Date:         Tue, 21 Dec 1999 01:34:39 -0500
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 21 Dec 99 - Metor and the Moon
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Howdy All... Today I've got an update on that crashing Metor, and a
second opinion on the "December 22nd Moon" story.  You'll also find
the solution to your holiday stress and a very special request at
the end of this issue.
Thanks to our sponsors, and Oska for making
this issue possible.  Onward!
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                   (: Go on. Have Some Fun. :)
In the last issue I mentioned Metor, a really nifty new search tool.
Unfortunately, Metor wasn't quite ready for the roving hordes of
Tourbus riders that were eager to give it a try, and crashed due to
the load.  (My sincere thanks go out to the 38,542 people who wrote
to tell me this.)  I did get a nice note from the Metor CEO today:
> Thank you very much for the great review at the Tourbus.
> Unfortunately, our server was simply unable to handle the enormous
> volume of traffic. We are very sorry for the inconvenience this
> may have caused. Our teams have decided to redesign our system to
> meet the extraordinary demands placed on it. In one or two days
> we will be able to make the site available once again.
Translation:  Thanks a LOT for crashing our server, Bozo.  Our
programmers are locked in a small room trying to fix the mess you
caused.  In one or two days we will kill your dog.
Just joking - I hope.  Those Metor people are just too nice.  Sorry
guys!  Hopefully the site will be back in action by Tuesday or
Wednesday.  If not, please resist the urge to tell me about it. ;-)  
Have you seen the "Brightest Moon in 133 Years" story yet?  According
to the widely-circulating story, there will be a super-bright full
Moon on December 22.  But is it true?
The editors of Sky & Telescope Magazine have this to say: "The Moon
reaches its very closest point all year (perigee) on the morning of
December 22nd. That's only a few hours after the December solstice and
a few hours before full Moon."
But they go on to say that it's not particularly rare to have the
lunar perigee, solstice, and full Moon occur at about the same time,
and that the full Moon came closer to Earth in the years 1893, 1912,
and 1930 than in 1866 or 1999.  "The difference in brightness will
be exceedingly slight," says Roger Sinnott, associate editor of S&T.
Not quite a hoax perhaps, but definitely nothing to get excited over.
For more information on the December 22 Moon, look here:  
Are you stressing out over the holidays?  Pull up a couch and visit
the American Psychological Association's "Coping with Holiday Stress"
online resource.  This Web-based Help Center offers some good coping
strategies for holiday stress.  You'll find tips on dealing with
family problems during the holidays, financial and time pressures,
chronic illness and grief.  
According to CNN, some 10,000 people have died and at least 10,000
more are missing due to mudslides and floods in northern Venezuela.
Over 200,000 people have been affected by the flooding - the worst
disaster of the century in Venezuela.  And along with many others,
the Red Cross is there to help.
The Red Cross is a volunteer humanitarian organization that mobilizes
relief services to disaster victims around the world.  When you hear
about earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and war, a Red Cross team is
probably already on the way to stem the tide of human suffering.
I just visited the Red Cross website and was pleased to see that
they're set up to accept donations online, so I whipped out the
plastic and did my part.  And it got me thinking...  if everyone on
the Bus donated just $25, we could raise about TWO MILLION dollars
to help hurting people in Venezuela, and other places where the
holidays will not be very festive.
So that's my special request - please visit the Red Cross website
and give as generously as you can.  You may never meet the people
you've helped, but they'll be grateful for the difference it makes.  
That's all for now, see you next time!  --Bob Rankin
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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   The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238
      Copyright 1995-99, Rankin & Crispen - All rights reserved
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