## Cross seas: Nature, or design?

April 16, 2014

Here’s just exactly the sort of thing that happens in nature that drives creationists nuts.  How could this happen without God personally working to confuse and/or delight the photographer?  Not to mention the physicist and mathematician.

Photo from the Twitter feed of Science Porn: “Go home waves you’re drunk. This is called cross sea btw pic.twitter.com/5Cv1UUo8QX”

Where? Somewhere in France, one might gather from the flag on the structure (lighthouse?).

Turns out to be a Wikipedia photo, with this intriguing caption:

Crossing swells, consisting of near-cnoidal wave trains. Photo taken from Phares des Baleines (Whale Lighthouse) at the western point of Île de Ré (Isle of Rhé), France, in the Atlantic Ocean. The interaction of such near-solitons in shallow water may be modeled through the Kadomtsev–Petviashvili equation.

Oh, you remember that one, don’t you?  The Kadomtsev–Petviashvili equation?

At least we confirmed it was taken in France.

They do everything differently in France, don’t they?

Update:Got an e-mail suggestion that I include the equation itself.  You may certainly click to Wikipedia to find it; here’s what it says over there:

In mathematics and physics, the Kadomtsev–Petviashvili equation – or KP equation, named after Boris Borisovich Kadomtsev and Vladimir Iosifovich Petviashvili – is a partial differential equation to describe nonlinearwave motion. The KP equation is usually written as:

$\displaystyle \partial_x(\partial_t u+u \partial_x u+\epsilon^2\partial_{xxx}u)+\lambda\partial_{yy}u=0$

where $\lambda=\pm 1$. The above form shows that the KP equation is a generalization to two spatial dimensions, x and y, of the one-dimensional Korteweg–de Vries (KdV) equation. To be physically meaningful, the wave propagation direction has to be not-too-far from the x direction, i.e. with only slow variations of solutions in the y direction.

Like the KdV equation, the KP equation is completely integrable. It can also be solved using the inverse scattering transform much like the nonlinear Schrödinger equation.

Certainly the longest equation ever published at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub.

## Just ducky! It’s turtles, all the way down . . .

March 5, 2014

From the U.S. Department of Interior: Friends come in all shapes & sizes in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. #California #nature pic.twitter.com/CvUkY6HoxF

Watching the wildlife can be endlessly entertaining.

## Sunset over Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee (more ways than one?)

March 4, 2014

Nice photo from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

Caption from the Tumblr of the Department of Interior: Sunset over Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Photo: Austin Leih (www.sharetheexperience.org)

Beautiful place, nice photographic capture.

Then I look, and I see a lot of necrotic tree tops.  Acid Rain?  Warming?  Pine borers or some other insect?

Sometimes, Mark Twain’s lament is right.  Sometimes you know too much to just sit back in awe.  Feynman was right, too.

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## Happy 142nd birthday, Yellowstone National Park!

March 1, 2014

Tweet from the Department of Interior: 142 years ago today, @YellowstoneNPS became America’s first national park. RT to wish them a very happy birthday! pic.twitter.com/drka6iq0Tc

Ken Burns called the National Parks probably the best idea America has had.

Certainly a great idea — really born on this day, 142 years ago, with the designation of Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone NP contains the world’s largest collection of geysers. It is the heart of the largest, nearly-intact temperate zone ecosystem on Earth as well, contained in 3,468 square miles (8,983 km²), a laboratory and playground for geologists, geographers, botanists, zoologists, and almost anyone else who loves the nature and the wild.

Only 142 years old?  In the U.S., we have more than 300 units in the National Park System, now, including National Historic Places as well as the best of the wild.  Around the world, how much land has been saved, for the benefit of humanity, by this idea?  Not enough.

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From National Geographic: Great Fountain Geyser in Yellowstone, the first U.S. national park, erupts every 9 to 15 hours, shooting water up to 220 feet high. Photograph by Michael Melford

## When the Moon hits your eye, in Arches NP

February 12, 2014

Photo by Lynn Sessions; “THE EYE OF THE #MOON: North Window arch at Arches National Park in #Utah. #NatGeo pic.twitter.com/XwHfdWK5Ft

It’s just a click of the shutter?  Ha!

I’m assuming not a lot of post-photo processing on this. Lynn Sessions had to figure out when the Moon would be in the North Window Arch, calculate exposure, and shoot off enough of them to get a decent shot before the Moon moved.  I suspect the rocks were “painted” with a flashlight during the exposure.

(Haven’t yet found the technical details of the shot. But I did find this about the photographer:
I’m a frustrated amateur photographer who is trying to visit every corner in Utah as well as hike/photograph every canyon in southern Utah. More at http://www.DreamBreeze.com )

Patience, planning, creativity — then just push the button.

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## You should visit Yosemite National Park in winter

January 11, 2014

Here’s why, another video from the good people at Yosemite National Park:

Any of the National Parks is special, in winter.  What is your snow and cold experience in them?

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Winter photo of the Yosemite Valley, by Q T Luong — a key photo used by the Ken Burns group in their series of films on the National Parks.

## Happy birthday Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; 53 years

December 6, 2013

Icy day here in Dallas, we missed a lot of dates that should have been commemorated.

Let’s catch this one:  The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was created 53 years ago today in the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, by Interior Secretary Fred A. Seaton.

Photo probably not taken this week:  From the US Department of Interior: Happy 53rd birthday to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge! @USFWSHQ @USFWSRefuges #Alaska pic.twitter.com/2popb7EAvz

ANWR finds itself the center of controversy, now, because of the possibility of oil underneath it, and the difficulty of getting that oil without destroying wildlife habitat, or the possibility of destructive oil spills.  For an understanding of the issues, visit ANWR’s website and the non-partisan discussion there.

Odd that land so severely beautiful, so far out of the way and so difficult to master, has its fate decided in marble halls in Washington, D.C., 3,172 miles distant. The United States is a big, sprawling nation.

Information on the ANWR:

## History and Culture

### Refuge Establishment: Legislation and Purposes

The Arctic Refuge was established in 1960 and expanded in 1980.

### Refuge History

The Arctic Refuge has been providing for the physical and emotional well-being of humans for many thousands of years. It remains an important resource to help sustain local Eskimo and Indian cultures. The Refuge continues to be valued, even by those who never travel within it’s borders, as a symbol of America’s vast and remote wilderness – a place of inspiration and beauty – a promise for the future for all Americans.

### Local Cultures

The lands of the Arctic Refuge continue to support the Inupiat Eskimo and Gwich’in Indian peoples who have lived here for centuries.

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3,172 miles between the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Washington, D.C.

## America’s wildlands: Sunset at Malheur NWR, Oregon

November 8, 2013

In Oregon, a scientist’s view from a field research station at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Sunset at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Field Station, Oregon, May 2012. Great eye and photo by Amanda Holland.

A photo from the actions of President Theodore Roosevelt:

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was established on August 18, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt as the Lake Malheur Bird Reservation. Roosevelt set aside unclaimed lands encompassed by Malheur, Mud and Harney Lakes “as a preserve and breeding ground for native birds.” The newly established “Lake Malheur Bird Reservation” was the 19th of 51 wildlife refuges created by Roosevelt during his tenure as president. At the time, Malheur was the third refuge in Oregon and one of only six refuges west of the Mississippi [six, then].

More:

NASA has a different viewpoint: Harney Lake and Malheur Lake in Oregon, USA NASA NLT Landsat 7 image. Final image made using NASA World Wind. Via Wikipedia

## Moon, stars, Earth, all conspire to produce astonishing beauty in Hawaii

November 5, 2013

It’s a composite of 11 photographs to get the whole panoramic view — which just demonstrates that in photography it’s great to be lucky, but it usually takes great skill to get that amount of luck.

How much processing was involved, really?

Don’t worry, just check out the photo.

Double Moonbow, lava glow and fading Lunar Halo; 11-picture Panoramic taken on the rim of Kilauea’s Caldera On the Last Super Moon. Sean King, Atmospheric Phenomena

Click thumbnail for a larger image.

September 26, 2013

Caption from Interior’s Tweet: Sometimes there are no words to describe America’s public lands. This photo @EvergladesNPS proves it. #Florida pic.twitter.com/3l7fnrcfsG

Everglades National Park, in Florida, is a great example of wild lands that belong to all Americans, that we almost let slip away.

I’m not sure a painter could do a more stunning version of this view.

More:

Location map: Everglades National Park in red. Wikipedia photo

## Perfect autumn walk, Rachel Carson NWR

September 24, 2013

US Dept of Interior Photo ‏@Interior: Rachel Carson NWR in #Maine is the perfect place to see the leaves change this time of year. #nature pic.twitter.com/5kL9EArPaA

While we’re talking about Rachel Carson’s legacy, gander at this gorgeous fall walk at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, in Maine.

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## Earth on fire? No, just Idaho (and a lot not pictured)

August 23, 2013

Photo and press release from NASA’s Earth Observatory:

Image from the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, acquired August 18, 2013 — 50 mm lens. Looking to the west, over Idaho. See photo below for labels of fire sites.

Description of the photo:

Taken with a short lens (50 millimeters), this west-looking image from the International Space Station includes much of forested central Idaho. The oblique image highlights part of the largest single wilderness area in the contiguous United States, the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness.

Within this mountainous region (the dark areas are all wooded), several fires produced extensive smoke plumes. The densest smoke appeared to be generated by a combination of the Little Queens and Leggit fires (within the Salmon River Mountains [link added]). This image shows the common pattern of westerly winds carrying smoke in an easterly direction, as seen during the wildfire season of one year ago.

Named fires—most ignited by lightning—had burned 53,000 acres of forest south of the Salmon River by August 20, 2013; the number would be significantly higher if unnamed fires were included. The Gold Pan fire, north of the Salmon River, had burned 27,000 acres. For a sense of scale, Gold Pan lies about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of the Little Queens fire.

Ten days before this image was taken, fires in central Idaho (near Boise) had been aggravated by southerly winds. Some of those fires began to burn in July, but were quelled and remain under observation for new flare-ups.

In the image above, smoke partly obscures the black lava flows of the Craters of the Moon National Monument [link added] (lower left). The Beaverhead Mountains [link added] mark the eastern boundary of Idaho with Montana.

Astronaut photograph ISS036-E-32853 was acquired on August 18, 2013, with a Nikon D3S digital camera using a 50 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by the Expedition 36 crew. It has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Jacobs/JETS at NASA-JSC.

Salmon River Mountains, Idaho, on the ground; notice the steep mountains on-the-ground firefighters must contend with. Wikipedia image

Instrument: ISS – Digital Camera

My older brother Dwight was a firefighter with the Bureau of Land Management in the early 1960s.  There were some huge fires then — but not so many, so large, all at once.  While we don’t have satellite photos to compare from way back then, this is just scary.  Those were scary on the ground, and smaller than these — and fewer.

Notice in the photo below, some of these huge fires are not even big enough to be named.  Wow.

Image from the International Space Station of Idaho fires, with names of larger fires overlayed. August 23, 2013

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Compare with NASA photo from a month ago; Idaho’s been hammered by fire in 2013:

Photo of Idaho from about July 20, 2013, showing then-active fires in the state — north at top of photo. Notice Craters of the Moon National Monument, the dark area in the southeast section — this area is obscured by new fires in the photos above. Idaho’s borders are barely visible in a thin, black line.  This photo from NASA/Goddard

## Not an emerald ash borer — but what is it?

August 21, 2013

Emerald green beetle, looks a lot like a longhorn.  I feared it to be a dreaded emerald ash borer, but it’s not.

Okay.  What is it?  Any body know?

From our Backyard Collection, two weeks ago:

What is this one? Looks like a longhorn beetle, emerald green. Not an emerald ash borer. Anyone know?

It’s too big to be an emerald ash borer.

Our mystery beetle is too big to be an emerald ash borer. Brilliant orange underside.

Perhaps a flower longhorn beetle?

Caption from Field and Swamp Animals and their habitats: Flower longhorn beetle (Encyclops caerulea), Glassmine Gap Trail, Macon County, NC, 5/28/13

Where’s Bug Girl when we need her?  (Moving?)  Roused Bear? Beetles in the Bush?

Update, mystery solved:  Ted C. MacRae said (see comments) it’s the bumelia borer (Plinthocoelium suaveolens).  He wrote about it here. So, Kathryn, what are they eating in our backyard? Bumelia lanuginosa is a Texas native; do we have one, or a relative, in the garden?  Dallas-area Dirt Doctor Howard Garrett says they’re mostly harmless in the garden.  (Here’s a closeup, from MacRae’s blog):

Bumelia borer, Plinthocoelium suaveolens,  from Beetles in the Bush. Photo by Ted C. MacRae

## Campout Bingo cards, from the National Wildlife Federation

August 16, 2013

Found this via a stream of Pinterest and other blog posts:  National Wildlife Federation (NWF) put together four great camping bingo cards to use with your kids – depending on how wild your backyard is, you may not even need to go far to play.

Here in South Dallas County, you can see much of this stuff with a stroll through a local nature preserve.

Teachers, you can use this idea, with pictures and words, yes?

Camping Bingo card from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF); it comes in a set of four, in .pdf format

Here’s the link to get the four cards NWF created in .pdf. If you want to create your own (history, geography, mathematics, language arts) teachers, here’s a blank form in .pdf.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Duncanville ISD’s Judy Henry.

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## Mountain goat nemeses everywhere!

August 12, 2013

Normally I might just let this beautiful photo slide by without comment.

In this case, I find this particularly frustrating.  See that creature?  That’s the same goat that blocked my trail in Glacier National Park.  I’m sure of it.  I’d recognize those beady eyes and horns anywhere! (See the first story linked to in the “more’ section; maybe this goat stopped in Washington on the way to Alaska.)

He’s probably in Alaska now under the Federal Goat Protection Program.

Interior US Dept of Interior 6h Caption from the Department of Interior: That’s quite the hike to the top. Harding Icefield Trail @KenaiFjordsNPS. #alaska pic.twitter.com/yozsSLnrcD

He probably thinks he’s safe there at Kenai Fjords National Park.  Ha!  He’s farther away, but that just means I have farther to travel to find him!

I’m taking a longer telephoto, a wide angle, and a first aid kit, next time.  I’ll be prepared!

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