"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh."

~ Ian McShane, as Al Swearengen, in "Deadwood"

Originally, the title of this blog was to have a really nice night shot of Houston as a background. Then I realized that, since that shot was an image I found somewhere on the internet, there might be copyright issues with using it.

I explained that, in a text image replacing that shot, and announced, "So I will go out and do my own shooting, and when I get one I REALLY like, it will go here."

Today was a day off for me, and the Weather Channel predicted only partly cloudy, so I thought it a good day to go and do it. Well, almost nothing but solid overcast today.

I wanted bright and sunny, so I could try out my new polarizing filter to get really dramatic dark blue sky as a background. I loved those things when I was into 35mm photography, ages ago.

First obstacle to that was overcome weeks ago; to wit my camera wasn't made to accept filters.

Said camera is a new Canon Powershot SX-10-IS. It LOOKED as if it had filter threads in front of the lens, but in fact it did NOT. What it had was concentric ridges and grooves with which to hold the lens cap, fitting inside in front of the lens.

An internet forum search disclosed that some people had successfully screwed 52mm filters into those grooves, but I see real problems there.

If the filter has a steel rim and threads, you could probably do this fairly easy, cutting a new set of threads into the aluminum body of the lens assembly. So far, so good.

BUT, if you remove and replace the filter, you are dealing with the new threads that were cut intersecting the original grooves, giving wonderful opportunities for cross-threading, and eventually winding up with a chewed up mess. I wasn't too keen on taking that chance.

On the front edge of the lens barrel are a couple of very low flanges, making a bayonet mount for the strange little lens hood that comes with this camera.

An outfit called Lensmate offers an adapter that uses this mount, and has a rim threaded for 58mm filters. It's reasonably priced (mine was 17.99 + 3.99 shipping), and they'll get it to you, by first class mail, within a few days of you placing your order.

If you are, or about to be the proud owner of this particular camera, or similar Canon models, this is something you should definitely check out.

Full day tomorrow, so have to wait until Friday for another chance at getting the kind of shots I want. That night shot is going to be very hard to beat.

(Truth in advertising: After posting this, I've noticed a ton of typos, and gone back and fixed them. My writing is very undisciplined at this time; while commenting on the perversity of the universe, I managed to drift into a commercial for Lensmate. I don't have a problem with THAT; they ARE a good outfit. But, I need to practice staying on the point a little better. Maybe just doing more of this will be good practice. :-)


Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Perspective on Man-Made Global Warming (Excuse me: "Climate Change")

For my very first post here, I'm gonna recycle a comment I have placed in a LOT of other people's blogs (Hey! Recycling is good for the planet, right? RIGHT?!!! :-)

My biggest problem with global warming is the absolute certitude of some of its' proponents (Example: Al Gore stating that "The science has been settled!").

Let’s try for some perspective, time-wise...

For those comfortable with the metric (S.I.) system, imagine a line about 4.6 kilometers long (a bit under 3 miles). That would represent the 4.6 billion year age of the Earth at 1,000,000 years/meter; 1 mm (about the thickness of a paper clip) would represent a THOUSAND years.

That line would span the downtown area of quite a few large cities, with some to spare. Here in Houston, the downtown streets are 16 to the mile, making their spacing about 100 meters. Thus, that line would be about 46 blocks.

The reign of the dinosaurs ended around 65 million years ago (65 meters, about 2/3 of a city block down that line from today).

The first of our ancestors verging on intelligence may have emerged from 2 to 4 million years ago (2 to 4 meters, say 6.5 to 13 feet; your living room could be around 4 meters in one of its' dimensions).

What we call "modern" man may go back 40,000 years or so (40 mm, TWO FINGER-WIDTHS on that line).

Written history goes back 6000 years (six millimeters, 1/4 inch on that line).

Fahrenheit's thermometer is around 300 years old ( 0.3 mm, you’re approaching the thickness of a business card now, or the diameter of a grain of salt).

The portion of that time-line during which precise temperature measurements were recorded would be literally microscopic.

And from that tiny portion, we dare to make really long range climate predictions, and mandate actions based on them? And decide to totally destroy our economy because of them?

I live about three miles west of some of Houston's major downtown buildings, so it's very easy for me to visualize that line.

Taken across the street from my apartment complex, looking towards downtown. The closer buildings there are about three miles away. Picture that time-line stretching all the way to them.

Looking at that time-line of Earth's history, and the flyspeck of our own existence upon it, the notion of asserting that ANY science has been "settled" strikes me as arrogance beyond comprehension (as in "only a politician could possibly believe that").



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