Archive for February, 2010

Bob’s Telescope Tour

February 28th, 2010 | Category: Arizona,Lowell

My Father-in-law Bob visited and I gave him the grand tour of Lowell’s Telescopes. Here are a few shots of the two of us and some of Lowell Observatory’s telescopes.

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The Discovery Channel Telescope (DCT) perching on its ridge in Happy Jack, Arizona. This is “my” telescope.

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Bob standing in front of the DCT.

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Bob standing inside of the DCT dome.  The black machine next to him is a man-lift that will be used for maintenance when the telescope is in operation.  The telescope is not here yet, but the building and the dome are completed. The dome weighs 330,000 pounds; the telescope will weigh a little more.

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The electronics that spin the dome. Among other things, I’m working on the firmware that controls this system. The four motors use 480 volts, but can be controlled very precisely.

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The Perkins Telescope.

Dr. Dierdre Hunter and Predoctoral Fellow Hongxin Zhang were using the Perkins that night, but were kind enough to let us fool around taking pictures. They are studying dwarf galaxies in an effort to learn more about star formation.

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The John Hall Telescope.

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The dome of the John Hall telescope in the moonlight.

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Stormy Winter Weather at the South Rim

February 27th, 2010 | Category: animals,Arizona

My father-in-law Bob hadn’t seen the canyon in years, so we spent an afternoon at the south rim.  The weather was variable; when we arrived it was sunny and warm, but within 25 minutes turned to cloudy, dark, and cold.  Soon it began to snow.

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A Raven presides over the incoming storm clouds.

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Clouds slide into the canyon; snow in the foreground.

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The San Francisco peaks – over two miles high and 90 miles away – float on the horizon over Grand Canyon Village.  Flagstaff is right at the peaks; they serve as a navigational point for the entire region.

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In this view from Hermit’s rest all the way at the western end of the south rim road, you can see the Hermit Trail descending to the river.

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An unexpected elk encounter.

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Bob’s hand next to a perfect woodpecker nest cavity.

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The view on the return drive: the San Francisco peaks lurk behind an ominous cloud cover.

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Moonrise over the Kaibab National Forest, south of the Canyon on the way to Flagstaff.

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Deer Creek South Fork Excursion

February 24th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized

My friend Todd was in Arizona and we took a little outing to this semi-arid place.  We didn’t walk too far – only a couple of miles – but it was a good scouting mission for a longer hike. We timed it perfectly and returned to the car just as the last rays of daylight disappeared.

Deer Creek is near the town of Payson, midway between the saguaro forests of the low hot desert and the dense pine forest heights of cold Flagstaff.  When we took this hike it was raining and there was a good amount of water flowing in Deer creek’s south fork.  Come summer, it will bake at 120 degrees and there won’t be any water or shade.  The rainy cool winter weather is the time to go hiking in the desert!

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In the next image you can see the magnificent snow-capped desert ridges meeting the bruised and threatening sky.

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You can see that the surface of this creek bed is not for the faint of heart!

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The color and variety of the minerals here are astonishing. They look duller when dry.

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Snowpocalypse 2010

February 08th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized

Here are some images showing us playing with the dog outside in the 100-year storm.  Final tally: 26 inches in 24 hours.  That’s insane for Maryland.

The dog is kind of dirty so he’s not as white as usual, but he still was the focus of attention for everyone walking by.  He is in his element.

The cat, well, the cat had to be taught a lesson.  The little f–k has been trying to get out lately.  So we’ve developed a policy of letting her out – in pouring rain, deep snow, sizzling heat, etc.  We threw her in the snow and she made a high-stepping beeline back to the house. Learning may have occurred.

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What goes well with snow?

February 07th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized

Chocolate chip cookies! High fraction of whole and unbleached wheat and lower fat/sugar. Dried cherries and oats too. There’s nothing like cooking on a snowy day.

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Rotten applesauce

February 06th, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized

This AM Holly was cleaning out the fridge and found this nice jar of applesauce:

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Right away it was spirited to the Greenspan analytical laboratory for inspection. I have a microscope  built from a box of broken microscopes purchased from Edmund Scientific a few years back. It needed a little custom machining and parts, but it works; its highest power is 400X. I bought microscopy stains and various other materials on-line.

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I figured that the pink stuff would be bacteria, but the gray/flesh-colored body would be fungus. Since the gray/flesh thing was spongy, I thought I’d find mycelia - the filaments that make up the body of a multicellular fungus.  I was right!

I made some slides with methylene blue, and here is one that shows both organisms.  The little round/lozenge-shaped things are bacteria and yeast.  I don’t know what kind of bacteria yet. The filaments are the mycelia of the “black thing.” you can see some interior structure within the mycelium in the center.img_0440

I will have to continue working on the image quality; I think i can do better if I can find more time to play with it.

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Grovel in my fearsome presence, ye maggots!

February 03rd, 2010 | Category: Uncategorized

This is the definition for my name as given by urbandictionary.com:

Daniel

This is a difficult name to define because it defies many boundaries of human perception, let alone various languages. One of the closest translations that experts give is God or many other variations of that general idea.
Other definitions are thought to be:
Tao
Chi
The Great Spirit
Chuck Norris
Energy
Infinity
Sublime
ect
Despite the fact that various names have been pinned to Daniel, its seems that all of the above examples (including that of God)cannot even withstand the magnitude of Daniel.
The reason this name continues to elude even the brightest of human minds is that the idea of Daniel cannot possibly exist in a dimensional state. Daniel is so powerful, it defies all laws of this or any other universe. Recent studies have shown that people who have attempted to comprehend this name have either disappeared, died spontaneously, or driven themselves into a pertinent state of insanity and/or catatonia. One common belief is that Daniel is possibly the grounds on which everything and nothing is based. It seems to surpass the idea of infinity. Quantum physicists report that this Daniel is Everything and Nothing. It or He is said to have unexplainable connections with the String and Superstring Theories as Daniel resonates within every single layer of the multi-dimensional complex and yet still exists beyond that point which is where scientists have lost the trail. Various theologists and spiritual leaders believe that Daniel is one who is, as they say, “The Answer”. All attempts to understand this idea of Daniel have failed.

Daniel. Nothing else can describe him.

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