Posts tagged Chicago

Illinois Prays for Rain

A Dust Bowl storm approaches Stratford, Texas ...

A Dust Bowl storm approaches Stratford, Texas in 1935. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We in the dust bowl listen
Listen for the patter of nourishing rain;

We look to the skies for those gray-black lines
Heralding the approach of precipitation again.

The rolling thunder we await;
The darkening and humid veils of moisture
To give relief to the farmers again.

In this monotonous lack of rain,
In the days of partly cloudy, mostly sunny and
“A chance of rain”…

We look to those skies for that precious water
To bring us, parched in mind, arid in spirit,
We who look day by day
Skyward at the slightest mention of rain,
We who hope for rain
Pray it shall come soon.

The forecasters say we really need
Nine to fifteen inches just to bring
Even the slightest relief to the drought.
What extra must we have
For the crops to prosper?
Is there even a chance for any of the farms to green again?
Is there a chance for so great an amount of rain?

O let the rolling storms come again,
And bring relief to this dry land.

raining sheets

raining sheets (Photo credit: mytimemachine)

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

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Poem: MEMORIAL FOR THE INNOCENT

A MEMORIAL AND PLEA FOR THE INNOCENT

A sign warning to yield to the crosswalk.

A sign warning to yield to the crosswalk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Child deprived of loving parent
Of mother or father run down on a street;
Parent left without son or daughter,
A similar fate did they meet.

Two tons of moving metal along a city street
Thousands of them we see
From them we move our feet
When through the crosswalks so blatantly they go
Paying no attention to the street signs put there so they know
People are trying safely there to cross
Oh, have we all respect and dignity lost?

Condolences to all who have lost loved ones this way-
In hit-and-run incidents that make our news these days;
Oh those who have done such deeds take heed-
You someday will answer to another!
Let us decent folks hope that it is the law
Who catches you in your crawling cowardice-
Unable to admit that you did something wrong-
And took a life.

Murderer, homicidal maniac, arrogant fool and cruel demons
Are people such as you
Who steal lives and keep on going;
Who murder and rob and shoot and torture…
You KNOW you have done something terrible and then-
What do you do? You stop and look… and go your way again?

Mourn then for the children;
Mourn for the grieving parents and relatives.
Pray now for the friends who must now cope with
Losing the presence of a fine and loving person.

What can we do
To preserve innocent lives?
Oh you who act and think not…
When will you take the few seconds to think with due care and consideration?

Seconds.

Mourning

Mourning (Photo credit: Sister72)

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2012.

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Transit of Venus “Generates” Energy

Sharing my experience of the Transit of Venus with everyone…

"Images from photographic plates of the T...

“Images from photographic plates of the Transit of Venus” Deutsch: Venustransit am 6. Dezember 1882 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Chicago, as in many parts of the country, many people were not treated to a complete experience of the annular eclipse last month. Thus when the day came for the Venus transit event, I thought to myself, “If we have good weather and I am feeling up to it, I’ll try to get in that experience!”

Fortunately our weather cooperated perfectly and the Adler Planetarium held a viewing event… and offered free general admission, which was a pleasant perk for the day. Getting to the Adler is so easy on the #146 bus- takes you straight to the Planetarium and a stunning view of one of America’s best lakefronts. Well, on that day I took my binoculars just to catch a good view of the area, some blank paper, snacks, and the happiness of being able to see the special event.

Around 5 P.M. the transit began, and that while I was standing in a long line of people waiting to use one of the telescopes, a very nice Coronado SolarMax model fitted with one of the excellent H-alpha filters that turns the image orange-red but provides fine viewing conditions. That is when I put my binoculars to use, turned the small end toward the paper and focused in order to get a reverse image of Venus just starting to cross the sun. Now I do not have to look directly into the lenses in order to know the image is projecting properly onto the paper. The bright image comes into view when the lenses are at the correct angle, and a dot of light shows up in the lens area. All you have to do is maneuver the binoculars until the image projects on the paper, and cover one of the lenses so a single image shows up.

As I waited, Venus edged into view and then I was able to look at it through the SolarMax.

After that I and hundreds of others went inside to see the live feed from Mauna Kea observatory, courtesy of NASA, which provided views in three colors of filter: purple, white, and the orange-red.

It was very nice of the Adler team and some other observers who made telescopes available for the thousands who came to share the event. People of all ages showed up, from the elderly to the young family out to witness something unique to share with the kids. Being around all those fine people made the event even more special. Astronomy has not lost its romance, nor has it lost its magnetic attraction. Science and technology, society and the draw of the marvelous and the beautiful in nature…certainly everything came out for the best on June 5.

Sunspots were also visible (and in fact are today, with a fine cluster visible even with the reverse-binocular method of projecting the image on white paper). An observer at the transit event brought along one of the “sun-spotter” instruments which projected the white light onto the center of the instrument.

Sadly such an event will not be visible for another 105 years, so everyone there had the chance to mutually benefit from something to talk about, dream about, share around, write about, photograph, and research for decades. People in Chicago shared that event with people the world over, with folks atop a mountain and folks at sea level (or at least at lake level). We learned, we stood in silence and reverence, we shared and laughed, we witnesses, and we took home vivid memories.

Thanks again to the staff at the Adler Planetarium, the keepers of the stellar Chicago lakefront, the CTA, the drivers for that day on the #146 route who kept everyone safe and got us there in time, the Chicago Park District, and everyone who brought out their telescopes.

Venus over Witton Lakes

Venus over Witton Lakes (Photo credit: ringsofsaturnrock)

Divi Logan and ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

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Agent Orange Corn: A Little 2,4-D in Your Sauce?

Hello Chicago and Good Day, World!

English: Image from MolInspiration's 3-D struc...

English: Image from MolInspiration’s 3-D structure of 2,4-Dichlorophenoaceric acid. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listening to local radio station NewsRadio 780 WBBM in Chicago this morning, I heard the introduction to a story that seemed curious and serious at the same time. It referred to something called “agent orange corn”, and the reality of the “super-weed“. Certainly the super – weed concept has been known for decades, if some documents are accurate, and the use of extremely toxic herbicides has also been known for decades. Also known is the excellent book, Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson. I am presently reading that scientific treatise, and by coincidence a page I just finished mentioned the extremely potent compound known as 2,4-D. What exactly is 2,4-D? According to a book titled The Science of 2,4,5-T and associated phenoxy herbicides, which I found in the reference section of the Harold Washington Library in the Chicago Loop, the full name of the chemical is 2,4-dichlorophenoxy acetic acid. That’s a mouthful, and wow what it can do to you or to anything it gets into!

In fact, on page 213 of Silent Spring, is the following quote:

The herbicide 2,4-D has also produced tumorlike swellings in treated plants. Chromosomes become short, thick, clumped together. Cell division is seriously retarded. The general effect is said to parallel closely that produced by X-rays.

Other quotes or sections in Silent Spring where 2,4-D are mentioned are page 43, with a curious case of the discovery of that weed – killer compound; and pp. 75 – 79

Threaten MY soybeans and corn, will you, eh? Yecchh.

As I later learned in the news article, the substance 2,4-D is also a compound of the demon chemical used in the Vietnam War and known as Agent Orange. A rather graphic photo of a man exposed to that chemical is at the end of this article.

Think about synthesizing a strain of corn that is resistant to pests that are resisting such potent herbicides as 2,4-D. Now those researchers would have to be exposed to the compound in order to test the effectiveness of the experiment; and that also means mention of the people who must safely – and emphasize the word SAFELY- transport the hazard to the lab.

The article seemed rather confusing as it went on, seeming to imply also that the corn must also resist the potency of the 2,4-D that is meant to kill off the invading superweeds. Thus the compound might also impact the environment wherein it is being tested, getting into the air, the groundwater, the wells, and onto other plants.

Well, I’d rather have my corn without any 2,4-D sauce, thanks.

Related Vocabulary:

* Phytotoxic; hydrocarbon

* Oxidation; cell division

* Lindane, malathion, parathion, chlordane, dieldrin, heptachlor

* Carbon tetrachloride, DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane), toxaphene, benzene hexachloride, methoxychlor, phenothiazine, dinitro compounds

Suggested Sources:

1. Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. The Classic that Launched the Environmental Movement. Boston: Houghton Mifflin/ Mariner, 1962.

2. Bovey, Rodney W. The Science of 2,4,5-T and associated phenoxy herbicides. New York: Wiley Interscience, 1980.

Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-conta...

Major Tự Đức Phang was exposed to dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, Nashville and Chicago, ©2012.

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