Monthly Archives: October 2010

Photo: Inside the US Capitol Dome

Taken December 12, 2009

When visiting my sister in Washington D.C. last year over the weekend we decided to have a touristy day during which we hit up the US Capitol Building.  I was last in here as a very young kid (we used to travel to D.C. every year) so this was my first time appreciating the incredible artwork inside.  This view is looking up from the rotunda- the fresco is called The Apotheosis of Washington, dates to 1865, and curiously shows George Washington becoming a god.  Huh…

This weekend I’ll be in Washington DC with the sister but this is my first time not just going to visit her and sightsee- yup, I’ve decided to get (a)political!  Specifically you’ve probably heard there’s a certain Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear on Saturday, and I’ve wanted to see our nation’s jesters in action for some time now. (Mainly Colbert honestly- I tend to view Stewart’s show more as something I have on while waiting for the Colbert Report.) Obviously you should keep an eye on this spot for a post-event report, though there will probably be some on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow if you’re impatient.

Have a great Halloween weekend everyone!

Photo: Bison in Yellowstone NP

Taken June 6, 2008

You read that right and nope Yellowstone is not in the southern hemisphere- when my family visited this amazing National Park in early June we got caught in a late show shower!  Made me feel like we were on a trip out West to go skiing…

FYI, while the thermal activity at Yellowstone is pretty neat what really puts it a cut above is the insane amount of wildlife you see pretty much everywhere.  I’d never seen most of the animals in the wild before but by the end of our three days in the park we saw among other things black bears, elk, moose, mountain goats, and buffalo that are so ubiquitous that you almost don’t notice them after a bit.  It was by far my best wildlife experience until I went on safari in Africa the next year.

Flashback: Chang Mai Cooking Class

I found these pictures in my files and realized I never posted them because I crossed into Laos the day after this happened and, frankly, the Internet was pretty crappy there and I had better things to do than retell every adventure.  In Cleveland neither of these seems to be a problem, so who wants to hear about my Chang Mai cooking class in Thailand? Continue reading

A Visit to JPL

I was in southern California last weekend in what was part vacation and part research which took me to a few amazing astronomy sites in the area.  All were pretty awesome, but none were quite as cutting edge as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in not-so-sunny Pasadena! (Seriously, the day I visited it was raining buckets and 60 degrees- I think the good weather thing is a myth.)

So what goes on at JPL, and why is a visit there so exciting?  Well, in short, if you picture all the stuff NASA does, from human spaceflight to space telescopes and probes, JPL is the part that builds and runs all the unmanned scientific missions such as the Mars rovers.  Virtually every single image of faraway planets that has made you stop and say “wow!” has passed through the control room pictured above, which is the heart of the Deep Space Network that detects signals from all those ambassadors from Earth millions or even billions of miles from home.

By the way, after seeing it the Ham radio dork in me has a huge urge to run away to work on the Deep Space Network. They use giant 70m radio dishes around the world to “hear” our missions and communicate with them!  If NASA wasn’t such a politically volatile place to work I’d seriously consider it…

Continue reading