Time Passages IV

By: Bogon , 6:37 PM GMT on February 13, 2012

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The Past

A year ago I posted a series of three loosely affiliated blogs, which shared the same title and which discussed different aspects of the same subject. The first one talked about two trees newly planted in my yard. Both trees are potentially very long-lived, but what is their life expectancy here on this suburban lot? How much time will they be granted? You'll be pleased to hear that those trees survived their first year. They've had a chance to set roots. This (and each subsequent) year's summer heat and drought should pose less difficulty for them. There was a third tree, an Eastern redbud, which did not fare so well. It got struck by lightning. Wife and I had to replace not only the fatally zapped sapling, but also the main circuit board in our television. Ouch!

The second blog presented a personal overview of time. How do we speak about time? How do we experience its passage? The third installment addressed cosmology: time considered on the largest possible scale.

So what brings me back again after all this, uh, time? Well, life goes on. We live and learn. This year I learned of some new developments in physics. I am not a physicist, but I try to understand how the world works. It is the same curiosity about the world that brings me to Weather Underground. I'm not a meteorologist, but I like to learn what I can about the weather.

As long as we're talking about the past, it might help to set the scene by reviewing some history. It has been nearly a century since Albert Einstein announced his theory of relativity. General relativity remains our best tested and most trusted model of the operation of the universe at the large scales observed by astronomers and cosmologists. The theory describes the interactions of space, time and gravity. Einstein's equations treat space-time as a continuum which warps and flexes in response to the presence of mass and energy. The word 'relativity' refers to the way the theory relates moving objects. Each object has its own point of view. According to the theory there is no fixed background or point of reference. If two spaceships pass in the night, the passengers on each one will tell a different tale about what they saw.

At the same time Einstein was developing relativity, other scientists were working on quantum theory. This theory accurately models the universe at the very small scale of subatomic particles. Quantum electrodynamics describes the forces of electricity and magnetism perfectly (insofar as we are able to measure). There are also good working theories for the forces responsible for radioactivity and nuclear power. The word 'quantum' refers to the discrete discontinuous appearance of nature when viewed at the smallest possible scales. It's like when you zoom in on your computer screen you see jaggies and dots, the individual picture elements, that make up the displayed image. According to quantum theory matter is comprised of a small number of elementary particles, each of which has a fixed mass. Energy is exchanged in little packets. Events proceed stepwise. From any point of view those events are likely to look a little blurry, because there are definite limits on how finely you can measure. The act of measurement affects the thing being measured.

Throughout the remainder of the 20th century these two theories were tested and applied. Both work very well within the domain for which they were designed. For any real-world situation, physicists are obliged to choose one theory or the other or compare the predictions of both. Nobody has figured out a way to combine the two. The theory of relativity does not extend to situations involving high energy and small scales, and there is no quantum theory of gravity. The math is too hard. The techniques developed within one theory break down when applied to the other.

The Present

For the last few days my mother has been battling an eye infection. Her doctor prescribed some ointment and an eye patch. Mom complains that, when she goes to pour a beverage, without proper depth perception she's liable to miss the cup and spill her drink on the counter.

Physicists, too, are tired of peering at the universe through one eye or the the other. They think their view would be a lot clearer with full stereoscopic vision. So when I say there is no quantum theory of gravity, I mean there is no complete theory. The last ninety years have not been wasted. People are working on a variety of approaches. Some start with relativity and try to quantize it. Some start with quantum theory and try to develop a background-independent version which includes the graviton.

One approach that gets a lot of press these days is string theory. The basic idea behind string theory is that elementary particles should not be portrayed as dimensionless points. They are granted a finite size, which makes some of the mathematics more tractable. I say 'some' of the math; there is much more to string theory that is very hairy indeed. String theorists propose a group of elementary particles that have not been detected and postulate several extra spatial dimensions beyond the three that we observe. In support of their theories they offer weak circular arguments such as the anthropic principle. Whenever reality threatens to contradict the theory, they spawn a new version. In fact there are a zillion string theories with no obvious way of picking a winner.

From my point of view they are all losers. String theory is a monster that devours talented young mathematicians. It sucks up lifetimes and hefty research budgets and leaves nothing to show for them. It provides a convincing model for how to parley government grants into academic careers, but it has done nothing to shed light on how the physical universe operates. There are no verifiable predictions of string theory.

There are numerous competing theories that seem more promising. There's Roger Penrose with his spin foam and tensors. There's Lee Smolin, who champions a theory called loop quantum gravity. These guys are results-oriented. Unlike string theorists, they manage to refrain from wandering off into fanciful realms of elegant mathematical complication. They'll be content if they can explain known particles in three dimensions.

Loop quantum gravity theory asserts that space-time is quantized, i. e. there is some minimal unit of volume out of which space is constructed. Thus, on a very small scale it would be possible to view space as a kind of fluctuating grid. An elementary particle would have a finite size. It could be no smaller than a block in the grid. The particle would be represented as a set of properties (e. g. quantum numbers) assigned to some region of the grid. Gravity appears as curves and waves in the grid lines.

Here are links to two presentations from Perimeter Institute in Canada. You can watch Renate Loll describe causal dynamical triangulation, and/or view Fay Dowker as she expounds on the theory of causal sets. You may have noticed that the last two theories include the word 'causal' in their titles. That's where time enters the picture: the sequence of cause and effect. In addition to quantizing space, these theories add the notion that all the little grid lines must be aligned timewise. The arrow of time is built in from the start rather than being sought as an emergent property. That turns out to be a significant innovation. Calculations become easier, and believable results follow. If you listen to the videos, you'll hear how several lines of evidence from thermodynamics, information theory, black hole theory, astronomy and cosmology converge to indicate that these people may be on the right track.

The advantage of such theories is that they can reproduce some of the observed properties of three-dimensional space (plus time) with a minimal set of assumptions. A disadvantage is that each theory only provides an incomplete and unwieldy model. It is not an equation. It is an algorithm for simulating space-time. It runs on a computer much like one of the weather models here at WU.

The Future

None of these theories is ready for prime time. Progress is slow, because the problems are hard. Only in hindsight is it clear what questions to ask in order to get the right answers. Will it be easier to work from the top down by quantizing relativity? Or will the bottom up approach, adding the force of gravity to an existing quantum theory, yield the prize? Will it become possible to translate a computer-driven algorithmic model into a concise set of equations? Will string theory ever be good for something practical?

The goal of all this theorizing is perfect binocular vision. Physicists want a Theory of Everything. It doesn't mean that they'll immediately be able to solve all problems and write down all possible knowledge in a book. It means that we humans will finally have a single unified theory that accounts for all known particles and forces. Far from being an end to science, it will make a great beginning for whatever comes next.

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Bogon: I think we called it "Linear Algebra" or something. I've probably got the text book somewhere.
One of the goofiest courses I ever passed.
Come to think: "Mystery Math" with what's his name?
Davinski was even more confusing.
Then there was "Continuum Physics" when what I wanted was a course in "Quantum Physics".
T'anks God those days are behind me.
But I'm still learnin' here.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
Quoting Bogon:
That's a great looking tree, BF.

There is a corridor of I-40 from Burlington to somewhere west of Winston-Salem that passes a bunch of redbuds. Probably east toward Raleigh, too. I drove the road west last week.

When the redbuds crap out, the dogwoods take over. That's our state tree.

Add: oops, I meant state flower. State tree is the pine. The Pine State (hence 'Tarheel').



Dogwood is the state tree of Virginia. That state line lies a hard day's walk north of here.
Hi Bogon,
Guess it's been a while since I stopped in. Looks like you been enjoyin' life.

Gorgeous dogwood. One time had the privilege of taking a road trip from Quantico through NC and on down through the deep south to FL panhandle. Anyway, it was April and the dogwood trees were in bloom. Will never forget the sight.

Enjoyed the beach photos. I am puzzling over the birds on the beach because they look too long-legged to be gulls and too plump to be sandpipers. lol

Maybe some rain headed toward your wife's birthday plants this eve. That climbing hydrangea's really something! Happy belated birthday to her.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 153 Comments: 18621
121. Bogon
I've never been trained by a shaman, ycd. Linear optimization would be more my style. In practice I just went out to look at the tree, picked a likely spot and started probing the ground. The shovel slid in easier than I expected.

There were a lot of roots. I cut through the little ones and tried not to skin up the big ones. I found two shards of pottery and several earthworms (or pieces thereof). An old rusty pipe limited the excavation on one side. I have no idea why the pipe was there. I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with my household utilities, because I've had those marked out for me before. I left the pipe alone; I'm not interested in backyard archaeology — not today, anyhow.

It took a while, because I was being careful, but eventually I got a hole big enough to contain the root ball. I put the worms back in before I covered it up, applied water and mulch.

The climbing hydrangea came with a little bamboo tripod to hold it up. I'm wondering if I should leave that on there and wait for the vine to grow to the tree, or whether it would be better to go ahead and fasten the plant to the tree now. Hmmm, maybe I'll call up the folks who gave it to us and find out what they have to say.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
Morning Bogon:
"Maybe I'll get lucky, and all of those considerations will converge on the same spot."
Sounds like you are using "Shape Shifting" techniques to spot the Hydrangia:
http://www.johnperkins.org/
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
119. Bogon
Half an inch of rain yesterday didn't help much with the planting. When the rain ended, it was cooler, and there was enough daylight left to get two camellias in the ground. That leaves the hydrangeas.

The regular hydrangea shouldn't present a problem. Wife is happy with the spot where I set the plant down. The vine version needs somewhere to climb. Wife and I have been looking over the few mature trees on our suburban lot. There is one leading candidate based on the tree's age, health and location. I need to figure out where to dig the hole, a) with respect to the tree's roots, which I don't want to damage, and b) relative to available light, soil quality, drainage and other nearby plants and obstacles. Maybe I'll get lucky, and all of those considerations will converge on the same spot.

Still rainy today. There's another upper level low drifting this way. I reckon it has to clear the area before normal weather activity can resume.

Meanwhile the temperature is near sixty, with cooler air on tap for the weekend. That's more like it.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
118. Bogon
Woof! I didn't have to go looking. The excuse has come to me.

Last night a warm front squiggled across the area dragging light rain and summer behind it. At ten AM the thermometer registers 70°, but don't let that fool you. It's like a turkish bath out there in the sun.

Well, shucks, seems like the bill has come due for all those February flowers. By April it's already too hot for comfort. I reckon I'm going to have to wait for the sun to shift over to the other side of the sky before I go digging. Hopefully the neighbor's oaks have leafed out enough to make some shade. Maybe there'll be a breeze later.

Or maybe that front will squiggle back the other way. It wasn't bad on the north side.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
117. Bogon
Hey, Ylee. Actually Wife's birthday was over a week ago, but no, I'm pretty much resigned to my role as the family's principal surviving hole digger.

The good news is that we've been getting some rain, and the ground is soft. The bad news is that we've had something going on every dang day, and it's been hard to establish a rhythm.

Today could be the day, though. Not much on the schedule (read: I'm running out of excuses :o).
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
116. Ylee
Bogon, you don't expect the wife to plant her shrubs on her birthday, do you? :)

Of course, I've recieved gifts with "some assembly required", but usually putting stuff together is more fun than digging a hole!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15611
115. Bogon
Proserpina, thanks for stopping by with an April greeting (and no fooling).

BriarCraft, great to see you up and around!

Part of Wife's birthday celebration included a visit from two of her friends, who brought live plants as a gift. In the trunk of their car they hauled three camellias and a climbing hydrangea from somewhere north of Atlanta, Georgia.

Wife got a nice birthday present, but I inherited the chore of planting all those shrubs.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
Took some doing, but I'm finally caught up on your doings since I dropped out a couple of weeks ago. You've been to the seashore and taken some very nice pics, and I really love that camellia of yours.

Followed the link in #111 for some interesting reading about climate change from a Republican perspective. Maybe there is hope there. I don't really care about the noisy minorities on right and left, if the moderates from both sides get their heads on straight, progress may yet happen.
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4033
Photobucket
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18173
112. Bogon
I apologize for being somewhat irregular lately. There has been a lot of coming and going around here. I'll deploy that as my flimsy excuse for why I haven't updated my blog header for forty days and forty nights... and then some.

Last night Wife and I went to see Pink Martini in Durham. Now I'm back. It turns out that Pink Martini have a thing or two to say about coming and going.




Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
111. Bogon
So...

   I've been out of the loop for a few days. Wife and I absconded to the beach.



The mini-vacation was part of Wife's extended birthday event. This birthday comes with a zero appended, her personal odometer rolling over, and she's been milking it for all it's worth. Can't say that I blame her. The ongoing festivity has given me a chance to reprise my own birthday celebration, which (as usual) was rudely interrupted by Christmas.

Today I ran across this link and thought I would pass it along. Wouldn't be surprised if other bloggers have linked the same story. Like I say, I've been away from the console. It's going to take me a few days to catch up with what's been going on around WUville.



shoreacres, that's right, UNC got eliminated. That was the last ACC school left in the dance. With the Tarheels' departure, my interest in the NCAA tournament drops from personal to purely intellectual. I don't feel any obligation to watch either semifinal game. I may, but I would be perfectly happy to read the results in the newspaper.

That is an interesting book review, and the book would probably make good reading. I think I'll start by finding out what the wiki has to say about William Blake. I've read "Tiger, tiger burning bright", but I don't know much about the poet.

My favorite non-mainstream theory was postulated by surfer dude Garett Lisi. His theory is not necessarily all hogwash. Lisi knows his mathematics, and he knows a good deal about physics. Like string theory Lisi's theory is based on a beautiful mathematical object. Unlike string theorists, Lisi freely admits that's he's just playing around with the math to see where it leads. That approach garnered howls of derision from the likes of Luboš Motl. As far as I'm concerned, Lisi stands as good a chance of being proven right as any highly touted string theorist.

Ylee - I'm sure that Duke and Carolina have met before in an NCAA tournament. It happened for the same reason that Ohio State had to defeat Cincinnati and that Kentucky now faces Louisville. It you have four or five contenders from the same state or conference, there's no way to lay out the bracket to prevent their eventual collision. The best outcome is when the meeting comes late in the tournament, so that both teams enjoy the maximum opportunity to knock out the other competition before setting to work on each other.

Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
110. Ylee
Bogon, if you've ever wondered what a UNC-Duke Final Four game would be like, you should check out the zoo over here! It's like Mardi Gras in the Bluegrass!

Hope you are doing well!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15611
Wow. Those dogwoods are beautiful. I've only ever seen them in Mississippi, at the end of their bloom. I know we have some here in east Texas, but they're understory trees and I think you have to be in particular parts of east Texas to even see them. I can't remember ever seeing them here in Houston. Just gorgeous.

I take it there's no North Carolina in the final four. And I guess there are two Kentucky schools? If you were from Kentucky, how would you know who to root for? I guess it's like UT and A&M.

I just finished reading a great book review I think you'll enjoy - might enjoy the book being reviewed, too. You can find it here, under the title "Science on a Rampage".


I believe I might even have to give it a read. That combination of Schrödinger and William Blake has to be a winner. ;)
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
108. Bogon
The dogwood trees are starting to light up here, too. And like you say, the redbuds and cherries are still mixing it up.

Spring is putting a move on. The native trees are leafing out now. Every day brings a new look and new surprises.

A thunderstorm passed tonight as we were having dinner. It came courtesy of the big upper level low that has been drifting slowly across the continent. The forecast gives us a 50% chance for more showers tomorrow. Monday promises a return to sunshine.

Ylee, Kansas was too much for the overachieving NC State Wolfpack to handle. They may be too much for UNC's injury-ridden lineup, too. We'll see.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
107. Ylee
Dogwoods here are blooming, while the redbuds are still going strong! Don't see that very often!

Tarheel's Elite Eight game ought to be interesting; good luck!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15611
106. Bogon
ycd - Dogwoods should start blooming any second now. :o) I reckon they're waiting for redbuds to finish up.

According to these people dogwood was chosen as the state flower in 1941, which was ten years before my time.

I have seen the Pacific dogwood. It grows bigger than the eastern type. The trees here look similar, but they seldom reach six meters. They don't live long compared to, say, oak or hickory.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
When was your Dogwood Flower chosen?
Pacific Dogwood - Provincial Flower
The Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) was adopted in 1956 as British Columbia's floral emblem. The Pacific dogwood is a tree that grows six to eight metres high and flowers in April and May. In the autumn it is conspicuous for its cluster of bright red berries and brilliant foliage.
Eight meters! One in my yard was that high 30 years ago.
Last year the trees (we have four or five in different sizes) flowered in an odd fashion. One would have blooms and another would be fruiting. Blooming was not restricted to April/May. We noticed the oddity but made no notes of the dates.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
104. Bogon
That's a great looking tree, BF.

There is a corridor of I-40 from Burlington to somewhere west of Winston-Salem that passes a bunch of redbuds. Probably east toward Raleigh, too. I drove the road west last week.

When the redbuds crap out, the dogwoods take over. That's our state tree.

Add: oops, I meant state flower. State tree is the pine. The Pine State (hence 'Tarheel').



Dogwood is the state tree of Virginia. That state line lies a hard day's walk north of here.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
Thanks for stopping by my blog this morning.

Hope your Mom's doing okay. Liking your cloud photos. Left a comment on the Chimp. Nature, amazing.

Happy Spring.

Add: Here is an Oklahoma Redbud for you. Our State Tree.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 153 Comments: 18621
102. Bogon
Home again from visiting Mom. Cool clouds over Burlington when I arrived. Got some pictures up.

Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
101. Proserpina
5:27 AM GMT on March 20, 2012
Photobucket
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18173
100. Bogon
5:48 AM GMT on March 19, 2012
joealaska's current blog is entitled "Upset About the NCAA". I could post this comment over there, but Joe and Dot.Mom are Kentucky fans. I figured I would spare Joe my Tarheel bias.

With UK and Louisville Kentucky has two teams left in the hunt. Residents of North Carolina can root for UNC and NC State.

The big winner is the state of Ohio with four schools in the Sweet Sixteen, or 25% of the field. One natural consequence of hogging all that limelight is mutual annihilation. In the next round Cincinnati meets Ohio State. The Bearcats must battle the Buckeyes, which guarantees that one way or the other only three teams from Ohio can advance to the Great Eight.

I had three games to watch today. In the first NC State defeated Georgetown. That was a good game. It would have been a pretty good game even if the Hoyas had won. (What's a Hoya?)

Later in the evening UNC overcame Creighton. The Heels won handily, but their point guard, Kendall Marshall, broke his wrist. Good news and bad news.

I had to wait past midnight for the result of the third game. This time the news was all bad. Florida State fell to Cincinnati. The Bearcats won by being annoying. They buzzed around like mosquitos. I wanted to swat them. Unfortunately the medium of television makes no provision for that kind of feedback. Had the Seminoles succeeded, Thursday's internecine conflict could have been averted.

Fortunately for Kentucky UK and Louisville are in different regions. If they survive, they won't meet until the Final Four.

The only remaining contenders from the Atlantic Coast Conference are both in the same bracket. If UNC and NC State defeat their next opponents, they must face each other in the Midwest regional finals. Too bad. I'm sure both teams would rather save their efforts for the likes of Syracuse or Kentucky. Or maybe somebody from Ohio.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
99. Bogon
3:57 PM GMT on March 18, 2012
So, ycd, you were a bloomin' flower?

I'm sure I must have had some such self-concept when I was that age. After all this time I don't recall what it might have been. That was a very different world. I'm pulling up fragments of memory of Eisenhower, Studebakers and AM radio.

Dad and I shared many happy hours watching Tarheel basketball. Got some of that on my schedule this afternoon. This time I'll be sharing the view with Mom.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
98. ycd0108
4:45 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
I was on my way to town and had signed out but your response calls to be addressed.
When I was fairly young I pondered where I was before I could think. Told my older sisters (maybe they asked me about this.):
that I was a blooming flower by the runway of the airbase where the "Old Man" worked.
Maybe I was.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
97. Bogon
4:23 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Hi, gamma! Thanks for the greeting and the compliment. I got a new camera for my last birthday, which deserves credit for better bird photos. I can zoom closer now.

ycd - It's hard to draw the line in the debate of nature versus nurture. In addition to that guitar you owe your dad for half your genes and some, I'm sure, of your good sense.

There have been times, when I thought of my dad and asked myself, where would I be without him? That's not a question that has an answer. I don't think a question needs to have an answer to be of value.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
96. ycd0108
3:50 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Morning Bogon:
Music everywhere. Takes me back a few.
Never thought of that guitar as having more than sentimental value. In fact yesterday I was going on about old friends and artifacts I have inherited from them. The guy I'm working for/with (originally from Seattle area, I think) also has old tools and items with memories attached.
The only thing I have that me Da' made is "This old guitar and an empty bottle of booze". Except for some tools which he probably modified. Most of the buildings he constructed (I worked on some with him) are still standing in a valley about 10 hours away if you include the ferry ride and drive fast.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
95. seflagamma
3:28 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Hello Bogon,

You have some beautiful photos here on your blog!

Just wanted to come by and wish you a

Happy St Patti's Day!!!!

Rainbow image
St Patricks Day Graphics


Member Since: August 29, 2005 Posts: 298 Comments: 40902
94. Bogon
2:26 PM GMT on March 17, 2012
Thanks, BF. I appreciate the sentiment, even if I'm a little fuzzy on what, exactly, we're celebrating.

It's a good time of year to celebrate. Down at the Bogon residence spring has already shifted into phase II. Early daffodils have dried up. A second wave has hatched along with a tulip or two. Redbud trees are flushing pink and lavender.

Exotic tutti-frutti imported trees have been blooming for some time. Dour native trees continue to bide their time. Once (frost) bitten twice shy is their motto. I don't think they have much to worry about this year.

The weather has been splendid. Every kind of living thing responds eventually to Spring's enticement. This week we crossed a line; the insects have started to emerge. To me that marks the end of the charmed period that begins when Winter first relaxes his grip. From now on until autumn there will be too much of a good thing. Too hot, too muggy and buggy for comfort.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
93. Barefootontherocks
4:41 AM GMT on March 17, 2012
Wow, this place is full of birds!

To you and your family,

:)

Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 153 Comments: 18621
92. Bogon
12:39 AM GMT on March 17, 2012
It's stormy in Madison County, NC tonight. Wind, rain and thunder are clamoring in the dark outside the window.

Last night, as I was driving in, I passed through a band near Mars Hill where hail lay thick on the ground. So far there has been no hail here at Mom's house.

With recent rain here and at my home in Alamance County there is no apparent lack of moisture. The University of Nebraska drought monitor says otherwise. Call it a legacy of La Niña: 75% of the Southeast is experiencing drought. South Georgia has the worst of it. Better than ninety percent of North Carolina is abnormally dry. Mom's house is in the thin sliver of the state with normal rainfall. My county is in moderate drought.

Not where one would choose to be as summer approaches.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
91. Bogon
5:27 PM GMT on March 16, 2012
Whoa, ycd, there's a lot of interesting and peculiar stuff flying by in that comment.

A Hawaiian guitar assembled from WW II era planes and weapons from both sides of the conflict? That's got to be a one-of-a-kind item. If you could bear to part with it, and if you could find the right buyer, I daresay you might make your fortune.

Don't have time right now to process all the blues tour data you've linked. Suffice it to say that I'm very much out of touch with that scene. Probably has something to do with habits, nationalities, fate, latitudes and attitudes...

I ran across this over on the 'Tube. Maybe you've heard these guys before?

Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
90. Ylee
5:26 PM GMT on March 16, 2012
Even though it would've messed up my bracket a bit, I was rooting for NC-Asheville yesterday! Bummer how it ended; missed calls are part of the game because we're human, and we make mistakes. If that missed call was made with 13 minutes left to go in the first half, would there been so much wailing and gnashing of teeth? I wouldn't think so.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 93 Comments: 15611
89. ycd0108
5:22 AM GMT on March 16, 2012
Just had supper at the local with a couple of musicians mentioned here:
http://darkerwaysbluestour.blogspot.com
Ken Hamm tried to teach me how to run the Hawaiian Guitar my Dad made from spruce from the Mosquito fighter/bomber squadron he spent four WW11 years working on and he made the frets from schrapnel from a V 1 "Flying Bomb". The Mossies could catch and "tip" the V1 off it's course if it actually had one and they had access to early Radar. Two souped up RR motors (with nitrous) and a wooden skin - fastest plane in the theatre except for the goofy "Rocket" plane the Luftwaffe built.
Father in law flew bombers and he said the "Rocket" had only one pass at you so if you saw the thing you were OK. Somewhere I have a picture - but here's what comes up:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR =1&v=749Cw5rdHh4
Just Google Messershmitt if that doesn't work.
Bill and Donna Konsorado: have sorta adopted our #2 grand daughter on stage here and there.
She has a good voice and serious interest in song. She's 12.
So I'm surrounded with decent musicians and I like it that way:
Without the Audience There ain't a Show! Chilliwak.
I corrected the grammar so I took out the quote marks.

Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
88. Bogon
2:51 AM GMT on March 16, 2012
ycd, you're right, those red crosses do make an octagonal pattern, and with the blue background they are suggestive of the United Kingdom's flag. Curiosity led me to the wiki to read a bit about the history and layout of the flag. The flag pattern is more complex than these big red asterisks. The Union Jack design would not make a perfect octagon, because the diagonal color bars are offset. The difference would likely have been lost on a typical member of Johnny Cash's audience (as indeed it escaped me until now), so perhaps the set designers achieved what they were after.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
87. ycd0108
6:50 PM GMT on March 15, 2012
Bogon: Reason I ask is: I'm working on a "Schatzkammer" octagon just now for my #1 Grand daughter. I was fiddling about with it just before I watched the video.
The overlaid crosses make an octagon.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
86. Bogon
5:34 PM GMT on March 15, 2012
Hey, ycd. Yeah, I can feel the music, but I never found time to practice guitar enough to play with confidence. Reckon I'll always be better at listening than picking.

Wife and I went to a piano concert a couple of days ago. Fellow by the name of Frederic Chiu performed a "smackdown" between Debussy and Prokofiev. When it comes to music, some guys have it, and some guys don't. This guy definitely has it, and to an amazing degree. Obviously he has built his whole life around his instrument. Practice makes perfect.

Don't ask me why the production crew of Cash's show decided to decorate the stage with stylized Union Jacks. Maybe they thought it was important on a country music show to let viewers know when the music was coming from a different country.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
85. ycd0108
4:34 PM GMT on March 15, 2012
Good morning Bogon:
Still wish I'd figured out how to make the sound I wanted come out of the guitbox like those guys.
I can pull structure out of concrete and wood usually but all I do now with music is listen.
What is the significance of the 8 armed symbol behind Clapton in the video?
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 177 Comments: 4621
84. Bogon
3:22 PM GMT on March 15, 2012
I know I've posted this video somewhere before, but I like it a lot, even including the missed chord in the middle.



I'll be going and coming myself for the next few days. I can feel a case of March Madness coming on, and it's a good time to go visit Mom.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
83. Bogon
8:35 AM GMT on March 15, 2012
Woke up in the middle of the night with this tune playing in my head. I thought I would go ahead and post it here, and maybe then I can go back to sleep.

|oO zzz

Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
82. Bogon
11:28 AM GMT on March 13, 2012
Howdy, Shore.

One morning last week I took my camera and a sudoku game out on the back deck. The air was a bit chilly, but the sun was warm on my back. I worked on the sudoku and kept one eye on the back yard, where Wife has set up a couple of bird feeders.

It wasn't long until guests began to show up for dinner. There was a squirrel. There are always squirrels. The feed we provide is meant for birds, but squirrels probably eat the lion's share. You can't keep 'em away.

During the course of about an hour I got pictures of cardinals, finches, robins, doves, a titmouse and a grackle. These birds were sufficiently at ease with my presence on the porch to stay while I fiddled with the camera. There were other small visitors too quick and skittish to photograph. Those must remain a challenge for another time.

Photographing birds at a feeder is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. From the photographer's point of view it is an optimum scenario. Bluebirds don't come to our feeder; they catch insects. I won't get another bluebird picture until one of them lets me. The photo op will happen on the bird's terms, not mine. All I can do to improve my chances is to carry the camera and be watchful.

I agree with you that this is a pretty good cardinal picture. It's about as good as I'm likely to get. So I probably won't be taking a whole lot more cardinal pictures. There are too many other possible targets for my camera. I like crows, for example. There are plenty of crows around, but they are a tough assignment. They are ninjas of the bird world, jealous of their privacy. They don't like me pointing my camera at them. Their jet black plumage is hard to photograph.

A pair of hawks lives nearby. I see them sometimes, circling high overhead, gliding on the wind. They are attracted to our feeders occasionally, not for sunflower seeds but for the other guests. Several times I have found a pile of feathers where a hawk has made a meal of one of our erstwhile customers. It would truly make my day, if I could somehow get a good picture of a hawk.

...Or an owl, or one of your green herons. The probabilities are vanishingly small, but not zero. Maybe I'll get lucky. :o)
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
81. shoreacres
2:27 AM GMT on March 13, 2012
Evening, Bogon,

I am just astonished by your cardinal! I love those birds, and that one's a beauty. I'm not sure we even have bluebirds here - farther north in Texas they do, but I don't think they hang around the coast.

On the other hand, we've got so many shore birds right now they're tripping over each other. Some are coming and some are going - the grebes are still here, and the coots, but they'll mostly leave. The kingfishers are back from wherever, and it won't be long until the green heron shows up.

We keep our great blues all year long, though, and they're marvelous birds. If you're willing to share your fish with them, they'll be your best friend until the fish run out!

It's open window time here tonight - just lovely. It's also about one hour later than it feels. Time to go ponder what tomorrow will bring - sunshine, for sure.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
80. Bogon
6:42 PM GMT on March 12, 2012
Hey, folks, thanks for stopping by.

It's partly cloudy and warm (mid sixties) here in the Dry Slot today. The winter layoff has been great, but I'm forced to admit that it's time to break out the lawn mower again. The wild garlic is taking over, and some of the grass is growing. I could probably stall for another day or two, but all it would get me is more sweat. It's not going to get any cooler here this week.

WatchinTheSky - It took a couple of tries for me to identify that plant. I came up empty the first time, too. GardenGrrl found a plant that was close, but the leaves weren't quite right. That prompted me to try again.

Looks like you bagged an egret. While blue birds are definitely cool, they can't all be blue. It takes all colors to make the world go around.



BriarCraft - Your message, or something very like it, has been on my mind lately. Last week a friend of mine remarked that he thought I was in pretty good shape (physically). I laughed, because I have never been an athlete. As a computer nerd I spend a lot of my time sitting here at the console. I certainly can't claim great strength, stamina or cardiopulmonary efficiency. My friend simply meant that I'm fortunate to have survived so long with no debilitating injuries. My knees, backbone etc. all still work pretty well. (Knock on wood!)

At our age the definition of fitness begins to change a bit. I'm starting to know a lot of people who have... symptoms. The friend with whom I had this conversation lives with pain from a leg injury he sustained years ago in a car crash. My wife has a bad knee from a skiing accident. Now I hear that you are a candidate for hip replacement.

I very much hope that your surgery and rehab go well, and that soon you'll be able to take walking for granted (one of the little things) — although somehow I don't think you ever will. :o)
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
79. BriarCraft
11:27 PM GMT on March 11, 2012
Member Since: June 21, 2004 Posts: 80 Comments: 4033
78. WatchinTheSky
6:42 PM GMT on March 11, 2012
Hi Bogon, Purplenerve Springparsley it is! Thanks for the link, I was not getting too far. The red rock was a nice background for the plant, good contrast.
This guy seemed to go well with other birds (but not blue!)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 130 Comments: 1922
77. Bogon
2:17 PM GMT on March 10, 2012
Oh, I forgot one bird that sits behind me on the wall. It's a painting of a roadrunner given to me by my dad while I was living in Texas.

The roadrunner is a curious bird. I was lucky to spot one a few times, but in those days I didn't own a decent camera. I would love to have another chance to confront a roadrunner with camera in hand.

Armadillo and javelina also come to mind when I think about Texas. Those creatures are emblematic of that part of the world. Wish I had pictures.

One day as I was walking near my parents' house I saw both a kingfisher and an indigo bunting sitting on the electrical wires strung above the road beside a creek. It was summertime, and you could tell the birds were having a great day. They gave me big smiles as I passed by. I waved and whistled back at them, but, alas, no camera.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
76. sandiquiz
2:17 PM GMT on March 10, 2012
LOL - no birds by the computer, but I do get them outside my office window!
If you are after blue birds.. how about this - a blue filter!

Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 292 Comments: 26211
75. Bogon
1:24 PM GMT on March 10, 2012
Thanks, Prose. I'll keep working on the bird photographs.

Let's see... shoebill, heron, bluebird — they're all blue! Do you think maybe I have a thing for blue birds? I haven't posted a blue jay yet. Or an indigo bunting.

Wish me luck. I'll need it for bunting hunting. :o)

Sandi - There are various rivers, ponds and lakes in my area, too. I suppose I should take my camera exploring more often. There aren't any birds here by my computer!
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 79 Comments: 3693
74. sandiquiz
12:43 PM GMT on March 10, 2012
The only difference is that our hereon is called grey, and yours is called blue... and in our photos you can see why!

We are lucky here in MK. When they were building the city, (only been around since 1965,) many of the gravel pits dug to help make the roads were left as lakes, 14 in total, so we have plenty of opportunity to watch, and capture in our lenses, the waterbirds that frequent them.

Another day ... captured this one as I was snapping ducks!



Love you little blue bird and I do hope it is a good omen:)
Member Since: October 29, 2005 Posts: 292 Comments: 26211
73. Proserpina
12:22 PM GMT on March 10, 2012
Wow, heron photos. Great job Bogon! I have seen Egrets from time to time while vacationing, camping, ... They are so beautiful, especially the Blue Heron.

Happy Saturday to you.
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 171 Comments: 18173

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Unemployed software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...