Exotic Vacations While Connected

gangesTwo friends of mine are out of the country. It’s a very exotic vacation to India and now Bhutan. She’s been sending emails. He’s been taking photos.

I am loving their vacation. Being there would be better, but this is pretty good. They are living a dream.

30 years ago, before Bhutan was open to the west, I saw a National Geographic photo of that monastery, perched precariously on the side of a mountain, and made up my mind to get there some day. That day is supposed to be tomorrow….the last excursion to wrap up the trip. We will see what happens.

800px-Taktshang_editThat was written yesterday. Well, yesterday to me. They’re 10 1/2 time zones away. Day and night become a jumble.

It’s snowing in Paro, Bhutan as I type. Just light snow. It’s a steep climb to Tiger’s Nest. Light snow might be too much.

Until they went I didn’t know about Tiger’s Nest, but I did know about Paro’s airport. It’s one of a handful of most dangerous airports in the world. There are dozens of YouTube videos showing ganges 2airplanes on approach. Getting there involves threading the needle through narrow gorges and mountain passes.

We had our second Skype session tonight. Late afternoon for them. Middle-of-the-night for me. We chatted like we were in the same room, though nearly 7,900 miles apart.

The conversation ended when their hotel suffered a power failure. Some things remain rooted in the past.

I never saw this day coming, where distance isn’t a barrier to communicating. It’s like science fiction, except it’s not.

The World’s Most Typical Person

Here’s a little sneak peek. He’s a man, Asian and reasonably young.

National Geographic has begun a series on the Earth’s 7 billion residents. It’s worth looking at. I’ve attached a short video presentation they’ve created which includes a look a ‘the’ typical inhabitant of our world (as opposed to ‘a’ typical inhabitant).

Let’s go scifi here: We’re talking typical earthling!

Here’s a little sneak peek. He’s a man, Asian and reasonably young. He looks like that guy on the left (created from a large composite of faces).

The Snow Lingers

I had to get up early this morning for a meeting at work. I left a few minutes early, carrying ‘Clicky’ in his bag.

Connecticut is very photogenic when it’s got a pretty blanket of snow. It’s still nicer when things are warm, but looking pretty must count for something.

From a technical standpoint, recently I’d read where snowy photos needed to be overexposed by a full 2 f-stops. That seemed like too much, so I added just one. Not enough. Next time I’ll know better.

Blogger’s note: Tried to identify the bird from a National Geographic site. No luck. If you can figure it out, let me know.

Yikes It’s Cold!

Sometimes this blog is written to be read immediately. At other times, right now for example, I’m writing to document something, so I don’t forget. Like today’s weather.

Holy cow, it was cold.

There’s a strange weather record – lowest high temperature, which was broken today. On the Connecticut shoreline, it was more smashed than broken! The old record fell by a full ten degrees.

In the midst of all this, Helaine said to me, “There’s a Comcast truck outside.” So there was.

We’d had some minor trouble with the cable. A few channels, most of which we don’t watch, weren’t available. I didn’t cry, without AZN or Oxygen, but I did want National Geographic.

I opened the front door and saw it was actually two trucks beside our telephone pole. One was a bucket truck. They were working on the pole… in the wind… in the bitter cold.

“You guys want me to make some coffee,” I asked. They said no.

Pangs of guilt overtook me. Was National Geographic worth wind chills of twenty below (really – no hyperbole necessary)?

As they continued their work, they came in the house (and fixed the problem). We talked and they said the weather wasn’t so awful, because they were dressed for it. I wasn’t convinced.

As I type this, the worst of the wind chill is gone… but it’s still 9&#176!

Hearing about the weather, a friend from California called to tell me he was sitting by his pool, enjoying the day. Grrrrr.

A few days ago I wrote how I sensed spring was just around the corner. Maybe it still is, but right now that corner looks a long way off.

Plus, the groundhog won’t return my calls!


Another Slashdot Submission

My luck with Slashdot has not been good recently. I had a bunch of my earliest submissions accepted and began to think it was easy to get on. No such luck. Since February I have had 15 in a row rejected.

I really don’t want to give up, because Slashdot, like no other website, is ‘geek confirmation.’

Today, I tried again. Since (judging by my track record) it probably won’t get on, I thought I’d post it here too. The links are worth clicking.

For most of the United States (sorry West Coast), this is the season for lightning. It is as powerful as it is spectacular to look at. It is destructive too – by itself or through the hail, straight line winds and tornadoes that often accompany it. As someone who forecasts the weather, I’m often asked about lightning. As you might imagine, there’s plenty to see about lightning on the Internet. The conditions necessary and a little bit of the physics behind lightning are explained by Jeff Haby, a meteorologist (one of my professors actually) at Mississippi State University. Once forecasters get a handle on what’s going on, they put the word out through the Storm Prediction Center. Regular outlooks are issued by SPC for severe storms. Once those storms rear their ugly heads, they’re followed with mesoscale discussions looking at the active areas. The Storm Prediction Center is also the place where Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado Watches are issued and storm related damage reports are compiled. Lots of hobbyists like to track lightning strikes on their own, and there’s equipment available to do just that. Getting hit by lightning is never fun, though not always fatal. National Geographic chronicled an amazing story of a lightning strike, and rescue, on Grand Teton.