Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lightning TO from Jon Simonassi on Vimeo.

I enjoy watching the little balls of plasma that dissipate beautifully in the air in the instant after the lightning finishes striking.
Epic geography fail.  Did these people ever graduate from elementary school?  And the editors...just as much at fault for letting this laughable error get on the air.  CNN = joke.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hmm, this looks pretty good.  I'll have to give it a go this weekend.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Muslims, such fabulous people.  This guy, if he and his boys get control of Egypt, will indeed cause a war, that will result in the destruction of his own land.  But that won't bother him at all, since violence and blood is what he is about, although he calls it Islam and sharia.
Mondays, they're like that.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

They weren't even recognized by science until they were photographed from the space shuttle in 1989, but now the odd phenomenon of red sprites are being photographed by amateur photographers. There is even a website for them.  
Forming above large thunderstorms, at the edge of space, their genesis is poorly understood.  They occur most often in bunches, at about 80km high, when a strong lightning bolt draws a charge from a cloud near the earths surface. Electric fields then shoot to the top of the earths atmosphere, and the result is a sprite.

Here below are some fine captures from backyard sprite hunters.  

Here is a handy chart to show how to watch for a sprite.  I must say that armed with this knowledge, I plan to keep my eyes open the next time a thunderstorm marches across the valley.  I'll have the camera battery charged, the ISO setting high, and the remote shutter release primed and ready.  Hopefully I can capture such a crazy sight myself.

Yeah, some of that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The kids wanted to do a photography expedition this Saturday, so we manned up and arose at 5:00 am, got in the car and drove out to the delta and two little towns, Locke and Isleton.  We spent most of the early morning wandering the streets of these tiny burgs, snapping away.  Other than getting up at that ungodly hour, we had a great time, and scored some decent images to boot.

Saturday porch pictures

Friday, August 26, 2011

Alas, President Wonderful has had to cut his ten day vacation on elite Martha's Vineyard short by a few hours due to hurricane Irene.  The wife is staying a bit longer, however.  It was a gutsy call. He's rested and ready to hard pivot, and focus like a laser on the Hurricane/jobs/Libya/re-election/etc.


Near Space from Mathew Roberts on Vimeo.

A while back I posted on a scientifically inclined family from New York who did something like this, and now a team of what appear to be college students have again accomplished an amature flight so high (33 km) that they are nearly in space. The best part about all this is the demonstration that a little knowledge, a scandalously small amount of money, and a modicum of gumption can accomplish something really amazing.  Well done, Englishmen and women!

Lots of expensive fun here.  I hope he gets to buy his ammo in bulk.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


It's mid summer here and the good earth is doing what it always should do at this time of the year - be fruitful!  It looks like the vintners should get a good crop of grapes to make their wine, and I will get a nice tree full of apples to make sauce, or what ever I get time to create.   The foxes have also been multiplying, as we have two that are living nearby and bark their hoarse bark every night.  Saw one in the field across from us Sunday evening just before dark.  We have to leave the dogs out at night to keep them away from the chickens.  Not, I must say, the typical suburban life.
Here is another crazy cool single shot chambered in 460 S&W.   The stock is homemade out of curly maple.   A real piece of art for sure.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Iranian government forces have discovered and seized 6500 bibles, which are apparently illegal in that Muslim country.  Can't have the people exposed to an ideology that teaches love, tolerance and kindness, can they?  Such a very insecure religion, that Islam.

Here we have the interesting sight of a pileus iridescent cloud.  This effect is said to be caused when water droplets of a similar size diffract colors of sunlight by different amounts.  I personally have never seen something like this, but it would be a sight I would definitely like to experience.  Very beautiful indeed.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ok, Joe Biden is a clownish buffoon on his best day, but give the village idiot some credit here.   On his visit to Mongolia, he appears to be genuinely entertaining his hosts and scoring some good diplomacy points.  He'll get invited back for sure.

The sumo like dude on the left probably can't believe he is seeing the vice president of the US offer to take him on.  Sumo man would crush Joe like a bug.

Meanwhile, back in China, Joe apparently has started a craze for pig intestine soup.  Hmm mmm good!
Mondays, they're like that.

The feckless Obama administration, focused like a laser on jobs, stupidly allows our main competitor in wheat to gain a clear advantage over us in one of our heretofore best markets. 

Really, this is an incredible story of incompetence.  The Republicans should hammer this story from now until the election.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Loggers call this the "barber chair," and it's only one of many ways to get killed falling timber.  I saw this happen once in my youth, luckily from a short but safe distance away, on an oak tree, and it was spectacular.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Below is a photo taken in Ontario, Canada of a sun column.  This striking effect is caused when high level air is cold enough to form flat, six sided crystals. As the crystals fall out of the cloud, they tend to flutter down flat, and when this happens as the sun sets or rises, you can get this interesting and unusual effect.

Oddly, on July 31st, here in central California, we observed something quite similar during sunset.  Naturally the air was not cold in mid summer, except right at cloud level, so the ice crystals melted as soon as they got much below that, but they still formed a column of sorts in the cloud deck. While not as amazing as the one observed in Canada, it was still quite beautiful, and it lasted here until the sunlight went completely away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I dropped all three larval stage humans at Catholic high school this morning.  Looks like dad will be working to pay the edumactional piper for the next ten years or so!

Kinda long, but very mesmerizing.   Now I understand the residue I find after pumping hot lead into immovable objects like steel plates.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Faces of central asia. This kid is from Pakistan.  The kid on the right side of the picture bears a surprising resemblance to the character "Greg" from the TV show 
'Everybody Hates Chris."

This girl comes from a small village in East Kutch, India, a dry and arid region.

This girl is from Sri Lanka.

This kid, amazingly, comes from the far western region of China known as Kashgar.

Not an Irish lass, but rather a red headed girl from Afghanistan.

This man is from the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan.

A street seller girl from Leh, India.

Found them here.
What you see below is what a Perseid meteor looks like from above, as it plunges into the earth's atmosphere.  This one was recorded from the International Space Station.  If I was one of the astronauts seeing something like this, I might just wonder what such a space rock would do if it struck the station.

Mondays, they're like that.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Insane motorcycle speed.
Well, now that there are some apples that are picked, gotta so something with them, so here they are cored, sliced and boiling on the stove.  Yes, right beside them is a fresh loaf of shepherd's bread that the wife asked me to "whip up" this afternoon.  The apples are next destined for the blender, which with a roar will turn them into apple sauce.  I like to add a bit of vanilla at that stage to give the sauce an extra kick.  I will repeat this until I am too tired to do it any longer, but we will have a nice stash of apple sauce that usually lasts well into wintertime.  

Here is the shepherd's bread in its last seconds of being intact.  Right behind me as I was taking this photo was the 17 year old, knife in hand and ready to cut out a slice.

The Gala apple tree in the front yard is ready to harvest.  Here where I live it is hard to get a good apple crop because it doesn't get cold enough in the winter, for long enough, to set a crop.  Only varieties that don't need a long cold snap are worth growing, and coming from an old apple growing family, I gotta have at least a few trees.  This one has done well almost every year, and this picture shows the first bowl of apples off the tree.  There are tons more, but I will have to get them this week, or they will fall off on the ground.  Time for some apple sauce, apple pies and perhaps some apple jelly.  

The fifteen year old took this shot around the house the other day.  I'm impressed with his photographic eye.  Nicely done.

Life is like this sometimes.  Moral of the story: keep a sharp eye out for those sudden dropoffs.

Sultan Knish offers up a hilarious series of prospective Newsweek covers, saving Tina Brown and her staff  of hacks the hassle of photoshoping their own. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rick Perry likes it when he uses his six shooter to make Obama "dance!"