Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, September 9, 2017

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 9, 2017 


Scientists on NASA’s Juno mission have observed 
massive amounts of energy swirling over Jupiter’s 
polar regions that contribute to the giant planet’s 
powerful aurora—only not in ways the researchers 

 Examining data collected by the ultraviolet 
spectrograph and energetic-particle detector 
instruments aboard the Jupiter-orbiting Juno 
spacecraft, a team led by Barry Mauk of the Johns 
Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 
Laurel, Maryland, observed signatures of powerful 
electric potentials, aligned with Jupiter’s magnetic 
field, that accelerate electrons toward the Jovian 
atmosphere at energies up to 400,000 electron 
volts. This is 10 to 30 times higher than the largest 
auroral potentials observed at Earth, where only 
several thousands of volts are typically needed 
to generate the most intense aurora—known as 
discrete aurora—the dazzling, twisting, snake-like 
northern and southern lights seen in places like 
Alaska and Canada, northern Europe, and many 
other northern and southern polar regions.

 Jupiter has the most powerful aurora in the solar 
system, so the team was not surprised that electric 
potentials play a role in their generation. What’s 
puzzling the researchers, Mauk said, is that despite 
the magnitudes of these potentials at Jupiter, they 
are observed only sometimes and are not the source 
of the most intense auroras, as they are at Earth.

 “At Jupiter, the brightest auroras are caused by 
some kind of turbulent acceleration process that we 
do not understand very well,” said Mauk, who leads 
the investigation team for the APL-built Jupiter 
Energetic Particle Detector Instrument (JEDI). 
“There are hints in our latest data indicating that as 
the power density of the auroral generation becomes 
stronger and stronger, the process becomes unstable 
and a new acceleration process takes over. But we’ll 
have to keep looking at the data.”

 Scientists consider Jupiter to be a physics lab of 
sorts for worlds beyond our solar system, saying the 
ability of Jupiter to accelerate charged particles to 
immense energies has implications for how more 
distant astrophysical systems accelerate particles. 
But what they learn about the forces driving Jupiter’s 
aurora and shaping its space weather environment 
also has practical implications in our own planetary 

 “The highest energies that we are observing 
within Jupiter’s auroral regions are formidable. 
These energetic particles that create the aurora are 
part of the story in understanding Jupiter’s radiation 
belts, which pose such a challenge to Juno and to 
upcoming spacecraft missions to Jupiter under 
development,” said Mauk. “Engineering around 
the debilitating effects of radiation has always been 
a challenge to spacecraft engineers for missions 
at Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. What 
we learn here, and from spacecraft like NASA’s 
Van Allen Probes and Magnetospheric Multiscale 
mission (MMS) that are exploring Earth’s 
magnetosphere, will teach us a lot about space 
weather and protecting spacecraft and astronauts 
in harsh space environments. Comparing the 
processes at Jupiter and Earth is incredibly valuable 
in testing our ideas of how planetary physics works.” 

 Mauk and colleagues present their findings in the 
Sept. 7 issue of the journal Nature.

 NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, 
California, manages the Juno mission for the 
principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of the 
Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno 
is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is 
managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in 
Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission 
Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, 
Denver, built the spacecraft.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




A Pasadena bicycling legend and Vietnam veteran hero


Vicente Ynfante Gomez, 
October 24, 1946 to August 4, 

Great people always walk 
amongst us, yet most of us are too busy in our very 
narrow lives (me too) to recognize and acknowledge 
them for who they are.

Vicente and Rafael Gomez were the famous Apache 
Brothers racing team, brothers who won numerous state 
and district bicycle racing championships, often defying 
all odds on their tandem bicycle.

 A bit of background. Lifelong Pasadena resident, 
Vicente was a cross-country runner at John Muir High 
School, and graduated in 1965. Both Vicente and Rafael 
were Vietnam vets. Vicente was an Army paratrooper 
with the 101st Airborne’s “Hatchet Brigade,” serving 
as a ranger in the recon. He was decorated with the 
bronze star for valor in combat during the 1968 Tet 
Offensive. But he never talked about it much – you 
remember how terribly returning Vietnam vets were 
treated? Younger brother Rafael entered the service 
when Vicente returned home, wanted to follow in big 
brother’s footsteps.

 For 40 years, Vicente and partner -brother Rafael were 
competitive members of the U.S. Cycling Federation. 
Vicente was one of the two only masters (age 55 and 
older) to win four national track racing championship 
medals in the elite mens’ tandem. With the help of Sport 
Chalet in 1984 (where both brothers worked) Vicente 
and Rafael were instrumental in establishing bike racing 
practice around the Rose Bowl. And they mentored 
many other up-and-coming bicyclists, including women 
such as Katie Safford, who became champions. 

 Those of us who knew this unique brother-team got 
to witness the rarest form of true and pure brotherhood. 
They lived together and supported one another through 
thick and thin. Vicente was the quiet brother, and Rafael 
loud and gregarious. They represented the totality of the 
yin and yang, not as opposing forces, but as a duality 
representing the totality of the whole. As Katie Safford 
stated at Vicente’s funeral, “Yes, I know Rafael is still 
alive, but ‘The Gomez Brothers’ have died,” referring to 
the inseparable nature of the dynamic brother team.

Safford – who won 53 district championships and 5 
nationals in racing – had many bicycling mentors. 
“But most of the men weren’t so keen having us race 
with them,” she explained, “because we were faster. But 
Vicente and Rafael were always kind to us.” She describes 
the Apache brothers as constantly encouraging her, and 
congratulating her, even when Safford beat the Gomez 
brothers in the Southern California/ Nevada District 
Championships at the velodrone in Encino.

 During a few of the radio interviews I did with 
ostensibly both brothers, Rafael would do most of the 
talking and it took a major effort to get Vicente to speak 
about his love of bicycling, herbalism, and his roots. 
But speak he did, though slowly, and with great intent. 
Sometimes, he presumed that one well placed look at 
me was enough to answer my questions, as if radio 
listeners can hear the look!

 Vicente was surfing on Friday, August 4 at San Onofre 
State Beach with his brother Rafael and friends. He died 
that day in Rafael’s arms, at age 70. 

At the wake for Vicente, “The Function at the Junction” 
(as Rafael called it), I took the time to “be with” Vicente 
at the little shrine out back that Rafael had created for 
his brother.

 As some of you may know, I talk to the dead all the 
time. Usually there are no responses. I burned sage to 
Vicente, and sat with this quiet giant at his shrine, this 
Apache “medicine man” now gone.

 Finally, Vicente had a lot to say. He was happy that 
I was there with him. He wanted me to pass along a 
message, letting me know that everything was different 
for him now that he no longer had his body to deal with. 
He was light, but still serious as ever.

For me, the most terrible time of each month is the day 
our bank statement comes. We commonly call it BSS 
(Bank Statement Syndrome). I don’t know why it is, but I 
have trouble getting the parsonage checkbook to balance 
with the monthly bank statement.

 That ominous document intimidates me every time 
it arrives. After all, the bank’s business is keeping track 
of accounts. They have hundreds, maybe thousands of 
accounts and I have just one. On the surface, it seems a 
rather simple thing for me to keep our checking account 
up to date, but I assure you, it is not. Every time I try, I 
lose interest.

 Keeping our checkbook accurately balanced is almost 
like a circus balancing act; everything is up in the air. No 
matter how often I add those figures, I never get the same 
result twice. I have resorted to adding up the figures at 
least three times and then take the average. So far, I’ve 
been batting a .195 and have been dropped by the major 
league, which lost interest in my career. This may satisfy 
my conscience, but it does little to appease the accounting 
department of my friendly banking institution.

 The thing flustering me more than anything else are 
those fees. The average bank has more fees than a West 
Virginia hound dog has fleas. Everything I turn around 
there is another fee. (I need to stop turning around.) 
Somebody needs to invent a fee powder.

 Each bank must employ a stable of employees whose 
only job is to dream up these fees. How else can you 
explain it? These fees are creative enough to cover every 
aspect of a person’s wallet, retroactive three generations.

To open an account there is a fee. Each account carries 
a monthly maintenance fee. I have been paying this 
monthly maintenance fee for several years and I have 
yet to see someone from the bank come out and mow 
my lawn. What is this maintenance fee? What are they 
maintaining? They certainly are not maintaining my 
checkbook. With all the fees I am paying, I would expect 
someone from the bank come to my house, sit around my 
table, and help me balance my checkbook. I would supply 
the coffee and donuts; for a small fee of course.

 Another thing I do not understand is the ATM fee. 
Why do I have to pay money to the bank to get my money 
out of the bank? Whose money is it anyway?

 I think banks offer monthly bonuses to the employee 
who comes up with the most creative fee for that month 
to impose on its customers. Fe Fi Fo Fum all those bank 
fees are dumb.

 Once upon a time and far, far away, banks would bribe 
customers with toasters or umbrellas to open accounts 
with them. Those very days are over, you can be sure. 
Now, I’m the one bribing the bank to keep my account 
with them.

 Last week I slipped the cashier the usual quarter and 
asked her to make sure my deposit got into my account, 
please. I do not know whether it is bribery or just a 
gamble and probably would do better with the Florida 

 I would not mind it so much if only my checkbook 
would occasionally agree with the bank statement. It 
takes a lot of effort on my part to keep some semblance of 
order in my checkbook. I am not always as successful as I 
would like. I make mistakes and sometimes they cost me. 
At my bank when I bounce a $3.75 check, I have to take a 
second mortgage out on my house to pay the fee.

 I would close my account and transferred to another 
bank but there is a closing fee, a transfer fee and a fee 
that has no explanation whatsoever. Just a goodbye jester 
from my bank, one last chance for them to screw up my 

 Some people think God should do everything for 
them. All they have to do is sit back and enjoy themselves 
and God will do everything for them. A prevalent attitude 
about faith supports this erroneous notion. Someone 
once compared this idea of faith as putting a “nickel in 
the slot and pull the lever” and you get what you want.

 Some things in my life only God can do and I need 
to understand what they are and allow Him to do them. 
However, some things in my life God expects me to do. 
God will never do those things for me. I must come 
to grips with this distinction. If I don’t, my life will be 

 Some people are sitting around waiting for God to do 
something He is expecting them to do. As they wait, they 
become frustrated and start accusing God of all sorts of 
sinister things.

 Part of getting to know God is understanding this. 
What is my responsibility as a Christian? What does God 
expect from me?

 After King Solomon dedicated the Temple God 
responded by saying, “If my people, which are called by 
my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek 
my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear 
from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their 
land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

 For the most part, many people are sitting around 
waiting for God to balance their checkbook when He has 
put the pencil in their hands.

 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 

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