Darby Imminent

The cone of uncertainty continues to narrow until it is certain that the island is in the path. It should hit as a tropical storm with fifty mph sustained winds and gusts to seventy. Only a few things left to do this afternoon to prepare for arrival… Fill the tank with gas, and put the lanai furniture away.

Darby Predicted Track
The predicted track of Tropical Storm Darby over the island

Making Room for the Traditional

A culture is defined by many things.. A language, a religion, a way of life, a racial identity, these and more tie together in an identity that define us. As these ideas are shared by a worldwide communications network, as so many emigrate from homelands wracked by war or economic strife these cultural identities are increasingly mixed and exchanged. Increasingly our modern world is converging on a single common culture.

While this process has been slowly occurring since the Age of Exploration and the dawn of worldwide trade, it has more recently been pushed into hyper-drive by the communications revolution created by the internet. In a historical instant almost anyone, living anywhere has access to and can interact with people across the globe. For recent generations this is now taken for granted and not just available, but a regular occurrence that is an integral part of everyday life.

Internet Backbone
The internet backbone, Wikimedia image
While many may see a set of dominant cultures developing, I would argue that there is really a single globe spanning culture that will result. There are a number of poles within this culture, driven by the major regional cultures, but increasingly there is a common set of values that are beginning to define a single entity.

The first culture to enter this new sphere was Anglo-American, home to the developing communications technologies that began the worldwide net. Being first on the scene allowed American culture to set the ground rules, to perform the first experiments in how these new communications possibilities could be used.

American culture is still dominant, but is increasing rivaled by the other major cultures. European, Latin American, and several Asian cultures have created their own spheres within the network. While somewhat isolated by language, or deliberate governmental restrictions, there is a great deal of interaction. Good, or often bad ideas that originate in one sphere spread to the entire network with increasing rapidity.

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More Than 100 Planets Confirmed in Single Trove

W. M. Keck Observatory press release

An international team of astronomers have discovered and confirmed a treasure trove of new worlds. The researchers achieved this extraordinary discovery of exoplanets by combining NASA’s K2 mission data with follow-up observations by Earth-based telescopes including the W. M. Keck Observatory on Maunakea, the twin Gemini telescopes on Maunakea and in Chile, the Automated Planet Finder of the University of California Observatories and the Large Binocular Telescope operated by the University of Arizona. The team confirmed more than 100 planets, including the first planetary system comprising four planets potentially similar to Earth. The discoveries are published online in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series.

Image montage showing the Maunakea Observatories, Kepler Space Telescope, and night sky with K2 Fields and discovered planetary systems (dots) overlaid. Credit: Karen Teramura/IFA , Miloslav Druckmüller, NASA
Image montage showing the Maunakea Observatories, Kepler Space Telescope, and night sky with K2 Fields and discovered planetary systems (dots) overlaid. Credit: Karen Teramura/IFA , Miloslav Druckmüller, NASA
Ironically, the bounty was made possible when the Kepler space telescope’s pointing system broke.

In its initial mission, Kepler surveyed a specific patch of sky in the northern hemisphere, measuring the frequency with which planets whose sizes and temperatures are similar to Earth occur around stars like our sun. But when it lost its ability to precisely stare at its original target area in 2013, engineers created a second life for the telescope that is proving remarkably fruitful.

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