Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 23, 2016

MVNews this week:  Page 12




Jupiter’s moon Europa is under a constant 
gravitational assault. As it orbits, Europa’s icy 
surface heaves and falls with the pull of Jupiter’s 
gravity, creating enough heat, scientists think, 
to support a global ocean under the ice—an 
ocean that could be a habitat for life.

 Now, experiments by geoscientists from 
Brown and Columbia universities suggest that 
this process, called tidal dissipation, could 
create far more heat in Europa’s ice—resulting 
in a thinner ice shell—than scientists had 
previously assumed.

 The largest Jovian moons—Io, Europa, 
Ganymede and Callisto—were first discovered 
by Galileo in the early 1600s. When NASA sent 
spacecraft to Jupiter in the 1970s and 1990s, 
those moons proved to be full of surprises.

 “Scientists had expected to see cold, dead 
places, but right away they were blown away 
by their striking surfaces,” said Christine 
McCarthy, a faculty member at Columbia 
University who led this new research as a 
graduate student at Brown. “There was clearly 
some sort of tectonic activity—things moving 
around and cracking. There were also places 
on Europa that look like melt-through or 
mushy ice.”

 The only way to create enough heat for these 
active processes so far from the Sun is through 
tidal dissipation. The effect, McCarthy says, 
is a bit like what happens when someone 
repeatedly bends a metal coat hanger.

 “If you bend it back and forth, you can feel 
it making heat at the junction,” she said. “The 
way it does that is that internal defects within 
that metal are rubbing past each other, and 
it’s a similar process to how energy would be 
dissipated in ice.”

 However, the details of the process in ice 
aren’t very well understood, and modeling 
studies that try to capture those dynamics on 
Europa had yielded some puzzling results, the 
researchers say.

 “People have been using simple mechanical 
models to describe the ice,” McCarthy said. 
While those calculations suggested liquid water 
under Europa’s surface, “they weren’t getting 
the kinds of heat fluxes that would create these 
tectonics. So we ran some experiments to try 
to understand this process better.”

 Working with Reid Cooper, professor of 
Earth, environmental and planetary sciences 
at Brown, McCarthy loaded ice samples into 
a compression apparatus. She subjected the 
samples to cyclical loads similar to those acting 
on Europa’s ice shell. When the loads are 
applied and released, the ice deforms and then 
rebounds to a certain extent. By measuring the 
lag time between the application of stress and 
the deformation of the ice, McCarthy could 
infer how much heat is generated.

 The experiments yielded surprising results. 
Modeling approaches had assumed that most 
of the heat generated by the process comes 
from friction at the boundaries between the 
ice grains. That would mean that the size 
of the grains influences the amount of heat 
generated. But McCarthy found similar 
results even when she substantially altered 
the grain size in her samples, suggesting that 
grain boundaries are not the primary heat-
generators in the process.

 The work suggests that most of the heat 
actually comes from defects that form in 
the ice’s crystalline lattice as a result of 
deformation. Those defects, the research 
showed, create more heat than would be 
expected from the grain boundaries.

 “Christine discovered that, relative to the 
models the community has been using, ice 
appears to be an order of magnitude more 
dissipative than people had thought,” Cooper 

 More dissipation equals more heat, and that 
could have implications for possible life on 

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




Sometimes an idea will take possession of my 
mind and literally run with it. Most of the time 
when an idea sees the condition of my mind it 
slowly walks away shaking its head. Someone 
said a mind is a terrible thing to waste, but I’m 
sure they had no knowledge of my mind.

 Then there is that odd moment when an idea 
completely disregards the condition of my 
mind and takes over. Such has been the case 

The idea that has taken up residence in my 
mind lately has to do with the condition of the 
leadership in our country. I have reached that 
glad time of life when I have the perspective of 
looking back over several decades.

 The consequence of looking back is that I 
have concluded certain things are not as good 
as they used to be. I know I’m not as good as I 
used to be, in fact the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage suggests that I never was. Of course, 
I bow to her perspective, which goes back 
further than mine.

 The focus of this decline centers on political 
leaders. Never in the history of our country have 
so few done so much to confuse so many. I will 
not say that the average politician is dumber 
than dirt out of my deep respect for dirt. At the 
end of my life, my body will be committed to 
the dirt and at that time, I do not want the dirt 
to have an ax to grind with me and take it out 
on my body.

 The evidence, however, suggested the whole 
political group shares one living brain cell. 
The problem with this is we never know which 
politician has the live brain cell at any given 
time. The wattage of this brain cell is so low it 
is barely noticeable. If it were not for polls, the 
average politician would have nothing to say; 
but be sure, he or she would say it with a great 
deal of eloquence.

 It was at this point that an idea entered 
the dark corridors of my dormant mind. 
One evening recently, my wife and I had 
finished the day’s labor and nestled in our living 
room to relax by watching a few moments of 
television. It was our fortune to see a brand-
new program, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-
Grader?” To say that we were delighted with 
this new show is like stating peanut butter goes 
quite nicely with grape jelly.

 The object of the game was to give questions 
to adults from grades one through five. Helping 
the adult would be a team of fifth-graders. All the 
questions would be from the aforementioned 
grades of which the average adult should know 
the answers. (Duh.)

 After watching this several times both my wife 
and I noted that no adult was able to answer all 
the questions. To this day, they have not found 
any adult smarter than a fifth-grader.

 This is where my idea began dancing the 
tango up and down the corridors of my mind. 
Why don’t we take this idea to Washington, 
D.C.? Let us see if there is a politician smarter 
than a fifth grader.

 Not to tip my hat, but I think I know the 
answer to this one, and I don’t need any help 

 What would happen is this; we would gather 
the top fifth-graders from all across our country. 
This would prove once and for all the validity of 
the “no child left behind” program.

 These children would come to Washington, 
D.C. for a questioning program, fully funded 
by generous donations from every politician on 
Capitol Hill. Those who do not give a generous 
donation to this program would immediately 
be dismissed and sent home to live out the rest 
of their days in obscurity and never allowed to 
hold a public office again.

 One by one, each politician would stand 
before these fifth-graders and answer questions. 
Children all across our country in grades one 
through five would submit questions. This 
would have the dual effect of introducing 
children to the world of politics as well as 
introducing politicians, probably for the very 
first time, to the real citizens of our country.

 If any political leader fails to answer any 
question or answers it incorrectly, he must 
look into the camera and say, “I’m not smarter 
than a fifth- grader.” But that’s not the end of it. 
Here begins the genius of my idea.

 When a politician finishes this portion of 
the program, he or she then must resign his 
political office and give it to the fifth-grader 
who answered the question correctly. After 
all, if the fifth-grader knows more than the 
politician, who should be making decisions for 
our country?

 If any politician makes it all the way through, 
there is one final question I know will stump 
him or her. I have yet to hear of any politician 
who knows the answer to this question.

 The final question will be, “What is the official 
language of the United States of America?”

 I take comfort in what the Bible says. “Trust 
in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not 
unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways 
acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy 
paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV).

 As long as we have leaders who look to 
themselves for wisdom, our country will never 
go in the right direction.


 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the 
Family of God Fellowship in Silver Springs 
Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail The church web site is

“Live light upon the 

If you would not be 

-- Shining Bear 

I was only a teenager, but I could never get it out 
of my mind: “How should we be living our lives? 
Is there not more to life than seeking money, 
possessions, and pleasure?” These questions, and 
their countless variations, were the driving force that 
led me on my path of botany, ecology, indigenous 
skills, and spiritual evolution. 

 Back in the early ‘70s, there was the beginning of a 
heightened ecological awareness, but you were still 
a “kook” if you expressed an interest in practical 
survival, and if you expressed concern about the 
growing ecological crisis. 

 A lot has happened in 40 years. Things have gotten 
worse. And yes, some things have gotten better. 
“Great interest” and “good intentions” of the 1970s 
did not succeed in materially improving the overall 
trends in the United States. Our rapid population 
growth, both from within and without, has only 
exacerbated the situation. 

 I spent most of my life attempting to learn and to 
apply the “little things” that I can do, and that anyone 
can do, to choose to be a part of the solution. It is the 
way that I maintain hope, and that I can find a way to 
mentally rise above what seems a hopeless situation. 

 Besides learning many of the elements of what 
anyone can do, even if you’re in the cities, I 
realized that there is no “enemy” out there. The 
“enemy” is always within. It is my own proclivity 
to laziness, to choosing the path of least resistance, 
to choosing something based solely on economics. 
Though I have not always succeeded, I have 
attempted to take the time to determine why we’ve 
even here on this earth for a few score years before 
we die. It certainly cannot be solely to accumulate 
a good portfolio. 

 My pursuit of “what to do?” initially led me 
to study botany. In botany, and specifically in 
discovering how indigenous peoples used their floral 
friends, I realized that food and medicine were richly 
abundant on this earth. While modern agriculture 
continues to travel down the high-tech path of 
genetically modified foods, the most nutritious 
plants on the earth are still wild plants, plants such as 
dandelion, purslane, curly dock and other so-called 
“weeds” that are found in urban areas throughout 
the world. 

 Dandelion – richer in beta-carotene than carrots. 
Purslane, the richest plant source of Omega-3 fatty 
acids. Curly dock, one of the richest sources of 
vitamin A. These wild plants, and hundreds more, 
I have used and taught to thousands of students 
over the past 3 decades. Acorns still abound, and it 
is a fascinating path of discovery to collect the acorns 
and process them in the traditions of the Old Ways. 
In our urban areas, we can find lambs quarter, a 
spinach relative that is arguably nature’s best mineral 
tablet. We find abundant carob trees planted as 
ornamentals, and these are edible right off the 
tree, with three times as much calcium as the same 
amount of milk. Chickweed is a common weed of 
lawns, rich in vitamin C and a delicious salad plant. 


 Why, why, why? It is apparently because “we” 
believe that there is some socially redeeming value 
in lawns. We have never cared for lawns, and have 
always used that space to create compost, and raise 
such plants as fruit trees, roses, lavender, and edible 
groundcovers such as nasturtiums, mints, and 
tradescantia. This is one of the “little ways” we choose 
to not contribute to the waste of water and fuel that 
goes into the care and maintenance of lawns. It is one 
of our little ways in which we can take charge and be 
a part of the solution. 

 One person may not be able to change the world, 
but each of us can change ourselves. By studying 
plants, and learning their value, I have begun to see 
how botany is related to the health of the soil, and 
how the health of the soil is related to the network 
of animal life on that land, and this has led me to see 
how the health of the wild animals directly affects my 
health and well-being. This is a science, not a “New 
Age” word game, and the application of practical 
urban ecology should be approached as a hard 
science, where you can observe positive results, and 
where you can repeat those results if you follow the 
same procedures. 


 A side benefit of practicing urban ecology is that 
you’re a little more prepared if there’s ever a major 
earthquake or a blackout. But that shouldn’t be your 
overriding impetus for pursuing practical survival. 
You should pursue it because it’s the right thing to 

 We have a friend who always carries a cloth napkin 
of his own when at restaurants. He doesn’t want to 
participate in the extra paper waste that goes into the 
napkins. He reminded me that he wasn’t trying to 
change the world. He was only trying to do the right 
thing in his little sphere of influence. 

 Yes, little things, but little things add up. We carry 
our used dish water outside and we pour it onto 
our plants. Of course, this means we must buy safe 
detergents. All things are related. 

 We are often confronted with the challenge that 
things are just too bad, “we don’t want to think about 
it, and besides, we’re not the problem. What we do is 
just a small insignificant part of the trash problem.” 
But don’t millions of people make that same excuse? 

 I hold that view that even if I cannot change the 
world, I should still make the right choice in those 
cases where I have choice. To take the path of 
making wise use of resources is often difficult and 
often inconvenient. If “karma” has any meaning, 
then even if I cannot change the world, I do affect my 
own destiny by how I make my personal choices that 
pertain to all the resources that I come into contact 
in my daily life. 

 I urge us all to work together to find the little ways 
in which we can change the world by changing 
ourselves. It is the right thing to do. 

 Christopher Nyerges is the author of How 
To Survive 
Anywhere and co-author of Extreme Simplicity: 
Homesteading in the City. Since 1974, Nyerges has led 
Wild Food Outings. He is also the editor of American 
Survival Guide magazine. For more information 
about his classes and books, contact School of Self-
reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or www.
Christopher or

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