About Me

My Photo

Tech journalist since the dark ages. Windows Secrets, LangaList newsletter, Windows Magazine (NetGuide, Home PC), Byte, Popular Computing, yadda yadda yadda. Google me, if it matters.

This feed is mostly personal interest; it's NOT my professional writing. There's tech here, yes, but also lots of general science and some politics and weird humor thrown in.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Civil War-era Los Angeles (1860+)

1st and Broadway, Los Angeles, today: https://goo.gl/maps/1CcS4



1860:


More:  http://www.retronaut.com/2012/04/los-angeles-1860-1886/

Friday, September 12, 2014

20 gorgeous pix of unusual weather phenomena

Examples:


Catatumbo Lightning:


Penitentes Snow:


Volcanic lightning:



17 more: http://www.wherecoolthingshappen.com/20-spectacular-and-bizarre-weather-phenomena-that-really-exist/

Rosetta's comet, with ISS superimposed for size perspective.

You've probably seen spectacular images like this of comet 67P, taken by the Rosetta spacecraft. Science texts will tell you it's "3.5×4 km (2.2×2.5 mi)" in size, but that's dryly intellectual.

Humans are visual creatures, and with nothing in the image to provide visual scale, there's no "gut feel" for the size of the thing.


So, Will Gater (@willgater) posted the next image: "For a bit of fun I dropped a scaled ISS into that great new  image of Comet "


In case that's hard to see, I added a circle:




And then, the comet's size snaps into focus.

Rosetta's not a particularly large comet, either.

So now, statements like "The dinosaurs may have been wiped out by a cometary impact..." make a lot more sense, eh?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"The 100 most iconic shots in movie history"

I formally studied film in college, and still watch a lot of movies today --- including some very obscure ones --- but some of these shots were still a total mystery to me. Hmmm.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Small meteor strikes near Managua, Nicaragua

Yesterday, a small meteor struck outside Managua, Nicaragua, leaving a crater 40' across and 16' deep (12x5m). It may have been a piece of asteroid 2014 RC, which passed close by Earth (1/10 the distance to the moon) on Sept 7th. The impact registered on seismographs. There were no injuries.

More info: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/09/08/346791538/meteor-leaves-40-foot-crater-near-managuas-airport




Friday, September 5, 2014

The Red Sox suck, so the Globe finds something else to discuss.

I can imagine how it happened:

A bored sports writer --- Stan Grossfield --- zones out during yet another Red Sox loss.

His gaze drifts to the fabled Green Monster --- the tall, hollow metal wall in Fenway Park
that hems in the left field; it's dimpled with myriad dents from baseball impacts.

(All images from the Boston Globe.)

"Mryiad?" he thinks." Way too low. I wonder how many..."

So he asks around. The estimates run as high as a million.

Here's an enhanced image:

Many spots were hit multiple times, some hard enough to leave an imprint of the stitching and the Rawlings logo:



He does his own estimate by counting all the dings on one panel of the wall, and extrapolating.

He comes up with  211,044 dents.

He contacts an image-processing company which takes photos of the wall and uses software to do the count. The final answer:


But sadly, very, very few of them were produced in this dismal season.  :)

Irrefutable signs of humanity's intellectual decline: