Sunday, July 31, 2011

Over at a gun forum I frequent there was a post from a guy who was shooting at a range when another shooter experienced what in the industry is termed a "kaboom."  This one was a 357 mag in a Smith and Wesson handgun, and the shooter was luckily not really injured beyond a few cuts, but good grief, that is one catastrophic failure!  The reasons for the kaboom are unknown, but he was shooting handloads, so the most likely explanation is a double charge.  This is a good example of why wearing eye protection while shooting is a must. 

Ha ha ha!  Dogs, gotta love 'em.

Cold and dangerous

Starry Night by Alex Ruiz.   Awesome fantasy work.

Cats sometimes climb trees to get away from yapping poodles, but this bobcat was photographed by southwesterner Curt Fonger at the top of a saguaro cactus, presumably to get away from a mountain lion.    That kitty looks a bit forlorn up there, and I certainly hope he can get down without a call to the fire department.

While traversing the Meridiani Planum on Mars, the Opportunity rover came across the remains of its own heat shield, looking quite out of place on the otherwise barren flats.   Oddly, the rover investigated the football sized rock in the foreground, as it too seemed out of place, and it turned out to be a meteorite, also fallen out of the sky in some eon past.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Every weekend this summer my wife has asked that I bake up a loaf of shepherds bread, and this is this Saturdays version. I have made it enough times now that I don't even need to look at the recipe.  Homemade strawberry jam in the background, which is the wife's contribution, ought to go very well with this hunk of bread.  

An internet tour to some amazing places is in order.

A Scottish castle, with a fine old rock road running up to it.

A street view in the eternal city, Rome.

A spot of sun illuminates a cold, iron grey sea.
Saturday porch pictures

Friday, July 29, 2011

Arrgggghhhh!!  I shouldn't have looked at this.  Thunderstorms in the high country, and I am working in the close confines of an office. How fine it must be to be up in the high granite today.

Hey baby, it's Friday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Photoshopped of course, but still cool.

Troll Hunter.  Honestly, is this a comedy? It is a comedy. I wonder if I could find this on Hulu?

Wanna know how to operate a 16" battleship gun?   Helpfully, this video tells you how.
Behold the snow pack in Yosemite on December 23rd, 2010.  A massive blanket of white, that only got deeper as the winter wore on.

In contrast, below you can see the situation today, July 28th, 2011.  There looks to be a fire somewhere, as there is suddenly a lot of smoke in the park.  In addition, all that snow has melted, run off or soaked in.  What an amazing transformation.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A woman is now scheduled for a jury trial in the South Carolina as a result of a 445 dollar ticket she recieved for placing plastic bull testicles on the back bumper of her truck.  Apparently there is a law against obscene bumper stickers.
I can predict that the jury is going to be a bit angry about using their time on something that seems so trivial.  A warning might have been more appropriate, or even better, a "fixit" ticket.  I also thought this kind of thing would be seen in the humorous fashion it is usually meant down in South Carolina.  I mean, in Berkeley California maybe they would be too uptight for this, but South Carolina?
 Remember, this guy is getting paid to do this.  Life isn't fair.

Have a lick
Hump day image

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A mountain lion struck by a Hyundai in Connecticut turns out to have been originally from the Black Hills country in the Dakotas, and was tracked by authorities from about Minnesota until it met its end in New England.   Authorities have never before confirmed one that has traveled so far, and it has been about a hundred years since a lion has been confirmed to be in Connecticut. 

It gives one hope that such fine animals can reintroduce themselves to areas that have a high deer population, like New England, and to thereby help reestablish a natural balance to the ecosystem.

Those New Englanders should keep in mind, however, that lions can get pretty scary big, and they will eat you pets, livestock and children, if they get a chance!  They might even maul a Mazda!
Freckles, they are good.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Totally, certifiably insane San Francisco city supervisors are all set to make felons a legally protected class of citizen.  This means if you are going to hire someone, or rent to someone, you cannot ask about their criminal history first, or at least until the interview is over.

How happy the citizens of that fair city must be to know that their town will now be a magnet for ex criminals due to its status as the friendliest place for them to land after getting out of prison.

How nice to know that your elected leaders are more concerned for the rights of those that have no concern for the rights of others, either in their property or person, and who wish to encourage more of those who think and act that way to move there.

One benefit for the rest of us is that many criminals will choose to move there, instead of staying here.

Perhaps we can see this as the ultimate end result of progressivism, namely the creation of voting blocks of losers and criminals for the sole reason of insuring a progressive re election.  And hey, if the progressives will allow voter intimidation, a la Eric Holder and the Black Panthers, all the better.

Honestly, these idiots are hell bent on creating a hell hole out of one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.

So classic.  I relate.
Kinda cool

The Atlantis space shuttle is here seen re entering the Earths atmosphere for the last time, as photographed by the six inhabitants of the International Space Station.  That looks like one steep, fiery and dangerous dive back to Florida.  

This is NASA's Helios experimental flying wing, powered only by solar panels.  Propelled by 14 electric motors, its 247 foot wingspan is larger than that of a Boeing 747.  Powered only by the sun, Helios eventually reached the height of 30,000 feet, which is a new record for non rocket powered flight.   In fact, at that altitude, it approaches the conditions for winged flight in the rarified atmosphere of Mars.  Hmmm, could something, perhaps, be in the works over there at NASA?

Whale sharks have now begun to congregate in their annual meeting of the coast of Mexico. Already, authorities have counted 250 of the massive beasts.  The all time record was in 2009, when 420 were recorded.  Looks as if whale shark populations are doing quite well.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

In follow up to my recent post on the Stuxnet virus, it looks like another Iranian nuclear scientist has been assassinated, and once again it was done by men on motorcycles.   Must be a nervous time for people in Iran who are associated with their attempt to develop nuclear weapons.
A beautiful Finnish sunset, and not a single ripple on the docile Baltic Sea.

Hey, hope and change!  Thanks much 52%'ers!
How about some breakfast blogging?  Left to my own devices, I snatched up the old Griswold cast iron skillet, and cooked up a batch of farm eggs, sausage and green salsa to start the Saturday.  It's not just a breakfast, it's a Man-fast!

Farm eggs, anyone?   Compared to store bought, they have tougher shells, yellower, almost orange yolks, and they are "stiffer."  And they go really well with green salsa.  Thanks, chickens!

It appears that three tourists climbed over the barriers at the top of Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park, apparently to get a better photo, all three slipped and fell into the river, and went over the edge in front of a crowd of horrified onlookers.  So far, their bodies have not been found.  Here is a picture of the edge of the falls and the viewing area. 

Here is Vernal Falls in full spring runoff mode.  That's an obvious danger, especially standing right at the edge.

However, having been to the top of Vernal Falls myself, and having seen this area, there is a danger that is not obvious, and which I believe explains how three people could all go into the river and over.  The rock here is granite, and normally granite is rough and provides a great grip to hands or shoes.  In contrast to that, next to the river, the rushing water polishes the granite to a mirror smoothness, and if that polished surface get wet to any degree, it becomes unbelievably slippery.  I speak from experience here.

Further, the change from a rough grippy surface to a super slick one occurs in the space of just a few inches, and there is no obvious change in appearance to let you know.  In this case, these folks likely wanted to get a better, more dangerous looking picture, and being young, bold and a bit foolish, decided to climb the barrier and stand close to the dramatically rushing river.  They almost certainly unknowingly got onto the slippery and wet granite just next to the river, and when one fell in and the others started to scramble to help, they all went in one after the other.

Another danger from this river polished granite is that once you go in, it gives virtually no purchase to your hands or feet, so it is very hard to climb out, or sometimes to even stand up while you are being pushed by the fast moving water.  Image trying to climb up a wet, steep mirror. These folks, being so close to the edge, just didn't have time to even make an much of an effort to stop themselves.

Just up the river a short distance from the edge is a large swimming hole, and when I was there several years ago, probably fifteen people were swimming in it.  Even that is kind of a crazy risk, to my eyes at least.

If you are ever in the granite country of the Sierras, keep this in mind if you are around fast moving water.
Saturday porch pictures

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The latest word out on the Stuxnet virus reads like a Tom Clancy novel. Symantec employees investigating Stuxnet jumpy when motorcycles approach their car from behind.  Cyber sinkholes sucking up information the virus was sending back to its mysterious creator.  An international team of young cyber sleuths join up with a crusty and confrontational German investigator.  This is a must read from beginning to end.
Some more pictures from around the house.  Classic summertime stuff.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The fourteen year old is basically free at this point in the summer, with only minimal responsibilities, so today she used her time capturing images around the house.  Here are some of the best.

                                      This picture best epitomizes the maxim," it's a dog's life."

                                        A spider web can reflect light in a magical way.

   The Rhodesian prefers to doze the day away on the rug, just a few feet away from the morning light.