“November Stargazing In Upstate NY” And “Upstate NY Stargazing In December” Articles Posted To newyorkupstate.com And syracuse.com

They’re still settling on the title.

2016 has been a looooong year in many respects (and I’m not even taking about Bowie, Prince, Cohen, Hutcherson, Bley, Glass, Schulten, Minksy, and now Glenn, to name but a few), made all the more difficult by many of the most significant events happening without warning and/or adequate statistical analysis.

Amateur astronomers, on the other hand, have had thousands and tens of thousands and maybe millions of years of advanced notice that 2016 was going to stink – at least for meteor showers. The timing of Full Moons this year has meant that the Perseids, Leonids, and Geminids were all going to occur in the presence of considerable lunar glow, wiping out the quality of all but the brightest shooting stars.

So, how doe one remain optimistic in the face of physics?

One possible way is to thank the gods for astrology. I’ve struck an ambivalent tone of sorts this year with the new Upstate NY Stargazing series concerning this thing we call the “Supermoon.”

Does a supermoon mean anything scientific? Meh, minus an inch or so difference in tides during the best of them. Do supermoon articles in the local papers receive attention? The Supermoon “likes + shares” kick the dark side of the Moon out of the monthly overview articles – which means people are reading and out-and-about taking pictures of our nearest and most important satellite. And so, there it is.

The November article, which I completely forgot to post about last month, included a new section announcing UNY/CNY observing opportunities with local clubs and organizations (Bob Piekiel reports that his November attendance was excellent!) and some subtle observing opportunities for those with decent binoculars. This was also the last good month for any observing of objects in the Summer Triangle, (meaning I have to think of a different shape for next year to keep the articles fresh).

* syracuse.com/outdoors/2016/10/november_star…

* newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/2016/10/november_star…

The featured constellation in the December article gave me an opportunity to write about something I’ve lectured about since 2007 (when I started the Liverpool Public Library and Beaver Lake circuit). Of all of the delights in the nighttime sky, none stop me cold like the view of Orion and Taurus comfortably above the horizon. The December article gave a perfect opportunity to highlight the near-recent history of this part of the sky in light of discoveries in the Lascaux Caves in France.

Half of the image at top (you can find the original and many others at baerchen3.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/la-grotte-de-lascaux/. And, I ain’t gonna lie, someone spent an awful lot of time on the following: 19thpsalm.org/Ch01/LascauxSkyChart.html) has made up one desktop background on my MBP for quite some time – the figure of a Bull, complete with a number of dark spots strategically placed as if the artist – or someone soon after the artist – meant to overlay the most prominent, eye-catching stars in the Orion-Taurus grouping on top. Pareidolia and our common genetics being what they are, it would not be surprising that many cultures would see a bull’s head out of the Hyades and Aldebaran, just as they’d see Orion as a human figure. What would be a surprise was a discovery that our modern Taurus and this ancient cave painting were directly related through time, migration, and story telling around open fires – a 17,500 year long game of celestial telephone.

* syracuse.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2016/12/upstate_ny_star…

* newyorkupstate.com/outdoors/2016/12/upstate_ny_star…

Jam Factory Induction Into The Syracuse Area Music Awards (“The SAMMYS”) Hall Of Fame, 3-4 March 2016

SAMMYS 2016 - Jam Factory plus members of the Hoffman family

Before the year passes completely… I had the distinct pleasure of subbing for Joe English earlier this year thanks to a kind offer from local CNY great Mark Hoffmann and his funky-as-hell son Gustavioso. The equally formidable Syracuse band Jam Factory was inducted into the 2016 SAMMYS (Syracuse Area Music Awards) Hall of Fame, joining the likes of 805, Bill Knowlton, Calvin Custer, and Benny Mardones (now that’s eclectic).

A snippet from Walt Shepperd’s Syracuse New Times article:

The mythology of the time had band manager, the late Joe Leonard, signing the contract while relaxing in a bathtub after Jam Factory had opened to a standing ovation when they appeared with Hot Tuna at the Fillmore East. Word was Columbia saw Jam Factory as a threat to the genre Sly and the Family Stone was establishing, and wanted to stash them away on the vinyl shelf.

And this was how hip The Today Show was back in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

Reposted youtube comment from Larry G:

A Syracuse Music History Moment: JAM FACTORY plays the Today Show Special “From Ragtime to Rock: A History of American Music” broadcast live January 13, 1970. The vinyl album liner notes tout Jam Factory thusly: “This driving rock group brings us right up to date with what’s happening in American music.” – – Heartfelt thanks to my friend Earl V Ford Jr. for posting this to my timeline. That’s Earl showing off his new purple polyester threads (and well before PRINCE learned to zip up his pants mind you) with git-picker Mark Hoffman in “the fringe”!  Gracing the Hammond B-3 is Gene McCormick – so in the groove at the finale he nearly shakes his head off his shoulders. On the skins is Joe English who displays true matched-grip sensibilities (when he can hold on to his sticks!) and awesome high vocal range. Not trying to miss the count on cornet is Steve Marcone and holding it all down is the late great Kent Defelice on bass. Awesome, Awesome, Awesome.

With nearly a full rehearsal (my inner solipsist barely coming to grips with all the reminiscing going on about events before the mid-1970’s) and partial soundcheck under our belts, the majority of the original ensemble took the stage as the closing music for the 2016 SAMMYS festivities on March 4th.

* Mark Hoffmann as himself (guitar, vocals)
* Gene McCormick as himself (keyboards, vocals)
* Earl Ford Jr. as himself (trombone)
* Steve Marcone as himself (trumpet)
* Gus Hoffmann (bass, vocals) as Kent DeFelice (who had a scheduling conflict with that big funk band in the sky)
* Anna Hoffmann (more vocals)
* Damian Allis as Joe English (well, at least they got the lefty player right)

The tininess of this planet Earth is highlighted by my older brother being Denny Laine’s touring drummer – making us both now one degree from the 1975–1977 Wings line-up. This begs the question – when Chris is mid-performance, does he think “Denny Laine… is in my ears… and in my eyes…”?

For interested parties, the gig was recorded for posterity and posted to youtube – one snippet from local music writer Mark Bialczak

The other three posted by Lori Newcomb…

* www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxLlYc6mN9Y – Tight-Knit Group

* www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gcjkBV0nA0 – Talk Is Cheap

* www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzC9ukNkA0U – You Better Listen

They weren’t my drums (but I certainly know the model and finish), so I should have hit them harder (but “eh”). For completeness, I included an impromptu homage to Joe English by stick-dropping during Tight-Knit Group (instead of You Better Listen, as per the Today Show vid above).

2016nov1_jamfactory_behindthekit

Several write-ups from the event are linked below from the Syracuse New Times:

* www.syracusenewtimes.com/jam-factory-recalling-a-tight-knit-group/

* www.syracusenewtimes.com/sammys-shebangs-shook-rattled-and-rolled/

* www.syracusenewtimes.com/syracuse-area-music-awards-photo-gallery/

Other highlights of the night itself included hearing Ohne-ká and the Burning River for the first time – as a big Keretta fan, I thoroughly enjoyed their mid-SAMMY set. Highlight of the awards dinner at the Dino BBQ the night before was being present for Mark Copani’s Music Educator award (snippet of an audio interview HERE).

2016nov1_jamfactory_gus

Fast-forward to my Rochester relocation – I walk into Bop Shop Records for my first proper free jazz show since my many, many memorable nights at the Metropolis Book Shoppe in Syracuse, and what do I see staring right at me, priced just right for an impulse buy?

2016nov1_jamfactory_album

Solution Structure And Constrained Molecular Dynamics Study Of Vitamin B12 Conjugates Of The Anorectic Peptide PYY(3-36)

#50, published in ChemMedChem (11 (2016), 9, 1015-1020), DOI:cmdc.201600073.

The key to molecular dynamics simulations is recycling – specifically, going into a first project with enough organization to know how to use everything in the next study. While that first successful connectivity table, parameter assignment, and RESP charge generation for something as Frankenstein-esque as vitamin B12 is the north face of Everest, that next simulation is simply a matter of having atom codes in your PDB file standardized.

And, speaking of PDBs, article #50 has the added bonus of having its own entry in the Protein Databank as 2NA5 – quite a treat (to me, anyway).

And furthermore, this is the first of my publications to benefit from the Research Computing infrastructure on the Syracuse University campus – the throughput of calculations for future work is completely unprecedented in my history of resource access anywhere (the drop in storage prices is very real to some of us).

2016oct5_fig_4_b12_pyy_front_v2

Authors: Henry K.E., Kerwood D.J., Allis D.G., Workinger J.L., Bonaccorso R.L., Holz G.G., Roth C.L., Zubieta J., and Doyle R.P.

Abstract: Vitamin B12–peptide conjugates have considerable therapeutic potential through improved pharmacokinetic and/or pharmacodynamic properties imparted on the peptide upon covalent attachment to vitamin B12 (B12). There remains a lack of structural studies investigating the effects of B12 conjugation on peptide secondary structure. Determining the solution structure of a B12–peptide conjugate or conjugates and measuring functions of the conjugate(s) at the target peptide receptor may offer considerable insight concerning the future design of fully optimized conjugates. This methodology is especially useful in tandem with constrained molecular dynamics (MD) studies, such that predictions may be made about conjugates not yet synthesized. Focusing on two B12 conjugates of the anorectic peptide PYY(3–36), one of which was previously demonstrated to have improved food intake reduction compared with PYY(3–36), we performed NMR structural analyses and used the information to conduct MD simulations. The study provides rare structural insight into vitamin B12 conjugates and validates the fact that B12 can be conjugated to a peptide without markedly affecting peptide secondary structure.