Please give to Scouting for Food on Saturday, February 13

February 12, 2016

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts in Southwest Dallas County will collect food for our local food pantries on Saturday, February 13, 2016.

Scouting for Food in Dallas, Texas area, February 13, 2016. Image from Yorktown Pack 200

Scouting for Food in Dallas, Texas area, February 13, 2016. Image from Yorktown Pack 200

(Of course, Scouts throughout Circle 10 Council, BSA, will be collecting in the rest of the Council, the counties around Dallas up to the Oklahoma border.)

Food pantries and outreach ministries in the Best Southwest Area some years rely on this February Scout service campaign to carry them through Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, in the past decade donations have not been sufficient to meet with demand. If you’ve given four or five cans of food in the past, please give eight or ten, if you can, this year.

Please give generously when a Scout knocks on your door.

Press release from the Council:

Scouting for Food is the largest single-day food collection event in Dallas and one of the largest in the nation. On one day, approximately 30,000 Scouts go door-to-door collecting non-perishable food items for the less fortunate. The food is then distributed to local food pantries and assistance agencies across Circle Ten Council.

Tom Thumb has sponsored this food drive for 28 years and collects food at their locations throughout the entire month of February.

What is Scouting for Food?
Scouting for Food is the largest door-to-door food collection effort in the Dallas-Fort Worth area benefiting more than 45 assistance agencies across the area.

Who helps with Scouting for Food?
Scouting for Food involves approximately 30,000 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, friends, family and volunteers from the Circle Ten Council, BSA.

2016 Scouting for Food Dates:  February 13, 2016

Food items can also be dropped off at any Tom Thumb Food and Pharmacy throughout the month of February!


December 30 is Hubble Day; are you ready to celebrate?

December 29, 2015

Get ready to look up!

Edwin Hubble.

Edwin Hubble. (Photo credit: snaphappygeek)

At Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub, for several years we’ve celebrated Hubble Day on December 30.

On December 30, 1924, Edwin Hubble announced he’d discovered other galaxies in distant space. Though it may not have been so clear at the time, it meant that, as a galaxy, we are not alone in the universe (whether we are alone as intelligent life is a separate question). It also meant that the universe is much, much bigger than most people had dared to imagine.

December 30, 2015 is the 91st anniversary of the announcement.  When dealing with general science illiteracy, it’s difficult to believe we’ve been so well informed for more than nine decades.  In some quarters, news travels more slowly than sound in the vacuum of space.

I find hope in many places.  Just three years ago the Perot Museum of Nature and Science opened in downtown Dallas.  It’s the old Dallas Museum of Science and Natural History, once cramped into a bursting building in historic Fair Park, now expanded into a beautiful new building downtown, and keeping the Fair Park building, too.  Considering the strength of creationism in Texas, it’s great news that private parties would put up $185 million for a museum dedicated to hard science.

Displays in the Perot border on brilliance at almost every stop.  Stuffy museum this is not — it’s designed to spark interest in science and engineering in kids, and I judge that it succeeds, though we need to wait 20 years or so to see just exactly what and who it inspires.

We visited the Perot regularly through 2014.  On one visit in 2012, as I was admiring a large map of the Moon, a family strolled by, and a little girl I estimated to be 8 or 9 pointed to the Moon and asked her maybe-30-something father where humans landed.  I had been working to see whether the very large photo showed any signs of activity — but the father didn’t hesitate, and pointed to the Sea of Tranquility.  “There,” he said.  The man was not old enough to have been alive at the time; I’d wager most of my contemporaries would hesitate, and maybe have to look it up.  Not that guy.

Visitors to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas

On 32 flat-panel video displays hooked together to make one massive display, visitors to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science view Mars as our new Mars Rover’s friend might see it, in a section of the museum devoted to astronomy, physics, astronomy and planetary exploration. Photo by Ed Darrell; use encouraged with attribution.

Still, kids today need this museum and the knowledge and excitement it imparts.  One recent July I accompanied a group of Scouts from Troop 355 to summer camp in Colorado, to Camp Chris Dobbins in the foothills just east of Colorado Springs.  Near lights out one night I hiked the half-mile to our campsite admiring the Milky Way and other bright displays of stars that we simply do not get in light-polluted Dallas County.  I expected that our older Scouts would have already started on the Astronomy merit badge, but the younger ones may not have been introduced.  So I asked how many of them could find the Milky Way.  Not a hand went up.

“Dowse the lights, let’s have a five minute star lesson,” I said.  we trekked out to a slight opening in the trees, and started looking up.  I had just enough time to point out the milky fog of stars we see of our own galaxy, when one of the Scouts asked how to tell the difference between an airplane and a satellite.  Sure enough, he’d spotted a satellite quietly passing overhead — and just to put emphasis on the difference, a transcontinental jet passed over flying west towards Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Then, when we were all looking up, a meteoroid streaked from the south across almost the whole length of the visible Milky Way.  Teenage kids don’t often go quiet all at once, but after the oohs and aahs we had a few moments of silence.  They were hooked already.  Less than five minutes in, they’d seen the Milky Way, found the Big Dipper, seen a satellite, a jet, and a shooting star.

Perfection!

Edwin Hubble’s discovery can now be the stuff of elementary school science, that the blobs in the sky astronomers had pondered for a century were really galaxies like our own, which we see only through a faint fuzz we call the Milky Way.

Do kids get that kind of stuff in elementary school?  Not enough, I fear.

We named a great telescope after the guy; shouldn’t we do a bit more to celebrate his discovery?

More:

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.


Texas earthquakes, 2014

January 7, 2015

WFAA Channel 8 map of four quakes confirmed by 10:00 p.m. news casts, showing how close the quakes are in proximity to each other and the site of the old Cowboys Football Stadium.

WFAA Channel 8 map of four quakes confirmed by 10:00 p.m. news casts, showing how close the quakes are in proximity to each other and the site of the old Cowboys Football Stadium.

This Tweet from our local NBC TV affiliate sums it up nicely.

North Texas shook yesterday — not big quakes, but a bunch of ’em — and that doesn’t sit well with Texas oil executives, since it seems likely gas and oil drilling, especially hydraulic fracturing (fracking), and especially waste-water reinjection seem to be causes.

I grew up in Utah.  We had quakes you could feel, at least weekly.  Our home sat less than a mile west of the Wasatch Fault.  Many mornings my mother would stand drinking her coffee, looking over the stove and out our kitchen window at Mt. Timpanogos, remarking on the earthquakes.  Most often we couldn’t feel them, but the power and telephone lines that slashed through our $10 million view of the mountain would dance in sine waves during quakes. It was pretty cool.

Along the more famous faults, one rarely comes on more than a couple of quakes a day.

Dallas — more accurately, Irving — is far away from most major faults, and rarely has more than a couple of quakes a year in recent human history.

So this swarm of quakes makes news!

WTVT Channel 11 (CBS) reported:

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Nine earthquakes, three of them with a 3-point magnitude or greater, rocked North Texas Tuesday into early Wednesday, knocking items off walls, causing cracks to appear in ceilings and generally rattling nerves across the region.

“The last one really shook,” said CBS 11 anchor and reporter Ken Molestina, who felt the the earth move in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas.

The latest quake, reported just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, measured in at a 3.1 magnitude, and was centered near the convergence of State Highway 114, Loop 12, and the Airport Freeway near the old Texas Stadium site in Irving.

Others felt the temblor in the Uptown area of Dallas and as far away as Bedford and Mesquite.

Here’s a list of the quakes in order of when they happened:

7:37 a.m.                    2.3 magnitude

3:10 p.m.                    3.5 magnitude

6:52 p.m.                    3.6 magnitude

8:11 p.m.                    2.9 magnitude

8:12 p.m.                    2.7 magnitude

9:54 p.m.                    1.7 magnitude

10:05 p.m.                  2.4 magnitude

11:02 PM                   1.6 magnitude

12:59 AM                   3.1 magnitude

Rafael Abreu, a geophysicist with the USGS, spoke with NewsRadio 1080 KRLD and said while the Irving earthquakes happened only hours apart, given the strength and intensity, “we’re not calling it an aftershock.”

At last count Tuesday night, there had been 24 or more earthquakes in the Irving area since November 1, 2014.

Jokes fly, too.  Not this much shaking since Elvis toured the area heavily in 1957, some say.

Screen capture of USGS reports of four earthquakes in or near Irving, Texas, on January 6, 2014

Screen capture of USGS reports of four earthquakes in or near Irving, Texas, on January 6, 2014

Recent studies show earthquakes in other areas linked to oil and gas drilling and extraction.  All of these quakes are in close proximity to working wells or wells being drilled.

What’s the Earth trying to tell us?

Details from USGS on biggest quake, January 6, 2014

Details from USGS on biggest quake, January 6, 2014

More:

Historically, Texas has not been a hotbed of earthquake activity, between 1973 and 2012.  Texas Seismicity Map from USGS.

Texas Seismicity, 1973-2012. USGS


Dallas in the fog

December 10, 2014

Enough of the jokes about how nature makes Dallas beautiful by covering everything up.

There were some nice views of Dallas today, with the fog, though.

From WFAA-TV’s tower camera, just before sunrise:

Dallas in the fog, December 9, 2014; photo from WFAA-TV's tower camera.

Dallas in the fog, December 9, 2014; photo from WFAA-TV’s tower camera.

This photo produced the most stir, I think.  Terry Maxon posted it at his Aviation Blog with the Dallas Morning News:

Maxon wrote:

Maxon wrote: “Mike Alvstad was flying into Dallas/Fort Worth on Tuesday morning and took a photo as his flight from Tampa, Fla., passed south and west of downtown Dallas. He shared it with Lee Evans, who shared it with us, and we liked it a lot.”

Looking for landmarks?  Maxon explained:

In the sea of clouds, you can see the top of Reunion Tower a bit lower to the right. There’s the wedge-topped Fountain Place in the lower center of the downtown cluster. Off to the left by itself is Cityplace, we believe.

Note that even though we could barely see a block ahead of us at ground level, the skyscrapers are casting shadows on the top of the fog clouds.

You want to see what it looked like from the upper floors of those buildings?  Kathryn’s office is below the clouds.  When I worked in the high floors of the old Ling/Temco/Vought Building (now Trammell Crow Tower, I think) we didn’t have cell phones with cameras, and electronic imaging was in its commercialized infancy.  I never had the old 35mm film cameras with me on those few occasions when we rode the elevators up out of the fog, and could almost wave to someone in the tower across the way.  Justin Turveen got off a few shots today, but is being stingy with the photos at his flickr site. Check it out if you wish.

It was foggy across the area starting last night, including Denton, which is home to the University of North Texas and Texas Women’s University:

Photo by Samantha Irene Balderas, at the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT), December 8, 2014

Photo by Samantha Irene Balderas, at the campus of the University of North Texas (UNT), December 8, 2014

Jeff Rogers got a sunrise in McKinney, through the fog:

Sunrise through fog in McKinney, Texas. Photo by Jeff Rogers

Sunrise through fog in McKinney, Texas. Photo by Jeff Rogers

Angelica Villalobos Yates took her camera with her walking the dog; quintessential Texas fog shot:

Angelica Villalobos Yates surprised a tree in the Texas fog.

Angelica Villalobos Yates surprised a tree in the Texas fog.

Toni Wolff Margolis caught birds on a wire in the fog.

Toni Wolff Margolis caught birds on a wire in the fog.

From the tall buildings in downtown Dallas, a shot by Cindy Ackerson Bivins:

Photo from the Bank of America Tower of other Dallas buildings in the fog, December 9, 2014.  Photo by Cindy Ackerson Bivins

Photo from the Bank of America Tower of other Dallas buildings in the fog, December 9, 2014. Photo by Cindy Ackerson Bivins

Mike Prendergrast at Aerial DFW.com sent his DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus Drone to work, rising above the clouds, with good results, I think. He had me when I read that he included some time-lapse in there . . .

(Yes, Prendergrast is a great guy, and a good photographer, and he followed the rules and stayed low and out of the way of aircraft.)

Do you have a nice shot of Dallas in the fog to share?  Send it to me, or post it in comments.

More:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Suzy Bangs, who I hope is joining us again this week to take a hot Christmas meal and cheer to the good people at the Pleasant Grove Senior Recreation Center (that’s Pleasant Grove, Texas). Thanks, too, for the splash from Dubious Quality (who is this Gilbert fellow?).


Babe Ruth and a Circle 10 Council, BSA, Boy Scout, 1929

November 4, 2014

1929 photo of Babe Ruth, with Robert W. Johnsey, a Dallas Boy Scout.

1929 photo of Babe Ruth, with Robert W. Johnsey, a Dallas Boy Scout.

An old library photo?

A Facebook page called Traces of Texas posted this photo, with this explanation:

Babe Ruth and a Dallas boy scout, In 1929, the era’s most famous, revered, and idolized American sportsman, George Herman “Babe” Ruth, came to Dallas to speak on behalf of the Circle Ten Council and promote scouting to local businessmen. After delivering a rousing speech to a packed house, a Dallas Morning News photographer asked him for a picture. The Babe motioned to a Scout to join him. And for young Robert W. Johnsey, that must have been the highlight of his life.

Where did Traces of Texas get those details, and the photo?

I can find data bases that list a Robert W. Johnsey from Dallas, born in 1916, and dying in Dallas in 1995.  Without paying the fat fees demanded, I learn that one database said he died having never married.  Right age, but is that the right guy?

Then I find notes for a France Ray Mead Johnsey at Find A Grave.  It says she died in 2004, preceded in death by her husband Robert, who died in 1995.

Interesting little mysteries.

Anybody Remember  a Robert W. Johnsey from Dallas, Texas?  Can you give us more details?

Babe Ruth returned to Dallas in 1947. Dallas Observer noted:  On July 6, 1947, it was announced that George Herman Ruth would be coming to Dallas on July 9. The occasion: an appearance during a double-header at Rebel Stadium in Oak Cliff on behalf of the American Legion junior baseball program. That Wednesday would be known, according to the ad that ran on Page Four of The Dallas News, as Babe Ruth Day in Dallas, featuring

Babe Ruth returned to Dallas in 1947. Dallas Observer noted: On July 6, 1947, it was announced that George Herman Ruth would be coming to Dallas on July 9. The occasion: an appearance during a double-header at Rebel Stadium in Oak Cliff on behalf of the American Legion junior baseball program. That Wednesday would be known, according to the ad that ran on Page Four of The Dallas News, as Babe Ruth Day in Dallas, featuring “the immortal and beloved” ballplayer who’d been gravely ill only six months earlier. Tickets for his appearance at the ballpark ran one dollar, 30 cents for students.


Bob Reitz remembers Dallas — this afternoon!

May 10, 2014

Caption from the Dallas Morning News blogs:  This aerial photo shows the Casa View shopping village and the surrounding area in 1957, three years after Bob Reitz moved into the neighborhood with his family at age 7. Reitz is presenting a talk titled

Caption from the Dallas Morning News blogs: This aerial photo shows the Casa View shopping village and the surrounding area in 1957, three years after Bob Reitz moved into the neighborhood with his family at age 7. Reitz is presenting a talk titled “A Time We Once Shared” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Dallas’ White Rock Hills Branch Library. File 1957 / Staff Photo

Steve Blow writes columns for the local section of the Dallas Morning News Wednesday he featured one of our veteran Scouters from Wisdom Trail District here in the southwest corner of Dallas County.

Dallas and Scout historian Bob Reitz - Photo by Ed Darrell

Dallas and Scout historian Bob Reitz

Bob Reitz is also the curator of the Jack Harbin Boy Scout Museum at Camp Wisdom, a surprisingly great store of Scout history.  Among many other things he does well, Bob is a historian of great stories.

This afternoon, May 10, he’s telling stories of Dallas in his growing up years in the “middle-middle class” neighborhood of Casa View, east of downtown.  Bob’s got two hours (it will seem like one or less) at the White Rock Hills Branch Library, starting at 2:00 p.m. (9150 Ferguson Rd, 75228 (map))

You ought to go.

Below the fold, Steve Blow’s column, should it disappear from the DMN site.

Read the rest of this entry »


Historian David McCullough: What is the value of education?

April 17, 2014

Branch banks of the Federal Reserve work hard to provide economic education; alas, in the era of state standards requiring “teach to the test,” a lot of this stuff goes unused.

What is the value of education?  The Dallas Branch of the Fed had historian David McCullough in for consultations; they asked him on video, and here’s his response.

“We must be an educated people. We cannot be a productive, original, innovative society if we aren’t educated.”

For more information, visit the Dallas Fed’s website.

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