Dec 24, 2009

The known universe

This brilliant film is making the rounds. I found mine over at A Pacific View. Here's the comment I left there after seeing this video:

Absolutely stunning video! Finally one that clearly gave me an idea of scale. Especially going back home. If any aliens are visiting us, it must be purely by accident, because finding us is like finding a needle in a haystack. Or more like finding a partial needle in a 1000 haystacks. Thanks for posting this, Tom!

So if you aren't impressed with the story of three wise men following a star, this journey through the stars ought to give you a nice sense of awe (play the HD version at full screen for best effect!):

The Starving Economist: People--A Liability?!

A friend of mine has an excellent summary of what's really wrong with society, the economy, etc.: People. No, there's nothing wrong with people. The problem is that we aren't taking care of people.

The Starving Economist: People--A Liability?!

Dec 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Poinsettia

Wordless Wednesday - Known as julestjerne ("Christmas star") in Norwegian

Dec 19, 2009

For the birds

It snowed during the night. And not the usual pathetic paper-thin layer that melts within hours we usually get. No, this snow landed in rich amounts on frozen ground. It'll stay as long as we have below-freezing temperatures.

Wednesday I hung up a bird feeder with seeds, and a tallow ball with seeds on my balcony. One lone blue tit was on the feeder Thursday when I got home early enough to still have daylight. Yesterday, a couple of sparrows had found the feeders.

This morning, a half dozen magpies sat in the little beech tree next to my building, and only a few feet away from my balcony. A little later, I looked out and saw a dozen sparrows in the beech tree and three on the tallow ball. I immediately thought of Alfred Hitchcock and grinned.

All the birds keep fighting and jockeying for positions on the feeders, making me laugh out loud. The cagiest are the great tits, who are not yet comfortable when I come to the door. The sparrows are quicker not to mind a human shape. I've also discovered that the sparrows all wait in the bush below while other birds feed. I hope to see the blue tit again, and maybe some other species.

A glimpse from way inside my living room through my balcony door:

I need to move the other feeder so I can see the activity there, too, from my desk. I also hope to get some far better pictures in future.

Dec 10, 2009

Obama's amazing adventure

Norway's newspapers are, of course, full of articles about president Barack Obama's visit to Oslo in order to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Paging through one of our online newspapers, I found a juxtaposition that amused me. The top photo shows Obama and the First Lady disembarking upon arrival in Oslo this morning and the ad underneath is self-explanatory - and quite appropriate:

Dec 3, 2009

Solar return

Astro.com tells me this about my solar return:
Happy birthday! Today the Sun returns to the position it was in when you were born. As would seem appropriate with this transit, today is a day of new beginnings, and the influences you feel today will affect the entire year to come. However, this does not mean that the whole year will be disappointing if today doesn't work out exactly as planned. You are receiving a new impulse from the energy center within you, as symbolized by the Sun. Therefore any new venture that you start at this time will ride the crest of this new energy and will very likely come to an acceptable conclusion. Whatever you do or begin today will bear the stamp of your individuality more than anything else. This is the day to assert yourself anew.

Beats the current Neptune square Mercury which represents fuzzy thinking. And I thought that was just hormones. ;-)