This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Columbus Day

Today some offices and businesses are closed because of Columbus Day and others are open.

A bit more than 500 years ago Columbus set out to find a shorter route to Asia because he seriously underestimated the size of the earth. His critics did not oppose him because they thought the earth was flat but because they knew it was round with a circumference of about 25000 miles. Hence, reaching Asia by sailing west would require a very, very long voyage. What no one in Spain knew was that a couple continents lay in the ocean between the west coast of Europe and the east cost of Asia. Columbus found some islands in the Caribbean and thought they were the East Indies and to his dying day believed he had found a route to Asia. His multiple mistakes changed everything. (If Columbus had not made his voyage, some other European would have found the Americas within a few decades. The results that we call the Columbian Exchange would have been pretty much the same, though none of us would be here.)

There are lots of signs of fall. Some of the trees have some color. The ash trees are losing their leaves and may of them are still green. I suspect this is not going to be a fall with a lot of color and I hope I am wrong.
 City elections are less than a month away. I have a neighbor who has a sure way of supporting the winning candidate.
Fall sports are wrapping up. RCHS hosted the cross country sectionals on Saturday and the Lady Bombers won their sectional. In soccer the Rensselaer boys team is the sectional champions. On Saturday I heard sirens and saw a fire truck escorting the high school band bus into town. I figured they had done something impressive. They qualified for a trip to the state finals in marching band. Congratulations to the band and the sectional champs.

I saw the escorted band bus as I was leaving Fountain Stone after seeing The Martian (and enjoying free popcorn in celebration of their tenth anniversary). I had read reviews that the science in it was unusually accurate--a contrast, I guess, to Gravity, which had some big errors. The thing I found unbelievable with The Martian was the idea that NASA and the US will ever launch a manned mission to Mars. In the 1950 and especially in the 1960s the US built a space program from nothing to one capable of landing a man on the moon. Then it developed the space shuttle to make sending men into space easier. Today that is all gone. We depend on the Russians to get our astronauts to the International Space Station. Finances and demography preclude any resumption of an ambitious manned space program.

I have not posted for several days because last week I caught a cold and it has limited what I have been able to do. Maybe it will clear up this week and I will be able to get more done.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So, are you saying we are celebrating a man who made a mistake? Hmmmmmm