Saturday, August 18, 2012

"My Drunk Kitchen, S2E12: TOAST"

I don't remember how I discovered "My Drunk Kitchen," but I'm glad I did. I don't expect everyone, or even most of us, to enjoy this type of humor, but I find her video show to be funny and fascinating.

Hannah Hart -

Open Blog - Weekend

Thank you, thank you very much.

Friday, August 17, 2012

"RUN. HIDE. FIGHT. Surviving an Active Shooter Event"

What a world that this type of video has to be made.

Btw, my three options are run, run faster, and get the hell out of there.

The First ATST Mirror Blank Has Arrived in Tucson

The Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) will be the largest and most advanced solar telescope in the world when it comes online (currently scheduled for early 2019). It will have a 4.2 meter primary mirror making it substantially larger than any other dedicated solar telescope.
These projects have a long lead time and frequently must overcome many challenges. In September of 20120, they cast a 4.2 meter mirror blank. I don't know the story, but lots of manufacturing challenges cropped up and they are casting another one (according to their website, this happened in June of 2012 but there are no more recent updates...however, given the time it takes to cast and cool a mirror, they probably won't post anything until they are sure all is well so this is not necessarily a bad sign). Today, the first mirror blank arrived in Tucson. This is what is parked outside right now.
Yes, Schott Glass. Lends itself to all kinds of bad jokes. So now you know what the shipping container looks like for a 4.2 meter mirror.
I don't know what the plans are for this first mirror blank. It wouldn't surprise me if they had some engineering tests in mind for it. If anything interesting happens or I get a chance to see it unboxed, I will post more as that happens.
If you want to know more about the ATST, you can listen to an interview I did with Joseph McMullin, the ATST Project Manager, for the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast or visit the ATST website.

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Four for Fridays

Hello everybody! Welcome back to Four for Fridays after an interesting week. Strange things have been going on... Anyways, here are some questions.

1) Would you rather live in an rural area or in an urban city?

2) Describe your dream house.

3) How would like your dream home landscaped?

4) Where do you go for a walk?

Enjoy your weekend!

Open Blog - Friday

Have a great day.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Post-Olympics Post

I was doing some cleaning yesterday and found one of my old memorabilia.

This race number is from when I ran the Busch Gardens 5k in 1996 (they were the "Official Theme Park of the Olympics"). The race number is signed by Evelyn Ashford. She fired the starting gun for the race. After the race, she graciously signed autographs for people. Since most people didn't bring along anything for her to sign, race numbers from the day became the popular item since everyone had one and it was kind of an appropriate way to commemorate the day.

Evelyn Ashford won the 100 meter dash in the 1984 Olympics and Silver in the 100m in 1988. She also ran the anchor leg on the 4x100m relay team which one gold in 1984, 1988 and 1992. Not quite Michael Phelps but five Olympic medals is still a pretty good haul!

Open Blog - Thursday

Rock on!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A note on the fridge

The wife left a note on the fridge.........

"It's not working!! I can't take it anymore; I've gone to stay at my friends!"

I opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was still cold.........

What the hell is she talking about?!!

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my beach blanket bingo aficionados!  How are you?  The recent rains have been most welcome, but, alas, they are too little, too late.  The drought has done its damage.  Food prices will go up.  Our wallets will go down.  If we really have tipped the environmental balance, then it will only worsen.  Of course, it won’t matter to those who believe that the apocalypse will occur on December 21, 2012.  However, it might start to matter to them on December 22.  Oh my, silly joke. 

It’s becoming difficult to explain to Junior why so many people in the USA go nuts and shoot others.  It cheapens life every time that a person is murdered.  I’m trying to guide him through these atrocities, but Junior’s mind is innocent and doesn’t readily grasp the concept of such evil.  It would be nice if we could ignore it, but we can’t because the media blare bad news through every available outlet.  It’s a lot tougher being a kid these days. 

I’m one day away from finally finishing my spring cleaning.  Oh dear, talk about your procrastinators…  What is difficult is that as soon as I finish cleaning an area or room, it seems like Junior or Señor Zanza invade it and mess it up again.  Grrr.  I am not your maid.  “I am woman, hear me roar!”  I am going to start billing Junior and the Señor for services provided.  Clean up or pay up!  That should get their attention.  “I am invincible, I am strong, I am woman.”

I know it’s too late, but, in my opinion, the roof of Racine’s Civic Centre (don’t you hate that affectation?) should be painted with a big dollar sign, or numerous, smaller dollar signs.

You know what?  I’ve run out of time.  I have to get this blog up in 3 minutes.  Oh my, what happened?

Thank you for reading my hastily ended blog this week.  I love each and every one of my readers, especially you.  I look forward to seeing you at this weekend’s get together.

“Does anybody really know what time it is?” 

Enjoy summer, my friends.  There’s always a party going on in Racine on the weekend.  Find out what and where, then have a blast.  Neologism!

Open Blog - Wednesday

Have a blurry day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thank You, Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable is my internet service provider.  My past relationship with TWC has not been good.  I know that I've talked trash about them here before.  I considered their technical support a joke, at best.  I loathed contacting them for any reason.

This past Sunday, early in the AM, my internet connection died.  I could see the bottom two lights on the modem trying, but failing, to stay lit.  I went to bed figuring that all would be well when I woke up.

It was not to be.  My internet was still out, but my neighbors had no problems. I reluctantly called TWC.  I had no choice.  To my surprise, some changes have taken place.

First, the person I spoke with asked me when the outage occurred and said my account would be credited for the downtime.  In the past, you had to ask them for credit.

Second, they now have same day service, even on Sunday.  That, to me, is unheard of.  I took the slot of 4 to 5 PM.  At exactly 4, there was a knock on my door.  The technician was a pleasant guy who knew his stuff.  It took him about three minutes to discover the problem, a bad signal splitter (my part).  I was back online quickly and efficiently.  I was pleasantly shocked.

I am very impressed by this interaction with TWC.  I hope that they maintain this caliber of service.  I'll lay off of badmouthing them, at least until they again do something to deserve it.

Open Blog - Tuesday

I never had red ones.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Cat Drug Problem"

Uh-oh, Charlie.

Occultation of Venus

An unusual thing happened earlier today: The Moon passed directly between the Earth and Venus. If you were at the right place at the right time, you could see Venus disappear on behind one side of the Moon and watch it reappear from the other side about an hour later. Fortunately, San Diego is one of the right places and since all the sessions I had to attend at the meeting ended at noon, I could be outside by the 1:42pm disappearance.
An event like this called an occultation. The Moon passes near Venus about once a month. Usually, the Moon passes just to one side or the other of Venus. Occasionally, it passes right over Venus. That's what happened today.
I was outside and had my Canon Digital Rebel Xti with the 75-300mm zoom lens set up. The sky in San Diego was a bit milky white (instead of deep blue) which made the Moon harder to find and good contrast between the Moon and the sky harder to achieve. I also had trouble focusing at the disappearance (but not so much the reappearance). Still, I managed to get a reasonably good shot right before Venus vanished behind the Moon.
Venus disappeared behind the lit side of the Moon. A little over an hour later (2:49pm), Venus reappeared behind the dark side of Venus. There were some nearby clouds and I was watching them creep closer to the Moon as the time approached. However, they held off and I got a whole series of pics of the reappearance. Here is one of my favorites. 
I have a lot of pics of the reappearance. If I can get some time, I might try to animate them to watch it reappear. 
Now you might think I missed out on the event by photographing it. Not quite. I have a cable release for my camera. I was holding the cable release in one hand and shooting these pics while holding a pair of binoculars in the other hand to enjoy the spectacle for myself!

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Sunset and Planets From San Diego

I am in San Diego this weekend and finally got a chance to do a little photography. Sunset was up first from the harbor of course. While taking some pre-sunset shots, I got this nice one  of the setting Sun with a bird flying across the field of view.
I kept shooting as usual. Much to my surprise, I got got a hint of a green flash at one point. I saw this visually as well as on the camera just as the left part of the Sun disappeared behind a tree lined hill.
I waited for it to get dark and walked out on a pier to get a pic of a couple of planets and Spica. A few people were sitting on the end of the pier making for a nice foreground. Spica is the lowest of the three bright ones, Mars is above it and Saturn is the top.
Finally, a nice wide shot of the whole harbor with the same three objects. You can see bright lights from the Navy base across the bay. 
Nice night in San Diego. 

Reprinted with permission from the Half-Astrophysicist Blog.

Open Blog - Monday

And I smell a typo.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Useless Information

Did you know:

There are actual photographs of the Indian Chief Geronimo but there are no photos of Chief Crazy Horse.

All pictures of Crazy Horse are artist’s depictions of what he looked like.

Closing Ceremony 2012 Olymipics

The closing ceremony was simply phenomenal!

I would like to thank the Queen and her band of Brits for hosting the 2012 games.

I would like to thank EVERY Olympian and their country for giving us two week of smiles and at times jerking a tear or two from our eyes.

Congratulations to all the medal winners and the families for supporting them.

I cannot wait for the Winter Games.



I won a Gold Medal this year at the London Olympics