Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, April 22, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 22, 2017 


Scientists from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) 
have discovered hydrogen gas in the plume of 
material erupting from Saturn’s moon Enceladus. 
Analysis of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft 
indicates that the hydrogen is likely produced 
through chemical reactions between the moon’s 
rocky core and warm water from its subsurface 
ocean. The SwRI-led team’s discovery suggests 
that Enceladus’ ocean floor could include features 
analogous to hydrothermal vents on Earth, which 
are known to support life on the seafloor.

 “Hydrogen is a source of chemical energy 
for microbes that live in the Earth’s oceans near 
hydrothermal vents,” said SwRI’s Dr. Hunter Waite, 
principal investigator of Cassini’s Ion Neutral Mass 
Spectrometer (INMS). “Our results indicate the 
same chemical energy source is present in the ocean 
of Enceladus. We have not found evidence of the 
presence of microbial life in the ocean of Enceladus, 
but the discovery of hydrogen gas and the evidence 
for ongoing hydrothermal activity offer a tantalizing 
suggestion that habitable conditions could exist 
beneath the moon’s icy crust.”

 Waite is the lead author of “Cassini Finds 
Molecular Hydrogen in the Enceladus Plume: 
Evidence for Hydrothermal Processes” [http://], 
published in the April 14, 2017, issue of the journal 

 On the Earth’s ocean floor, hydrothermal vents 
emit hot, mineral-laden fluid, allowing unique 
ecosystems teeming with unusual creatures to 
thrive. Microbes that convert mineral-laden fluid 
into metabolic energy make these ecosystems 

 “The amount of molecular hydrogen we detected 
is high enough to support microbes similar to those 
that live near hydrothermal vents on Earth,” said 
SwRI’s Dr. Christopher Glein, a co-author on the 
paper and a pioneer of extraterrestrial chemical 
oceanography. “If similar organisms are present in 
Enceladus, they could ‘burn’ the hydrogen to obtain 
energy for chemosynthesis, which could conceivably 
serve as a foundation for a larger ecosystem.”

 During Cassini’s close flyby of Enceladus on Oct. 
28, 2015, INMS detected molecular hydrogen as the 
spacecraft flew through the plume of gas and ice 
grains spewing from cracks on the surface. Previous 
flybys provided evidence for a global subsurface 
ocean residing above a rocky core. Molecular 
hydrogen in the plumes could serve as a marker for 
hydrothermal processes, which could provide the 
chemical energy necessary to support life. To search 
for hydrogen specifically native to Enceladus, the 
spacecraft flew particularly close to the surface and 
operated INMS in a specific mode to minimize and 
quantify any spurious sources.

 “We developed new operations methods for 
INMS for Cassini’s final flight through Enceladus’ 
plume,” said SwRI’s Rebecca Perryman, the INMS 
operations technical lead. “We conducted extensive 
simulations, data analyses, and laboratory tests to 
identify background sources of hydrogen, allowing 
us to quantify just how much molecular hydrogen 
was truly originating from Enceladus itself.”

 Scientists also considered other sources of 
hydrogen from the moon itself, such as a preexisting 
reservoir in the ice shell or global ocean. Analysis 
determined that it was unlikely that the observed 
hydrogen was acquired during the formation of 
Enceladus or from other processes on the moon’s 
surface or in the interior.

 “Everything indicates that the hydrogen 
originates in the moon’s rocky core,” Waite said. “We 
considered various ways hydrogen could leach from 
the rock and found that the most plausible source is 
ongoing hydrothermal reactions of rock containing 
reduced minerals and organic materials.”

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder



At times, it seems as if 
there is absolutely no 
justice in this world, and 
then something wonderful 
happens making up for 
almost everything. This 
past week I was fortunate enough to experience 
one of those rare jewels of life.

 I must say not all weeks are like this. My 
weeks usually range from bad to worse to when 
will this ever stop?

 A normal week for me is when I take two 
steps forward and get run over by a car. Or, just 
when I think I’m caught up, I discover I’ve been 
working on last week’s to-do list.

 Not that I’m complaining because 
complaining never gets anywhere in life. At 
least, no place I want to go.

 A man who complains aloud is a man who is 
not married. Wives have a way of turning their 
husband’s complaining into “Well, its your 
own fault.” It’s amazing how this one phrase 
can cover a multitude of sins.

 So, I’m not complaining, I’m just musing on 
my life and celebrating a great event this week.

 I got home on Tuesday and the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage was not there. I made 
myself a cup of coffee and got comfortable in 
my easy chair to rest from the labors of the day.

A good cup of Joe goes a long way to smooth 
the rough edges of any day. No sooner was I 
settled than the telephone rang. It was my wife.

“Are you home yet?” she said in a very meek 
and quiet voice. From the tone of her voice, I 
knew something wasn’t exactly right.

 For a moment, I was tempted to answer her 
question in the negative. But then I do value my 
life. I knew the question was rhetorical and was 
not the reason for her calling. Something was 

 “Could you come over to the church right 
now?” she asked.

 I had just settled in my easy chair and was 
a little reluctant to extricate myself from my 
comfort zone. I could, but I wondered why she 
wanted me to come over.

 It wasn’t my birthday so I knew it was not a 
surprise party. It wasn’t our anniversary. And 
as far as I knew I was not in any trouble, which 
in itself does not rule out my being in trouble.

 “Why,” I queried.

 “I just need you to come over here right now, 

 When my wife says “pleeease,” I know there’s 
a very good reason for it. Namely, she is in 
trouble and needs my assistance. Granted, this 
is a rare occurrence.

 “Is there something wrong? Are you all 
right?” I asked.

 “Well,” she hesitated, “I think I locked my 
keys in the car.”

 Life does not get any better than this.

 Often this situation has been reversed. I 
cannot tell how many times when I called home 
the first thing she says to me is, “Did you run 
out of gas?” Or, “Did you lock yourself out of 
your car?”

 It’s not so much what she says as how 
sarcastically she says it.

 Out of every 100 calls I make home I would 
say 95 of them fit into either one of those 
categories very nicely. It has come to the point 
where I dread calling home. Then she usually 
concludes the telephone conversation with, “I 
can’t see how anybody can run out of gas or 
lock their keys in the car as often as you do.”

 Now the sock was on the other foot. My 
Beloved, who chides me so often about losing 
my keys or locking my keys in the car, has now 
done the same thing herself. Isn’t life great?

 “Let me see if I understand this,” I said 
as sarcastically as I possibly could without 
bursting into hysterical laughter, “you locked 
your keys in the car?”

 A hushed “yes,” drifted through the phone 

 “Excuse me,” I said rather haughtily, “I didn’t 
quite hear you.”

 The responsive “yes” pierced the telephone 
and almost knocked me on my seat. “I locked 
my keys in the car … are you happy?” she 

 I was.

 Whether it was my imagination or not, 
somehow I felt her eyes bore into my soul and I 
knew even though it was her mistake, I was in 
trouble. This is just the way life is.

 However, such trouble is more delicious than 
two scoops of raisins in every box.

 It has been a long time since I have enjoyed 
an errand as much as I did going over to the 
church and unlocking my wife’s car door for 

 Being the gentleman I am, I didn’t say 
anything but I sure did smile a lot. She, being 
the gracious lady she is, didn’t say anything but 
glared a lot.

 I enjoyed it all.

 That evening during supper, and after 
supper, she was rather quiet. I was sporting a 
snickering smile all evening.

 Finally, she said, “All right, go ahead have 
your laugh.”

 And I did.

 As a Christian, I have discovered not every 
day is what you might call a good day. God has 
a marvelous way of keeping tabs on all of this.

The verse that brings comfort and 
encouragement in this area is Romans 8:28: 
“And we know that all things work together for 
good to them that love God, to them who are 
the called according to his purpose.”

 Occasionally, life gives you a moment that 
compensates for every other moment in your life.

[Nyerges is the author of 
“Guide to Wild Foods” 
which contains a chapter 
on Nettles. He’s also the 
author of “How to Survive 
Anywhere.” Both are 
available from bookstores, Amazon, or the Store 

Often during this time of the year, I get an allergic 
reaction when I’ve been under and around the 
trees that produces lots of pollen and cottony-
fluff, like willows, and cottonwoods, and cattail, 
and oak. I’ve tried numerous remedies over the 
years to combat the allergy, but all with limited 
success. It just won’t work to stay out of the woods.

But finally, one of the natural remedies seemed 
to have good results. Nettle tea. I’ve long heard 
of the many health benefits of eating nettles and 
drinking the nettle tea. I’ve eaten the greens 
like spinach for decades. But once I heard about 
using an infusion of the nettle leaves (dried or 
fresh) for allergy, I’ve starting drinking it pretty 
regularly in the evenings. It has helped to relieve 
congestion and improve my ability to breathe. It 
seems to work even better than my old standby, 
Mormon tea.

 Since I’ve used up my limited supply of dried 
nettle, and since I don’t want to keep paying high 
prices for the tea packages at Whole Foods, I 
went out to collect a large bag of it. I know of a 
field that gets mowed down every year, so I knew 
that the nettle was not valued. I went there with 
my cloth bag and my scissors. I found it easiest 
to clip off the tender tops with a pair of sharp 
scissors, and just let the nettles drop into the bag 
without touching it. After a while though, I was 
simply cutting with scissors and putting the tops 
into my bag with my other hand. I got nettled a 
little but they don’t seem to bother me that much 

 Nutritionally, nettles is a good source of 
Vitamin C and A. According to the USDA’s 
Composition of Foods, 100 grams of nettle 
contains 6,500 I.U. of Vitamin A, and 76 mg. of 
Vitamin C. 

 Herbalist Michael Moore, author of Medicinal 
Plants of the Mountain West, describes nettles as 
a diuretic and astringent, and he advices the tea 
for use in cases of internal bleeding. 

 It is probably common knowledge that nettles 
provided food for Europeans during WWII when 
normal food supplies were not there. Nettles 
grew everywhere and many good recipes were 
developed during that era.

 It felt good to be alone in the field where it was 
quiet and green and misty. But I wasn’t totally 
alone. There were people walking by. One woman 
just looked at me as she and her friend walked by, 
and it was a very telling look. “Wow, I really pity 
you!” was written all over her face. Oh, well. I’ve 
heard worse.

 A guy wandered over and wondered what I was 
doing. Collecting nettles, I told him, and maybe 
if David Letterman ate them, and changed his 
diet, he wouldn’t have needed a quadruple by-
pass surgery. Ok, so the man, Harold, wasn’t so 
interested in what I thought about Letterman. 
But he just watched a bit, perhaps amused, and 
then he told me a story.

 He said that he’s collected nettles before for 
food, because he liked to eat them. He didn’t 
know they were good medicine too.

 Anyway, one day while picking nettles all by 
himself, someone wandered over and wanted 
to know what he was doing. Not knowing who 
the man was, Harold just said, “picking nettles.” 
And then he added, “to eat.” The stranger looked 
closely and finally said, “You think I’m dumb, 
don’t you? That’s marijuana you’re picking.” 
Harold was a bit dumbfounded, and wanted to say 
“You really are far more stupid than you look,” but 
instead, said, “of course not.” The stranger just 
smiled a knowing look, and then hung around. 
Harold soon wandered off and then hid behind 
a tree. He saw the stranger pulling up bunches 
of nettle and walking off with it. Harold laughed, 
thinking that the man would probably go home, 
dry the nettle, and try to smoke it. 

 I finally left with my very full bag of nettle 
greens. Some of the tops went into our evening 
soup, and the rest I cleaned and set out to dry 
for future tea. The soup was very enjoyable 
and tasty, and I realized that nettle is one of 
the tastiest wild greens out there, and widely 

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