoendolithic fungi: 
Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri. 
The aim was to send them to the International 
Space Station (ISS) for them to be subjected to 
Martian conditions and space to observe their 

 The tiny fungi were placed in cells (1.4 
centimeters in diameter) on a platform for 
experiments known as EXPOSE-E, developed by 
the European Space Agency to withstand extreme 
environments. The platform was sent in the Space 
Shuttle Atlantis to the ISS.

 For 18 months half of the Antarctic fungi were 
exposed to Mars-like conditions. More specifically, 
they were placed in an atmosphere with 95% CO2, 
1.6% argon, 0.15% oxygen, 2.7% nitrogen and 
370 parts per million of H2O; and a pressure of 
1,000 pascals. Through optical filters, some of the 
samples were subjected to ultraviolet radiation 
as if on Mars (higher than 200 nanometers) and 
others to lower radiation, including separate 
control samples.

 “The most relevant outcome was that more than 
60% of the cells of the endolithic communities 
studied remained intact after ‘exposure to Mars,’ or 
rather, the stability of their cellular DNA was still 
high,” says Rosa de la Torre Noetzel from Spain’s 
National Institute of Aerospace Technology 
(INTA), co-researcher on the project.

 The scientist explains that this work, published 
in the journal Astrobiology, forms part of an 
experiment known as the Lichens and Fungi 
Experiment (LIFE), “with which we have studied 
the fate or destiny of various communities of lithic 
organisms during a long-term voyage into space 
on the EXPOSE-E platform.”

 “The results help to assess the survival ability 
and long-term stability of microorganisms and 
bioindicators on the surface of Mars, information 
which becomes fundamental and relevant for 
future experiments centered around the search for 
life on the red planet,” says De la Torre.

 Researchers from the LIFE experiment, 
coordinated from Italy by Professor Silvano 
Onofri from the University of Tuscany, have 
also studied two species of lichens (Rhizocarpon 
geographicum and Xanthoria elegans) which can 
withstand extreme high-mountain environments. 
These were gathered from the Sierra de Gredos 
(Avila, Spain) and the Alps (Austria), with half 
of the specimens also being exposed to Martian 

 Another group of samples (both lichens 
and fungi) was subjected to an extreme space 
environment (with temperature fluctuations 
of between -21.5 and +59.6 °C, galactic-cosmic 
radiation of up to 190 megagrays, and a vacuum of 
between 10^-7 to 10^-4 pascals). The effect of the 
impact of ultraviolet extraterrestrial radiation on 
half of the samples was also examined.

 After the year-and-a-half-long voyage, the two 
species of lichens exposed to Martian conditions 
showed double the metabolic activity of those 
that had been subjected to space conditions, even 
reaching 80% more in the case of the species 
Xanthoria elegans.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder



Why should we continue this useless relic from the past? 

Let’s return to Standard Time All Year! 


I refuse to answer for anybody else because it is a 
full-time job trying to answer for myself. I must 
confess, though, I sometimes cannot give a good 
answer for myself. I can give an answer, but not 
a good one, and when it comes to answers, the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage demands 
good ones.

 How do you explain yourself to someone 
when you cannot even explain yourself 
to yourself? I do not pretend to be a man 
of mystery, but many things about Yours 
Truly I certainly do not understand. 
For one, I am not an actor. I want to make that 
very plain to all and sundry. Within the confines 
of my presence, are absolutely no acting skills. 
I have some friends who are always acting 
like a fool. I am assuming they are acting and 
give them the benefit of the doubt. Another 
friend of mine at certain times acts dumb. 
I have known him for a very long time and I 
can usually tell when he is acting. By the way, 
he is a very good actor. Many of my friends 
are excellent actors and if they ever were 
competing for some Oscar or Emmy award, 
they would come pretty close to winning. 
I am another story. It is very difficult for me in 
the area of acting. With me, what you see is what 
you get. I suppose when you boil it all down, I 
am just not smart enough to be a good actor. 
I am not even smart enough to be a bad actor. 
Putting all of this in context, I must confess that 
my wife believes I am a great actor. I have tried 
to dissuade her from this opinion, but up to this 
point, I have not been successful. When she thinks 
of me she always says, “And the Emmy goes to...” 
How she came to this point, I’m not quite 
sure. No matter what I do, she still holds to this 
personal opinion of me. I keep telling her that I 
am not that good of an actor, which she keeps 
smiling and nodding her head in my direction. 
Some examples need to be given here to show 
my point.

 Just the other night we were at a restaurant with 
some friends, having a good time, or so I thought. 
I must say when I’m on a roll, I’m on a roll. But 
all during my “roll,” I kept feeling somebody 
under the table kicking me. I ignored it thinking 
perhaps our friends did not quite know what 
they were doing. Never once did I suspicion my 
companion with this action. I kept rolling on. 
Finally, both of them excused themselves to 
take a break and when they were out of hearing 
distance, my wife said to me, “Will you stop 
acting so foolish?”

 I looked at her, not quite knowing what she 
was referring to, and said quite innocently, 
“But, my Precious, [it’s a name I use when I’m 
in trouble but don’t know why] I’m not acting.” 
She gave me one of “those looks” and said, 
“Stop acting foolish.”

 This is what I admire about my wife. She has 
the highest opinion of my abilities, particularly 
in the area of the thespian arts. Our friends were 
coming to the table when I was about to tell her 
I was not acting foolish, it just came natural.

 Another example comes to mind.

 I remember she was trying to explain 
something to me one time. I do not know what it 
was now. It was something to do with something 
in the garage, a place I have not been for years, 
and I was not connecting the dots, as they say. 
She was going into a long dissertation on what 
needed to be done and I was just standing 
there staring at her. I was trying to understand 
what she was saying, but nothing was clicking 
upstairs, if you know what I mean.

 In the middle of her dissertation, she stopped, 
looked at me intensely, placed both hands on 
her hips and said, “Don’t act so dumb.”

Smiling broadly, I whispered, “My Precious, I’m 
not acting.”

 With a glare that could have intimidated 
good old Goliath, she quipped, “I’m coming to 
believe you’re right. You are not acting. You’re 
just naturally dumb.”

 Somebody once sang a song called, “I gotta be 
me” which has become my theme song. What 
you see is what you get, when you are dealing 
with me. I am not smart enough to act and I am 
too old to play. Therefore, it all boils down to 
this one thing, I am what I am, like it or lump it.

I do not like it when people pretend to be 
something they are not. I want people to be 
real with me. This is doubly true with my 
relationship with God. He is honest with me and 
I want to be absolutely honest with him.

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, 
he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother 
whom he has seen, how can he love God whom 
he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20).

 Many people say they love God and yet it is all 
an act. It is easy to love somebody you cannot 
see but hard to love a brother right in front of 


 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the 
Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL. Call him at 
352-687-4240 or e-mail 
The church web site is www.whatafellowship.

[Christopher Nyerges writes a regular blog at www., posts regular YouTube 
videos, and has led outdoor trips since 1974. He is 
the author of How to Survive Anywhere, Extreme 
Simplicity, Foraging California and other books. He 
can also be reached via School of Self-Reliance, Box 
41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.] 

 Our lawmakers, in their infinite wisdom, continue 
to tinker with time. Manipulate the clocks and we can 
trick the people into saving energy. And twice a year, 
Sierra Madre residents are all subject to the changes 
and inconveniences that occur as a result of the 
springing forward or falling back. We have to quickly 
adjust. It is part of our annual ritual, our relic from 
the past, where we go back to standard time from 
daylight savings time. And now we are expected to 
extend this “better” time a few more weeks. 

 But are there real and tangible benefits from doing 
this? Must we continue to do so? 

 Daylight savings time is a manipulation of the 
basic solar time within each time zone’s standard. It 
was said to be an idea of Benjamin Franklin, and was 
begun in the United States during world wars one 
and two, and eventually became “official” in all but 
two states. That right! At least two states have said 
“No, thanks, we’ll stick to standard time.” 

 Indeed, daylight savings time is like a quaint 
tradition of a bygone era that refuses to die. It is a 
pointless habit with little recognizable merit. Michael 
Downing, author of “Spring Forward: The Annual 
Madness of Daylight Savings Time,” demonstrates 
that the clock-change saves energy in theory only, but 
not in practice. 

 David Letterman once asked the question to 
his audience during his monologue: “Why do we 
practice daylight savings time? It’s so the farmers 
have more light,” he laughed, answering his own 
question. “But how does that give the plants more 
light?” That’s a Letterman joke for you, but there 
is a truth hidden under his humor. Most people 
queried on the street don’t know why we have 
daylight savings time, and fewer still experience 
any tangible benefits from it. 

 There are two often-cited reasons for the use of 
daylight savings time. One is so that the children can 
have more light going to school in the morning. But 
consider: the children have an hour more of morning 
light in late October, when the clock is set back (“fall 
back”) to standard time. That is, it is the very use of 
daylight savings time which creates a darker morning 
as the days get shorter and shorter. The “falling back” 
an hour merely puts us back in sync with the local 
time zone. It is the use of daylight savings time that 
created the problem of less light in the morning, and 
only in that sense can you say that the “falling back” 
to regular time gives children that extra hour of light. 
In other words, this is a problem caused by daylight 
savings time. This is not a bonafide benefit from 
daylight savings time. 

 My grandfather, and all my uncles on my mother’s 
side were farmers. I have some knowledge of the 
schedule of farmers. There is not one that I know 
who does not arise at the crack of dawn, if not sooner. 
There is no other way to function as a farmer. You 
then proceed to work as long as needed, and as long 
as you are able, daylight savings time or standard 
time. The manipulation of clocks in no way affected 
how much work they got done, or not done. 

 I have talked to many people about daylight savings 
time. Some like it, some do not. Some are annoyed 
by it, some find the long afternoons of summer very 
enjoyable. Everyone has arrived late (or early) on 
the first Sunday (even Monday in some cases) after 
the changing of the clocks. Daylight savings time 
thus gives millions of people a quasi-valid excuse for 
lateness at least once a year. 

 Let’s end daylight savings time entirely and adopt a 
year-round standard time. 

 Those who wish to start school or go to work 
earlier can do so! Such voluntary time alterations are 
fine if those individuals and businesses choose to do 
so. It may even make the freeways less crowded at 
rush hours. But keep the standard time year-round. 

 Yes, this is a small thing in the context of a world 
at war, with hate and suspicion in all political camps, 
and endless economic hardships all over the world. In 
that big-picture sense, this is just a little issue. But this 
is still an issue that should be resolved, and dealt with. 

Since daylight savings time is a state-by-state 
decision, we can begin with California. Write to 
Governor Brown and ask him to implement year-
round standard time. You can write to Brown at 
Office of the Governor, State Capitol, Sacramento, 
CA 95814, or phone at 916) 445-2841, or on-line at (if you live in another state, 
write to your governor if you agree). 

 Take a poll of your friends and acquaintances 
before you write to the Governor. See if you can find 
anyone who derives tangible benefits from daylight 
savings time. Secondly, there is always the initiative 
process where a Proposition can be put on the ballot 
to be voted on by the people. This is a process that 
would take an organized effort and cost at least a 
million dollars, and probably more. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: