Monday, April 29, 2013

The Vastness of Reality

The good newsThe universe is finite. Infinite is hard to wrap your mind around.
The bad news The numbers are huge

The universe has 1022 to 1024 stars 1011 to 1012 galaxies

Our star has 8 planets, one of which is inhabited with an abundance of life including 7 billion people, large mammals.  The number of planets and people are the most accurate of these numbers.

A person has about 7 x 1019 cells or 7 x 1027 atoms

And we have the wonders of Quantum Physics.  This will keep our curiosity going for a long time.

How to dry out a watch

Does you watch contain moisture?  This can be fixed easily, all you need are:

(1) Computer
(2) Blue tape
(3) Glue stick
(4) 10 minutes

Take the back off the watch and remove the plastic spacer. Tilt the face so the warm dry air from the computer fan blows on the inside glass. Reassemble.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How natural is the natural world?

We live in a world crafted by ourselves.   Natural oranges and pineapples are small and insignificant to what we buy in the supermarket.   Heirloom tomatoes, are not exactly "natural" but very different to standard tomatoes.  They have defects, strange shapes, and unusual colors, but taste wonderful.

The "wild" animals around us, especially the larger ones, are conditioned by our presence.  Deer eat our plants, armadillos like the easy soft dirt of our gardens.  Mice invade our houses for warmth and protection.  Roads are a smorgasbord of road kill, dead animals for vultures. We act as careless killers and leave the dead behind on the road where it is easy to find. There must be many more vultures because we feed them like cats.

And gardens are a design exercise.  We decide which plants are "weeds" and which are not.  Generally the weeds are the natural plants, most suited to the microclimate. We fight an ongoing war with the weeds to craft our garden design.

If you need to know what is suited to grow in your area, look for an abandoned property and see what is thriving in summer and winter without care, fertilizer or extra water.  Look to see what plants attract local butterflies and other insects; they ignore most foreign plants.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I came to the US, a few days before Margaret Thatcher became prime minister of the UK.  The world was a different place.  At that time the US collected data on what ethnicity you were for Affirmative Action programs, and I had to fill in a form where I was asked to select my ethnicity.

But it was not there, so I chose Other.  Curiously there was a category for people from the Caucasus.  Fancy collecting data on such a small group.

I have been Other ever since.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Republic of Texas was here, but where was ....

The Republic of Texas existed from 1836, when it seceded from Mexico, and 1845, when it was annexed as a state of the USA.  Just nine years.

In 1836 the world was a different place, no Belgium, Finland, Albania, Poland, Singapore, Turkey, or California.  German and Italy were a collection of fiefdoms.

Texas $5 bill worth about US $2

Coins are still here - Ugh

The US has four coins in common use; the half dollar and dollar coins are rarely seen.  They are the most illogical set of coins I have come across.  And they have names!

Cent  - Copper colored, worth one cent, and costs 2 cents to make
Nickel - Silver colored, worth five cents, and costs 10 cents to make
Dime - Silver colored, worth 10 cents and smaller than the 5 cent Nickel
Quarter - Silver colored, worth 25 cents

The Nickel and Dime do not have the value on the coin, so for a foreigner having logic and not local knowledge, would expect the larger Nickel to be worth more than the Dime.

The dollar coins have been unsuccessful, as the dollar paper note remained in use, and the dollar coins looked like quarters.  The Susan B Anthony dollar coin was later revamped as the Sacagawea coin a touch more golden.

The US government needs to outsource its money design to a design studio, who do market research.  What we have looks like it was designed by a committee.

Monday, April 8, 2013

More a Museum, Less a Store

This is a new store in the countryside just north of Round Top, Texas (pop 80 and holding).  It has interesting things inside suitable for an urban loft; the store would be more at home in a city.  The inside is surprisingly dark and atmospheric.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Art in Central Texas

Bottle lamps are in fashion this year 

Glossy finished furniture

Steampunk Jewelry?

Annual exhibit

Mexican flying pig

And it is street legal.....

Standard Barbed Wire for Texas

Spooky display near the Scary Baby Hotel