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A weekly newsletter about stars, humans and art,
from Akira G. Sternberg.


Beside bank cashier
charity box with few coins —
capital offence
Akira G. Sternberg

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Dear friend,

I am happy to present you with the fifth issue of THE SANGUINE HERALD.

I hope you will find this issue interesting and enjoyable.

If that is the case, please feel free to send it to your friends and advise them to subscribe. Your support means a lot to me.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback.

Yours sincerely,

Horrid traffic jam
horrid empty red slogans —
public transport strike
Akira G. Sternberg


First do, then explain.

No one can explain why planes stay in the air. With this catchy title, the ScientificAmerican.com’s article explains the problem of still not being able to fully explain the theory behind flight. After more than 100 years of human flight and models like the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde or the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.

How planes stay on the air.

On a strictly mathematical level, we do know how to design planes that will stay aloft. But our equations don’t fully explain how and why aerodynamic lift occurs.

Once more we see the principle ‘dare to take action’ in action! You don’t have to get everything sorted out beforehand. Things will get sorted out on the way, if you keep focused and determined to do your duty.

Birds show some tough love.

Read the full article about the two competing but incomplete explanations on lift on ScientificAmerican.com.

Photo by Ali Abdul Rahman on Unsplash.

Wax on, wax off.

I must confess my admiration and jealousy (but not envy) for the blog Art of Manliness and the brilliant work they are doing.

Just one reason to further fuel my sentiments toward the good blog is the article ‘Wax Seals: A History and How-To‘.

Wax seal stamp.

I cannot help but quote the following excerpt here:

Most seal stamps these days are made with a metal seal — often brass — attached to a handle; the seal can be removed and switched for another. Signet rings (traditionally engraved with a family crest or coat of arms and worn on the left pinky) are also available, but I’d feel a little silly getting one myself unless I had truly descended from some aristocratic Old World family. Although if you do get one, be sure to make guests kiss it when they enter your home.

Deeply inspiring stuff!

Observing reality is illusory.

Optical and auditory illusions are most interesting and fun. One such illusion is the ‘stepping feet illusion‘.

The two ‘buses’ are actually moving in the same constant speed. Wait for the stripes to disappear and your brain will catch up.

Stepping Feet Motion Illusion.

The stepping feet illusion was demonstrated by Stuart Anstis in 2003. It came as an explanation of why drivers tend to misjudge the speed of their cars in foggy conditions.

Very old money.

In Issue #A04 we saw some old money and old banks. Now we will see some very old money and very old companies.

Japanese old golden coins.

The five oldest companies in the world still in business are all Japanese — something that makes me very proud. Here they are:

  • Kongō Gumi, est 578: A construction company operating for over 1,400 years. In 2006, it became a subsidiary of Takamatsu.
  • Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, est 705: A hot spring hotel in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture. Founded by Fujiwara Mahito. In 2011, the hotel was officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest hotel in the world. Takeda Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu were among the onsen’s most famous guests.
  • Koman, est 717: A Japanese traditional inn (ryokan) in Kinosaki, Hyōgo Onsen, Toyooka city, Hyōgo prefecture. Founded by Gonnokami Hiuke. His descendants founded local bath houses in Kinosaki Onsen.
  • Hōshi Ryokan, est 718: A ryokan in the Awazu Onsen area of Komatsu. Owned and managed by the Hōshi family for forty-six generations.
  • Genda Shigyō, est 771: A paper production company producing ceremonial paper goods.
Above my path
half moon walking with me —
still clouds and wind
Akira G. Sternberg


Turn the radio on.

The SETI Institute and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) announced a collaboration that will enrich our arsenal in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

A dedicated state-of-the-art instrument will be hosted in the Very Large Array (VLA) on the Plains of San Agustin, New Mexico, USA. Employing a new, cost-effective ethernet interface, it will be possible to search for technosignatures 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SETI Institute and National Radio Astronomy Observatory collaboration.

The VLA is the most productive radio telescope in the world. It consists of twenty-seven 25-meter telescopes and has been featured in the 1997 film Contact. Never the less, the array has never before hosted a dedicated SETI instrument.

The SETI Institute will develop and install an interface on the VLA permitting unprecedented access to the rich data stream continuously produced by the telescope as it scans the sky.
Andrew Siemion, Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute and Principal Investigator for the Breakthrough Listen Initiative at the University of California, Berkeley.

Read more details and the official announcement on the SETI Institute website.

Seek and you will find.

Jesus motivational words speak true: ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock the door and the door will be opened to you’. Hence, we recently had significant developments in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI).

SETI fast radio blasts.

Firstly, a paper from a Canadian team reported a series of fast radio blast from a galaxy 500 million light-years away. The blasts appear be repeating about every 16 days. The authors shied away from any SETI hypothesis, and give a number of astrophysical explanations. Never the less, these signals are what all SETI enthusiasts are searching for.

And now they will also have the opportunity to search a vast new trove of data provided by Breakthrough Listen, part of the privately-funded Breakthrough Initiatives.

Secondly, the Breakthrough team announced the release of nearly 2 petabytes (2 million gigabytes) of data that comes from a survey of the radio spectrum between 1 and 12 gigahertz (GHz).

Parkes radio telescope.

About half of the data comes from the Parkes radio telescope in New South Wales, Australia. The telescope is perfectly situated and instrumented to scan the entire galactic disk and galactic centre.

The remainder of the data was recorded by the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia, the world’s largest steerable radio dish, and an optical telescope called the Automated Planet Finder, built and operated by the University of California, Berkeley and located at Lick Observatory outside San Jose.

Read the whole article on the ManyWorlds website.

Just before alarm
first shy drops of rain dancing —
smiling in my sleep
Akira G. Sternberg


The two problems with Word of the Decade 2010-2019.

The American Dialect Society has chosen singular ‘they’ as the word of the decade 2010-2019, and ‘(my) pronouns’ as word of the 2019.

The gender problem.

Some comments on that.

The declining use of fingers in counting.

Firstly, it seems that in the ADS they are using a decade numbering system of their own. The current decade begins on 2011 and ends on 2020.

It’s a rather common mistake when thinking and counting in decades. The problem originates with the year 1 being the first year of the common era. There is no year 0.

So, if we count with our fingers the first decade ever, we have the years 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. So, the first decade of the common era is 1-10. Consequently all the following decades begin on -1 and end on -0.

To complicate things further, for instance 1911-1920 is the second decade of the 20th century, not the 19th century. Since the 1st century is from year 1 to year 100, the 5th is from 401-500 etc, up to the 20th which is from 1901-2000. So the 21st century is from 2001 to 2100.

Granted, linguists are not mathematicians, but they should know how to use their fingers for counting countable quantities.

Around the brasier —
grandpa’s charming fairytales
keep the fire alive
Akira G. Sternberg


Jason and the Golden Fleece.

From all Ancient Greek mythological heroes Jason is my favourite. I cannot say exactly why, but I have always been fascinated with the Argonauts and their quest to find the Golden Fleece.

It is not by chance that my personal motto is ‘Ad astra per alas arietis’: To the stars on the wings of a ram.

Here is a fine sculpture of Jason with the Golden Fleece, by the Danish sculptor and medallist Bertel Thorvaldsen (19 November 1770 – 24 March 1844).

Two sonnets by Akira G. Sternberg.

Eternal love can last only a day.

Eternal love can last only a day
Because that is what we all have to spend
Just twenty four of our golden coins and
No more, no less, no other than today.
‘How long your love will last?’ that’s without end
What you keep asking, dear, as if you lack
The knowledge I possess, never held back,
But here is my reply of what I’ve felt:
My love on Sunday is always intact,
On hateful Monday but on Tuesday too,
And so remains through all Wednesday as new,
More so on Thursday, Friday for a fact.
Saturday is when love is like a child’s play
But day in day out love will find the way.

Geometry of beauty and fine words.

Geometry of beauty and fine words
A thick and artful texture of letters
Not free but bound in all too strong fetters
Where concepts follow hard but not stiff laws
All verses march to war of soaring thoughts
Against the ugly world of some humans
Who turn their petty instincts to new ones
Their struggle being turned into low plots.
But beauty shines like Sun in a dark moor
Where many weeds and foul plants all grow there
Just waiting light to come through the thick air
And give them life like medicine does cure
Poetry saves the world from chaos unseen
Among the arts a majesty, a true queen.

After the battle
my royal banner of arms —
blood, death and victory
Akira G. Sternberg

Did you enjoy the haiku in this issue? I observe the one-haiku-per-day discipline, so you’ll be getting seven haiku with every newsletter.

I’ve also penned a haiku collection: “The Stargazing Frog: A poetry collection of 366 original haiku about nature, humans and stars,” which you can find in Amazon.

The Stargazing Frog cover

One last haiku, before you go:

Sombre graveyard —
cypresses standing tall
in spite of woes
Akira G. Sternberg

I’ll be happy to keep in touch and I am eagerly waiting for your comments:


Until next time…

May the Force smile favourably upon you.

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