We’re visiting a distant world on January 1, 2019

On January 1, 2019 humans will pass and make the most distant observation of a world in our solar system. On this date just days away the New Horizons will pass Object 2014 MU69 in the Kuiper Belt. See the tweet thread by Alex Parker is fantastic as it illustrates a bit about how this observation has been made possible.

Alex Parker:

In just a few hours I will depart for Maryland for New Horizons’ New Years flyby of the Kuiper Belt Object (486958) 2014 MU69. Before I go, I thought I would re-tell some of the stories about how we came to know about this little world. pic.twitter.com/iE7f0KeFVK

More at his article here.

Tasting Climate Change

James Temple writing for the MIT Technology Review:

In early November, gale-force winds whipped a brush fire into an inferno that nearly consumed the town of Paradise, California, and killed at least 86 people.

By the second morning, I could smell the fire from one foot outside my door in Berkeley, some 130 miles from the flames. Within a week, my eyes and throat stung even when I was indoors.

Air quality maps warned that the soot-filled air blanketing the Bay Area had reached “very unhealthy” levels. For days, nearly everyone wore masks as they walked their dogs, rode the train, and carried out errands. Most of those thin-paper respirators were of dubious value. Stores quickly ran out of the good ones—the “N-95s” that block 95% of fine particles—and sold out of air purifiers, too.

I’ve long understood that the dangers of global warming are real and rising. I’ve seen its power firsthand in the form of receding glaciers, dried lake beds, and Sierra tree stands taken down by bark beetles.

This is the first time, though, that I smelled and tasted it in my home.

There will be much more of this to come. This is, obviously, just the beginning.

Denny

December 19, 2018

Sometimes you go for a walk and forget your hat so you use your fanny pack. Yes, I have a fanny pack. 🤓

Denny

December 19, 2018

Not the best photo in terms of quality due to cropping but I love it because, well, Snow Goose! Just one. So pretty.  Side note: Trying out some image processing with Darkroom on iPad and it’s pretty fantastic.

Big Bang in 2D

This video at Big Think is an excellent description of the Big Bang. As much as I’ve read about it I’ve yet to come across a description this good and easy to understand. I’m trying it out on my family. Michelle Thaller does a fantastic job describing it. I’d previously heard it likened to a cinnamon roll expanding in an oven and I love cinnamon rolls so :nerd_face: But that description stops short of emphasizing, as she does in the video, the 2-D aspect, of only paying attention to the surface. New to my thinking.

Denny

October 9, 2018

My tiny house sits under a shag bark hickory and this year I’ve had lots of hickory nuts falling. An interesting thing has been to watch my dog Annie as she eats them. She cracks them open, eats the nut-meat and leaves the shell. I had no idea dogs ate nuts if given the chance.