Chiron: Mother of the Short-Period Comets?
A relatively new astronomical theory suggests that Chiron, the large comet discovered in 1977 between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus, may be the source of all of our “short-period” comets, those which make their journey around the Sun in 200 years or less. Long-period comets theoretically come from the Oort cloud, a spherical shell of comets that surrounds the solar system. A previous theory for the source of the approximately 150 known short-period comets postulates a similar band called the Kuiper belt located a little farther out than Neptune. According to this theory, these Kuiper comets would gradually be pulled into shorter orbits by the larger planets. Chiron might be one such comet “on its way” in toward the Sun.
But Mark Bailey, an astronomer at the University of Manchester, says that he has calculated Chiron’s orbit for 100,000 years into the past and it has bounced in and out of the inner solar system many times. He suggests that other short-period comets are actually chunks of debris shed by Chiron which, at 150 miles in diameter and 10,000 times the mass of Halley’s Comet, could be the “mother” of all the short-period comets. If Bailey is right, it would tend to support the importance of Chiron and the conviction of many astrologers that Chiron is an important key in our celestial clock. (February 1991 Discover magazine)
April 1991 Technology Review: edited at MIT
Jonathan Schlefer in his article FrontLine suggests that the progress in nuclear technology and the difficulty in isolating the “peaceful” atom from the “military” atom are leading to the day when many more countries will have the capacity to build nuclear devices small enough to be smuggled into target countries in a suitcase. France and other nations are recycling fuel for power generation so plutonium is extracted from spent fuel rods for reuse. It is impossible to detect the theft of 1% of the plutonium which is enough to make about 20 bombs a year. Schlefer feels that bombing suspected plants is not a permanent solution, that we must move toward a reduction of nuclear testing, toward improving diplomatic relations, and toward positive action to redress extremes of wealth and poverty which lead to terrorism/war.
MIT professor Leon Glicksman has developed an insulating panel which does not use the ozone-depleting chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). Conventional foams used to insulate buildings and refrigerators are 95% CFCs. Glicksman’s insulating panel uses glass (actually bricks of silica powder 3 to 4 inches wide) between protective covers. The panels should be cheaper to make than the current insulation, they should last “indefinitely,” and they would not harm earth’s ozone shield.
March 1991 World Press Review
Tall buildings anyone? The Sears Tower in Chicago is currently the tallest in the world. Bangkok is proposing a 120-story building that would become the second tallest. But another planned Chicago office spire of 1,950 feet would tower over both Sears and Bangkok. And in Japan, the Takemaka Corp. proposed a 196-story Sky City, the Kajima Corp. discussed a 200-story building, the Ohbayashi Corp. talked about a 500-story skyscraper that would stand 1.2 miles high, and the Taisei Corp. topped the race with plans for an 800-story pyramid floating on a base measuring 3.7 miles across.
California and the U.S. Midwest suffer periodic droughts. Canada and Alaska have lots of water. Santa Barbara was on the verge of signing up to ship water down by tankers when March 1991 started breaking the records for rainfall. A story out of Ottawa, Canada suggests that a $100-billion plan to sell water to Canada’s prairie provinces, the U.S. and Mexico may be quietly underway. In the 1950s, a mining engineer named Tom Kierans conceived a plan to “recycle” fresh water from rivers which now run uselessly into the salt water of James and Hudson’s Bay. Dams are currently being built which could be used in the project. Some question the high cost (financially and environmentally) of the huge project, but no one has ruled it out.
An article in a Paris paper by Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel discusses the “time bomb” of child poverty in Latin America. Millions of abandoned children now live, eat, and sleep in the streets while what money their governments can gain from exports goes toward interest owed to more prosperous countries. Esquivel feels that the children that survive will eventually rebel.