Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Large and The Small

March Ahead

Moon and Venus

The Moon and Venus as seen from my balcony. 2/27/09

It was splendid to see. The crescent Moon also showed the rest of itself, lit by light reflecting from Earth. My thanks to Toms Astronomy Blog or I would have forgotton to go out on my balcony and look.

Speaking of the balcony, the tree trimmers came, and gave the trees, a GI haircut.

Just A Trim, Please

It's a year of cutbacks.

What A View

The trimmed tree sure opens up the sky.

I was trying to describe my new setup with the Macbook and HDTV monitor, and thought; "Maybe a couple of pictures will help".

Editing A Movie

Phil the editor after tooth extraction. 2/28/09

Nice workspace.

Note that this angle is instrumental to give the scale.

Editing with iMovie '09

The mic is for voice-overs.

Muddy River

The rains wash, nutrient rich, soil into the river.

I went out to the store for food last night, while the moon and Venus were so wonderfully prominent in the western sky.

At the register, I was talking about the Moon and Venus display to the nice lady who was checking me out, when a woman came up and said;"What?, Did You say, Venus?, My name is Venus, and we have been driving I-5, for hours, using the moon and that star as our guiding light."

I said; "That is Venus."

The check out lady said,
to the woman traveler; "You see, you were your own guiding light."

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

The Nano Song

The Nanotation Web Site


Friday, February 27, 2009

After Extraction Thoughts

Honey vs sugar vs HFCS

Making Honey

Making Sugar

Making HFCS

Honey is all natural.

Sugar is just the boiled
juice of plants, but is missing some key ingredients for healthy eating.

Table sugar lacks minerals and vitamins (hence it's been often called empty calories), they draw upon the body's nutrients to be metabolized into the system. When these nutrients are all used up, metabolizing of undesirable cholesterol and fatty acid is impeded, contributing to higher cholesterol and promoting obesity due to higher fatty acid on the organs and tissues.

Both sweeteners contain glucose and fructose. However, for sugar, in the process of manufacturing, the organic acids, protein, nitrogen elements, enzymes and vitamins in the sugar cane are destroyed, whereas honey, a natural sweetener, subjects only to minimal heating. Also, honey has certain beneficial antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which are not present in table sugar.

Sugar, however, is nowhere near as detrimental to our health as HFCS. (High fructose corn sweetener).

From Wikipedia;
The process by which HFCS is produced was first developed by Richard Off. Marshalle and Earl P. Kooi in 1927.[4] The industrial production process was refined by Dr. Y. Takasaki at Agency of Industrial Science and Technology of Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan in 1965–1970. HFCS was rapidly introduced to many processed foods and soft drinks in the U.S. from about 1975 to 1985

Archer Daniels Midland ,manufacturers of HFCS, began in the late 1970s to finance a lobbying effort to strictly limit the amount of foreign sugar that could be imported into the United States. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan, signed into law draconian sugar quotas that remain in effect to this day. (The free-market champion must have felt sheepish signing this blatantly interventionist act.) The domestic price of sugar immediately spiked, and food manufacturers -- including, crucially, soft-drink bottlers -- quickly began substituting HFCS for sugar.
HFCS is cheaper than sugar.

That's why manufacturers began putting it seemingly in everything -- and U.S. sweetener consumption boomed along with obesity and diabetes rates.

Whoa, that's enough! I can see where this is going. I have enough information to form a relatively educated opinion;

Honey is made by bees.

Sugar is made by boiling beets, or cane.

HFCS is made by a corrupt corporation.

That clears it up for me.

Bed Bugs?

Stuffed Bed Bug

Once again, bed bugs made the news. I read a good informative article in Scientific American where I found out they aren't just in beds.
The article points out;
"They are found in all kinds of furniture, electric appliances, clock radios, computers, printers, behind pictures, books and, of course, bookcases. They are found in cracks and crevices in the wall and within walls as well as in electric outlets, wiring, pipes, plastic and metal conduits."

They explained a couple ways to find out if you have them in your abode.
Very interesting.

I wrote back in the comments section;
Happy Phil at 04:24 PM on 02/27/09
This might explain the tiny bites I sometimes get after
sitting in that nice easy chair someone gave me.
I will look into it. First I get some coriander,
smell it, bang on the chair, and if it smells the same,
bedbugs? Great.

$2,500 Car

The Nano goes 60 mph and gets 50 mpg

From the TATA car company, (The same ones that sell the car that runs on air.), is this new Nano. 8.5 feet long, 5 feet high, this $2,500 car will seat 5 passengers.

Like the TATA air car, it is not available in the U.S., but maybe the new administration will let us catch up to the rest of the world in saving fuel and money.

Speaking of nano stuff;

Nano Tube Radio

Click on the Image above for the link to watch and listen to Nano Tube Radio, or click the link below to just listen.
The first part of the song is noisy while they tune to the radio station.
Layla (entire song)
I am always happy to find another use for Fullerenes. This radio is one I didn't know about. Amazing.
"Courtesy Zettl Research Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley."

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Bach's Partitia in E
Vanessa Mae
Comforting Thoughts

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Thought It Was Just An Illusion

Others Saw it Too

Looking at chlorophyll in our oceans.

I was visiting Discovery Earth, and found some interesting pictures of "Super-organisms". These are life forms that join together to become one giant living being.

Phytoplankton off the coast of Mozambique.

Blowing dust feeds algae in Baja California waters.

Color enhanced satellite data of ocean east of Tasmania.

While reading about scientific discoveries
and research, I found that many people in the scientific community were as perplexed as me, with the strange babbling governor of Louisiana that was shown after the President addressed congress and the nation.

"Something Called Volcano Monitoring": Bobby Jindal Needs a Geology Lesson

First; Why was that guy even on TV?

Why did he talk with the vocabulary and intellect of a kindergartner? Is he that stupid, or was he trying to reach the people who are that stupid?

The next election is 4 years away, why was that guy on TV campaigning?

UPDATE: Not a lot of stories about the embarrassing Jindal speech.

Carbon Cello

Carbon composite cello from Lewis and Clark.

For the complete story click the link below.

Germaphobe's Rejoice

UV-C Sanitizer Wand
Pocket Portable Sanitizer

Doorknobs, water faucets,
computer keyboards, toilets, and toddlers, will no longer paralyze you with dread, if you have your handy sanitizer wand.

Mt. Shasta

Frame from Snowcam movie
Wow, if you have high speed internet, this is spectacular;
If you have a slower connection, this is will work;

You might need
go to these links before 10:15 PM, when they post today's movie. It was cloudy today.

How Depressing

Will you find true love while taking antidepressants?

According to an article in Wired Science;

Antidepressant drugs, already known to cause sexual side effects, may also suppress the basic human emotions of love and romance.

A new theory suggests that SSRI antidepressants subtly alter the fundamental chemistry of love and romance, snuffing the first sparks between two people otherwise destined to become lovers, and preventing couples from bonding.

SSRI antidepressants work by boosting circulating levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that also inhibits desire. The drugs also decrease dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in a wide range of cognitive and behavioral processes, among them desire and arousal. The new research suggests that dopamine may also play a part in romance.

Are Those Stars In Your Eyes?

Frame from the Helix Nebula Pan and Zoom QTmovie

This is a fun place for images of the cosmos; ESO

I was visiting Tom's Astronomy Blog, and followed his link to the ESO site. Thanks Tom.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Venus And Mars Are Alright Tonight
Paul McCartney and Wings

Love Is A Gift

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Talent and Faith

Survivor Skills
I read somewhere that 99%
of what we know, is learned. I agree. Sure, I create art, music, and stories, but the skills to do so have been learned.

Some studies suggest
that 1/2 of what we know as an adult, we learn by the time we are 4 years old. How we walk, talk, and behave are established in those first few years.

What I was exposed to then,
shaped my tastes for life. The stories that were read. The songs that were sung. The food we ate, and how we ate it. What part of the country. What social strata. Manners and respect. How I perceived myself. How I felt others perceived me. Living conditions at home.

Physical traits; Big, small. Happy, cranky. Cute, ugly. Sweet, mean. Smart, slow. Coordinated, clumsy. Gifted, dull. Pale, dark. Eye color, hair color. Fit or frail. perfect or flawed.

The list is quite long
when you get right down to it. The rest of life is pretty much just how we use those attributes.

Prior to 1950, a home entertainment center was a piano and a radio. We would gather around the radio and listen to, "The Voice of Firestone", "Suspense", and a few other selected programs. No one knew how to play the piano. My sister took lessons, but she wasn't very good. I didn't care much for lessons in anything. I found them slow and boring. I would wait for inspiration to teach me.
In the early 1950's
, we had a grand piano in the living room. We were not allowed to touch it. On rare occasions, my parents would have a party where one of the guests might play a couple of tunes. There was an upright grand, player piano in the recreation room that we kids, were allowed to play. I liked making sounds with it, but avoided learning to play properly.

Up, Up And...Oh Crap!

The Co2 measuring satellite lifts off.

I was reading Tom's Astronomy Blog
, this morning, (4AM), and the Orbiting Carbon Laboratory didn't go as planned. The satellite protective cowling failed to separate and the extra weight prevented orbital speed. The OCL people will announce later this morning whether it will be more orbiting space junk, or?*

Video of the launch is available at this BBC news site; LAUNCH.

*It's a, "Or". The satellite crashed in the ocean.
Google Mail

Gmail. Always growing and adding more features.
I didn't notice, but Google mail was down for a time today. That's what I get for reading the BBC news at this time of the morning. It's hours before sunrise here, and they are already finishing up lunch.
I did find out that I am one of 113 million people who use Gmail worldwide.

What A Day

Enjoying the morning by the river. 2/24/09

What a day, indeed. I met with Dr. Grady this morning to plan our next move toward repairing my hernia. After my appointment, I went to the lab for another CBC to check my white blood cell count. This is key to moving forward with surgery.

On my way home,
I stopped along the river to enjoy a few moments of sunshine.

Turtle Bay, Buick, and the Sundial. 2/24/09

I even found a goose,
basking on the marina parking lot.

Goose in a parking space. 2/24/09

I came back home and edited
pictures and music for a couple of hours, until I got a call from the doctors office. The lab report still showed a high white blood cell count. Somewhere, I have an infection. I guess the tooth has got to go. I had hoped to wait until I got approval for a partial appliance that would put a tooth in place of the one that's being removed, but a letter in yesterday's mail, informed me that payment for a fake tooth was denied. So, time to set aside my vanity and get an appointment to have it pulled. Whee.

My tooth, (maybe 2), will be leaving it's home in my mouth, Thursday morning.

Ah, well, things change.

Our President Speaks

I was proud and reassured in my country's future.

What a relief to hear and see
an intelligent, articulate, compassionate, American president. I am feeling confident and hopeful about our future.

One thing that strikes me as weird,
is the childish, angry, irresponsible, attitudes of the republicans. They got us into this mess with their greed and arrogance, but they don't want to pitch in and fix the stuff they have broken.

I also didn't understand
why the governor of Louisiana was on TV, making a campaign speech for the next election, rather than pledging his support for America.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Olive Oyl for President


Monday, February 23, 2009

Seeds Will Scatter

Anyway The Wind Blows

Different layers of clouds moving differently

Looking up is like looking at the ocean from an airplane.

The winds have been blowing today.

Different weather systems have met and are mixing it up gloriously, here in Redding.

Higher Up In The Sky

Map of the moon

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2009)

Using the laser altimeter (LALT) instrument on board the Japanese Selenological and Engineering Explorer (SELENE) satellite, the researchers mapped the Moon at an unprecedented 15-kilometer (9-mile) resolution.

The map is the first to cover the Moon from pole to pole, with detailed measures of surface topography, on the dark side of the moon as well as the near side. The highest point -- on the rim of the Dririchlet-Jackson basin near the equator -- rises 11 kilometers (more than 6.5 miles) high, while the lowest point -- the bottom of Antoniadi crater near the south pole -- rests 9 kilometers (more than 5.5 miles) deep.

In part, the new map will serve as a guide for future lunar rovers, which will scour the surface for geological resources.

The Old Rand McNally Map

If the drivers of the Lunar Rover needed a road map.

Name That Room

Artists conception of cupola in new room with a view.

Node 3 module
NASA has a contest to name the new room on the space station.

Click here To cast your vote.

Serenity seems to have a substantial lead.

Saturn's Moons
To Put On Show Tonight

Hubble photo of Saturn "edge on". 1995

Big show tonight/tomorrow
, (3AM). Saturn's largest moon, Titan, leads Mimas, Dione, and Enceladus across the planet, and we get to watch. If you have clear skies and a good telescope, you are in for a rare treat. If you aren't awake, with clear skies and a large telescope, others will be, and we can view the pictures on various websites, at our convenience.

If you are awake tonight, you might check out Comet Lulin at this site, Coca Cola Space Center
Lulin and Saturn will be close in the night sky and it's possible the two will be seen at this site.

The Hubble will be taking many images. We can see them one day, too.

Back On Earth;

Monsanto's "FrankenCorn"
Invades Mexico

Is this natural, or Genetically Modified?

The latest study of Mexico's maze crops have substantiated earlier studies that showed Monsanto's GM corn crossed the border and has contaminated traditional crop strains. Studies published in 2001 and 2005, were discredited by Monsanto's lawyers, but new research shows the original studies were correct. Monsanto claims there are no adverse effects from eating Genetically Modified food products, but international studies show an alarming increase in diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity, in populations that have been eating GM foods.

Less Disturbing

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio's first TV appearance was on Romper Room.

I'm Glad Things Change

There is a windy, rainy, cold night out there.
It's good to have a home tonight.

Claim Jumpers Beef Pot Pie.

I wasn't too long ago that I didn't have a place inside, warm and dry, to spend a stormy night. I am so glad I let go of the things that kept me out in the cold and the rain.

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;

Rainy Night In Georgia
Brook Benton

Books Not Bombs

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just Roll With It

Things Change

Happy Phil on Friday....................2/20/09
Expecting the future to be just like you planned it, doesn't always work out. Like the weather forecast, our expectations can be met with a different reality.

One of the things
I have finally learned to incorporate into my day to day existence, is to accept change with a smile, adjust my expectations, and move along. I used to get upset because the world wasn't doing what I expected it to do. "That guy turned left without a signal, grrrr!", "They, him, her, is,(are), out to make my life miserable!", "Etc.".

For the most part
, it's just life. It's not a personal attack, don't take it so seriously. The future simply didn't satisfy the terms of my expectations.

I got a call from Dr. Grady, last evening. My lab tests revealed a high white blood cell count. My operation wont be on Monday as planned. I will go to his office Tuesday morning and we will try to figure out what is going on. An existing infection is dangerous when having surgery. He was thinking it could be the tooth that I am waiting to have pulled. (I am waiting for DentiCal to approve a, "partial", to fill the gap, before they pull my broken tooth.)

I could argue
that the pain from my cracked tooth is not as intense as the pain from my inguinal hernia, and I want it fixed now, but what would be the point? Instead, I will find some fun stuff to occupy my time until Tuesday morning when I will see the doctor.

I could be upset all weekend,
unhappy and angry, blaming this and that because things aren't working out the way I wanted.

Or, I could enjoy myself.

Happy Phil today.....................2/21/09
I choose happiness.

Comet Watch

Comet Lulin, imaged from space. (Photo credit-NASA)

Lulin from Arizona backyard. (Photo credit-Sid Leach)

The NASA photo is from 2007. The Sid Leach picture was taken January 27, 2009. It will be at it's closest point on February 24, so you should be able to see it for the next few nights, if the skies are clear.
Look To The East
Around 10PM

Binoculars might help from city locations.

There is the possibility of clouds and rain here in Redding, but one never knows.

Mount Shasta Cam

This is cool.

I was reading about an avalanche warning for Mount Shasta, and I found a link to the Mount Shasta Cam. That is so cool. I can look on the computer to see what conditions are like for photographing Mt. Shasta, before I step outside and look. Ha, ha, ha, really. I like it.

Dawn Voyage Video

Fun voyage of the Dawn Spacecraft video
I Like Popeye


In the 1950's, I had a subscription to Popeye comics. I really enjoyed the stories, especially the ones with the Sea Hag, or the Little Poor Girl.

Things were different then.

The artist Bob Sagendorf, drew and signed a poster sized cartoon of Popeye for my 2nd wife, Kathy, and me in the early 1970's. I wonder if she still has it?

Today's Relatively Appropriate Song;
Come On Get Happy
One guy sings close 4 part harmony

Things Change