â˜¼ The “Beauty is…” session with the students yesterday, like most things in life, was mixed. Kids were great, I was somewhat below average, and the projection details were unfortunate: the only direct shaft of morning light coming through the small, high gym windows fell on the lovely ceiling-mounted 20 foot screen, washing out so much detail that I couldn’t even read the few slides that contained text and were my speaker’s prompts. Second session, we turned around and projected the images against the two-toned wall of the opposite side of the gym, better but still from a photographic clarity point of view, disappointing. Kid’s favorite slides: spiders and snakes, which have their own kind of beauty.
â˜¼ The voltage surge mystery goes on. Ann and I have identical UPS units, hers upstairs, mine downstairs. Hers, no prob. Mine, a continuing nuisance. At irregular intervals–sometimes nothing for months, at other times 3-4 times a week, the unit goes off, red overage light flashes, the piercing alarm peals, and the computer and everything else on the UPS shuts down. This is especially fun when it happens in the middle of the night. Last night, no alarms, just a dead computer this morning, surge protector silently in the OFF position. AEP has been problem solving for months, a special recorder placed on the outside box finding some irregularities. My puzzle: why just this one circuit in the house?
â˜¼ I had the challenge last night of trying to explain to the wife the what and why of Twitter. She, understandably, wished it had a different name than the one it has that makes it seem childish. But then when I told her how it was used, she decided maybe a childish name was appropriate after all. I dunno. Jury is still out. However, by following an SEJ twitter-er, I found another conference to look at for next year–a science writers conference at the Research Triangle. Hmmm. Might be a better match for me, really, than journalists. Or Appalachian writers. Or then, maybe I’m a mis-match, a lone sock–one hand clapping on Goose Creek.
â˜¼ So what do we do with the chickens when they stop laying for winter, when their water freezes overnight and their little bums get very cold in the drafty rat-wire bottomed house they live in? We’ve remembered how we gave such matters no thought, back in 1981 when we inherited a dozen Rhode Island Reds (and Crazy Charlie, the one-eyed rooster) when we moved to the little blue farmhouse on Greasy Creek. OTOH, that hen house was more winter-worthy, even though it perched on the windy hill by the barn where my daughter’s “secret” clubhouse took over the hayloft. We butchered them without much squeamishness as the the second winter approached, every one of them looking the same and all dumber than stumps. Our four hens of today, well.. maybe it’s we who are different.
â˜¼ SAD indeed: Sudden Aspen Decline is wiping out fall color in Colorado, entire forests suddenly going drab and leafless due to a variety of pathologies that have, until now, not be able to cause more than minor symptoms. Warmer, drier seasons are blamed for tipping the advance of the condition. More light reaches the soil, browse plants change to less edible grasses, the vertebrate population is displaced. The golden rule of ecology: you can never do just ONE thing. Aspen trees: who needs them? LATimes