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Picture of the Week
Thursday night I was out trying to photograph comet Ikeya-Zhang with the digital camera, again. Conditions were not ideal, some haze, and high winds. As far as I can tell from a cursory pass through the downloaded pictures I have nothing. I played with setting the focus manually to infinity, and taking a dark frame, and playing with the ISO. I'll see if I can work with the images and get anything worthwhile out of them with some processing. I've never done a lot of astronomical photography, and what I can say right now is that (1) it's hard, and (2) it pays to prepare beforehand - know exactly what you want to do and how you are going to go about it.
Meanwhile the Yahoo Science link to Space.com reports it as a remarkably bright object even under city lights. I can't agree, and think that they are doing the public a disfavor by falsely reporting comets to be bright - they are diffuse low brightness objects not at all suitable for inexperienced or first time observers. After comets West, Kohoutek & Halley you'd think they'd know that. Ah well, the media has it's own agenda...profit, mostly.
Monday 8 April 2002
Unfortunately I was shooting in TIFF mode, which takes about ten seconds to save, and by the time I could photograph him, Mr. Raccoon was ambling away, probably to finish his nightly routines of tipping over trash cans and terrorizing cats. I think the term for animals living in "harmony" with humans is "cryptozoic". I've heard it used for people (illegally) living aboard their boats in some marinas as well.
"Moonrise over Martinez"
Tuesday 9 April 2002
It's worth watching. As a critic of the movie I would say that it probably failed to convey the true trials and horrors of the Antarctic - how much endurance was required, and concentrated a bit too much on the one man. But the movie was "Shackleton", not "Endurance", so I suppose we were warned. There was a one hour Biography special before Monday's Part II, and quite a few things that are only hinted at or alluded to in the show were expanded on; the avoidance of a class structure in his organization, the salesmanship required to outfit the expedition, the rogue wave, his later heart attack. Worth watching, though the sad end of the animals in Part II makes it perhaps not fit for small children.
It was a pretty good show, Kenneth Branagh would find it hard to make a bad movie I think ( OK, OK, there was 'The Wild Wild West', one of the worst movies ever made, I won't even link to it ).
I don't like to criticize other people's hard work - it's all too easy to demean others' hard work that I couldn't possibly do myself. So, take my criticism with a grain of salt, and more as an observation for further reading and research in the future. ( Except for 'The Wild Wild West', I just have to stand by that.)
Looking at the Astronomy Picture of the Day I was struck, as I often am, by just how many stars there are. Looking at today's picture of the star clouds in the constellation of Ophiuchus reminds me of Olbers Paradox: namely, "Why is the sky dark at night?". Heinrich Olber, in the 1800's, suggested that if the universe was infinite in extent, then the disks of all the stars would overlap, and the sky would be as bright as the surface of the sun. It isn't, of course, but the suggested reasons why not are interesting. (The site I've linked to is well done, but has a bit of Java and stuff in it.)
Wednesday 10 April 2002
Looking for a link to "Passion Fruit" I did a Yahoo! search. Some of the links were, shall we say, interesting. Which reminds me of the time that the drive belt on my old lathe broke, and I did a search for "leather belts". At work.
My sister V helped out - she is a neophyte in construction, but learns very quickly, and is doing quite a bit of work on the house where she lives. It's always nice to have someone hold up the other end of a board, or to do the nailing while you hold it up, or to just hand you that out of reach hammer...
Thursday 11 April 2002
We've been listening to "Flight of the Intruder" on audio tape - and it's exhausting. It just moves right along, dragging you with it. Every chapter or two it's necessary to stop and take a breather. I'd read the book, years ago, and forgotten most of it. I never saw the movie. The single book spawned a series of sequels. I think I enjoyed Coonts non-fiction book "The Cannibal Queen" more. After the success of his first book, he uses the proceeds (not as large as you'd think) to buy an open cockpit biplane trainer, and fly to the contiguous 48 states. In his case, he wrote a book, so the expenses were probably tax deductible as well. The book makes it sound like a lot of fun, something I'd like to do someday. Along with motorcycling to all 49. And maybe walking. And sailing, definitely sailing, to all the coastal states. Ah well. Someday...
Friday 12 April 2002
Saturday 13 April 2002
I'm a little stiff, but not too bad. It wasn't the shoveling, lifting, or sweeping or mowing. It was the weed pulling. Ah well.
Picture of the
Raccoons (Three) In A Tree
Notes on the photo: One night the dog went beserk. Walking to the front porch my father captured this shot of 3 raccoons using a fruitless mulberry tree to pass through the yard. A year later there were five of them....
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