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Eclipse, National Spumoni Day, Jerry departs, Trump won't leave, another asteroid miss
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Published Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 4:15 AM EDT
Aug 21 2017


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Today is Monday, August 21, the 233rd day of 2017 in the Gregorian calendar, with 132 days remaining.

This is the 214th day of Donald Trump's presidency. There are 1,248 days remaining in his term, assuming he doesn't resign, is otherwise removed from office, or his unhinged, psychotic behavior results in the destruction of the republic.

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What happened on August 21 from On This Day.

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Among other things, today is also National Spumoni Day. Spumoni is a molded Italian ice cream made with layers of different colors and flavors, usually containing candied fruits and nuts.

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Florida man told McDonald's ice cream machine broken, pulls out weapon.

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Quote of the day:

"I've had great success being a total idiot."
-Jerry Lewis

I remember watching Jerry Lewis movies over the summer at the Leona Theater in Homestead. Thirty-five cents for a kid to get in, and all the air conditioning you could handle. I think I must have seen The Delicate Delinquent and The Family Jewels about 20 times. Thanks, Jerry. You made those stinking hot summers bearable.

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(NASA)

One aspect of all the eclipse coverage is the warning being given by some media outlets that you should keep your pets inside so they don't get blinded by staring at the sun.

Is this really a problem?

You'd think that were this really a thing, there'd be reports after every event of blind animals stumbling around, birds crashing into buildings, etc.

It would appear that in the entire animal kingdom, only the family hominidae (great apes) stare at the sun during eclipses. There are reports of chimpanzees in the wild becoming excited, climbing trees and pointing at the heavens, but some claim their behavior was influenced by their hairless ape cousins who were witnessing the event nearby.

This will be the third partial eclipse I've witnessed in my lifetime. I stole quick glances at the sun- maybe a second or two- with no ill effects. I think the 1994 eclipse was more "dangerous" than this one, because it reached over 90% totality, making it appear safer since more of the son was obscured. This guy says a 1963 eclipse blinded him is 20 seconds.

Aside from horrendous traffic jams, price gouging and the other unpleasantries of putting a lot of humans in a relatively restricted space, I think the big problem today may be technological. What will happen to the cellular phone networks when 60-some million people try to live stream simultaneously?

The increasingly widespread use of solar panels means the eclipse will take thousands of megawatts of electrical power out of the grid as its traverses the country. Think of it as an astronomical rolling blackout. There is some concern that if too many solar power users suddenly switch back to utility-supplied juice, the grid could collapse like a stack of dominoes.

Whatever. I'm more worried Trump will become jealous of all the media attention directed at the eclipse, and, as is wont, do something disastrous of his own.

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Speaking of things celestial, Asteroid Florence, at a distance of about 4.35 million miles, will safely pass Earth on September 1. Good thing, too. The rock is about 2.7 miles in diameter. The one that wiped out the dinosaurs was about six miles wide. It won't pass by us again until the year 2500, at which time Terra just might be a warm, water-covered planet.

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Trump will speak to the nation at 9 pm EDT to address the situations in Afghanistan and South Asia. Better stop at the liquor store or pharmacy on your way home from work this evening and stock up.

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Ten sailors missing after U.S. destroyer collides with oil tanker off Singapore. I'm no fan of conspiracy theories, but coming so soon after the business with the Fitzgerald...

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National parks put a ban on bottled water to ease pollution. Trump just sided with the lobby that fought it. The Trump administration has ended a six-year-old ban on selling bottled water at some national parks that was aimed at easing plastic pollution and the huge amount of waste being recycled.

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Elon Musk backs call for global ban on killer robots. You wouldn't think it would necessary to recommend this, but given the events of the past week...

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Conservatives in the British government are trying to sabotage their nation's health care system too, claims Stephen Hawking.

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Android co-founder Andy Rubin has a plan to cure our smartphone addiction. Of course, it involves more technology and trust in artificial intelligence.

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