Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, March 11, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:13



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 11, 2017 


This summer, an ice chest-sized box will fly to the 
International Space Station, where it will create the 
coldest spot in the universe.

 Inside that box, lasers, a vacuum chamber and 
an electromagnetic “knife” will be used to cancel 
out the energy of gas particles, slowing them until 
they’re almost motionless. This suite of instruments 
is called the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL), and was 
developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 
Pasadena, California. CAL is in the final stages of 
assembly at JPL, ahead of a ride to space this August 
on SpaceX CRS-12.

 Its instruments are designed to freeze gas atoms 
to a mere billionth of a degree above absolute zero. 
That’s more than 100 million times colder than the 
depths of space.

 “Studying these hyper-cold atoms could reshape 
our understanding of matter and the fundamental 
nature of gravity,” said CAL Project Scientist Robert 
Thompson of JPL. “The experiments we’ll do with the 
Cold Atom Lab will give us insight into gravity and 
dark energy—some of the most pervasive forces in 
the universe.”

 When atoms are cooled to extreme temperatures, 
as they will be inside of CAL, they can form a 
distinct state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein 
condensate. In this state, familiar rules of physics 
recede and quantum physics begins to take over. 
Matter can be observed behaving less like particles 
and more like waves. Rows of atoms move in 
concert with one another as if they were riding a 
moving fabric. These mysterious waveforms have 
never been seen at temperatures as low as what 
CAL will achieve.

 NASA has never before created or observed Bose-
Einstein condensates in space. On Earth, the pull of 
gravity causes atoms to continually settle towards the 
ground, meaning they’re typically only observable for 
fractions of a second.

 But on the International Space Station, ultra-cold 
atoms can hold their wave-like forms longer while 
in freefall. That offers scientists a longer window to 
understand physics at its most basic level. Thompson 
estimated that CAL will allow Bose-Einstein 
condensates to be observable for up to five to 10 
seconds; future development of the technologies 
used on CAL could allow them to last for hundreds 
of seconds.

 Bose-Einstein condensates are a “superfluid”—a 
kind of fluid with zero viscosity, where atoms move 
without friction as if they were all one, solid substance.

 “If you had superfluid water and spun it around 
in a glass, it would spin forever,” said Anita 
Sengupta of JPL, Cold Atom Lab project manager. 
“There’s no viscosity to slow it down and dissipate 
the kinetic energy. If we can better understand the 
physics of superfluids, we can possibly learn to use 
those for more efficient transfer of energy.”

 The results of these experiments could potentially 
lead to a number of improved technologies, including 
sensors, quantum computers and atomic clocks used 
in spacecraft navigation.

 The Cold Atom Lab is currently undergoing a 
testing phase that will prepare it prior to delivery to 
Cape Canaveral, Florida.


 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




[Nyerges is an 
ethnobotanist, teacher, and 
author of “Guide to Wild 
food and Useful Plants,” 
“Foraging California,” and 
several other books on wild foods and survival. He 
can be reached at, 
or Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041.]


With our abundance of rain this winter, our 
landscape appears markedly different from last 
years’ near-desert landscape. Now every yard is 
green, and wild plants have appeared in alleys, 
hillsides, parks, and backyards. 

 This is the ideal time to learn about many of the 
common wild plants which you can use for food 
or medicine. Unfortunately, some of the best wild 
foods are disguised as “weeds,” and are typically 
pulled up and discarded as soon as they appear in 
yards. If you’re interested in being a bit more self-
reliant, and using some of these nutritious foods 
in your diet, then here’s a bit about three of the 
common wild edibles currently very common.

SOW THISTLE (Sonchus oleraceus)

 When most folks see a sow thistle, they think 
it’s a tall dandelion, since the flowers are nearly 
identical to dandelion. Sow thistle is from Europe, 
and it grows everywhere. It gets typically a few feet 
high, with clusters of the yellow dandelion-like 
flowers. The leaves of sow thistle are tender and 
palatable in salad (unlike dandelion, whose leaves 
must be cooked). Sow thistle leaves are also great in 
stews, egg dishes, soups, etc. Sow thistle is nearly as 
nutritious as dandelion, though its still an excellent 
source of Vitamin A and calcium.


CHICKWEED (Stellaria media)

 Chickweed is an annual plant from Europe which 
sprouts up after the rains, so you begin to see it in 
very early spring in every yard. You can seasonally 
enjoy this tender plant in salads. I make salads 
from chickweed whenever I can, adding dressing, 
tomatoes, whatever. Yes, you can cook it in soup, or 
with eggs, but it’s really best raw. It has tender stems, 
with a fine line of white hairs along one side of the 
stem. Leaves are opposite and they come to a tip. 
There are five deeply cleft petals on each little flower. 
Very, very common.


MALLOW (Malva neglecta)

 Mallow is a European native which is found all 
over the U.S. It’s recognized by its round leaves with 
fine teeth on the edges, and most people think it’s 
an ornamental geranium. It can be found in alleys, 
parkways, empty lots, along the freeways, seeming 
to like disturbed soils. It’s very, very common this 
season. The leaves are mild and can be added to 
salads, or any cooked dish, such as soup, or stews. 
The leaves are a good source of iron, calcium, and 
Vitamin A. The little fruits can also be picked and 
eaten fresh, or they can be picked when mature 
and cooked to create a sort of “poor man’s rice.” 
Common mallow is related to another European 
plant, the marsh mallow. Marsh mallow roots used 
to be boiled to create an egg white substance, which 
is whipped to get an old fashioned cough remedy. 
(Yes, modern marshmallows have no marsh mallow 
extract and are just another junk food.) You could 
boil the roots of common mallow to make your own 
cough remedy, though it probably won’t froth up 
like the European marsh mallow plant.

 As big as my ears are, you would think I would be able to 
hear everything I am listening to.

 I like to think I am hearing what I am listening to but I 
have so many illustrations that prove otherwise. I’m not sure 
what it is, but I am working on it with the help of the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage.

 It was on a Friday and I was very busy trying to get things 
done for the weekend. Some in our domicile can multitask 
and then the other can hardly do one thing at a time.

 I’m not quite sure how my wife does it, but she can do 
half a dozen things at the same time and get them all done 
perfectly. It is like one of those jugglers at the circus who can 
keep half a dozen balls in the air at the same time.

 Not me. I can’t even keep one ball in the air at the same 
time, let alone half a dozen.

 I was busy trying to get ready for the weekend when 
the wife came in and said, “Can we borrow your truck on 

 I grunted and nodded my head in the affirmative.

 “We need to move some furniture to a storage unit.”

 Now, in those two sentences she used the word “we” but I 
heard the word “I.”

 I am okay with her borrowing my truck and doing 
whatever kind of business she needs to do. A marriage works 
that way. One has a truck and the other borrows said truck.

 I should have thought something was up, but you know 
how it is with us men. We do not think unless backed into 
a corner and we cannot do anything else. All through the 
weekend when I saw my wife, she would look at me and smile 
and nod her head. I smiled and nodded my head back at 
her. After all, isn’t that what a good relationship is all about? 
Smiling and nodding your head at each other.

 As I recall, it was a rather pleasant weekend and then it 
was over.

 Early on Monday morning my wife came into the living 
room where I was watching TV and drinking my morning 
cup of coffee. I can’t start any day without my coffee. Whoever 
invented coffee should actually get a Nobel Peace prize.

 My wife came in and looked at me and said, “Are we 
ready to go?” Then she smiled and nodded her head in my 

 At the time, I had no idea whatsoever of what she was 
talking about. Where were we going to go? I had no plans for 
the morning. It was my one morning to chill out and catch up 
on my resting.

 “You know,” she said with a big smile all over her face. “We 
are going to borrow your truck and move some furniture to a 
storage unit.”

 “We,” I said very quizzically. “Who is the we? And what 
are we going to do?”

 Then she explained to me that on the past Friday I had 
agreed with her that we would use my truck and move some 
furniture to a storage unit. Now, for the life of me I did not 
remember that. All I remember was the word “I.” All things 
being equal, I assumed she was asking if she and somebody 
else could borrow my truck and then she and somebody else 
would move some furniture to a storage unit.

 My failure was I did not think to ask who that somebody 
else was. I had no idea that that somebody else was me.

 If you want to have an argument with your wife, think 
twice about it and then forget about it. Even when you can 
prove she is wrong, and I never can, she is always right. The 
best thing to do is to go along so that you can get along.

 So, “we” borrowed my truck and then “we” moved some 
furniture to a storage unit. It took us all morning and not 
being in the best shape of my life, I was kinda wore out. I 
never worked so hard in my life that I could remember. All I 
did that morning was nod my head and smile until we were 

 It was about noontime when we finished and when we got 
into the truck she said to me, “Goodness, it’s lunchtime and 
I haven’t prepared anything for lunch. Do you suppose we 
could go out for lunch?”

 To this day, I wonder if that wasn’t the plan all along. “We” 
would borrow my truck and “we” would move furniture 
and then “we” would go out to lunch. That’s where the “we” 

 As we finished our lunch the waitress brought the bill and 
the “we” changed to “me.”

 Driving home from the diner my wife sighed very deeply 
and said, “We sure had a wonderful morning didn’t we?”

 I nodded and smiled and kept driving.

 Musing along the way I could not help but think that 
sometimes listening and hearing are two different things.

 I believe Solomon understood this very well when he 
wrote, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; 
and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” 
(Proverbs 1:5).

 I may be hearing what my wife is saying, but I may not be 
listening to what she is saying. The not listening is what really 
gets you into trouble.

 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.

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