Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Chpt 9, Pt 1

As we wrap up another year together, dear readers, the gringa wants to thank all of you for being part of my barrio. Gringa of the Barrio is looking forward to all sorts of interesting discoveries in 2017 and hope you come along for the ride. And there are new things in store for the gringa!

Because I am low-tech and care about my readers, I have rejected the notion of migrating this blog to a different service where it can be monetized. I was afraid I might lose some of you along the way and that wouldn’t be a nice thing to do. It was easier to purchase a domain, re-post the best of the past and begin posting new stuff. The new site will be a couple of days ahead. You can either visit me on Read With The Gringa and see posts hot off the press or you can stick with me here in the barrio and read it the way you have become accustomed. I leave the matter entirely in your hands and thank you for whichever site you choose.


Let’s start together “The Island of Voices”, chapter 9 of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” from “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis. Whatever in the world did Lucy just witness?

Let’s read all of “The Chronicles of Narnia” together on the gringa’s YouTube Channel!

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Young Mr. Daniel’s Moon Musings

One of the gringa’s dear readers shares the blog post over breakfast with his children. Thank you so much for the support, Neil. Now, Neil has reported that his 12-year-old wants to know why the heck no one seems interested in the poor, little Moon anymore. His son thinks we are simply wasting the opportunity of a lifetime for mankind to have an outpost that would make it easier to explore the Universe.

The gringa is impressed with such matter of fact, forward thinking. It does make perfect sense to establish a pathway of outposts. Rather than have to travel for months at a time, space explorers could station hop. So, indeed, why does an Earth orbiting space station receive all of our efforts? Is there any interest in a lunar outpost? Here’s what the gringa has found out.

The Arguments FOR A Lunar Orbiting or Fixed Base Station:

  1. Not only could all the research currently performed on the International Space Station (ISS) be done on a lunar orbiting station, but scientists would also have access to the surface of the Moon for hands-on terrestrial studies.
  2. Long-term opportunity from an orbiting lunar station would eventually result in the establishment of a lunar base on the ground. Reconnaissance for suitable habitat locations could be performed. Hothouses for growing food could be constructed. Eventually human habitats could be perfected.
  3. Astronomy studies would be optimized with telescopes that are much closer to targets.
  4. An orbiting lunar station would become a gateway to the rest of the solar system. Interstellar travel would be empowered, no longer requiring the massive amounts of fuel payloads in order to exit the Earth’s gravity and atmosphere.
  5. An orbiting lunar station could also serve as an intermediary warning system for near approaches of comets or asteroids. They could, perhaps, even be equipped to intervene should one pose a threat to Earth.
  6. Of course, ambitious politics would claim the importance of remaining relevant and dominant (pfft).
  7. Practice makes perfect. So, if the goal is to explore the far reaches of space, starting with a Mars base, having a trial run making a go of it on the Moon makes perfect sense. Technologies for constructing habitat, like 3D printers, can be tested and perfected before investing in a Mars mission, raising the potential for success on the first go round.
  8. To evolve and advance into an interplanetary species could result in unifying the world and contribute to world peace. Most wars are fought to gain dominance over the Earth’s limited supplies of natural resources. With the Universe within reach to all, such goals seem childish and unnecessary. And to achieve such a monumental goal will require cooperation of the best and brightest throughout the world.

What A Lunar Station Needs

  1. Radiation Protection: The ISS has shielding to protect it from Earth’s powerful magnetosphere. Further out, a lunar orbiting station or an outpost on the Moon’s surface would need sufficient protection from massive radiation exposure.
  2. Micro-Meteoroid Protection: Even a tiny piece of flying debris can be deadly if it pierces any protective layer, whether that layer be protecting a human or habitat.
  3. Supplies: Whether it is food, medicine, or power, supplies are necessary. Being so far from home means developing the technology for self-sustainability.

The Challenges

  1. Radiation shielding is heavy. All that heavy stuff would have to be transported. That would be very expensive.
  2. Rescue and escape from the current ISS can happen quickly. Crews can launch home in the Soyuz capsule and arrive home in a few hours. Time is critical especially for medical emergencies. Emergency transfer from the Moon would take days.
  3. Although the Sun is the primary source of the radiation challenge, it is also the primary source of power. Re-juicing solar panels on the ISS is easy with day/night cycles that occur every 90 minutes. On the Moon, a station in orbit or on the ground would go without sunlight for two weeks on a monthly basis. Alternatives to solar power reliance is a must.
  4. Climate: Apollo mission astronauts performed their duties in sealed spacesuits and space capsules. Yet, when they arrived home they all had toxic lunar dust in their respiratory systems. Inhalation most likely occurred when returning to the confines of their capsules and taking off dusty space suits.

Is There Interest?

The Russians are interested. They hope to achieve a semi-permanent lunar base by 2030. NASA is interested but wants to build a station on the dark side of the Moon. That means privacy away from the prying eyes of the public with high-powered telescopes. They are looking at “libration points” as part of the plan to get a manned crew to Mars. Libration points, also called Lagrangian points, are sweet spots in space where gravitational forces between two objects in space create a sweet spot to park a space craft. The Moon is considered just one leg of the journey, being a prime libration point. NASA has tentatively put a $10 billion price tag on a Moon base plan with hopes of mission accomplishment by 2022. It seems that the old space race between the US and Russia has been revived.

So, my dear, young Mr. Daniel, your bright, intelligent mind is on the cutting edge of space exploration ideas. By the time a US lunar station becomes a reality, you will be old enough to contribute your own talents and skills. Hone them and become part of the dream. Study math and science and geology and medicine and botany and robotics. Let your musings take you to the Moon, young Mr. Daniel!

Sources:  Forbes

Daily Mail UK

National Geographic


Image Credit: Thornhill Radio & TV







“Watership Down”, Chpt. 27’s Concl.

Together, we finish another chapter from Richard Adams’ great novel. In this final reading of “You Can’t Imagine It Unless You’ve Been There”, Captain Holly describes life in Efrafa and how they escaped. But what about Hazel? Is he alive?

Let’s read all of “Watership Down” together on the gringa’s YouTube channel!

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A Dubious Path To Delightful Wonder

The gringa loves all things outer space. I even get a kick out of exploring the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. Filtering through reports from UFO conspiracy theorists is very inspiring and often leads me to interesting place. For instance, I started out on a lark to examine the truth behind a report that claims that Russia has threatened the U.S. if the nation doesn’t “fess up” and tell folks the truth about the existence of alien life. And this led to something absolutely fascinating that captured my attention upon a completely different topic. Let’s travel the twists and turns of the gringa’s rabbit trails together.

First, UFO conspiracy theorists use a couple of quotes from space agency officials to claim that they are hinting that space aliens exist. Let’s examine the quotes:

“I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” – Ellen Stofan, NASA chief scientist, Tuesday, May 12, 2016.

Now what UFO conspiracy theorists leave out is that Stofan said this during a panel discussion about finding WATER in outer space, which is necessary to life as humans know it. Stofan later clarified that she is specifically referring to finding life in the form of MICROBES and not little green men.

The same UFO conspiracy theorists go on to use a quote by NASA’s Dr. John Grunsfeld, who works on the Science Mission Directorate, as also claiming that mankind is on the verge of discovering life on other planets. The conspiracy theorists weave into his words the implication that aliens have been visiting Earth for hundreds of years. So what the heck did he say? In July, 2015, Grunsfeld testified before the U.S. House Science, Technology and Space Committee where he made his pitch for more funding. This was the teaser he hoped would open the funding spigot:

“Are we alone? Many, many people on planet Earth want to know… We are on the cusp of being able to answer that question.”

The gringa hates to burst the bubble of conspiracy theorists but I don’t see any indication that he is expecting to find sentient beings in another part of the Universe that we might have a conversation with. The gringa also finds nothing worthy in his words that lead me to believe that he believes Earthlings have played host to extra-terrestrial visitors. But there’s more, and boy is what the UFO conspiracy theorists claim next a real dilly.

They claim that in March of last year there was a top secret shindig on the Moon attended by 70 civilians and 120 officials representing Earth’s national governments and space programs. Now, for being a top secret affair, the gringa finds it incredibly interesting that security was so lacking that UFO conspiracy theorists were able to discover that an 8’ alien was the guest of honor and even found out his name! He’s called Raw-Teir-Eir from the Blue Avian race that is part of the Sphere Being Alliance. By now the gringa is having great difficulty typing because I am laughing so hard but I must go on and get to the final leg of my rabbit trail journey.

It was at this point that the gringa took a turn off this strangely beaten path. Although I don’t believe a word about a secret meeting taking place on the moon with blue birdmen, I am struck by the fact that even if a meeting like that did occur, mankind would never be the wiser. There is no way for us regular folk to eavesdrop or spy on anything that happens on the dark side of the Moon. Or is there? And here the gringa goes again.

My final leg of this curious journey landed me on the website of Icarus Interstellar. This is a group of citizen scientists who are opening up the possibility for anyone to be a part of designing spacecrafts and exploring the stars. They have many different projects in the works. If a person thinks that they have something to contribute, they want you to sign up and be part of a team. And trust the gringa, there is something for everyone. The group believes that interstellar travel is possible but only through a united global effort of talent. Project Icarus was initially launched thanks to the British Interplanetary Society (BIS). Here’s a list of current projects:

  • Project Icarus: Design a theoretical interstellar spacecraft
  • Project Hyperion: Manned interstellar flight
  • Project Bifrost: Nuclear Space Technologies
  • Project Forward: Beamed Propulsion
  • Project Persephone: Living Architectures
  • Project Tin Tin: Interstellar Nano Mission To Alpha Centauri
  • Project XP4: X-Physics Propulsion & Power
  • Project Astrolabe: Navigating The Future Of Civilization
  • Project Voyager: Mapping A Path To The Stars

Collegiate student chapters are forming the next generation of citizen scientists, engineers, artists, etc. who will be continuing the mission of taking man to the stars. Join one and become part of a community of scientists and humanitarians, contribute to the advancement of missions, be a part of the Starship Congress (interstellar annual conference) and have your own space on the Icarus Interstellar website.

If you don’t have any specific skills or talents, you can always become a charter member by making financial contributions. For those who can’t afford charter membership, even small donations are appreciated. A reciprocal way to help fund these missions is to purchase merchandise from their shop. They have some pretty cool stuff like:

  • Board games
  • Plans for how to build a spaceship

So, although the gringa started out with crazy UFO conspiracies, look at where that led! The take away lesson from that is don’t be afraid to tread along dubious paths. They just might lead to really cool destinations.


Waking Times Media


Icarus Interstellar

Image Credit: Astrology King




Read With The Gringa “Watership Down”, Chpt. 27, Pt. 1

We begin a new chapter from Richard Adams’ book. In the first part of “You Can’t Imagine It Unless You’ve Been There”, Captain Holly begins his tale of the disastrous foray to the other warren for does.

Let’s read all of “Watership Down” and other great books together on the gringa’s YouTube channel!

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The Immortality Of Mathematical Unity

Many people think that religion and science are mutually exclusive. Not the gringa. She believes that they are inextricably linked. One cannot exist without the other. One explains the mysteries of the other. They are mirror images reflecting and confirming the existence of each other. Follow the gringa on a mathematically spiritual rabbit trail and see where we end up on the other side of the mirror.

The gringa read a little ditty about Roman dodecahedrons. They are a 12 sided object with each side shaped like a 5-sided pentagon. Each pentagon has a hole in it. The sides of the pentagons connect to create a hollow center. At each corner junction is a knob.  These strange little doo-dads have been found in all sorts of places: central Europe, France, southwest Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium, the UK, etc. They are very mysterious objects usually constructed of bronze or stone.

As archaeologists have continued to uncover these thingamajigs, they have scoured the annals of ancient literature, government records, science annals and religious texts to no avail. No one seems to have ever mentioned them. It is perplexing, indeed, for archaeologists to determine what the heck they are. Considering the time period in which they were constructed (200 AD), the materials from which they are made (stone or metal), the skilled craftsmanship required, it is highly unlikely such investment was made for the purpose of a flower vase, children’s toy or gaming device.

The gringa agrees with one speculation, especially since there is no written record accounting for them. I agree with the theory that they are some religious relic of kabbalistic intent. These dodecahedrons may have been been secretly used by elite Roman religionists, objects of great mystical power. Let’s explore the possibilities.

A mathematician will explain that there are 30 edges, 20 vertices (points of angle),  and twelve faces. In a nutshell, to a mathematician, a dodecahedron is the only 3-dimensional geometric shape that is a polyhedron comprised of pentagons. In other words, it is unique, one of kind.

A mathematician will explain further fascinating aspects:

  • It is a pentagon inside as well.
  • A perfect cube can be created within it.
  • A tetrahedron can be created within it.
  • A decagon can be created within it and is, in fact, created based upon the geometric shape of the pentagon. So, without a dodecahedron, a decagon could not exist.
  • An octahedron can be created within the tetrahedron.
  • The icosahedron is the dual-opposite of the dodecahedron. This means that none of the other geometric solids fit within the icosahedron without the dodecahedron existing in the first place. One cannot exist without the other and vice versa. The physical connection that bears evidence of this “duality” is created by connecting each pentagon’s vertex (the middle holes) with lines.
  • All 5 geometric shapes (cube, tetrahedron, decagon, octahedron & dodecahedron ) fit within one another within the icosahedron.
  • The geometric solid dodecahedron contains 12 pyramids.
  • The geometry of dodecahedron is a union of crystals, lattices and organic life.

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That’s some deep stuff from math. Seeing as how the Roman dodecahedrons all had holes in each pentagon’s center, it is easy to see that whoever was using it for whatever purpose was aware of the icosahedron duality aspect. The gringa’s pretty certain a detail like that is no coinky-dink.

So what, then, would be a relationship that would tie an advanced mathematical object to religious use? That would be the symbology of numerology. The most important and repetitive numbers in the geometry of the dodecahedron is 5 and 12, most importantly 12. It is the geometry of 5 and 12 which create the dodecahedron so that the dodecahedron can, in turn, create everything else. Let’s see what superstition, religions and mysticism have to say about these numbers:

The Number 5

  • Ancient Chinese superstitions attributed this number as having a duality: good luck and bad luck. Philosophically, the number 5 is indicative of the five elements so this number is also featured in much of ancient Chinese medicine that is still in practice today.
  • In Christian symbology, the number represents the creation of mankind who has 5 fingers, toes and senses.
  • Judeo-Christian mysticism attributes God’s grace to the number 5 based on a formula developed from the 10 Commandments: First 5 commandments are about man’s relationship with God, the other 5 about mankind’s relationships with one another, all of which require grace because of man’s inability to achieve perfection. This is further confirmed by the number of offerings required in order to receive grace: 1. Sin Offering; 2. Trespass Offering; 3. Burnt Offering; 4. Grain Offering; 5. Peace Offering.
  • There are 5 Pillars of Islam which define how to live a Muslim lifestyle.
  • Muslim mysticism attributes the number as symbolic of doubt and weakness, the spiritual and physical condition of mankind.
  • Hinduism teaches that the number represents the elements of nature, in essence, it represents the divine’s creation, mankind and the Earth. Lord Shiva’s 5 faces are turned toward different directions observing these elements, each face having a different name.
  • The condition of man after death is of joining the 5 elements, meaning he becomes Panchaka, a part of the group of 5. Panchakona is the Hindi word for pentagon.

The gringa’s conclusion, then, is that the pentagons which comprise the dodecahedron represent mankind and the Earth.

The number 12

  • To understand how ancient Chinese philosophers would view the number, you have to break it down into the components of 10 and 2. The number 10 is a yin number, meaning evenly balanced, as is the number 2, hence the number 12. As an evenly balanced number it would be regarded as good luck. 2 is considered especially lucky because of the superstitious belief that all good things come in pairs. That can be determined by a quick scan of human physiology: 2 eyes, 2 hands, 2 feet. Lose one and a person is significantly impaired, incomplete, imperfect. Thus, the number 2 is also symbolic of perfection, thus, the divine.
  • Judeo-Christian teaching is that this is the divine number, the number that represents the godhead: 12 tribes, 12 disciples, and 12 zodiac star systems in the heavens from whence the 12 Roman gods were derived.
  • Muslims teach that there were originally 12 ruling Imams mentored and appointed by Muhammad.
  • Buddhism features 12 life stations that are achieved on the path to enlightenment.

The twelve individual pentagons that symbolize man individually, once united, form the representation of the godhead, the creator of mankind. In other words, these Roman dodecahedrons teach us that:

  • All of mankind serves its own purpose in representing an aspect of the godhead.
  • Once each aspect accepts that it needs the existence and support of the other aspects, it can then unite.
  • Once all aspects unite, they form the image of the godhead.
  • All of Earth (the dodecahedron) and all of the dual Spiritual (the icosahedron) are contained within this union, thus…

Unity of all mankind will lead to immortality and the physical restoration of the Earth. That is the mystical message of the Roman dodecahedron. At least that’s the road the gringa has travelled. And the building block of the godhead is mankind. Man has always thought that without God, man could not exist. But the geometric model shows that without mankind, the godhead could not exist. The practical take-away from all of that for the gringa is: respect all religions, respect all cultures, respect all people. Get along and, like the Vulcans say, live long and prosper. Heck, we might, in fact, achieve some mystical end-game accomplishment and become immortal, enjoying world peace for ever and ever.

Sources: The Vintage News

Tutor Ming

Mystical Numbers

My Islamic Dream


Image Credits: Before It’s News Science & Tech


Happy Holidays!

Wishing everyone joy & love & great happiness this holiday season. And who knows, maybe it really is a dragon that pulls Santa’s sleigh. After all, no one has actually ever seen Santa zipping through the night sky in his flying sleigh. It might not be reindeer. It very well could be a dragon! Stranger things have happened!


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