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

MVNews this week:  Page A:8



Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 28, 2018 

TABLE FOR TWO by Peter Dills

One of my favorite local restaurants is Houston’s. Although 
they could be considered a chain, I really like the food and 
service. The wine list is also topnotch, with over twenty wines 
by the glass. I would also call their wine program user friendly; 
in fact it is common for Houston’s to waive their corkage fee if 
the wine you bring isn’t on their menu - smart as smart can be. 
I heard through the grape-vine (get it?) that Houston’s wine list 
was assembled through researching other geographically close 
restaurants/competitors wine lists, though this would have 
made a great story, I found out with a little research that this isn’t 
the case. I was also told that their California restaurants might 
have a different list then other states, my snooping did confirm 
that . The reporter in me wouldn’t give up, and I was pleasantly 
surprised by my own comparisons of other steakhouses wine 
prices in town that Houston’s across the board has the smallest 

 Speaking of “corkage” I asked my friend Robert Simon 
owner of Bistro 45 for his thoughts on corkage. His response 
was straightforward. There are two schools of thought: there are 
restaurants that take a casual look at their wine list, and there 
are restaurants that you can and should trust to have a great $30 
or $300 bottle of wine. If you trust the restaurant, order from 
their menu. If it’s a special occasion, then bring a bottle and buy 
a bottle.

 For me, I contend that corkage is generally meant as a courtesy for customers looking to savor a special 
bottle. Unfortunately, this isn’t often what customers do. Instead, people will bring bad wine or argue 
over the fee. Here are a few of my tips on this: 1) Call the restaurant about their policy. I’d feel more 
comfortable taking a bottle to a restaurant where I am considered a regular. 2) Bring only a bottle that is 
not on their menu. If it is, that’s fine - bring one, and also buy one of theirs. 3) Although the restaurant 
sommelier is almost a thing of the past, ask the owner/manager if they’d like a taste. 4) If they waived the 
fee, or if the corkage is reasonable, you must tip as if you bought the wine at the restaurant 
Considering how much I eat out, I don’t bring wines to restaurants that often. Sometimes it’s easier to 
not do all the work. There is, however one place I wish I could always bring wine: weddings, where I never 
seem to be happy with the wine selection. 

 Tune into Dining with Dills on KLAA AM 830 at 5 PM for my radio show Sunday, please follow me 
on twitter @kingofcuisine and my website


NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies Enters Third Decade

On March 11, 1998, asteroid astronomers 
around the world received an ominous 
message: new observational data on the 
recently discovered asteroid 1997 XF11 
suggested there was a chance that the half-
mile-wide object could hit Earth in 2028.

 The message came from the Minor Planet 
Center, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the 
worldwide repository for such observations 
and initial determination of asteroid orbits. 
And although it was intended to alert only 
the very small astronomical community that 
hunts and tracks asteroids to call for more 
observations, the news spread quickly.

 Most media outlets did not know what to 
make of the announcement, and mistakenly 
highlighted the prospect that Earth was 

 Fortunately, it turned out that Earth was 
never in danger from 1997 XF11. After 
performing a more thorough orbit analysis 
with the available asteroid observations, 
Don Yeomans, then the leader of the Solar 
System Dynamics group at JPL, along with his 
colleague Paul Chodas, concluded otherwise. 
“The 2028 impact was essentially impossible,” 
said Chodas, who is now director of NASA’s 
Center for Near-Earth Object Studies 
(CNEOS), located at JPL.

 “To this day we still get queries on the 
chances of XF11 impacting in 2028,” Chodas 
said. “There is simply no chance of XF11 
impacting our planet that year, or for the next 
200 years.”

 Chodas knows this thanks to CNEOS’ 
precise orbit calculations using observation 
data submitted to the Minor Planet Center by 
observatories all over the world that detect 
and track the motion of asteroids and comets. 
For the past two decades, CNEOS calculations 
have enabled NASA to become the world 
leader in these efforts, keeping close watch on 
all nearby asteroids and comets—especially 
those that can cross Earth’s orbit.

 “We compute high-precision orbits for all 
asteroids and comets and map their positions 
in the solar system, both forward in time to 
detect potential impacts, and backward to see 
where they’ve been in the sky,” Chodas said. 
“We provide the best map of orbits for all 
known small bodies in the solar system.”

 Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids 
and comets in orbits that bring them into the 
inner solar system, within 121 million miles 
of the Sun, and also within roughly 30 million 
miles of Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

 NASA’s original intent was to fulfill a 1998 
Congressional request to detect and catalogue 
at least 90 percent of all NEOs larger than 
one kilometer in size (roughly two-thirds of a 
mile) within 10 years. 

 A CNEOS system called “Sentry” searches 
ahead for all potential future Earth impact 
possibilities over the next hundred years—
for every known NEO. Sentry’s impact 
monitoring runs continually using the latest 
CNEOS-generated orbit models, and the 
results are stored online. In most cases so 
far, the probabilities of any potential impacts 
are extremely small, and in other cases, the 
objects themselves are so small—less than 66 
feet across— that they would almost certainly 
disintegrate even if they did enter Earth’s 

 More recently, CNEOS also developed 
a system called Scout to provide more 
immediate and automatic trajectory analyses 
for the most recently discovered objects, even 
before independent observatories confirm 
their discovery. Operating around the clock, 
the Scout system identifies the highest 
priority objects to be watched.

 You can contact Bob Eklund at: b.eklund@

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