Friday, February 29, 2008

Quasar 9's web site.

click on the image to enlarge. This image and explanation is a sample of the kind of stuff you see on Quasar 9's astronomy blog. Those little disks in the picture below? They are whole galaxies! OMG! I urge you to visit him, comment, bookmark his site...

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new image of the galaxy NGC 1132 which is, most likely, a cosmic fossil - the aftermath of an enormous multi-galactic pile-up, where the carnage of collision after collision has built up a brilliant but fuzzy giant elliptical galaxy far outshining typical galaxies.The elliptical galaxy NGC 1132, seen in this latest image from Hubble, belongs to a category of galaxies called giant ellipticals. NGC 1132, together with the small dwarf galaxies surrounding it, are dubbed a "fossil group" as they are most likely the remains of a group of galaxies that merged together in the recent past.In visible light NGC 1132 appears as a single, isolated, giant elliptical galaxy, but this is only the tip of the iceberg. Scientists have found that NGC 1132 resides in an enormous halo of dark matter, comparable to the amount of dark matter usually found in an entire group of tens or hundreds of galaxies.It also has a strong X-ray glow from an abundant amount of hot gas - an amount normally only found in galaxy groups. Its X-ray glow extends over a region of space ten times larger than the 120,000 light-year radius it has in visible light. An X-ray glow that is equal in size to that of an entire group of galaxies.The origin of fossil group systems remains a puzzle. The most likely explanation is that they are the end-products of a cosmic feeding frenzy in which a large cannibal galaxy devours all of its neighbours. A less likely explanation is that they may be very rare objects that formed in a region or period of time where the growth of moderate-sized galaxies was somehow suppressed, and only one large galaxy formed.Many galaxies reside in groups that are gravitationally bound together, including our own Milky Way, which is part of the Local Group. Sometimes gravity makes galaxies collide and eventually merge into one single galaxy. There is strong evidence that the Milky Way is one such cannibal that has snacked on numerous smaller galaxies during its lifetime, inheriting their stars in the process.Scientists are keenly studying the environment surrounding galaxies such as NGC 1132 using space telescopes like Hubble, and they try to trace the history of the formation these galaxies by analysing their properties.In this Hubble image, NGC 1132 is seen surrounded by thousands of ancient globular clusters, swarming around the galaxy like bees around a hive. These globular clusters are likely to be the survivors of the disruption of their cannibalised parent galaxies that have been eaten by NGC 1132 and may reveal its merger history. In the background, there is a stunning tapestry of numerous galaxies that are much further away.Elliptical galaxies are smooth and featureless. They contain hundreds of millions to trillions of stars, and their shapes range from nearly spherical to very elongated in shape. Their overall yellowish colour is a telltale sign of their great age. Because elliptical galaxies do not contain much cool gas they can no longer make new stars.NGC 1132 is located approximately 320 million light-years away in the constellation of Eridanus, the River. This image of NGC 1132 was taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Data obtained in 2005 and 2006 through green and near-infrared filters were used to produce a colour composite.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


An Australian Definition of a Canadian
- Written by an Australian Dentist
You probably missed it in the local news, but there was a report that someone in Pakistan had advertised in a newspaper an offer of a reward to anyone who killed a Canadian - any Canadian. An Australian dentist wrote the following editorial to help define what a Canadian is, so they would know one when they found one. A Canadian can be English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. A Canadian can be Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, Arab, Pakistani or Afghan. A Canadian may also be a Cree, Metis, Mohawk, Blackfoot, Sioux, or one of the many other tribes known as native Canadians. A Canadian's religious beliefs range from Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none. In fact, there are more Muslims in Canada than in Afghanistan. The key difference is that in Canada they are free to worship as each of them chooses. Whether they have a religion or no religion, each Canadian ultimately answers only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. A Canadian lives in one of the most prosperous lands in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which recognize the right of each person to the pursuit of happiness. A Canadian is generous and Canadians have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. Canadians welcome the best of everything, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services and the best minds. But they also welcome the least - the oppressed, the outcast and the rejected. These are the people who built Canada. You can try to kill a Canadian if you must as other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world have tried but in doing so you could just be killing a relative or a neighbor. This is because Canadians are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, can be a Canadian. Please keep this going! Pass this around the World. Then pass it around again. It says it all, for all of us

'Keep your stick on the ice'

Weekend! Yaay!

Okay, its Tuesday. but that is MY weekend...since I work every other day of the week. And will probably we working today too! But a morning blogging and drinking Neaplitan coffee and eating Brenda's fresh baked cinnamon buns has got to count as a good day. And as I type this, I am looking out the window at yet another snowfall. We seem to be on the path to a record snowfall, at well over 9 feet of snow now, we are tied with the great winter of '76 when I was part of a crew that recovered the 707 from a snowbank on the end of the runway. (A long story, involving a drunken cabinet minister, a pilot who didn't want to go, but was ordered directly by the cabinet minister, and a wet mess full of slightly inebriated airmen who had nowhere else to go. Like I said, a long story. I'll have to work it up and make it presentable. Maybe someday, after the cabinet minister has died.)

Found a really neat blog...a brazilian blog which is all about denim. Jeans, shoes, and all things fashion. That "skinny leg" for guys fashion has GOT to go! It just looks stoooopid. Thought Jennifer would like the shoes though.
The Petch house renovation is on hold (In Arcata California) while owner Greg recovers from a massive reperatory illness. A stroll through the archives will be well worth the trouble...
Cubeguy is still posting regularly in his 6 month delay blog. He is my kind of guy. I think the 6 month delay is a good idea, gives him a little distance from the weirdness which is the life of an IT trainer for the US court system.
Of course, Post Secret is "still" creepy.
and the marines are still on duty here...

Well, enough of that...Brenda has some things for me to do. Lets get at 'em. They usually involve fresh cinnamon buns at the end of it all....grin!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Shoulder armour

I have been pretty busy this week, designing and building this shoulder armour. The whole story is on my armour web site....

Suffice it to say, it was probably the most difficult and complex armour I have ever made.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

World of armour

This is an armour I made for Mr. Merino, well, most of it. It is interesting enough to go the trouble of discussing it on my armour site.... This armour is a little different in that there is a minimum of front straps, its all sliding rivets and concealed straps in back. The rest is reasonably straightforward though. (Hey, its what I bin doin!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Ice Please....

click on the images to enlarge, as usual. Above is an undersea scene, with some pretty nice chip carving. Looks like a real crystal garden.

A very artistic, artsy sort of piece. I really liked it....and thought it was pretty much the best there. The judges didn't think so, but hey, what do THEY know!

Captures movement in a solid medium Very nice.

And I have always had a soft spot for moose.

Don't dis banshees....they dis back!

snow and ice.


All these crystal statues actually have light hitting them.....when they are lit up in the evening, they really come alive!!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ice Sculptures

click on these images to see them full size. Its worth the effort!
The poor things were melting in the sunlight! The result was that the crystal clear ice started to orange peel and alligator, and projecting details would fall away. Like the hoofs on the unicorn above!

This little fella is suffering from serious melt-itus! But hey, its the nature of an ephermeral art form.

The sculptures in the gallery seemed to hold up better....the sun wasn't turning them into water. Not quite sure why the sun is so nasty on ice sculpture, i mean, besides the obvious. Snow sculptures right beside them were just fine. My theory is that the sun gets "inside" the ice, focusing the beams like a lens, causing hot spots inside the ice sculptures.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


click to enlarge. This is a picture looking north up the street from my house. You get an idea of the amount of snow we have had this winter. I believe it might be a record year, but to be honest, I remember growing up with easily this much snow every year. Ottawa is in a snow belt, and we get MUCH more snow than Toronto. I think we get a bit more than Buffalo New York as well, though it is a little hard to tell....those Yankees are pretty stoic about it, not always bitchin like us Canucks. I believe that we topped 9 feet of snow yesterday. Good thing it mostly scrunches down.

Every year we hold a festival here called "winterlude". The last few years have have had massivly bad luck....there is normally at least one, sometimes two big thaws in the middle of winter, and Winterlude has become "waterlude". The weather this time was perfect, not too cold, only a couple of degrees below freezing.

The fella in the above two pictures is a world class "musher". He is famous for being able to use his long sealskin whip to apply a little gentle correction to whichever dog in the long string needs it most! On this day, he was taking cigarettes out of people's mouths, and snapping empty pop cans into waste bins. I want him on MY side.

Little inukshuks made by the kids. This was a contest. I think they are pretty good.

And a real inukshuk. This one is huge....I could walk under the arch with only a little duck of the head! Must be a trick of the lighting, but the "head" looks like it has an eye and a satisfied smirk on it.

(and yeah, these are all my pictures....grin!)

Monday, February 11, 2008


Nature, red in tooth and claw. This is the impression in the snow left by an owl that got a small animal, possibly a squirrel or a cat for lunch.

Friday, February 08, 2008


I don't know why its funny, but it IS!

Oh dear.

Hmmm....Mother Nature is being seriously hacked.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


While I am busy processing the pictures Brenda took of the ice sculptures ( a MUCH colder way to creat ephemeral art than sand castles) I thought I would discuss the relative merits of that ubiquitous item of clothing, the tee shirt.
Invented in Italy along with a lot of other really good ideas, including Gina Lolabigida and pizza, the tee shirt was only an item of underwear until the mid '60s, where upon it became a canvas for the daily opinions of dissaffected youth. In fact, one could argue whether tee shirts were actually a prototype, and slightly more cumbersome form of blogging. The defence rests.....

So do I dude.....
Well, now that THAT is out of the way. Oh, that reminds me, they grow melons in florida don't they?

Yeah. You think its a breakfast cereal!

I love the lebrechan's expression!

(hint...the lucky charms shirts are supposed to be worn by the Florida girl above!)

Monday, February 04, 2008


click on these pictures to see them enlarged. I don't think I have ever seen evergreen trees made of sand before.
Ian on a good day.

This seems very Lord of the Rings. the blasted tree and all that.

Don't kiss that man, you don't know where he has been!

These guys just look like they are having fun!

Bud wise errrr
The castle at the top, but seen from a different angle.

Looks almost cozy.

A roof made from meadow muffins. Riiiiight!