Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Smurfs vs Obama

One of the features I really like about the Mozilla Firefox browser is the auto-spellcheck function. It is nice to see misspelled words politely underlined in red to let you know something is amiss.

But I do find some of its idiosyncrasies (Firefox spellcheck used right there..!!) to be amusing.

Photo credit: Mary Shaw

Photo credit: villagevoice.com

The Firefox spell-check function will offer the correct spelling of 'Smurfs' . . .but not 'Obama'..??

They cannot 'push' the spelling of Obama into their online spellcheck dictionary..??

Too funny.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Solar Eclipse, July 11, 2010

I had heard a while ago that a solar eclipse was soon to be visible somewhere in the southern hemisphere. I had no idea where and really paid little attention to its arrival as I knew I would not be able to see it.


Thanks to the power of the Intertubes I was alerted at an online forum about a live-streaming site where the solar eclipse could be viewed in the south Pacific.

Apparently sponsored by Wakayama University of Japan, the feed was available on the techdreams.org website.

Truly amazing. Here is a screen shot that I captured near what appears to be total eclipse:

Amazing, especially to watch it live, to see the shakiness of the camera, the clouds in the atmosphere sliding past the ongoing eclipse ...to see it live from halfway around the world. Simply amazing.

You can visit shadowandsubstance dot com to see an animation of the sunlight and the shadow of the moon interacting on the surface of the Earth. Very cool.

Techdreams dot org has another animated video up as well. Plus, it is a NASA video, your tax dollars at work.

You know me, I am always up for a geeky astronomy post and links.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

So close ...so far.


Photo credit: The Big Picture, boston.com, June 30, 2010

A young woman lies on the grave of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Sister, girlfriend, fiance, wife, stranger..?? Who knows.

Perhaps only in sleep, in the darkness of a daydream with eyes closed, perhaps only there does the sun really shine.

Incredible picture, incredibly sad.

Faces of the Fallen, The Washington Post
Lance Cpl. Noah M. Pier


Monday, July 5, 2010

Earth Abides


A recent post by a blogger I consider an online-friend made me think to share my thoughts about the novel Earth Abides by George R. Stewart.

Earth Abides is an old novel. Written in 1949 it is one of the first post-apocalyptic novels. Fresh on the heels of WW II and at the beginning of the Cold War, Earth Abides addresses the idea of a pandemic wiping mankind from the earth as easily as sweeping ants off a picnic table.

The copy of Earth Abides (penned in 1949 by George R. Stewart) that I am reading must be thirty years old, if a day. The pages are definitely not acid-free. Yellowing, browning at the edges, corners flaking, many are loosely held in the book. Large sections are broken away from the spine. Great care must be taken to keep it all together, all in order. To maintain it as a 'readable' book.

A quick estimate suggests a total word count of perhaps a hundred thousand words for Earth Abides. Losing one page from my worn copy would make it worthless for resell. Losing ten pages would make it useless even for someone very familiar with the story.

Now imagine every word gone, but one. What value would this book have now? Imagine the book on your nightstand. Every word gone. Save one. What value would that lone word still retain?


Earth Abides is a story that rings very plausible. It is the story of a small group of survivors pushing back the darkness that threatens their small community. It teases us with the hope for a rebirth of 'civilization' and all the monumental achievements of man that represent that civilization. But it leaves us with the thought that civilization might simply be the caring and bonding of individuals together in common effort to preserve the human family.


Read the rest of my review at Epinions dot com.