Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mount Shasta sunrise

The Art of Speed

My cats do a feline version of this on hot days.

Mrs. CW just told me that this thing was the cat's meow, so to speak. True?

Made it!

Plane Parkour

Freckles, they are good

Jude Sparks poses with the jawbone of a stegamastodon, an ancient ancestor of the elephant, that he discovered while hiking in the desert in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his family.

Nine-year-old Jude Sparks was playing with his brother in the New Mexican desert when he tripped and landed beside a massive skull. 
"I didn't know what it was," Sparks, now aged 10, told El Paso ABC affiliate KVIA. "I just knew it wasn't usual." 
Sparks later found out he stumbled upon an archaeological treasure: a mostly intact stegomastodon skull.  
At the time of the discovery, neither Sparks nor his parents, who were biking nearby, recognized the skeletal remains of the million-year-old creature preserved in the desert sands of Las Cruces. 
Prehistoric fossils usually break down after exposure to the elements, but the Sparks were fortunate to have discovered the skull just after strong rains made it visible to the naked eye.
Good work, Jude!  Now, off to Jurassic Park.

James Dean and Natalie Wood in “ Rebel Without A Cause “ ( 1955 )

He's a big fish for a reason

Swimming pool of dreams

Dogs, master farmers

Cool picture for a hot day

A6's on the way to becoming a reef

A massive wildfire in Mariposa County triggered a new round of evacuations Tuesday as flames threatened power lines that feed Yosemite National Park, officials said.

Cal Fire's  website here.
Approximately 4,000 people have been forced from their homes since the Detwiler fire, which is burning east of Lake McClure, exploded to 25,000 acres, with hundreds of firefighters trudging through steep terrain to reach flames in overgrown vegetation, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

I'm familiar with the country around Coulterville and Greeley Hill.  Very brushy, and now with multiple years of drought to add to the problem.  In my gold mining days, I recall hiking down into steep gullies on the side of a ridge in this region, and wondering if it would be possible to escape alive if a fire ever started down below.  The steepness of the ridge would have accelerated any fire to speeds that would be hard to believe, and the manzanita that grows everywhere burns extremely hot.  That's the kind of country were dealing with here.

Nevertheless, fires are common in this country in the summer.  People who are paid to know are or should be aware of the threat, and prepare accordingly to fight these inevitable conflagrations before they start.  Serious, real world fire breaks should be built to contain fires in this hot, thickly brushed landscape.

But of course nothing like that has been done, to my knowledge at least.   Once it gets into the brush, it's gone, and at a measly 5% containment so far, all Cal Fire can do is try and keep it away from town and homes.   Success there will depend strongly on how much brush clearance the local homeowners have done beforehand.

Cal Fire simply cannot put this fire out.  They aren't prepared, in spite of their shiny nice new trucks, sharp uniforms, and special tax money in the bank.  The Butte Fire a couple of years ago started in the foothills, mainly in grass at first where you'd think it would be at least a little easier to catch and extinguish, and just burned itself out eventually.  Cal Fire saved some homes, but really couldn't put it out.

Once any fire reaches a certain size, and this one seems to be that big already, it's too big for the number of men and resources to stop.  It's just damage control from here on out.

This will be the same.  It will burn to the granite, probably through parts of Yosemite, and go out more or less naturally when it runs out of fuel.  

The error here is lack of preparation before the fire starts.

On the bright side, the removal of virtually impenetrable brush by this fire will open up considerable land for gold prospecting.  I suppose that's a bright side.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Of course, Chuck Yeager would be the perfect choice to fly this rocket plane

The Lockheed NF-104A was an American mixed power, high-performance, supersonic aerospace trainer that served as a low-cost astronaut training vehicle for the North American X-15 and projected Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar programs.
Three aircraft were modified from existing Lockheed F-104A airframes, and served with the Aerospace Research Pilots Schoolbetween 1963 and 1971, the modifications included a small supplementary rocket engine and a reaction control system for flight in the upper atmosphere. During the test program, the maximum altitude reached was more than 120,000 feet (36,600 m). One of the aircraft was destroyed in an accident while being flown by Chuck Yeager. The accident was depicted in the book The Right Stuff and the film of the same name.

Iceberg in Newfoundland suggests, well, something

Some people....

Wade Seago shot this 820 pound wild hog 5 yards from his front porch in Samson, Alabama.

Samson resident Wade Seago knew something was up outside of his home last week when the family's pet schnauzer, Cruiser, started barking constantly. The Seagos live on 100 acres in the rural south Alabama town. The property and surrounding area is teeming with wildlife so it's not unusual for their dog to bark at deer, raccoons or other wild visitors.
But this was different. As he was about to get up and check on his dog, his daughter began screaming. "I jumped up to see what was going on," Wade explained. "I looked out the back window and saw nothing, so I ran to the front of the house where my daughter was looking out the window. I couldn't believe what I was seeing."
The dog had a huge wild hog bayed in his front yard, about 5 yards off of the front porch. "Cruiser had this huge hog confused with all of the barking and movement," Wade continued. "It was not a good situation."
Wade was afraid the huge hog would injure or kill the family pet so he grabbed a .38 caliber revolver that he keeps for home defense and went out on the front porch.

It took three shots to take him down. The giant hog hit the ground near the carport. The next day, Wade took the wild hog to Brooks Peanut Company and weighed it on the drive-thru scales. The hog tipped the scales at 820 pounds and had six inch tushes.

Nameless Trango Tower (6,230 m), Karakoram, Pakistan.

Kitty Love

Check your boots, cowpokes!

Is that an old Diamond T truck?

Just the thing if you have access to water. Just remember the sun screen.

Keep it dry

Heh, well done!

Go Mike!

Convair XF-92A painted as a MiG-23 for the movie Jet Pilot (1957).

What happens when NBA players try to bowl

Live 200 pound cannonball from 1759 found in Quebec City

July 7th, a construction crew working on a building site at the corner of Hamel and Couillard streets in Old Quebec, the historic center of Quebec City, Canada, unearthed a large cannonball from the French and Indian War.  A giant 200 pound cannonball.  With it's charge fully intact and possibly live.

The construction crew was delighted with their find.  After all, how often do you come across a big azz cannonball?  I'd like to have seen the gun that could hurl that thing up and into a city!

Serge Rouleau, called in by municipal authorities to examine the find, saw that the ball still held a charge. His examination determined that the cannonball was of British manufacture and was fired at the old city in the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, or in the siege preceding it.

This was a brutal weapon in the mid-18th century, and Quebec City was deluged with them during the Seven Years’ War when Britain fought and shot its way to taking control of much of French North America. The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was the culmination of three months of intensive bombings by British troops besieging the city of Quebec. From the their position at Lévis, just across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec, the British launched a near-constant barrage of deadly artillery fire starting on July 12th, 1759. Over the next three months, they would set the city alight with 40,000 solid iron cannonballs and 8,000 incendiary bombs. On September 13th, the British and French engaged in an infantry battle on a plateau outside the city knows as the plans of Abraham. It lasted less than hour. The British were victorious, chasing the French out of the city and ending the siege. The siege and battle took a massive toll on Quebec and its environs. The city and surrounding countryside were in smoldering ruins when the smoke from the plains of Abraham cleared.

The 258-year-old live cannonball has now been moved to a safe place where the munitions disposal experts will determine if it can be safely neutralized. If not, it will be detonated and destroyed.  If that has to happen, it out to be filmed and put on Youtube.
If it is salvageable, the cannonball will find a loving forever home at a local museum.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Michigan lucks out

Kid Rock will never become Senator - you are here<-------- are="" here="" p="" you="">
Kid Rock will never rebuild Flint 
Kid Rock will never revitalize downtown Detroit
Kid Rock will never become President
American Badass will not become the National Anthem

Steam train ignites coal dust in the air while passing a Chinese coal mine

That's one way to get under the car to work

Cool image on a hot day

Well, well, this sounds like some good legislation.

Although I don't really see what it should be needed.  Why should the government need it's own permission to sell surplus gear to the public?  We technically own it all anyway, right?

On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018. Included in the bill is a provision that would make U.S. Army surplus 1911 .45 ACP pistols available to the American public through the Civilian Marksmanship program (CMP).
In November of 2015, then-President Obama signed the NDAA for Fiscal year 2016 into law with language that authorized the Secretary of Defense to transfer 1911s no longer in service to the CMP for public sale. That language made the transfers subject to the Secretary’s discretion and capped them at 10,000 per year. Unsurprisingly, no actual transfers were made under the program while Obama remained in the White House. 
This year’s language, however, would effectively make the transfers mandatory and would remove the yearly cap. Currently, the military has some 100,000 excess 1911s sitting in storage at taxpayer expense. Transfer of these historically-significant firearms would ease a burden on the government’s heavily indebted balance sheet and help preserve important artifacts from the era when the U.S. military defended Western Civilization from worldwide fascism and aggressive Communist expansion.  
Amen!  Sell those pistols and make this a win/win for everyone.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


I'll be watching


Boris Yeltsin, 1955

Time was not kind to Boris.

Westland Wapiti Mark IIA, J9409, of No. 30 Squadron RAF in flight over the city of Mosul, Iraq, 11th May 1932.

That minaret in the background is the famous one that Daesh just blew to smithereens.

First crossing of cable car over Niagara Falls August 8, 1916

Ooh, you in trouble, Derrick!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the State of Hawaii to respond by Tuesday at noon to President Donald Trump's motion to block a judge's ruling that prevented his travel ban from being applied to grandparents of U.S. citizens and refugees already being processed by resettlement agencies, the court's public information office said on Saturday. 
In a court filing on Friday, the administration asked the justices to overturn Thursday's decision by a U.S. district judge in Hawaii, which limited the scope of the administration's temporary ban on refugees and travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. 
Next, impeach and remove this activist judge.   His expulsion from the bench would be a salutary lesson for any other judge tempted to substitute his opinion for the rights granted by the constitution to the executive branch.
Good thing I'm not president.  Trump has been very respectful so far of the judiciary, in spite of this ridiculous lawfare some of them are waging.  I'd be far more hostile and aggressive, but that's a good reason, probably, not to elect me to any position of authority.

Thomas Jefferson’s proposed division of western U.S. territory into states, ca. 1784.