Tech Net News 01-19-2019

As we mention on all our nets at this time of year, please remember to check on-line and make sure your dues are paid.

Winter Field Day is this coming weekend! You can sign up to participate using the form from the right-side menu of our website. More details are available from a post here on the club website or from the MARS website,

Tonight’s afterglow movie will be the pilot from the un-bought series Pioneer 1: Earthfall.

In the world of contesting, don’t forget that the popular SSB edition of the North American QSO Party is going on this weekend, as is the National Collegiate Club Championship and the ARRL January VHF Contest.

In news from the world of ham radio:

No surprise, but no sunspots have been seen since January 6th.

An over-the-horizon radar has been heard operating from the island of Cyprus, and intruding into the 15-meter amateur band.

And from the “good news” department, the more than $17,000 fee that a New York state town wanted to charge an amateur for a tower construction permit has been struck down by that state’s supreme court.

In news from the world of science:

The first plant to sprout on the moon is already dead! The cotton sprout was inside a canister on China’s Chang’e 4 lander, and the experiment had no heating. Thus, the plant payloads froze during the lander’s first lunar night, when temperatures reached -52°C.

The dinosaurs were by no means the first large animals to walk on land. Scientists have used a robot to carefully reconstruct the walk of a 3-foot long, 300-million-year-old land animal, Orabates pabstiPabsti is old enough that it’s not really proper to call it a reptile, dinosaur, or bird; it’s related to the ancestor of all these groups, or might have been the ancestor itself!

Lucy in the Sky, with Billboards? A Russian business, StartRocket, hopes to put shiny billboards into low-Earth orbit, much to the consternation of astronomers and all of us Earthlings who see too much advertising already.

High-energy physics is often said to be in “crisis,” with no big surprises coming from the Large Hadron Collider. But there’s plenty of new physics going on in other places. 2018 was a great year for superconductors, and 2019 is off to a good start in that field as well. In addition to the “magic angle” superconductor that made news last year,  another team has just shown that instead of using very low temperatures to induce superconductivity, you can use very high pressures instead.

And finally, it’s cold out! If you’re a bird lover, you might be tempted to heat your birdbath so that birds can have a drink. However, evidence is accumulating that that’s a bad idea: the birds will think that, if the water is liquid, it’s safe to take a bath…resulting in frozen birds. If you heat a bird bath, make sure that birds can drink from it but not bathe.

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