Friday, July 25, 2014

Los Gatos Canyon

Near Coalinga (southwest of Fresno) back in 1948 a plane load of Mexican citizens were being flown to El Centro to be sent back to Mexico. The plane crashed in Los Gatos Canyon. Depending on where you lived the news didn't have much coverage of the event., so when Woody Guthrie heard about it, no names were given. In his poem, “Deportee”, he said that “you won't have a name when you ride the big airplane”. And for years the mass grave up in Fresno only listed “28 Mexican Citizens” on the small headstone.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Out of This World

The recent strong winds from out of the west help generate some very impressive lenticular clouds. These are the “flying saucer” shaped clouds that form from time to time around Tehachapi. OK, they can form elsewhere, but we do get our share.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Say it Ain't So

Science denialism is a problem in this country. (OK, it's a problem in other countries too, but I don't live there so...) We have so many varieties: creationists, global warming deniers, vaccine avoiders, Flat Earthers, folks that don't think germs cause disease and so on. These people, you probably know some, don't like what science has told us, so tell us that it just can't be so.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Splitting Up

I recently spent a day out at Joshua Tree National Park. I was participating in a writing workshop. But they include a Ranger in just about every activity and they always tell some interesting facts about the Park. This time the Ranger had some information about Joshua Trees. One of the first items was that the biologists are splitting the Joshua Tree in to two species.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Totally Eclipsed

Recently (April 15th), we had the first of four total lunar eclipses that are going to occur in the next several months. And the media kept calling it a “blood moon”, apparently from the red color of the moon when the eclipse was total. I’m not sure when this started to be done. When I was young and we watched lunar eclipses, the Moon turning red was how we could tell the eclipse was total. It was just part of the deal.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Big Bang News

About 14 billion years ago the universe came into existence with the Big Bang. Early in process the universe was too hot for matter to form and the was a fairly uniform “glow”. As the universe expanded it cooled. You can think of compressed gas in a can being released, like spray paint or cooking spray, as the gas expands it cools off. After a while things cooled down so that matter could start forming.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Communication is Tough

I'm sitting here at the keyboard trying to figure out what I'm going to say, while Moonpi my dog paces around my chair attempting to communicate with me. Sometimes it can be pretty obvious what he's trying to tell me. For example, he has a pretty specific noise he makes that says, “I've lost my rawhide under the sofa. Get up and help me get it.” And after lunch, when he thinks it is time for a walk, there's not much chance of misunderstanding what he's trying to say.