Monday, February 27, 2012

moon walk

a comic from poorly drawn lines.

of course you would actually fall off a cliff on the moon, you would just weigh a sixth of what you do on earth, so you'd fall a bit less dramatically!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


lovely little spot in the world. japan, maybe?

spotted at scoth and jazz

UPDATE: thanks for the quick comments telling me my guess was completely wrong! ;) the photo is of watkins glen state park in new york.

Monday, February 20, 2012

bath water opacity

considering the recent muddy weekend adventures i've had (river walks, warrior dash), i think this little indexed graph by jessica hagy perfectly describes the reality for me :)

ps. opacity

Sunday, February 19, 2012

the north curl curl beach incident

a couple weekends ago, we had more of an adventure than we intended to have. a group of us decided to head out into the wilderness to enjoy the first sunny day sydney had seen in a while (i know - ridiculous for summertime here!).

we hiked next to a river, along some extremely muddy trails, for about 4 hours...

... and then decided we'd had enough and collectively agreed to go explore a new beach! north curl curl beach, along the northern shores of sydney's seaside real estate, didnt disappoint.

since none of us came prepared for a trip to the beach, we just carried our shoes as we walked along the coast, fully dressed.

we spotted a lovely rock pool at the northern end of the beach and walked toward it as the tide started to come in.

the pool felt peaceful and calm, and i had received enough sun for the day, so stayed over on the edge where i took the photo above. my friends, on the other hand, decided to walk out along the edge of the pool, to get a closer view of the white mist that the waves gently sprayed up in the air.

unfortunately, we didnt realize, nor was it marked anywhere, that a common wave feature at this end of the beach is much more powerful than anything we saw during our walk over. just as my friends got to the edge and pulled out their cameras to capture the beauty, a HUGE wave spilled over the rocks, looking something like this:

Photo credit: sheila smart

my first reaction at seeing this wave was actually to laugh. the big splash hit the height of their chests and it was just such a surprise that it was amusing.

but... by they time they looked at each other with smiles of disbelief on their faces, a second, much more powerful wave came barreling over the rocks, completely swallowing them with white water! they completely disappeared from my sight, and my body froze as i realized the wave knocked them backwards into the pool!

at this point i was genuinely scared because i didnt know how deep the water was or if there were big, sharp, coral rocks waiting for them to hit! as they eventually started popping their heads above the water's swell, i felt relieved, but saw that one girl was very shaken by the event. i found out soon that she doesnt know how to swim and had swallowed some water when the wave knocked her off the edge. she was in hysterics for a little while as we tried to calm her down.

as the rest of my friend made their way over to me, they were recounting all the things in their backpacks that went flying off into the water, including shoes, cameras, phones, keys, backpacks, etc...

they said that as people helped them out of the pool, some jokingly said "we were going to tell you that you shouldnt stand on the edge like that, but we didnt have time!" thanks a lot.

it was at about this point that they started noticing i was completely dry, and i had to admit that i had never been happier to be such a sun-wuss.

we sat next to the pool for a while recovering from the event and wondering what we would do, considering the keys to the car were somewhere under water! luckily, the teenagers around the pool felt so bad for us, that they dove in to the water and kept finding things for us - cameras, keys, IDs, shoes... it was amazing! after 30 minutes, we had recovered everything except for one shoe, although most of the electronics were water-logged and unusable.

none of us on the adventure that day were aussie. i've recounted this tale to many australian friends since the incident and they almost all immediately chuckle and say something like "oh yeah, rock fishing is the deadliest sport in australia!" when i complained about the fact that there were no signs anywhere warning us of these waves, one friend said "but then they'd have to put signs up along *the entire* coast!" i guess that's true.

as a friend on twitter said: even the water in australia is trying to kill you! lesson learned, the hard way.

Friday, February 17, 2012

5-a-side, anyone?

the photo below shows an inflated 30 foot diameter grid sphere balloon satellite, attempted for use by NASA in the 1960s.

also, the most awkward soccer match, ever.

the idea was to launch the deflated satellite, inflate in orbit and then use as a communications satellite. as the national museum of the US air force describes though, "unfortunately, the closed structure of the inflated balloon satellite was, in time, deformed and pushed out of orbit by the pressure created by the sun's radiation." oops.

fun photo, anyway!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

galaxy rose

for your viewing pleasure, a pair of galaxies that look, to my eyes anyway, like a lovely rose. Arp 273:

these two spiral galaxies are in a gravitational dance that warps their disks and bends their spiral arms. the bright blue colours show hot, young stars that have recently formed as a result of these galaxies interacting. within a few million years, these galaxies will merge together to become one system.

marshmallow cannon

president obama's reaction to this 14 year old's marshmallow cannon is just plain awesome!

of course someone make a cute gif of the event and here is the full video:

regardless of politics, obama is a nice guy and incredibly enthusiastic around kids. i think that's great.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

the warrior dash

today i raced in the warrior dash, which is a thrilling 5 km race through mud pits, across rivers, over obstacles, etc, etc... the day started off looking rainy, but when we arrived to the location one hour north of sydney, the sun was out and the heat was blasting. we covered ourselves in sunscreen and headed to the registration tents.

by the time we sorted our numbers and headed for the starting line, clouds started covering the skies and rain teased ominously. we set off as the winds picked up and the sky darkened, but i didnt really notice as i had to watch the landing of each foot on the thick, deep muddy trails. we passed through gorgeous forests, but it was rare that i was able to admire them because i had to concentrate to balance the landing of each step!

i had so much fun. so. much. mud. all varieties of viscosity, and i could never tell the depth of a mud pit or where a hole might be lurking under the bog above. i fell. each time the mud dried on my skin and started flake, we would have to swim through a river or drop into a water/mud pit that allowed me to wash away some of the funk. some of the obstacles were quite challenging to pass, especially some of the tall wooden structures that were awkward to climb over with my relatively short legs and slick shoes.

but our group made it safely over the walls and the fire pits and under the barbed wire, to safely cross the finish line. aside from scratched up knees and impressive bruises that i'm still discovering, the race was a success.

we laughed at the muddy sight of each other and headed for the tents to collect our one free beer. just as i cracked open my australian brew, the clouds parted and huge raindrops started pouring! the rowdy crowd cheered and spread their arms up in the air. as the winds picked up, we began getting cold, and we decided to head for the car.

just as we made this decision, we noticed a few large hail chunks falling to the ground, and started to run to the nearest tent. we made it in fairly quickly and looked out to see people yelling at the pain of being hit by the large ice chunks! i cant believe our luck in finishing the race *just* in time! the hail fell for about 15 minutes, to a stunned audience of "warriors," and then stopped in a flash of thunder.

the ground was covered with chunky ice spheres, which melted to form very cold muddy puddles.

we quickly made our way to the car and breathed a sigh of relief not to find any hail-induced dents! we survived!

by the time we got back to sydney, the skies had cleared to a smooth, soothing blue, and the air was warm and dry.

what a fun and random day of events!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the earth: a review

every now and then a product on amazon or some other site has a series of hilarious reviews. here is a series of reviews of earth, created by Matthieu Barrère ;)

Friday, February 3, 2012

rosette nebula

time for a good, old fashioned, pretty picture post.

behold, the rosette nebula (NGC 2237)!

the rosette nebula is a region where new stars are forming, about 5000 light years away from earth. the red dots, in the regions outlined in white, show hot, young stars, imaged with X-rays by the chandra space telescope.

the effect of the gushing big stars can be seen in the cavity they have created in the surrounding gaseous nebula. shown in purple, orange, green and blue colors are the older stars and gas in the region, as optically imaged by the digitized sky survey and the 0.9-meter telescope at the kitt peak national observatory in arizona.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

will you buy a fine dog?

an interesting aspect of language is that some words can change meaning over time.

here is a video of a quaint old song called "will you buy a fine dog?" by thomas morley that demonstrates an amusing case of changing definitions...

enjoy ;)

at one time people referred to a loaf of rye or dill bread as a dildo, although today's common meaning is quite different. tee hee ;)