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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

very time Venus passes the Earth, it shows the same face. This remarkable fact has been known for only about 50 years, ever since radio telescopes have been able to peer beneath Venus' thick clouds and track its slowly rotating surface. This inferior conjunction -- when Venus and Earth are the closest -- occurs today. The featured animation shows the positions of the Sun, Venus and Earth between 2010-2023 based on NASA-downloaded data, while a mock yellow 'arm' has been fixed to the ground on Venus to indicate rotation. The reason for this unusual 1.6-year resonance is the gravitational influence that Earth has on Venus, which surprisingly dominates the Sun's tidal effect. If Venus could be seen through the Sun's glare today, it would show just a very slight sliver of a crescent. Although previously visible in the evening sky, starting tomorrow, Venus will appear in the morning sky -- on the other side of the Sun as viewed from Earth. Experts Debate: How will humanity first discover extraterrestrial life?

The ebb and flow
of living life,
from overpowering love
to increasing strife,
captures one's thoughts again,
filled with days of Sun
and nights of rain.
A battle will rage within
as we mortal people,
will decide to win,
the grandeur of this land,
will be captured once more
for the enduring glory of man.

* History Will Judge the Complicit || by Anne Applebaum - The Atlantic             

Trump began the day with a call to Russian President Vladimir Putin || by Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Humanity is under attack. The attack is not from large tentacle-flailing aliens, but from invaders so small they can barely be seen, and so strange they are not even clearly alive. All over planet Earth, the human home world, DNA-based humans are being invaded by the RNA-based SARS-CoV2. The virus, which creates a disease known as COVID-19, specializes in reprogramming human cells into zombies that manufacture and release copies of itself. Pictured here is a high magnification image of a human cell covered by attacking novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2 (orange). Epic battles where two species square off in a fight to the death are not unusual on Earth, with several just involving humans typically ongoing at any time. Even so, most humans are predicted to survive. After several years, humanity expects to win this war -- but only after millions of humans have died and trillions of coronaviruses have been destroyed. Wash your hands: Tips for humans on how to survive this SARS-CoV2 assault

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

The center of the Lagoon Nebula is a whirlwind of spectacular star formation. Visible near the image center, at least two long funnel-shaped clouds, each roughly half a light-year long, have been formed by extreme stellar winds and intense energetic starlight. A tremendously bright nearby star, Herschel 36, lights the area. Vast walls of dust hide and redden other hot young stars. As energy from these stars pours into the cool dust and gas, large temperature differences in adjoining regions can be created generating shearing winds which may cause the funnels. This picture, spanning about 15 light years, features two colors detected by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8, lies about 5000 light years distant toward the constellation of the Archer Sagittarius.

You rise in the morning.
I say, "How are you?"
You say, "I don't know,
What I should do?"
Don the slippers,
Put on a robe,
Go downstairs
To the family room.
Open the garage door
To retrieve the Times.
Sit down on the couch,
Tell me, "I'm cold
And so tired."
Read the paper,
And remark to me,
"Do you know this person?"
I say, "I know who it is,
But don't know him."
That is our morning start,
Almost every day.

Home gardening has taken root and spread across the nation. In a world without theaters, sports events, concerts, and theme parks, tending a garden is the perfect home-based activity for all ages. Whether you’re a furloughed worker, a parent with small children, or a housebound senior, gardening can benefit your body, mind, and soul.

With temperatures getting milder and days getting longer, now is the ideal time to start. And it’s a great way to support local businesses, with garden centers deemed as “essential” by most states. Whether you’re a farmer or a florist at heart, nursery staff are happy to advise what to plant in your local climate and conditions.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of gardening is getting us outside at a time when we’re all feeling cooped up indoors. Gardening promotes physical health by exposing us to fresh air, sunlight, and a healthy dose of vitamin D. Weeding, digging, and planting burns calories and strengthens the heart; in fact, the CDC says that one hour of gardening can burn 330 calories. The activities of gardening provide a whole-body workout, by using many different muscles and increasing strength, flexibility, and stamina—all without a gym membership.

Case studies show that gardening also improves our mental outlook, by reconnecting us with nature and providing a respite from the challenges of everyday life. The predictable rhythms of gardening can be comforting in uncertain times, and green environments can decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone linked to stress. In turn, gardening activities prompt the release of endorphins, the hormones that help us feel relaxed and content. And inhaling the healthy soil bacteria M. vaccae can increase serotonin, known as the “happiness hormone”—giving a whole new meaning to “a breath of fresh air”!

If that’s not enough to get you digging, consider that gardening rewards us for our efforts, whether it’s the beauty of flowers, the symmetry of a manicured hedge, or the bounty of fresh produce. As the old saying goes, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy—and you get tomatoes.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, gardening fosters a sense of faith in the future. Indeed, planting a seed or a sapling is a hopeful thing to do. And what better time for hope?

There is a whirlpool in my head.
Spinning the words out of dread.
Words that tumble and roll.
Words with meaning or nothing at all.
Short words, long words or those that hide
Words of those that still reside
stuck so deep, in my mind.
Good words, for some; for others not.
Words that are fresh. That's all I got.
Trying to write something on demand,
is hard to do. Do you understand?

I awake to the sound of rain
on roof and gutter.
A pleasant sound, bringing peace
to this World of clutter.
In the distance, I hear the roar
of thunder claps.
A rolling sound, moving along;
another, passing Spring storm.
Out of the bed, to the window I go
to watch Natures show.
No bolts of lightning do I see;
just the clouds approaching me.

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