Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I just found a cool website that links travelers with hosts. The site is called Couchsurfing. Let's say you are headed to Lisbon. You type in Lisbon and it finds hosts within a 20 mile radius. You contact them and figure out the details and go from there. It's a great way to connect with locals and they get to do the same when they travel. Check out the site here.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
As the sun slips below the horizon the top edge of it briefly 'flashes' green. You quickly look at your drink - you don't remember ordering absinthe - but rest assured, the chances are you have been lucky enough to see the elusive 'green flash'
What causes it?
As light passes from the vacuum of space into the atmosphere, which acts like a prism, it slows down by 0.03%. This causes the light to bend or refract towards the surface of the earth. The white from the sun is made up of many different colours of light, all of which have a different wavelength. The wavelength (or colour) of light affects how much it is refracted on entering the atmosphere, with red light refracted the most and blue least (as in rainbows).
Imagine the image of the sun as being made up of red, green and blue images. Light from the 'red image' will be refracted more than that from the green and blue. So, the 'red image' will appear lower than the green, which will similarly appear lower than the blue. At sunset, or sunrise, this effect is intensified as light travels through a slightly thicker atmosphere. As the sun disappears below the horizon, the 'red image' will disappear first and the blue last.
The atmosphere causes blue light to be scattered more than red or green - the reason why the sky appears blue - so light from the 'green image' - the 'green flash' - will normally be the last thing you see as the sun disappears below the horizon.
On very rare occasions, the atmosphere may be clear enough to allow some of the blue light to reach us and cause a 'blue flash' as the sun sets.
Why don't you see a green flash every time the sun sets?
The phenomenon lasts only a fraction of a second, so unless you know where to look and when, the chances of seeing one are very slim indeed. Viewing conditions need to be just right too.
Optimal viewing conditions
Watching the sun set over an ocean horizon on a clear evening will be a good start, as you will have an uninterrupted view through clear unpolluted air. Your line of sight should be almost parallel to the horizon and you need to really concentrate at the top edge of the sun as it is about 98% set. If you are lucky, you will see the top edge of the sun turn green for a brief moment, before disappearing below the horizon.
In one of its guides, the National Trust recommends looking for the green flash from Zennor Head in south west Cornwall, probably because atmospheric conditions are likely to be better here than in other areas in the UK.
"I have looked for it during quite a few sunsets but have only seen it once!"
Former BBC Broadcast Meteorologist Byron Chalcraft said "I have looked for it during quite a few sunsets but have only seen it once! The sun was setting over the sea on a nice clear evening in Cornwall and immediately after the top of the sun's disc went below the horizon there was a brief, bright green flash." Colleague Peter Gibbs hasn't been so lucky "I've looked long and hard at many a sunset, but never caught a glimpse!".
Even with the sun low in the sky, concentrated observation with the naked eye can still cause damage to your eyesight, so it is important to take precautions and watch through smoked or filtered glass.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Hawaiian surfing ledgend Eddie Aikau was one of a kind. Taking off on a 30 foot wave at Wiamea is no small feat. Eddie would do it without fear and with a huge grin on his face. A simple, quite man, he loved the ocean and all it's mysteries. He also was a lifeguard at the beach he helped make famous. He saved many lives of the swimmers who did not have respect for the waves and the power of the ocean. It's been almost 30 years since he died trying to save the lives of the crew on his boat. If you have not read the book on his life, "Eddie Would Go", then check this tribute to him and read about this amazing man. Click here for the tribute.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Question - "What does having a dream mean to you?"
Answer - "A dream is a goal glimmering in the distance; it is an inner calling which, when accomplished,
serves as the rite of passage into wisdom." Erden Eruç - Sep 17, 2004
Erden is a madman! He plans to row from Bodega Bay (north of San Francisco) to Austrailia, nonstop and unsupported. This is a distance of almost 8000 miles and has never been done before. Not only is this an incredable goal, Erden is about to accomplish a goal of circling the globe under human power. He started in 2003 with a bike ride from Seattle to Alaska where he climbed the highest peak in North America: Denali (did I mention that he towed all his climbing gear behind his bike?). Then back to Seattle and on to Miami via pedal power. On each continent he reaches, he will also climb the highest summit. Did I tell you this guy was nuts?? You can follow his adventure by visiting his website. He has just departed Bodega and is trying to clear the land and get into the trades. Good luck to you my crazy friend!!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
One of the cool things currently happening on the internet is the ability to watch TV and movies for free on your computer. One of the most anticipated developments is Joost. It's just getting rolling but I have tried the software and it's like nothing out there. Joost has partnered with many of the major networks so this means lots of great content. If you go to joost.com, you can sign up and receive an invite to try this new service. It's all legal and it's all free! Check it out today!
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Alain Thebault has created a speed demon on the water. His boat, l'Hyrdoptere has been inching up to the world speed record over the last few years. Recently the eclipsed 47 knots and will be attempting to break the record in the near future. They also will attept several other records like the fastest mile and the fastest 500 meters. The boat is amazingly fast and has held up well in some dicey conditions. Check out some of the videos on their site as well as the pics. For the website, click here.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
Remember the cool computer Tom Cruise used in "Minority Report"? He manipulated everything on the screen with his fingers. Well folks, the future is here and surface computing is on it's way! Imagine sitting at your coffee table and the computer is right in the table. No mouse, no keyboard, just you and the table. Check out this very cool video from Popular Mechanics and be prepared to be shocked and awed!