Thursday, August 31, 2017

2017 Italian Grand Prix | Fast Facts

Beethoven Ouvertüre Coriolan Carlos Kleiber Bayerisches Staatsorchester

Encyclical of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the Indiction and Day of Protection of the Environment (September 1, 2017) - Indiction & Day of Protection of Environment (September 1) - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Encyclical of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the Indiction and Day of Protection of the Environment (September 1, 2017) - Indiction & Day of Protection of Environment (September 1) - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Ontario aims to relieve pressure on threatened Algonquin wolf - photo and maps

Ontario aims to relieve pressure on threatened Algonquin wolf: Ontario’s threatened Algonquin wolf population has received a reprieve of sorts after the province banned the hunting and trapping of all wolves and coyotes in four provincial parks and their surrounding areas.   The ban in and around Algonquin, Kawartha Highlands, Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands and Killarney provincial parks is part of the province’s larger effort to protect the Algonquin wolf, which is similar in appearance to species such as the grey wolf and eastern coyote, neither of which are listed as threatened in the province.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

F-15C Eagle. Pre-flight, Short-notice Takeoff from Iceland

Responding to Russian Exercise Zapad 2017 - concerns and strategy

The US Air Force sent seven F-15C Eagle fighter jets to Siauliai Air Base,Lithuania this week in advance of Russian military exercise Zapad 2017,or West 2017 in English.That's three more than typical for the US rotation in NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission,securing the air space for the Baltic states,which lack significant air power.
Zapad runs from 14-20 September.It is held every four years,so is not in response to specific geopolitical events.Nonetheless,it is jangling nerves in the Baltic states and Poland on NATO's Eastern Flank,who are so close to the drills, which are being held in Belarus,Western Russia,Kaliningrad and the Baltic Sea.
Besides the F-15s,the US is deploying 600 extra airborne troops in the Baltics during the exercise.So it is reacting in a fairly restrained manner to Zapad,signaling concern but not alarm,and not giving Russia any excuse to overreact.*
Russia denies there is anything to worry about;they are just staging defensive exercises with Belarus.Should NATO be concerned at all?Consider the thoughts of US Army Europe commander Lieutenant General Ben Hodges,which he expressed to Reuters:
When Russia went into Crimea,that was against the backdrop of an exercise.When they went into Georgia-that was an exercise.Their history is full of examples where they don't live up to any treaties...They routinely violate those things.
We are all working hard to be at the highest level of readiness during an exercise like this.*
Russia says it and Belarus are only sending 13,000 troops to Zapad,along with 70 aircraft and 700 pieces of equipment,including tanks and artillery.Most interesting in the tank realm is the reconstituted First Guards Tank Army-a force of 500-800 tanks plus rocket artillery that is clearly of an offensive orientation and will be a showpiece of Zapad.It participated in the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
NATO believes the real number of troops and civilian participants could exceed 100,000.*
The 2013 iteration of Zapad ended with a simulated nuclear strike on Warsaw,Poland-hardly a reassuring memory.And NATO observers have not been invited to the drills as of yet-another reason for keeping an eye out for an unpleasant surprise left behind when Zapad comes to an end.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Visits Hungary - generous gift received

On 18 August 2017,His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople began an official visit to the Exarchate of Hungary at the invitation of the Hungarian Government.One of the highlights of this four-day sojourn was the Government's presentation of a ceremonial key to a building complex in central Budapest to Patriarch Bartholomew.Hungary is donating the complex for the needs of the Exarchate of Hungary,which is part of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Holy Metropolis of Austria.*
In 2014,an Agreement of Cooperation between the Government and the Ecumenical Patriarchate was signed.The preamble to the Agreement says that:
Saints Cyril and Methodios brought Eastern Christianity to these lands,which continues to be present as a living religious community.Even before the foundation of the state,the ancient Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople already had relations with Hungarians and sent St.Ierotheos the Bishop to spread Christianity.*
Within the framework of this Agreement,in December 2016 the two parties signed a Memorandum of Cooperation stipulating the transfer of said building complex to the Exarchate of Hungary.The complex will house the Exarchate Offices;Patriarchal Academy;Greek School;Museum of Ecclesiastical Arts;and a Guest House.The Ecumenical Patriarchate and Holy Metropolis of Austria further say they want the complex to be a place to advance dialogue and a cultural centre for all people.*
His Eminence Arsenios is Metropolitan of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe.A native of Heraklion,Crete,he was educated in,among other institutions,the Theological School of the University of Athens and completed his doctorate at Strasbourg University.Tonsured a monk at the St.George Holy Monastery in Crete,he was made an archimandrite and served as chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of France until his election as bishop upon the death of his predecessor, Metropolitan Michael of Austria.On 30 November 2011,St.Andrew's Day,he was consecrated to the episcopacy in Constantinople and,on 4 December of that year,enthroned as Metropolitan of Austria in Vienna.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Archbishop of Athens Serves Dormition Divine Liturgy

At the Megali Panagia church in Thebes,Greece,His Beatitude Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece presided at the Divine Liturgy of the Dormition of the Theotokos on 15 August 2017.Attending the service was President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos.The church,now in its 150th anniversary year,is named for the Virgin Mary.*
In his sermon,Archbishop Ieronymos (Jerome) said that:
This people has existed as and will always be Orthodox.Not only today,but throughout time,they have been inspired to live in the Church,to venerate and seek the help of the Theotokos to overcome the difficulties in their lives.*
Archbishop Ieronymos is marking his fiftieth anniversary in the priesthood.*
Following the liturgy,His Eminence Metropolitan Georgios of Thebes honoured President Pavlopoulos with the highest award of the Metropolis,a cross medallion on a blue ribbon.*
Elsewhere in the Orthodox Christendom,Dormition liturgies and pilgrimages were also held,along with processions of beloved icons of Our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.
Some of the autocephalous Orthodox Churches will observe the old calendar Dormition on 28 August.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Crew Recovery Drills,SLS Rocket Fabrication Move Orion Program Forward

Among the Orion Program's milestones this summer have been the crew recovery drills and Space Launch System fabrication efforts on the road to Exploration Mission-1.The deep space exploration program's roadmap is similar to that which the Apollo Program followed to the Moon landings,with EM-1 being an uncrewed test,or full dress rehearsal,if you will,for the first crewed Orion mission,EM-2.Based on its decades of space flight experience,NASA feels this stepwise approach is the surest way to succeed in our international quest to reach beyond the Earth and the Moon.*
From 10-14 July 2017,an interagency team of NASA,the US Navy,Coast Guard and Air Force staged a number of crew module  recovery scenarios in the Gulf of Mexico off the Galveston,Texas coast.This was to test egress from the Orion crew module,evaluating  plans and hardware for getting the crew out of Orion as safely and efficiently as possible under all conditions.That means taking into account crew health;weather;and condition of recovery personnel and equipment in the area in real-time.Can the crew get out safely under adverse conditions-say if the capsule lands off course and recovery personnel aren't able to reach them right away,or if water intrudes into the capsule before help arrives?*
The astronauts and engineering test subjects wore modified NASA Advanced Crew Escape suits to keep the drills as close to mission scenarios as possible.The ACE suits,which are worn on launch and re-entry,are still in development.*
Yasmin Ali,Launch and Recovery Systems manager for Orion,noted that:
We're making important headway this summer with all of our landing and recovery systems testing.*
At the same time,the new SLS rocket fabrication and testing has been going on apace at several different NASA and contractor facilities.For instance,the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage is currently in the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy Space Center,Florida.It will be in the high bay of the facility for cleaning and maintenance until it is moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking beneath the Orion capsule and integration with other components.
Five-segment powerhouse motors for the Solid Rocket Boosters are in production by subcontractor Orbital-ATK at its Utah facility.The motors will be shipped to KSC,then integrated with forward and aft booster structures,and then the SLS core stage.Welding for the Boeing liquid oxygen tank is also underway at the NASA Michoud Assemby Facility,New Orleans.Indeed,four core stage tanks are being built simultaneously.
On 25 July,a test of the RS-25 rocket engine was successfully conducted at the NASA Stennis Space Center,Mississippi.Four of the modified Space Shuttle engines are used to power the SLS.*
EM-1,which will venture a record 40,000 miles beyond the Moon,is slated for a 2019 launch,with the crewed EM-2 to follow in the 2022-23 time frame.Besides testing the integrated Orion system,EM-1 will be a research mission,deploying 13 CubeSats,small satellites investigating such topics as lunar science and astrobiology.*
Boeing (BA),Orbital ATK Inc (OA)

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America:Encyclical for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (08/15/2017) - Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15) - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Encyclical for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (08/15/2017) - Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15) - Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ὁ Μέγας Παρακλητικὸς Κανὼν τῆς Παναγίας - The Great Paraklitikos chanted by the nuns of Annunciation to the Theotokos Monastery,Ormylia,Chalkidiki,Greece

August - the Month of the Panagia,the All-Holy One

Orthodox Christians on the new calendar are in the second day of the Dormition Fast,which lasts for two weeks,until the feast of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos on 15 August.Liturgically,the main feature is the special weekday evening services dedicated to the Virgin Mary,the Small and Great Paraklesis services chanted on an alternating basis.Last night was chanted the Small Paraklesis;tonight will be the Great Paraklesis,and so on.These help us to prepare for the upcoming observance of the Dormition,when at her passing the Theotokos,the Mother of God,was translated body and soul into heaven from the Garden of Gethsemane.*
This event is not in scripture,but is nonetheless the holy tradition of the Church,passed down liturgically through the centuries.Indeed,it is such a core event,it is often referred to as "the Pascha in Summer."Not only is there a two week fast and the feast day itself;there is also an after-feast of several days,so that actually the bulk of August is focused on the Theotokos,with a break on 6 August for the Transfiguration of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.*
Catholics celebrate the same Marian event,calling it the Assumption.