James Call: Expert! Answering your questions with his TOTAL KNOWLEDGE OF ALL SUBJECTS!
Today in the Moon
Reader "Will" asks:
What's with the moon? Why is it sometimes freakin' RED? Also, why does it sometimes look GIANT like it's going to crash into the Earth?
(I may have taken some liberties with Will's exact wording of the question.)
Very good question, Will! I'll tell you why. In a nutshell, the Sun is always shining the full visible spectrum of light on the moon. That's why, on a clear night, the moon looks white: because all the colors (this should be familiar to you Green Lantern fans) are combined into white, and reflected off the moon. Bear in mind one of my favorite science factoids: nothing has intrinsic color, everything is simply reflected light. Smoke some weed and meditate on THAT concept, buckos. Anyways...
The blue/green spectrum of the rainbow consists of shorter wavelengths, and these wavelengths can be filtered out by atmosphere, in much the same way that bass frequencies carry more easily between walls than higher frequencies do (which is why the neighbor doesn't need to turn down their music at night, just their bass, really, though most people don't realize this). So when there's plenty of atmosphere, only the red/orange light reflecting off the moon can filter through to our eyesight.
When farmers are burning the fields to make them fertile again, etc., there's more smoke (atmosphere) in the sky. That's why the blood-red moon is also called the "Harvest Moon". Of course, it should really be renamed the "Failure of Industrialism Moon" because that's what it is these days. You see a lot of Harvest Moonage in NYC, LA, and other large metropolitan areas, because all the emissions from congestion are creating more atmosphere and filtering out the blue/green light.
In short, the more red moons we see, the more pollution we are living amidst!
NOW: why does the moon appear to be so fucking HUGE somethings? This is a simple matter of perspective. The moon is always, to our eyesight, the same size. However, when it's up in the sky, we compare it to the field of the sky, which is quite vast. Therefore, the moon appears small and less significant, something we could easily blow up with nuclear missles to test our manhood as a species. On the other hand, when the moon is rising over the horizon, we may compare it to nearby buildings, trees, etc., which is why it appears berserkly huge at times.
And that, my friends, is your science for today. Please bear in mind the "Harvest Moon" should be differentiated from the "Blue Moon," which you see standing alone, and the "Poison Moon," which you laugh in the face of.
Today in Declining Birth Rates
Hey, two days after I posted my blog, look what All the News that's Fit to Print is reporting on!
Today in Finally Some Good News for the Obama Administration
Whoa, hey, the jobless rate finally DECLINED! In July! From 9.5% to 9.4%!
BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE.
Certainly a sign that everything works perfectly in our system and that health care reform, cap and trade, and financial regulation are all completely unnecessary. I'm sure CNBC would agree with me.