Sunday, January 31, 2010

WWI re-enactors – in real biplanes

An enthusiastic group of people, called the Great War Association, have recreated a WWI battlefield in Pennsylvania. Complete with trenches, command posts, machine guns, barbed wire, airfield and aircraft.



The video is a must see. What a hobby!


(Thanks Archie!)

Photo of the day

A few days ago our local photo club had a gathering for night photography at Watson Island, overlooking Downtown Miami.

It was a warm night, windy and 76F. We had one of the best turnouts ever with too many photographers in attendance (this is a partial view, there were many more). I usually shoot by myself but this was a fun event.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Photo of the day

The Ocean Plaza in South Beach

Friday, January 29, 2010

How to Report the News

YouTube link (if you can’t see the embedded video)


(Via Cynical-C)

The interactive scale of the Universe



Phil Plait PhD, the Bad Astronomer, links to a wonderful app showing the scale of the universe, from the largest galaxies down to the quantum foam. It is not like the famous “Powers of Ten” movie. This one just shows you relative sizes. Expand your mind.

Photo of the day

Jerry's Deli on Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Photo of the day

Gibbon, from a visit to Miami Metrozoo a couple of weeks ago.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

L’hommage de la Patrouille de France à Astérix

I had missed the 50thy Anniversary of Astérix and Obélix back in October. The Patrouille de France  aerobatic team did a wonderful number to commemorate the event. Amazing work!


Islamic Anger Management



from Atheist Cartoons

Get Out


An award-winning French animated short film about Gary, who is afraid of the unknown and doesn't want to go through the door.


(via Miss Cellania)

Photo of the day

Old Bahamas Air B737-200 on the foreground. They don't make these anymore.

Last week I had to take my nephew to Ft. Lauderdale (visiting from Chicago). It was a gorgeous day, so I spent a few minutes planespotting afterwards. The wind made my usual spot at the end of runway 9 unusable as they were now coming on 27. I went to the top of the parking lot instead for a different view.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Photo of the day

Washington Ave.
Miami Beach

Monday, January 25, 2010

Up to 500,000 European Starlings caught on video

Cell phone video showing a bird swarm over Sacramento County, California
An expert estimated it was a flock of up to 500,000 European Starling birds gathered in eastern Sacramento County.


(Thanks Cheryle!)

Photo of the day

Collins Ave., Miami Beach

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Horror stories

from Atheist Cartoons

Reporting Poll Results


© Jorge Cham,from PHDComics

(Via Miss Cellania)

Rare German WWII helicopter footage

There was an interesting discussion in one of the forums I visit about early helicopters in action. Somebody pointed that although rarely depicted by Hollywood (except maybe in Were Eagles Dare), the Germans were indeed working on helicopters during WWII. Here is a YouTube video of an Fa 223 Drache (Dragon) in action as a cargo (with sling) and medevac (circa 1942).


Here’s a nice write-up on early German helicopter technology.

Photo of the day

Brown pelicans
Bal Harbour, FL

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Photo of the day

Barbie Thunderbird
At the 2010 Miami Beach Art Deco weekend on Ocean Drive

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ten key truths

My friend, Alun Jones, MS Security MVP, has a great post on ten cryptographic key truths, followed by ten other key facts about cryptography.

Here are the first five:

  1. Your private key has to be private to you. It cannot be created by anyone else.
  2. Anyone who has your private key is you, for the purposes to which that key is applied.
  3. If you have a private key that was generated by your employer, then that key identifies you as a part of the employer. It cannot be used to uniquely identify you, because the key was generated under your employer's control.
  4. Keys associated with expired or revoked certificates are not always useless - you can use them to decrypt a file that they encrypted a long time ago; you can also verify the time-stamped signature of a document, if the certificate was valid at the time of the signature.
  5. A key is a number - it cannot expire, it is the associated certificate that expires. Similarly, the certificate, not the key, is what is revoked after exposure.

Read Alun’s article for the rest of the list (I wish more people took these truths to heart).

Photo of the day

At the 2010 Miami Beach Art Deco weekend on Ocean Drive

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

This live version features Elton John, Queen, and Axl Rose performing at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992.

YouTube link (if you can’t see the embedded video)

Here is the excellent and amusing version Oompah version by an Austrian Band. Different and very amusing.

Miss Cellania has a list of Bohemian Rhapsody versions.



Photo of the day

Porsche Speedster
At the 2010 Miami Beach Art Deco weekend on Ocean Drive

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photo of the day

Porsche Speedster
At the 2010 Miami Beach Art Deco weekend on Ocean Drive

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tough times: Japan Airlines Files for Bankruptcy

It is a sad day when a proud carrier has to resort to bankruptcy procedures.

“Key measures of the restructuring plan include cutting more than 15,000 jobs, or about 30% of its workforce, by the end of 2013”

Japan Airlines (JAL), the country's 59-year-old flagship carrier that once symbolized the strength of Japan. Now in ruins, it must do what it needs to survive.

Tree Lobsters: Measurement

Do you read the wonderful Tree Lobsters comic? It teaches critical thinking skills with humor (or humour for Brits, Canadians, Aussies, and Kiwis).



Click on the image for the full comic.

"It's so Cold, there can't be Global Warming"


YouTube link (if you can’t see the embedded video)


(Via Atheist Media Blog)

Photo of the day

Last weekend we had the 2010 Miami Beach Art Deco weekend on Ocean Drive (SoBe). As you can see, Miami had typical winter weather.

1958 Austin Healey Sprite Mark I (Bugeye)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Photo of the day

Green heron
This guy was cold!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Orangutan and the Hound

A National Geographic video (not embedded)


(Via Atheist Media Blog)

Photo of the day

Tri-color heron
Wakodahatchee wetlands, Delray, FL

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Photo of the day

Purple Gallinule
Wakodahatchee wetlands, Delray, FL

Friday, January 15, 2010

From Zen Moments: The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

Zen Moments, tells the story of a cabdriver and a fare he picked up years before and that he’ll remember for the rest of his life.

It goes like this:

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.

It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss.

What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partyers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town…

Read the whole story at Zen Moments. A wonderful read. It made my day.

Tree Lobsters: Confectionopathy

Tree Lobsters is a comic that teaches critical thinking. Here’s is a take on alternative medicines, the ones that are expensive, somewhat mysterious and nobody knows how they work, if they work at all.


See the full comic here.

Photo of the day

Wood stork

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pat Robertson is a callous scumbag


Pat Robertson

“They [the Haitians] got together and swore a pack to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you get us free from the French… But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing or the other”


Olbermann slams Limbaugh and Robertson

Olbermann link


Haitian Ambassador responds to Pat Robertson

January 13, 2010 on MSNBC

Help the Haitian people

The devastating earthquake that occurred in Haiti this past Tuesday has left millions suffering and in desperate need of help. The Red Cross estimates as of today 50,000+ casualties and the number will probably climb.

They need donations of goods such as:

Flashlight Batteries - D cells
Matches / lighters
Lanterns + lantern oil
Rubbing alcohol
Hydrogen peroxide
Baby diapers
Canned food with TAB OPENINGS not requiring can openers - soup, tuna, etc
Energy bars
Bottled water
Can openers


but what they need most, and the easiest to give, is money.

Please donate what you can, but be sure to donate to established organizations, such as the Red Cross. At times like this, scammers come out of the woodwork to make a fast buck. Don’t be fooled.

Please click here to got to the Red Cross website,

or you also can text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10 to the International Response Fund as described here

The money will go directly to relief efforts in Haiti. Or call 1-800-Red-Cross.

There are other verified, legitimate charities accepting donations for relief efforts in Haiti listed here

Make sure to avoid charity fraud as described here

Thank you.

Lying and skepticism

Is it ever OK to lie for skepticism? Not usually but in this case I read today, a blogger tells us the story of a professor he had in college that included a lie in every one of his lectures and told them so at the beginning of the course. That there would be a falsehood included and they would have to catch the Lie of the Day and correct him. Brilliant! This kept the students alert, attentive and interested.

It taught them not to take everything at face value but to analyze the reasoning behind the so called facts. I do this in my daily life and teaching kids about skepticism as a way of life is good. Gives them the tools to be more inquisitive, to become free thinkers, and be more equipped to be successful in their lives.

Read how the real story went at Zen Moments Blog.


(Via Phil Plait)

Photo of the day

Miami Metrozoo

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Photo of the day

Grévy's Zebra
Miami Metrozoo

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Comic: Why I believe Printers Were Sent From Hell…

This may not be a surprise to anyone, and probably most of us would agree but I hate printers. I do as little printing as possible.

Gizmodo has published a good comic by The Oatmeal that depicts what printers do and why we hate them. True to life.

Photo of the day

Juvenile Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Bal Harbour, FL

These are rare visitors. Only show up sporadically in winter. This time there were four far offshore doing 9.8 diving! This one came close enough for a few shots only once. I was lucky to be there.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Photo of the day

Green heron yawning, or maybe she's a female?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Photo of the day

Royal Tern in South Florida

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Richard Dawkins: Why are there still chimpanzees?

There are people in this world that still cling to outdated and debunked fallacies. If you wonder about something, as the second guy in the video does, why not spend a few minutes with a book, or an encyclopedia? In any case, Richard Dawkins explains it clearly.

YouTube link

Photo of the day

The Great Blue Herons are nesting!
Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray, FL

Friday, January 08, 2010

Photo of the day

Whistling duck
Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Delray, FL
Ducks are tough to shoot. They fly way too fast.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Photo of the day

P-51 Mustang
Planes Of Fame Museum, Chino, California

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Attenborough joins the symphony

YouTube link (if you can’t see the embedded video)


(via Pharyngula)

Photo of the day

1928 Mahoney-Ryan B-1 Brougham
Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Keith Olbermann and Dan Savage on Brit Hume's Evangelizing of Tiger Woods

YouTube link (if you can’t see the embedded video)

Photo of the day

1937 KD-1A Autogiro
Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California

Monday, January 04, 2010

Photo of the day

Vultee BT-13B Valiant
Twin seat basic trainer
Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California

Sunday, January 03, 2010

James Randi: Thoughts About God

YouTube link (if you can’t see the embedded video)


Photo of the day

P-40E-1 Warhawk
Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Photo of the day

1930 Stearman YPT-9B Cloudboy
Yanks Air Museum, Chino, California

Back in November I was in Southern California. I had the chance to visit the Air Museums in Chino Airport. There are two separate museums, Yanks and Planes of Fame, both excellent.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Photo of the day

Royal Tern with catch