Friday, 31 December 2010

The best eclipse photo ever !!

Actually, this isn’t just one photograph — it’s a composite of 31 different images, taken in the shadow of the solar eclipse that passed over Asia and parts of the Pacific back in July for 6 minutes and 39 seconds. That’s the longest solar eclipse anyone on Earth will witness this century; a longer one isn’t coming until 2132. Mathematician and eclipse photographer Miloslav Druckmüller didn’t waste a second of it, positioned with a team of colleagues on Enewetak Atoll in the South Pacific, which just happens to be where the first hydrogen bomb was tested by the United States back in 1952. (Sounds like the setup to an un-aired episode of Lost, but anyway.)The photo shows the solar corona that make up the sun’s “atmosphere” in glorious detail. Its whorls and loops extend millions of miles into space, are nearly 200 times hotter than the visible surface of the sun, and yet aren’t nearly as bright (by a factor of something like a million), hence, we can only see them during eclipses. I love the delicate beauty of this photo, and how it makes various features of the corona so plainly visible, like the difference in activity around its polar regions, as well as the dim, cratered surface of the moon. Ain’t the universe purdy?

[Photo via Scientific American.]
[Originally posted on]

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Prepare for a rambling tirade on this Christmas day...

We have people stranded in Europe's Airports because they don't have enough de-icing machines (last year wasn't a heads up ?). Last time I checked the Weather Network was available on TV (FAIL)

AP & Reuters are going ape-shit about a female bomber in Pakistan. Not cause she's female (we've seen this play before) but cause she was wearing a burqa ? Would it be more acceptable if she wore a Nicks ball cap ?

Another Earthquake in the SW pacific. The media want's you to get geared up for their next Tsunami special which will be pre-empted with the next Lohan outburst.

Scar-Jo or Ryan-ab fest. Who cares ? Either one of them is fucking someone they shouldn't but apparently they aren't fucking each other. Divorce please and get it off my rag.

USA DADT legislation. DUH.
It took "the first black president" to get this through ? Please....Obama, I live in a different country and would've voted for you if I could (as would most sane people who drank your campaign kool-aid) but buddy, what happened ? Legacy be damned, you've got THAT...make a change.

Goldman Sachs (and no others apparently) is willing to accept a Pay-Brake. It means that they're willing to halt 10^6 payments to people we don't know if the bank requests US Gov't aid. I gotta question, I personally know a woman in her 60's, used to work for GS but got laid off and is now struggling. Where's her bailout ?

I could go on but I haven't opened my Xmas present yet and the tea's getting cold.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Nuff said

Urban Winters Suck

The ad-nausea Xmas commercials that we're bombarded with. I mean seriously, do I really need to buy yet another piece of electronified, digitized, lights-blinking, buttons-pushing gizmo that'll die unused before springtime ? 

Do you really believe the smiling, frolicking shoppers seen on the ads for Sears, the GAP or Home Depot ? 
Come on, when was the last time that you went to a shopping mall during the Xmas season and had a "good time" ? If you're like me, when you hit the mall any time of the year, you pretty much get in & get out ASAP, hopefully with your sanity and credit rating intact.

City Winters Suck
I love the snow. Something fresh and clean about it. Not to mention the fact that it's pretty when it's snowing. But living in a big city in the winter is like living in a soiled slushie cup. Between the traffic, the salt, the pollution, it's pretty friggin disgusting. Not to mention the invariable grey skies that seem to persist.
At least with the cottage in the winter you can strap on the X-country skis and take the dogs for a hike, in the city it's a slog through puddles and grey/black crud. BAH

So.....I've decided to shake it up this Xmas season.

I'm headed north for a week with the dogs and my lady friend. We're stocking up on wine, cheese and will get whatever else we need in town. I will be having a roaring fire every night and praying for blizzard like conditions all week. Being snowed in won't matter as long as the wood and wine hold out.

Then I'm debating a sailing trip for a week in Barbados, if I can find a dog sitter. Afterall, if the first part of my plan works out, I will need to thaw myself out. Nothing beats warm water, blue skies and pretending I know what I'm doing on a rented boat (remember the extended insurance Sean....).  

I'll post some pics if any of this works out.....

End of line.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

SUPERCELL - Wow is all I can say

It looks like something from the film Independence Day.
But although it may seem like an alien mothership, this incredible picture is actually an impressive thunderstorm cloud known as a supercell. 

Windswept dust and rain dominate the storm's centre while rings of jagged clouds surround the edge. A flimsy tree in the foreground looks like a toy next to the magnificent natural phenomenon.

The photograph is just one image from the portfolio of electrician Sean Heavey. The supercell cloud was photographed in July west of Glasgow, Montana, USA.
Mr Heavey, 34, an amateur photographer, created the jaw-dropping panoramic image by stitching together three photos from the 400 frames he took of the violent scene he witnessed in July
It caused minor damage, and lasted several hours before moving on. Massive storm systems like this centre on mesocyclones -- rotating updrafts that deliver torrential rain and high winds.
The dangerous outbreak of weather raged for several hours and caused minor damage to local communities - while watchful Mr Heavey captured all its devastating beauty from a distance. 
Taking photographs of storms for the past seven years, this year Mr Heavey and his masterpiece are up for a prestigious award from National Geographic. 
Called the 'Mothership', because of the striking image's similarity to an alien space ship, the photograph was actually four years in the making.
'I have two storm chasing friends I met through my wife Toni and they've been badgering me to go out with them for that long,' explained Sean.
'I' normally rely on simply being in the right place at the right time for my photography, while I'm out working. But in July I finally decided to do it and thankfully this picture was the result. We don't usually get weather like this out in Montana, it felt like the perfect storm.
'The power was awe inspiring.'