Burger King Mac ‘n Cheetos

By EatDrinkDeals Staff  June 26, 2016.

Burger King has a new menu item starting Monday, June 27: 2016:  Mac ‘n Cheetos.The new item, Cheetos stuffed with macaroni and cheese, has a list price of $2.49 and will be available for a limited time starting Monday, the company said.  BK announced the new item on Facebook and the BK Home Page.

Source: Burger King Mac ‘n Cheetos

June solstice full moon in 2016 | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

By Bruce McClure in ASTRONOMY ESSENTIALS | June 20, 2016

Celebrate a June solstice full moon on June 20, 2016. It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s first summer solstice full moon since 1967, aka the Summer of Love.

Image via yoganonymous.com.

Watch for a full-looking moon on the eve of the June solstice (June 19, 2016) and a full moon on the solstice itself (June 20). From what we’ve been able to gather (sources below), this is the first full moon to fall on the June solstice since the year 1967, which some recall as the year of the Summer of Love, a social phenomenon centered on San Francisco, London and other places around the globe. There’ve been a number of near misses of full moons on June solstices, however. And we are indeed talking about the June solstice, not solstices in general. In fact, there was a full moon eclipse on the December solstice in 2010.

Reliably, the phases of the moon recur on or near the same calendar dates every 19 years. It’s the “or near” that causes the full moon to miss the solstice on that 19th year, sometimes. Nineteen years from this year’s solstice – on June 20, 2035 – the full moon will not fall on the same date as the June solstice. It’ll be another near miss, with the full moon falling on June 20, 2035, and the solstice arriving one day later.

It appears as if the full moon and June solstice won’t fall on the same calendar date again until June 21, 2062.

Be aware that, as we’re figuring all this, we’re using Universal Time (UT or its variant UTC), what used to be called Greenwich Mean Time. Universal Time is the favorite of astronomers because it applies to Earth as a whole. What if we used other time zones? Well, for instance, if we use U.S. time zones, the last full moon and the June solstice actually coincided on June 21, 1986.

On June 20, 2016, the moon turns full at 11:02 UTC. The solstice arrives some 11.5 hours later, at 22:34 UTC.

Rising nearly full moon – near San Francisco, California – on June 19, 2016 via EarthSky Facebook friend Amy Van Artsdalen. Thanks, Amy.

There’s something else special about this full moon, in addition to its falling on the solstice. It marks the fourth of four full moonsin between the March 2016 equinox and the June 2016 solstice. Usually, there are only three full moons in one season (between an equinox and solstice, or vice versa), but sometimes there are four.

The third of four full moons to take place in a single season has its claim to fame: it’s sometimes called a seasonal Blue Moon (in contrast to a Blue Moon by the definition of second full moon in a calendar month). The most recent Blue Moon by the seasonal definition occurred on May 21, 2016, or one lunar month before this solstice full moon.

Okay so … seven times in 19 calendar years, a season has four full moons. And in cycles of 19 years, the moon phases fall on or near the same calendar dates.

It should be no surprise that – sure enough, 19 years from now – we’ll have four full moons in between the March 2035 equinox and June 2035 solstice, and the full moon on May 22, 2035, will count as the third of four full moons in one season – a seasonal Blue Moon.

Want to know more about the seven seasonal Blue Moons in the next 19-year cycle? Click here.

Have a happy solstice full moon, y’all! Photo is the 2015 June full moon at Hartman Rocks, Gunnison, Colorado byMatt Burt. Thanks, Matt!

The last time a full moon fell on a solstice generally was in 2010 – the December solstice of December 21, 2010, when the full moon staged an exceedingly rare December solstice total lunar eclipse. There is amazingly accurate Gregoriana eclipse cycle of 372 years, featuring the recurrences of eclipses with the seasons, as defined by solstices and equinoxes.

We find a total lunar eclipse last happening on the December solstice 372 years ago, on December 21, 1638. Looking 372 years ahead of 2010, to the year 2382, we find a December solstice partial lunar eclipse on December 21, 2382. And 19 years after that, in 2401, there’s a December solstice total lunar eclipse on December 21, 2401.

Sources for the story above:

Stellaphane equinox and solstice calculator

Six millennium catolog of phases of the moon

Solstices and equinoxes: 2001 to 2100

Read more: How often does a solar eclipse happen on the March equinox?

Bottom line: Solstice and full moon both fall on June 20, 2016, for the first time since 1967, aka the Summer of Love.

Source: June solstice full moon in 2016 | Astronomy Essentials | EarthSky

These ancient Asian primate fossils might be the missing pieces of a major evolutionary puzzle – The Washington Post

These ancient Asian primate fossils might be the missing pieces of a major evolutionary puzzle

By Sarah Kaplan

Lower jaw fossils from the ancient primate Yunnanadapis folivorus, one of several species newly discovered in southern China. (K. Christopher Beard)

For decades, scientists thought that the story of human evolution was fairly straightforward: We and our primate ancestors evolved in Africa over millions of years, then started crossing continents and traversing seas to reach all the places we’re found today. Simple (ish).

But then, in the 1990s, researchers in China made a surprising discovery: The fossil of a tiny monkey-like creature that was some 10 million years older than anything that had been found in Africa. The ancestors of apes, and ultimately us, seemed to have come from Asia. But they hadn’t stayed there.

“There were a lot of questions,” said K. Christopher Beard, a paleontologist at the University of Kansas. “What caused it was the biggest kind of cosmic question, because we always want to answer ‘why?’ But even things like ‘when?’ and ‘how?’ were a mystery.”

Decades later, “the full story is only now emerging,” Beard said. And a new discovery could help fill in the gaps.

[New monkey fossils suggest the primates made a wild migration across the sea]


In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Beard and his colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing report on an “incredible cache” of fossils from 10 previously unknown species uncovered in China’s Yunnan province. These fossils help illuminate a new story of our evolution: one in which our primate ancestors evolved in Asia, sailed across a narrow sea to Africa, then were pushed to extinction on their home continent because of drastic climate change. Some of the only primates that survived were the ones whose fossils were just uncovered — primitive creatures that were closer to lemurs than apes and humans living today.

“It’s a little complicated,” Beard said, almost sheepishly.

You don’t say.

This more convoluted version of our history begins in the Eocene, some 40 million years ago. At this time, Earth’s climate was hot and humid, and the continents were just beginning to move into the positions they hold today. India was zooming headlong toward the bottom of Asia (the inevitable collision would one day give rise to the Himalayas). An inland sea flooded the center of the Eurasian land mass. And Africa was an island continent, separated from Asia and Europe by a narrow stretch of ocean.

Early anthropoid (humanlike) monkeys were flourishing in Asia at that time. But they also, somehow, found a way to migrate across the watery barrier to Africa. And since monkeys don’t really swim, scientists’ best theory about their migration is — I kid you not — that they sailed across on rafts made of trees.

“You’re laughing,” Beard said, “but it’s now known that this happened repeatedly. Because of the greenhouse conditions, a lot of monsoons were hitting Asia at the time. When that happens, rivers would flood, riverbanks erode. A half an acre of land with a bunch of trees growing out of it falls into a river and floats out to sea.”

“And if there are a bunch of monkeys hanging out in the trees when that happens,” he continued, “suddenly those monkeys become sailors.”

This chart shows the “evolutionary filter” of primates across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. (K. Christopher Beard)

It was a good thing, too, because climate records show that dramatic changes started ravaging the Earth soon after. Around 34 million years ago, the warm, wet climate of the Eocene gave way to the cooler, drier Oligocene epoch. Tropical forests receded, open plains and deciduous trees sprouted across the Eurasian continent. Life for monkeys in Asia suddenly became very, very hard.

That’s evident in the fossils Beard and his colleagues found in Yunnan province. These tropical tree-dwellers had been pushed south to stay with the dwindling tropical forests. They were almost all strepsirrhines (lemurlike) primates; the only anthropoid fossil came from a tiny, very primitive member of the group.

“This was more or less the anthropoids’ last stand that [the fossils] are capturing,” Beard said.

[New fossil could reshape our understanding of ape evolution]

The fossils “fill a gap,” in our understanding of our evolutionary history, Stony Brook University primatologist John Fleagle, who was not involved in the study, told the Christian Science Monitor. They illustrate “a whole aspect of primate evolution that wasn’t clearly documented before.”

They also help pinpoint exactly when “the plot shifted” from Asia to Africa. “Everything that happens subsequently leads to Africa becoming center stage,” Beard said.

Even as Asian anthropoids were dying out in droves, the population of their seafaring African relatives exploded. The species spread and diversified, developing swiftly into the vast variety of primates we know today, from little masked vervets to huge, powerful gorillas to australopithecines such as the famous “Lucy” and, eventually, to us.

Exactly why these primates were so successful is a question for further study, Beard said. It may have been pure chance — evolution rolled the dice in two places, and only one game worked out well. Or it could be that Africa, which was closer to the Equator and less climatically chaotic than Asia, was just a better place to try to survive.

Whatever the reason African monkeys were able to hang in there, we should be glad they did.

“If these monkeys had not been in Africa right before this big chill,” Beard said, “then it’s an open question whether or not we would be here today thinking about it.”

Source: These ancient Asian primate fossils might be the missing pieces of a major evolutionary puzzle – The Washington Post