Lunar Eclipse

I got the kids up to watch this last night at around 2 AM.  I have been really sleepy today in the consultorio.  It never looked very red from our viewpoint.  Did anyone get up back home?

Learning How to be a Birder – or the first step on our way to a Big Year

On Father’s day I went with Peter and Annie on a bird watching walk.  Peter is especially interested in birds.  There was a period of time while we were living in Dallas when he would go repeatedly to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds webpage and look at all the birds and listen to their calls.  He was especially interested in owls, and we would play games where I would play a recording of an owl call (or some other birds), and he would recognize the bird based on the call.  I am not good at identifying birds.  I would like to learn more, but when I see a bird, and then I look for it in a birding book, I will usually find three or four that look almost the same.  It takes great skill, in my opinion, to be able to spot and identify some of the subtle differences between the species of birds.  In an attempt to improve our skills, we went on this short birding tour (it was only 1 1/2 hours) in hopes that my skills would improve, and also to try and nurture Peter’s interest.  Annie came because she is always up for doing something fun – especially if it involves walking (I love that about her).  I have posted some pics I took off of Wikipedia and put the links to the Wikipedia descriptions of the birds under the pictures.  These photos are the definitively identified birds we saw during our walk.  It was fun, but I think 1 1/2 hours is just about right for looking at birds.  I have to say the Scarlet Macaws are some of the most awesome birds to see in the wild, and they are really noisy.  In fact all parrot, parakeet, macaw type birds are noisy.  The Gray-Colored Thrush is the national bird of Costa Rica.  It is a plain in appearance, but it has an amazing song.  Throughout the dry season this bird sings all day long.  Unfortunately it begins singing at 4:30 in the morning.  Since we sleep with our windows open, that is a very early morning wake up call.  (By the way, A Big Year for a birder is a year in which they spot an abundance of species of birds – it is explained well in the movie A Big Year which is pleasantly enjoyable and clean as I recall)

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Don’t we all know this is true, deep in our hearts . . . Our Very Normal Solar System Isn’t Normal Anymore.

A couple links regarding dialects.  This is super interesting, and I did not realize there was so much variation in the United States.  Of course I knew there was some, but this information will bring your knowledge of dialects to a much higher level.  Read about the map of dialects at this Dialect Map of the U.S. shows how American Speak by Regions.  Then take a close look at the map with more detail here.

The astronaut in this video is a lot of fun.  He has several videos on the internet.  A Wet Towel in Space is not Like a Wet Towel on Earth.  However check out the one below to be entertained even more.

More on Science!

As a new language student, I found the following article from NPR interesting.  Imagine a Flying Pig:  How Words Take Shape in our Brain.  No wonder my head feels like a brick is sitting on it after a couple hours of speaking Spanish.  As a person with limited athletic ability, I find professional athletes very interesting.  The control they have over their bodies and the physical strength they have within them is quite astounding.  I read an interesting article about Yu Darvish who is the Texas Ranger’s ace pitcher.  It is interesting how with just a little twist of his fingers, the cock of his wrist, and the way he lets go of the ball he can change dramatically how the pitch travels.  See interesting motion photography of this in the following article.  Nobody Throws Balls Like Yu.  Finally, I like the idea of trees on Skyscrapers.  I don’t know if it will work, but read the following article about how architects are envisioning a new type of skyscraper.  Trees on Top of SkyscrapersImage

Thoughts from the online world!

My friend Jim Hoag posted this article to my Facebook timeline.  I hope to hike the Inca trail many times in the future, since we will be so close to it.  I promise anyone who comes to visit us that we will do our best to get you to Macchu Picchu either by hiking or by train.  I was there in 1998, and it really is incredible.  Read about one man’s experience in this article. Hiking the Inca Trail – Intelligent Travel.  On another note, as the world gains more and more people, there is interest in how we can live sustainably.  The Big Squeeze:  Can Cities Save the Earth? is an article that demonstrates how much land would be needed if all the population lived in one city, and then it demonstrates how much land is needed based on different population densities.  It is interesting and also has some interesting pictures of high density housing.  I am bothered by the authors concern about how many babies people should have, but outside of that there are many interesting facts.  The article comes from Robert Krulwich who does Radio Lab on NPR.  How about this article from the NY Times about Tsunami’s in Japan.  Tsunami Warnings Written in Stone  There is wisdom that comes from paying attention to the past.  Of course as a Christian, much of the past I study the most is regarding the history of our faith and the Jewish people.  The greatest wisdom in the world comes from knowledge of God.

Do you like Science?

I like science.  The study of science is an entry point into understanding the way God works in our world.  When you study science, from physics to biology, from quantum mechanics to the life sciences, you gain an understanding, however incomplete, into the mind of God.  It is a glimpse into how he makes things work.  For your enjoyment, I have a few links into things that continue to be mysterious to us, yet fall well within the mind of God.

First, a story of natural crop circles, and how termites mold the ecosystem of the desert to both their own and the deserts benefit.  Read about their “fairy circles.”  Another unusual insect story from nature is the story of the cicadas.  You may be aware that a brood is coming above ground this spring, the first time they have been seen in 17 years!  And how about some pictures of the aurora borealis, one of the greatest God proclaiming events on earth.  It reminds me of the Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”