Big Earthquake Hits Southern Mexico 3/20/12, Video

A very powerful earthquake struck southern Mexico this afternoon, and what is interesting, and maybe even a little bit ominous is the fact that another quake hit California very soon afterward — “back-to-back earthquakes” according to one commentary. Take a look at this quick video. There isn’t a lot of info available just yet, but at least we know there was no tsunami related to this earthquake, thank goodness.

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Quadrantids Meteor Shower, January 3/4, 2011

A meteor shower is a pretty cool thing to see, so if you happen to have clear skies, a warm jacket, and a comfy lawn chair or thick blanket, you might want to get outside this evening and gaze upward. It’s nice if you can lie down and relax instead of straining your neck to look up for a long period of time. You won’t need binoculars or a telescope or anything fancy, just a sense of wonder that the earth is traveling through a debris field from an asteroid that used to be a comet. Here’s a link with more specific information from a blog on Discover Magazine.

The meteor shower will peak between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m., Eastern U.S. Time, 1:00 and 2:00 Central, and should provide quite a show. There may be dozens of meteors per hour, whereas on any random evening, you might see one or maybe two. If any of them hit the ground, they’re then called meteorites, but this is exceedingly rare. Here’s a video to give you an idea of what a meteor shower is like. It’s a video of the Perseid Meteors, which will peak on August 12, 2012. I couldn’t find a good video of the Quadrantids. Maybe one of you will make one!

I’ll tell you another fun thing to do when you’re out skywatching in the evening, especially just after sunset, and that’s to look for satellites orbiting the earth. There are lots of places online to tell you where to look and when, and it really is pretty exciting to see one of them whizzing by. Lots of fun to see the International Space Station as well. It’s bigger than a satellite, of course, and pretty easy to spot, once you know what to look for in the night sky. The first time I saw it, it reminded me for all the world of a big truck with bright headlights flying overhead. I had called several friends that evening and told them when to go outside and where to look, and I got quite a few excited calls from them afterward. Pretty cool!

Here’s a link that provides tracking information on the International Space Station (ISS), Heavens’ Above. Also, The Celestial Observer has some very specific information about what objects will be flying over your head and when to look for them. Click on the “Satellites” link and be sure to read down to the section on Iridium Satellites.

Lots of people look for the so-called “Iridium Flares” when these particular satellites go by because they can produce a bright flash in the sky that is hard to miss.

Once you get into the section entitled, “When and Where,” you will need to click on the CalSky link. (I can’t give you the link. Read on.) The CalSky will magically give you a table for your specific area, so you can see where and when to look for these satellites. I’ve used the table a number of times myself. It’s very easy to use. I’d give you the specific CalSky link, but you don’t want to know when things will be flying over my house, you want to know when they’ll be flying over yours. Happy skywatching!

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Video of Twilight Landing at LAX-Cockpit View

Having just landed and departed from DFW yesterday, I found this video pretty impressive on a number of counts. First of all, the sheer size and scope of the LA area is amazing, (much bigger than Dallas, no doubt), and then the infrastructure and lighting needed to support a population of that size is pretty awesome.

It’s amazing to me that we mere human beings have come up with the technology to fly and to manage all of the assorted components that make for a safe trip, but it’s so common and ordinary, that we scarcely think about it. It’s still pretty incredible though. Here’s the video. Enjoy!

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The Beauty of West Texas: Video

A dear friend of mine, who is not a Texan, by the way, sent me this link today, and I thought it was just too beautiful not to share with you.  Gorgeous photos and nice music too. It gives you a pretty good idea of the West Texas landscape and wildlife. The photographer supposedly lived in a dugout for a few months to get the close-up photos of the wild animals. Brave soul.

Fortunately for me, I’m headed out to West Texas Monday for a hiking trip in the Guadalupe Mountains.  My photos won’t be nearly as wonderful as these, of course, but if any of them turn out, I’ll post them on the blog. Just hoping we don’t have a close encounter with a rattlesnake. I could do without that. Meanwhile, enjoy!  Weiman Meinzer’s West Texas

 

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Live Webcam from the Statue of Liberty

This is actually pretty neat. You have several different webcams to choose from, and there is sound in the background as well. Are those really sea gulls and a helicopter I hear? I think so. The sound, as well as the pictures seem to be in real-time.

The view of New York Harbor from Brooklyn is interesting. Who knew there would be so many boats coming and going? And for some reason, I was surprised to see so many small craft. Check it out in time-lapse mode, and you’ll be amazed. I want to remember to go back and look at this tonight to see the skyline in its full glory. Check it out at Statue of Liberty Cams.

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Global Warming, Climate Change… Whatever You Want to Call It

Are you a global warming skeptic? Well, according to researchers at U.C. Berkeley, after you read their report, you should be “speechless.”  They have compiled a billion temperature records dating back to the 1800′s from 15 sources around the world, and by golly, they know for sure that the earth is one degree warmer now than it was way back when. (Well, I have to say, we did have a heckava hot summer here in the Houston area. I think I stayed one degree warmer all summer.)

You can read more about it at “Study Confirms Global Warming’s Existence.” I read the article, but, amazingly, I could still speak. Maybe the actual study is more stupifying. Not sure. At any rate, I was thinking about the temperature gauges outside our house. We have two. Not sure why. We’re not rich or anything, but we have two temperature gauges. They’re not spaced very far apart either.

The only reason I mention this is so I can tell you in all seriousness that those two temperature gauges never agree with one another. Never. How accurate do you think a billion readings in 15 different sources around the world can be? Were they all read in the same amount of sunlight, at the same time of the day, facing in the same direction, etc. What about wind? A cloud that did or did not blow over? A bit of hot pavement nearby? An exhaust fan? On and on…

Too many variables, in my book. Come on, U.C. Berkeley. You want all of us to ride our bicycles to work, I’m sure. Kind of hard to do if you live in Houston — or Chicago in the winter. You need to move along, U.C. Berkeley. Get over it.  Ride your bicycles on over to Whole Foods and get yourself some bean sprouts. We’re gonna hitch up our bass boats to the F350 and head to the lake, thank you very much.

By the way, wonder how much that U.C. Berkeley global warming study cost the good taxpayers of California? Just sayin’… Are any of the rest of you speechless?

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Texas Wildfires Are Not the Worst: Video of a Decade of Fires

NASA just released satellite imagery of the past decade of fires around the globe. Africa beats Texas by a mile as far as fire goes, but most of their fires were intentionally set to clear farmland. If you can get past the film-strip-in-science-class narration of the video, I think you’ll find it interesting. It sort of puts things in perspective. See the video at A Look Back at a Decade of Fires.

 

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