Target Gift Cards Available NOW!!

Yes, you read that correctly, we have added a new cashout option to our website and it goes by a little name of Target.  Just in time for the holiday season, we thought we’d go ahead and do our best to make your shopping a little bit easier. Now, along with Paypal Dwolla and Amazon, you can choose to redeem your points from us via a wide array of options.

“How does the new Target option work?” you might ask.

The same way the Amazon card does, but via Target’s online shopping store.

“Can I use it in the store?”

no, but you can always choose to order online, and then pick it up in a store of your choice.”

“How quickly can I try this?”

if you have 1000 pts – Right Now!

So, with Black Friday quickly approaching (check out all of targets Black Friday deals here - http://www.target.com/c/target-black-friday/-/N-5q0f2) we encourage you to try our new Payment Option – Target.

 

Lunar Eclipse Alert!

The full moon will turn red for half of the world when Wednesday’s lunar eclipse occurs, but some Americans and Asians could be treated to an extra helping of astronomical weirdness — the sight of an eclipsed moon sharing the sky with the sun.

Just seeing a lunar eclipse is a treat: This is the second in a “tetrad” series of four such events, spread over the course of 18 months. The first in the series took place in April; this time, the best seats in the house are in western North America, east Asia, Australia and the Pacific.

Technically, the show gets under way at 4:15 a.m. ET Wednesday when the edge of the moon just starts to dip into the lightest zone of Earth’s shadow, known as the penumbra. But the viewing doesn’t get good until at least an hour later, when the darker part of the shadow (the umbra) begins to creep across the moon’s disk.

The climax comes between 6:25 and 7:25 a.m. ET, during the eclipse’s total phase. That’s when the sun, moon and Earth are positioned so that our planet blocks nearly all the sunlight heading in the moon’s direction.

The term “nearly” is key: Earth’s atmosphere should refract the sun’s rays just enough to throw a reddish, sunset-like glow onto the moon’s darkened disc. The precise shade depends on atmospheric conditions: Sometimes it’s so ruddy that skywatchers call it a “blood moon” — which is apt for Halloween season.

What Is a Blood Moon?

Skywatchers in the eastern United States (and other regions of the world, including a slice of Asia, Australia and the Pacific) could get in on the strange sun-plus-moon sight.

When you consider that the sun and the moon are on precisely opposite sides of our planet during a lunar eclipse, it may seem geometrically impossible for an earthly observer to see both celestial bodies at the same time. However, the refraction effect means light can be bent enough to place the sun on one side of the sky, and the darkened moon on the other.

This effect is known as selenelion — pronounced “sell-a-NELL-ion,” to rhyme with “hellion” (though “sell-a-NEEL-ion” may be an alternate). To see it, you have to be at just the right place at the right time. For Americans, that’s when the moon is setting and the sun is rising.

“It’s a phenomenon that’s barely possible,” said Michael Zeiler, who has charted scores of eclipses as the curator of Eclipse-Maps.com. “Besides being in the right location, you have to have the right conditions. Those right conditions require that you be at a high point, with an excellent view toward the horizon to the east and the west, and have transparent sky conditions to see both the sun and the moon.”

Image: Eclipse mapSKY & TELESCOPE

This map shows where Wednesday’s lunar eclipse will (and won’t) be vlsible. The transition zones are where it’s theoretically possible to see the eclipsed moon and the sun at the same time.

Specifically for the United States and Canada, East Coast residents from Newfoundland to the Carolinas could see the sun rise as the totally eclipsed moon sets. That’s a hard observation to make, because the moon will be so dim in the daylight. Moon-watching binoculars are advised. (But don’t use them to look at the sun!)

Farther inland, Midwesterners could see the rising sun and the partially eclipsed moon together in the sky. This map from Sky & Telescope gives you an idea what you can see where, and the U.S. Naval Observatory can fill you in on the times for moonset and sunrise in your locale. If you’re in one of the eclipse transition zones, and if sunrise precedes moonset, there’s a chance of seeing selenelion.

If you miss out, don’t despair. Even Zeiler couldn’t quite catch the climactic moment when he watched a lunar eclipse from Los Alamos, N.M., in 2011.

 “I missed it by 10 minutes or so,” he recalled. “I was just a little too far east, but I gave it the old college try.”
Image: SelenelionMICHAEL ZEILER

Michael Zeiler’s multiple-exposure image shows the lunar eclipse of Dec. 10, 2011, just as it was nearing its total phase. At the same time that the moon was setting in Los Alamos, N.M., the sun was just about to rise.

If you’re located on the part of the globe that will totally miss seeing the eclipsed moon in the sky — a wide stretch that includes Europe, the Middle East and Africa — you can still get in on the fun online. The same goes for those who have cloudy skies. Here are four promising prospects:

  • NASA will offer a live Ustream video feed of the eclipse, plus a Web chatwith moon experts. The chat begins at 3 a.m. ET and continues until sunrise. NASA also says it’s planning a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” event as a warmup for the eclipse at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday.
  • The Coca-Cola Space Science Center at Columbus State University in Georgia has scheduled a skywatching webcast that begins at 3:30 a.m. ET.
  • The Slooh virtual observatory will feature live feeds from Australia and North America during a webcast that begins at 5 a.m. ET. EarthSky.org’s Deborah Byrd will be among Slooh’s guest commentators.
  • The Virtual Telescope Project will share views from astrophotographers in Australia, New Zealand, Panama, Canada and the United States, starting at 6 a.m. ET.

After the eclipse, you can bet that photographers will be posting pictures to SpaceWeather.com and other websites. Want to try it yourself? For detailed tips, check out Bob King’s guide to lunar eclipse photography at Universe Today.

A Celebration of Autumn

Fall has always been our favorite season here at Mintvine. We love the weather it brings, the colors, the holidays, and even the endless amount of Christmas shopping commercials it brings along with it. This year, to celebrate the beginning of Fall, we though we’d give you a list of some of our favorite things, as well as some cool facts about Autumn.

The Dates of Autumn

There is no fixed time period for the season of Autumn. It can shift from year to year. This is because the earth’s orbit is not perfect. Although most people are not aware of it, the first day and last day of autumn generally shift about 24 hours every year. The beginning of Fall generally falls between September 21 and September 23 depending on the year. This day is known as the fall equinox. On this day the amount of sun and the amount of night are equal, which is the same as the Spring equinox. The last day of Autumn falls on December 21 to December 23.

Standing an Egg

There are only two days of the year when you can stand an egg on end. One of these days falls on the first day of autumn. To do this you will need and egg. It does not have to be hard-boiled. Place the egg on a hard flat surface on its largest end. Carefully pull your hands away and it should remain upright. This can only be done on the spring and fall equinox.

Why Do Leaves Fall Off

Leaves are the energy generators for plants. By using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide and chlorophyll they create food for the tree. The trees then pass oxygen into the air. The reason that the leaves change color is due to the shortening of the days. As this occurs the leaves begin to produce less chlorophyl and change color. Many people think that the leaves turn color but this is not true. The leaves are actually the colors we see in the fall. The reason that the leaves are green is because they are full of chlorophyll.

Thanksgiving

The American holiday of Thanksgiving always comes in November. despite the amount of weeks in the month of November Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of the month. This becomes interesting because it can actually affect the Christmas shopping season. If the Month only has four Thursdays the traditional Christmas season can be reduced up to six days for that season. But just as it shortens the shopping season it can also ass the same amount of days.

Animals Hibernate

Toward the end of the season, depending on where you live, mammals and reptiles will begin to prepare for the winter. Animals such as bears, groundhogs and other small mammals will fatten up for the long winter months. They will select a secluded place where they will be able to stay warm and dry and then sleep through cold months when food is scarce. many cold-blooded reptiles will perform the same act. Frogs and snake will find a warm comfortable spot and sleep until the spring thaw. Certain birds are also migratory and will begin to move south as the weather cools the water and causes plants that they use as food to die off. As the lakes in the north freeze Canadian Geese will leave their summer homes in Canada and use one of the many flight ways in the United States to reach warmer climates.

Comfort for Allergy Sufferers

Many people suffer from allergies that are based on pollen and mold spores from plants. As the plants slow down their creation of chlorophyll they also reduce the number of spores and pollen they create. This alleviates the potential for more severe allergy attacks. It is generally felt that the first hard frost kills the leaves completely and stops all production of spores and pollen. The ushering of the cool weather is a sign of relief for those who suffer from allergies.

It Is Not Fall All Over the World

The earth is tilted on its axis and that is what gives us our traditional four seasons. It is because of this tilt that not all area’s of the earth experience the autumn in the same months. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa The months of September, October and November are actually spring. This is because the tilt of the earth causes these regions to actually be closer to the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere the sun’s rays are not hitting the planet as direct as they do in the south.

Harvest Festivals

Fall is the time of harvest for communities in the northern hemisphere. Depending on where you are located there is usually some sort of fall festival that occurs. One tradition is the Thanksgiving tradition in the United States. One of the other well-known festivals is the German Oktober Fest. the entire month of October is dedicated to celebrating the harvest. The largest of these festivals is held in Munich Germany. The fruits of the harvest are eaten and displayed along with the eating of certain types of sausages that are aged through the summer.

 

What to know for the MLB Playoffs

Summer’s over. We’ve already covered that. But with the end of summer comes the beginning of “America’s favorite pastime”. The last week of September means that part of the year people remember to start caring about Baseball. But because MintVine is an international network, this isn’t going to be an in-depth analysis of the upcoming Postseason, but more of a guideline for how it works and a introduction to what is going to happen.

So, diehards (unless you need a refresher on the newly created playoffs system) and season-ticket holders please do not be offended for what follows.

The baseball playoffs begin after the 162-game season, typically in the first full week of October.

Ten teams make the playoffs – five each in the American and National Leagues. The three division champs and two wild cards – the two teams with the best records that do not win a division – qualify for the postseason.

History of the Playoffs

The first World Series was played in 1903, and the winners of the American League and National League met in what was first a best-of-nine series, then a best-of-seven series two years later. When the AL and NL split into two divisions in 1969, the ALCS and NLCS were formed and four teams made the playoffs. When the leagues adopted a six-division alignment in 1994, another round of playoffs was created with the Division Series. A fifth team from each league was added to the playoffs before the 2012 season.

Tiebreakers

If there is a tie for any of the divisions or the wild card, there is a one-game playoff the day after the season to determine the team that advances.

If there is a tie for a division and the losing team is assured of winning a wild card, there is no one-game playoff and the team that won the season series between the teams is named the division champion. If the teams split their season series equally, the team with the better record within the division wins the title. And if they’re still tied, the team with the better record in the final 81 games is declared the winner. If they’re still tied, that scenario is extended back to 82 games, 83 games, 84 games, etc.

Division Series (ALDS and NLDS)

Beginning in 2012, a second wild card team was added. Prior to that, there had been just one wild card team in each league – the team with the best record that didn’t win their division.

Now the two wild-card teams play each other in a winner-take-all game two days after the regular season ends. The winner of that game advances to the Division Series to face the No. 1 seed.

The Division Series is a best-of-five series. The team with the best overall record gets the top seed and home-field advantage in the playoffs. It hosts Games 1, 2 and 5 in the Division Series round. The team with the second-best record will hosts Games 1, 2 and 5 in its series. But in 2012 only, it will be a 2-3 format, with the team with home-field advantage hosting games 3, 4 and 5.

League Championship Series (ALCS and NLCS)

The winners of the Division Series then advance to the best-of-seven American League and National League Championship Series. The team with the best record of the remaining teams will have home-field advantage. In the event that a wild-card team has the better record than the other qualifying team that is a division champion, the division champion still gets the advantage and hosts Games 1, 2, 6 and 7.

 

World Series

The winners of the ALCS and NLCS advance to the World Series. Home-field advantage in the World Series is determined by the winning league in the All-Star Game.