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Friday, May 29, 2015
Amrum Lighthouse Panoramase recently spent a pleasant week offshore, on the small island of Amrum which is in the North Sea, just off the mainland of Germany.
Amrum has a lighthouse which is open to the public, so I payed my entrance fee and clambered up the stone spiral staircase (144 steps if I counted correctly). From the penultimate floor there is a door which lets you out onto the external gallery and into the force Bf7 winds which just about blew my beard off!
I walked around the gallery and took these three panned panaroma photos. You can click on these small photos to get the full size (and thus slow-loading) panning shots.
The reason that the sea on the horizon does not look horizontal is that I did not have a tripod with
me and so panned around manually, obviously not holding the camera
Once back inside and out of the gale, I climbed the narrow and very steep wooden stairs up to the light, only accessible to one person at a time. The light is now electric and is controlled remotely from the mainland. It has a reserve bulb which can be swung into the focus while the dud is swung over to a swap-out position. Meanwhile a technician will be sent over from the mainland on the next ferry (transit time about 2 hours) to swap out the dud and put in a new bulb (about 10 inches diameter) into the standby position.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Three hundred billion sunsrecent announcement by NASA tells us that they have discovered a galaxy far far away (no, not THAT one) with 300 billion stars (about the same as the Milky Way) which is the brightest one known so far.
It is 12.5 billion light years away which means the the light we see from it left that galaxy 12.5 billion years ago. The age of the universe is 13.8 billion years, so that galaxy was so bright just 1.3 billion years after the Big Bang. This implies that it contains mostly first-generation stars which do not have planets. Why? Because the hydrogen fuses to helium and when all the hydrogen has fused the star contracts until small enough for the helium to fuse into carbon and oxygen (takes only a million years or so). So there were no heavy elements around yet to make planets around first-generation stars.
At the end of the fusion chain (iron core), the star goes (super)nova; the expelled (heavier) materials then go on to make second-generation stars (and maybe their planets). We are N-th generation stardust for some N>1 ;-)
The brightness comes from the material orbiting just above the event horizon of the black hole at the centre of that galaxy, which is expanding quickly as it consumes the material around in the inescapable maw of its gravity well. [Hypothesis: ALL galaxies have a central black hole.]
Because that galaxy is so old and far away, it is receding so fast that Hubble's constant tells us that the Doppler shift on its light has moved the brightness into the far infra-red by the time it reaches us. Thus it was the WISE infrared satellite which detected its faint glow. 12.5 billion years ago the universe was only about 10% of the size it is "now". So all those 300 billion stars were closer together and emitting their radiation at hard wavelengths. The luminous flux must have been (=is) ginormous and so even if there had been (=are) any planets there, the gamma-ray intensity would have killed off any life within microseconds. Hint : just 100 milliSieverts is enough to kill an adult).
So, given only first-generation stars and given the deadly gamma-ray flux, this casts a (w)hole new light (puns intended) on the Drake equation :-(
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Monday, May 25, 2015
Restoring Vintage Aircrafthe Quax club at our local airfield (where I was a flying instructor for a while) has a hangar where they restore vintage aircraft. Each plane belongs to an individual member, but they share the workshop facilities. Once a year they have an open day, and this year we got to see work-in-progress :-) Here are a dozen or so photos I took, the planes' names under each photo are clickable to get you more info on each plane. Most of the planes are ex-military trainers, from 1930s biplanes to 1950s jets.
De Havilland Chipmunk, I've flown one.
Fieseler 156 Storch (=Stork), STOL liason plane.
Focke Wulf 44 Stieglitz (=Goldfinch)
Fouga Magister CM170, Mach 0.8 jet trainer
Stampe SV4C, I've flown one.
D.H. Tiger Moth, I've flown one.
Yak 52, I've flown one.
Unidentified radial-engined high-wing monoplane. Any guesses?
Unidentified polished-aluminium side-by-side 2-seater. Any guesses?
Can anyone help me identify those last two planes please?
And before anybody asks, these babies cost 50K€ for a P149 to upwards of 2M€ for a Messerschmidt 109. And then there are the restoration costs and the upkeep. Out of my league, I'm afraid. I just had a 1969 PA28-140.
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Saturday, May 16, 2015
Our village : Henglarnoogle Earth doesn't seem to have any pictures of our village that I could find. So here are some of my own photos, to give you an impression of our village (still) life.
Henglarn is a 1000 year old village, small, with population about 900. According to the new-fangled three-word address system at What 3 words, I live at staub.gleicher.reisen (=dust of the same travels ;-). Henglarn has just one shop, one pub, one (catholic) church, one river with one road-bridge over it, a war memorial and a graveyard ;-)
This is the village shop. It is also the bakery for surrounding villages too. Note no window display (a result of no competition). The door & windows are used as a message board :-) Like many of the (farm-)house roofs, it has a silicon roof, generating some of its own electricity. Bike rack, but no dog-ties.
This is the 19th century village pub. The landlord, Elmar, is going on 80 :-) It used to be the post-office, now there is just a (yellow) mail collecting box outside. Before that it was the staging post for the stage coach. Cigarette machine outside; the church insisted the condom machine be removed :-(
This is the "new" i.e. 19th century catholic church. The 10th century predecessor was replaced 120 years ago; it has now been partially restored as the war memorial. No village priest, they share one with the neighbouring village as it's a dying occupation. It's either that or because the primary school closed and was moved to said neighbouring village ;-)
The photo on the left below shows the river Altenau which flows through the village, currently with very low water levels (global warming?). The photo on the right shows the war memorial, a partial restoration of the original 10th century church. The bell tower was added in the 16th century. The masonry swords on the left and right sides are a post-WW2 decoration.
Looking in the other direction (east) we see the one road-bridge through the village. When the snows melt, I have seen it submerged, the old houses' ground floors flooded and the old church's graveyard (on the right side of this photo) awash. The new graveyard (since 1872) is 60 feet higher up on the northern hillside ;-)
In the old graveyard, this is the 1603 AD bell from the old belltower (12th century). The tower is now used as the war memorial.
Here's a very short history of our village :-
Around 4000 BC Two stone age cist graves built; still here.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Spiekereveral of you read my blog article datelined January 29th about our village being 1000 years old (or more) this year and have asked me to show you photos of any really old buildings near to us which still stand.
My favourite is the "Spieker", which stands for storage-house, built in 1588 by Deitharr (=Dieter) Reisen and his wife Geirtrut (=Gertrude) Romes who moved in on May 12th 1588 (see photo below). The ground storey is of stone to improve fire-resistance. It was used as the village storage facility for crops (over winter). The door is more recent as is the house number, both probably 19th century. The door was originally 6" shorter and stopped at a 6" removable wooden thresh-hold used to keep the straw inside. The thresh (=straw) was used internally as floor-insulation back then (now you know where the word "threshhold" comes from). Removing the threshold let you sweep out the old straw before spreading new. Doubtless Deitharr carried Geirtrut over that wooden board (threshhold) on this very day in 1588 :-)
The first floor (European numbering goes G-1-2-3 etc not 1-2-3-4 etc as in the USA) was made of a wooden frame with wattle (=mud) walls. It held the living quarters. Drain pipes and snow-stopper on the roof are a recent (19/20th century) addition. The photo below shows the eastern face of the building.
The horse trough appears to be a 17th century addition; the bench is 20th century. The 19th century cobbles around the house are all that is left of the cobbled street, now asphalted.
The photo below is of the south face. You can see that the second floor (in the roof) was also used for storage because the sole window also open like a door. Originally there would have been a beam projecting above it, bearing a pulley, so that sacks could be winched up. The tiny room at the very top might well have been the servants' quarters. Photo taken around 10 a.m. so that you can see the shadows of the wooden dowels (instead of nails) used in the construction.
Over the centuries the house was also used by the local gentry, then as an apartment for any visiting dignitaries, then in the 19th century as the village police station. Hence just across the road we have the 19th century 2-cell gaol (=jail) shown in the photo below. The upstairs barred window has been replaced by a door because this building was also used for crop storage; you can see where the beam for winching sacks up was originally placed in the (west) wall. The lock has had a modern cylinder fitted and an electric lamp was added in the 20th century too, reality beats authenticity :-(
The village well was nicely restored in the 20th century, but is now dry in the summer, the ground-water table having sunk over the centuries.
Sunday, May 10, 2015
I have strange tastes ;-)riends say I have strange tastes. And not just in the culinary sense. But it is true that when visiting new countries, I like to try out their cuisine, especially things I've never consumed before.
This has led me to try such culinary disasters as a tea-substitute with a large knob of yak butter in it, a fruit-bat and kangaroo pizza, some warm chinese wine and various other vomit-projecting comestibles :-( And this from someone who actually likes Haggis. But I did like chocolate covered ants :-)
The drink shown here is birch sap, sadly diluted and sugared, filled in Minsk (which is in Belarus) by Asaloda (= Borisov cannery). I had expected it to have more taste and found it rather disappointing. Maybe I should have added (more) vodka? And left out the birch sap ;-) ?
I've never found birch sap elsewhere which is why it piqued my curiosity.
What strange foreign food/drinks have you tried (maybe only once ;-))?
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Thursday, May 7, 2015
International No-Diet Day :-)esterday was International No Diet Day and so all the fat cats could eat as much as they wanted. Good for a laugh in the first world, but not so funny in - say - Burundi or Eritrea :-(
This is a triple bacon/cheese burger with jalopinos (sp?) and single fries.
Personally, I don't know why people have a problem dieting. I just finished a very successful 30 day diet, eating it all in only four days ;-)
Now I'm on a seafood diet; I see food and I eat it ;-)
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Wednesday, May 6, 2015
A multi-blossom treeiding along a local country road, Frank and I came across this one tree bearing two different colours of blossom (pink and white), so we thought it worth some photos, two of which I'm showing you here.
The zoomed shot below shows pink blossom, which I believe is plum, and white blossom, which I believe is cherry. They are growing on the same tree, as you can see from the top photo.
I can only assume that at some time in the past the owner spliced a branch of plum into the cherry tree, because as far as we know, this cross breeding doesn't happen naturally, evolution notwithstanding :-)
We resolved to come back at harvest time to sample the fruit(s) :-)
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Monday, May 4, 2015
Star Wars Daytar Wars Day is so named because TBBT-like geeks enjoyed the pun "May the 4th be with you".
Such is the stuff of urban legends, because even Adam & Eve also ate from the Tree of Commonly Held Misconceptions®.
But what George Lucas didn't tell us - because his prequels didn't go back that far in time - was that the Dark Side of the Force did indeed come into being on a May 4th!
As many of my older UK blogreaders may remember, it was on May 4th 1979 - 36 years ago - that Maggie Thatcher became PM and
Brits are still living in a country that Maggie shaped.
Poor sods. No wonder I emigrated ;-)
Three hundred billion suns
Restoring Vintage Aircraft
Our village : Henglarn
International No-Diet Day
Star Wars Day
Congrats, Pete Barnwell
Schrödinger's bilingual cat
Credit where it is due!
Oldtimer Ahoi :-)
Pub Joke Win ;-)
Ain Bulldog Blog
Finding life hard?
Not Always Right
Rants from t'Rookery
Spork in the drawer
The Magistrate's Blog
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Jan Feb Mar Apr
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Sep Oct Nov Dec
This blog is getting really unmanegable, so I am taking the first 12 years' archives offline. My blog, my random decision. Tough shit; YOLO.
ENGLISH : I am not responsible for the contents or form of any external page to which this website links. I specifically do not adopt their content, nor do I make it mine.
DEUTSCH : Für alle Seiten, die auf dieser Website verlinkt sind, möchte ich betonen, dass ich keinerlei Einfluss auf deren Gestaltung und Inhalte habe. Deshalb distanziere ich mich ausdrücklich von allen Inhalten aller gelinkten Seiten und mache mir ihren Inhalt nicht zu eigen.
This Blog's Status is
Blog Dewey Decimal Classification : 153
FWIW, 153 is a triangular number, meaning that you can arrange 153 items into an equilateral triangle (with 17 items on a side). It is also one of the six known truncated triangular numbers, because 1 and 15 are triangular numbers as well. It is a hexagonal number, meaning that you can distribute 153 points evenly at the corners and along the sides of a hexagon. It is the smallest 3-narcissistic number. This means it’s the sum of the cubes of its digits. It is the sum of the first five positive factorials. Yup, this is a 153-type blog. QED ;-)
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