GOES 13 looks at Hurricane Sandy

After being down for maintenance since Sept 17,  GOES 13 is back in service.  Which is good because my AppleScript more or less broke while it was down.  “The trouble stemmed from a motor vibration, which caused a lubricant buildup that obstructed the spinning motion of the filter wheel in the sounder. A team of engineers from NOAA, Boeing and ITT suppressed the vibration, the filter wheel restarted and is running smoothly, with improved performance. ” (http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/)

Here’s today’s view of Hurricane Sandy, which is just now clobbering the East coast. It’s from the Visualization Lab, and has a floating URL that will be something else tomorrow.

Here’s the output of the AppleScript:

Edward Teller on Project Plowshare

In 1965, the Ohio State University produced a film about the US Air Force’s use of instructional technology, called “Teacher-Centered Television”.  The film contained this brief excerpt of an interview with Edward Teller as an example of one of the capabilities of the medium.  Dr Teller responds to the question  “Are there peaceful uses of nuclear explosions?”



Maybe time to trim the beard…

Some time ago I was asked (about my beard) “how long are you going to let that thing grow?”  I replied that I thought it had about maxed out, which it seems to do after 3 or 4 months.

Brownian motion routine from Processing.

I immediately think of a constrained random walk model for beard growth and

woodmaster 4400

Our outdoor woodburner heats two houses and provides really hot water. And it’s carbon neutral!

forget about it.  Still, I usually hit a point where the beard makes a nuisance of itself and something has to give. We had our first frost last night, and it felt very nippy doing the chores.  I’ve already had a few beard-zipper conflicts with various coats and went, hmmm.  I decided to fire up the old Woodmaster tonight, and after flipping a breaker and adjusting various valves in the basement, started a nice blaze in the thing.  There was a smell I couldn’t immediately place.  Perhaps a bit of plastic in with the wood? Of course the tip of the beard had been licked by an over-exuberant flame and fused into a kinky mess.  So maybe it’s time to trim the beard….

Maybe can’t tell from this self-portrait, but the bottom inch or so is singed pretty good.

The Great Re-Baling

With the dairy barn, we inherited a big mess,including 2 or 3 hundred bales of straw that had long since been eroded into piles rather than stacks.  Apparently mice like to munch the string, so most bales had broken.  And ground hogs had burrows all through them.

Job is King of the Mountain

We wanted to recover the space in the barn and use or sell the straw, which while old, is fine for landscaping or mulch.  We arranged with Caleb K to bring his New Holland baler over and planned for a day of baling  He arrived as planned, and we made to move our tractor, a 1970’s vintage Ford 4000, and implements out of the way, .  Of course, the battery was dead.  It took the combined jump from the truck and a booster to fire it up. I’ll probably wait until Spring to replace the battery, which is about 6 years old.  When Caleb fired up the baler and we started feeding, it got jammed up and the shaft broke with a bang, pretty much on the first bale. Not a good start.

Caleb working on the baler.

He headed off to get the part.  Of course no one had the thing in stock, so around noon he called and said it would be at least Monday.  We rescheduled for the following Friday.

Thursday Jean leaves a note on my desk.  We had a half beef on order from Links, a local meat processor, and they were going to let us know a “week or so ahead” when it would be ready so we could make space in the freezer.  I had doubts it would fit in our freezer anyway.  I ended up taking a half vacation day, and we went and picked up a new freezer and 500 odd pounds of meat. Not exactly the original plan, but we got everything  put away that evening.  Friday Caleb got the baler running without too much issue and we got started.  I will say that re-baling is wildly more painful than baling in the field, although at least it wasn’t 95 degrees… Even so, I think I didn’t hydrate well enough.  When I got home after Friday’s work, I felt chilled and ached pretty much everywhere.  By about midnight I felt fine, which is good because we still had sixty or  eighty bales to finish up on Saturday.  We had already sold a hundred bales, and as we finished baling, a truck arrived to start loading.  These were nice tight bales, easily 60 pounds.

Caleb says the New Holland folks stand behind all their equipment…except the manure spreader!



Why I love Google, sometimes.

I could not for the life of me think of what QR codes are called.  After a few abortive searches, I gave in and ran the following:

“what are those picture things you aim your phone at and get a link to a web page?”

This totally lame search returned Wikipedia’s QR Code page at the top of the search!

QR Code sample

GOES 13 on standby, GOES 14 activated

I use an AppleScript to scrape files from the GOES archives at http://goes.gsfc.nasa.gov/goeseast/fulldisk/ir4/ The collected files are then processed a bit in Photoshop, named with sequence numbers and fed to QuickTime Player 7 as an image sequence to make a QuickTime movie.  Today, the script broke, and upon investigation, I found that the GOES 13 satellite is unavailable and that 14 had been activated for US East coast coverage.  That will create a hop in the movie. Here’s the difference in coverage:

Consecutive images (with about a 21 hr gap) from 13 on the left and 14 on the right showing difference in coverage.


Here’s the YouTube movie, glunks and all: