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

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

I know these clouds on Jupiter are concealing storms the size of a lesser planet but I still find this closeup taken by the Juno probe in 2020 strangely soothing.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill © CC BY

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

Here's something that made me smile, even during yet another incredibly sucky week.

I saw the bird on the left hopping around on a lawn in Central Park a few weeks ago, and wasn't sure at first what it was. Then it started harassing an adult starling nearby and I immediately recognized the universal teenage language of I'm hungry! Do we have anything to eat around here?

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Saturday reflections

The US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis is supposed to suggest a Viking ship. (I have seen actual Viking ships and don't really see the resemblance.) But I do love the way it reflects the streets of downtown Minneapolis below.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Urban poetry

Say it is the serenade
Of a man that plays a blue...piano.

In Mill Ruins Park.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Speaking of mills

The Gold Medal Flour sign sits atop the grain elevators of one of the defunct mills in Mill Ruins Park; that mill complex is a National Historic Landmark. The sign was unlit for more than thirty years after the mill closed in 1965, and was restored in 2000.

You can just see the Pillsbury's Best Flour sign in the other picture. That's also an old mill complex, across the river from Mill Ruins Park, but this one is being converted to artist's lofts.

Mill Ruins Park

This park along the Mississippi contains the ruins of several abandoned flour mills. I didn't really explore much because I was hot and sunburned after walking across the river.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

I was a reasonably well-informed adult in the 1980's but I have absolutely no memory of this—the first untethered spacewalk in February 1984.

Bruce McCandless, an astronaut on the Space Shuttle Challenger, was using a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), which used spurts of cold nitrogen gas to push him through space. He was able to move approximately 100 yards away from the shuttle and fly back again.

Image credit: NASA

Monday, June 20, 2022

Farewell to Minnesota

This is the bridge over the Mississippi River a few blocks from my hotel. I walked over it on Friday afternoon, and it was hot, and there was no shelter from the sun. I quickly wished that I had a hat—or that I had remembered to put on sunscreen.

It's going to be over a hundred degrees here today, so I am getting out of town in the nick of time.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Minnehaha Falls

The waterfall the park is named for.

Though Longfellow never visited this waterfall, he stole the name for the heroine of his poem The Song of Hiawatha. I still shudder remembering our awful sing-songy recitations of portions of that masterwork in grammar school: 
By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
But the waterfall, and the park, are lovely.

Sunday bird blogging

I did see a bald eagle today, but it was on the other side of the Mississippi River so I have no photographic evidence. All I can offer is this pair of grackles in the creek below the falls at Minnehaha Park.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Saturday reflections

And now, Greetings from Minneapolis!

This is the Two22 Tower, formerly known as the Campbell Mithun Tower, in downtown Minneapolis.

I took this picture from the observation deck of the Foshay Building, an interesting Art Deco spire built in 1929. That's the building you can see in this reflection.

Ithaca Falls

You don't have to go to one of the nearby parks in Ithaca to see a waterfall—there's actually one in the middle of town, just below the Cornell campus.

Final houses of Ithaca

I am actually in Minneapolis for the weekend, but have decided that I need to finish at least one location in the backlog before I post anything new. So here are a few more pictures from Ithaca, of various buildings that caught my eye.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

That's Saturn of course, in the foreground, in another wonderful image taken by the Cassini probe in 2014.

But if you look closely at the background, you'll see a tiny blue dot in the upper left corner. That's Uranus, which was approximately 28.6 astronomical units away from Cassini and Saturn when this picture was taken. One astronomical unit is the distance from the Earth to the Sun, or 93,000,000 miles, so if I'm doing the calculation correctly, Uranus was billions of miles away and it's miraculous that we can see it here at all.

The only thing that amazes me as much as this universe is the human ingenuity that allows us to see so much of it.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

Here's a pine warbler, who was passing through town in April.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Saturday reflections

The Scientology Headquarters on West 46th Street, taken from a cab.

Even a cab ride still feels midly daring, so I am definitely a little anxious about my second post-pandemic plane trip, for a long weekend in Minneapolis, starting this coming Friday.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Flagstones in the Katharine Hepburn Garden

Urban poetry

This is the Katharine Hepburn Garden, a narrow strip of greenery along East 47th Street, a few blocks from the Turtle Bay apartment where she lived for more than 60 years.

You wouldn't think such a small park could feel like an oasis with the city bustle only a few feet away, but it does.

Taughannock Falls State Park

Two last pictures of the stream below the falls.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Astronomy Tuesday

These glowing clouds are the emission nebula NGC 6188. (You can see another emission nebula, NGC 6164, in the bottom right corner.)

Image Credit and Copyright: Shaun Robertson

Monday, June 6, 2022

Taughannock Falls

I have better pictures of the namesake falls in this park, but I picked this one because there's a teeny tiny human visible in the lower right-hand corner, which gives some useful scale to the photograph.

The falls is actually 33 feet taller than Niagara Falls, and is reportedly the tallest single-drop falls east of the Rockies, but for some reason waterfalls just never look that impressive in photographs. (Except maybe Victoria Falls. You really couldn't take a bad picture of that one.)

Cayuga Lake

Going back to some of the backlog—here are two pictures of Cayuga Lake in Taughannock Falls State Park outside Ithaca in April.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Sunday bird blogging

One more reminder that you never know what to expect in Central Park. Like, for example, this Solitary Sandpiper wading in the Pool, just chilling, as though sandpipers often appear in the middle of Manhattan.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Saturday reflections

A sunny day in late spring in New York City, reflected by a parked car in a dark garage.

Spring semester is over, and summer term has begun (gee, that break went quickly.) The main work for the summer class will be two and a half weeks in Costa Rica next month, and the workload is pretty easy until then, but I can't help thinking, Wait, wasn't this supposed to be my time off?

Blog Archive