Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, September 2, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 2, 2017 


NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is just days from its 
mission-ending dive into the atmosphere of 
Saturn. Its fateful plunge on Sept. 15 is a foregone 
conclusion—an April 22 gravitational kick from 
Saturn’s moon Titan placed the two-and-a-half ton 
vehicle on its path for impending destruction. Yet 
several mission milestones have to occur over the 
coming two-plus weeks to prepare the vehicle for 
one last burst of trailblazing science.

 “The Cassini mission has been packed full of 
scientific firsts, and our unique planetary revelations 
will continue to the very end of the mission as Cassini 
becomes Saturn’s first planetary probe, sampling 
Saturn’s atmosphere up until the last second,” said 
Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist from JPL. 
“We’ll be sending data in near real time as we rush 
headlong into the atmosphere—it’s truly a first-of-
its-kind event at Saturn.”

 The spacecraft is expected to lose radio contact 
with Earth within about one to two minutes 
after beginning its descent into Saturn’s upper 
atmosphere. But on the way down, before contact 
is lost, eight of Cassini’s 12 science instruments will 
be operating. In particular, the spacecraft’s ion and 
neutral mass spectrometer (INMS), which will be 
directly sampling the atmosphere’s composition. 

 In its final week, Cassini will pass several 
milestones en route to its science-rich Saturn plunge:

 Sept. 9 -- Cassini will make the last of 22 passes 
between Saturn itself and its rings—closest approach 
is 1,044 miles above the clouds tops.

 Sept. 11 -- Cassini will make a distant flyby 
of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Even though 
the spacecraft will be at 73,974 miles away, the 
gravitational influence of the moon will slow down 
the spacecraft slightly as it speeds past. A few days 
later, instead of passing through the outermost 
fringes of Saturn’s atmosphere, Cassini will dive in 
too deep to survive the friction and heating.

 Sept. 14 -- Cassini’s imaging cameras take their 
last look around the Saturn system, sending back 
pictures of moons Titan and Enceladus, the hexagon-
shaped jet stream around the planet’s north pole, and 
features in the rings.

 Sept. 14, 2:45 p.m. PDT -- Cassini turns its antenna 
to point at Earth, begins a communications link that 
will continue until end of mission, and sends back its 
final images and other data collected along the way.

 Sept. 15, 1:37 a.m. PDT -- The “final plunge” begins. 
The spacecraft starts a 5-minute roll to position 
INMS for optimal sampling of the atmosphere, 
transmitting data in near real time from now to end 
of mission.

 Sept. 15, 4:53 a.m. PDT -- Cassini enters Saturn’s 
atmosphere. Its thrusters fire at 10 percent of their 
capacity to maintain directional stability, enabling 
the spacecraft’s high-gain antenna to remain pointed 
at Earth and allowing continued transmission of 

 Sept. 15, 4:54 a.m. PDT -- Cassini’s thrusters 
are at 100 percent of capacity. Atmospheric forces 
overwhelm the thrusters’ capacity to maintain 
control of the spacecraft’s orientation, and the high-
gain antenna loses its lock on Earth. At this moment, 
expected to occur about 940 miles above Saturn’s 
cloud tops, communication from the spacecraft will 
cease, and Cassini’s mission of exploration will have 
concluded. The spacecraft will break up like a meteor 
moments later.

 “The end of Cassini’s mission will be a poignant 
moment, but a fitting and very necessary completion 
of an astonishing journey,” said Earl Maize, Cassini 
project manager at JPL. 


 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




The Necessity of Sanitation, toilets and otherwise [part 1)

During a recent lottery shindig, 
everybody was watching to see 
who was going to win all that 
money. Even I got all caught up 
in the excitement and was on the edge of my seat too.

 “Why,” the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage 
said, “are you so interested in that lottery?”

 “Well,” I said as soberly as possible, “what if I win 
all that money? Wouldn’t that be tremendous?” Then 
I flashed a gracious million-dollar smile at her.

 She just stared at me, rolled her eyes and walked 
away. As she was walking away, she mumbled 
something like, “You gotta pay if you’re gonna win.”

 Oh yeah, I thought to myself. I am sitting in my 
chair wondering what in the world I would do with all 
that money if I actually would win it when in reality I 
am not even playing the lottery. I just got all caught up 
with the idea of winning money.

 Even if I did play, according to some statistics, only 
one person in 300 million had a chance of winning 
that lottery. I’m not sure how they come up with such 
statistics; I am rather suspicious of the whole thing.

 I remember a favorite saying of the late Will Rogers, 
“All I know is what I read in the newspaper.” That was 
long before all of this media electronic nonsense that 
we have today. I think he might change his saying 
something like this, “All I know is what I see on TV.” 
Or, some of the younger group might include the 

 I am not a skeptic, mind you, I just do not believe 
everything I hear or see these days. I never guess how 
much change I have in my pocket, I always count it. I 
never want to guess at anything.

 Some people believe everything they hear and 
see on TV these days. I think most of it is just 
entertainment. Entertainment has become such an 
obsession these days that it is hard to get away from it.

 We watch programs that solve problems that don’t 
even exist. We get all excited about somebody playing 
some role on some fictitious TV program. Don’t get 
me started on those reality shows!

 I can remember when the TV program Dallas 
was very popular. They ended one season with the 
mysterious killing of JR. All of the media went crazy, 
even across Europe, wondering, “Who killed JR?” I 
wonder how many people stopped to think that JR 
was not even a real person.

 I am not against winning money, I want to win as 
much money as I can. However, I think it is a ruse to 
get people’s attention. Even I was watching to see who 
was going to win all of that money. That is exactly 
what they wanted.

 Again, I am not a skeptic, but I wonder if that 
person that won all that money was a real person? 
Or, was it some kind of ruse to get people to watch 
television at that point? From another angle, how 
much did they really pay that woman to say that she 
won all that money?

 Okay, okay I admit it! I am a skeptic. But I’m a 
skeptic with good intentions. At least I believe they 
are good. I just do not want to be sold a bill of goods 
that somebody is trying to take advantage of me.

 I do not believe everything I see and hear. I do not 
agree with everything I see or hear these days. How 
in the world could you? How in the world could 

 I try to be careful because I know not everybody 
has an agenda and not everybody is out to pick my 
pocket. It only takes one person to cause me to be very 
cautious about everything.

 I think one of the great areas where I need to be 
very cautious is in religion. Religion has made many 
promises throughout the years that it has yet to 
make good on. I want something more solid than 
religion. Everybody is religious, one way or the other. 
Sometimes, I will not say always, religion is out to pick 
your pocket.

 That is one of the reasons why I am a Christian. I do 
not have anything in my pocket that God would want 
to pick. There is nothing I have that would in any way 
enrich the heavenly coffers of God.

 The other way around is where I am at. So much 
God has I desire and want in my life. I cannot enrich 
God, but God can enrich me beyond my wildest 
imagination. Believe me; my imagination can get 
pretty wild at times.

 The only way I can really find out what God has for 
me is to commit myself to the systematic reading of 
God’s word. I do not believe in that slogan, “A verse 
a day keeps the devil away.” Read the story of the 
temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and you will see 
the devil used Scripture to attack Jesus.

 I believe David in the Old Testament understood 
the riches that God had for his people. He wrote, 
“For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will 
beautify the meek with salvation” (Psalms 149:4).

 It would be wonderful to win $750 million, but 
after all, it is only money and eventually that money 
runs out. God’s pleasure never runs out.

 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

[Nyerges has been teaching 
survival skills since 1974. 
He is the author of several books including “How to 
Survive Anywhere,” which has a complete section 
about emergency toilets, natural soaps, and the 
necessity of sanitation after emergencies. He can 
be reached at]

 In the aftermath of an urban disaster, the 
greatest shock to the survivors will be the absence 
of certain social services that had been taken 
for granted. Chief among these expectations 
are the ready availability of food, availability 
of medical care, and good sanitation and trash 
removal. These 3 together, when lacking, create 
horrendous personal living conditions. Those 
terrible conditions result because residents 
came to depend on the modern city-society to 
provide these services. And since we’ve long 
depended on others in our urban setting to do 
these services, we’ve generally ceased trying to 
even think about how we would deal with these 
issues in an emergency. Hence, the predictable 
result after an emergency: panic, pain, disease, 

 Health officials have long pointed out that far 
more people die in the unsanitary conditions 
that follow a major disaster than the number 
of deaths from the disaster itself. If a hundred 
people died in the wreckage of a major urban 
earthquake, you could expect many hundred to a 
thousand more deaths from contaminated water 
supply, untreated infection from wounds, lack of 
electricity for certain medical procedures, etc.

 This is why everyone should learn to grow 
and store their own food. This is why everyone 
should learn basic first aid, and should store 
basic first aid supplies. This is why everyone 
should learn all aspects of basic home hygiene 
and sanitation, in the event that we don’t have 
running water, a working toilet, or a functional 
shower or bathtub. 


When I was in my teens and still living with my 
parents, we wondered what we’d do for a toilet 
if an earthquake took out the sewer lines. My 
mother had grown up on a farm in rural Ohio, 
and with no indoor plumbing until after WWII, 
her family used an outhouse. So she knew that if 
you placed a closet-like room over a deep hole, all 
the toilet contents would eventually decompose. 
But we lived in urban Pasadena where backyard 
outhouses were illegal. My mother, who was also 
a nurse, came up with a solution. She obtained a 
used hospital porta-potti for our emergency use. 
It was just a chair with a pot under the seat, but 
we felt confident that we were now well-prepared 
in the event of an earthquake. We only had to 
use it once when my father was sick and couldn’t 
walk to the bathroom. 

 We had a small garden in a side yard where we 
would make compost and add horse and chicken 
manure to the mix. We didn’t figure there was 
any big deal about adding some human manure 
to the mix, though we were completely ignorant 
of the many ramifications thereof at the time.


Later, I moved into a small house on a large 
property on the fringe of Los Angeles, and lived 
there as a squatter for a year and a half. The 
plumbing was fine, but among other things, I 
researched and practiced urban survival skills 
while living there. 

 In order to test the viability of an indoor non-
flush toilet in the aftermath of an earthquake, a 
local non-profit commissioned me to test an RV 
toilet. The RV toilet was simply a standard plastic 
bucket inside a larger container. I put this RV 
toilet into the bathroom, and used it exclusively 
for a 30 day period. Even the occasional guest 
would use the RV toilet. Every few days it had 
to be emptied, so I dug a trench out in the yard 
for that purpose. The trench was about 3 feet 
deep, about 2 by 5 foot wide. I covered the toilet 
contents each time with a layer of straw, soil, and 
wood shavings. Eventually, I grew an amazing 
tomato patch in that trench.

 I described the details of this experiment in 
my book, “Extreme Simplicity: Homesteading in 
the City,” available from Dover Press.


We have also made toilets according to the 
manner often described in FEMA literature. 
We lined a plastic bucket with a plastic bag, and 
added a toilet seat to the top. You can buy toilet 
seats that snap onto a standard plastic bucket. 
After each use in this system, the ideal thing 
to add is wood chips or shavings that you can 
usually obtain for free from local wood shops. 
When the bag is half-full, you remove and 
discard. If you are expecting a long time with no 
trash removal, you can either store these bags for 
future use, or – assuming you have the space – 
bury the contents somewhere in your yard and 
cover after each addition. 


You should store soap in your household, and 
most soap will store for decades. Soap would 
also be a good trade article in the aftermath of a 
serious disaster. For long term revival, knowing 
how to make soap would be a valuable skill. 

 Lacking sufficient clean water, you could dilute 
vinegar or lemon juice for wiping your hands, or 
washing wounds. 

 You should also do your best to keep your 
clothes relatively clean and disinfected. If nothing 
else, shake out your clothes each day, turn them 
inside out, and hang them in the sun for a few 

 You should also do your very best to regularly 
wash your hands, and take a shower. Lacking a 
city-provided water supply, you should have stored 
water for such an occasion. I have also long kept 
a solar shower, one of those bags that you will 
with water and lay out in the sun. These are real 
life-savers. You can fill with water and take your 
shower outside before the sun goes down, letting 
the water drain into your garden. You can also 
buy a shower booth from any of the backpacking 
catalogs and on-line stores now out there.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. More on this 

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