I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) posted this image of Mars on the site formerly known as Twitter today. He wrote, “I think it's incredible that we're living in an era when we can fly a helicopter on another planet—and see the images it takes on our phones.”
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Paul Byrne
Saturday, September 16, 2023
Reflections by Hudson Yards on the West Side, featuring The Vessel, the copper-clad public art in the center of the complex.
The Vessel opened in 2019 and there were long lines to climb it so I never bothered. The first suicide occurred less than a year after it opened. Then there was another. Then another. The Vessel was closed; you could look but you couldn't climb. It reopened briefly, there was another suicide, and now it's closed again, just taking up space in the middle of Manhattan.
I feel like I should be able to say something interesting or profound about that because I really have a visceral dislike of Hudson Yards, which has always seemed to me to try way too hard to be New York Cool without really understanding what that is, but it's Saturday night and I'm tired from teaching today, so profundity is way beyond my capabilities at the moment. But I love these reflections.
Friday, September 15, 2023
But the phone weighs a lot less and is always in my purse, and that's no small advantage.
Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Saturday, September 9, 2023
Reflections from 34th Street across from Macy's, a few weeks ago.
I survived the first day of classes. My students are of course delightful, but there are more than thirty of them—twice as many as I started with last semester—and just keeping track of the flow of forms across my desk was daunting.
I am tired. It's a good tired, but I am so, so tired.
Tuesday, September 5, 2023
I've mentioned that I am always fascinated by images of Pluto because when I was first learning about astronomy, the only pictures available showed a blurry gray blob that honestly could have been anything.
This is a color-enhanced version of an image captured by the New Horizons probe in 2015. It took New Horizons almost ten years and 3 billion miles to reach Pluto—three billion miles! Humans actually built something that made that trip and sent back pictures. And yes, Pluto looks like a nicely toasted meringue in this picture, but still—three billion miles.
Image Credit: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Institute
Sunday, September 3, 2023
I have not made it to the park to see the incoming migration, despite the best of intentions. Classes start on Saturday, and I have almost twice as many students as I did last semester. I'd forgotten how much time printing, collating, and stapling take (and how many materials you need for a day's worth of classes), and because there are so many students I can't print all the copies I need on my tiny home printer. So I'm spending my Labor Day schlepping uptown to use the copy machines at school.
But a titmouse will always make me smile.
Saturday, September 2, 2023
An appropriately bucolic scene for the end of summer.
This is an overlooked photo from 2017 in Sunriver, Oregon, when I went to see the eclipse. It was hard for mere landscapes to compete with the perhaps once in a lifetime experience of photographing the sun, and I never got around to processing this picture.
Friday, September 1, 2023
I got a new phone recently and while reveling in what seems like (at least temporarily) an unlimited amount of storage and a much better camera, I found quite a few old pictures I'd forgotten about.
I took this one in 2018, when what is now the former phone was brand new, from the approach to the Manhattan Bridge heading towards Brooklyn. I was clearly using some kind of filter because the graffiti isn't quite this psychedelic in real life, and I'd like to go back and try for some more realistic images.
Thursday, August 31, 2023
Summer, upstate New York.
There was no place to pull over, but I was the only one on the road so I just stopped the car and rolled down the window to take this picture. I might have liked to try to get the cows from a better angle, but I had an appointment with the alpacas and couldn't hang around.
Sunday, August 27, 2023
The hotel is a Mock Tudor mansion, originally a private home, and since only one of the other rooms was occupied, I felt like a houseguest invited for the weekend by someone I barely knew who disappeared shortly after I'd arrived.
Saturday, August 26, 2023
I turned my alpaca quest into a mini-vacation by staying overnight at a hotel in northern New Jersey. It turned out to be a very odd and wonderful place, in the middle of a state park so there were beautiful, extensive grounds.
Today I'm lying on my bed watching Project Runway and waiting to see if I have Covid again (negative so far—fingers crossed.) I've realized that one of many ways our lives have changed in the past three years is that I used to wake up feeling a little under the weather and be able to decide whether or not I was going to try to power through. And even if I knew that I had been around someone who was sick (as I was this week) I would just think, Oh no, I guess I caught that cold.
But Covid is different. I had to isolate, stay home, miss the second day of placement testing, and wait to see whether I'm “officially” sick or not.
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
I think these are the last of the alpaca pictures. I particularly love the way the pattern from the shearing on the alpaca on the bottom left makes her look like she's wearing a sweater. (And a fancy hat!)
Sunday, August 20, 2023
Some of the amazing variety in those beautiful alpaca faces. Alpacas are easier to photograph than birds, but that doesn't mean they're willing to stay in one place for very long, and so some of my pictures are a little blurry. But still worth seeing.
Then I happened to see this article about therapy alpacas. The alpaca farm in the article is up near Boston, and had only one free slot for visitors left this month, but it occurred to me that there might be an alpaca farm closer to home, and that really, aren't all alpacas by definition therapy alpacas?
So on Thursday I visited the Shalimar Alpacas Farm in Warwick, New York. It was possibly the only incentive that could have gotten me off my ass and out of the city, and the alpacas did not disappoint.
Saturday, August 19, 2023
A colorful hodgepodge of facades in the city.
We finally had a beautiful, cool, not humid, day, and I spent it all inside administering placement tests for the fall semester. But it was good to see my fellow teachers and meet some of my new students, and I'm looking forward to getting back in the classroom.
Sunday, August 13, 2023
My summer vacation is almost over and I have done almost none of the things I meant to do, including finishing going over older photos. But here's one from Berkeley, earlier this year: some lovely architectural detail on a house, a framing tree, and the warm light of the golden hour.
And, if you look closely, a downy woodpecker in the tree.
Saturday, August 12, 2023
I upgraded my phone a couple of weeks ago; although I was curious about how much better the new cameras are, I was driven more by a dying battery and the fact that I kept running out of storage space.
I haven't tried to take many pictures yet, but this car reflection isn't bad.
Tuesday, August 8, 2023
I don't think I've seen this before, which always makes me very happy. Despite the uncountable number of interesting things to look at in our universe, there are certain objects (looking at you, Horsehead Nebula!) that show up over and over again.
This is a supernova remnant, SN 1006, and is interesting for many reasons apart from its unusual appearance. Astronomers have never found a black hole or neutron star remnant from the original star. And the explosion in 1006 was so bright it could be seen in the daytime on Earth, and was visible on and off for two years, as recorded by observers in China, Japan, the Middle East and Europe. This was less than 50 years before the appearance of a different “guest star”, the supernova that created the Crab Nebula, in 1054. So even taking into account the very short life expectancies in the 11th century, there were probably many people who actually saw two supernovas during their lifetimes.
Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgement: W. Blair et al. (JHU)
Saturday, August 5, 2023
Friday, August 4, 2023
Tuesday, August 1, 2023
From Earth, this group of galaxies appears to be in the southern constellation Pavo, the Peacock, so it is referred to as the Pavo Group.
NGC 6872, the galaxy in the upper right, is more than 500,000 light years across, five times bigger than the Milky Way. It's nicknamed the Condor Galaxy because its spiral arms have been distorted into those vaguely wing-like appendages. This gravitational mayhem is courtesy of the (comparatively) small galaxy hovering just above the galactic core.
Image Credit and Copyright: Mike Selby, Observatorio El Sauce
Sunday, July 30, 2023
Saturday, July 29, 2023
Friday, July 28, 2023
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Friday, July 21, 2023
A few Peruvian odds and ends. This is the ornate Baroque façade of the Convento San Francisco in Lima, built in the late 1700’s. The interiors were magnificent—a cloister with an ornate wooden ceiling and tiles from Seville surrounding a garden, a library with spiral staircases, beautiful paintings. No photography was allowed unfortunately, but if you Google “Convento San Francisco” you can find pictures from visitors who ignored the rules.
Sunday, July 16, 2023
Taken on my only night in Cusco. I tried to walk from the hotel to the main plaza and ran into a parade coming in the opposite direction. I stood on the median in the middle of the avenue and took a few pictures; when I turned around I realized that the parade now filled the street behind me as well. I gave up on trying to get to the plaza and just joined the parade for a few blocks back to the hotel.
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
A closer look at the bricks at Huaca Pucllana. That a structure built of adobe has survived for 1800 years is partly due to the climate—the coast of Peru is a desert, and Lima gets less than an inch of rain a year. Stacking the bricks vertically is called the library technique; the spaces in between the bricks allow them to move and makes the structure more earthquake-resistant.
- ▼ September (10)
- Water feature, plus cows
- Breakfast room
- The Manor Life
- Saturday reflections
- A few final alpacas
- Another alpaca snuggle
- Mother and child 2
- Mother and child
- Alpaca faces
- This is clearly the Bad Girl of the alpaca farm
- Sunday alpaca blogging
- Saturday reflections
- Sunday bird blogging
- Saturday reflections
- Astronomy Tuesday
- Saturday reflections
- Light and shadows
- Astronomy Tuesday
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