What would you do if the government charged you $100 tax every time you had sex (at the end of every month a sex tax auditor visits your home and makes the collection)?I would be entitled to claim back a refund due to lack of useâ â â â â âWhat are some good potluck dishes to bring to an office potluck at the end of the month?how about a nice basket of home made muffins or biscuts. sausage scalopini tuna casseroleâ â â â â âI'm moving to Switzerland at the end of this month, what should i know about Switzerland in general?No one writes cheques/checks. Speeding is very expensive. Train is only slightly less expensive, but do get a 1/2-price card (Or a Generalabonnement). You have to recycle paper, cardboard, glass and PET plastic. You probably have to compost. You probably have to pay to throw anything else out. Do not worry about the German, no one speaks "good" German and they wo not expect you to know Swiss-German. Do not lose your keys. Sign up now for all the laundry you plan to do in 2007, or your neighbours wo not give you the chance. Say "Greuzi" when you pass anyone on the street, "Greuzi mitenand" for a group. (Well, that's in Zurich, I mean that's how it's said in Zurich, it's not normally said on the streets of Zurich, but in the small towns yes and in shops. In Bern it might be Grussi but I am not sure.) That yellow eye sticker on the train means you will have to pay big bucks if you do not have a pass or ticket. (If the train does not have a yellow eye you can buy a ticket on the train.) If there's a sign in the park that you think says it closes at lunchtime, you are not reading it wrong, it really does. I am not sure, but it might be illegal not to go to the mountains every Sunday.â â â â â âANYONE HERE A NORDSTROM FANATIC!?There is no free shipping code. The level 2 card holders are charged shipping and then it is refunded on their credit statement at the end of the month. Call a store to order your items. if they do not have it in stock, they can order it and it will be free shippingâ â â â â âIs there an eclipse or something happening at the end of this month that won't happen again in our lifetime?Not an eclipse. It is a hoax e-mail going around suggesting that the close approach ("perihelic opposition") of Mars and Earth of 27 August 2003 (see the CNN News story below) will occur THIS 27th August, 2006. It wo not ! Such perihelic oppositions occur once every 26 months, The Martian Year is 1.88 Earth Years so when we have done 2 and a bit orbits Mars has done 1 and a bit orbits and we are close together again. Therefore, after an August 2003 Close Encounter, the next one was in October 2005 (and the suggestion of October, above refers to 2005 not 2006) and the next after that is not until December 2007, There is no close approach this year. Central to the hoax going around is the Baron Von Munchausen attention-grabbing story that Mars will look as big as our Moon. Poppycock! You have picked this up because people repeat what the hoaxers have told them without questioning it. Which would you rather believe: an anonymous, unsolicited e-mail or the official NASA website? I went to NASA's Kids Website which told me: "View in 2006 Mars begins the year as a moderately bright orange star in the constellation Aries. It will grow fainter through the end of summer, when it will disappear in the Sun's glare. Mars will re-emerge in the morning sky in late December. In March, it will pass quite close to Aldebaran, the star that marks the "eye" of Taurus, the bull. Mars and Aldebaran will look like twins, with near-identical color and brightness." You do not need to be a genius to work out that if it is getting fainter it is getting further away, and if it is disappearing into the sun's glare that can only be because it is on the far side of the sun from us i.e. Mars' position in its orbit is 180 degrees away from our position in our orbit and we are pretty well the maximum possible distance apart in August 2006. If you know (and you can easily look this up) that the Martian Year is 1.88 Earth Years then again you do not have to be a genius to work out that the one time it WON'T be near to us is an exact number of twelvemonths since the last-but-one time it was close to us in August 2003, We will be in roughly the same place as we were 3 years ago, but Mars will only have done approx 1,6 orbits (1.5957 in fact) around the sun in that time, which explains why it is now on the far side of the sun and at about the farthest distance away it gets, The absurd idea that Mars could possibly look the same size as the Moon can easily be refuted. At its closest approach it is 35 million miles away, whereas the Moon averages 238,000 miles away i.e. the distances are in ratio >140:1. The diameters are in ratio 2:1 however (Mars has a diameter of 6780 kms and the Moon of 3474 kms) and so the areas of the discs they present to the naked eye are in ratio 4:1 (pi R^2: pi r^2, where R = 2r) So, think about it: how can the number of arc seconds that Mars' disc presents to the naked eye possibly be the same as the number of arc seconds that the Moon's disc presents? If the disc is 4 times the size of the Moon's disc, Mars would have to be only four times as far away as the Moon, i.e. less than a million miles away, for that to happen. and (a) that never happens (b) If it did happen, you would soon know about it as giant tidal waves caused by Mars' gravity would sweep the Earth, making the Tsunamai look like a Sunday School picnic. So not only can you look it up on reputable websites to discover this is nonsense, you can also work it out for yourself that it must be nonsense. Much closer to the truth is that next March Mars will look about the same size and brightness as Aldebaran, in Taurus, the 13th brightest star in the sky, And they are both red. They will be a matched pair, but Mars and the Moon will never be one. HERE IS THE STORY CNN CARRIED IN 2003 Earthlings revel in Mars close-up Planetary approach is nearest in 60,000 years By Richard Stenger and Jeordan Legon CNN Thursday, August 28, 2003 The last time the red planet was this close to Earth 60,000 years ago, man lived in caves. No wonder when Mars and Earth synchronized their orbits a few minutes before 6 a.m. EDT Wednesday -- bringing them closer to each other than at any time in recorded history -- thousands of people around the globe went outside to take a peek. "Knowing that this is once in a lifetime that I can see another planet with the naked eye, yeah, it's great," said Rebecca Horton, a stargazer from Sydney, Australia. Astronomers say Mars, five times closer now than six months ago, is about 34.6 million miles away, making it the brightest nighttime object except the moon. "It is possible to get some fairly close encounters every few years," said amateur astronomer Paul Shallow. "It does come around, but not this close." But with the far-away planet getting so close, some hopeful watchers felt gypped by Mother Nature. In Oakland, California, where hundreds of space fans paid $11 to attend the Chabot Space & Science Center's "Mars Mania Costume Party," clouds rolled in along with night sky Tuesday. Mars was fogged out, and there were no refunds. But the good news is that Mars will remain a stunning nighttime attraction for weeks. Most sky watchers can see the planet, presently in the constellation Aquarius, in the southeastern sky soon after sunset, high overhead during the midnight hours and in the southwestern sky before sunrise. Backyard telescopes may coax features out of the reddish, orange blur, including dark, mottled streaks, which inspired scientists of past centuries to envision intricate canals and advanced Martian civilizations. The rare configuration of 2003 has stoked renewed, albeit not as fanciful, interest in Mars, which on average cruises 50 million miles farther from the sun than Earth does. About every 26 months, the two planets pass relatively close to one another, during periods now known as opposition. What makes this one noteworthy is that Mars, which follows an extremely elliptical or egg-shaped path, is currently at it closest point to the sun during its orbit. Those two conditions, along with a few obscure celestial variables, have produced an astronomical chance of a lifetime, or several lifetimes actually. Mars wo not pass closer to Earth until 2287, according to astronomers. Besides awing the curious, the alignment has motivated numerous governments to dispatch missions to the red planet. Taking advantage of the shorter trip distance, two U.S. and two European probes set off earlier this year, all to arrive at the end of the year. "Mars fever has caught, not only for amateur astronomers, who are getting their best look at the planet ever and that we will ever have in our life, but also for professionals, as you know, with the [NASA] Mars Rovers and other spacecraft that are en route," said David Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine."