Searching for contentment

Reading: The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

The Light Brigade by Kameron HurleyWell narrated by Cara Gee, Jackie Sanders

What a ride! This near-future, speculative fiction story really kept me on my toes working to figure out the inventive timeline the colorful characters were dealing with as they fought their way through a war that at first seemed straight forward and even honorable, but then slowly was revealed to be a sham perpetrated on the people of earth by nefarious corporations.

Speaking of corporations, I appreciate the exercise the author tackles imagining where the increasing power being ceded to corporations by the government today might well lead in the not-too-distant future. It reminds me of an excellent book I read some years ago, Gain by Richard Powers, and I was very happy to see that an audiobook edition of that book was recently released. I'm definitely going to revisit that story soon.

Just yesterday, I read a related news article that left left me a bit stunned and saddened, but not entirely surprised: "Report: 26 States Now Ban or Restrict Community Broadband" by Karl Bode, Motherboard, Apr 18, 2019. How is it that politicians think it is okay to so blatantly trample the rights of their constituents in favor of toadying to the profit-mad corporations? #brokendemocracy

Simon & Schuster, 2019

More recent reading >

Contemplating: Photographing fungi

When I got a decent camera, I discovered that it helped me to see the world around me in a much more immersive manner; I began noticing things I might have walked right past previously, including fungi like this happy cluster that I noticed alongside the Buchanan Pass Trail.

Beautifully pattered mushrooms alongside the Buchanan Pass Trail

Understanding this gift that photography gives me makes me even more deeply appreciate a set of photographs of fungi by Alison Pollack that I came across. She is fortunate to be in Northern California, which typically receives much more rainfall than we do here, but I also think she must have an excellent eye because the variety of fungi she has photographed—some of which are incredibly tiny and unlike anything I've seen before—is astonishing.

Trametes versicolor by Alison Pollack
Trametes versicolor at Mount Tamalpais
by Alison Pollack

It's well worth it to take some time to slowly peruse her fascinating collection.

marin_mushrooms by Alison Pollack

More recent contemplations >

Woodworking: Windtraveler lamp

The Windtraveler shoji lamp

Dedicated to my good friend Thomas Hey'l
who has inspired me to look at design more deeply
and to take even more care about precision.

More about this project >
More woodworking >

Living in the Rockies

Sometimes the simplest things are delightful. Yesterday afternoon, it was raining gently. The wild grasses are just beginning to emerge, bringing the first tinge of springtime green. We awoke to several inches of snow, the kind that coats everything, making even the most mundane things look surprisingly beautiful. The forecast predicts it will all melt away within a couple hours.

Spring snowfall on cage

Higher res version of this photo >
More recent photos >

Ham radio: Reflections of an amateur⩘ 

My HT: Kenwood TH-D74A

Although I'm still relatively new to the universe of amateur radio, I've already enjoyed enough interesting learning experiences as well as stubbed my toes enough times to have gained a few insights. I'm a non-technical user figuring things out as I go along, and I also don't have a great memory, so I'm writing these articles as my way to keep track of what I'm learning (and also just for fun, as I love writing as much as learning). Basically, this is info I wish I had found online when I was browsing for insights:⩘ .

Playing with Pi-Star⩘ 
More amateur radio⩘ 


Sharks kill an average of 10 people per year. People kill around 100,000,000 sharks per year 1. People also kill approximately 425,000 people per year, topped only by mosquitoes, which kill about 725,000 people per year 2.

And we worry about sharks?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

People walk at an average pace of about 2.5 miles per hour.
Trail winding up Cow Creek valley by Toshen
Meanwhile, light travels about 186,000 miles per second, or about 11,160,000 miles per hour. It would take light about 0.13 seconds to travel around the Earth,
Blue Marble, 2012. Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring
1.3 seconds to travel the 238,900 miles from the moon to the Earth,
Big end-of-year moon by Toshen
8.3 minutes to travel the 93,000,000 miles from the sun to Earth, and 1.3 hours to travel the 890,000,000 miles from the sun to Saturn.
Saturn. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
At the scale of the solar system, the Earth is a spec of dust (1,300,000 Earths could fit within our sun).
Sun, from the video Fiery Looping Rain on the Sun. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO
Our sun, as big as it is, is just a tiny twinkle of light in a suburb of the Milky Way galaxy. Its light takes 28,000 years to travel to the center of the Milky Way. Milky Way. Credit: Kris Wiktor, Shutterstock One light year is just short of 6,000,000,000,000 miles. The Milky Way has a diameter between 150,000 and 200,000 light-years, and contains between 100,000,000,000 - 400,000,000,000 stars, which together create a smidgen of light in our local group of galaxies. The light of the Milky Way takes about 2,500,000 years to travel just to the nearby Andromeda galaxy.
Andromeda. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The observable universe is estimated to contain somewhere between 200,000,000,000 - 2,000,000,000,000 galaxies.
Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF). Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team

And we worry about anything?

All distances and times are approximate.
Inspiration: "New 3D map of the Milky Way shows we live in a warped galaxy," NBC News, Feb 5, 2019.
A related video: The Exhilarating Peace of Freediving by Guillaume Néry.
Image credits:
Hiking trail in Cow Creek valley: Toshen
Blue Marble, 2012, Earth image: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring
Full moon image: Toshen
Saturn: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Sun, from the video Fiery Looping Rain on the Sun: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO
Milky Way: Kris Wiktor, Shutterstock
Andromeda: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF): NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team