Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 4, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 4, 2017 


On Mars, wind rules. Wind has been shaping the Red 
Planet’s landscapes for billions of years and continues 
to do so today. Studies using both a NASA orbiter and 
a rover reveal its effects on scales grand to tiny on the 
strangely structured landscapes within Gale Crater.

 NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover (http://www.nasa.
gov/curiosity), on the lower slope of Mount Sharp—a 
layered mountain inside the crater—has begun a 
second campaign of investigating active sand dunes 
on the mountain’s northwestern flank. The rover also 
has been observing whirlwinds carrying dust and 
checking how far the wind moves grains of sand in a 
single day’s time.

 Gale Crater observations by NASA’s Mars 
Reconnaissance Orbiter have confirmed long-term 
patterns and rates of wind erosion that help explain 
the oddity of having a layered mountain in the middle 
of an impact crater.

 “The orbiter perspective gives us the bigger picture 
-- on all sides of Mount Sharp and the regional 
context for Gale Crater. We combine that with the 
local detail and ground-truth we get from the rover,” 
said Mackenzie Day of the University of Texas, 
Austin, lead author of a research report in the journal 
Icarus about wind’s dominant role at Gale.

 The combined observations show that wind 
patterns in the crater today differ from when winds 
from the north removed the material that once filled 
the space between Mount Sharp and the crater rim. 
Now, Mount Sharp itself has become a major factor 
in determining local wind directions. Wind shaped 
the mountain; now the mountain shapes the wind.

 The Martian atmosphere is about a hundred 
times thinner than Earth’s, so winds on Mars exert 
much less force than winds on Earth. Time is the 
factor that makes Martian winds so dominant in 
shaping the landscape. Most forces that shape Earth’s 
landscapes—water that erodes and moves sediments, 
tectonic activity that builds mountains and recycles 
the planet’s crust, active volcanism—haven’t 
influenced Mars much for billions of years. Sand 
transported by wind, even if infrequent, can whittle 
away Martian landscapes over that much time.

 Gale Crater was born when the impact of an 
asteroid or comet more than 3.6 billion years ago 
excavated a basin nearly 100 miles wide. Sediments 
including rocks, sand and silt later filled the basin, 
some delivered by rivers that flowed in from higher 
ground surrounding Gale. Curiosity has found 
evidence of that wet era from more than 3 billion 
years ago. A turning point in Gale’s history—when 
net accumulation of sediments flipped to net removal 
by wind erosion—may have coincided with a key 
turning point in the planet’s climate as Mars became 
drier, Day noted.

 Other new research, using Curiosity, focuses on 
modern wind activity in Gale.

 The rover this month is investigating a type of 
sand dune that differs in shape from dunes the 
mission investigated in late 2015 and early 2016. 
Crescent-shaped dunes were the feature of the earlier 
campaign—the first ever up-close study of active 
sand dunes anywhere other than Earth. The mission’s 
second dune campaign is at a group of ribbon-shaped 
linear dunes.

 Meanwhile, whirlwinds called “dust devils” have 
been recorded moving across terrain in the crater, in 
sequences of afternoon images taken several seconds 


 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder






When it comes to certain things, I 
am quite a bit confused. One thing 
has to do with time. What I want to 
know, what time is it?

 I do not know why time cannot be the same for everybody. 
After all, everybody is squirming about equal rights. Why 
can’t we have equal time rights? Why do we have to split it up 
so much?

 If that is not enough, we have this idea of changing the time. 
Who in the world came up with such a stupid idea? You turn 
the clock ahead one hour and then a couple months later you 
turn it back one hour. What good does that accomplish?

 It is like giving somebody a dollar and then six months later 
taking that dollar back. What exactly is going on? It just does 
not really make sense to me.

 It has taken me quite a while to get adjusted to this idea of 
“Spring Forward” and “Fall Backward.” I get the idea falling 
backwards, but I do not know what it means to spring forward. 
Moreover, why can’t we spring backward and fall forward one 
year? After all, there is this issue of equal rights.

 It has taken me a while to get adjusted to these kinds of time 

 One year I remember rather well when I got everything 
confused. I thought I would take control and not tell the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage that I was going to change 
the clocks. I wanted it to be a surprise for her.

 Of course, I put things off to the last minute and usually 
get into trouble. I put this off to the last minute not knowing 
that my wife had already turned the clocks ahead. So, trying to 
impress the good lady of the parsonage that I was a responsible 
gentleman, I went around and turned all the clocks ahead one 

 Some people say when you get older you forget a lot. I have 
been forgetting a lot all my life.

 A few hours later, after setting the clock forward an hour, I 
could not remember if I really set the clock forward. So, very 
quietly I went around and set all of the clocks forward one 
hour. This was on a Saturday night. I thought I would really 
surprise my wife with remembering to set the clocks forward.

 That night when it came time to go to bed, I noticed that I 
was not very tired. I try to go to bed by 11 o’clock each night, 
but this night I just could not even yawn.

 “I think,” I told my wife, “I’ve had too much coffee today. I 
just don’t feel sleepy.”

 She looked at the clock, scratched her head and said, “I don’t 
feel sleepy either.”

 What do you do when it is time to go to bed and you do not 
feel sleepy but you know you have to go to bed or you will not 
get up on time in the morning. And church services were in 
the morning.

 “Well,” my wife looking at me rather strange, “we better go 
to bed or we will not be able to get up in the morning. And we 
can’t be late for church.”

 It was a little after 11 when I got to bed and my eyes just 
would not close. I closed them and they would snap open right 
away. I tried counting sheep. By the time I got to 10,978 sheep, 
I was just as awake as before. What do you do with that many 

 Eventually I must have fallen asleep because suddenly I 
heard the alarm clock going off. It was eight o’clock and we had 
to hurry to get dressed in order to get to the church on time. 
We were so late that we did not have an opportunity to have 
breakfast, but I snatched a cup of coffee anyway and took it 
along with me.

 We got to the church on time, at least according to our 
clock, and waited for people to come. Nobody showed up and I 
was getting rather antsy. I turned to my wife and said, “This is 
Sunday isn’t it?”

 Our church service starts at 10:30 a.m., by 11 o’clock nobody 
had come. At 12 o’clock noon, we decided something had gone 
wrong and started closing up the church to go home.

 As soon as we locked up the church, the cars started pulling 
in and we were rather confused. Why was everybody so late?

 My wife looked at me and said rather strangely, “Did you 
turn the clock ahead one hour last night?”

 “Yes,” I said very proudly, “I turned the clock ahead one 
hour just as we're supposed to.”

 My wife just stared at me and said, “So did I.”

 We tried to figure out why our clocks were two hours ahead 
of everybody else.

 When you are supposed to turn the clock ahead one hour 
and you end up turning it ahead three hours, a lot of confusion 
can happen.

 It is hard to know what time it really is, which is why I like 
what Paul said. “And that, knowing the time, that now it is 
high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer 
than when we believed” (Romans 13:11).

 Waiting on God’s time is the wisest use of our time knowing 
that he has all things in hand.

 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 The church web site is www.

[Christopher Nyerges 
is author of several 
books, such as Extreme 
Simplicity: Homesteading in the City (co-
author), and How to Survive Anywhere. He has 
led wilderness expeditions since 1974. He can be 
reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 or 

 On the 17th of this month, we celebrate “Saint 
Patrick’s Day,” that day when people pinch each 
other if they’re not wearing green, when the local 
grocer starts selling little potted shamrocks, and 
where the local bars sell green beer. But what’s 
this really all about?

 First, a little wake-up call about “Saint 
Patrick.” Patrick was not Irish, had nothing to 
do with leprechauns, almost certainly was not 
a drunkard, and didn’t drive all the snakes out 
of Ireland. In fact, there were believed to be 
no native snakes in Ireland, though this story 
is generally regarded as an analogy for driving 
out the so-called “pagans,” or, at least, the pagan 

 Patrick was one of the “greats” of history 
who nearly single-handedly preserved the best 
of Western culture when much of Europe was 
devolving into chaos and ruin. He deserves far 
better than remembering him in the silly ways we 
do today, such as wearing green, pinching each 
other, and getting drunk. Rather, he deserves 
an accurate memory, and our emulation. 
Unfortunately, like all true Saviors of history, 
they are either killed off, or relegated to the closet 
of ridicule. 

 So who exactly was Saint Patrick? Will the real 
Saint Patrick please stand up?

 His real name was Maewyn Succat, born 
around 385 A.D., somewhere in Scotland, or 
possibly somewhere else, as there is conflicting 
historical data on his exact date and place of 
birth. His baptismal name was Patricius. 

 Around age 16, he was sold into slavery in 
Ireland and worked for the next 6 years as a 
shepherd. Keep in mind that human slavery, as 
well as human sacrifice, was considered “normal” 
for those times.

 After his six years in slavery, he believed that 
an angel came to him in a dream, prompting him 
to escape and seek out his homeland. He actually 
walked about 200 miles to the coast, where his 
dream indicated a ship would also be waiting for 
him. He successfully escaped, found the ship he 
dreamed about, and spent the next twenty years 
of his life as a monk in Marmoutier Abbey. There 
he again received a celestial visitation, this time 
calling him to return to the land where he’d been 
enslaved, though now with a mission as a priest 
and converter.

 Patrick was called to Rome in 432, where Pope 
Celestine made Patrick a Bishop, and sent him 
off on his mission.

 Patrick returned to Ireland with 24 supporters 
and followers. They arrived in the winter of 
432. In the spring, Patrick decided to confront 
the high King of Tara, the most powerful King 
in Ireland. Patrick knew that if he had the King’s 
support, he would be free to take his Christian 
message to the people of Ireland.

 Patrick and his followers were invited to Tara 
by the King of Laoghaire. It was there that he 
was said to have plucked a shamrock from the 
ground as he tried to explain to the Druids and 
the King that the shamrock had three leaves just 
like the idea of God’s three aspects, the Trinity: 
The Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost.

 Of course, triads and trinities were a common 
concept among the Druids. In fact, one could 
argue that the trinity (a term not found in the 
Bible) was a concept given to Christianity by 
the Druids, rather than the other way around. 
Nevertheless, whatever momentousness Patrick 
conveyed, King Laoghaire was very impressed 
with Patrick, and chose to accept Christianity. 
He also gave Patrick the freedom to spread 
Christianity throughout Ireland.

 When Patrick returned to Ireland, he treated 
the “pagans” with the respect implicit in his 
dream. Part of this respect was attempting to 
communicate with the Druids on their terms, 
which is why he used the shamrock as a teaching 
tool. He also blended the Christian cross with 
the circle to create what is now known as the 
Celtic cross. He used bonfires to celebrate 
Easter, a Holy Day that Christianity supplanted 
with the already-existing spring equinox 
commemoration. In fact, he incorporated many 
of the existing “old religion” symbols and beliefs 
into his Christian teachings.

 He spent his last 30 years in Ireland, baptizing 
the non-Christian Irish, ordaining priests, 
and founding churches and monasteries. His 
persuasive powers must have been astounding, 
since Ireland fully converted to Christianity 
within 200 years and was the only country in 
Europe to Christianize peacefully. Patrick’s 
Christian conversion ended slavery, human 
sacrifice, and most intertribal warfare in Ireland.

 Patrick was also unique in that he equally 
valued the role of women in an age when the 
church ignored them. He always sided with the 
downtrodden and the excluded, whether they 
were slaves or the “pagan” Irish.

 According to Thomas Cahill, author of 
How the Irish Saved Civilization, Patrick’s 
influence extended far beyond his adopted 
land. Cahill’s book, which could just as well 
be titled How St. Patrick Saved Civilization, 
contends that Patrick’s conversion of Ireland 
allowed Western learning to survive the Dark 
Ages. Ireland pacified and churchified as the 
rest of Europe crumbled. Patrick’s monasteries 
copied and preserved classical texts. Later, Irish 
monks returned this knowledge to Europe by 
establishing monasteries in England, Germany, 
France, Switzerland, and Italy. When the lights 
went out all over Europe, a candle still burned in 
Ireland. That candle was lit by Patrick.

 Veneration of Patrick gradually assumed 
the status of a local cult. He was not simply 
remembered in Saul and Downpatrick, he was 
worshipped! Indeed, homage to Patrick as 
Ireland’s saint was apparent in the eight century 
AD. At this time Patrick’s status as a national 
apostle was made independently of Rome. He 
was claimed locally as a saint before the practice 
of canonization was introduced by the Vatican. 
The high regard in which the Irish have held 
St Patrick is evidenced by the salutation, still 
common today, of “May God, Mary, and Patrick 
bless you”.

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