Category Archives: Photography

Thursday Doors: The Queen Mary

CoinFrontLast weekend my husband and I went to a Geocaching mega-event called Geocoinfest. If you don’t know what a Geocoin is, the header at the top of my blog is actually taken from one: the 1000 finds Geocoin. I bought it several years ago when I started this blog, in honor of my thousandth find (I am currently at 2881 finds, but who’s counting?)

The event was basically an opportunity for geocachers from all over the country (and world) to get together, swap stories and trackables, and to find more geocaches. It was held on the Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach.  The first Geocoinfest on a ship! And my first time on the Queen Mary.

02MainHall

The old Queen is looking a little faded these days. It is still a nice place to be, and definitely worth a visit there on the water in the lovely SoCal weather (and surprisingly, the air was much better down there than up near us because of the North Bay fires). But on the main deck and in the common rooms, you get more of a sense of past glory and times gone by, than current grandeur. The wood is polished and shiny, but the ceilings are low and the pipes are visible. And, I think I see a . . .  phone booth?

On the ship there were a couple of interesting models, one of the SS Normandie, one of her sister ships. Look at the tiny doors, along with tiny-everything-else!

And another model of the Queen Mary made entirely of Legos. More tiny Lego doors!

Out on the ship’s deck itself, there were more doors leading to mysterious places:

Although it looks like potentially a good place for them, there weren’t any geocaches hidden on the ship itself. But there were plenty around the dock and harbor area, and some special “lab caches” made just for the event. We found them all and got a souvenir.
Congratulations

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time) at Norm 2.0’s blog here.

20KarenwithQueenMary

 

 

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Mundane Monday: Pendulum

s-l300The last class I taught was about pendulums, those mundane things that swing back and forth. My favorite illustration of how a pendulum works is the old-fashioned metronome. I still own one like this, somewhere. The lower on the stick you position the weight, the faster the tempo it marks. The one in the picture would be ticking so fast it would be hard to keep up.

This phenomenon illustrates the fundamental principle behind pendulums: that the period of a pendulum (that is, the time it takes for it to swing back and forth) depends on its length, not on the weight or on the angle at which it is released (for small angles). When you move the weight up and down the stick of the metronome, you change the length of the pendulum, and thereby change its period and the tempo it is providing. Nowadays, with metronome apps changing the tempo at the push of a virtual button on your phone, this concept is going to be harder for young musicians to intuit.

Our students made their own pendulums and varied each of the three parameters (length, weight, and angle) to figure out which made a difference in the period of the pendulum. There were brightly-colored chains, with weights hanging on them, attached to protractors and hooks all around the classroom.

ClassroomPendulum

One type of pendulum that many students were already familiar with was a kind that you often see in science museums, called a Foucault’s Pendulum. This pendulum, hung on a fixed pivot that does not rotate, was first used to observe and measure the rotation of the earth. This video provides a good explanation of how that is done:

 

Only a week later, I found myself at Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles, and they have a Foucault’s Pendulum in the lobby there. This picture was taken looking down on the pendulum bob as it swings. The bob itself is lighted, as is the circle around it that enables observers to see the change in the pendulum’s position throughout the day as the Earth rotates.

 

For the Mundane Monday Challenge #131.

Astronomers
The Astronomers at Griffith Park Observatory

Broken World

The EcoEarth Globe stands in Riverfront Park in Salem, OR. It is an arresting sight from afar, dwarfing even the bridge and the Willamette River behind it. It is also a complex and multifaceted work of mosaic art, with tiles and plaques representing species from all over the planet. But as you get closer, and check out all the continents, you notice something. There is a hole in the middle of Africa, right under the lions, elephants, and zebras. Continue reading Broken World

Layers of October

As we head into fall, days get shorter and the light changes. It’s also time for seasonal CITO (Cache-In-Trash-Out) events. We go for walks in the Baylands and instead of looking for geocaches, we look for trash. As I’ve written before about this park, it’s pretty clean. We never get enough trash to fill our bag, and end up taking the trash bag home to use it for household garbage so as not to waste it and defeat the purpose of the event. Continue reading Layers of October

Gravity Wells

I haven’t blogged for a while because I’ve been busy with work, family and other writing projects. I’m trying to write a 5,000 word short story for a contest. (It is hard for me to write “short,” even though I have 4,000 more words to work with than for the last short story I wrote for a contest.)

But now that my school year has started and I am settling into a routine, I want to get back to more regular blogging again. I also want to include more science posts in this blog, so with today’s post I want to combine two concepts and make a Mundane Monday post about gravity. In fact, what could be more mundane than gravity? All of us earth-dwellers experience it every day. We can’t get away from it–literally! Continue reading Gravity Wells

Mundane Monday: Last View of Seattle

PhoTrablogger’s entry for this week’s Mundane Monday Challenge is a colorful alleyway. It got me thinking about pictures taken looking down a street or alley. I took this one just before I left Seattle, after visiting my relatives there earlier this month.

Continue reading Mundane Monday: Last View of Seattle

Mundane Tuesday: Tired Oak Tree

This tree, in the middle of Jack Fischer Park in Campbell CA, has a sign next to it which reads:

Hello, I am an old and tired Oak tree. But people and wildlife still enjoy my company. Someday, I may drop a branch here or there, so for your safety, please stay outside the fenced area. Thanks! 

Continue reading Mundane Tuesday: Tired Oak Tree

Mundane Tuesday: Ducks

I am finally home from dropping my daughter off at Willamette University for her freshman year. It was a fun and eventful trip, but at the end came a long and kind of lonely drive, without a companion or anyone to share in the driving, the way my daughter did on the way up. When I got back late Sunday night I was tired and I spent most of Monday recovering, unpacking, doing laundry, and watching Game of Thrones episodes that I had missed while I was away.

Continue reading Mundane Tuesday: Ducks