January 2, 2013

Ring In The New Year With The Quadrantid Meteor Shower – The Daily Orbit

The sky lights up for the New Year…

What phrases should you avoid saying?

And I make my case for adult recess

All that and more coming up on the Daily Orbit!

Hello and welcome to the first Daily Orbit of 2013. I’m Emerald Robinson.

Well we’re in for a big astronomical kickoff to the New Year. The annual Quadrantids meteor shower is in town. Peak visibility will be tomorrow night, Jan.3 around 2:30 am. But the shower will get a little competition from the moon which will be about 50% full. To find the showers, astronomers say to look as low as possible toward the horizon. Find the Big Dipper and trace up from the big “cup” to the constellation Draco and that’s where you will spot the meteors. Known for its “fireballs”, the Quadrantids meteors are expected to hurl in the atmosphere at 90,000 miles per hour and burn up only 50 miles above the Earth. Whilst that may seem a little too close for comfort, astronomers say you don’t have to worry about your property, yourself, or your pets. Whew! That’s a relief!

Trending in today’s news – instead of going off the Fiscal Cliff Congress decided to Kick the Can Down the Road. Oh well Yolo! Are you totally annoyed with my verbage yet? Well according to Lake Superior State University’s annual list of overused, misused, and useless words, half of what I said should be obliterated from the English language! Compiled from online nominations, the school released its 38th consecutive list of a dozen words or phrases that should be “banished.” Umm…so these are words I use all the time. Oh for those of you who don’t know, Yolo means “you only live once”. Get it?

Did you have that teacher that punished you by making you stay in from recess? Well, turns out that did way more harm than good! The American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement saying that recess should NEVER be withheld for punitive or academic reasons because it is counterproductive to healthy child development. Recess gives children downtime between complex cognitive challenges so they perform better in class. It is also important for social interaction and helps children practice conflict resolution. Researchers say “recess plays a huge role in a child’s life, and not just because it’s fun.” So what about we adults? Pretty sure we would get the same benefits from recess. Think about it?

And as we get closer and closer to deeper space exploration, NASA is seriously considering the associated health risks. A new study shows that the galactic cosmic radiation that bombards astronauts on a deep space mission – i.e. a mission to Mars – could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s. And as of now, there is no technology that can shield against these particles. NASA is planning a manned mission to a distant asteroid in 2021 and then to Mars in 2035. I think by then they will think of something to protect our astronauts!

And finally today we want to give a big birthday shout out to…the INTERNET! On January 1, 1983 the Internet was born – or well, we should say, turned on. Aww…the Internet was a New Year’s baby — or whatever. One correspondent said “the Internet means there is nowhere and no one in the world you can’t reach easily and cheaply.” Can you imagine a world where there was no Internet? (gasp) Well, you wouldn’t be watching me right now for one thing!

Well, that’s all for today’s Daily Orbit!

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