Monday, December 31, 2007

A Year of Spectacular Comets

Credit & Copyright: Bob Nanz (San Diego Astronomy Association)
Explanation: Two spectacular comets graced Earth's skies during 2007. Both comets became bright enough to be seen by the unaided eye of the casual sky enthusiast. Early in 2007, Comet McNaught grew brighter than any comet in 40 years, displaying a beautiful dust tail that flowed across the sky. Comet McNaught (c/2006 P1) became known as the Great Comet of 2007, sported unusual striations in its expansive dust tail, and showed unexpectedly complex chemistry in its ion tail. Toward the year's end, normally docile and faint Comet Holmes brightened suddenly and unexpectedly to naked eye visibility. Remarkably, Comet 17P/Holmes stayed bright for weeks even though it lies beyond the orbit of Mars. No distant comet in recent history has remained so bright for so long. In this view, a white Comet Holmes was photographed in early December posing with the Heart and Soul Nebulas.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Beautiful Boomerang Nebula

Credit: Hubble Heritage Team, J. Biretta (STScI) et al., (STScI/AURA), ESA, NASA
Explanation: This symmetric cloud dubbed the Boomerang Nebula was created by a high-speed wind of gas and dust blowing from an aging central star at speeds of nearly 600,000 kilometers per hour. The rapid expansion has cooled molecules in the nebular gas to about one degree above absolute zero - colder than even the cosmic background radiation - making it the coldest known region in the distant Universe. Shining with light from the central star reflected by dust, the frigid Boomerang Nebula is believed to be a star or stellar system evolving toward the planetary nebula phase. This Hubble image was recorded using polarizing filters (analogous to polaroid sunglasses) and color coded by the angle associated with the polarized light. The gorgeous result traces the small dust particles responsible for polarizing and scattering the light. The Boomerang Nebula spans about one light year and lies about 5,000 light years away toward the constellation Centaurus.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Earth at Twilight

Credit: ISS Crew, Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Lab, JSC, NASA
Explanation: No sudden, sharp boundary marks the passage of day into night in this gorgeous view of ocean and clouds over our fair planet Earth. Instead, the shadow line or terminator is diffuse and shows the gradual transition to darkness we experience as twilight. With the Sun illuminating the scene from the right, the cloud tops reflect gently reddened sunlight filtered through the dusty troposphere, the lowest layer of the planet's nurturing atmosphere. A clear high altitude layer, visible along the dayside's upper edge, scatters blue sunlight and fades into the blackness of space. This picture actually is a single digital photograph taken in June of 2001 from the International Space Station orbiting at an altitude of 211 nautical miles.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jib Jab Sendables

This is really hysterical. You can import head shots of family and friends into 'sendables' which can then be emailed. It's really funny, try it:

Note: some are free, others must be paid for with 'credits' - you get 50 free credits when you join, and can buy more if needed...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stars and Dust through Baade's Window

Credit & Copyright: Stephane Guisard
Explanation: Billions of stars light up the direction toward the center of our Galaxy. The vast majority of these stars are themselves billions of years old, rivaling their home Milky Way Galaxy in age. Together with interstellar dust, these old stars combine to create this yellowish starscape. Although the opaque dust obscures the true Galactic center in visible light, there is a low density hole in the dust on the right of the image. The region, named Baade's Window for the German astronomer who studied it, is used to inspect distant stars and to determine the internal geometry of the Milky Way. Baade's Window lies toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Comment of the Week

Here's a great comment, hat tip The Merry Widow:

"Ignorance is lack of knowledge, stupidity is usually genetic, but foolishness is a refusal to learn! Ignorance can be cured by teaching, stupidity can be forgiven as it is something the person can't control, but foolishness is an obdurant and defiant refusal to look at reality!"

Psalm 14:1
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

So, I guess the opposite states would be educated, smart and wise.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Stellar Nursery W5 + Adams Quote

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
John Adams
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)

I wonder what he would think of our music? Painting? Poetry?

Anthony Flew

I've ordered this book, by Anthony Flew (converted atheist) - Should be interesting:>D Here's a good joke for a chuckle or two (hat tip mom):

Have you heard about this case? In Florida , an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared, 'Case dismissed!'

The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah...yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!'

The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, 'Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists' holiday!'

The lawyer pompously said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?'

The judge said, 'Well it comes every year on exactly the same date---April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as 'April Fools Day,' consider that Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture, he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday! Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mount Shasta Glaciers Defy Global Warming, Grow

by John Iander
MOUNT SHASTA (CBS13) ― The debate over global warming has taken a pretty odd twist in Northern California. Up on Mount Shasta, the glaciers are not behaving like you'd expect.

Big mountains often produce their own weather patterns. Mount Shasta, at 14,162 feet seems to have a mind of its own these days. Shasta has seven glaciers. The biggest is the one on the middle, Whitney Glacier. What has surprised scientists about the glacier is that if the theories about global warming are true, the glacier ought to be shrinking, but it's not.

"Unlike most areas around the world, these glaciers are advancing, they are growing. Thirty percent in the last fifty years," says scientist Erik White.

White and mountain climber Chris Carr are Shasta experts.

"Every year it's a little bit different. But the glacier changes dramatically, year to year," says Carr.

So why are the glaciers larger today than they were a century or more ago?

"Mount Shasta is right at the very northern end of areas influenced by El Nino and were at the southern end of areas affected by La Nina. So between the two we get to see the benefits of that which means more snow and rain in this area," says White.

Snow scientists have been tracking the glaciers' size by comparing photos from a century ago to those taken decades later, and then using satellite data and computer modeling to determine the rate of growth.

Those models predict Shasta will continue to receive more than normal snowfall, but if the temperature continues to rise, the glaciers will begin to recede.

For now, the growing glaciers are good news to the town of Mount Shasta which hosts the thousands of tourists who come to here to experience the thrill of ice climbing.

You can climb mountain Shasta all the way to the glaciers to see for yourself, but, you'd better have good hiking equipment and be in good shape too!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sometimes in April

I watched a really good movie today called "Sometimes in April" about the Rwanda massacre. You should rent it if you can. What a slaughter. Surprisingly, there was little liberal BS in it. The only 'good' people in the movie were the Christians. Christians who sheltered the Tutsi, Christian school girls who all chose death rather than betray their Tutsi counterparts. It was a beautiful movie.

After watching it, I wondered who was the greatest murderer in the 20th Century, based on killing people at the highest speed. Turns out it was Stalin who killed 7 million in the Ukraine by forced starvation in 1933. Rwanda was in second place killing 800,000 in 3 months. In a way, Rwanda seems worse though because every day ordinary citizens turned into blood-thirsty murderers overnight.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Global Warming Cycle

A Complete Solar Cycle from SOHO
Credit: SOHO - EIT Consortium, ESA, NASA
Explanation: Every eleven years, our Sun goes through a solar cycle. A complete solar cycle has now been imaged by the sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft, celebrating the 12th anniversary of its launch yesterday. A solar cycle is caused by the changing magnetic field of the Sun, and varies from solar maximum, when sunspot, coronal mass ejection, and flare phenomena are most frequent, to solar minimum, when such activity is relatively infrequent. Solar minimums occurred in 1996 and 2007, while the last solar maximum occurred in 2001 Pictured above is a SOHO image of the Sun in extreme ultraviolet light for each year of the last solar cycle, with images picked to illustrate the relative activity of the Sun.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Moon Over Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Credit & Copyright: Tyler Westcott
Explanation: This spectacular sky is mostly human-made. Once a year, the Light Station at Pigeon Point near San Francisco, California, USA is lit as it was over 100 years ago. During this time, light generated by five kerosene lamps pours through 24 rotating Fresnel lenses, warning approaching ships to stay away. Early last week, light emanating from the Pigeon Point Lighthouse was particularly picturesque because of a thin fog, also blurring the distant Moon. During the latter 1970s, the lighthouse was guarded by an 800 pound pig named Lester. In modern times, the light house is still active but has been supplied with a more efficient flashing aerobeacon.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

An Iridescent Cloud Over Colorado

Credit & Copyright: August Allen
Explanation: Why would a cloud appear to be different colors? A relatively rare phenomenon known as iridescent clouds can show unusual colors vividly or a whole spectrum of colors simultaneously. These clouds are formed of small water droplets of nearly uniform size. When the Sun is in the right position and mostly hidden by thick clouds, these thinner clouds significantly diffract sunlight in a nearly coherent manner, with different colors being deflected by different amounts. Therefore, different colors will come to the observer from slightly different directions. Many clouds start with uniform regions that could show iridescence but quickly become too thick, too mixed, or too far from the Sun to exhibit striking colors. This iridescent cloud was photographed above Boulder, Colorado last week.

Friday, November 23, 2007

John Kerry up to no good, as usual...

Sheesh, what is with this jackass? Another quote from "A Common Quest For Vietnam's Future" by Huong Duy Hung:

"If we can help the people inside Vietnam directly without going through the regime's organizations, we would definitely implement a deep trust in the people for the Revolution's righteous cause (democracy). How can we help the people in Vietnam directly? The best way to help the people of Vietnam directly is to do our best for the US Congress to sponsor and to vote in approval of a Bill that would have similar content to the Vietnam Human Rights Bill (HR 2833). The Bill HR 2833 was proposed and sponsored by Rep Christopher Smith, a Republican from New Jersey.

On September 6 2001 the 107th US House of Representatives, with 410/1 votes, passed HR 2833 without amendment. This Bill was passed in the House the same day as the US-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement. Both Bills were sent to the Senate on September 10 2001, for discussion and voting. The Bilateral Trade Agreement was passed by the Senate on October 16 2001. Yet, HR2833 was held back by Senator John Kerry. The senator would not release it to the Senate Floor for discussion and for voting. If the Bill was passed by the Senate, it would become law, binding on the US to take proper measure to enforce it.

By legal procedures, because Vietnam is in Asia, the Bill had to be submitted to the US Senate East Asian Pacific Sub-Committee (a part of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee) for discussion and for approval before releasing it to the Senate Floor for voting. This Sub-Committee was headed by Senator John Kerry, a Democrat from Massachusetts. Late in 2001, Senator John Kerry released the Bill to the Senate Floor; however, for some reason, early in 2002 he took the Bill back and he did not release the Bill to the Senate Floor for voting during the term of the 107th Congress. Consequently, the Bill 'died'. In the future, if any representative or senator wants a similar Bill, it has to start from scratch in the 108th Congress."

Kim Phuc and the Napalm Bomb

Again, from "A Common Quest For Vietnam's Future" by Huong Duy Hung (truth is stranger than fiction!):

"In 1972, at Trang Bang, Tay Ninh province. South Vietnam's Airforce conducted an air strike with napalm bombs against the NFL's (Viet Cong) troops hiding themselves in Trang Bang. Trang Bang was already besieged by the NFL. Accidentally, one of the napalm bombs struck the house occupied by Kim Phuc and her family. In 1972, Kim Phuc was about 8. The bombing caused her body to catch fire... She ran out of the house, naked, on the street, crying in terror while her body was aflame. Nick Ut, a war photographer, captured the moment, and his photograph later won a pulitzer prize. Vietnamese communists and left-wing anti-war critics claimed it was the American Air Force who did the bombing.

In 1992, Kim Phuc and her husband sought political asylum in Canada. On Veteran's Day November 11, 1996, Kim Phuc came to Washington to commemorate. She made a speech of forgiveness and peace. John Plummer, who was a captain in 1972, came up and apologized to her, admitted to her he was the pilot who bombed Trang Bang. Kim Phuc said she forgave him long ago. On December 14, 1997, Baltimore Sun published an article reinstating that it was South Vietnam's Airforce who did the bombing, not the Americans. Baltimore Sun accused John Plumber as being an impostor. Christian Journal on January 12, 1998 confirmed that John Plumber was office personnel and he never participated in the bombing. John Plumber later confessed to the Baltimore Sun of his deception and apologized to the Vietnamese and Americans.

If the VC did not besiege Trang Bang, South Vietnam's Airforce would not have bombed Trang Bang, and Kim Phuc would not have caught on fire. The one whom should be blamed on in this incident was the Vietnamese communists, rather than South Vietnam's Airforce nor the Americans."

Tet Offensive - 1968

Here's another interesting piece,taken from "A Common Quest For Vietnam's Future" by Hoang Duy Hung:

"One of the chilling pictures during the Tet Offensive that shocked the world was the picture of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, Commander of the Police Force, executing a communist spy wearing civilian uniform on the street in broad day light on February 1, 1968. That spy was very well-known to South Vietnam's Police Force. This spy was a captain. He killed a couple of South Vietnamese soldiers just a few hours before his execution. South Vietnam's Police Force surrounded his hiding place, demanded him to surrender, as he stubbornly refused. The policemen had to pull him out. Frustrated, General Loan pulled him out on the street, with his hands bound and shot him in the head. Eddie Adam, an American reporter, happened to be in the area, took a picture of this rare incident. Left-wing anti-war critics accused General Loan as an inhumane person and depicted South Vietnam government as a military dictatorial machine. Subsequently, General Loan was fired from his post, ending his career. On July 16, 1998, General Loan died of cancer in Virginia at age 67. Eddie Adam immediately apologized to General Loan's family because the picture not only had ended Loan's career, it also deformed the righteous cause of South Vietnam government's in defending against the communists' invasion. Eddie Adam said General Loan was 'right' in executing this stubborn and dangerous spy and if Adam were in Loan's position, he would have done the same thing. The Americans probably have sympathy toward General Loan more than ever after the September 11th, 2001 attack by Al Qaeda. In war, commanders have the right to execute spies if these spies are in imminent danger to others."

"A Common Quet For Vietnam's Future" by Hoang Duy Hung

I'm reading "A Common Quest for Vietnam's Future" by Hoang Duy Hung. The book was given to me by a Vietnamese friend whose great desire is to see Vietnam become a democracy. The book does an excellent job of documenting the history of Vietnam. The author is a nationalist, and really detests communism, but also is pretty hard (and a little paranoid) on US military actions (for example he thinks there might be a link between the assassination of JFK and a 'secret group' of military industrialists in the US - President Diem was killed 3 weeks prior to JFK).

I thought this bit was interesting, regarding the Buddhist monks who killed themselves in defiance of the Diem government (you can see a little paranoid dichotomy in the paragraph):

"The situation became more obscured when on June 11, 1963, at the corner of Le Van Duyet and Phan Dinh Phung streets in Sai Gon, the Most Vererable Thich Quang Duc immolated himself. Madame Nhu ignited the flame of anger not only in Vietnam but all around the world when she called the Buddhist monks as 'shaved head guys' and the self-immolations as 'barbecues." Madame Nhu had the right to suspect that the CIA or the communists were behind the sceen, especially the self-immolation of the Most Vereable Thich Quang Duc because he did not react in pain in the midst of the flame. But her reaction was not wise and unacceptalbe. To many people, her response to the situation was a contempt for Buddhism. At this point, the US no longer wanted to support Diem's government. Seizing this opportunity, the CIA secretly stirred to provoke the Buddhists' hatred against the Ngo family."

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007


Aurora in the Distance
Credit & Copyright: Lance McVay
Explanation: Some auroras can only be seen with a camera. They are called sub-visual and are too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. The reason is that the human eye only accumulates light for a fraction of a second at a time, while a camera shutter can be left open indefinitely. When photographing an already picturesque scene above Juneau, Alaska, USA, a camera caught green sub-visual aurora near the horizon. Auroras are sparked by energetic particles from the Sun impacting the magnetic environment around the Earth. Resultant energetic particles such as electrons and protons rain down near the Earth's poles and impact the air. The impacted air molecules temporarily lose electrons, and when oxygen molecules among them reacquire these electrons, they emit green light. Auroras are known to have many shapes and colors.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm back!

Sorry, I'm still experimenting with this new computer....

Try this:


Isn't that just totally awesome????

Friday, October 19, 2007

2 Great Questions

I thought these 2 questions were interesting, but I don't remember now where I read it...

1. What do you live for?
2. What would you die for?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Wittness" by Wittaker Chambers

I'm reading "Witness" by Whittaker Chambers, which was written in 1952 about the Alger Hiss (communist in the US State Department)trial. It's very well written, and very interesting. I thought it was particularly cute, when he was telling about certain rules his mother had with respect to manners:

" A man of 'breeding' is known not so much by what he does as by what he will not do.

1. First and foremost, he never imputes a base motive to anyone else.

2. If someone is rude to him, he assumes that the rudeness is unintentional. If he knows that it is intentional, he acts as if it were not.

3. He never meets anger with anger.

4. He never patronizes anyone because he never assumes that he knows more than anyone else or that uneducated people are unintelligent.

5. He never corrects other people's slips. Always allow people the luxury of being mistaken. They will find out for themselves soon enough. If they don't, they are the kind of people in whom it does not matter.

6. Never, under any circumstances, eat in public in front of people who are not eating."

BTW, Chamber was born in 1901 if that helps :>D

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bear Rescue

Just got this today in the email. It's pretty cute:

"A bear was walking across Rainbow Bridge (Old Hwy 40 at Donner Summit,
**Truckee**) on Saturday when two cars also crossing the bridge scared
the bear into jumping over the edge of the bridge.

Somehow the bear caught the ledge and was able to pull itself to
safety. At one point the bear tested its ability to climb down by
lowering its feet down the side but decided against that idea and
pulled itself back up!

Authorities decided that nothing could be done to help Saturday night
so they returned Sunday morning to find the bear sound asleep on the

After securing a net under the bridge the bear was tranquilized, fell
into the net, lowered, then woke up and walked out of the net."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Saguaro Moon

"Credit & Copyright: Stefan Seip (Astro Meeting)
Explanation: A Full Moon rising can be a dramatic celestial sight, and Full Moons can have many names. For example, tonight's Full Moon, the one nearest the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere, is popularly called the Harvest Moon. According to lore the name is a fitting one because farmers could work late into the night at the end of the growing season harvesting crops by moonlight. In the same traditions, the Full Moon following the Harvest Moon is the Hunter's Moon. But, recorded on a trip to the American southwest, this contribution to compelling images of moonrise is appropriately titled Saguaro Moon."

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Early Christian Soldiers

I'm reading "Eusebius, The Church History", who was a Christian who lived from 260 - 339 AD and wrote about early Christianity. It's a fascinating book, here's an excerpt from the period at the beginning of Diocletian's persecution of Christians:

"First he struck at those in the camps, thinking that if he won there the rest would be easily defeated. Now large numbers of soldiers were glad to become civilians so as not to renounce their reverence for the Creator. The commander-in-chief, whoever he was, first began persecuting the soldiers by sorting them out and letting them choose either to conform and retain their rank or to disobey the edict and be stripped of it. A great many soldiers of Christ's kingdom unhesitatingly chose to confess him rather than hold onto their apparent glory and prosperity. Of these, a few here and there were already receiving not only loss of honor, but even death in exchange for their loyal devotion, for as yet the instigator of the plot was risking bloodshed only rarely, apparently fearing the number of believers and hesitating to make war on all of them at once. But once he had readied himself, words are inadequate to describe the number or the nobility of God's martyrs, as witnessed by people in every city and region."

Obviously there were quite a few Christian Roman soldiers by 303 AD, so I don't really 'get' Christians who claim to be pacifists.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tungurahua Erupts

Credit & Copyright: Patrick Taschler
Explanation: Volcano Tungurahua erupted spectacularly last year. Pictured above, molten rock so hot it glows visibly pours down the sides of the 5,000-meter high Tungurahua, while a cloud of dark ash is seen being ejected toward the left. Wispy white clouds flow around the lava-lit peak, while a star-lit sky shines in the distance. The above image was captured last year as ash fell around the adventurous photographer. Located in Ecuador, Tungurahua has become active roughly every 90 years since for the last 1,300 years. Volcano Tungurahua has started erupting again this year and continues erupting at a lower level even today.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Six Rainbows Across Norway

Credit & Copyright: Terje O. Nordvik
Explanation: Have you ever seen six rainbows at once? They are not only rare to see -- they are a puzzle to understand. The common rainbow is caused by sunlight internally reflected by the backs of falling raindrops, while also being refracted at the air / water boundary. To see a rainbow, look opposite the Sun towards a rainstorm. This primary rainbow is the brightest color swath in the above image. Multiple internal reflections inside water droplets sometimes make a secondary rainbow to become visible outside the first, with colors reversed. Just such a secondary rainbow is visible of the far left. Harder to explain is the intermediate rainbow, between the two. This rainbow is likely caused by sunlight that has first reflected off the lake before striking the distant raindrops that is reflecting sunlight back toward the observer. Each of these rainbows appears to be reflected by the calm lake, although because the positions of rainbows depend on the location of the observer, a slightly displaced image of each rainbow is actually being imaged.


Thursday, August 23, 2007


A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in their life, signed a blank check made payable to "The United States of America", for an amount of "up to and including my life." That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country nowadays who no longer understand it. -- Author Unknown

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cluster Crash Illuminates Dark Matter Conundrum

Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC/ U. Victoria/ A. Mahdavi et al.
Optical/Lensing: CFHT/ U. Victoria/ A. Mahdavi et al.
Explanation: Huge clusters of galaxies are surely colliding in Abell 520 but astrophysicists aren't sure why the dark matter is becoming separated from the normal matter. The dark matter in the above multi-wavelength image is shown in false blue, determined by carefully detailing how the cluster distorts light emitted by more distant galaxies. Very hot gas, a form of normal matter, is shown in false red, determined by the X-rays detected by the Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory. Individual galaxies dominated by normal matter appear yellowish or white. Conventional wisdom holds that dark matter and normal matter are attracted the same gravitationally, and so should be distributed the same in Abell 520. Inspection of the above image, however, shows a surprising a lack of a concentration of visible galaxies along the dark matter. One hypothetical answer is that the discrepancy is caused by the large galaxies undergoing some sort of conventional gravitational slingshots. A more controversial hypothesis holds that the dark matter is colliding with itself in some non-gravitational way that has never been seen before. Further simulations and study of this cluster may resolve this scientific conundrum.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I like this drawing of Jesus. Don't you think when he was walking around on earth he must have been extremely charismatic?

Ecc 3:11-12
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.

Here's a good question: To whom does the Golden Rule not apply?

Were Jews wearing those little hats around 30AD? When did that tradition start?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Great Grandfather

From my mom: ""I was thinking about my dad's dad yesterday & I remembered that both of his parents were dead by the time he was 6 yrs old, & he had to go & live with a neighbor who made him be a shepherd, at that young age, but he did get some schooling in the winter months, & he read the Bible in his own language & his Norweigen news paper, which he always got once a week, from Norway. I imagine it was old info, but he enjoyed it +++ & he smoked a pipe. He died at age 82 from starving really, but I think he had an ulcer & probably didn't feel much like eating. He was a kind old man a lot like R's dad. He was in the Norweigen Army, he is the one I gave you the picture of last year when you were here. He was in there for 6 yrs."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Blogger Reflection Award

I've been tagged by Neocommandcenter, here's the rules:

1. Copy this post (meaning the rules).

2. Reflect on five bloggers and write a least a paragraph about each one.

3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.

4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.

5. Put the award icon on your site.

"This award should make you reflect on five bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Five Bloggers who when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy . . . of knowing them and being blessed by them.”

1. The Merry Widow: For her insight into the emergent church and her caring for people in our little circle who've encountered some of the turbulence of this world. She also posts an occasional recipe that sound really, really delicious.

2. Nanc: For her wit and razor sharp humor. She also knows a heck of alot about flowers and bugs in the 'south', such as the clipping of bachelor buttons... ooops, I just remembered they're not called that.

3. Brooke: For her hysterical video's and cartoons of current events, and for giving hope for the next generation. How she manages her family AND her blog, I'll never know.

4. Russet Shadows: For his great writing. I unfortunately installed the new explorer the other day and lost all my blogger links...

5. Farmer John: For his mysterious comments and various Avatars. I would like to know more about the real FJ... I have a suspicion he's a Renaissance Man.

The Four Suns of HD 98800

Illustration Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
Explanation: How would it look to have four suns in the sky? Planets of the HD 98800 system, if they exist, would experience such a view. HD 98800 is a multiple star system about 150 light years from Earth -- right in our section of the Milky Way Galaxy. For years it has been known that HD 98800 consists of two pairs of double stars, with one pair surrounded by a disk of dust. The star pairs are located about 50 AU from each other -- in comparison just outside the orbit of Pluto. Recent data from the Earth-trailing Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared light, however, indicate that the dust disk has gaps that appear consistent with being cleared by planets orbiting in the disk. If so, one planet appears to be orbiting at a distance similar to Mars of our own Solar System. Pictured above is an artist's drawing of how the HD 98800 system might appear to a nearby observer.

Friday, July 27, 2007


This is a cool car! Tesla

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Goya's Ghosts

This sounds like a good movie! And, explains why I'm a conservative... SMALL GOVERNMENT:>D

The parents who raised Oscar-winning director Milos Forman were Protestants, but both perished in Nazi concentration camps. The director's adoptive father distributed "forbidden" books to his students during the Nazi occupation and was sent to a concentration camp. Amazingly, he was returned to Prague to stand trial and was even acquitted, but nevertheless he was shipped to Buchenwald where he perished in 1944.

A year earlier, Forman's mother, Anna, suffered the same fate: After being arrested, she was sent to Auschwitz and died there.

"Nobody knows why," Forman told JTA, speaking from his Connecticut home. "It was like the Inquisition. They grabbed people and nobody knew why."

The analogy is deliberate, an intentional link to his latest film, Goya's Ghosts. It's a multi-layered story, a beautifully photographed art tour and a history lesson with multiple helpings of an impressive Natalie Portman.

The year is 1792, and while most of Europe has thrown off the shackles of the Roman Catholic Church's Holy Inquisition, it still wields its power in Spain.

Caught in its toils is Ines, played by Portman, the daughter of a wealthy Christian businessman whose lovely face has made her a favorite model of the great court painter Francisco Goya.

Ines runs afoul of zealous Church spies, who finger her as a "Judaizer," a forced convert to Christianity who "relapses" into observing Jewish rituals when she declines a plate of pork at a public inn. Her nemesis, torturer and eventual seducer is chief inquisitor Brother Lorenzo, impressively portrayed by Spanish actor Javier Bardem. Ultimately the inquisitor is disgraced, but not before fathering Ines' daughter.

When Napoleon conquers Spain in 1808, the Inquisition is abolished, the prison doors are thrown open and Ines emerges as a half-deranged hag. She undertakes a desperate search for her illegitimate daughter, who has become the beautiful prostitute Alicia, also portrayed by Portman in a remarkable double, or rather triple, performance.

The recently released film is the latest for Forman, a Czech native whose biological father was Jewish, in a directing career that also includes One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus, Ragtime and, most recently, The People vs. Larry Flynt in 1996.

"I believe that the most important conflict in the history of mankind is between the individual and institutions," Forman said. "Man creates institutions, which then assume total power and believe that they own man. That's the theme of Goya's Ghosts."

Forman doubts this struggle will ever end.

"After each war, after each mass killing, we all scream 'Never again,'" he said. "Then we do it again because we never learn from history." (JTA)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Just another cool picture from

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Infrared Andromeda
Credit: Pauline Barmby (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) et al., JPL, Caltech, NASA
Explanation: This wide, detailed Spitzer Space Telescope view features infrared light from dust (red) and old stars (blue) in Andromeda, a massive spiral galaxy a mere 2.5 million light-years away. In fact, with over twice the diameter of our own Milky Way, Andromeda is the largest nearby galaxy. Andromeda's population of bright young stars define its sweeping spiral arms in visible light images, but here the infrared view clearly follows the lumpy dust lanes heated by the young stars as they wind even closer to the galaxy's core. Constructed to explore Andromeda's infrared brightness and stellar populations, the full mosaic image is composed of about 3,000 individual frames. Two smaller companion galaxies, NGC 205 (below) and M32 (above) are also included in the combined fields. The data confirm that Andromeda (aka M31) houses around 1 trillion stars, compared to 4 hundred billion for the Milky Way.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hat tip: Mom

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Home Made Dog Biscuits

I saw this in a magazine today, and thought I'd pass it on:>)

4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/4 cups water with boullion
1/4 cup minced apple
3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp veg oil
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp ground cloves

Heat oven to 325 deg F. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly until combined to form dough.

Roll out dough on floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut into bone shapes. Combine dough scraps and continue to roll out and cut into shapes until all duogh has been used. Place cookies on ungreased foil-lined baking sheets. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Makes 5 to 6 dozen. Easy huh?

I'm thinking garlic would be good to add too, maybe instead of the apple, cinnamon and cloves.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Shuttle Ferry

Credit: Carla Thomas, NASA
Explanation: How does a space shuttle that landed in California get back to Florida for its next launch? The answer is by ferry. NASA operates two commercial Boeing 747 airplanes modified to carry a space shuttle on their backs. Designated officially as Shuttle Carrier Aircraft or SCA, the 747s were made for commercial flights but bolstered by NASA with several struts, stabilizers, and electronic monitors. Spanning about 70 meters in length, the two aircraft's combined mass is nearly 150,000 kilograms. Pictured above, the space shuttle Atlantis is shown being ferried back to NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida in September 1998.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Infrared Trifid

Credit: J. Rho (SSC/Caltech), JPL-Caltech, NASA
Explanation: The Trifid Nebula, aka Messier 20, is easy to find with a small telescope, a well known stop in the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. But where visible light pictures show the nebula divided into three parts by dark, obscuring dust lanes, this penetrating infrared image reveals filaments of glowing dust clouds and newborn stars. The spectacular false-color view is courtesy of the Spitzer Space Telescope. Astronomers have used the Spitzer infrared image data to count newborn and embryonic stars which otherwise can lie hidden in the natal dust and gas clouds of this intriguing stellar nursery. As seen here, the Trifid is about 30 light-years across and lies only 5,500 light-years away.

Friday, July 6, 2007