21 October 2017

Yellow wood

I didn't want to finish blogging for the day with that rhino image at the top of the blog.  Instead I'll finish with this photo I took last week in my favorite woods in Cass County, Minnesota.  I'm currently using it as my desktop image as an instant mental health break (click for fullscreen).

"Memorial to a species"

Photo credit Brent Stirton, photojournalist, who captured the image at South Africa’s Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park.  This image was the Grand Title winner in the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for 2017.  Additional photos in several galleries at the link.


But not chocolate-covered - that's its natural appearance.  Tentatively surmised to be a member of the genus Boletus.

Ocean covered in plastic

The image speaks for itself.  Photographed near Roatan, an island off the coast of Honduras

"Human-mediated" minerals

Last week I listened to a most interesting podcast about the discovery of new minerals, many/most of which occur as a result of man's interaction with the environment, either intentionally or accidentally.
By far the most interesting to me was tinnunculite, which forms when kestrel feces fall into burning Russian coal minesABC News (Au) and the Los Angeles Times offer other examples cited in a manuscript published recently in American Mineralogist.
Mr Hazen said a curator found an Egyptian statue at the bottom of a museum drawer and noticed a blue coating on the statue; it turned out to be a new mineral called chalconatronite. "Those minerals would never have occurred if it weren't for the fact that a mineral collector collected the mineral, left them in the oak drawer and then the oak drawer reacted to produce another new mineral," he said.
Photo - Fiedlerite, discovered at a Greek smelting site where seawater interacted with the slag.

17 October 2017

Divertimento #137

Another gifdump, because readers like them, it's quick, and I have yard chores to do.

Girl opens can of beer; frat boys approve.

A hideaway bunk bed.

A shrew leads her babies.


Fore-edge painting on book pages.

Football fans at University of Iowa wave at the children in the hospital.

I normally don't post "fail gifs," but I'll make an exception for this one.

A man and his hummingbird.  And a frustrated hummingbird.

Temporary tattoo printer (with discussion thread re possible problems).

"Halo" for a blind dog.

Apparently normal behavior for an ostrich.

Oiling a hardwood floor.

At a concert in the Netherlands.

Blowing a compact disc bubble.

Heimlich maneuver Halloween costume.

How rainfall generates aerosols (i.e. why you can smell a dusty road when it starts to sprinkle).

How firemen wind up hoses.

Smart bird.

Gas station manager explains that you shouldn't smoke while filling your gas tank.

Japanese soap dispenser.

Using acid to remove rust from a bolt.

Making a wooden bowl on a lathe.

Watch that first step...

How a cheetah runs.  Impressive.

Train crossing barrier apparently not calibrated for high-speed train. (hat tip to reader Pirx the Pilot for pointing out that this is human failure on a manually-triggered barrier).  Scary.

Bar trick with a cloth napkin.

Sphalerite cut as a gemstone.

Frosting a cake.

Peacock display.

"Dad marking out on a small football pitch with his blind son's hands what's going on down on the actual pitch."

Beware of the dog.

"Look at me!  I'm a goat!"

And the best dog gif of the day: "When I say 'go' you can have the treat."

Photos from a gallery of images from the 2017 Westminster Dog Show.  More images (and photo credits) at the link.

The President is a great office, not a great man

"Calvin Coolidge never made any pretensions to greatness. "It is a great advantage to a President and a major source of safety to the country, for him to know that he is not a great man," he recorded in his Autobiography."
More about Coolidge at the United States Senate webpage.

Flying robots


When I take an airline flight, I never tire of looking at meanders and oxbow lakes.
The term derives from the Meander River located in present-day Turkey and known to the Ancient Greeks as Μαίανδρος Maiandros (Latin: Maeander), characterised by a very convoluted path along the lower reach. As such, even in Classical Greece (and in later Greek thought) the name of the river had become a common noun meaning anything convoluted and winding, such as decorative patterns or speech and ideas, as well as the geomorphological feature. Strabo said: ‘…its course is so exceedingly winding that everything winding is called meandering.’

The Meander River is located south of Izmir, east of the ancient Greek town of Miletus, now Milet, Turkey. It flows through a graben in the Menderes Massif, but has a flood plain much wider than the meander zone in its lower reach. Its modern Turkish name is the Büyük Menderes River.
Photo via Viewfind, where purchase information for the image is available.

"I Stand For The National Anthem"

"There is a huge tv screen by the food carts right inside the stadium where people gather to watch. We went over there to check it out and we saw him spread the flag out and sit down."
Some additional details at Deadspin.

Addendum: validity of the image confirmed at Snopes (uncropped version there, with metadata).

16 October 2017

High school pep rally


When I was in high school, a pep rally consisted of two or three girls waving pom-poms and trying unsuccessfully to get a small crowd to yell "Win team win."  Times have changed.

Some serious planning, choreography and hundreds of hours of practice must have gone into this routine at Walden Grove High School, Sahuarita Arizona.  Worth a few minutes of your time unless you are a complete grouch.  And probably worth clicking the full-screen icon.

Via Boing Boing.

15 October 2017

Why is this image distorted?

This is the greenside area of the third hole at Tianna Country Club in Walker, Minnesota.  The ripples from my failed approach shot have faded away.  What interests me is the birch trees and their reflection in the pond.  In real life they were perfectly upright.

I photographed the scene with my iPhone SE, which has a fairly wide-angle built-in lens (29mm I think), but I don't remember encountering this much distortion using wide-angle lenses on my old film and digital cameras.

I've encountered obvious distortion with this phone taking panorama images, but this was a conventional one.  I need some education on the "why" and any coping techniques, and I figure asking the readership here will be faster than searching the 'net.  Thanks in advance.


Found crawling on my jeans in the woods of northern Minnesota.  I should have placed him on my walking stick for the photo.

Fascinating creatures; I'm recurrently amazed that they are capable of flying.

"Please excuse Gene"

Photographed at the museum of the Pine County (MN) Historical Society.  Highly recommended for a day trip with lunch in their cafe.

Vintage horsefly blanket

To anyone who has been around horses (or horseflies), the image speaks for itself.

Modern versions seem to be made of plastic or fabric.  I found a vintage one for sale on eBay made of leather.  This one appeared to be made of coarse string or yarn.  In the pre-plastic era this would probably be cooler than a fabric blanket.

Photographed at the museum of the Pine County (MN) Historical Society.  Highly recommended for a day trip with lunch in their cafe.
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