Shallow Thoughts : : Jun

Akkana's Musings on Open Source Computing and Technology, Science, and Nature.

Fri, 26 Jun 2020

P is for Ponderosa (and Piñon too)

[ponderosa: only mostly dead] In dry years like this one, hiking the trails you see a lot of dead ponderosas. It's so sad, thinking of the loss of beautiful, tall trees like that.

Several years ago, someone who researches trees told us that even when ponderosas look dead, they may just be conserving resources. They might still bounce back in the next wet season. It's hard to believe, when you see a tree covered entirely with brown, dead needles. I confess, I didn't believe him.

But then we had a wet season, and I started seeing miracles.

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[ 09:44 Jun 26, 2020    More nature | permalink to this entry | comments ]

P is for Privacy

The LWV Los Alamos is running a Privacy Study, which I'm co-chairing. As preparation for our second meeting, I gave a Toastmasters talk entitled "Browser Privacy: Cookies and Tracking and Scripts, Oh My!" A link to the talk video, a transcript, and lots of extra details are available on my newly created Privacy page.

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[ 08:58 Jun 26, 2020    More tech | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sat, 20 Jun 2020

Solstice Sun Dagger

Today is the summer solstice. Happy solstice!

[Solstice sun dagger] When I was in grade school -- probably some time around 7th grade -- I happened upon an article in Scientific American about the Anasazi Sun Dagger on Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon. On the solstices and equinoxes, a thin dagger of light is positioned just right so that it moves across a spiral that's carved into the rock.

I was captivated. What an amazing sight it must be, I thought. I wondered if ordinary people were allowed to go see it.

Well, by the time I was old enough to do my own traveling, the answer was pretty much no. Too many people were visiting Fajada Butte ...

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[ 17:35 Jun 20, 2020    More science/astro | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Thu, 11 Jun 2020

O is for Overlook Park -- and Other Great City Parks

[Rainbow over Shumo from Overlook Park] "Ho hum, it's just our local city park", we say, walking back to the parking area from the overlook at Overlook Park here in White Rock.

We're joking, of course. The Overlook has stunning views of White Rock Canyon that change as the light changes. It's maybe three miles from home, and we visit it fairly often and never get tired of the view.

It's amazing to have a place like this so close to home. And sometimes we get to thinking: how many other towns have a city park that compares?

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[ 14:55 Jun 11, 2020    More travel | permalink to this entry | comments ]

Sat, 06 Jun 2020

N is for Nestlings

A pair of mountain chickadees have a nest in the nest box I set up outside the bedroom window.

[Mountain chickadee] I first saw them bringing food to the nest almost a month ago, May 10, though I'm not sure if they were bringing food to a nest-sitting parent, or if they were feeding chicks that had already hatched.

Chickadees at a nest are quick-moving: they flit up to the hole and immediately enter, not lingering on the threshold like ash-throated flycatchers or Bewick's wrens, both of which have used this nestbox in past years. So it's not easy to get photos of chickadees at the nest box. So instead, here's a photo of a mountain chickadee from several years ago.

Since May 10 there's been plenty of activity, chickadees flying in and out, bringing food and carrying away fecal sacs.

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[ 11:07 Jun 06, 2020    More nature | permalink to this entry | comments ]