The Daily Dose/November 2, 2018

The Daily Dose/November 2, 2018
By Gaylon Kent
America’s Funniest Guy

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In The News
After nine-and-a-half years the Kepler Space Telescope has rolled over and called it a day, NASA reporting this week that it ran out of the fuel required to maneuver and search the sky for the exo-planets it was charged with discovering.

The importance of the Kepler Space Telescope on mankind’s general fund of knowledge cannot be underestimated. Its mandate was to find planets orbiting other stars and it did that in spades, discovering 2,662 stars in its decade searching the heavens. Some of these are rocky and Earth-sized and in what we consider to be the “habitable zone”, the only area where we – probably foolishly – believe life can exist.

And these are just what Kepler could find. Its field of view was about one-quarter of one percent of the sky which, put another way, means about 400 Kepler would be required to see the entire sky. So the number of other planets that 400 Keplers could find probably numbers near a million.

But Kepler was limited to what it could see. There are, according to some estimates, 300 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone and there are billions of galaxies and countless stars so the number of planets out there is probably closer to countless than countable.

Which brings us to the one question Kepler couldn’t answer, one of only a few questions that really matter:

Do any of these planets have life? 

Hell, we don’t know, either. It’s a question we simultaneously want to be answered and don’t want to be answered. Personally, we’ve never come to a conclusion. On the one hand, we don’t think it’s reasonable to think we’re the only ones out there. The universe is too vast. On the other hand, the circumstances required to maintain human life are so precise – few degrees either way and it is either too cold or too hot for humans to make a go of it here on Earth – that maybe we are the only ones. Maybe in another galaxy somewhere another form of life is flourishing under circumstances we cannot even imagine. Whoever said either concept was almost beyond comprehension was right.

Kepler, named for German scientist Johannes Kepler, will remain in orbit around the sun, it’s work done. Someday, when we know for sure if other planets have life, others will probably look back on Kepler as a building block that made their knowledge possible.

Today At The Site
Sparrow helps the wife pack for a weekend conference she’s attending then, when she’s gone, immediately scoots to the next county to buy a new wallet have lunch on today’s edition of The Diary of a Nobody.

This is par for the course…What was unusual is she didn’t pack enough for a long voyage, everything fit in the suitcase, utterly unprecedented for a weekend trip because I’ve seen her pack more stuff going to work…

King Frederick William I of Prussia has The Thought for the Day, an encore from November of last year.

Today’s Thought comes from a memorandum the king wrote when he found himself between a rock and a hard place: obliged to make a treaty with King George I of England, who was hell-bent on causing mischief for Russian Tsar Peter, whom William Frederick had treaties of friendship with.

On This Date
In 1947 – The Hughes H-4 Hercules, a flying boat developed by Howard Hughes and commonly known as the Spruce Goose, makes its only flight, a 70-second, one-mile flight off the coast of Long Beach, California. Hughes and co-pilot Dave Grant were at the controls, and the crew included two flight engineers, 16 mechanics and two other crewmen, in addition to seven reporters and seven others from the aircraft industry. The flying boat had been commissioned by the US government to provide long-range troop and materiel transport during World War II, but it wasn’t finished in time. Despite never flying again, Hughes maintained a crew of 300 to keep the craft in flying condition. This number was reduced to 50 in 1960 and the crew was disbanded after Hughes died in 1975. Its wingspan of 320 feet, eleven inches is still the longest of any craft ever flown.

In 2016 – The Chicago Cubs defeat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in ten innings to win Game 7 of the World Series, winning the series four games to three. It is the Cubs first World Series victory since 1908 and their first World Series appearance since 1945. The Cubs had also lost the World Series in 1938, 1935, 1932, 1929, 1918 and 1910.

In 1985 – Part-Time Lover by Stevie Wonder is at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for its only week, the ninth of ten #1s for Wonder on the Hot 100. Part-Time Lover was also the 17th of 19 #1s for Wonder on Billboard’s R&B chart, spending six weeks at the top. The song also went to #1 on Billboard’s Dance and Adult Contemporary charts, making Wonder the first act to top four Billboard charts with the same song.

Answer To The Last Trivia Question
Elton John’s 1975 #1 songs Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Philadelphia Freedom bracketed a stretch of 14 consecutive #1 songs that spent one week at #1, still an all-time Hot 100 record.

Today’s Stumper
Before Howard Hughes went into aviation, what industry was he a success in?

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