Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, April 28, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, April 28, 2018 


Even after decades of observations, and a visit by the 
Voyager 2 spacecraft, Uranus held on to one critical 
secret, the composition of its clouds. Now, one of 
the key components of the planet’s clouds has finally 
been verified.

 Patrick Irwin from the University of Oxford, UK, 
and global collaborators spectroscopically dissected 
the infrared light from Uranus captured by the 
8-meter Gemini North telescope on Hawaii’s Mauna 
kea. They found hydrogen sulfide, the odiferous gas 
that most people avoid, in Uranus’s cloud tops..

 The Gemini data, obtained with the Near-Infrared 
Integral Field Spectrometer (NIFS), sampled 
reflected sunlight from a region immediately above 
the main visible cloud layer in Uranus’s atmosphere. 
“While the lines we were trying to detect were 
just barely there, we were able to detect them 
unambiguously thanks to the sensitivity of NIFS on 
Gemini, combined with the exquisite conditions on 
Mauna kea,” said Irwin. “Although we knew these 
lines would be at the edge of detection, I decided to 
have a crack at looking for them in the Gemini data 
we had acquired.”

 “This work is a strikingly innovative use of 
an instrument originally designed to study the 
explosive environments around huge black holes 
at the centers of distant galaxies,” said Chris Davis 
of the United State’s National Science Foundation, 
a leading funder of the Gemini telescope. “To use 
NIFS to solve a longstanding mystery in our own 
solar system is a powerful extension of its use.” 
Davis adds.

 Astronomers have long debated the composition 
of Uranus’s clouds and whether hydrogen sulfide 
or ammonia dominates the cloud deck, but lacked 
definitive evidence either way. “Now, thanks to 
improved hydrogen sulfide absorption-line data 
and the wonderful Gemini spectra, we have the 
fingerprint which caught the culprit,” says Irwin. 
The spectroscopic absorption lines (where the gas 
absorbs some of the infrared light from reflected 
sunlight) are especially weak and challenging to 
detect according to Irwin.

 The detection of hydrogen sulfide high in 
Uranus’s cloud deck (and presumably Neptune’s) 
contrasts sharply with the inner gas giant planets, 
Jupiter and Saturn, where no hydrogen sulfide is 
seen above the clouds, but instead ammonia is 
observed. The bulk of Jupiter and Saturn’s upper 
clouds are comprised of ammonia ice, but it seems 
this is not the case for Uranus. These differences in 
atmospheric composition shed light on questions 
about the planets’ formation and history.

 Another factor in the early formation of Uranus 
is the strong evidence that our solar system’s giant 
planets likely migrated from where they initially 
formed. Therefore, confirming this composition 
information is invaluable in understanding Uranus’ 
birthplace and evolution, and refining models of 
planetary migrations.

 While the results set a lower limit to the amount 
of hydrogen sulfide around Uranus, it is interesting 
to speculate what the effects would be on humans 
even at these concentrations. “If an unfortunate 
human were ever to descend through Uranus’s 
clouds, they would be met with very unpleasant and 
odiferous conditions.” But the foul stench wouldn’t 
be the worst of it, according to Irwin. “Suffocation 
and exposure in the negative 200 degrees Celsius 
atmosphere made of mostly hydrogen, helium, and 
methane would take its toll long before the smell,” 
he concludes.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder





The Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage and I were in a 
little bit of a tussle this past 

 Normally (whoever said I was normal) I stay 
away from such activity in our very humble 
domicile. Sometimes it is completely unavoidable. 
This was one of those times.

 I was in the study area of our home doing some 
kind of work when my wife came in, looked around 
with both hands on her hips and said, “What is all 
of this mess about?”

 At first, I didn’t quite understand what she was 
talking about. In fact, I usually don’t understand 
what she’s talking about first off. Experience has 
taught me that if I just nod in the affirmative and 
smile the problem will go away. This time it didn’t 
go away.

 “I’m referring to,” she said rather sarcastically, “all 
of this mess in this room!”

 The problem I was having at the time was her 
definition of “mess.” I have found throughout my 
married life that we differ on definitions.

 It is true, we use the same words, but those words 
have different meanings to her then to me. My wife 
has the habit of finely defining her words to the 
letter. I, on the other hand, just generalize.

 If you ask her how much money she had in her 
purse, she would say, “I have $21.19.”

 If you asked me the same question (eliminate the 
purse) I would say, “I have around $20.”

She is precise whereas I don’t care about the exact 

 When she said, “All of this mess in the room,” it 
had a different meaning than what I understood it 
to mean.

 If, for example, one book is slightly out of line 
with the rest of the books, the room is a mess.

 I look at my room as “my room,” and I should 
be able to have it, as I wanted to be. If I want it 
to be messy, then I’m going to let it be messy. My 
idea of messy is having my things surrounding me. 
Nothing is more cozy than being surrounded by 
what my wife calls my “mess.”

 Continuing her conversation, she said, “What are 
we going to do about this mess?”

 When she said the word “we” I was confused. I 
knew I wasn’t going to do anything about what she 
called the mess in my room and I didn’t know if 
she had somebody that was going to help her do 
something about the mess in my room. She just 
looked at me as though she was expecting a response 
from me. I’m assuming a positive response.

 Stuttering for a few moments as I was trying to 
collect my thoughts and when thoughts wander 
as much as mine do, it is very difficult to get them 
lined up in order.

 I looked at her, then I looked around my room, 
then I look back at her, then I look back at my room. 
For the life of me, I could not see any mess. I had 
no idea what she was talking about. If there were a 
legitimate mess in my room, I would’ve spotted it. I 
did not know what she was talking about.

 Staring at her and she staring back, she finally 
said, “We need to clean up this room!”

 I suppose everybody has a different way of 
ordering their life. I like to order my life by having 
everything spread out in front of me. And, for any 
reason, if I can’t find something, it simply means I 
don’t really need that something.

 I have known my wife to search all day for one 
thing, then when she found it, it was too late to do 
anything about it.

 Life is rather easy for me along this line. If I don’t 
have it, I don’t need it. I only need what is right in 
front of me and what I can access right away.

 Looking down at the floor, I said rather softly, “I 
don’t think we need to clean up this room at all.”

 “What did you say?”

 At that point, I knew I was in some kind of 
trouble, although what, I wasn’t sure. So I repeated 
what I had to say.

 “I don’t think we need to clean up this room at all. 
In fact,” I said as slowly as possible, “I like it the way 
it is.”

 I know my wife was trying to help me get my 
room organized so I could find whatever I needed 
when I needed it. That’s just not the way my clock 
ticks. I’m grateful that my clock ticks at all for that 
matter. I don’t go with that pattern that she lives 
and dies by. Everything has to be in its proper place, 
according to her.

 Me, on the other hand, I just have to be in the 
right place.

 Then a light bulb clicked on the top of my head. 
I looked at her and said, “Let’s clean up this room 
and then I will help you clean up the mess in your 

 As she turned her back and left my room, I 
couldn’t help but think of a verse of Scripture, “And 
as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also 
to them likewise” (Luke 6:31).

 You may not like my mess but I certainly enjoy it.


 The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of 
God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He 
lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. 
Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail jamessnyder2@ The church web site is www.whatafellowship.

[Nyerges is the author 
of “Nuts and Berries of 
California,” “Foraging 
California,” and other books. He also leads regular 
field trips to learn about the uses of wild plants. He can 
be reached at] The 
loquat, also sometimes known as the Japanese medlar, 
is one of those fruits that seems to be everywhere, 
and most of it just gets eaten by birds or falls to the 
ground and rots. This smallish tree – perhaps up 
to 15 feet tall -- produces some of the earliest fruit 
each spring. The plant is somewhat common in 
California, and fortunately, more and more people 
are getting to know it, and more importantly, more 
and more people are beginning to value this sweet 
fruit. Loquat’s native home is China, Japan, and North 
India, this evergreen’s leaves are broad, and pointed 
at the end, averaging about 8 inches in length. Each 
leaf is darker green on the upper surface, and the 
under surface is lighter green, with a characteristic 
wooly surface. The tree produces white flowers in 
the late autumn, and its golden-yellow fruits are 
often abundant on the trees. The small oblong fruits 
can be about two inches long, give or take. The flesh 
is sweet and free of fibre, and each fruit contains a 
few large brown seeds. The flavor is sweet, but with 
a slight sour tang. They’re a bit addicting once you 
get used to them. If the tree is cultivated in your 
yard, you can produce some bigger fruits by simply 
irrigating and fertilizing. If the trees are just allowed 
to go wild, the fruits tend to get smaller each year, 
though still delicious. Sometimes in our local wild 
areas, you can see where someone stopped to have 
lunch and then spit out the brown seeds, which 
readily sprout. I think loquats are great simply 
chilled and eaten fresh. You can remove the seeds, 
and serve a bunch of the fruit with some ice cream. If 
you’re on the trail and you happen upon some loquat 
trees in fruit at the time, just stop and enjoy a few! 
They make a great refreshing trail snack. Once the 
large seeds are removed, the flesh is sweet and tender 
and can be readily made into jams or pie fillings. Just 
use a recipe that you already know and life for some 
other fruit, like peaches, and substitute loquats for 
the peaches. You’ll find that these make an excellent 
jam or jelly. Sometimes you’ll see loquat jam or jelly 
at local stores or farmers’ markets. Mary Sue Eller, 
who is a professional cook who sells loquat jelly at 
the Highland Park and other farmers markets, shared 
with me her recipes, which is printed in my “Nuts and 
Berries of California” book. It’s pretty easy to grow 
new loquat trees, and they will produce fruit in a few 
years. Though they’re drought tolerant, they will still 
produce better fruit if they are watered somewhat 
regularly and fertilized with some regularity. The 
leaves of the loquat are used in Chinese medicine to 
make cough syrup.

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