I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

M100, seen in a recent photograph from the Hubble.

Monsieur Messier may have felt a thrill of accomplishment when his famous list of Celestial Objects That Are Not Comets hit triple digits, but hélas, he never got to see it in all this wonderful detail.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

The green blades of grass are a clue that this is another picture from last summer, but one of the consolations of winter in New York is that cardinals stick it out with us and provide bright bits of color in the dull landscape.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday reflections

You can tell from the green leaves that this picture, of an apartment building lobby on West 44th Street, was taken last summer. In January, the city palette is all grays and browns with cool silver light.

I bought an Instant Pot several weeks ago, and it's wonderful for making soup -- just chop up a bunch of vegetables, brown some meat if desired, and push a couple of buttons. If the vegetables are watery enough -- onions, cabbage, peppers -- you don't even need stock as the pressure cooking extracts a tasty broth.

If the seasoning is insufficient, I just pour in some Buffalo sauce, and voila! Hot and spicy cabbage soup, perfect for lunch on a gray January afternoon.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Urban poetry

The slow line of cars heading for the Midtown Tunnel on a rainy evening in New York.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Astronomy Tuesday

This vaguely creepy looking blob -- like an evil snowman come to life -- is Ultima Thule, the Kuiper Belt object 6.5 billion kilometers from the Sun encountered by the New Horizons spacecraft last week. Technically Ultima is the larger of the two blobs and Thule is the smaller; they probably teamed up as the result of a collision shortly after the formation of the Solar System and have been held together by gravity ever since.

Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins University APL, Southwest Research Institute

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mid-century tech

The earphones for the simultaneous translations in the General Assembly. I'm sure it works, but it does look quite retro.

The General Assembly

The General Assembly is obviously much larger than any of the council rooms. This chamber was a collaborative design by the eleven architects, led by Niemeyer and Le Corbusier, who designed the U.N. headquarters.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunday bird blogging

The unexpected colors of the U.N. council rooms made me think we could use another mandarin duck photo. So here's Mandy in all his colorful glory.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Economic and Social Council

Sweden's contribution to the Conference Center.

The Trusteeship Council

The Trusteeship Council doesn't exist anymore; it was set up to handle decolonization in the wake of the Second World War. All of the trust territories have now either achieved independence or joined with other former territories.

The room, Denmark's gift, is used as a general meeting room now. I love that ceiling.

The Security Council

The Conference Building, which can't be seen from the street, lies between the Secretariat and the General Assembly. The three meeting rooms we saw there -- the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council -- were like a time capsule of mid-century design. 

More specifically, mid-century Scandinavian design -- the three rooms were gifts from, respectively, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. It's obvious they haven't updated much since the buildings were completed in 1952.

Somehow when I've pictured some of the events that have taken place in the Security Council -- Adlai Stevenson confronting the Russian ambassador over missiles in Cuba, Colin Powell's claim that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction -- I never realized that they were taking place in a room with blond wood and baby blue chairs, and lime green seating for the spectators.

The United Nations

The U.N. tour didn't allow wandering around outside the buildings so I couldn't get some of the views I would have liked. But here are two external shots of the General Assembly and Secretariat buildings.

The photo on the right is the view from First Avenue, with the ring of flags in front of the General Assembly seen through the trees. The picture on the left is one you can only see from inside the grounds -- the back of the General Assembly building and the Secretariat building seen from the side. 

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