Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rainbows and Polarizing Filters

I got a polarizing filter for my camera several months ago. This being Tucson, it took a long time before I finally got a rainbow to try it out on. So here are three pictures I snapped on Wednesday night.

The first picture is unfiltered.

The second one is with the the polarizing filter rotated to enhance the rainbow as much as possible.

The third picture has the filter rotated 90 degrees from the second which totally blocks the rainbow.

There is another interesting effect going on here. Notice there are rays some light rays that appear to be going through the rainbow. Also notice that the rainbow is not continuous, this one is broken due to the pattern of rain. In a normal rainbow, the area inside the rainbow is brightened and outside the rainbow is darker (actually, the darker area is between the primary and secondary this case, the secondary rainbow was too dark to see. This dark area between the rainbows is called Alexander's Band). So where you have a bright part of this rainbow, you get a bright band beneath it. Where there is no rainbow, you get a dark area beneath it, hence the rays.

I'll keep looking for more rainbows in those later afternoon thunderstorms as our rainy season picks up and try to get some more pics that show Alexander's Band and other phenomena.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Another Green Flash

I went out tonight hoping to catch a glimpse of Comet McNaught after sunset. The comet proved elusive (I knew it would be tough) but I got there a little early and managed to zoom in and get another set of green flash pictures. Not a particularly impressive one, but I am getting better at catching the subtle ones.

As always, click to embiggen. I think this is probably an inferior mirage flash (a mock mirage flash usually needs cool air beneath you and I don't think there was any cool air around here today!)

Once again proving you don't need to be looking over water to catch a green flash...although I guess technically the Pacific Ocean is about 400 miles out in that direction.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Four for Fridays

Hello everyone! Wow! The fourth of July weekend is finally here! And yes, I'm still on vacation! This week's question's are about the Forth.

1) So what are your plans for this weekend?

2) Do you have any July 4th traditions?

3) What did you do last year for the 4th?

4) What does Independence Day mean to you?

ENJOY your weekend!!!

Politics Take a Holiday

Don't we all wish! Well, you can at least laugh at them a little with the Capitol Steps. The Capitol Steps started as a group of singing Congressional pages at a Christmas party for Charles Percy back in, I think 1982 is how the legend goes. They have kept at it for the last 28 years churning out song after song and a couple dozen albums (including their most recent titled "Liberal Shop of Horrors" which gives you an idea of their level of humor).

In addition to posting a free weekly song on their web site, four times a year they do a radio show. One of those times is the Fourth of July. iTunes just picked up their show and I listened to it at the gym this morning. You can find it on iTunes (for free) or directly at their website. You can hear Obama finally get mad about the oil spill, learn about the true nature of the Barack/Hillary relationship, hear how the Right Will Fight and, perhaps most traumatically, hear the creation of Al Gore's new personal ad.

There is something to offend everyone here...and something to make you laugh at a politician who you think richly deserves a little ridicule.

You are all invited.....

I would like to invite each and every one of you to the annual Sturtevant 3rd of July festival and fireworks show at Fireman's Park. It will be a warm and beautiful day to celebrate independence and the joys of being an American. The festival starts at 2:00. The Unified Show Band, the Great Lakes Navy Band and the Britins will be playing, and the fireworks will go off at dusk. There is NO CHARGE to attend, parking is $5.00. This is a family friendly event, food and beverages available from local vendors. No alcohol carry-ins please. If you are going, find me. I haven't met most of you and I would like too. Just look for the big guy doing parking, or ask someone in the event staff shirts where I am. Happy Independence Day Everyone!

China Photos - The Real Red

A place south west of Kunming, Capital city of Yunnan Province. Because of remoteness and lack of infra structure and lodging etc. This place is not listed in the tourist map of China.

The red land of the eastern river is a place where one almost can not find it in China's tourist maps. Even if there is, it has only a few words to introduce it.

It is located in the southwestern part of KUNMING, 2600 ft. above sea level, a remote area. Because of its lack of infrastructure, transportation problem, inadequate lodging facilities. Ordinary travel agency would not think of going there. Even the people living there are not so aware or familiar with its existing beauty.

But for those who have seen the pictures of the Red land , no one can resist being attracted to its beautiful scenery! Just like a painting of a great magnificent landscape.

Because the soil contains such components as oxidized Iron, etc kind of metallic minerals. after a long period of oxidation , gradually added and mixed in the soil that produced this extra-ordinary reddish brown soil.

Here in this place, Mountains and hills , every inch of land are cultivated and planted to the maximum by the inhabitants, Consequently causing unwanted damage to the place... erosion.

Just like Taiwan, How long could this magnificent phenomenon exist? We do not know. That's why there is an advocacy of returning to forestry.

Narration is by the person who wrote it, photos by Tsungwei. I’m guessing on the photographer, but that is the name on ever picture.

Open Blog - Weekend Version

Friday's child is loving and giving . . .

Thursday, July 1, 2010

District 11

District 9 is where they kept the aliens when they landed in South Africa...what about the World Cup Soccer fans? What became of them?

Eagle Wisconsin Tornado Damage

Pictures Stolen from

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When Winning Isn't a Motivation...

Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing goes the saying attributed to Vince Lombardi. But in some cases, winning isn't what drives a person.

I just got an email about my employer's wellness program. They have been doing this all year. They have certain wellness events such as health seminars, on site yoga, chair massages (okay, those I can get behind!) etc. You are supposed to keep track on a calendar and get points for prizes.

One of the schools I taught at did a similar thing. You kept track of your physical activity on a calendar and got points for all your exercise. I run, lift weights, bike, etc. so everyone told me I should enter because I would win.

I never did and I am not currently keeping track of my "points" here. That's not why I keep in shape. I do it because I enjoy my workouts (even in the hot summer...season just changed here as the wind shifted on Monday and now it is getting brutally hot even at 6am.) I "win" by doing what I love. Don't get me wrong, I can be competitive, but I will save that spirit for the upcoming Fourth of July 5k Race!

If they have an event I want to participate in, I will, but not for the points. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to make a reservation for my next chair massage!

Fungi for Fungi

I was in South Carolina last week and took these pictures just for our Fungi. Enjoy. Yeah, I know, the snail isn't of the same ilk!
Had a devil of a time with Comcast going down all am publishing it before they screw with me again~