Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Right Stuff Loses a Member

I just read online that Scott Crossfield has died. Some won't know who he is, but I do. He was the first man to fly at twice the speed of sound, after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947.

His Cessna crashed - possibly due to bad weather - in the mountains of North Georgia.

Somewhere a lone bugler is playing "Taps" and planes are flying over with a spot open for him.

Godspeed Scott.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Storms A Comin'

I'm just going to plug an item everyone should think about getting, especially those who live in bad weather areas.

It's a NOAA Weather Alert radio.

During severe weather, you can't always rely on the sirens going off - or your hearing them. That is, even if your town has warning sirens. And you can't trust the television stations either. What if they are off the air, or you don't have power?

The weather alert radios have a battery backup, so they will work without power if needed. If you don't know what they are, here's a quick overview...

It's just a small radio that is tuned to your local NWS (National Weather Service) office. When they send out watches and warnings, the first thing they do (I'm making this really simple) is trigger an alert tone to all radios set to their frequency. This tone "turns on" weather radios with an extremely loud alert siren/tone. This is followed by the actual alert which is read over the air.

I've done some timings in my area, and usually my radio "tones" up to 3-4 minutes ahead of the television stations alerting the public, and even the sirens going off (if it's a tornado warning). And those 3-4 minutes could save my life if there's somethign headed right at me.

(Of course, since I'm a weather chaser, I'm "out in it" anyways. icon_biggrin.gif )

There are several cities in the US near "tornado alley" where having a weather radio is "mandatory." Just like smoke detectors.

you can pick them up at local Radio Shacks or other electronic stores. They aren't that expensive, and the nice thing now is they come with SAME technology.

SAME, or Specific Area Message Encoding allows you to specify the particular area for which you wish to receive alerts. Most warnings and watches broadcast over NOAA Weather Radio are county- or independent city-based (parish-based in Louisiana), although in a few areas of the country the alerts are issued for portions of counties. Since most NWR transmitters are broadcasting for a number of counties, SAME receivers will respond only to alerts issued for the area (or areas) you have selected. This minimizes the number of “false alarms” for events which might be a few counties away from where you live.

Also, on some models, you can have it "ignore" warnings that you don't need to receive. Since I live in Michigan, I have "hurricane warning" turned off, since we rarely get hurricanes here.icon_smile.gif

Here's a link about the radios, what to look for, and where to buy...

Weather Alert Radios

We now return you to your regular programming.

And since it's thundering here, I've got to grab the cameras and head on out to "chase the wind."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Defend Science!!

There's a new, important group out there called Defend Science. Their goal is to:
rally broad opposition and resistance to the mounting attacks on science and scientific thinking which are unfolding in the United States.
This is a good thing. Too much supression of scientific research and data is being done by politicians bending to the will of the "religious right," who are telling them what to do. Evil people like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are basically blackmailing our leaders and politicians to strike down what they do not like, and be damned with people in need, or people who seek the truth.

I urge everyone to go to their site, read their statement, and do what you can to support them. We don't have time to waste.

Things I've Done

(Stolen for fun from someone else.)

The ones I've done are in red.
The ones I haven't done are in White
The ones in blue are things I want to do one day.

I have eaten more than 5 meals in one day.
I have read a lot of books.
I have been on some sort of varsity team.
I have walked/run more than 2 miles without stopping.
I have been to Canada.
I have been to Europe.
I have watched cartoons for hours.
I have tripped UP the stairs.
I have fallen down an entire flight of stairs.
I have been snowboarding/skiing.
I have played ping pong.
I swam in the ocean.
I have been on a whale watch.
I have seen fireworks.
I have seen a shooting star.
I have seen a meteor shower.
I have almost drowned.
I have been so embarrassed I wanted to disappear.
I have listened to one cd over & over & over again.
I have had stitches.
I have been on the honor roll.
I have had frostbite.
I have licked a frozen pole.
I have stayed up til 2 doing homework/projects.
I currently have a job.
I have been ice skating.
I have been rollerblading.
I have fallen flat on my face.
I have tripped over my own two feet.
I have been in a fist fight.
I have watched the power rangers.
I do attend Church regularly.
I have played truth or dare.
I have already had my 18th birthday.
I've lost weight since one year ago.
I've called someone stupid. And meant it.
I've been in a verbal argument.
I've cried in school.
I've played basketball on a team.
I've played baseball on a team.
I've played football on a team.
I've played soccer on a team.
I've done cheerleading on a team.
I've played softball on a team.
I've played volleyball on a team.
I've played hockey on a team.
I've played tennis on a team.
I've been on a swim team.
I've been on a golf team.
I've been swimming more than 20 times in my life.
I've bungee jumped.
I've climbed a rock wall.
I've lost more than $20.
I've called myself an idiot.
I've called someone else an idiot.
I've cried myself to sleep.
I've had (or have) pets.
I've owned a Spice Girls cd.
I've owned a Britney Spears cd.
I've owned an N*Sync cd.
I've owned a Backstreet Boys cd.
I've sworn at someone in authority.
I've been in the newspaper.
I've been on TV.
I've been to Hawaii.
I've eaten sushi.
I've been on the other side of a waterfall.
I've watched all of the Lord of the Rings movies.
I've watched all of the Harry Potter movies.
I've watched all of the Rocky movies.
I've watched the 3 stooges.
I've watched "Newlyweds" Nick & Jessica.
I've watched Looney Tunes
I've been stuffed into a locker.
I've been called a geek.
I've studied hard for a test and got a bad grade.
I've not studied at all for a test and aced it.
I've hugged my mom within the past 24 hrs.
I've hugged my dad within the past 24 hours.
I've met a celebrity/music artist.
I've written poetry.
I've been arrested.
I've been attracted to someone much older than me.
I've been tickled till I've cried.
I've tickled someone else until they cried.
I've had/have siblings.
I've been to a rock concert(s).
I've listened to classical music and enjoyed it.
I've been in a play
I've been picked last in gym class.
I've been picked first in gym class.
I've been picked in that middle-range in gym class.
I've cried in front of my friends.
I've read a book longer than 1,000 pages.
I've played Halo 2.
I've freaked out over a sports game
I've been to Alaska
I've been to China
I've been to Spain.
I've been to France.
I've had a fight with someone on MSN or AIM
I've had a fight with someone face-to-face.
I've had serious conversations on any IM
I've forgiven someone who has done something wrong to me.
I've been forgiven.
I've screamed at a scary movie.
I've cried at a chick flick.
I've watched a lot of action movies.
I've screamed at the top of my lungs.
I've been to a rap concert.
I've been to a hip hop concert.
I've lived in more than 2 houses.
I've driven on the highway
I've driven more than 40 miles in a day.
I've been in a car accident
I've been homesick.
I've thrown up
I've puked all over someone
I've been horseback riding
I've spoken my mind in public.
I've proved someone wrong.
I've been proved wrong by someone.
I've broken a leg.
I've broken an arm.
I've fallen off a swing.
I've swung on a swing for more than 30 mins straight.
I've watched Winnie the Pooh movies.
I've forgotten my backpack when I've gone to school.
I've lost my backpack.
I've come close to dying.
I've seen someone die/dying.
I've known someone who has died.
I've wanted to be an actor/actress at some point.
I've done modeling.
I've forgotten to brush my teeth some mornings.
I've taken something/someone for granted.
I've realized how good my life is.
I've counted my blessings.
I've made fun of a classmate.
I've been asked out by someone and I said no.
I've asked someone on a date and been turned down.
I've slapped someone in the face.
I've been skateboarding.
I've been backstabbed by someone I thought was a friend.
I've lied to someone to their face.
I've told a little white lie.
I've taken a day off from school just so I don't go insane.
I've fainted.
I've had an argument with someone about whether cheerleading is a sport or not.
I've pushed someone into a pool.
I've been pushed into a pool.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

25 Years of Exploration

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the first space shuttle launch.

Just after 7am on April 12, 1981, the space shuttle Columbia rose off the pad at Cape Canaveral with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen in the first operational test of the new shuttle system.

I remember sitting watching in awe and fascination as that beautiful ship rose up from the clouds of smoke and ascended to its rightful place in the sky.

The first mission didn't last long - just 36 orbits and 2+ days - but it proved that the system worked (despite some flaws). Watching her land on the dry lake beds of Edwards was a sight to behold.

The musical group Rush even had a song about Columbia....

Lyrics by Neil Peart

Dedicated with thanks to astronauts Young & Crippen and all the people of NASA for their inspiration and cooperation

[Coming up on 45 minute point in out countdown. Everything going smoothly... T minus 45 minutes and counting…]
[Coming up on T minus 40 minutes. T Minus 40 minutes and counting… This is shuttle launch control.]

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

[…we are go for launch. At the present time, we know of no major problems, as we enter the final hold.]

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged - a humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick - you could cut it with a knife
Technology - high, on the leading edge of life

[T minutes 27 seconds… sequencers start, T minus 20 seconds and counting…. T minus 15, 14, 13…
T minus 10, 9, 8 7 6 5 4... Main engines start, we have liftoff.]

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
It tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

[T plus 30 seconds... 35... Columbia, Houston. you’re go at 40…]

Excitement so thick - you could cut it with a knife
Technology - high, on the leading edge of life
Like a pillar of cloud, the smoke lingers
High in the air
In fascination - with the eyes of the world
We stare...

[Columbia is now turning for it’s precise window in space for main engine cutoff…]
[Plus 2 minutes 40 seconds, Columbia now 39 nautical miles in altitude, 42 nautical miles downrange…]
[Columbia you’re looking a little hot and all your calls will be a little early...]
[Young and Crippin really moving out now – velocity now reading 6200 feet per second…]
[“What a view! What a view” “Glad you enjoyed it”…]
[Columbia Houston, we have 40 seconds to LOS, after LOS you’re looking good
for an over-the-hill and we’ll see you in Madrid…]
[“And we enjoyed the music Bob, thank ya.”…]
[“We enjoyed it. We just wanted to share some with ya.”…]

And sadly, nearly 22 years later, we would lose Columbia - and its seven astronauts - as it broke up over the skies of the United States that cold day in February 2003.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Have a Nice Day!

Mars says "hi"

image of Mars happy face crater

But it's just a trick of the light. Don't read anything into it. Unlike Hoagland and his conspiracy idiots.

In Years Past

April 11th. I remember where I was many years ago...

And even though I have a great interest now, back then they scared me to death. Mainly because I thought I was going to die. I can still hear the sound in my head...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This Floored Me

Text might be hidden 'Gospel of Judas'

Wow, if this is true, it's a real revelation into the past, and the role Judas took in the life of Christ.

I'm very intrigued.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Setting up Woes

Working on the new Gallery for the photo website, and it's being a problem.

I had backed up the old one, but it doesn't really do any good. So I have no idea on data from the old site (dates, times, etc.) to put up on the new version. Plus, with the upgrade, the company removed some options that I had used before.

Oh well, lots of work. Thankfully I've taken access away from it until it's ready to be presented to the public.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Web Work

Well, looks like I'll have some work to do. We're switching all the personal websites to a new server, and even though I have all the pages, etc. on the local machine, I'm really not sure what images/graphics I've used.

So I guess I'll have to wait until the DNS updates so I can see what doesn't work.