Daily Archives: June 6, 2012

Earlier Versions of MICA Software if you can use them

Over the years this compulsive project of mine chasing what isn’t happening and when it isn’t has led me into ownership of several versions I ceased using after upgrades were released.   Salt Cedar Latillas for Erosion Control

 Even the earliest versions are better than the next-best off-the-shelf software intended to do what it does.

So I’ve got three versions of the CDs and 120 page hardback handbooks lying around drawing dust.  They’d serve for most folks who aren’t being fanatic about the kinds of issues I’m fanatic about.

If any of you readers are into what’s going on in the sky in a way that might allow you to benefit from owning a not-quite-up-to-date version, these are available for the cost of postage getting them to you.

Feel free to email me at josephusminimus@hotmail.com if you’d savor a copy.

Old Jules

An easy-to-use astronomical almanac from the U.S. Naval Observatory

About MICA

MICA, the Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac, is a software system that provides high-precision astronomical data in tabular form for a wide variety of celestial objects. The program computes many of the astronomical quantities tabulated in the The Astronomical Almanac. However, MICA can compute this information for specific locations and flexible times, thus eliminating the need for table look-ups and additional hand calculations.

Designed primarily for professional applications, MICA is intended for intermediate-to-advanced users. Basic knowledge of astronomical terminology and positional astronomy is assumed.

MICA provides essential data for use in

Astronomy and astrophysics Space science Geodesy and surveying
Geophysics Meteorology Environmental science
Operations planning Accident reconstruction and litigation Illumination engineering
Architecture Photography  

MICA was first released in 1993 for MS-DOS and Apple Macintosh systems. MICA 2.0 was updated for Windows and modern Apple Macintosh systems and released in August 2005. MICA 2.0 provided all the data available in earlier versions of the software and included several new features. The current version of MICA is 2.2.2, which was released in January 2012.


MICA can perform the following types of computations:

  • Precise positions for the Sun, Moon, major planets, Pluto, selected asteroids, selected bright stars, and cataloged objects (e.g. stars, quasars, galaxies, etc.) using external catalogs provided with the program. Up to ten different position types are available (depending on which object was chosen).
  • Various astronomical time and reference system quantities (e.g. sidereal time, nutation and obliquity, equation of the equinoxes, Earth Rotation Angle, calendar/Julian date conversions, and delta T).
  • Twilight, rise, set, and transit times for major solar system bodies, selected bright stars, selected asteroids, and cataloged objects.
  • Physical ephemerides useful for making observations of the Sun, Moon, major planets, and Pluto. Both illumination and rotation parameters are available for all listed bodies, except for the Sun.
  • Low-precision topocentric data describing the configuration of the Sun, Moon, major planets, Pluto, and selected asteroids at specified times and locations. MICA also includes a sky map option as an aid in locating the objects.
  • Visibility information for solar and lunar eclipses, as well as transits of Mercury and Venus.
  • Four different types of positions of Jupiter and the Galilean Satellites and offsets of the satellites from Jupiter.
  • Dates and circumstances of various astronomical phenomena (solstices and equinoxes, apsides of Earth and the Moon, moon phases, conjunctions, oppositions, and greatest elongations of Mercury and Venus). A phenomena search feature is also available, which generates a table similar to the ‘Diary of Phenomena’ contained in section A of The Astronomical Almanac.

New features and changes in MICA 2.2/2.2.1/2.2.2 include

  • Earth Rotation Angle (ERA) and the equation of the origins.
  • Apside times (perigee/apogee of the Moon, perihelion/aphelion of Earth) as a stand alone computation or within the Phenomena Search function.
  • The DeltaT.val file has been updated with new data. The date with the first predicted value for this file is 2455745.0 (2011 July 2 12:00).
  • Computations of future eclipses and transits now allow the user to set their own value of delta T.
  • Configurations of major solar system bodies and asteroids, lunar eclipses, and all phenomena calculations now include “Zone” as a time system option.
  • Magnitudes have been added to the positional information provided for solar system bodies and catalog stars.
  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU) 2000B nutation model was replaced with the 2000K nutation model described in USNO Circular 181, Nutation Series Evaluation in NOVAS 3.0 (Kaplan 2009).
  • Lunar distance has been added to the “Phases of the Moon” output table.
  • Physical ephemeris algorithms have been updated to account for the aberration of the Sun due to the planet’s motion.
  • Physical ephemeris calculations have been updated with data from the “Report of the IAU/IAG Working Group on cartographic coordinates and rotational elements: 2006.”
  • The ‘Planet’ column header in the solar conjunctions output has been renamed to ‘Object’ to cover both planets and asteroids.

Talking the Walk – Part 2 – Leading a Cow to Water


Monsanto is also the world’s largest manufacturer of synthetic bovine growth hormone, injected into cows in order to stimulate greater milk production. The widespread pressure by the company to use the chemical and the subsequent measures taken by Monsanto to suppress information regarding the potential health risks sparked uproar among American farmers.

When dairy producers that did not use Monsanto’s products began labeling their products as “Hormone Free” or “Organic”, Monsanto slapped them with a lawsuit as recently as 2008, claiming the labels amounted to negative advertising against hormone-produced milk.

Director of corporate communications for Monsanto, Phil Angell, summed up Monsanto’s take on the issue in a report by food author Michael Pollan for New York Times Magazine in 1998: “Monsanto should not have to vouch for the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is FDA’s job.”


Michael Taylor, a former attorney for the US Department of Agriculture and lobbyist for Monsanto, was recently appointed to a federal role as the deputy commissioner for foods at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since then, the FDA shot down requests from consumer protection groups to label genetically modified products as such. With a White House-Monsanto connection already established with the appointment of Taylor, PEER and others are interested in what other ties could exist between the two.

Heck, readers.  There ought to be something a verbose man such as myself could think of to say about all this.  I’d do it, too, if I could think of something.

Maybe I could point out those pointee-heads working three shifts in the Monsanto laboratories would call themselves ‘scientists’ if someone asked what they are.  Same as the folks over at CERN.

Or maybe I could just ask the reasonable question:  “Do you honestly believe one of the two breeds of foxes guarding the hen house is going to leave more feathers lying around when the dust settles?”

Old Jules

Talking the Walk – Higgs Boson and ‘Science’


“Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director of CERN where the LHC is based, said he was confident that by the end of the year it will be possible to say whether the Higgs Boson, the particle which is responsible for giving mass to the universe, exists.

“The theoretical particle, nicknamed the God Particle due to its central role it has in explaining modern physics, has never been detected and scientists have been working for decades to prove its existence.

“Scientists hope that high energy collisions of particles in the 17 mile underground tunnel at CERN will finally allow them to create the conditions to allow them to spot the elusive Higgs Boson.

“Dr Heuer, who was speaking at the Hay Festival, said the LHC is scheduled to be closed down at the end of this year for up to two years in order to carry out upgrades that will increase its power and allow it to continue with more experiments.”

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Those guys over at CERN need to think of something else to call themselves.  They’re inadvertently allowing their use of language to act as a confession booth.  “. . . scientists have been working for decades to prove its existence,” says just about everything needs saying about the difference between science and engineering.  Or whatever it is they think they’re doing.  “Got me a theory, now I’m going to PROVE it,”  ain’t science.  But the difference is too subtle to penetrate the ice surface those folks are skating on.

For several years now they’ve been bragging about creating ‘baby black holes’ that ‘dissolve’ [they say the little guys dissolve because they don't know what the hell happened to them - spang lost track of them].  There’s a body of opinion among outcasts and heretics from the ‘science’ religion that some of what’s going on stands a shot at creating black holes that don’t do any vanishing.  Black holes, or something else nobody anticipated. 

At CERN, though, they’re got things to prove and they’re not going to let anything stand in the way of proving it.  When a physicist somewhere raises his hand to suggest they mightn’t know what the hell’s going to come out of this or that, they shout him down.  “There’s an extremely LOW probability of it.”

Back before they detonated the A-bomb at the Trinity Site a group of the physicists there expressed similar concerns.  “We oughtn’t do this.  There’s a minute chance it will set fire the atmosphere of the planet.”

“Why hell, the probabilities for that are low.  How the hell can we know whether it will without TRYING it?”

So guess what!  Trinity didn’t set fire to the atmosphere.  All manner of other great things grew out of it, though.  Hiroshima, Nagasaki.  The Cold War.  Mutually Assured Destruction.  ICBMs.  Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and a lot of potential today for more drama in the North Pacific centered around Japan.  Countless people born deformed downwind from the low-probabilities that became high-probabilities with Chernobyl.  Arms races all over the world and weapons of mass destruction used as an excuse to invade any country with something worth stealing.

As nearly as I can figure, those Higgs Boson particles [or something rhyming with them] are out there doing their thing all by their lonesome selves without needing permission from physicists.  They do what they do without needing some airhead calling them God particles, Higgs Boson particles, or anything else.

The people at CERN are doing something they’re calling ‘science’, throwing up their hands calling it the innocent pursuit of knowledge, wanting to prove things.  Hopefully one of the things time will prove is they were right about those baby black holes dissolving instead of going into orbit around the sun.

Hopefully they’ll prove the human species wouldn’t have been better served hanging them upside down from lamp posts when they had the chance.

Old Jules