Trinity test, world’s first atomic bomb – July 16, 1945

July 17, 2016

Another good reason to follow the National Archives on Twitter, Tumblr and other media:  Great updates.

Like this one on the explosive arrival of the Atomic Age:

 Atomic Age Begins

"Trinity" atomic device being positioned at White Sands, New Mexico - National Archives

Trinity atomic device “Jumbo” being positioned at White Sands, New Mexico – National Archives

Atomic Age Begins

On July 16, 1945 the United States tested a nuclear device, code named “Trinity”, for the first time in White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.

Above: [“Jumbo” atomic device being positioned for “Trinity” test at Alamogordo, New Mexico.], 1945

Below: [“Trinity” explosion], 07/16/1945

Source: research.archives.gov

It’s astonishing to think anyone could hide the explosion today. Near the end of World War II, after Germany had surrendered to end the war in Europe, no one really knew just what at atomic explosion would look or sound like. The test occurred near dawn in a very desolate part of New Mexico’s southern desert, a then sparsely populated state. A few thousand may have seen the flash; a few hundred may have heard or felt the explosion. No one in government confirmed any report of a weapon.

English: Rare color photograph of the first nu...

Rare color photograph of the first nuclear test at Trinity site, July 16, 1945. Blurriness is in the original photograph (done when color photography was still fairly new). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is based on an earlier post, and is mostly an encore post.

This is based on an earlier post, and is mostly an encore post.


Are birds smarter than Columbus?

March 8, 2016

Another great find on Twitter, for geography, biology and physics classes.

How do birds navigate, compared to, say, Columbus? Most U.S. history texts make a big deal of Columbus’s navigation, made possible by invention of the magnetic compass and the sextant.

Birds are more accurate, and they have neither. Well, they don’t have external magnetic compasses. See the cartoon.

Neuroscientist and cartoonist team up to talk about birds

Neuroscientist and cartoonist team up to talk about birds “seeing” magnetic lines of the Earth! Information from Dwayne Godwin at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, with drawings by Jorge Cham, who draws Piled Higher and Deeper.

Teachers, have someone in the drafting department make this cartoon into a poster for your classroom.

As usual, the truth is more weird and wonderful than fiction writers could hope to invent.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Columbia University’s Twitter managers.


Timpanogos timelapse, a reverse setting sun?

February 25, 2016

Again from Twitter, a series of photographs of Utah’s Mount Timpanogos.

From top to bottom, it looks like a sunrise on the mountain. But Timpanogos faces west; the sun rises from behind this face. Two possible explanations. The more mundane explanation would be that the series starts with the bottom photo, progressing to the top. Shadows support that explanation.

The slightly more colorful explanation would be, as we often see here in Texas, weather moving from west to east; and in the late afternoon a cover of clouds moves far enough east that the setting sun finally is uncovered, peeking out from underneath the clouds to light the land with that wonderful golden hour sun for a few minutes, before setting.

Timpanogos, like the rock it is, sits majestically either way.

Tweet from sofiaaugustineadams (@sofiaaadams): Mountain time #timelapse #timpanogos

Tweet from sofiaaugustineadams (@sofiaaadams): Mountain time #timelapse #timpanogos

I Tweeted Ms. Adams (I’m presuming her name to be Sofia Augustine Adams) to ask which it is. For those who love Timpanogos, it won’t matter much.

My guess is the photo was taken from south of Orem, Utah, probably near Interstate Highway 15 which transects Utah County.

Update: Ms. Adams informs us  (see comments) it is a setting sun, with the bottom photo being the first in the series. Thank you!


Oil in Mt. Timpanogos?

February 19, 2016

During the RARE II Wilderness Assessment process, and during the Sagebrush Rebellion of the 1970s and 1980s, wildcatters along the Rocky Mountains spine of the west would say we couldn’t rule out any area as having no oil unless we drilled first.

But no one’s found oil in Timpanogos.

Instead, we’ve found Timpanogos in oil.

Mt. Timpanogos Millennium, by Adam Abram (b. 1976). From Tweet by Don Ruggles (@DHRuggles) and @TeresaVeiga1

Mt. Timpanogos Millennium, by Adam Abram (b. 1976). From Tweet by Don Ruggles (@DHRuggles) and @TeresaVeiga1

It’s an interesting view of the mountain, from the southwest. At the right of the picture is Provo Canyon. The body of water must be the Provo River, but in a serene state I think could not have existed at any time. The bluffs shown past the juniper trees are unfamiliar to me.  I’m guessing the artist, Adam Abram, has idealized Timpanogos as the Mormon pioneers might have found it. The area portrayed is probably part of Orem, Utah, today — covered by housing tracts and power lines.

Anyone know? A topological map covering the mouth of Provo Canyon to where the river enters Utah Lake might offer much more specific information. I don’t have one of those at the moment.

Compare it with this photo of Timpanogos (in late summer) by Bob Walker of Orem, 2012:

Utah's Mount Timpanogos looking Northeast; Provo Canyon to the left of the photo. Photo by Bob Walker.

Utah’s Mount Timpanogos looking Northeast; Provo Canyon to the left of the photo. Photo by Bob Walker.

Almost update: I went looking for Adam Abram. You can hang a print of his Mount Timpanogos Millennium for under $30 (a bargain).

Abram explains his painting:

I grew up in the shadow of beautiful Mt. Timpanogos.  This mountain, towering over Utah Valley, stands at 11,749 feet above sea level and once rose above the shores of ancient Lake Bonneville.  Its name is a Paiute word meaning “river of rock.” My goal as an artist was to memorialize my favorite mountain with a 19th century style similar to the Hudson River School. In the process of creation, I did studies of several trees from around the mountain and painted them in.  Sadly, those trees have been torn down with the growth of business and home development. This painting is a tribute to the beauty and majesty of this incredible mountain. This painting won 3rd place in the prestigious 2007 International ARC salon.

I’m not alone in loving that mountain. Who knew?


Wildlife refuge photos, early January 2016

January 5, 2016

National Wildlife Refuges. Four days ago, most people were very fuzzy on what they are, except for members of Ducks Unlimited, and conservationists.

Here are a few Tweets to help the rest along.

Moose at the National Elk Refuge, outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

Wisdom is a 64-year old albatross who remarkably returns to the Midway National Wildlife Refuge every year, and has raised chicks most of those years. Midway NWR is northwest of Hawaii:

Sparky the lightning catching bull bison, at the Midwest NWR:

Every Kid in a Park shares a photo of an unnamed wild area (threw it in just for the heck of it):

Yellow-rumped warbler at the Sacramento NWR:

USFWS workers conduct a controlled burn at the Okefenokee NWR in Florida:

Hamden Slough NWR, Minnesota, is 26 years old today, January 5:

Great blue heron at Sacramento NWR:

Pied-billed grebe at Sacramento NWR:

Conservatives keep misattributing a famous quote to Thomas Paine, but it was Ed Abbey who said it. Rumor is you can find Abbey at the Caza Prieta NWR in Arizona:

Buenos Aires NWR, Arizona:

Wichita Mountains NWR, Oklahoma:

Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico (near Las Vegas, New Mexico, home of the first Owl Cafe and the wonderful Owl Burger):

https//twitter.com/CherylRofer/status/683725871123791872

Back to the Midway Atoll NWR:

1908 photo from Oregon’s Malheur NWR:

Working against extinction of monarch butterflies, at St. Marks NWR:

Lake Klamath NWR in Oregon, critical habitat for ducks along the Pacific flyway:

Loxahatchee NWR:

“Conservatives” want to sell these lands off, or drill for oil or gas, or mine for minerals, on many of these lands. Will these places be preserved for your great grandchildren and America’s future?


January 5, 1502: A deal is a deal, with Columbus’s most prized possession

January 5, 2016

Who can you trust, if not the king and queen?

Columbus feared that King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella would not honor pledges they had made to him as recompense and honor for his great work of discovery on their behalf.  Before his final voyage, he assembled a legal document showing those promises made to him, and his work for Spain.

This illustrates, once again, the human dimension of the great drama of the age of exploration, of Columbus’s stumbling on to the America’s in his efforts to get to China.

The Library of Congress and the History Channel team up again to show off these grand snippets of history:

On January 5, 1502, prior to his fourth and final voyage to America, Columbus gathered several judges and notaries in his home in Seville. The purpose? To have them authorize copies of his archival collection of original documents through which Isabel and Fernando had granted titles, revenues, powers and privileges to Columbus and his descendants. These 36 documents are popularly called “Columbus’ Book of Privileges.” Four copies of his “Book” existed in 1502, three written on vellum and one on paper. The Library’s copy, one of the three on vellum, has a unique paper copy of the Papal Bull Dudum siquidem of September 26, 1493, which extended the Spanish claim for future explorations.

513 years ago today.

Parts of Christopher Columbus’s journals parked for a visit to Dallas, through January 3, at the Meadows Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. When we visited, the exhibits were not crowded. Who cares about ancient history today? Not enough.

Borrowed with permission from Mr. Darrell’s Wayback Machine. This has also appeared at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub before.


Geography from space: Nile at night, a river of light

September 25, 2015

Geography teachers love the Nile Delta because it so well epitomizes what a river delta is — clear demonstration of the delta form, in real photos.

From the International Space Station, the model gets ramped up a bit:

A stunning pic taken by @StationCDRKelly while on @Space_Station shows the Nile River at night http://go.nasa.gov/1iAE3EV

Twitter caption: A stunning pic taken by @StationCDRKelly while on @Space_Station shows the Nile River at night http://go.nasa.gov/1iAE3EV

The Nile becomes a river of light, showing the advance of electrified human settlement along the banks, and providing stark contrast to the unlighted desert on either side of the river.

What other cities, landmarks, or geographical features can you identify in the photo?


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