Saturday, August 16, 2014

Growing Up Geeky

When I went to high school, I guess I was one of the geeks. Though I wouldn't have classified myself with them. They were weird. I went to the other side of the library so I wouldn't have to socialize with them. Though every now and then I'd have to cross over to their side of the library to check out the books over there and they'd talk to me. “Have you read Little Fuzzy?” One of them asked me. No I hadn't, I thought the cute little animals on the cover looked silly.

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.