November 29, 2011
Apple Siri vs. Microsoft Tellme
November 28, 2011
Postcards from Nowhere: Mississippi
Jen and I managed meet up for a few days around Thanksgiving in Madison, MS. She flew in from NYC, Kansas City, New Orleans and drove to Madison. I flew in from Denver to Houston to Jackson. Was very good to see the cousins again, of course. We picked cotton, shot the rifles, rode horses, played football, badminton, and of course gorged ourselves on Thanksgiving Day.
The images were all captured on a Canon EOS 50D frame and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM image-stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens, or on a Canon EOS 20D frame with a Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM lens.
This slideshow features a song by Bob Dylan called Wigwam off of The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack.
The images are compiled into a 6 Meg (3:03) Adobe Flash slideshow (2011_Thanksgiving.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (2011_Thanksgiving.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.
Click here to view the other slideshows.
Hypersonic Speeds without a vehicle
This story gives the term Test Pilot a whole new meaning.
Joe Kittinger is not a household aviation name like Neil Armstrong or Chuck Yeager. But what he did for the U. S. Space program is comparable. On Aug. 16, 1960, as research for the then-fledgling U. S. Space program, Air Force Captain Joseph Kittinger rode a helium balloon to the edge of space, 102,800 feet above the earth, a feat in itself.
Then, wearing just a thin pressure suit and breathing supplemental oxygen, he leaned over the cramped confines of his gondola and jumped--into the 110-degree-below-zero, near-vacuum of space. Within seconds his body accelerated to 714mph in the thin air, breaking the sound barrier.
After free-falling for more than four and a half minutes, slowed finally by friction from the heavier air below, he felt his parachute open at 14,000 feet, and he coasted gently down to the New Mexico desert floor.
Kittinger's feat showed scientists that astronauts could survive the harshness of space with just a pressure suit and that man could eject from aircraft at extreme altitudes and survive.
Upon Kittinger's return to base, a congratulatory telegram was waiting from the Mercury seven astronauts--including Alan Shepard and John Glenn. More than four decades later Kittinger's two world records--the highest parachute jump, and the only man to break the sound barrier without an aircraft and live--still stand. We decided to visit the retired colonel and Aviation Hall of Famer, now 75, at his home in Altamonte Springs , Florida , to recall his historic jump.****
FORBES GLOBAL: Take us back to New Mexico and Aug. 16, 1960.
Joe Kittinger: We got up at 2 a. M. To start filling the helium balloon.
At sea level, it was 35 to 40 feet wide and 200 feet high; at altitude, due to the low air pressure, it expanded to 25 stories in width, and still was
20 stories high!****
At 4 a. M. I began breathing pure oxygen for two hours. That's how long it takes to remove all the nitrogen from your blood so you don't get the bends going so high so fast. Then it was a lengthy dress procedure layering warm clothing under my pressure suit. They kept me in air-conditioning until it was time to launch because we were in the desert and I wasn't supposed to sweat. If I did, my clothes would freeze on the way up.****
How was your ascent?
It took an hour and a half to get to altitude. It was cold. At 40,000 feet, the glove on my right hand hadn't inflated. I knew that if I radioed my doctor, he would abort the flight. If that happened, I knew I might never get another chance because there were lots of people who didn©-t want this test to happen.
I took a calculated risk, that I might lose use of my right hand. It quickly swelled up, and I did lose use for the duration of the flight. But the rest of the pressure suit worked. When I reached 102,800 feet, maximum altitude, I wasn't quite over the target.
So I drifted for 11 minutes. The winds were out of the east. What's it look like from so high up? You can see about 400 miles in every
direction. The formula is 1.25 x the sq. Root of the altitude in thousands of feet. (The square root of 102,000 ft is 319 X 1.25 = 399 miles)
The most fascinating thing is that it's just black overhead--the transition from normal blue to black is very stark. You can't see stars because there's a lot of glare from the sun, so your pupils are too small. I was struck with the beauty of it. But I was also struck by how hostile it is: more than 100 degrees below zero, no air. If my protection suit failed, I would be dead in a few seconds. Blood actually boils above 62, 000 feet.
I went through my 46-step checklist, disconnected from the balloon©-s power supply and lost all communication with the ground. I was totally under power from the kit on my back. When everything was done, I stood up, turned around to the door, took one final look out and said a silent prayer: "Lord, take care of me now." Then I just jumped over the side.
What were you thinking as you took that step?
It's the beginning of a test. I had gone through simulations many times--more than 100. I rolled over and looked up, and there was the balloon just roaring into space. I realized that the balloon wasn't roaring into space; I was going down at a fantastic rate! At about 90,000 feet, I reached 714mph.
The altimeter on my wrist was unwinding very rapidly. But there was no sense of speed. Where you determine speed is visual--if you see something go flashing by. But nothing flashes by 20 miles up--there are no signposts there, and you are way above any clouds. When the chute opened, the rest of the jump was anticlimactic because everything had worked perfectly. I landed 12 or 13 minutes later, and there was my crew waiting. We were elated.
How about your right hand?
It hurt--there was quite a bit of swelling and the blood pressure in my arm was high. But that went away in a few days, and I regained full use of my hand. What about attempts to break your record? We did it for air crews and astronauts--for the learning, not to set a record.
They will be going up as skydivers. Somebody will beat it someday.
Records are made to be broken. And I'll be elated. But I'll also be concerned that they©-re properly trained. If they're not, they're taking a heck of a risk.****
November 24, 2011
Suck it, Obama
November 21, 2011
Connecting Canon DSLR to iPhone 4S
Last night I used a website to help me solve a riddle that's been bugging me for some time.
November 20, 2011
Here Be Dragons
Here Be Dragons by Charles W Sasser.
"The stench of burning marijuana was so thick at night I could hardly breathe. Drug-slurred, senseless conversations continued all night: Whatever happened to Andy Garcia? Obama will give everything to everyone when he's reelected. . .
Some guy was puking; a girl shuffled past, sobbing (There had been at least one confirmed rape). A boy and girl were hooking up underneath a tarp until she suddenly ran out hurling curses back over her shoulder. Make Out Not War said patches sewn on sleeves.
Throughout the various messages emerged the assertion that everyone would live happily ever after if the assets of the 1 Percent were redistributed. And, well, if we don't get what we want, we're going to tear all this down in the name of the people.
A comment by American historian Gene Genovese about the 1960s Weathermen applies to the 99 Percenters who are now infesting cities coast to coast. They could be laughed away, he said, "were it not for the sobering thought that these pitiable young bourgeois will get themselves and some other people killed before the newspapers and TV, who invented them, stop finding them cute."
Former Soviet Serf Debates OWS Kommies
Baby owl loves to be petted
November 19, 2011
The Mean Kitty Song
November 18, 2011
Balanced Budget Amendment
The balanced budget amendment is the only chance to save America.
November 16, 2011
Paper Towel Feast
The Candy Bomber
Very cool story here about the "Candy Bomber", an American Air Force pilot who gave hope to people in a hopeless time in post-WWII Germany.
"In July 1948, 27-year-old Air Force lieutenant Gail Halvorsen was flying food and supplies into West Berlin, which was blockaded by the Soviet Union. One night he encountered a group of hungry children who had gathered near the runway to watch the planes land."
"They could speak a little English," he recalled later. "Their clothes were patched and they hadn't had gum and candy for two or three years. They barely had enough to eat."
"Halvorsen gave them two sticks of gum and promised to drop more candy for them the next day from his C-54. He said he'd rock his wings so that they could distinguish him from the other planes. Then he returned to the base and spent the night tying bundles of candy to handkerchief parachutes."
November 14, 2011
Pop Goes the Weasel
The chief weapons guy in Iran just went poof. I personally suspect that the Massad was behind this (cough cough) tragic accident (cough cough). Seriously, though. Thank God that Israel has the brains and the balls to step up and take care of these terrorists. Obviously BHO isn't interested in supporting the Israelis, our strongest ally in crucible of terrorism that is the Middle East .
November 13, 2011
Mule Deer in the hood
There - I Fixed It
Jen and I saw this car at Red Rocks today. We were both laughing pretty hard. Dude broke his sideview mirror and replaced it with a Romper-Room style of hand mirror. Used orange tape, to make sure no one missed it. Then, put two orange racing stripes on the hood and trunk to tie it all together. Classic. There's a website that has a bunch of these called "There I Fixed It". But Jennifer and I found this one all by ourselves. We're so proud.
26 Years at Red Rocks
The Butcher Bird
Well, the leaves are off the trees, so the "Butcher Birds" are back. Jen and I spotted this Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) this morning near Charlie's house off North Turkey Creek.
This bird catches other birds and eats them. If he can't eat them all in one meal, he pins their carcass on a barbed-wire fence or a thorn bush and returns for them later. Hence the name, "Butcher Bird".
The more you know...
The entire accumulated wealth ($1.27 Trillion) of the Forbes 400 billionaires will not pay for the current yearly deficit.
November 12, 2011
Postcards from the Soccer Fields
The fall soccer season has come to a blustery end. Many thanks to the coach and assistant coaches for working with the girls for yet another season.
The images were all captured on a Canon EOS 50D frame and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM image-stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens, or on a Canon EOS 20D with a Canon EF 600mm f/4.0 L IS USM. The 600mm lens was a little big for shooting the game, it seems. I had to walk across the street to get any shots, as I was too close. Even then it only worked if I shot them on the far end of the field. .
This slideshow features a song by Fleetwood Mac called "Landslide" off of the album "Fleetwood Mac".
The images are compiled into a 8 Meg (3:23 Adobe Flash slideshow (soccer.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (soccer.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.
Click here to view the other slideshows.
November 10, 2011
OWS - Nimrods on Parade
The nimrods of the OWS protest the big banks...vandalize a Well Fargo with anarchy logos...but then when they have a big check to deposit, decide the best place to deposit it is in Well Fargo. These people are just beyond belief. If you made a movie this stupid, no one would watch it because it wouldn't be believable.
The John Muir Trail
November 9, 2011
Obama's Latest Misstep - The Christmas Tree Tax
November 8, 2011
Postcards from November
The fall is pretty much over at this point, I'm afraid. Winter's setting in fast and tight and now's the time I wish I had a plan, but never I do. Never I do. This slideshow is composed of some of the shots I took over the last few weeks on the rare occasion where I stumbled out of bed, from the end of October into early November.
The images were all captured on a Canon EOS 50D frame and a Canon image-stabilized, ultra-sonic telescopic zoom lens - either the EF-S 17-85mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM or the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM.
This slideshow features a song by Bon Iver called "Skinny Love" off of the album For Emma, Forever Ago.
"It is often mentioned that this album was written over the course of 4 wintry months in a Wisconsin cabin. Stereotyping the quiet solitude of this album on its origins is unfair, however: this isn't just one of those singer/songwriter efforts you hear about some guy writing on his own out in the woods; it is the epitome of a singer/songwriter recording the heartfelt musings of life in isolation. "
The images are compiled into a 6 Meg (2:27 Adobe Flash slideshow (11November.swf) that you should be able to open and view with any browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.). To view the slideshow, just click on the photo above. If you want to view the slideshow as a Windows executable, you can play this version (11November.exe), and it allows you to play, pause, skip forward, backwards, etc.
Click here to view the other slideshows.
Pirate Ships of Sir Francis Drake Found off Panamanian Coast
November 7, 2011
Songify of "I Love Cats" Chick
November 6, 2011
That Wasn't Chicken...
Fall 2011 Soccer Photos
Many thanks for coaching the kids another season. :)
Here's a mildly interesting story on the life of Samuel Clemens who wrote under the nom de plume of Mark Twain.
He left out one of the defining characteristics of Twain, in my mind anyway.
Twain grew wealthy through his writings and lectures, and ended up living in a mansion in Connecticut. Unfortunately, he had a nasty propensity for investing in dubious inventions, eventually squandering all of his wealth to the point where he found himself flat broke in his later years. He lost his beloved mansion and was advised to file for bankruptcy protection from his creditors.
Although he despised traveling and lecturing at this point in his life, he pledged to repay all of his debts in full, and went on the road on again.
Even though the bankruptcy protected him from his creditors, he worked for 16 years (from 1894 to 1900) and repaid every cent he owed.
November 5, 2011
Smoke Me A Kipper, I'll Be Back For Breakfast
The only reason Chuck Norris is still alive is
because he never had to fight Ace Rimmer.
November 4, 2011
When you think Timmy, think Business
15 reasons Mr. Rogers was best neighbor ever
5 Backup Plans That Would Have Changed Modern History
John Crosbie's Jokes
John Crosbie is the lieutenant-governor of the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. The frail old man read a list of jokes that his friend had reportedly sent him, explaining how bad things are down in the states. The last joke apparently got the PC police all up in arms. I've personally transcribed his monologue, as I personally think his jokes are pretty funny. His monologue starts at 4:15 in the link below:
As you know we're in some trying financial and economic times now and uh this is a friend in the states sent me some of the things the're saying ... about the trouble down in the states.
Exxon-Mobil apparently laid off 25 congressmen.
He said his neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
If the bank returns your check marked insufficient funds, you call them and ask if they meant you or them.
When Bill and Hillary Clinton are traveling together now they have to share a single room.
A truckload of Americans were caught sneaking into Mexico.
I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy...wars, jobs, my savings, social security, retirement funds, etc., I called the suicide hotline. And got a call center in Pakistan. When I told them I was suicidal they got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.
November 3, 2011
Christmas Decorations Already?
Ancient Stone Structure Discovered in Turkey
November 2, 2011
Stephen Colbert interviews OWS Nimrods
Colbert is as left, liberal, kommie as they come, but this is a pretty funny interview he does with the nimrods on OWS. They're just too dumb for words.
Women - Know Your Place