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Russell's Lighthouse

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There is a meme going around that states something to the effect that the people who call progressives snowflakes are the ones who elected the whiniest bitch ever to be president of the United States. I'd go even further. Those that call liberals snowflakes are the same ones that need a wall, a locker full of guns, and a refugee ban because they're afraid of the world.

So sad.

I think the real problem is that our religious conservatives are worried about some other religion becoming the majority in this country. Worried that they will no longer be able to call this a Christian country. Yet, that is why there is a wall between state and church so that we are all free to believe what we wish, or not to believe in any of the bull.

The media and most of America has been ignoring the genocide that has been occurring in Syria. Over 240,000 dead and 12 million displaced makes this a humanitarian crisis. Of course, you'd have to understand that we are one species and get race out of your head to realize this. Many compare the refugee crisis to Nazi Germany when we closed our borders to those practicing Judaism then as the current administration is trying to do now to those who are Muslim. This will not look good in the history books, but with an authoritarian government, the story will never be written regardless.

If humans practiced basic human behavior with all, the conflicts around the world would not exist. If your neighbor is in trouble, you help them, you do not ostracize them. There is a global community coming into existence, and if America decides to practice isolationism, we will not be part of that community. 

And yes, being an atheist I don't care about anyone's goddamn fantasy, but there is still a part of me that understands each human shares not only DNA but the same fears, joy, humor, anger, hopes, and dreams. To fight any religion's desire to separate us into warring factions, we need to make sure that we express our acceptance of other humans. How can we stop religion's atrocities if we do not engage; if we do not come together in some understandable manner?

If we do not find common goals, we will always be at odds. Maybe that is our destiny, to create conflicts, to engage in war, to discriminate, to ostracize, to belittle, to be small in our understanding and feelings. Possibly humanity will disappear, just another failed evolutionary experiment. 

I find the term snowflake - what conservatives seem to enjoy using as a derogatory term - actually a badge of honor. So here I am, a snowflake. I do not live in fear, I am not afraid of the world. Any fear we experience is when certain factions decide to divide us on issues of equality, race, religion, etc., for there lays the path to tribalism and war. We are one species, people ought to stop hating for a moment and think.

Snowflakes are all unique, just like humans. They are all made of the same stuff, like humans. I don't mind the comparison.

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The essence of science is figuring out what things are made of, and how they work. This page gives a brief introduction to the science of snowflakes.

What is a snowflake?
When people say snowflake, they often mean snow crystal. The latter is a single crystal of ice, within which the water molecules are all lined up in a precise hexagonal array. Snow crystals display that characteristic six-fold symmetry we are all familiar with. The picture on the left shows a snow crystal.

A snowflake, on the other hand, is a more general term. It can mean an individual snow crystal, but it can also mean just about anything that falls from the winter clouds. Often hundreds or even thousands of snow crystals collide and stick together in mid-air as they fall, forming flimsy puff-balls we call snowflakes. Calling a snow crystal a snowflake is fine, like calling a tulip a flower.

Frozen water vapor
Snow crystals are not frozen raindrops; that is called sleet. A snow crystal appears when water vapor in the air converts directly into ice without first becoming liquid water. As more vapor condenses onto a nascent snow crystal, it grow and develops, and that is when its ornate patterns emerges.

Why such complex, symmetrical shapes?
A stellar snow crystal begins with the formation of a small hexagonal plate, and branches sprout from the six corners when the crystal grows larger. As it tumbles through the clouds, the crystal experiences ever changing temperatures and humidities, and each change makes the arms grow a bit differently. 

The exact shape of the final snow crystal is determined by the precise path it took through the clouds. But the six arms all took the same path, and so each experienced the same changes at the same times. Thus the six arms grow in synchrony, yielding a complex, yet symmetrical shape. And since no two snow crystals follow the exact same path through the clouds as they fall, no two look exactly alike.

What synchronizes the growth of the arms?
Nothing.  The six arms of a snow crystal all grow independently, as described in the previous section.  But since they grow under the same randomly changing conditions, all six end up with similar shapes. There are no mysterious forces -- quantum-mechanical, acoustical, or anything else you might have heard about -- that provide communication between the arms to ensure they all grow alike.

Now, let me assure you that the vast majority of snow crystals are not very symmetrical.  Don't be fooled by the pictures -- irregular crystals (see the Guide to Snowflakes) are by far the most common type.  Just take a look for yourself next time it snows.  Near-perfect, symmetrical snow crystals are fun to look at, and sought after by photographers, but they are not common. 

Why six?
The six-fold symmetry you see in a snow crystal arises from the arrangement of water molecules in the ice crystal lattice. As this ice crystal model spins around, you can see the hexagons in the structure. But a crystal is a three-dimensional structure, and snowflakes are also three-dimensional. Stellar plates are thin and flat (see the Guide to Snowflakes), but other snow crystals are not. 

The simplest snowflakes
When snow crystals first begin growing, they are shaped like the simple hexagonal prisms shown here. Each prism has two basal facets and six prism facets

Hexagonal prisms can be long, slender, hexagonal columns, or thin, flat, hexagonal plates, or anything in between.

Snowflake Asymmetry

If you take a close look at the snow crystal on the left, you will see that it is not very symmetrical. Sure it has six similar branches, but the sidebranches are randomly positioned on the each of the branches. This is a fernlike stellar dendrite (see the Guide to Snowflakes), and each branch grows independently of the others. Plus each branch grows rapidly (compared to other snowflake types), sending out sidebranches at irregular intervals.

Faceting, Branching, and Sharpening
There is no blueprint or genetic code that guides the growth of a snowflake. Yet they appear in these amazingly ornate, symmetrical shapes. The shape of each crystal is not determined by any plan or predetermined design, but by different processes that govern its growth behavior. 

Faceting. One such process is faceting, which causes flat surfaces to appear on the crystal, surfaces that reflect the underlying molecular symmetry. Click on the link to read more about faceting.

Branching. This process causes complex structures to grow out from the ice. Click on the link to read more.

Sharpening. This process pushes the crystal growth to thin, flat plates, or slender, hollow columns. 

The different growth processes guide snow crystal growth differently. Faceting creates order, as embodied by the simple, perfect, hexagonal prism. Branching brings chaos, as embodied by the randomly spaced sidebranches in a fernlike stellar dendrite. But with the right mix of order and chaos, nature sometimes creates beautiful snow crystals that are both complex and symmetrical.

As you learn more about snowflakes, you soon find that the underlying science is quite complicated. The growth of a snowflake depends on how water molecules diffuse through the air surrounding a growing crystal, and it depends on how water molecules stick to ice surfaces. There is a lot going on as these crystals form in the clouds. Of course, that is what makes it all so fascinating!

The Snow Crystal Morphology Diagram
The way snow crystals grow depends strongly on the temperature and humidity in the clouds. This is summarized in the Snow Crystal Morphology Diagram shown on the right. This is also called the Nakaya Diagram, after Japanese physicist Ukichiro Nakaya, who discovered this behavior by growing snow crystals in his lab in the 1930s. 

Go ahead, click on the diagram for a closer look. It shows that the largest, most photogenic stellar snow crystals only grow in a narrow temperature range around -15 C (5 F). Needles and columns are best found around -6 C (21 F). Capped columns appear when the temperature changes as the crystals grow. Remember these are temperatures in the clouds; it is often substantially warmer on the ground.

You can also see that more elaborate, branched crystals grow when the humidity is high. Simple prisms grow when the humidity is low (or when the crystals are tiny).

Exactly why snow crystals grow this way remains an unsolved scientific puzzle. The growth behavior of ice depends on the molecular structure and dynamics at the crystal surface, and this is all so complicated that no one really understands it. 

Although science has made great advances in understanding the secrets of the Universe, there remains a bit of mystery still in these remarkable ice structures.

So Glad - Snowflakes are complex objects - it is a good metaphor for non Bible readers.  LIfe is good, life is complex and life is not found in a 3000 year old book written by a much simpler society.

Snowflakes are awesome. =)

I still think we Progressives have to accept some responsibility for the debacle of the Trump election.

But I don't care what they call us we have to show some pride in our achievements and over the years there are many.Those achievements are the very reason the religious right hate us so much. 

Now i see snowflake everywhere 

  1. Chris Wallace acted like such a crybaby snowflake but, did a GREAT job❗


I don't' think all liberals are libertards or snowflakes, that is the middle group in suburbia. don't forget the 3 guys at the top of the Democratic party, and the gunslingers in the ghetto. the lgbt are not flakes, just perverse, and the mexicans are far from flakey as are the Muslims,.. Yes, it is derogatory, so was PC, racist, and phobic everything. The alternative is use money for it's intended purpose not graft, corruption, and propaganda. I suppose that i'm deplorable, LOL Sure not embarrassed being white. And stop telling my kids that homosex is normal they are in the 3rd. grade in public school.

get the wall STARTED, & lets loose the Muslims murderers, along with the witch burning Christian types. one simple paragraph, containing a half dozen sentences. Liberals bail out when push comes to shove.

Not this liberal. 

What is perverse? Is it only relegated to a bedroom, or is it also how we live our lives? I do not find loving couples perverse. If it is same sex or not, I just don't care; none of my business. In fact, for the most part, only the religious find it perverse. 

American terrorists are generally homegrown, not Muslim. 

I think cowering behind walls and sitting on a stockpile of guns while blaming those who live a different life is pretty much insane. Then again, I feel for those who are upset about the world, upset that everyone doesn't follow the same path. 

I think my response is more than likely not correct because I do not know what the fuck you are talking about. I may be having some cognitive difficulties here, it happens. 

I think I'm living in the twilight zone.

Psychologists believe the smaller a person's hands the bigger a wall they need to compensate.

in the name of all that's holy please take the PEN away from dumb and dumber weapon of mass destruction

Toddlers Will Pay For Wall...

From TPM - a 1st call for Trump to step down

I did not vote for Donald Trump, but I thought that as a matter of respect for the American system, people who opposed his candidacy should not be seeking to impeach him before he even took office or should be urging their fellow citizens not to listen to his inaugural address. Elected officials deserve a chance to show how they will govern.

I also, I have to admit, was not entirely down on his campaign. While he stoked nativist fears of Mexicans, Moslems and illegal immigrants, he also chided corporations for ditching American workers and moving their headquarters overseas to avoid taxes and promised to undo trade deals that had helped decimate American manufacturing. And Trump unlike his Republican challengers promised to protect the safety net against privatizers.

I still think Democrats need to heed Trump's appeal on runaway shops and trade deficits, but from what I have seen so far of his presidency, Trump has followed the worst practices of his campaign. He has incited the dark passions of his followers, sharply dividing the country. He has shown sheer incompetence in running the White House. He is to be opposed, pure and simple, until he either significantly alters the thrust of his presidency or steps down.

One can list objectionable appointments that Trump has made, but another Republican might have also chosen a climate-denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency or a foe of universal health insurance to head Health and Human Services. What led me to take a wait and see attitude toward Trump was my feeling that, all things considered, he was probably preferable to Mike Pence or Ted Cruz who would have given the House Republicans free reign. But Trump did two nasty things his first week that neither Cruz nor Pence would have done.

The first is not earthshakingly important. It wasn't a decision. But it set a tone and a political style for Trump's administration. He had claimed on November 27 that the reason he had lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton was because of "millions of people who voted illegally." In a conversation with Congressional leaders on January 23, three days after his inauguration, Trump repeated the charge, saying that between three and five million illegal immigrants had voted. There is no evidence to back up this charge -- it merely echoed the ravings of a rightwing talk show host.

By making this utterly false charge, Trump stirred up public wrath against a defenseless people who have been lured to America by the promise of jobs and who have been willfully employed by businesses who want to save money by paying them less than they would pay native workers. By making this charge, Trump also lent support to Republican efforts to suppress minority voting by requiring potential voters to present elaborate forms of identification.

And just to be clear -- I am not a proponent of open borders. I think the borders should be controlled. I also think that when the police discover that illegal immigrants have committed a crime, they should be deported. But as most politicians recognize, it's not feasible or in many cases fair to deport the 12 million people already here. Americans have to find some way to integrate those who want to stay into the society. That's not a reality Trump is willing to recognize. Instead, in order to deflect attention from his own political weakness, he has fueled nativist fears of illegal immigrants flocking to the polls.

Secondly, on Friday, Trump signed an order immediately banning travel to the United States from seven predominately Muslim countries for 90 days and barring any admission of refugees for 120 days. Green card holders from the seven countries who had ventured back home for vacation or business were included in the ban. In this case, sheer bigotry overshadowed whatever legitimate purpose the ban might have had.

Trump is certainly justified in attempting to protect from attacks by radical Islamists. HIs order was clearly intended to make Americans who fear another San Bernardino believe that he was doing something to prevent it, but there is little evidence that his order had anything substantive to do with that threat. To date, terrorist attacks of this kind have not come from the countries on Trump's list, but from émigrés from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan and Afghanistan -- countries not on Trump's list. If the ban were really intended to weed out any possible terrorist from travelling to the United States, it would have highlighted these countries. Instead, Trump's list amounted to an "axis of evil" similar to that which George W. Bush announced in 2002.

Politically, Trump's list plays on hostility toward Moslems that some of Trump's most ardent supporters feel. It encourages public paranoia about Islam. In foreign policy, it seems to reflect the crazed views of aide Stephen Bannon and National Security Advisor Matthew Flynn who foresee a kind of World War IV pitting the United States against Islam. But that's yet to be seen. What is clear is that in drawing up the list, Trump resorted to a politics of bigotry. I don't think any of the other presidential candidates would have done this.

During his first week, Trump has also shown marked incompetence in executing his policies. His rollout of his immigration ban from the seven Moslem countries was botched. After two days of protests, and a judicial "stay," Trump had to withdraw his order to exclude green-card holders from the seven countries from returning to the United States. Trump has also botched his effort to "repeal and replace" Obama's Affordable Care Act. And Trump's stumbling here could prove disastrous to him politically. As the leaked audio tape from the Republican summit in Philadelphia showed, Trump does not have a plan to replace Obamacare. He is winging it.

Trump could right his ship. He could try to govern as the president of all the people and not merely of the most inflamed part of his own constituency. And he could learn on the job how to execute his own policies and orders, work with Congress on legislation, and protect America's interests overseas against real rather than imagined enemies. But the evidence from Trump's first week in office is utterly discouraging. He doesn't appear up to the job -- either morally or professionally."

Nice info about snowflakes, doone. Do you have any on moonbeams (CA's Gov. Brown)?

Are you guys hearing about the lawsuits challenging Trump's actions?

Already a court has tossed his action on green card holders. He might appeal, of course.


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