Friday, December 31, 2010

A rare black coated fawn, observed outside of Austin Texas.

An even rarer white furred black bear cub. Note the nose and eyes, this is not an albino.

The fun side of a lot of snow must also be considered.
Tiring of the monotony of life in the pasture, Else the cow broke through the fence, ran away and joined the dolphins. Surf and turf.

Santa's younger, less friendly brother Ammo Claus "gets some" in A-stan.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

After an aggravating day at the office, I decided to spend a little time out in the cold night air learning about low light photography. The Christmas lights on the house threw off a weird blue light that was magnified by the longer exposures. It certainly doesn't look this blue to the naked eye. I think these images look very interesting with the warmer starry sky in the background.
It has also been an education on how quickly the stars are spinning in the sky. Your exposure doesn't have to be very long before the star points become star dashes. The movement of the Earth due to it's rotation is much faster than you might realize.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A G1 class geomagnetic storm was produced in the early morning hours of December 28, when the suns magnetic field near earth shifted south. This created a crack in the Earth's magnetosphere, allowing energy in the form of solar wind from the sun to flood in and create aurora in the northern hemisphere.

Cameras aboard DMSP satellite F18 produced this picture of the aurora borealis north of Scandinavia this evening.

So I guess Chrissy Matthews is a racist teabagger now.

Why has Obama spent so much time and money preventing anyone from seeing a document that every other modern president has gladly provided? One must presume the effort is made because there is something to hide.

My guess?

Race: Caucasian
Religion: Muslim
Father: Frank Marshall Davis
a combination of the above.

December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

One of the coolest time lapse videos making the rounds of the internet lately. Filmed in New Jersey, and kinda spooky how fast the snow builds up from bare ground.
Steve McQueen. Does any actor today equal his sense of edgy, smoldering threat?

Watermelon shark!

The largest private employer in Saginaw, Michigan will now be the Chinese government.

Let's see how well they do with the unions.
Chris Liu from Colfax is the pilot who exposed the shortcomings of security at SFO by posting a You Tube video of the problem, and subsequently, for his efforts, got his gun confiscated and his status as a flight deck officer revoked.

Now he has gone public with his identity. Be sure to read the comments, which are certainly not supportive of TSA and their thuggish tactics.

The day can't come soon enough when Janet Napolitano and her type are tossed unceremoniously onto the trash heap of history.
The 111th congress has amassed more debt than the first 100 congresses combined.

This is the sort of insanity that simply must stop. Why isn't it treason for such a group of idiots to purposely ruin the country's finances like this?

Monday, December 27, 2010

If you have some interest in political and moral philosophy, don't miss reading this supremely interesting article. It's a good one to make one think, and indeed, to philosophize.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

One of life's true pleasures is to browse seed catalogues on a winter evening and plan next years garden. Tonight I ran across this tomato variety called "mortgage lifter," presumably because the massive yield allowed money saved on food to be used instead to pay off the mortgage. I like the very American ideal of thrift the name implies.

It's a beautiful tomato variety that can be purchased here.

Some random pictures from Boxing day fun, all taken with the 13 year olds new to her camera she got for Christmas.

Below, she captures her brother in a low light, fast movement situation.

Next, the 14 year old models his new ghillie suit, which he plans to use to make himself invisible in the field behind the house whenever his parents are looking for him.

Finally, the 13 year old has some fun with long exposures on her new to her camera. Makes me dizzy! All in all, a satisfying Christmas.

Wanna watch some heads explode? The map below shows how, after redistricting after the latest census, Sarah Palin could win the presidency. Very doable indeed. Now, she just has to stay away from Katie Couric, remember which newspapers she reads, and stop winking at the camera.

Carl Sagan explains how to understand the fourth dimension, and he never once says "billions and billions."
Politically motivated climate change theory. It hasn't really mattered over the decades whether the Earth has been cooling or warming, either has been sufficient to support whatever power grab the politicians were after. Less freedom for the people, more money from the people, it's all the same.

Cap and trade? It boils down to politicians telling you what you can and can't do, and oh yes, send them more of your money. No matter that the science behind anthropogenic global warming has been proven to be based on fraud. Give up your rights, and send them your money.

When will we stand up to these goons, who are the spiritual inheritors of all that was bad about Communism and Fascism? Do it now and they just respond with ad hominem attacks. Don't resist and they will use the compulsion of the law to make you bend to their will.
Christmas porch time.

Northern lights on display here at Abisko National Park in far northern Sweden. Photo by Chad Blakeley.

A solar wind stream erupting from a coronal hole in the sun is due to strike the Earth on January 2nd, so folks living at higher latitudes should watch for the Aurora Borealis.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The side of the sun facing the earth has been without sunspot activity for six consecutive days, but lo and behold, an actual spot may be developing in the circled area. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A cool video revisiting many of the locations where True Grit was filmed back in the sixties. Fun.

"Fill your hand you sunufabitch!"

Books for Christmas? No way!
First, what Yosemite and Half Dome looked like in August. After a few months and force feeding of snow thanks to the "Pineapple Express," we get the below view. That, my friends, is a snow pack!

The little town of Pritchard knew that if nothing was done about their pension plan shortfalls, they would run out of money. The managers even predicted it would happen in 2009. When in fact nothing substantial was done, the money ran out, and the pension stopped sending checks!

Cold Turkey!

Tragic and traumatic as that is, without some sort of plan ... some sort of agreement or understanding, that is the fate bound to occur with all state or government pension plans. Multiply little Pritchard by the size of Illinois or California, and the scale of the potential disaster becomes apparent. Imagine the shock when retired workers, who are used to rich retirement checks equal to two thirds, or even ninety percent of their highest pay, suddenly find empty mailboxes.

This possible outcome should be especially worrisome since large states like these are already billions in debt they can't pay back, the federal government is in only slightly better financial shape, and there is no bankruptcy mechanism that would allow an orderly unwinding of these structural problems. Further, the temptation for the federal government to solve this problem through more debt or even money printing is strong, but also certain to lead to even worse financial mayhem.

The only real solution is for public employee unions to realize the untenable and intractable problem needs to be solved before disaster strikes, and to participate, with the responsible public entity, in finding a solution. Problem is, that solution is going to require their members to agree to receive much, much less than they were expecting, and that will be an agreement that may not be possible to reach, absent a complete runout of money as has just happened in Pritchard.

The time it act is here. Let's see what can be done before it is too late.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rainy day picture.

Here is the story of a British soldier who chose not to shoot at a Taliban sniper because he was using a 10 year old girl as a human shield. Let's see .... "Crusader" invader chooses to save a kids life rather than take a chance shot, while putting his own in grave danger, versus a Muslim terrorist who would willingly sacrifice the child to Allah to save his own disgusting skin. Who do you think is evil, and who good?
Another shocker. The Director of National Intelligence, when asked on a nationally broadcast interview, has no clue about the London terrorist arrests.

First, how completely unbelievable. What sort of morons do we have leading the country? Wait, we already know. Thanks for that you 52% of Obama voters.

Second, it appears this ignorance is just peachy ok because this guy is a Democrat. Just imagine the horror the MSM would be experiencing if this was said by a Republican. Heads would roll. Bush is a chimp/Hitler/Halliburton moron.

Finally, what odds do you give that this guy pays no political price and keeps his job, in spite of his public demonstration of cluelessness? We are in the best of hands.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This could be a problem for the regime in Iran. Let's hope it leads to a nice, tidy revolution.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tonight was the big night for the lunar eclipse. The youngest daughter and I ventured out late and attempted to catch a few pictures of the event. Here are our most successful, out of many very unsuccessful images.

First, the moon as it is just beginning its eclipse framed by the basketball hoop in front of the garage.

The moon begins its trip behind the earths shadow.

The eclipse is well along here, and we exposed for the dark part. These photos could have been better, but even so, the daughter and I had a good time making the attempt, and even though it was cold outside, we didn't really notice because we were having such a good time.
The Geminid meteor shower just occurred on December 13 and 14th. Too cloudy to take pictures here where I live, but others around the world had better luck.
Below is one from Vallentuna, Sweden

Below is from Isfahan, Iran.

Now, the sun apparently has gone blank. According to this information, there are no sunspots at all, arguing for colder weather to come.
And Jeez, look at how miniscule the Earth is! I feel insignificant.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Turn your head into the blades, kid. And stop screaming."

Knitting. Sometimes it goes from a hobby to an obsession.

Video gamers use as much energy as the City of San Diego.

With all the rain we have been having, the kids were getting cabin fever, so they decided to take the dogs down to the pond. Wisely, they brought their cameras along, and recorded these images.

More pictures from the voyage to the pond.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I have a hard time believing this.

If it wasn't for the truly evil Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano would be, hands down, the worst and stump stupidest member of this current administration. She is really trying to take the prize on this one.

Saturday porch pictures.