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

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

That striking flowerlike spiral in the upper left of this image is called LL Pegasi. Astronomers are not sure what created those strange spirals, but it seems to be yet another strange planetary nebula within a binary star system. Each time the stars circle each other, it creates another loop in the spiral.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, HLA; Processing and Copyright: Jonathan Lodge

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

An oystercatcher at Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways.

It will probably be January before I can go to the beach again—a lovely time of year for it—but I can close my eyes and pretend I'm there.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday reflections

A car doing that curvy thing to a Manhattan apartment building.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

This recent image of Jupiter was taken by the Hubble. That is certainly one good-looking planet.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight Center), and M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley) and the OPAL team

Monday, November 22, 2021

Sunday, oops, Monday bird blogging

I am in the thick of my research study, alienating friends and acquaintances with a series of memory tests, and so of course my own memory is crap for anything not immediately related to school.

So here's a belated bird, a lovely blue jay in Central Park.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Saturday reflections

Something a little different—the reflection on the partition behind the driver in a taxi as we drove up what I seem to remember was 42nd Street. It's a fair representation of how my brain looks, as the end of semester crunch has arrived.

Last night I had the first school dream where I was the teacher rather than a student. I wanted to take roll but I couldn't find the list of students and they were all watching me silently while I looked frantically through a huge pile of papers on the desk.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

I don't usually include images taken from down here on Earth in this series, but I couldn't resist this one: a composite image of the Geminid meteor shower on December 14 of last year.

The meteors appear to be coming from the constellation Gemini (those two stars in the center of the meteor burst); you can also see Orion in the top left corner. But mostly it's the meteors, and this picture makes me smile.

Image Credit and Copyright: Wang Jin

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

Some house sparrows hanging out by the Cloisters in Upper Manhattan a few weeks ago.

Since the museum—the medieval art collection of the Metropolitan Museum—is at the northern tip of Manhattan and the bus ride to get there is easily two hours, this is one time when driving somewhere within Manhattan is worth it. 

Even if you miss the exit for the Henry Hudson Parkway and end up driving across the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey. Don't ask me how I know.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Saturday reflections

A car parked outside the Mexican restaurant in Dobb's Ferry.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Urban poetry

The pigeons called a meeting to go over a few things.


When the foliage colors finally start coordinating with the rust on the old tank.

Another picture from Dobbs Ferry on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Mental Health break

It's been unusually warm this autumn, so the trees have been slow to turn, and I don't think we'll ever get Peak Foliage. But after having survived teaching my first in-person lesson Monday night, I played hooky on Tuesday and took a drive out of the city and got to see a little fall color.

This is a trail over the Old Croton Aqueduct in Dobb's Ferry, a charming little town on the Hudson about an hour north of Manhattan. I got to take a walk under these magnificent trees, crunch some leaves, and have unexpectedly excellent Mexican food for lunch.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

The Cat's Eye planetary nebula in the constellation Draco was discovered by the great astronomer William Herschel in 1786. This exquisite image combines x-ray light captured by the Chandra Observatory with visible spectrum light from the Hubble.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Legacy Archive; Chandra X-ray Obs.; Processing and Copyright: Rudy Pohl

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Sunday bird blogging

Here's another look at the lovely yellow-breasted chat, which seems to have now moved on to warmer weather, lucky bird.

I keep meaning to post the last pictures from upstate and the Jersey Shore, but I am running a research study on second language acquisition this semester and it takes every single neuron I've got. I've spent most of the weekend writing critiques of similar studies for the literature review, and so got to parse delightful paragraphs like this: 

“In order to further examine specific patterns in the data, an exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was carried out on all variables. This analysis revealed three principal factors based on the Jolliffe criterion (Jolliffe, 1972) (Eigenvalues ≥ 1): Factor 1 consisted of the three memory related tests (NWR, paired associates aptitude subtest and SR, loadings of 0.91, 0.73, and 0.56); Factor 2 consisted of the L2 reading and vocabulary proficiency subtests (loadings of 0.91 and 0.80); and Factor 3 included the two remaining aptitude subtests (Words in Sentences and Spelling Clues, loadings of 0.84 and 0.80). In contrast to results from the 2009 study, the L2 proficiency grammar subtest did not clearly fit with Factor 2 (L2 proficiency) or Factor 3 (aptitude)."

I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Saturday reflections

Sidewalk scaffolding, seen through the window of a drugstore on 57th Street, with a reflected overlay of some quite utilitarian lighting.

I took this picture when I went for my second Covid vaccination in April; I got my booster today so it seems appropriate.

I don't need any convincing that we have the stupidest possible health care system in this country, but it took me almost an hour to check in for my free shot because my insurance card kept getting rejected. (Because although the shot is free to the recipient, someone still has to pay.) The pharmacist kept saying that he didn't understand because my insurance was fine when I got the first shots, and I kept explaining that I have since turned 65 and am now on Medicare and so the fact that my old insurance had worked previously was both unsurprising and irrelevant. I wanted to say, “Can't you just pretend I don't have insurance and give me the shot?” Eventually it was resolved and I am now boosted, but I have a headache and I don't think it's from the vaccine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Astronomy Tuesday

I'm late for Halloween (late for everything these days, but that's another story). 

But here's the Bat Nebula for your viewing pleasure. It's a small section of the Veil Nebula in Cygnus

Image Credit and Copyright: Howard Trottier

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