Saturday, December 16, 2006

Where am I?


in the words of Salty Sol Fleishman (for those of your who remember Tampa Bay Channel 13 Sports: Where am I?

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Gimme some lovin'


Nuthin' like cuddling up in the sun on a warm afternoon

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Gorilla by the stream


There he was just sitting by the water, playing with his feet.

Just another surprise along the African safari walk as Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Severe space storm headed for Earth

Satellites and power grids could face potential interruptions

Image: Solar flare

SOHO via AFP - Getty Images
This ultraviolet view from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory shows a flare bursting from sunspot 930 on the sun. The sunspot unleashed an X-3 flare on Wednesday, sending a radiation storm toward Earth.

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
Updated: 5:31 p.m. ET Dec 13, 2006

Space weather forecasters revised their predictions for storminess after a major solar flare erupted overnight, threatening damage to communication systems and power grids.

"We're looking for very strong, severe geomagnetic storming" to begin probably around midday Thursday, Joe Kunches, lead forecaster at the NOAA Space Environment Center, told Wednesday afternoon.

The storm is expected to generate aurorae or northern lights as far south as the northern United States on Thursday night. Astronauts aboard the international space station are not expected to be put at additional risk, Kunches said.

Radio communications, satellites and power grids could face potential interruptions or damage, however.

Solar flares send radiation to Earth within minutes. Some are also accompanied by coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, clouds of charged particles that arrive in a day or two. This flare unleashed a strong CME that's aimed squarely at Earth.

"It's got all the right stuff," Kunches said.

However, one crucial component to the storm is unknown: its magnetic orientation. If it lines up a certain way with Earth's magnetic field, then the storm essentially pours into our upper atmosphere. If the alignment is otherwise, the storm can pass by the planet with fewer consequences.

Kunches and his team are advising satellite operators and power grid managers to keep an eye on their systems. In the past, CMEs have knocked out satellites and tripped terrestrial power grids. Engineers have learned to limit switching at electricity transfer stations, and satellite operators sometimes reduce operations or make back-up plans in case a craft is damaged.

Another aspect of a CME involves protons that get pushed along by the shock wave. Sometimes these protons break through Earth's protective magnetic field and flood the outer reaches of the atmosphere—where the space station orbits—with radiation. The science of it all is a gray area, Kunches said. But the best guess now is that there will only be a slight increase in proton activity. That's good news for the astronauts.

"When the shock goes by, we don't expect significant radiation issues," he said.

The astronauts were ordered to a protective area of the space station as a precaution last night.

Now that sunspot number 930 has flared so significantly — after several days of being quiet — the forecast calls for a "reasonble chance" of more major flares in coming days, Kunches said.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peter Boyle Dies...

NEW YORK (CBS) -- CBS News is reporting the death of Peter Boyle, the prolific film, stage and TV actor. A publicist confirms Boyle died at Presbyterian Hospital in New York after a long battle with multiple myeloma and heart disease.

He may best be known for his work on the TV sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" and for his work in the movies "Taxi Driver" and "Young Frankenstein." He received critical acclaim playing a foul-mouthed bigot in the 1970 movie "Joe."

The Emmy Award-winning actor was born in Philadelphia and once taught drama in Pittsburgh. He was an alumnus of the Second City troupe in Chicago. Peter Boyle was 71. He is survived by his wife Loraine and daughters Lucy and Amy. Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly.

Link to story on News Radio 880

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Friday, December 08, 2006

Not Officially Winter

It's not winter yet, but this morning it's 18 with a wind chill of -6.  BUT NO SNOW!!!
Going to be a cold day, but warming over the weekend while we are out at Buckingham Assembly Hall for out Circuit Assembly.  A good weekend for a gathering.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Think Pink!!!

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Happiness is an empty glass


I can never seem to relax on vacation until after my first tropical drink and this one from Frenchy's hit the spot. Along with a bowl of the She-Crab soup and a grouper sandwich. At least something never change.

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