I still haven't gotten a satisfactory answer to my nagging science question, so I'm going to throw it to you, along with a couple others. Your mission, Jim, should you choose to accept it, is to write an explanatory article of 500-1000 words answering one of these questions.
Earlier this summer, I worked for an SEO (search engine optimized) content mill. It was like an online sweatshop. I wrote 40 of these articles in 4 weeks. I had to drop it because I was working for $2.25 an hour and occasionally, when I ran afoul of some random sophomoric editor, $1.12 an hour. But it's great practice.
Here they are:
1) I noticed on my weather app that on September 26, sunrise was 7:01 a.m. and sunset was 7:01 p.m. The Fall Equinox is September 22. "Equinox" means "equal night." The Fall and Spring Equinoxes, I thought, were the days when the day and night were equally long, which is to say 12 hours. Why, then, is it not until four days later that sunset is exactly 12 hours after sunrise?
A couple astute friends offered a couple astute answers, but we haven't hit it yet. John said according to NASA, equinox was exactly 20:44 UTC on Sept. 22. Okay, so what are we missing? David suggested it was the sine wave nature of the progression of lengths of days throughout the year, but that's not it either. The rate of change of day length is very slow near the equator, but the period of equal day and night is still centered around the 26th, not the 22nd. And it holds true not matter how far north, south, east, or west you go. Moscow, Berlin, Tokyo, Anchorage, Portland OR, Los Angeles, all show sunrise and sunset exactly 12 hours apart on the 26th or 27th, not the 22nd.
My latest theory is it has something to do with the fact that the earth year is slightly less than 365 and 1/4 days long.
So what's the explanation? Do some research, figure it out, and tell us about it in a way that we can understand.
Here are a couple alternative posers I cooked up:
2) I was replacing the kitchen faucet when I noticed a contraption installed in line with the cold water. It's mounted on the back wall underneath the sink and it looks like a 12-inch-tall milkshake tumbler made of clear plastic and full of disgusting brown liquid. Is this a water filter? More to the point, is this a water filter that hasn't been changed in the fourteen years we've been in this house? Tell us (okay, me) what it is, what to do about it, and how.
3) How do I use Twitter? Specifically, when somebody on TV says "Send your answer to @TwitterHandle with hashtag #hashtag," how do I do that, say, on my Droid Twitter app? What the heck are hashtags and how do they work? How do I put Twitter to work for me, specifically, to get more views on my blog?
4) What do you think of baseball's two "wild card" playoff berths, new this year? Along with the fact that the two wild-card teams have to play each other in a one-game play-in to move on? Is it good for the game? What are the pros and cons? What are some possible scenarios? What are your personal biases for or agin?
For example, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Texas could very possibly end up in a three-way tie for the two American League wild-card berths. This would necessitate two one-game tiebreakers just to get into the wild-card game. A team might have to play three sudden-death one-game play-ins in three days in three different cities, and then play the first game of the Division series the next day in a fourth city.
Write a 500-1000 word how-to article answering one of the above questions. No, you may not choose your own topic. When I was working for that content mill, I had more choices than this, but I couldn't write about anything I wanted. I ended up having to write about everything from high-speed rail in Spain to mythology's Pandora to how to play Greensleeves on the guitar. It's great exercise.
Comment on this post with a link to your response.
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