Wednesday, April 29, 2015


Wild winds blow a train off an elevated track in Louisiana.

Is John Derbyshire right?

After the events in Baltimore, one may wonder.

Specifically, this particular one may well be a consideration, especially if you don't want to see your property values suddenly plummet due to uncontrolled racial rioting on the other side of town.

(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

Issues like these deserve more discussion, and not more name calling. 

And this is an interesting read as well, and as usual.  a snippet:

But the real purpose of a riot isn’t to benefit the rioters. It’s to benefit those who incite the riot. The rioters and looters react in response to riot-friendly conditions created from above. If you build the political infrastructure for a riot, the rioters and looters will come.

The #BlackLivesMatter riots are the product of a new generation of Sharptons, ambitious activists feeding hate, of the New Black Panther Party’s obsession with becoming relevant, of the ragged hipster ends of Occupy Wall Street drifting from occupation to occupation, of Muslim agents dreaming of turning African-Americans into a fifth column and of Obama’s clumsy efforts to keep on playing community organizer by feeding racial grievances and then pretending to rise above them.

Don't look down

No way I'd try that without a parachute.


Jackson Sundown - or Waaya-Tonah-Toesits-Kahn - Nez Perce

In 1915 at age 52, Jackson Sundown took third place in the all-around at the Pendleton Roundup and decided to retire from rodeo, which had wrecked his body. The following year, an artist who was doing a sculpture of Sundown convinced him to enter the Roundup one last time, an offer that Sundown only accepted after the artist agreed to pay the entry fee. Sundown was twice the age of the other semi-finalists but advanced after high scores in the saddle bronc and bareback horse riding competitions. His final ride is an event of great mythology to this day among American Indians and rodeo aficionados. It is told that Sundown drew a very fierce horse named Angel and that the horse bucked so furiously that Sundown removed his cowboy hat and fanned the horse to get it to cool off, at which time he and the horse merged into one being. Sundown won the all-around event and became immortalised as a hero of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, which includes the Nez Perce. 

White men earning some privilege - and a paycheck

That machine is a steam donkey, and they are using it to pull bucked logs to a landing pad, where more than likely they will be loaded onto a train for the trip to the mill.  Steam donkeys were quite powerful, and ate the slash that the logging operation produced.

I see they have used local, organic products to manufacture a skid for the donkey, so they can move it to where ever it is needed.   Very green.

I can think of several of these that are rusting away in peace out in the Sierras.

Picture of a happy man

I had an uncle, and his name really was Ron Swanson.  A bunch of my power tools, and the old siren I have stuck on my truck, came from him.

Man toys, doing man things, in man country

Although while doing man things, it's always better if you have a good woman along.

Buzz and the backstory

This video of infectious baby laughter has been burning up the internet lately.

That's Buzz Michelangelo Fletcher and his dad.  What a handle!

Thanks to American Digest, here's the backstory:

With parents like that, Buzz is gonna have his hands full.  Lots more laughter in store, I'd wager.

The Glory effect

In a previous post I had asked what caused a rainbow halo effect seen around the shadow of an airplane passing over clouds.

In contrast to the rest of us commenters (ahem!), True Blue came up with the answer.  It's called a Glory, and Wikipedia describes it like this:

glory is an optical phenomenon that resembles an iconic saint's halo about the shadow of the observer's head. It consists of one or more concentric, successively dimmer rings, each of which is red on the outside and bluish towards the centre. The effect is believed to happen due to classical wave tunneling, when light nearby the droplet tunnels through air inside the droplet and, in the case of a glory, is emitted backwards due to resonance effects.

There is also something called a Brocken Spectre, where your shadow is projected by sunlight from behind you, onto cloud or mist below, magnifying it into a giant figure, and surrounded by a Glory.

Thanks, True Blue, you've left us all a little bit better informed than we were before!

A Brocken Spectre

More Glories

Your good news of the day

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Creeptastic robot swarm goes under your car, lifts it, and rolls off with it.

I wonder how they handle a shotgun blast?

Explain this

Airplane's shadow causes double rainbow on the cloud

Good launch, but a bad delivery

The Russian cargo ship sent up to the ISS had an uneventful takeoff, but something happened, and now it's spinning wildly, a la the movie Gravity.   If only they had Sandra Bullockova and George Clooneyeski to spacewalk out there and save their bacon.  Or would that be borscht?

Honestly, that thing spinning like that has to be a hazard.  Hope they can find a way to fix it.

Mammoth rubbing rocks, Sonoma, California

Sonoma Coast State Beach in northern California is famous for its Mammoth Rubbing Rocks.  The rocks were polished smooth by the wooly hair of mammoths over 10,000 years ago.  Mammoths used the rocks as a scratching post, the same way that elephants rub against tree trunks today.

During glacial times the sea was 100 meters lower than today, putting the beach perhaps 20 kilometers further out to sea than it is now.   In the wetter climate of glacial periods, without the dry summers of modern times, the Sonoma coast was a wide grassland that supported herds of large herbivorous mammals, a "California Serengeti." Those animals included prehistoric species of bison, camels, ground sloths, horses and mammoths. All of these herbivores are known to rub themselves against large rocks or trees as part of their grooming behavior. 
Those vast herds of large animals are now gone, for reasons unknown, but the evidence of their happy existence for millennia is still with us.


After being frozen for thousands of years in a Siberian riverbed, this pristine mammoth tusk is a financial boon to the hunter who found it.

Slava Dolbaev uses a spear to dig out a corkscrewed tusk from a coastal ice cliff. Prying loose a single tusk can take hours, even days.

Oddly, the skull is worthless, but it usually leads the hunters to the tusks.  Amazing that such an artifact simply sits on the ground in Siberia.  Imagine herds of these huge creatures slowly parading across the tundra.

The shaggy giants that roamed northern Siberia during the late Pleistocene epoch died off about 10,000 years ago, though isolated populations lingered on islands to the north and east, the last dying out some 3,700 years ago. The mammoths’ tusks, which could spiral to more than 13 feet, are reemerging from the permafrost. 
Yet, if the ivory hunters are traveling to islands as far as 600 km above the Arctic Circle to find mammoth tusks, does that fact not suggest that the earth was significantly warmer when these enormous mammals were thriving in places which are now blizzard whipped ice boxes most of the year? 
More excellent photos by Evgenia Arbugaeva here

Aahhhl be baaahck.

Humans do have a number of advantages even among Terrestrial life. Our endurance, shock resistance, and ability to recover from injury is absurdly high compared to almost any other animal. We often use the phrase “healthy as a horse” to connote heartiness - but compared to a human, a horse is as fragile as spun glass. Where a simple broken leg will cause most species to go into shock and die, we can recover from virtually any injury that’s not immediately fatal. Even traumatic dismemberment isn’t necessarily a career-ending injury for a human.
There’s mounting evidence that our primitive ancestors would hunt large prey simply by following it at a walking pace, without sleep or rest, until it died of exhaustion; it’s called pursuit predation. Basically, we’re the Terminator.
Add to that the high intelligence, propensity to work as a team, and to plan ahead, sometimes for years, and you have the ultimate warrior.

Nice quartet

Two F-35C Lightning II aircraft fly in formation with two F/A-18E/F Super Hornets over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, April 14, 2015. The flight is part of a six-day visit by Strike Fighter Squadron 101 to Naval Air Station Lemoore, Cailf., the future site for the F-35C. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell

A rebel dog

But there's no way he got up there on his own.

Dropping into Tuesday

Wow! A rare albino stealth jet!

Monday, April 27, 2015

An interesting snapshot of a remote land and people

Via Tai Wiki Widbee

Robot micro tugs

Engineers from Stanford University have created miniature robots named "MicroTugs" capable of pulling and lifting objects more than 100 times their own weight. The strongest of the bots weighs just 12 grams but can pull objects 2,000 times heavier than itself, reports the New Scientist. This is the equivalent of a human dragging a blue whale, says David Christensen, an engineer from the lab that created the robots.
Another of the robots weighs just 9 grams but can climb up vertical walls carrying objects heavier than a kilogram — the equivalent of a human hoisting an elephant up the side of a building. Even the smallest of the bots — a miniature beast of burden that weighs 20 milligrams and was assembled under a microscope with a pair of tweezers — can pull objects 25 times its own weight.

American weightlifter Shane Hamman celebrating with a jump

Some info on Shane

What changed?

In 1954, the St. Louis Board of Education published an 18-page essay in favor of promoting moral values in the St. Louis public schools, including:
– Clean speech, thought, and conduct
— Honesty
— Goodwill and kindness
— Loyalty
— Respect for elders
— Respect for the rights and property of others
— Responsibility
— Truthfulness
— Reverence
“Suggestions for the Teaching of Moral and Spiritual Values in the St. Louis Public Schools”Saint Louis Public School Journal, January 1954 ]

Mondays, they're like that

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Chilean hiker catches the exact moment of the Calbuco Volcano's eruption

If I saw that, I'd be making like Carl Lewis away from there as fast as possible.

The Nepal earthquake caught on surveillance camera

That's some severe shaking.

And one of the avalanches on Everest, this one at basecamp.

Yellow Horse - Yanktonai - 1908

Good dog

Fido has attitude

Low maintenance, low impact, no to low taxes.

Yurts rock.

Dupuyer, Montana

Bill Pawley fears no horse

On the high seas

The cat's motto

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Freckles, they are good.

Arshaug tower complex Ingushetia

Man o man! Very nice!

A little more snow than there was just yesterday

So cute I can bear-ly stand it, but the idea of a bear driving a car does give one paws.

Lonesome evening on the Great Plains somewhere.

But now, behind you. More snapping musketry. An officer pitches off his horse into the road, he is obviously in agony. But you cannot stop, the bloody rebels seem to be everywhere.

Old AFSarge really outdoes himself with this short but poignant post.

Go thee forth and read it all.

Oh, yeah!

Watch in HD, naturally.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Half Dome at Yosemite on a blustery afternoon

A bit of a sad story.

One day in 1895, while walking through the Ngoya Forest in Zululand, southern Africa, a botanist with the oh so suitable name of John Medley Wood caught sight of a tree.  Dr. Wood — who made his living collecting rare plants (he directed a botanical garden in Durban) had some of the stems pulled up, removed, and sent one of them to London.

The problem is, these trees cannot fertilize themselves. Some plants contain male and female parts on the same individual. Not E. woodii. It is, as the botanists say, dioecious. It needs a mate... But what if you can't find a mate? The tree in London (and its clones that are now growing in botanical gardens all over the world) is a male. It can make pollen. But it can't make the seeds. That requires a female.

Researchers have wandered the Ngoya forest and other woods of Africa, looking for an E. woodii that could pair with the one in London. They haven't found a single other specimen. They're still searching. ..

Earth Day "panic please" predictions from way back in April 1970

While objective and fact based environmentalism is hugely beneficial, the hysteria in service to political ends represented now by the "Climate Change/Global Warming" scam must be fought tooth and nail.

Moving on to the sky is falling hysteria that seems to never end, predictions from 1970:
1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”
6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”
7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.
8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”
9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”
12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in his 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.
14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”
18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

More Calbuco Volcano in Chile

Or, why I no longer worry about the exhaust from my Dodge harming the planet.

The planet is much more likely to harm my Dodge.

To introduce the airliner to the potential United States market[1] the Do X took off from Friedrichshafen, Germany on 3 November 1930, under the command of Friedrich Christiansen for a transatlantic test flight to New York.  The route took the Do X to the Netherlands, England, France, Spain, and Portugal. The journey was interrupted at Lisbon on 29 November, when a tarpaulin made contact with a hot exhaust pipe and started a fire that consumed most of the portside wing.  After sitting in Lisbon harbor for six weeks while new parts were fabricated and the damage repaired, the flying boat continued (with several further mishaps and delays) along the Western coast of Africa and by 5 June 1931 had reached the islands of Cape Verde, from which it crossed the ocean to Natal in Brazil,  where the crew were greeted as heroes by the local German émigré communities.
The flight continued north to the United States, finally reaching New York on 27 August 1931, almost nine months after departing Friedrichshafen.  The Do X and crew spent the next nine months there as its engines were overhauled, and thousands of sightseers made the trip to Glenn Curtiss Airport (now LaGuardia Airport) to tour the leviathan of the air. The economic effects of the Great Depression dashed Dornier's marketing plans for the Do X, however, and it departed from New York on 21 May 1932 flying via Newfoundland and the Azores to Müggelsee, Berlin where it arrived on 24 May and was met by a cheering crowd of 200,000.

It's all in Japanese, but still fascinating

For the past 33 years Japanese craftsman Okano Nobuo has been repairing tattered books and reconstituting them to look brand new. When a customer brought in an old Japanese-English dictionary that looked like it had been through a few wars, Okano approached it like an art conservationist repairing a painting. Using very basic tools like a wooden press, chisel, water and glue, Okano reconstituted the book to make it look like it was just purchased.
The tedious job required Okano to take each page—all 1000 of them—and flatten out all the creases with tweezers and an iron. But not everything is repaired. Okano makes some things disappear, like the initials of an old girlfriend. And much like the way a sculptor removes pieces to improve on it, Okano applies a subtractive process to bring the book back to life.
Once the job was done the book was returned to the customer, who presented it to his daughter as she was on her way to college.

Friday Open Road