We Are not in California Anymore!


This could be subtitled: How I went from California suburbia to a chicken ranch in Arkansas. I was minding my own business one day in February, managing a busy veterinary specialty hospital in the San Francisco Bay area when I received a phone call from a veterinarian in Arkansas. It seemed I was on the reference list for the practice management software program we used, and this doctor was trying to get information on how we had the program and our IT system set up. After three months of occasional phone calls, I was asked if I would consider moving to Arkansas.

Of course, my knee jerk reaction was, "Arkansas? I do not think so!" After all, I was born and raised in California. Why on earth would I want to move to Arkansas? But, you know how things have a way of running around in your brain. That night I did some research on line. I discovered that Arkansas was not as backwards as it is presented on the Tonight Show, the school system received better scores than the school system my son was attending in California, and the cost of living was much lower. I did a quick real-estate search, and found that I could actually purchase a house with land – something I did not think I would ever be able to afford to do in California.

So, I took a giant leap of faith. I revised my resume and processed it with a cover letter, and booked a flight two weeks out. I contacted a real estate agent to schedule some walk-throughs while I was there. The drive from Little Rock airport to Clarksville in the Arkansas River Valley convinced me that this was where I wanted to be – whether or not I got the job at the veterinary specialty practice. Two weeks later, they made me an offer, which I accepted. The last week in August, I moved my family (mother, sister, son and dog) to Arkansas.

It took three more months of looking, but I finally found the perfect house sitting on 15 acres, about 1/2 wooded and 1/2 pasture; a decent-sized, year-round pond, cross fencing, and a barn. I had only been there for a couple of months when a friend of the veterinarian called and asked if I would like to have some chickens. The doctor's neighbor has a Tyson farm, and during the pick up, several chickens "escaped." Once they've been free-ranged, Tyson does not want them. So, 25 chickens were delivered to my house. Now, the most experience I had had with chickens was trying to raise three silkies in our backyard in California until the raccoons got them about 3 weeks into the project. Suddenly, I had 25 full grown, laying hens to take care of. Just for the record, when asked how many I wanted, I said a dozen. Obviously, a dozen is more specifically in Arkansas than it is in California!

Unfortunately, for my poor hens, I learned a lot through trial and error in those early months. But several years later, I have a good-sized, mostly free-range flock. We enjoy farm-fresh eggs almost year round. I have successfully incubated and hatched chickens. And though some of my family members still have a problem with the idea, I have butchered some of the roosters and served them up for dinner when my rooster to hen ration was too high. In future articles I'll discuss specifics about raising backyard chickens and running an animal rescue.


Flights Information


Flights Information entails notification of details concerning the arrival and departure of flights, availability of tickets, and the information regarding the various flights available to major cities around the world. In this fast paced world, where people are constantly on the move, they need to keep a constant tab on their flight schedules. The time of arrival and departure of flights as well as information in case of any delay or rescheduling is also made available. To help the passengers reach their destinations on scheduled time, flight information updates have been made available on the Internet as well as on various cell phone networks.

The technological advances have enabled all the major airliners to go on the World Wide Web and provide their passengers with the facility to book flights. People from all across the globe can check the availability of seats of their choice and make on line flight reservations. Prior on line reservations ensures a hassle free journey.

Air transportation has been made easy and affordable in recent years. Almost all major companies operate cheap flights to various parts of the world. The introduction of cheap flights has increased the number of passengers availing flights even for short distances.

Flights from different parts of the world fly to the Big Apple or New York. Cheap Flights to New York are also available. New York City is served by John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Newark Liberty International Airport and the La Guardia Airport. JFK serves as the hub of the Delta Air Lines, Jet Blue Airways and American Airlines. Flights to New York are also available from all states in the Unites States of America.

Las Vegas, occupying the Western coast of the North American continent, is one of the popular tourist destinations in the world. Las Vegas is served by the Mc Carran International Airport. As many as 125 flights to different cities in the country operate from the Las Vegas Airport. It is in fact one of the busiest airports in the world in terms of air traffic and passenger movement. Flights to Las Vegas connect the city with other parts of the world.

The national capital of Washington DC is served by several airports. These include the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, the Washington Dulles International Airport and the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport better known as the National Airport. Flights to Washington are conducted by several airliners. These airlines include the Midwest Airlines, US Airways and Northwest Airline KLM. Some of them also conduct cheap flights to Washington.

Flights to Paris mainly serve a couple of airports at the airport. Tourists flock the French capital in large numbers each year. Almost 500 flights from 132 different nations fly regularly to Paris. They carry almost 75 million passengers to and from Paris on an annual basis.


A Look Into New York's Albany Hotels


New York is quite famous for its Albany hotels which are found in almost every major part of New York. There are numerous types of Albany hotels for you to choose from when you visit New York depending on what your requirements are.

The Crowne Plaza hotel

The Crowne Plaza is probably one of the best if not "the" best Albany hotel in New York. The largest plus point of this hotel for any business man visiting New York is that its located near the economic center of New York. It is also just walking distance from New York's legislative office. Additionally, there are also a number of area colleges in close proximacy.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel is designed in a way that allows it to effectively cater to the needs of both family travelers and business people alike. The huge Crowne Plaza hotel has more than 300 guest rooms, suites and deluxe club accommodations. The perks of living in a room in the Crowne Plaza hotel includes luxurious comforters, piles of pillows, pillow top mattresses and triple sheets. All of this works to make guests feel at home.

The Crowine Plaza hotel is one of the many hotels in New York that offer their guests shuttle services to and from the train station and the international airport. The Crowne Plaza Hotel also boasts of a large business center which can handle your conventions, meetings, social gatherings and also weddings – meaning that you can actually have guests staying at the Crowne Plaza hotel and at the same time host an even there as well.

The Crowne Plaza offers its guests two dining options which include Webster's Corner and Kelsey's Irish Pub. The difference between the two is that Webster's Corner aims more towards serving breakfast and Kelsey's Irish Pub is great for relaxing while you have your lunch or dinner.

Hampton Inn and Suites

When visiting Albany, New York it's really hard not to notice the bright building in the skyline which is actually the Hampton Inn and Suites. The Hampton Inn and Suites is considered to be among the best hotels in Albany. The staff at this hotel is well trained, professional, and are ready to cater to all of their visitor's needs. The hotel has around 121 guestrooms, 8 whirlpools, 35 suites, and one huge executive suite consisting of two rooms. The suites of the Hampton Inn and Suites have microwaves, refrigerators etc as part of the amenities offered.

The good thing about the Hampton Inn and Suites is that you can enjoy the riverfront when you are living in the Inn which is just a few blocks away. Yono is an onsite restaurant which serves all three meals ie breakfast lunch and dinner. The hotel also boasts a large sauna, a steam room, and a tanning bed. You can also get hot tea and coffee which is served in the lobby 24/7

Clarion Hotel

The Clarion hotel is a business type hotel which is probably geared towards business people who visit New York. The hotel has function rooms, and banquet areas which is great for gatherings and meetings. There is also a ballroom which is ideal for couples who are visiting New York – another plus of this hotel is that it's pet friendly.

In addition to the hotels mentioned above there are many other hotels located in Albany, New York. However it's imperative that you first do some research to find the hotel that fits your needs exactly and then book a room in advance. This will ensure that you save both time and money when you visit Albany.


Hotel Nacional De Cuba – A Classic With a Thousand Stories


Maybe you, interested in the values ​​Havana has to offer as a destination in the Caribbean, already know or have read about the insignia institution of all Cuba hotels; The Hotel Nacional de Cuba. Perhaps you know about it's architectonic particularities, of its formidable and elevated location in front of the sea, of its competitive services and, it is possible, you may even recognize it's almost 80 years of experience providing service, and of it being the preferred accommodation of all the popular people that have visited the major of the Antilles.

Inaugurated in the end of 1930, Hotel Nacional de Cuba has triggered many comments and its goodness has traveled around the globe.

But even if you are a connoisseur of the Island, it is highly improbable that you know many of the stories this eclectic building keeps. Of hardly one of these stories I will be sharing with you in this, my first article for the Cuba Travel Blog.

I will begin by telling you that the Hotel Nacional could today stand in a totally different place … Its actual location is in fact what most differentiates this hotel within the urban map of Havana. The hotel is located in the coastal outgoing land of Punta Brava, in the highest position of the Taganana hill, almost at the extreme of the Caleta de San Lázaro. This location use to be regular place for pirate ship territories during the XVII and XVIII centuries, reason why the Spanish metropolis chose the position to establish the famous Canon Battery of Santa Clara, of which some relics can still be found in the hotel gardens. But as mentioned before it could have been built in another location.

It was the second decade of the past century and Havana was in need of a luxurious hotel. It should be noted that by this time, Cuba already received some 60 thousand tourists a year. The President of The Republic was Gerardo Machado and in his cabinet of Ministers outstands a man that in time and with his endeavors in charge of the Public Works during the governance of Gerardo Machado, would have earned himself the name of "The Intrepid". We are referring to Carlos Miguel de Céspedes. It was this man who most boosted the idea of ​​building the Hotel Nacional de Cuba.

An immediate reaction isose from several interested investors. The American Casa Morgan pressured the government of Machado to allow them to build and operate this hotel. A delegation of American bankers and entrepreneurs was in Havana in these days headed by Mr. Brownson, president of the Purdy & Henderson construction company. Its members had interviews with Mr. Céspedes and manifested that if the government were to yield the grounds of the ancient Havana Jail, the company would build a magnificent hotel of 500 rooms. It was the intention of these men to build the hotel more to what was the center of Havana, just by the entrance of the Havana Bay, so that the future hotel would face the lighthouse of the Castillo del Morro.

Carlos Miguel told the Americans that this location could not be used for the project since the government had already designed these grounds to the construction of the Palace of Justice, which plans had already been delivered by the Foresterers famous French planner; Céspedes had a better place in mind.habana-hotel-nacional.jpg

Mr. Brownson reacted in fury and faced the Minister. Out of control, he told him that he would accept no other spot than the one he had requested. When Céspedes realized he was being pressured he called the construction company president a "zoquete" (blockhead) and told him it was impossible for them to do any business at all. When the other members of the American delegation noticed that the Minister was not someone that could be "blackmailed", they intervened managing to calm both men and, a while later, they all agreed to visit the location that the Cuban representative had in mind and was willing to offer.

A while later Céspedes would tell the story to the press in the following words:

"When Mr. Browson got to the location, there, to the ancient Canon Batterry of Santa Clara, he was speechless.

The contract for the construction of the hotel was even auctioned, at least apparently, and was won by Purdy & Henderson who also represented the interests of the Hotel Plaza in New York and the Morgan House. 3 million pesos would be invested in the hotel.

Another proof of intransigence was presented by Carlos Miguel when he proposed that in the contract it should be very clear that only the Cuban Flag was to flutter in the property. This determination would provoke yet another incident. These were times when the American flag would wave in the official buildings by the Cuban flag.

The day of the signature of the contract gathered what was the high society of the time in Havana with president Machado. While the contract was read Céspedes noted that the case he had asked for had been omitted and, to President Machado's surprise, Carlos Miguel tore the contract in pieces demanding a new contract where it would be clear that only the Cuban Flag would flutter by the hotel .

This story, related to the beginnings of the installation, is only one of many that the hotel treasures. So, when visiting this property and enjoying the privileged view of the Havana coastline, you will now know how the location was argued and finally established. With stories like this one, we will be back very soon. For now I say goodbye to you all.


Shaun White History – Part I


Shaun Roger White was born September 3, 1986 and is America's favorite professional snowboarder and skateboarder. Shaun is also a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and holds records in Gold Medals and overall medal count for the X Games. He's also won 10 ESPY Awards (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award).

Early Life

Shaun White was born in sunny San Diego, California. He is of Irish and Italian descent. He was born with a congenital heart defect, Tetralogy of Fallot. He had two open heart surgeries before he turned one year old. He is 5 '8 "tall or 1.73 meters. White spent his formative years riding Okemo Mountain and Bear Mountain ski resorts in Ludlow, Vermont, and the San Bernadino Mountains of Southern California.


Rising through the snowboard ranks, Shaun White also rose through the skateboard ranks at the same time. Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder, took an interest in Shaun White because of his prowess. At this time Shaun was 9 years old and Tony Hawk befriended him at a local skate park and started mentoring him. This helped White turn pro in skateboarding by the age of 17. Shaun has most notably gone on to win the overall title of Action Sports Tour Champion, as one of his many titles. White is also the first person to compete in and win both the winter and summer X Games in two different sports.

Snowboarding Career

White followed in his older brother's footsteps when he switched from skiing to snowboarding at six years old. At age seven he received his first sponsorship. White has participated in two Winter Olympic Games in his career so far. He won a gold medal in the snowboard half-pipe event in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics. Since Shaun White has participated, has won a gold medal every year since 2002 in the X Games. He has a total of 15 medals (10 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze). This includes the X Games competition through 2009. This is the first quadruple win streak by a male athlete in one discipline, the snowboard slopestyle. In 2007 Whites win streak was broken when he lost to Andreas Wiig and Teddy Flandreau. White took the bronze. Shaun won the Air and Style contest in 2003 and 2004.

2006 Winter Olympics

Shaun White won gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics in the half-pipe. He only scored 37.7, which is low. White was almost out of the competition. He scored a score of 45.3 in his second run. In the finals, Shaun scored 46.8 out of a possible 50. The silver went to fellow American Danny Kass with a score of 44 points.


2007 was a big year for Shaun White. He placed third in slopestyle and first in the half-pipe at the 25th (2007) Burton US Open. Shaun was also crowned the first "Burton Global Champion". He won $ 100,000 as the Global Open Champion and for his first place in the half-pipe he was awarded $ 20,000, and he was awarded $ 90,000 for third place in the slopestyle. He was also given a new car, a Corvette. Way to go Shaun!


The first Shaun White video game was released on November 16, 2008. It's called "Shaun White Snowboarding". It was released in Europe on November 14, 2008. The Shaun White Snowboarding video game was the 20th best-selling game of December 2008 in the United States. At his third US Open Snowboarding Championship Competition in 2008, Shaun White captured his snowboard half-pipe title by executing a near flawless second run. This went along with his third US Open slope competition.


The SuperPipe at the Winter X Games XIII, there was a lot of controversy. Shaun's competitor, Kevin Pearce, had 5 hits on the pipe. They were the same tricks White did in his final run. Kevin Pearce started his run with a big grab, while Shaun started his run with six hits and a big backside rodeo 540. He had had six hits whereas Kevin had 5 hits. Pearce's first hit was not as technical as White's first hit. Because Shaun's hits were bigger the judges decided he deserved the better score. White became the second competitor, with this win. Tanner Hall was the first to do this. White was the second competitor to do it. This was to win the superpipe in consecutive years at the Winter X Games. White had two straight years of winning bronze before he finally won the gold.

At Vancouver's Cypress Mountain, on February 14, 2009, Shaun won the FIS Cups Men's Half-Pipe event. He qualified immediately out of the gate by having a score of 45.5. It was the day's best score. With a thumb sprained on an over-rotated backside 1080 in the second qualifying run, he clinched the event with the first of his two runs in the finals. He was awarded the highest score ever at FIS in his first finals. He earned a 47.3 score.


Come and Dwell in Luxurious San Francisco Real Estate


San Francisco luxury real estate defies traditional notions of what high priced properties should be. While there are a number of traditionally designed homes in the Bay Area, San Francisco real estate delights in turning conventional notions of luxury on its head. At the very least, they add a refreshing twist to the more formal aspects of West Coast architecture.

The Haight Ashbury district, with pastel colored turrets and exaggerated scallop detailing, is a neighborhood brimming with unmistakable character. The neighborhood is rife with history and has earned its own place in the pop culture pantheon as the mecca for free thinkers and radical activists during the 1960's. In more recent years, the neighborhood's roots still shine through while much of the property has benefited from an influx of historic preservation initiatives and baby boomer wealth.

As a bordering area, the Pacific Heights region boasts breathtaking views of the Bay while the San Francisco homes seem to virtually teeter on the top of cliffs. These properties are among the most ambitious priced in the city and with good reason. Their craftsmanship is evident in every detail and their longevity as quality investments has long been proved.

Revered as the city's most exclusive concentration of luxury San Francisco houses, Pacific Heights takes full advantage of the rolling hills and varied terrain as it showcases properties that work with the land's generous contour rather against it. As one of America's most recognizable cities, San Francisco real estate is highly watched after in the current market. The city's skyline and iconic bridges are enduring images of the region's minority beauty. The Embarcadero runs along the water and is not to be missed when touring San Francisco homes. With so much diversity contained in one densely populated city, the options are dizzying.

Owning a piece of San Francisco real estate means more than simply purchasing a home. You are participating in the continuing growth of this vibrant city as neighborhoods such as the Mission District flourish and more established area like the Presidio define the term luxury. With a heavy emphasis on outdoor activities and natural beauty, the city is ripe with things to do with your friends or moments to share with your family. Lush parks and boardwalks give way to manicured streets that invite visitors into this nicely appointed world. For quality homes that go above and beyond your expectations, San Francisco offers a tremendous value and one of a kind real estate unlike anywhere else.


Mexico Luxury Hotels and Resorts


If you are planning for a trip that can revitalize your life and provide some needed adventure, look no further than Mexico, as this is the best place to be this vacation season. The country is filled with rich culture and diverse traditions. The North American country of Mexico stretches between an ocean and a gulf, as shown on the map of Mexico. The Tropic of Cancer effectively divides the country into temperate and tropical zones. Land located north of the twenty-fourth parallel experiences cooler temperatures during the winter months. South of the twenty-fourth parallel, temperatures are fairly constant year round and vary solely as a function of elevation. This gives Mexico one of the world's most diverse weather systems. The country also has a variety of destinations filled with natural and human made monuments. Rappelling, water rafting, mountain climbing or fishing are some of the activities that complement the experience of visiting indigenous communities, museums, gallerias or enjoying the regional traditions.

The Mexico hotels and Mexico luxury resorts under the Villa group have a variety of penthouses and suites to match your style. Fancy a room facing towards the beach or an entrance through a garden to enjoy your early morning coffee The hotels have all the required rooms. There are spa facilities to provide you the much needed massage to rejuvenate your mind body. Check out the attractive stay packages which even include complimentary breakfast, spa therapy and various other conveniences to suit your needs. The concierge at Villa Mexico also arranges fishing across the river which is certainly a treat to enjoy the calmness of the sea.

A person heading to Mexico, must ensure one thing and that that is to book accommodation well in advance. Hotels in Mexico get booked very quickly and hence necessary planning is required. There are also beautiful resorts in Mexico which provide the tourist with all desired luxuries. One of the most popular luxury hotels in Mexico is the Villa Group. The group has a chain of Mexico Luxury hotels and luxury resorts spread across the country. This makes the hotel chain an ideal option. The group has its resorts and hotels in places like Cabo san Lucas, Cancun, Island of Loreto, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.

The resort also provides great deals across the year to your convenience. It has attractive packages for weddings which allow to access the entire resort for a nominal price. You can have the beachfront wedding planned and arranged with the help of concierge at the resorts. The resort is a perfect place to have your perfect wedding. In case the Mexico hotels are booked, one need not fret as the company has a tie up with several other resorts or hotels across the country and it still provides all the facilities that you require. The group also has an online help facility which one can use to contact the resort to obtain all necessary information. The hotels also provide a wide variety of cuisines for your palette. One can access the website or contact the Mexico luxury resorts directly to obtain all necessary information.


Where are the Nicest People in America?


Having traveled to every city in the United States and met all sorts of people I have found the rural Northwest to have the nicest folks of all; that was until I had the opportunity to spend some time in South Texas to warm up during the last winter.
I would like to discuss the attitude of the people of South Texas. I would say that that friendly attitude is a model of what all America should be.

In many of the big cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. people self segregate, are reliably unfriendly to strangers; sure they are great with their friends, but just get on a freeway in Baltimore, Boston, Seattle or San Francisco and see how long it takes you to find out you are number one?
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In South Texas no one flips you off while driving, maybe because Texas has the reputation that everyone carries a gun? But that is not it; it is the people and their humble and positive attitude. They drive polite; much different than in the largest American cities where they are not polite when driving, do not start conversations with strangers and are not promoting goodwill towards their fellow man.

In South TX and I am discussing parts from Just South of Austin to Brownsville including Laredo and the like, people are just down right nice.
WOW. That is good. That promotes tourism, that attracts business and that brings us back together and then we can stand united. Why is this attitude not contagious? It is when you are in Texas; why not other large cities. San Antonio the people are nice, yet in other large cities including the other cities in TX, it just is not like that.
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I think the hospitality in South TX and many parts of rural Texas it is to be expected and you should go there and see for yourself. It is a pleasure to do business in many of these South TX markets. We thank you for the Big Texas welcome and we are finding it a pleasure to get to know Y'all. Thank you South Texas.


Strange Things Happened In The Outer Solar System


Decked out in colorful clown-like bands and pockmarked by whirling crimson storms, our Solar System's largest planet, Jupiter, is truly the planetary monarch of our Sun's fabulous family. This magnificent banded-behemoth, like other monarchs, has a devoted retinue of followers accompaning its every move as it wends its way around our Sun. The Jovian Trojan Asteroids are a large group of rocky followers that share their planet's orbit, and compose two distinct stable groups – one group that travels ahead of the planet in its orbit, while the other trails it from behind.
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In September 2018, planetary scientists at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, Texas, announced their new findings revealing the true nature of an unusual and delightful duo of Jupiter Trojans. Their new study points to an ancient planetary shake-up and consequent rearrangement of our Solar System when it was still quite young and forming.

The Trojan Asteroids are named for heroes appearing in the classic Greek epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey , both attributed to Homer.
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The duo of Trojan Asteroids studied by SwRI scientists carry the fabled names of Petroclus and Menoetius . The duo are also targets of NASA'a upcoming Lucy mission that aims to explore the rocky followers of our Solar System's largest planet.

Petroclus and Menoetius are both approximately 70 miles wide and orbit each other as they circle around their planet together, both bound slavishly to their wandering world.
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They are the only large binary known to exist among the two heavy populations of Trojan Asteroids.

"The Trojans were visually captured during a dramatic period of dynamic instability when a skirmish between the Solar System's giant planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – occurred," noted Dr. David Nesvorny in a September 10, 2018 SwRI Press Release. Dr. Nesvorny, who is of the SwRI , is lead author of the paper describing this new study under the title: Evidence for Very Early Migration of the Solar System Planets from the Patroclus-Menoetius Binary Jupiter Trojan, published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

This ancient planetary rearrangement of our Solar System pushed the duo of ice-giants Uranus and Neptune outward, where they met up with a large primeval population of small bodies believed to be the ancestors of today's Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) , that dance around our Star in our Solar System's outer limits.

The Kuiper Belt is the distant, frigid home of a frozen multitude of comet nuclei, dwarf planets, and tiny icy tidbits. In this distant region of perpetual twilight the Sun casts its weak fires from so far away that it hangs suspended in the sky as if it were just an especially large star sailing through a dark celestial sea with myriad other stars.

The dwarf planet Pluto is one of the largest known KBOs.

"Many small bodies of this primordial Kuiper Belt were scattered inwards, and a few of those became trapped as Trojan Asteroids, " Dr. Nesvorny added. Jupiter and the beautiful "Lord of the Rings", Saturn, are gas-giants. In contrast, their outer solar system neighbors, Uranus and Neptune, are ice-giants. The pair of gas-giants are much larger than our Solar System's duo of ice-giants , and they also sport much thicker gaseous envelopes.

The smaller ice-giants are thought to have larger solid cores anchhrouded by thinner gaseous atmospheres than those that cloak both Jupiter and Saturn. Also, the gas-giant pair may not even contain solid cores at all, but may be composed of gases and liquids.

The Jupiter Trojans are dark, and show featureless, reddish spectra. There is no strong evidence of the presence of water, or any other specific compound, on their surfaces based on their spectra. However, many planetary scientists suggest that they are encoded in tholins , which are organic polymers formed by our Sun's radiation.

The Jupiter Trojans display densities (based on studies of binaries or rotational light curves) that vary, and they are thought to have been gravitationally snared into their current orbits during the early stages of our Solar System's evolution – or, perhaps, slightly later, during the period of the migration of the giant planets.

All stars, our own Sun included, are born surrounded by a whirling, swirling disk of gas and dust, which is termed a protoplanetary accretion disk . These rings encircle baby stars, and they contain the important ingredients from which an entourage of planets, as well as smaller objects, absolutely emerge.

Our Solar System, as well as other systems surrounding stars beyond our Sun, evolve when an extremely weak and reliably small blob – tucked inside the undulating folds of a dark, frigid, giant molecular cloud –collapses gravitationally under its own relentless and merciless gravitational pull. Such awesome, beautiful, and billing clouds inhabit our Milky Way Galaxy in large numbers, as if they were lovely floating phantoms swimming through the space between stars. These dark clouds serve as the strange birthplace of infant stars.

Most of the collapsing blob collects at the center, and extremely ignites as a result of nuclear-fusion reactions – and a star is born. What remains of the gas and dust of the erstwhile blob becomes the protoplanetary accretion disk from a solar system forms. In the earliest phases, such accretion disks are both extremely massive and very hot, and they can linger around their youthful star (protostar) for as long as ten million years.

By the time a star like our Sun has reached the T Tauri stage of its toddler years, the extremely hot, massive surrounding disk has grown both thinner and cooler. A T Tauri star can be compared to a human tot. These stellar toddlers are variable stars, and are extremely active at the tender age of a mere 10 million years. T Tauris are born with large diameters that are several times greater than the diameter of our Sun today. However, T Tauris are in the act of shrinking. Unlike human tots, T Tauris shrink as they grow up. By the time a stellar toddler has reached this stage of its development, less volatile materials have started to condense close to the center of the swirling encircling disk, thus forming extremely smoky and smoke-like motes of dust. These "sticky" particles of dust contain crystalline silicates.

The little grains of dust ever collide in the crowded disk environment, and glue themselves to one another, so creating ever larger and larger objects – from pebble-size, to mountain-size, to asteroid-and-comet-size, to moon -size, to planet-size. These growing objects become a stellar system of primordial population of planetesimals , which are the building blocks of planets. What is left of a heavy population of planetesimals , following the era of planet-formation, can linger around their parent-stars for bills of years after a mature system – such as our own Solar System – has formed. In our own Solar System, comets and asteroids are remnants of the primordial planetesimals.

The term "trojan" has come to be used more generally to refer to other small Solar System bodies that display similar relationships with larger bodies. For example, there are Martian trojans and Neptune trojans . In addition, the gas-giant planet Saturn has an entourage of trojan moons. Indeed, NASA has recently informed the discovery of an Earth trojan! The term Trojan Asteroid itself is commonly understood to specifically refer to the Jupiter Trojans because the first Trojans were discovered close to Jupiter's orbit – and Jupiter also currently has by far the most known Trojans.

History Of The Hunt

In 1772, the Italian-French mathematician Joseph-Louis Lagrange (1736-1813) predicted that small body sharing an orbit with a planet by residing 60 degrees ahead or behind it will be gravitationally snared if it is close to certain points (Lagrange Points ). Lagrange, who based his prediction on a three-body problem, demonstrated that the gravitationally trapped body will slowly vibrate around the point of equilibrium in what he described as a horseshoe or tadpole orbit. These leading and trailing Lagrange Points are called the L4 and L5 Lagrange Points. The first asteroids to be captured in Lagrange Points were discovered more than a century after Lagrange had announced his hypothesis. Those associated with Jupiter were the first to be observed.

Relative to their aggressive host planet, each Jovian Trojan liberates around one of Jupiter's two stable Lagrange Points: L4 that is located 60 degrees ahead of Jupiter in its orbit, and L5 which is located 60 degrees behind.

The American astronomer EE Barnard (1857-1923) associated the first recorded observation of a trojan , (12126) 1999 RM11 (identified as A904 RD at the time of its discovery), in 1904. However, neither Barnard nor other astronomers understood its significance at the time. Indeed, Barnard mistakenly believed that he had detected the then-recently discarded Saturnian mini-moon Phoebe , which was a mere two arc-minutes away in the sky at this time. Barnard alternatively entertained the possibility that this tiny object was an asteroid. The strange object's puzzling identity was finally understood when its true orbit was calculated in 1999.

The first reliable detection of a trojan occurred in February 1906, when the German astronomer Max Wolf (1863-1932) of Heidelberg-Konigstuhl State Observatory discovered an asteroid lingering at the L4 Lagrangian point of the Sun-Jupiter system. The object was initially named after the defensive Trojan War hero 588 Achilles. During the period 1906-1907 another duo of Jupiter Trojans were discovered by another German astronomer August Kopff (1882-1960). The newly discovered pair were named after the Trojan War heroes 624 Hektor and 617 Patroclus. Hektor , like Achilles , belonged to the L4 population – traveling "ahead" of Jupiter in its orbit. In contrast, Patroclus became the first trojan known to dwell at the L5 Lagrangian Point located "behind" its band behemoth host planet.

The number of known Jupiter Trojans had lived to only 14 by 1961. However, as the technology used by astronomers continued to improve, the rate of discovery began to skyrocket. By January 2000, a total of 257 Jupiter Trojans had been discovered, and by May 2003, the number had ballooned to 1,600! As of February 2014, 3,898 known trojans had been discovered near the L4 point, while 2,049 trojans had been detected at the L5 point.

Estimates of the total number of Jupiter Trojans are based on deep surveys of limited regions of the sky. The L4 swarm is believed to consist of between 160-240,000 members, with diameters that are greater than 2 kilometers and approximately 600,000 with diameters greater than 1 kilometer. If the L5 swarm consists of a comparable number of objects, there are over 1 million Jupiter Trojans of 1 kilometer in size or larger. All of the objects that are brighter than absolute magnitude 9.0 are probably known. These numbers are remarkably similar to kindred asteroids dwelling in the Main Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. The total mass of the Jupiter Trojans is calculated to be approximately 0.0001 the mass of our own planet. This is equivalent to one-fifth the mass of the denizens of the Main Asteroid Belt.

More recently, two studies now suggest that the members of both swarms mentioned above may be veryly overestimated. Indeed, the two new studies suggest that the true number of Jupiter Trojans may really be seven times less. The overestimate could have the result of the assumpton that all Jupiter Trojans have a low albedo of only about 0.04, in contrast to small bodies that may have an average albedo as high 0.12; a mistaken assumption concerning the distribution of Jupiter Trojans in the sky. According to these more recent estimates, the total number of Jupiter Trojans with a diameter greater than 2 kilometers is 6,300 plue or minus 1,000 and 3,400 plus or minus 500 in the L4 and L5 swarms, respectively. These numbers could have been reduced by a factor of 2 if small Jupiter Trojans are more reflective than larger members of their kind.

The largest Jupiter Trojan is 624 Hektor , which has an average diameter of 203 plus or minus 3.6 kilometers. There are few large Jupiter Trojans when compared to the general population. The smaller the size, the greater the number of Jupiter Trojans – there are many more smaller swarm members than larger ones, and the number of smaller trojans increases rapidly down to 84 kilometers. The increase in number of smaller trojans is much more extreme than in the Main Asteroid Belt.

Some Strange Things Happened Long Ago

A key issue with the new Solar System evolution model is determining exactly when the ancient shake-up occurred. In this new study, the SwRI team of planetary scientists demonstrate that the very existence of the Patroclus-Menoetius duo strongly suggests that the dynamic instability among the quartet of gaseous giant planets must have occurred within the first 100 million years of our then-young Solar System's evolution

Some recent models showing small body formation indicate that these types of binaries are relics of that primeval era when pairs of small bodies could still form directly from the enclosure cloud of "pebbles" during our Solar System's youth.

"Observations of today's Kuiper Belt show that binaries like these were quite common in ancient times. William Bottke explained in the September 10, 2018 SwRI Press Release. Dr. Bottke is director of SwRI's Space Studies Department.

If that primeval instability had been delayed by many hundreds of millions of years, as proposed in some Solar System formation models, collisions within the ancient small-body disk would have shaken up these reliably exclude and fragile binaries, then leaving none to be snared in the Jupiter Trojan population. Earlier dynamic infrastructures would have allowed more binaries to remain intact, thus increasing the probability that at least one would have been captured in the Trojan population. The team developed some new models that demonstrate that the existence of the Patroclus-Menoetius binary strongly suggests that there had been an earlier instability.

This early dynamic stability model has important consequences for the inner rocky terrestrial planets , especially in regard to the ancient exploration of large impact craters on Earth's Moon, Mercury, and Mars that were apparently formed by the crashing impacts of smaller objects about 4 billion years ago . Our Solar System is approximately 4.56 billion years old. The impactors that excavated these large craters are less likely to have been hurled out from the outer domain of our Solar System. This suggests that they were formed by small-body relics left over from the ancient era of terrestrial planet formation.

This new study strengthens the importance of the population of Jupiter Trojan asteroids in shedding new light on the primeval history of our Solar System. Much more will likely be discovered about the Patroclus-Menoetius binary when NASA's Lucy Mission , headed by SwRI planetary scientist and study coauthor Dr. Hal Levison, surveys the duo in 2033. This will culminate a 12-year mission conducted to tour both Jupiter Trojan asteroid swarms.

NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) and the Emerging Worlds programs, as well as the Czech Science Foundation, funded this new study. Lucy is a Discovery class mission that will address important key science questions about our Solar System. It is scheduled to launch in May 2021.


The Pencil Man


I recently read something that emphasized the value and importance of dignity in a person's life, and the importance of sharing it often with our young people. It caused me to recall something I experienced many years ago.

On Houston Street

As a student going to junior college in San Antonio, I had a part-time job working downtown. Weather permitting, I always saw a familiar figure setting up his tiny spot on Houston Street as I walked to my work from the parking lot.

This man had no legs. He was upbeat and engaging as he set out a cup on a folded blanket and filled it with new pencils. He then put out another cup to receive the kindnesses of those passing by.

I do not remember him ever asking for anything. I suppose people just knew the drill: Help the man; take a pencil . If someone put something in his cup and did not take a pencil, he generally made it a point to offer them one. Sometimes he would grab eye contact with a passerby, hold out a pencil, and ask, "Can you use a pencil today?"

And that was the extend of his sales pitch. As it appeared, it was the only sales pitch he needed.

He had his "regulars," of course; most of them knew him by name. Sometimes one of them would bring him a cup of coffee or a donut. For this gesture they received his thanks and … you guessed it, a new pencil.

Giving Something Back

One day a man cave his young daughter some money for the pencil man. She put it in his cup and accepted the pencil he offered.

"Daddy, why is he selling pencils?" she asked, as they continued on their way.

"Well, he's not really selling them, Becky," Dad explained. "What you put in his pocket back there was worth much more than that pencil. But when you helped him, he wanted to give something back to you. a nice person, but also because it's important for his dignity.

As she nodded in response, Becky held up the yellow pencil and watched it catch the glint of the morning's sun.

"Daddy, I think I know another reason why he gives out pencils."

"And what would that be?"

"Well, it's because he knows that no one ever throws away a perfectly good pencil." ###