Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

"When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Your Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today"

More than 1,400 American Servicemembers have died in combat in Afghanistan since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that triggered the war.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pictures for Wednesday

Candy's Impatiens


Be like the flower, turn your face to the sun.
                                                                  -- Kahlil Gibran

A Frontyard Rose

Morning Horseplay

A Short Lived Peony

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Safe Return Home

The Soyuz TMA-20 near the ISS

After spending 157 days docked to the ISS, the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft, with Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratyev at the controls, undocked from the Rassvet module at 21:35 UTC on 23 May 2011. The ISS was flying above eastern China at the time separated.The Soyuz executed its deorbit burn at 01:36 UTC on May 24. The descent, habitation and propulsion modules making up the spacecraft separated at 02:01 UTC. The descent module, with the crew inside, reached the first traces of the Earth's atmosphere at an altitude of about 62 miles at 02:03 UTC.

Russian cosmonaut Dmitri Kondratyev,NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli pictured shortly after landing today.


A perfect landing in Zhezkazgan,  Kazakhstan.
The Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft landed safely at 02:27 UTC on 24 May 2011, after a mission lasting 159 days, seven hours and 17 minutes.

The re-entry was conducted without any significant problems. Soyuz TMA-20's large parachute and smaller drogue chute inflated as planned, and the spacecraft descended towards its landing zone in Kazakhstan. Welcome Home!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An ABC After-School Special: Tractors in Trouble...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bob Cuts the Grass

Saturdays,weather permitting, which it hasn't been for a LONG time, are usually spent mowing the grass. I normally don't keep track of the exact time it takes, mainly because I'm in a mower induced trance by the time I'm through and I try not to think about it again until next week. This time I decided I would bring along my handheld GPS receiver and see exactly what cutting the grass looks like from a bird's eye view and get some numbers for my own nefarious purposes.

My Backyard From Space!
Our yard from space.
The faint red outline marks the two yards I mow.The crop circles in our back yard are from friendly aliens or a pool we had. Right next to the "A" marker is the old me from about 5 years ago, actually cutting the grass. My wife says it is her but I can clearly see my pickup in the driveway and there is no heavenly way possible that I would allow my loving wife to cut the grass while I sit in my recliner...

Bob Cutting the Grass
A closer view. Notice the broad shoulders, the deep tan and the piercing brown eyes, so deep you could just swim in them... Has to be me!

First, some background information. I mow two yards, ours and our neighbors next door. I use a riding mower for my neighbor's yard and a self- propelled push mower for our yard. Our mower has a grass catcher that has to be emptied every ten steps (okay,I'm exaggerating a little) and carried to the woods where I create an critter- friendly, ecological environmental habitat for my forest friends (by dumping it in a pile over the fence). I try to mow in the most efficient manner possible but I usually get sidetracked by snakes, branches in the face, unknown bugs in my mouth, ears, eyes and down my shirt, pants and by shiny objects. I also take a couple of breaks for water, which my loving wife brings to me exactly when I need it (how does she know?!), and refueling the mowers. Below is my satellite imagery enhanced video of the world's most efficient mower!

Total Time Spent Mowing: 3 hours 48 minutes 55 seconds
Elevation Gain of 6 feet
Maximum Speed 6.3 Miles Per Hour
Average Speed 2.3 Miles Per Hour
Total Distance Mowed: 5.36 MILES!!!

A disapproving Bluebird
A bluebird that refuses to lodge in my awesome selection of bluebird houses, watches me disapprovingly.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Voyager 1 & 2 Where Are They Now?

Voyager Spacecraft

Voyager 1 & 2 are currently traveling at over 37,000 mph (60,000 km/h) through space. The car-sized spacecraft are about 3 billion miles apart now and an incredible 11 billion miles (17 billion km) and 8 billion miles (14 billion km) from Earth.  Together their mission is the longest continuously operated space mission and have traveled farther than any man-made craft, they will soon enter what is called interstellar space.Interstellar space is the physical space within a galaxy not occupied by stars or their planetary systems.Both Spacecraft are expected to continue to operate for the next 25 to 30 years.
Click to enlarge.

Titan III E
The Voyager 1 aboard the Titan III/Centaur lifted off on September 5, 1977, joining its sister spacecraft, the Voyager 2, on a mission to the outer planets.

Voyager 2 Launch
Voyager 2 launched on August 20, 1977.

If they ever make contact with intelligent lifeforms during their journey, they each have 1 golden disc to tell our human story to whomever or whatever finds them.

Gold Plated Copper
The Voyager Golden Record.

Gold Plated Copper
Cover of the Voyager Golden Record.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Voyager Golden Records are phonograph records which were included aboard both Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977. They contain sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth, and are intended for any intelligent extraterrestrial life form, or for future humans, who may find them. The Voyager spacecraft are not heading towards any particular star, but Voyager 1 will be within 1.6 light years of the star AC+79 3888 in the Ophiuchus constellation in about 40,000 years.
As the probes are extremely small compared to the vastness of interstellar space, the probability of a space faring civilization encountering them is very small, especially since the probes will eventually stop emitting any kind of electromagnetic radiation. If they are ever found by an alien species, it will most likely be far in the future as the nearest star on Voyager 1's trajectory will only be reached in 40,000 years.
As Carl Sagan (1934-1996) noted, "The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced space-faring civilizations in interstellar space. But the launching of this 'bottle' into the cosmic 'ocean' says something very hopeful about life on this planet."Thus the record is best seen as a time capsule or a symbolic statement rather than a serious attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quote for the Day


The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
Saint Augustine

Wednesday's Pics

Today I visited a power line transmission tower to discuss building a cell site on it for T-Mobile.

Powerline Transmission Tower
The cellular antennas would be located at the tower's "waist" which is 70 feet off the ground.

Gasline Marker
A 26" gas line is buried nearby with 300PSI of pressure, I make a note not to disturb this during construction.

High Voltage
The sun shines on the 500,000 volt lines.

cut to my backyard
Betty notices some deer nearby.

Faraway Moon
Today's moon from my backyard.

My camera brings it a little closer for detail.

How Many People are in Space Right Now?

Endeavour crew members, Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Roberto Vittori, Andrew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff.

Expedition 27 station crew, Commander Dmitry Kondratyev and Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli, Cady Coleman, Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Ron Garan. All aboard the ISS.

I normally use this site to answer the question,but today I went there and it said "6". Unless the International Space Station's Expedition 27 crew has disappeared, there are 12 people in Space right now. Am I wrong?

Best Pictures of the Night Sky 2011

National Geographic Link

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vermont Trip

Ausable Chasm
New York's Ausable Chasm on the west side of Lake Champlain

Ausable Chasm
Beautiful, even in the rain.

Essex Ferry
Our second attempt at crossing Lake Champlain at Essex, NY.

Essex Ferry Dock Lake Champlain
The Essex ferry dock is flooded by the high waters of Lake Champlain.

If we don't find a crossing soon,we're going to end up in Canada.

Plattsburgh Ferry
Finally! A working ferry gets us across at Plattsburgh.

Our Pontiac handles well deep under Lake Champlain. 

Champagne and Strawberries
Our hotel near Burlington welcomes us with champagne!

Vermont countryside on our way to Stowe

Small waterfall near Smuggler's Notch.

Still snow in VT in May
Remnants of the last snowfall.

Trapp Lodge
The Trapp Family Lodge.

Vermont is beautiful.

Youth Conservation Corp building.

Awesome scenery.

Farm near Waitsfield,VT.

Moss Glen Falls
Moss Glen Falls

Moose Crossing

Despite all the rain,we really enjoyed our little trip.

Blue Skies
Our first view of the sky in four days!