Tuesday, October 31, 2006


December 13, 1862. Site of one of the important battles of the Civil War and certainly General Lee's greatest victory. General Ambrose Burnside had just been given command of the Union Army of the Potomac and was under pressure to produce results before the end of the year. A victory at Fredericksburg would open the way to Richmond and a quick end to the war. Problem was, Burnside took his time, allowing Lee's Army of Northern Virginia ample opportunity to build a defensive stance on terrain any general could love. For more information, click here.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Remnant of Glamorous Times

Terminal A at Reagan National Airport, Washington, DC. This terminal was added in 1955 to the original terminal which opened in 1941. Although I could not locate the architect, the design evokes Eero Saarinen, whose contemporary style can be seen in the terminals at Washington Dulles and New York's John F. Kennedy airports.

Unfortunately, modern travel demands rendered this design obsolete years ago. Air travel was a simpler process during the day. Travelers arrived at the terminal and were quickly marshaled onto their planes. Terminal design was sleek and efficient, all in keeping with the speed of the airplanes.

Today travelers are required to check in early and to get through security and hope the plane is on time. Modern airports are designed with comfort services in mind. Since Terminal A was built without any of those considerations, modern services are shoehorned wherever they could fit. So the snack/newspaper stand sticks up in the middle of the terminal like a sore thumb. A restaurant seating area straddles a corridor. A Starbucks is wedged into an angular corner next to the ladies' restroom. The seating area is woefully undersized for today's larger planes. The whole terminal is worn and neglected.

It all adds up to a depressing experience for the traveler, and I'm sure for those that are employed there. There is hope. Renovations have begun on the original 1941 terminal. Whether or not these gates are saved, a modern update will allow fulfillment of a much larger potential.

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Friday, October 27, 2006


My loyal readers know I'm a sucker for meteorological phenomena. This particular effect is called a glory. For more information, click on the photo.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

When I Was Younger

I was a demon on the dancefloor.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Is Time Up For Spirit?

"Spirit has been displaying some anomalous behavior," said Project Manager John Callas, who noted the rover's unsuccessful attempts to flip itself over and otherwise damage its scientific instruments.

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The old train station in Conyers, Georgia.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

An Oasis of Creativity

Deep below the terminals and aprons at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport is an exhibit of contemporary African art. If you take the train between Concourse A and the Main Terminal, you will miss it entirely. It's an oasis of creativity in an otherwise utilitarian structure. I had an opportunity during a recent visit to spend some time examining these exquisite sculptures.

"Welcome Baby", by Agnes Nyanhongo, Zimbabwe.

"The Peacemaker", by Gedion Nyanhongo, Zimbabwe.

"Generation Pyramid", by Gedion Nyanhongo, Zimbabwe.

"Woman Showing Traditional Salute", by Edronce Rukodzi, Zimbabwe.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Diet Coke + Mentos

Finally, a real use for Diet Coke. Three minutes of sticky liquid fun. Enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Fresh Old Face In The World Series

Congratulations to the Detroit Tigers on winning the 2006 American League Championship and a place in the World Series. The folks over at River Rant were there and have the first person video to prove it. See more here.

River Rant: World Series Bound!

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Windows, Vista?

Taken in Conyers, Georgia.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Short Final At Reagan National

I had some free time yesterday before my flight back to Milwaukee, so I found a park just off the end of Runway 19 at Reagan National Airport. In order to land on DCA's southbound runway, pilots had to follow the path of the Potomac River and make a steep turn shortly before landing, in a procedure called the "River Visual." It was a perfect place to do some planespotting.

Last week I had the pleasure of being seated on the left side of the plane and caught this image of the National Mall just prior to landing.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Waiting For The Crowd

I took a break from hotel life to visit the Rockdale County Fair at the Georgia International Horse Park (site of equestrian events during the Atlanta Olympics). The horse park itself was intriguing in that while it was state of the art 10 years ago, it was clearly showing the classic signs of the neglect that you would find in an underutilized white elephant.

For us folks in the midwest who are accustomed to the county fair with the animal barns and exhibits and judged competitions and tractor pulls and concerts, the Rockdale Country Fair was a drab disappointment. It was just a carnival, with none of the trappings of a traditional county fair. And while all of the standard rides were there, they all were showing signs of age. And the crowds were tiny the evening I went. Maybe it just wasn't the busy night, but the whole atmosphere was counter to what you would expect from a carnival.

And no one wanted to ride the kiddie train.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Yet More Spacey Kewlness

Just when you thought you'd seen the coolest space pictures ever, Saturn comes along and steals the show.  As Phil Plait puts it:

I say this a lot, but it bears repeating: what else is out there, what things are there to know, what things are there to experience, that we have not yet discovered?
Bad Astronomy Blog > Best. Saturn. Picture. EVAH!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


A carnival ride at the Rockdale County Fair, Conyers, Georgia.

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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Old Bricks Old Sign

Conyers, Georgia.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Buck O'Neil, Baseball Ambassador

Buck O'Neil was the consummate ambassador for baseball. Never harbored a grudge, never once expressed bitterness over the racism that kept him out of the Major Leagues. Inexplicably overlooked for induction by the Hall of Fame. He will be sorely missed.

ESPN.com - MLB - Former Negro Leaguer O'Neil dies

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Friday, October 06, 2006

You're Not Going To Believe Your Eyes

The title of the linked article says it all.  These are awesome pictures.

Bad Astronomy Blog > Best. Mars. Picture. EVAH!

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The Silver Trail

Just as railroads made the country smaller, airplanes made the world smaller. You never think twice about it, but if it wasn't for the humble "moving sidewalk", airports would have a hard time moving the numbers of people that they move now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

They Hand These Things Out Like Candy

Of course they don't.  Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer) passes along his thoughts on this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics.

The first results from COBE were announced at the 1990 American Astronomical Society meeting. When a plot showing the CMB radiation was displayed, it got a standing ovation. This was solid evidence supporting the Big Bang model, and so it was huge news. I was at that meeting (it was my first one, actually) and I kick myself to this day that I missed that session. It was a piece of history!

Bad Astronomy Blog > Nobel prizes for Big Bang scientists!

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First National Bank of ........... Pawn?

Downtown Conyers, Georgia.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Frequent Flyer

General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee.

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Is History Repeating Itself?

Robert Harris, in an op-ed in the New York Times, points to history as a warning for the future.

read more | digg story
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