Our Solar System: Uranus and Neptune
By Tom Farr   |   March 11, 2021

Uranus and Neptune, the twin ice giants of the solar system, are so far out there that they’ve only been visited once by Voyager 2 in 1986 and 1989. They’re so far away that light from the Sun takes two-and-a half hours to reach Uranus and over four hours to touch Neptune. For those reasons, […]

Rejection
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 25, 2021

Being rejected is a basic human experience, for which most of us need to be better trained than we probably are.  If you ask Mr. Google about rejections, he’ll give you many lists of famous and successful people who failed over and over again, but went on, and, through sheer persistence, became the stars and […]

 

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A Few of My Favorite Things
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 18, 2021

My tastes in most categories are very conventional, so most of my favorites probably will not surprise you. In poetry, for example, at the top of my personal list is the piece known as “Gray’s Elegy in a Country Churchyard” – not to be confused with Gray’s Allergy. [Only kidding.] One reason I like it […]

Our Solar System: Saturn
By Tom Farr   |   February 18, 2021

30 June 2004, 7:30 pm. The VIP room at JPL is quiet as we all watch a thin line trace horizontally across the big screen at the front of the room. It’s the radio signal from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft as it speeds toward Saturn Orbit Insertion (SOI) after seven years in transit. JPL invites some […]

Drought & Flood
By James Buckley   |   February 18, 2021

I’ve lived in Montecito – in the same house – for over 35 years and find it necessary to point out to folks just moving here that while we live in a beautiful place, ensconced as we are between the 4,000-ft Figueroa Mountains and the deep blue Pacific Ocean, it isn’t perfect. Add a near-ideal […]

Community Love For Valentine’s Day
By Leslie Westbrook   |   February 11, 2021

Summerland merchants have banded together to spread some Valentine’s Day weekend community love this weekend! The town will be bursting with chocolate, flowers, cookies, champagne, pop-ups, tastings specials, and more.  Participating businesses include Red Kettle Coffee (heart shaped cookies), Garde, Mary Suding Antiques, Sweet Wheel Farms & Flowers, The Bikini Factory (20% off red and pink […]

Our Solar System: Jupiter
By Tom Farr   |   February 11, 2021

March 9, 1979 and Voyager 1 had just left the Jupiter system en route to its rendezvous with Saturn. Linda Morabito, the cognizant engineer for the navigation team, noticed something odd about one of the images of Jupiter’s moon Io: There was a ghost image protruding from the side of the moon. She was using […]

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Originality
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   February 11, 2021

It’s getting easier to copy – but it’s still hard to be original. However, it’s also now much easier to tell if an idea is original – although, even if it’s not, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a copy. There is, after all, such a thing as “independent creation.”  For that reason, whenever I get […]

A Pain in the Neck
By Ernie Witham   |   January 28, 2021

For five nights, my wife and I slept in the guestroom, while relatives slept in our room. “This bed is too hard. My back is killing me,” Pat said. “How are you holding up?” I could have said: “Fine. You probably just slept wrong.” Instead I said: “My neck’s a bit sore.” Two days later […]

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At Home With Lou
By Leslie Westbrook   |   January 28, 2021

It’s no surprise that Lou Cannon does a pretty good imitation of President Ronald Reagan. After all, he covered Reagan from his governorship in California to his time in the White House through to his final days, writing five books about California’s former governor and president, including President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime, among […]

Our Solar System: Mars
By Tom Farr   |   January 28, 2021

On July 20, 1976, seven years to the day after humans first walked on the moon, a bunch of us new employees of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory trooped over to Caltech’s Beckman auditorium (the one that looks like a circus tent) to see the first landing of a spacecraft on another planet. Viking 1 was […]

Are Your Beliefs Falsifiable?
By Robert Bernstein   |   January 21, 2021

I used to buy snacks at the Isla Vista Deli Mart even though they were a bit more expensive than the competitors. I went there just to engage the former owner Mike in debate about Donald Trump, whom he supported. (Note that the Deli Mart has new owners who are not Trump supporters.) When Trump would […]

I’m All Years
By Ashleigh Brilliant   |   January 21, 2021

Surely it can’t be pure coincidence that the number of degrees in a circle is almost exactly the same as the days in a year. (Of course, 360 was more suitable, giving us 4 neat angles of 90 degrees.) But, while we’re on the subject, why do the times a circle’s circumference is bigger than […]

Montecito Alumni Write Letters from Life’s Front
By Stella Haffner   |   January 21, 2021

Dear Montecito, Exams are finished. School is out. What’s a girl to do? I could start a political campaign. How hard could that be? All in favor of banishing the word “unprecedented,” say aye.  I cleaned my room – that’s a good start. Did some work-related housekeeping too; you may notice I have a new […]

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