Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Really Cool Lightning from May 25 Storm

I got caught out in an intense storm after work on Thursday May 25th. After taking cover in a Kroger parking lot to wait out the driving winds and heavy rain. The parking lot was like a small stream with sheets of water pouring over it. While I waited out the storm, two small trees blew over.

As I drove back I aimed my digital camera toward the sky and set it in movie mode. It captured a pretty neat video that maybe I will post on YouTube if I can find some editing software.

The drive back had quite a sky show. I just wish I could have caught more of it on video.

Here are a few frames from that movie:

Louisville Hike & Bike Part 2

I found that another blogger was also at this event and they had camera. Here are some pictures they took of the festivities.


Also he has a neat story about his impressions of the ride:


One last thing, next year I need to bring my camera!!!

Mayor's Healthy Hometown Hike & Bike

I spent part of Memorial Day cycling with over a thousand other people from downtown Louisville to several of the parks. The day was sunny and hot. The temperature may have gotten to 90. The ride route was excellent in that I ride a similar route a lot during cycling season. The hills in Cherokee park did not disappoint with a number of riders hauling up them. I did not maintain the pace with the group I climbed up wiht though if I would have left the seat to start pedaling I might have made it to the top of the hill with the fountain. Fun stuff!

A couple of things I need to remember for next year: 1) Put on sun block. My arms are reddish looking though they do not hurt. 2) Get a second water bottle for the bicycle. I had to stop and refill my bottle during the ride. 3) Fix my trip computer so I can tell my distance and speed. 4) Do not get their so early if they start the ride at 11 am or ride around some before starts.

When the Mayor Abramson open the event with some remarks, he said it is hard to please everyone. Last year people wanted a later start so they could get the kids ready to start and this year people are saying why are we not starting. I think a compromise would be to have a staggered start. Let the faster, more seasoned riders start first at an earlier time. Maybe 15-30 minutes later let a moderate paced group start. Last let a slower, more relaxed pace group start. This would let the police close the roads off at intervals so the traffic does not build on some roads for long periods of time.

I thought the traffic control people did an excellent job this year. Also the EMS and police were patrolling the route helping people who had wrecks or were suffering from heat issues. We did see something kind of interesting. A car stopped because a cyclist collided with it. Apparently, the driver stopped a stop sign and the cyclist behind him ram the car thinking he would go through the sign. Stop signs are the bane of cyclists since you lose that forward momentum.

All and all a nice day but being out in that sun was draining.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Voyager II at the Edge of the Solar System?

NASA JPL released a podcast today that talks about the Voyager spacecraft launched in the late 1970s. The link to this can be found below.


The main discovery is that Voyager 2 while about 2 billion closer to Sun than Voyager 1 is encountering the edge of the solar system. Since the power generator will maybe last till 2020, the spacecraft will still be sending data when they might reach interstellar space. I find this intriguing because these craft along with some of the NASA Pioneer probes (and maybe some Russian spacecraft) could one day be the only remains of life on Earth.

According to the entry for Earth on Wikipedia, the Sun will become a red dwarf in 5 billion years. The increased radiation should wipe out most life on Earth at this time. As the sun cools that will be it for our solar system. More about this can be found at the link below:


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Wild Violet

Here is a picture I took while at our annual family Easter egg hunt. It was growing in the yard with some others.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Birds in Bathroom Vents

I am amazed at how persist birds are at finding nesting areas. The birds near our house have figured out how to get through the flaps that cover vent pipes that lead to bathroom vent fans. The covers are maybe 4 inch by 4 inch in area and have 4 one inch slats that are hinged that open when the fan is blowing air out of the bathroom.

We would hear a bird moving in the pipe on Saturday mornings in the upstairs bathroom. So I went into the attic and found that the 3 foot flexible pipe contained dead grass and twine. I tried to block the pipe with mesh but the bird pushed through it. So we got a ladder and installed a bird/rodent cage over top the outer flaps. The cage can be obtained from Home Depot for about $10.

We were out this evening digging a sidewalk that will go around the side of the house and I heard a bird fluttering near the house next door. It looked like a starling with a plastic wrapper in its mouth. It was trying to get into the flap but could not after 3 attempts. The fourth attempt it took its talons and grabbed onto the bottom of the frame and swung up using its beak to pop open one of the flaps. It got the flap open and squeezed into the hole but lost the plastic wrapper. I wish I could have caught this with the camera.