Tuesday, 15 July 2014

09:21 - For the first time in what seems like a very long time, I’m spending some serious time on writing. I have two manuals to write: Earth & Space Science and AP Chemistry, and I’m having a lot of fun working on them.

Meanwhile, work on building science kits goes on, as it must. FedEx showed up yesterday with 2.5 kilos each of salicylic acid and dextrose, both of which we were short of.


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25 Responses to Tuesday, 15 July 2014

  1. Chad says:

    I have two manuals to write: Earth & Space Science…

    I haven’t heard you discuss the astronomy thing in quite awhile. Is that something you’re still into? IIRC, Barbara and you were active in the Forsyth Astronomical Society and all that.

      

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Alas, we’re no longer actively observing, for several reasons. First, with her parents’ illnesses over the last three years or so, Barbara has been extremely busy and wasn’t comfortable being as far away from town as most of our regular observing sites. Also, I have vertigo, which is why I now carry a four-foot cane at all times. It’s generally not a problem during the day, but it gets much worse at night (particularly in very dark areas like those we observe in). At this point, if I tilt my head back to look up at the night sky, I’ll literally topple over backwards.

    What we may start doing is taking along one of those folding chairs that’s fabric with a metal frame. Seated in one of those, I’m perfectly stable and can use a binocular to locate stuff and use the green laser to point out to Barbara what I’m looking at. With Barbara’s help and by remaining seated on a stool, I may be able to use our 10″ Dob almost normally.

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid that my days of being able to look through one of the big Dobs that are often present at star parties are over. Those require climbing a stepladder in the dark to get up to the eyepiece, and that might well mean death or serious injury for me.

      

  3. Ray Thompson says:

    Those require climbing a stepladder in the dark to get up to the eyepiece, and that might well mean death or serious injury for me.

    Not so much from the fall but from the other person when you knock over their telescope.

      

  4. OFD says:

    I’ll find out if I have any of that vertigo stuff soon when I get up on ladders here. Should be OK, though. I’m very careful and slow in my decrepitude and am trying to keep my record going of no broken bones.

    Junk guys just came and took off a trailer-load of our rubbish, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and destroyed furniture. Outstanding. Next up, some more errands, chores and bill-paying.

    Then off, at least according to plan, to pick up Mrs. OFD.

      

  5. Chad says:

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid that my days of being able to look through one of the big Dobs that are often present at star parties are over. Those require climbing a stepladder in the dark to get up to the eyepiece, and that might well mean death or serious injury for me.

    You would think the optics would also be digital so you could view them on a laptop from a sitting position at ground level rather than having to climb up to some optical eyepiece.

      

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’ve actually thought about building a digital telescope with a high-res CCD in place of the eyepiece. There’d be several advantages, not least that a CCD can collect photons much like doing a time exposure on film but without the reciprocity departure. Even with relatively short exposures–say 1/4 second to one second–the on-screen views with our 10″ Dob would compare favorably to real-time views through a 20″ or 30″ Dob, which is to say a gain of 2 (+/-) over our 10″ Dob in terms of limiting stellar magnitude.

      

  7. Jim B says:

    I have had a different idea for a number of years. I have always wanted a good terrestrial telescope that could also be used for light astronomical viewing. Back then, some surveillance cameras with good zoom lenses and a low light sensor would have been suitable, and affordable, but the best ones were monochrome. I decided to wait for color, and mostly forgot the idea. I would bet that such exist now, and maybe even for a good price.

    I don’t want another project, just something I could buy and mount on a high point of the house and control with a computer. It would be similar to the PTZ (pan tilt zoom) surveillance cameras with a good zoom lens, and in a weatherproof housing. Think of it: the ability to survey my realm (overlooking a valley with views of 80+ miles and usually clear atmosphere) from the comfort of an easy chair. Control it from a computer or phone, and capture a still at the push of a button. Video would be optional, but unnecessary. And, the ability to look at the stars sometimes. No more freezing in the winter!

    Hmmm, I should update my search, but not right now. Anyone have any ideas? Cost not a factor, at least in the dreaming stage :-)

      

  8. OFD says:

    Some parties believe the U.S. will continue to be Number One and call the shots. This guy doesn’t:

    “It’s a different world. Everyone realizes it except for the US government, which is still living in the past where they’re #1 and get to call all the shots.”

    http://www.sovereignman.com/trends/when-you-see-this-happen-youll-know-its-game-over-for-the-dollar-i-give-it-2-3-years-14688/

      

  9. Tom Lucas says:

    I have one of these that I use with 10×50 and 15×65 binocs:
    http://www.amazon.com/Caravan-Infinity-Reclining-Adjustable-Headrest/dp/B0032UY0BK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1405446567&sr=8-2&keywords=folding+recliner
    Which works quite well for me. My problem isn’t vertigo, but rather the fact that I cannot tilt my head more than about 25 degrees. I’m a decidedly stiff necked old fellow. I can, however still use my 8 inch dob, though I’ve had to add a mirror to my Rigel Systems finder and switched to an 8×50 finder with a right angle eyepiece.

      

  10. SteveF says:

    Junk guys just came and took off a trailer-load of our rubbish, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, and destroyed furniture. Outstanding.

    I note that you don’t mention them hauling away non-self-supporting children past the age of majority, which makes me think there’s been a major lapse somewhere.

    I’m a decidedly stiff necked old fellow.

    Me, too, but not in the same way.

      

  11. Lynn McGuire says:

    Next up, some more errands, chores and bill-paying.

    Somebody got paid!

      

  12. Lynn McGuire says:

    Be careful on those ladders! I use only wide fiberglass ladders (non conductive) of 7 ft or 8 ft height.

    I have a friend who inherited 50 million dollars from her Dad ten years ago. She was then messing around her house on a five ft ladder and it tipped over with her on the third rung. She fell, broke her right wrist, one of the lower bones in her right leg and blew out her right ankle. She spent two+ years in surgery after surgery and rehabs. All that money did not help her much. She can walk again but with a serious limp.

      

  13. OFD says:

    Yep, Mrs. OFD finally got paid yesterday after five weeks; showed in our account this morning. She’s still being stiffed and stalled on the contract job she did in April, and has spent more time hassling with it since than the time she actually worked it, by far.

    I am extremely careful with ladders and usually have a spotter.

    “…hauling away non-self-supporting children past the age of majority…”

    The one that fits that description is now working at the huge farmers’ market in Montreal and making $22/hour which is far more than she could make at some shitty retail gig down here. We just paid her overdue tuition and other expenses but she’s gonna be taking care of the latter from now on, as that market is open 7×24 and she can keep doing it part-time through the school year.

    Mrs. OFD and MIL back from the funeral in Glens Falls, NY and she’s just gonna stay down at MIL’s place tonight and help her pack her car for the latter’s trip to the soon to be defunct cottage in northern NB. I’ll pick her up tomorrow after my VA appointments.

    We had a t-storm a few hours ago, and about an hour a torrential downpour. And the Lois B. McClure sailed into the bay with a tug and docked this afternoon:

    http://www.lcmm.org/our_fleet/lois_mcclure.htm

    I got some pics on the iPhone and will post them whenever I get the damn web site up and running, probably with WordPress.

      

  14. Lynn McGuire says:

    The one that fits that description is now working at the huge farmers’ market in Montreal and making $22/hour which is far more than she could make at some XXXXX retail gig down here.

    Congratulations!

      

  15. OFD says:

    Yeah, no kidding! She speaks nine languages plus English (though not so great at writing in the latter) and is nearly six feet tall with other startling attributes, so we expect there will be a crowd at her stall. We won’t mention behavior today.

    And so fah, about two-dozen resumes out in the past two weeks, with cover letters, plus applications online, etc., etc. about standard in the course of every two weeks for the past fifteen months. A total of two interviews in that time. So much for IT, despite thirteen or fourteen years of experience, training, multiple hw and sw platforms, BA degree, vet status, etc. On to the next excellent adventure, I reckon…

      

  16. ech says:

    It’s a different world. Everyone realizes it except for the US government, which is still living in the past where they’re #1 and get to call all the shots.

    Not really. The current administration refuses to call the shots overseas, even when the locals are begging them to do so, i.e. on the renewal of the Iraq Status of Forces agreement in 2011 – which led to the current Iraq civil war.

      

  17. Chuck W says:

    I do not agree with that piece on the US dollar’s imminent collapse. True enough that throughout history, one currency has usually dominated world trade, with the British pound-sterling yielding to the US dollar, but that does not appear to be the direction of the future.

    Many countries, especially developing economies in both Africa and South America, — for almost a decade now — have been trading with and accumulating significant holdings in the euro, in addition to continuing to trade with and hold the dollar. We are becoming a multi-currency world, and IMO, the renminbi will become just another currency that many will likely hold. Just try looking for exchange rates for the renminbi — it is not even a listed currency on most websites or currency exchanges. It has a looong way to go to replace the dollar — if it ever does in our lifetime.

    What is more likely, IMO, is that we will see the demise of the pound-sterling before the renminbi ever becomes a powerhouse.

    I have been reading about the imminent collapse of the dollar since my dad and grandfather started providing me with reading material waaay back in the 1970’s. It is now 40 years later. I am still waiting.

      

  18. OFD says:

    Here’s a little example of the regime attempting to call some shots, after the shots they already called in recent years alone in places like Libya, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Israel, and Venezuela…etc., etc.:

    WSJ: “Obama administration urges action on “inversions”as more U.S. firms move to lower-tax countries.”

    Gee why would they do that?

    Not to mention the shots the regime’s IRS calls when it is dealing with overseas banks and private accounts and the information on them, and its own citizens living and working overseas.

    China may be messed up but do we have percentages like this here?

    WSJ: “China’s economy grew 7.5% in second quarter compared with a year ago, slightly exceeding expectations.”

    It’d be nice to see our economy grow that much in a quarter.

    But hey, everything’s cool, the dollar’s cool, we have zillions in fiat currency being printed out as fast as the printers can print it, and we’re so fat we can send tons of gold from the vaults in NYC to China, too. While stalling the Germans.

      

  19. SteveF says:

    The PRC’s public economic numbers are entirely made up. Or, to put it more conservatively, the source numbers are hidden, so there’s no way to determine if they’re made up, and realistically this means they will be entirely made up.

    That’s unrelated to the command economy building unoccupied cities, which cannot be occupied because the workmanship is so poor. How much of the economic “growth”, and their verifiably high use of concrete and iron, is in the construction of not only roads to nowhere but the nowhere itself?

    It is left as an exercise for the student to determine whether US economic numbers are any more reliable.

      

  20. Lynn McGuire says:

    Got about half of my door project done in the back of the garage today. This is to get some ventilation in the 31 ft deep garage. Got the door framed and most of the outside hardee plank cut (two rows left). Just need to add my top header to the door frame and install the door. Except, I forgot to get the door frame shimming kit so back to Home Depot we go!

    You know, it would have been so much nicer to do this project last March or so. And, I did not get vertigo once while I was standing on my ladder for a couple of hours.

    I might have gotten finished today but started the day with a very flat tire on my Expy. Took my little 1/2 hp compressor 45 minutes to air that P265/17-R70 tire up to 40 psi. And then it took Sam’s club four hours to fix my flat!

      

  21. OFD says:

    “It is left as an exercise for the student to determine whether US economic numbers are any more reliable.”

    There it is.

    But there we are; both the PRC and the US attempting to call shots around the world anyway. For how long is the question.

    I hear the train whistle blowing now, about three or four miles distant, as it rolls through the dozens of square miles of farmland, time for ol’ OFD to hit the sack.

    Reading myself to sleep, which takes all of about five minutes, with one of the late Guy Davenport’s books of essays on various topics and issues.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Davenport

      

  22. Chuck W says:

    You’ve got to be my age or older to enjoy this:

    “When I can’t sleep, I read a book by Steve Allen.”
    –Oscar Levant

      

  23. OFD says:

    I remember Steve Allen and I know who Levant was; I’ll be 61 on Saturday.

    I actually miss Davenport; he was a gift to the nation, at least in common sense and clear thinking and literary matters.

    If I really have trouble getting to sleep, which is rare, I look at network diagrams and manuals.

      

  24. SteveF says:

    It’s a seldom-appreciated result of my working my ass off that I don’t have trouble going to sleep.* I’m usually running in a fog of exhaustion, so as soon as I declare “done” for the evening, I’m done. I sleep in my office more often than not, passed out on the couch, not having made it to the bedroom.

    * Unless I’ve screwed up my caffeine/blood ratio, which is rare.

      

  25. MrAtoz says:

    When I get tired I just watch one of these.

    I’m getting sleepy just thinking about these wonderful videos. :)

      

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