Travels and Images
WEEK 2 2005
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Picture of the Week
Saturday 15 January
Saturday - warm(ish) and sunny. Football playoff's on teevee - bills paid - life is good.
Just before Christmas a friend 'loaned' me a couple of books. One was Word Freak: Heartbreak, Triumph, Genius, and Obsession in the World of Competitive Scrabble Players, in which the
author/reported actually gets sucked into the sport. The other was The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary, about one of the big contributors to the
Oxford English Dictionary, who submits his manuscripts by mail and who
is later discovered to be incarcerated in an insane asylum.
I say 'loaned' because they were actually library books, due back to the library in a
couple of days, and I was too busy to read more than a chapter of each before hitting the road.
Some people are just. plain. mean. and. sadistic.
The audio book on this latest trip up north was Bill Bryson's Neither Here Nor There,
about a long trip through europe, replicating the author's first trip
back in the 1970's. It's not a great or deep book, but it's fun to
listen to, and it is a bit reassuring to hear that someone who travels
extensively for a living has many of the same fears and experiences
that the less traveled of us have.
Since Bryson's book was only four tapes long I borrowed the Joseph Ellis book on tape, Founding Brothers,
from my dads library. The introduction and the description of the duel
between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton took up most of the drive
back down the state on Thursday.
Here is a true color image of Titan's surface. The rocks are just a few
inches in size, and may be ice, and there are signs of erosion under
and about them, suggesting fluid flow of some sort. Not water - it is
minus180 Fahrenheit or so on the surface, but perhaps some sort of
Titan in true color.
Friday 14 January
Friday - the Huygen's probe has landed successfully on Titan, and send back data, including pictures:
The surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
I wrote, about this time last year, that we were living in an era of wonders. They still continue.
- the Mars rover Opportunity has apparently found a meteor,
on Mars. Heh. I suppose, given that they are easy to find in places
like Antarctica where geological processes are slow that we might have
expected to find one on a planet where the erosive forces are even
A meteor, sitting in the sand dunes, on Mars
Space.com apparently dislikes linking to anything outside of their own site, but here is a NASA/JPL link.
Wednesday 12 January 2005
Wednesday - back on the road, from Reno to Martinez again. Once again, dry and safe roads. One thing I noted is that the I-80 is now three lanes (or more) wide from Auburn to the junction with the I-680 southwest of Fairfield. Greater Sacramento extends quite a ways now.
By a careful watch I was able to see where the Nut Tree Resort at the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville
used to be. The city has grown up and around the airport. I remember
visiting as a kid and being very impressed by it (we were farm kids, essentially). Pilots I know have
spoken of flying into it for a "Hundred Dollar Hamburger", many years
Tuesday - not a lot to say. Went to some
presentations, had lunch and dinner with friends. Afterwards Tim headed
back to the airport and San Diego.
Monday 10 January 2005
Monday - my friend Tim and I gave the
paper. It was well received. Tim did an excellent job and we had a
surprisingly large audience - for some reason the room filled up just
before we spoke. I hadn't originally thought it to be all that exciting
a paper, but it was on real hardware - the F-18 AAW, and perhaps that
had a certain cache amidst all the theory and equations...
We met some friends from OSU, and one gave an excellent talk just a bit before ours. Tim whispered to me "He's not looking at his notes!", which was true, and impressed us mightily.
It seems they don't have much snow here in Reno and are out of
practice, hence the poorly plowed roads. This has been a 100-year
snowfall - according to the Reno news it is 90 years since the last
The Reno Hilton has improved in the last year. Way back when it was the
MGM Grand, and was depressingly dingy and rundown. Now I think it's
fairly decent. New carpets, new paint, new elevator doors - the old
doors had the MGM lion done in relief on them and managed to stay on
through the Bally's ownership and the early days of Hilton's.
Sunday 9 January
Sunday - up to Reno, for the 43rd AIAA
conference next week. A break in the weather meant that for a midday
drive there were dry(ish) roads and only a few flurries of snow on the
I-80 near Donner Summit. Reno itself seems to have received a couple of
feet of snow, and had some rather poor snow plowing and clearing.
You can access the internet in your room - $6 for two hours, or more
for 24 hours. It's sort of a WebTV application through the teevee.
The room is an excellent large and clean room on a non-smoking floor.
The I-80 east, on the way to Reno. Clear roadways. The only problem was
the two or three times someone cut me off and splashed mud and salt
onto the windshield, obscuring things for a moment or two.
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