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What to Look for During the 2017 Solar Eclipse

Updated with Post-Eclipse photos and video. (Jump to Updates) A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow on the Earth’s surface. This can happen only during a new moon when the sun and the moon are in conjunction as seen from Earth in an alignment referred to as syzygy. In a total eclipse, the disk of the sun is fully obscured by the moon, as seen from Earth. In partial and annular […]

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Behind the Scenes at JPL

Long-time readers know that This is True was created while I still had a Day Job. It was a very cool job: I was on the engineering staff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (1986-1996 — True was started in 1994, so there was a two-year overlap). Shortly after I left to pursue True full time, a friend of mine there took over a public outreach program: the “Solar System Ambassadors” who help educate the public about what NASA (and JPL […]

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Randolph Mantooth: Still Active in EMS

The NBC television show Emergency!, which ran 123 episodes on NBC from 1972 to 1977, plus six made-for-TV movies that aired in 1978 and 1979, did a lot to make the public aware of professional Medics, playing a significant role in elevating the profession from mere “ambulance drivers.” The show starred Randolph Mantooth and Kevin Tighe as Paramedics Johnny Gage and Roy Desoto, running out of the fictitious Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Station 51. It was the last show […]

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Christmas Blues

Today I’m working while listening to my collection of “weird Christmas music,” which I’ve compiled over the years. Things like the “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth” mashup duet — by Bing Crosby and David Bowie in 1977. Yeah, really. (more…)

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FloriDuh

People often try to tell me California is the weirdest state in the union. No way, I always reply: Florida is. I find more weird stories there than from any other state, even though California (with about 37 million residents) has twice the population as Florida (with about 18.5 million). One of their newspapers even has a recurring feature called “FloriDuh” — they know the weirdness that permeates the state. (more…)

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1984 in 2010: a ZT Influence

My recent blog post analyzing a Zero Tolerance case (Patrick Timoney’s “Gun”) showed just how crazy people can get trying to control others, and their desire to punish non-transgressions just the same as if the person was actually doing something wrong. Most people fully got the point. Others, to my shock, didn’t. (more…)

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Ed Freeman and Political Manipulation

I generally don’t want suggestions for True‘s Honorary Unsubscribe feature; my usual problem is having far too many possibilities for the one slot each week. In July 2009 a new trend started: people wanting me to do an Honorary Unsubscribe write-up for Ed Freeman, a brave Vietnam War helicopter pilot who saved about 30 shot-up kids and was awarded the Medal of Honor — the U.S.’s highest military decoration. (more…)

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Guns in America: Why?

Anytime I run a “gun story” I get a lot of comment from both hugely polarized Americans, who want to rant for or against guns, and foreign readers, who don’t understand the American “obsession” with arms. I’m going to take a stab at helping foreign readers understand it a bit better. But first, the “gun story” that prompted this essay, from True‘s 15 February 2009 issue: (more…)

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The Truth about PETA

Does PETA protect and nurture the animals placed in its care? Find out — this story is from True‘s 17 July 2005 issue. (Letters and more commentary have been added to the very end of this page. Go there.) “Ethical” Defined After more than 100 dead dogs were dumped in a trash dumpster over four weeks, police in Ahoskie, N.C., kept an eye on the trash receptacle behind a supermarket. Sure enough, a van drove up and officers watched the […]

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