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Sunday, December 21, 2008

 

Winter Solstice 2008

*
A Winter of Discontent

Shortest day of the year.

Four days before Christmas, if reports are right then this year the almost ritualistic pre-Christmas shopping splurge is not taking place....and is not going to take place. The sub-prime mortgage scam did us in not only in the United States but also in Europe and the rest of the world. Some countries have suffered less than others but no country remains unscathed. Just as bailouts and other emergency measures were pumping money into the sick economy we got hit by reports about the enormity of Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme. A confederacy of crooks -- the executives of Wall Street giants; the friendly watchdog agencies that looked the other way and let the crooks run unchecked; and the venal politicians who enacted laws to assist the crooks.

With the unemployment roll growing and uncertainty about the length of the economic depression, the era of irrational exuberance is over for the time being. Consumers have gone to the bunkers. And who can blame them; it is truly a winter of anxiety, a winter of discontent.

"Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low'r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried."

--Wm. Shakespeare in Richard the Third

But the human spirit remains indomitable. This phase,too, will pass.

Univ. of Montana





In the winter the days are short and the Sun in low in the sky. The graphic above shows the Sun's path through the sky on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice. This is the day when the Sun is the lowest in the southern sky.

During the short winter days the Sun does not rise exactly in the east, but instead rises just south of east and it sets south of west.

Each day after the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21st, the Sun's path becomes a little higher in the southern sky. The Sun also begins to rise closer to the east and set closer to the west until we reach the day when it rises exactly east and sets exactly west. This day is called the equinox. In the spring we have the Spring Equinox about March 21st. There is also a Fall Equinox on September 21st.
--Univ. of Montana





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