Philae lander will make history in a few hours!

Philae Lander

Philae Lander

The time has finally come for the Rosetta spacecraft’s “Philae” lander to land on Comet 67P. Rosetta’s journey began 10 years ago when the European Space Agency launched this mission. Tomorrow, November 12, 2014 will mark the day that Rosetta’s Philae lander will make history. Never has a spacecraft landed on a Comet before mostly because of the incredible difficulty of such a task. Not only does the spacecraft have to match the orbit and spin of the Comet, but scientists had to devise a way to land a spacecraft on an object with hardly any gravity.

Scientists and engineers developed a plan to shoot a harpoon into the icy Comet surface in order to keep the lander attached to it. From that point forward scientists will be racing to use Philae’s instruments and take as many samples as possible. After the initial power runs out, which lasts about 65 hours, the lander will have to use its solar panels to recharge its battery. At that point Philae will have to wait a few days in between usage to be able to operate.

Eager to begin using the instruments aboard Philae, Scientists believe that they will learn more about the origins of the Universe than ever before. Some Scientists even believe that life on Earth could have come from a comet. Needless to say, this is a moment that will likely change the way that we think of the Cosmos. The European Space Agency has allowed the public to follow the mission on its website. If you want to see the Philae lander make history just click here. Thanks for stopping by!

 

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A Quick Bite at Yard House

Merrick Park is an area in Coral Gables with plenty of stores to shop from and some really great locations to grab a bite. Yard House is a place that is well known for its hefty beer selection and American style cuisine. They don’t actually sell yards of beer though, trust me I asked. If you like trying new beers and maybe even ordering a sampler this is the ideal location, though I’ll warn you not to go on a Saturday because there’s no happy hour and the beers are overpriced in my opinion. With a dim lit ambiance, classic rock playing in the background and TV screens lining the walls, this place is great for watching a game. Here’s what Jessica and I ordered…

 

Bass and Elden Flower

Bass and Elden Flower

Bass – American Pale Ale. Elden Flower – Champagne, St. Germaine, Hypnotic and Thyme. My beer came to the table just a notch above warm which I didn’t really like. However Jessica’s drink was refreshing and really well prepared.

 

Spinach Cheese Dip

Spinach Cheese Dip

Spinach Cheese Dip – Baked with feta, jack, parmesan and cream cheese served with crispy flatbread. This spinach cheese dip came piping hot to the table with a unique crispy flatbread as the dipping chip. We definitely enjoyed this spinach dip because of the four-cheese blend and fresh spinach mixture. The only thing that I wasn’t too fond of was the crispy flatbread chips because some of them were more chewy than crispy.

 

New York Steak Sandwich

New York Steak Sandwich

New York Steak Sandwich – Steak prepared to your specification, roasted Roma tomatoes, Swiss cheese, fried onions, garlic aioli with thin sliced fries. This steak sandwich was out of this world. Cooked to perfection, the thick steak had great flavor and the fried onions really worked well with the dish. This I would certainly order again if I return.

Mini Chocolate Souffle

Mini Chocolate Souffle

Mini Chocolate Soufflé – Served warm with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream. As far as chocolate soufflé is concerned, this desert was on point. I wouldn’t say that I loved the desert but it was good and I did enjoy the vanilla ice cream on top.

 

Though this restaurant doesn’t really make the cut of my top ten, I still think it’s worth giving it a shot. I will try going back to Yard House during the week when they have happy hour and specials to give it another shot. Thanks for stopping by and happy Monday everyone!

 

Healthy Brunch at Town Kitchen & Bar

Town - Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea and Menu

Town – Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea and Menu

Located in the heart of South Miami, Town Kitchen & Bar is a great spot to grab a drink and enjoy some really unique food. Jessica and I have come here a few times already and I felt it was time for a post. This restaurant has a nice outdoor patio area which is great during winter. However, the heat in September is still too much to enjoy the outdoors so we settled for a nice booth inside. The restaurant has a modern industrial style with a raised ceiling giving the place a very spacious feel. Here’s what we ordered…

Town - Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea

Town – Bellini Proper, Bourbon Tea

Bellini Proper – Ciroc Peach Vodka, Peach Schnapps, orange, pineapple juice and a splash of champagne. Bourbon Tea – Makers Mark Bourbon, Villa Massa Limoncello and fresh brewed iced tea. In my opinion, sometimes the best way to start your day is with a well-made cocktail. That’s what Jessica and I did when we arrived because the cocktails here are phenomenal. My Bourbon tea was delicious and surprisingly smooth while Jessica’s Bellini Proper was refreshing and sweet.

Town - Turkey Club with Skinny Fries

Town – Turkey Club with Skinny Fries

Turkey Club – Sliced oven roasted turkey breast, bacon, tomato, lettuce, cranberry relish, multi-grain bread and a side of skinny fries. What a delicious and healthy sandwich this was. The turkey breast and bacon were salty while the cranberry relish was sweet with a hint of spice. The lettuce and tomato were both fresh and crispy. I would definitely order this sandwich again. The skinny fries were soft and crispy. I enjoyed those as well.

Town - Pesto Steak Panini with Skinny Fries

Town – Pesto Steak Panini with Skinny Fries

Pesto Steak Panini – Toasted ciabatta, tender steak, pesto mayo, grilled onions, melted mozzarella cheese and skinny fries. Jessica order this unique sandwich and I had to have a bite. I’ve ordered this sandwich in the past and for good reason too. The steak is cooked to a juicy perfection and the pesto sauce works perfectly with the onions and melted cheese. This mouthwatering sandwich just might be my favorite thing at Town.

I recommend Town Kitchen & Bar to all of my food lovers. Whenever you’re in the mood for a nice cocktail and a healthy delicious meal, make sure to give this place a shot. Thanks for stopping by!

 

Grim Predictions in the Ebola Virus Outbreak

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

A young girl suspected of Ebola is left in the middle of the street by her aunt in Monrovia, Liberia. A medical worker prepares to transport her.

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) the Ebola virus could infect well over 1 million people by January 2015. Officially the report claims that the number of infected could be between 550,000 and 1.4 million by January. So far, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) numbers, over 5,800 people have been infected by the virus in West Africa. In their statement the CDC claims that these numbers could be severely underreported and the actual number of infected could be close to 2.5 times more than the 5,800 people reported.

Recently President Obama sent over 3,000 troops and severely needed medical equipment to help stop the spread of the virus in West Africa. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently donated 50 million dollars in aid to the affected African nations. This much needed response along with that of “Doctors Without Borders” could help turn the tide of Ebola infection. However despite these efforts, experts on the ground say that it is going to take a massive international effort to get this outbreak under control.

Sweat, blood and saliva can transmit the deadly virus from one individual to another, making the process of containment extremely difficult. While listening to NPR about a week ago, I heard a report from a correspondent in Liberia saying that taxi cab drivers were transporting sick patients from their homes to the nearest hospital, sometimes more than three hours away, only to be rejected care. A lack of medical staff and equipment has compounded the effects of the virus, as sick patients are not able to get proper medical attention. Moreover, a lack of medical transport vehicles has led to the rampant infection of taxi drivers and passengers, due to poor sanitation procedures.

Experimental treatments have been underway in the U.S. and around the globe to stop the spread of this virus but no single vaccine has been verified. However, according to a report by the WHO, using the blood of Ebola virus victims who survived the disease could be a viable treatment for new patients. Once a person develops the proper antibodies to fight off the virus, they can donate those antibodies to people fighting the virus. Doctors who treated the two American’s that survived the virus said that the most crucial treatment right now is making sure that the patients are hydrated and replenishing vital electrolytes.

As you may or may not already know, one of the most pressing issues in stopping the spread of this virus has been the protection of medical staff who are treating the patients. After doing research on several organizations that are mobilizing to help put an end to this outbreak, I found directrelief.org. If you are looking to help and do your part in the fight against Ebola, donating to this organization may be a good start. I will continue praying for the people of West Africa and hope that awareness of this issue helps to end this outbreak. I’ll leave you with a sobering video below by the New York Times on the current situation in Liberia. Thank you for stopping by and have a great day.

Ps: For those of you interested in learning more about Liberia (the worst hit African nation by the Ebola outbreak) feel free to watch the video by Vice News shown on my post from a few months ago titled “Cannibal Warlord General Butt Naked”. It won’t take long before you realize that the country has virtually no sanitation, public service or rule of law. It’s something to think about when considering that this country is the hardest hit by the Ebola virus.

sources

cdc.gov

who.int

 

Rosetta Spacecraft, 6.4 Billion Kilometers Later

Back in 2004, the European Space Agency launched a spacecraft named Rosetta on a journey to study a distant comet. The comet referred to as “comet 67P” has an elliptical orbit around the Sun that takes 6 and half years to complete. In August of 2014, Rosetta finally reached its destination. Today the spacecraft is orbiting the comet and looking for a landing zone for its “Philae” lander which will take samples of the comet’s surface.

In recent years, Scientists have discovered the crucial role that comets play in the formation of planets and possibly even life. The arrival of Rosetta at comet 67P is a landmark accomplishment that has never before been achieved. ESA claims that it will decide on a landing spot in three days on September 15, 2014. Scientists are eager to begin exploring the surface of this comet as it may contain clues to the origin of life on Earth.

A journey that has spanned more than 6 billion kilometers since its start is now at the cusp of unveiling some of science’s most coveted secrets. I will be following the news on this expedition and updating you on any new discoveries that are made in the near future. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Sources
http://www.esa.int
http://www.nasa.gov

Cuban Fusion Dinner at Finka Table and Tap

Finka Entrance

Finka Entrance

In a city where Cuban restaurants and bakeries are plentiful, it’s really quite difficult to find one that is truly unique. Finka Table and Tap however is the exception to this rule. This one of a kind Gastro Pub boasts a bold menu with Cuban, Korean and Peruvian dishes. I first heard about this place about a month ago from a friend who said it was a great place to eat. Soon enough I began seeing the restaurant all over Instagram and Twitter and I decided it was time to go. Jessica and I were excited to try this new little spot and here’s what we had.

Green Acres and Cuban Old Fashioned

Green Acres and Cuban Old Fashioned

Green Acres – Leblon Cachaça, Fresh Cucumber, Pink Peppercorn Syrup, Lime Juice and Kimchi Flakes. Cuban Old Fashioned – Old Forester86 Bourbon, Bustelo Café Syrup, Angostura and Angostura Orange Bitters. These drinks were a true work of art. Green Acres is an incredibly refreshing drink with the perfect combination of sweet, sour, bitter and smooth. The Cuban Old Fashioned was a very interesting twist on a drink that I love and I would definitely order it again.

Mariquitas  (Fried Plantains)

Mariquitas (Fried Plantains)

Mariquitas – Fried Plantains. It is typical for Cuban restaurants to serve bread while deciding what to order but not at Finka. These Mariquitas were crunchy and flavorful with a really interesting presentation. We definitely enjoyed these.

 

 

 

 

Croquetas

Croquetas

 

Croquetas – Fried Ham Pastry and Fried Chicken Pastry. Croquetas are a staple of Cuban cuisine which typically consist of fried ham, chicken or fish. However Jessica and I decided that we would try the ham and chicken Croquetas this time around. These little pastries were cooked to perfection with a crunchy outside and a soft inside served on a bed of alfalfa sprouts.

Garbanzos Fritos

Garbanzos Fritos

Garbanzos Fritos – Chic Peas, Chorizo, Cilantro and Fried Carrots. What a treat! This little dish is served in a cast iron skillet with the fried carrots on top. Each bite of this exquisite dish was more mouthwatering than the last. I think this was our favorite dish. The flavor from the chorizo and the texture from the Garbanzos made this an unforgettable plate.

Flat Bread Pizza with Vaca Frita

Flat Bread Pizza with Vaca Frita

Vaca Frita Flatbread Pizza – Marinated Flank Steak, Cilantro, Caramelized Onions, Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce. This interesting mix was a unique spin on flatbread pizza that I have never experienced before. The Vaca Frita was cooked to a savory perfection while the flatbread kept a hint of its wood oven flavor giving it the perfect taste. A special dish indeed.

Finka Table and Tap was a great Gastro Pub experience for Jessica and I. This is a place that I will definitely return to in the future. For anyone who likes Cuban food, this place is a must. I hope you all enjoyed the post and thanks for stopping by!

How the Islamic State Became So Powerful

Islamic State Militants with a scud missile at a parade

Islamic State Militants with a scud missile at a parade

Lately the U.S. news networks have all been covering the Islamic State militant crisis in Iraq and Syria. The situation has progressed so quickly that the U.S. has “had to” authorize airstrikes in Iraq to halt the Islamic State advance. Each day we find out more information about this group and their horrific acts against humanity. U.S. Congressmen and women talk about the need for a greater military presence to stop this “cancer” from spreading any further into the already unstable region. President Obama has made remarks about increasing this airstrike campaign in Iraq in order to combat the terrorist organization. All the while everyone seems to have forgotten how this group got to be so influential and powerful in the first place.

Islamic State Militants with a Tank at a parade

Islamic State Militants with a Tank at a parade

How did a group of radical Islamic State militants get the necessary firepower to overrun two countries almost simultaneously? They got their weapons from the most powerful military in the world of course, the United States. Our U.S. military spent trillions of tax dollars on creating, training and arming Iraq’s military with the most modern military equipment. The plan was to leave Iraq’s own people in-charge of their military so that terrorist organizations (like the Islamic State) could not overrun their country again. However, shortly after leaving Iraq’s military in charge of security, the Islamic State militants began attacking their bases and acquiring all of their weapons. Iraq’s military abandoned their posts at the first sign of conflict and of course, left behind all of their brand new U.S. military equipment.

Islamic State Militants hauling away abandoned military equipment

Islamic State Militants hauling away abandoned military equipment

But why does the Islamic State even exist? Didn’t the U.S. destroy all of the terrorist networks in the Middle East over the past decade? No, obviously they didn’t. Here’s what they did do. The U.S. spent trillions of dollars and more than a decade occupying the Middle East only to find that it is the main source of funding for the very terrorists it has been fighting. Airstrikes, drones and other military assets that were used against the people of the Middle East for the sake of ending terrorism have only caused resentment and anger towards the U.S. The result of this campaign has been the creation of a monster. Islamic State militants are now terrorizing their country and undermining everything that the U.S. has done. It seems to me that occupying a foreign nation and battering it with military equipment is not the best solution to ending terrorism after all.

Now I hear that Obama is authorizing airstrikes in Iraq and possibly Syria in the future. I can’t help but wonder why. How is it that this country has not learned from its mistakes? The longer that we occupy the Middle East with our military, the stronger the resistance becomes. The more military equipment that we send to the Middle East, the more powerful the resistance becomes. After more than a decade of war I wonder if we are still fighting terrorists. Or is it possible that now we’re fighting people who are just sick and tired of our occupation of their country. People who have been so battered by our military that they will do anything necessary to get rid of us. The next time that we hear about the Islamic State being a “cancer” in the Middle East, maybe we should ask what caused that cancer in the first place.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Monday everyone.