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.

Joke O' The Day


There has been a report of vandalism and theft at the Racine Police Department. It appears that someone broke into the restroom area overnight and completely removed all the fixtures. The on-duty police captain stated to this JTI reporter... "We have absolutely nothing to go on!"

(I heard this joke on the radio this morning and had to personalize and share it)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where Do You Fit?

My brush with presidential greatness blog turned up some emotion. I hope we are all still talking???

With the Fourth of July impending and what that means to us as Americans, It got me thinking....

There are some who say that we should do away with the dual party platform in politics-- that it tends to hold us back instead of move us forward. If you think about it, when something is proposed by Democratic majority, the Republican's do their best to shoot it down. The same goes in reverse. To protect their party, it seems that failure on one side is a victory to the other.... This mentality has pushed pork barrel politics to new levels (tacking on crap special interest spending as a way to achieve cross party voting) and has stalemated many tremendous and beneficial proposals.

At the risk of getting more undies in a bundle, I remember a government class using this quiz as a means of discussion and to get students thinking about what their values are, and why it is important to get out and vote. Even though it is old-ish, I took it again this morning. No surprises there... I'm an entrenched liberal. Sorry, conservative friends. Love me as I am or leave me! :)

The numbers of young people who are eligible to vote vs. those who actually do get informed and vote are drastically poor. Unfortunately, no one seems to be happy with politics as it is. The underhanded attack methods and ugliness used for promoting candidates turns off many who might opt to get involved.

Here is the url for the test. Post your results if you wish.... or hide like the cowards that you are! :D

p.s. I will still love you guys no matter how stupid you are! ;>

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

Racine's Brush with the Presidency

I made it clear, I would not attend the hoopla of the presidential visit to Memorial Hall. I did pass through downtown between 11-11:30 am today. The impending visit was well noted. Huge, orange city trucks parked diagonally blocked off the venue, I assume to prevent car bombings. What a world we live in.

On my drive home, I saw the proposed route mapped by blockades and police officers to each and every side street along Hwy. 20. It dawned upon me that this is a historic day for Racine, and I should at least make some effort to see the motorcade.... (at least to share what I can with my irregular friends.)

Well, I'm home and the president is on WRJN radio, speaking from Memorial Hall. Isn't the internet amazing? I saw his motorcade blaze past me not 20 minutes ago.

In front of the audience, he is casual and humorous, speaking of stopping along the way to pick up a Kringle. (that is confirmed, callers to the radio station said the motorcade went down Ohio Street to Durand.) Shoot! I probably could have walked to Pritchard Park to see a better show. Ohio is pretty torn up, they would have had to drive a little slower. Even the president must endure road construction season in Wisconsin! ;>

I arrived at my viewing spot at Washington Avenue and Cleveland at approximately 12:30pm. People lined the street the entire route. All side roads were blocked off of Washington Avenue, with sheriffs and police with barricades at every corner. I believe someone posted and mentioned the cost to the city; That cost was evident with the security that abounded.

There was a red helicopter that circled overhead shortly before his arrival. The motorcade happened faster than I could snap pictures... or before my brain could process the whole thing.

It began with a long, long line of motorcycles riding 2 abreast with lights flashing. Following that, were assorted SUV type vehicles
.. all with very dark tinted windows.

Then came
the limo. I think I paused in the picture snapping as it swerved to my side of the street. Following the limo, there was still a multitude of vehicles, some with windows rolled down. You could see some of the "no funny business" weapons they sported inside those vehicles. Impressive! There was also an armored vehicle. And then it was over.

I'm pretty sure I stopped snapping and tried to wave. I gave the flag I brought to a young boy next to me to wave so I could handle the camera.

As I walked back to my car, I was hoping I took some good pictures. Alas, the celeb effect got to me. I think I was waving, not snapping as the
limo went directly by. I think it is on the right, in the 4th picture, shortly before it swerved to the south side of the street in front of me. Oh well, we've all seen black limos before....The windows were up and there was no way anyone could see inside anyways.

I am still listening to him speak, as I type. I like the way he speaks. I generally like what he says and how he says it. I might not agree with every step he has taken so far in his presidency, but I appreciate that he is willing to try to take control of a country that was spinning out of control.

I can not even fathom the stress, worry and headache that must come with such a thankless and yet such a profound job with so much responsibly weighing over him. Thank you, Mr. President, for visiting Racine and for the huge job you are undertaking.