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The Spill: West Coast Wildfires

The whole West Coast seems to be on fire.

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West Coast Wildfires

The West Coast seems to be on fire. Smoke hangs over California, Oregon, and Washington like a blanket. This is one of the worst fire seasons on record and firefighters have been called from all across the nation, and even from different countries, to help fight the wildfires.

Flights have been delayed or canceled because the smoke is so thick it is not safe to fly. The air quality is dangerous to breathe, and residents are asked to stay indoors, keep their windows and doors closed, and make sure pets are kept safe inside.

At least 27 people have already died because of the fires, and thousands have lost homes, properties, or businesses. In Northern California, more than 200 people had to be rescued after road access out of a popular mountain recreation area was cut off. Panicked vacationers were told to go to the water and stay in it until help could arrive.

Climate control activists insist these wildfires are a direct result of climate change while others blame the lack of forest maintenance. There are a lot of areas with dead trees that serve as fuel and help to quickly spread the flames.

The Mystery of the Rusty Moon

A lot of interest has been surrounding the moon lately. Scientists have found what appears to be rust on the moon – but why is it there? Water and Oxygen are needed to create the rust, and neither is supposed to be on the moon. Still, scientists have found what they think is hematite – a mineral formed when iron rusts.

“It’s very puzzling,” said Shuai Li, a geologist at the University of Hawaii. “The moon is a terrible environment for hematite to form in.” However, the moon still has many secrets to uncover and in 2018 water-ice was discovered on the moon’s polar regions when it was thought the planet did not have any water at all.

There are several theories for how rust ended up on the moon, but the one most believed by the scientists is that the Earth has a large play in the formation. The surfaces of the moon that have the material are the ones that face our planet and scientists believe oxygen could be hitching a ride on Earth’s magnetotail to reach the moon’s surface. A magnetotail is a “particle-packed magnetic wake” that trails behind the Earth.

Meanwhile, NASA is continuing to work on making it possible for regular citizens to visit the moon. NASA has launched a new plan to collect moon dirt and pay private companies to go get it. NASA wants to collect up to 18 ounces of the material and will pay $15,000 to $25,000 for the deliveries.

639-Year Project

Do you like listening to music, going to concerts? How about being a part of one that lasts for 639 years? In honor of John Cage, a composer who believed there is music is silence and slowing down chords, the longest organ performance ever is happening. It’s supposed to last for 639 years. The Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible) performance happens only once every seven years. At the changing of the chords, a new sound is set on the organ to last for 2,527 days.

The event draws thousands of people to the small church in Germany who want to observe the performance. Oct. 5, 2013 was the last time the notes were changed and about 1,500 people showed up. This time because of Coronavirus, the number of attendees will be limited and others can watch on video.

In 1985, Cage composed ASLSP. In 1987, he adapted the composition into an organ version. As Slow as Possible performances were meant to be played as slow as possible, and sessions lasted between 20 to 70 minutes because Cage never specified exactly how slow the piece should be played. This composition is what inspired musicians to come together and honor Cage a few years after his death with the six century-long performance.

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