Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pioneering vet gives cat new prosthetic feet

Timt49 sent this to me in an email. It looks weird, but it works.

Partial Lunar Eclipse Photos

Well, it cleared up nicely here and I managed to get up about 4am to grab a few photos. Of course, being at 4am, I wasn't at my most coherent and looking back at what I got, I could have played with some settings more and probably gotten better results. Still, they aren't a disaster so here goes.

My first shot was overexposed. Being 4am, I instantly started reducing exposure times and got no more good shots like this. In hindsight, I like this shot since you can see the reddened eclipsed side of the Moon even though the lit side is overexposed. I should have experimented more with this type of shot. It was 4am...that's my story and I sticking to it.

This shot exposes the lit side of the Moon a little bit better. Look closely and you can see some craters, rays and maria.

And I wrapped up the night trying to get an interesting tree in the foreground. I need to invest in a flash with a little more kick to really make this work better (could have done longer exposure or bumped up the ISO but wasn't thinking clearly because, well, you know).

A good dry run for the big total lunar eclipse later this year!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Well, that's one way to sell tires.

Tires. Yup. That's what this is about.

Gotta love Nanna

Great Time to See the International Space Station

The next few days have an unusually large number of passes of the International Space Station. Every now and again, its orbit lines up with Earth's terminator (the line between day and night). When this happens, every pass of the ISS is visible because it is always in sunlight! Usually, you get one pass per night, maybe two if you are really lucky. Some places are getting up to five passes a night!

For beginners, go to Heavens Above to find when the ISS will be visible. You can find your location from the database, select it by clicking on a map or typing in your GPS coordinates. You can then click the ISS link to see when it is visible. Remember that lower numbers mean a brighter pass (a -3 pass is very bright, a -1 pass is not as bright but still impressive).

The ISS will appear as a very steady light moving across the sky. Be sure to sync your watch to the official time before you go out. Heavens Above gives you the direction to look and the time. Enjoy!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

California Welfare Cards Used at Casinos

"California welfare recipients withdrew $1.8 million at casino ATMs over eight months" -,0,1615510.story

I guess we should be happy that Wisconsin's Quest cards aren't used like this - yet.

Four for Fridays

Hello Everyone! It's Friday already? I could barely tell now, seeing I'm on vacation. The day are starting blend together. Anyways, this week's questions are kind of random about summer.

1) What is your favorite summer activity?

2) What is your favorite summer refreshment?

3) Are there festivals you go to?

4) Micheal Jackson died a year ago today. Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

Open Blog - Weekend Version

Good ol' Snoopy...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


For those that didn't watch the game, here it is...the goal that won the group and sent the U.S. onto the next round.

Now to get a little vengance on Ghana for that game in the 2006 World Cup!

Let Man's Petty Nations Tear Themselves Apart...

I recently bought the concert version of the musical Chess. Chess was originally recorded as a concept album in 1984 with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by the two guys from ABBA. There have been many versions of it throughout the years telling the story of world chess championships.

All versions have one thing in common: at one point, the Russian (who plays for the Soviet Union in some versions but Russia in others depending on the time they were done) defects to the west. He sings the song Anthem when asked how he can leave his homeland. The song was performed by Josh Groban in the recent concert version.

Now that is a song of pride in your homeland. I love cranking the stereo and belting that out...I am not thinking of the USSR or Russia. That song can show pride in any country.

Book 22

Is best known for the Song of Solomon, or the one place in the Bible that sex is good. But a lot of Christians aren't quite so comfortable with the seedier sides of sex these days, but still might want to purchase quality sex toys without dodging seedy shops frequented by questionable characters.

Enter Book 22, the online Christian sex toy shop. No graphic pictures and euphimisms abound. And you can be assured they pray over items before they are added to the site.

All I can say is Oh God!

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my woeful water lilies! How are you? Are you keeping dry? That’s becoming more and more difficult to do these days. The National Weather Service says that we can finally wring ourselves out after today, but we’ve all heard that song from them before. Those people give the rest of us in the prediction industry a bad name. If I was wrong as often as they are, I would be out of business before you could say, “Partly cloudy.” I know how difficult it is to read Mother Nature’s moods; that’s why I don’t even try. I do wonder, though how much one of those big shot meteorologists on TV makes. Ms. kk suggested last week that I get into weather forecasting. I suppose I could stand in front of a camera and make up predictions, too. I would do it with a Madame Zoltar twist: “Hello, my delightful dearies! How are you? Today I predict beautiful weather with balmy temperatures, sunny skies, soothing breezes, and a tall, dark, handsome stranger entering your life.” Oh my.

I would like to once again express my gratitude to the SC Johnson Company for coming to the rescue of Racine’s Dr. Laurel Clark Memorial Fountain. Preparing and maintaining the fountain for children’s play is a wonderful act of kindness from a company known for its generosity. Racine is fortunate to be home to such a fine corporation. I understand that Mr. Fisk Johnson took a personal interest in the plight of the fountain. Thank you, sir, for intervening on behalf of Racine’s children. May good fortune continue to bless you and yours. (And if you’d like to guarantee that, I am available for private consultations, at very reasonable rates. My prices do not rise with my clients’ incomes.)

While I’m on my soap box, I’d also like to address another issue that has concerned me lately: motorists and bicyclists. Please, everybody, please be careful out there! The good weather and plethora of things to do, along with the health and energy conscious consciences of the younger generation, have brought a multitude of bicycles to Racine’s streets and roadways, some of which were already congested at places and times. Everyone needs to watch out and be aware of each other. Motorcycles get into the mix during fair weather, too. I narrowly averted two separate accidents with bicyclists yesterday, and I’m still shaking. One ran a stop sign and the other ran a red light. But many is the time I’ve seen motorists cut off or ignore bicyclists. When I’ve been out for a spin on my bicycle, you wouldn’t believe the filthy things that have been shouted at me and/or the objects thrown at me. A few times I have barely managed to keep myself from casting the dreaded Zoltar® Curse™ on a car full of idiots. In any case, we need to respect each other and remember that we are dealing with human beings on our streets, not “the enemy.”

Finally, here’s an interesting little clip that involves a Segway (kind of a motorized bicycle) and a Zoltar fortune telling booth:

To find out all you’d ever want to know about that contraption (including how to build your own), check out: You can even follow Zoltar_Speaks on Twitter at All I can say about that, my dears, is whatever my ex “speaks,” I guarantee you it is lies. Oh my, so true!

Thank you everyone, irregular and otherwise, for taking a few moments to read my blog today. I can sense when others are pondering my writings, and it makes me feel warm and loved. I want to do whatever I can to return those feelings to all of you. Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you. Don’t forget, you can always contact me at:

National Weather Service, Schmnational Weather Service, the sun is going to shine soon, I predict, in more ways than one. May the light enfold us all. Just not blistering heat and smothering humidity, OK, Mother Nature? OK? Are you listening? Isotherm!

Open Blog - Wednesday

Just in case you were wondering where all this rain is coming from.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cala Boca Galva!

This enigmatic phrase appeared on Twitter during the World Cup last week. Instantly, everyone wanted to know what it means. It came from Brazil, and means Shut up, Galva! It is directed at one of the sports announcers on Brazilian television (much like my harping on the winter Olypmics).

But did the Brazilians on Twitter tell people what it meant? Of course not! Those crazy Brazilians started spreading false info. The first one they spread is that it was a new Lady Gaga song. Problem is, there is no Lady Gaga song of that name. Fortunately, the crafty Brazilians promptly created no fewer than half a dozen videos on youtube in the style of Lady Gaga that incorporated Cala Boca Galva! See the sample below.

Now they couldn't stop at one hoax now, could they. The second reference is that it is a campaign to save a rare Brazilian bird. Each time you tweet, 10 cents will be donated to save the Galva. They even made a promotional video for that campaign as well.

And no good meme would be complete without the obligatory Hitler video.

Hope that stays up...Youtube has taken down lots of the Hitler parody videos using this scene recently due to the DMCA nonsense.

Almost makes me wish I had tweeted "Shut up, Costas!" during the Winter Olympics!

Bats and Bats!

I was out this evening near a bridge that crosses over the Pantano Wash on Broadway here in Tucson and snapped a pic (as usual, click to embiggen).
This might just look like another sunset picture with Venus. However, if we zoom in close on the bottom, something else pops up.
Look closely and you can see some faint dark streaks on the image. Those are bats. I had to take a few tenths of a second exposure to get the image and they were flying pretty fast so they show up as dark streaks (I didn't have a tripod with me so I handheld this...blurring the image slightly in spite of an image stabilized lens).

Bats are pretty common here. About 30-40 minutes after sunset, you can watch them start streaming out from underneath lots of the bridges here. There were probably about a dozen people there watching them tonight. I have seen them before, this just happens to be the first time I had my camera with me and tried to see if I could get any images of them. Estimates of the number of bats per bridge range from 10,000-40,000. This bridge is believed to have one of the bigger colonies (but not the biggest which is the bridge over the Rillito River on Campbell Ave, but that one is way across town!)

Here is one more pic of them, but without Venus.