Utricularia nelumbifolia

One of my epiphytic utrics is blooming:


Just opening in the morning light.


The reason for the species name (nelumbifolia).


Utrics (bladderworts) are fascinating plants – adaptable (alpine to tropical, aquatic, terrestrial, epiphytes, lithophytes), active carnivores with beautiful flowers. I have two epiphytes – nelumbifolia and humboldtii. The humboldtii is growing like mad; I’m hoping I can get a large division to trade for another epiphyte I covet – U. jamesoniana (picture of flower here). Here’s the U. humboldtii:


Keep your fingers crossed for me – maybe I can even get a flower out of it…

If I can't have a thoat, this'll do

I know it’s been all over the web, but I don’t care. I’m posting this picture because it’s just so friggin’ amazing:


The Mars Reconaissance Orbiter takes a picture of the Mars Phoenix Lander as the Lander parachutes down. I wish I could find the Arthur C. Clarke quote about 2001 coming true (except for the monolith pieces), but not being noticed because the principal players were/are all robotic.

The Phoenix Lander has a Twitter account – the latest tweet: “Looking forward to moving arm today. Will bend the wrist and flex the elbow. It’s been stowed for 10 months so I’ll move it slowly/gently.” (@marsphoenix)

Two line movie review

It’s proof you don’t need Nazis to make a good Indiana Jones movie.

Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko = Cate Blanchette = Natasha Fatale = perfect casting FTW.

(Bonus political observation – I don’t know what the Russian Communists are so exercised about. Spalko was my favorite character.)

1950 Ford

An eBay listing (ended) for Steve and the folks at Overland Journal.

1950 Ford 2-Door Coupe

Completely refurbished as a road rally car, inside and out.

***  This car is for rally enthusiasts, collectors, or museums ***
 This car was driven Peking to Paris on the 100th anniversary of the first

Peking to Paris race in 1907. Then driven JFK to Anchorange in 8 days with a

few days off for flying to the USA and clearing Customs.

 The total trip around the world was completed in 49 days.







Via Diego Rodriguez’s excellent Unabashed Gearhead Gnarliness.


Arcologies, Urbmon 116 and protocols

Summary – folks who are designing super-mega-structures are missing the boat. Designing interfaces/protocols to allow pieces of very large structures to link to each other is, as far as I’m concerned, much cooler.


I’ve long been a fan of very large structures – I discovered Paolo Soleri and arcologies via the Whole Earth Catalog many years ago and was fascinated by the scale and organic beauty of many of his designs. Sci fi – generation ships/space habitats and Robert Silverberg’s dystopian The World Inside – helped fan the flames. I’ve been thinking big again – the past couple days have been one of those ‘the internet is telling you something’ experiences.

It (re)started two days ago when Bruce Sterling put up a link to an Inhabitat post: MILE HIGH ULTIMA TOWER: Vertical eco city works like a tree. What struck me – not for the first time – is how static this thing would be. It’s supposed to hold a million people – we’re talking all of Detroit or Birmingham or Adelaide. None of those cities is finished, in the sense that a building can be said to be finished – they’re churning, tearing up/down, growing/shrinking – there’s no point at which the prime contractor turns the keys over to the developer. Does it make sense to think that a million person structure would be a scaled up Petronas Towers?

While I was visiting Inhabitat, I indulged my curiosity a bit – I searched for ‘shipping containers’ – I keep thinking about putting some containers together as (hopefully) very low cost shelter out in the hinterlands someplace (maybe something Bruce Goff-esque – Bavinger or Bob Barns, using containers, phone poles and cable – yes, I’m a hack and a nut). Sniffing around led me to Lot-ek (warning – they’ll resize windows on you and the site is set up in a way that makes linking to specific pages impossible – I recommend you just take a peek at the screen cap below). They’ve not only designed small container based houses; they’ve also put together plans for larger structures.

Lot-ek Train Station

Shipping containers are well defined – sizes, how they fit together – but as far as componentry in a larger structure is concerned, the definition is pretty shallow – no power, water, or other services in or out.

Geoff Manaugh’s (BLDGBLOG) Flickrstream supplied the final thread (he put up this post as I wrote the last para). The idea of floating cities has been, well, floating around for a while – the ultimate pirate utopia. Governance issues aside, seems to me that this could be a fruitful area for work on interface specifications. Just as the internet doesn’t care if you are sitting in front of a Mac, or are telneted into an IBM z-series or are using WebTV (does that still exist?) as long as you comply with relevant RFCs, so too Floatopia-land shouldn’t care what your bobbing pleasure palace looks like as long as it connects to the rest of the structure in a specific way, it’s sized in multiples of X by Y by Z, complies with stability standard 1.1.1, etc. The marine environment is pretty unforgiving – marine architecture isn’t a specific field for nothin’ – but the safety and survivability problems need to be addressed regardless. RFC 1149 meets The Raft from Stephenson’s Snow Crash – let’s float!

The coveted Worf endorsement

Having traveled back in time to the era in which the Star Trek television set of series aired, which is a remarkably frequent occurrence given the impracticality of time travel, I, Lieutenant Worf, from television’s Star Trek-The Next Generation and Star Trek-Deep Space Nine, am now ready to declare who I support in the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

There is honor in peace, pigeon-headed flute man. There are humans, Klingons, and even Democrats who do not see this.

Wonderful stuff! Be sure to read the comments – some of the in-jokes sail right past me, but I found a bunch of laugh-worthy remarks.

Thanks, rstevens.

Looking for a nest

Blackflies in my eyes
Ovenbird – teacher, teacher
Where’s the freaking nest?

Lots of big rocks (it being New England and all).


Slice. That’s my thumb print in the lower right – I was checking freshness. Very fresh.


A nest. Either last year’s or (more likely, we think) a first attempt this year.


Found the remains of three grouse kills, some fresh poop, but no active goshawk nest. It was a good morning in the woods, anyhoo.

We're number one!

Made curious by yet another search term, I checked. At this moment in time – subject to change without notice – DoaMNH is result number one when you feed ‘teckelmania‘ into google. Time to break out the champagne!

On the topic of search terms, this screencap from April 30 makes me happy:


Eclectic! Funkadelic!

NADKC Northeast Derby Prüfung 2008

So off we went yesterday. The weather left something to be desired – raw and in the 40s with occasional showers, but at least it wasn’t pouring. Kurzhaars (and shorthairs) of all ages were there – old men like Boone, with grizzled faces and creaky joints, and pups meeting their new families. The Derby test as conducted yesterday had 3 phases – gun sensitivity, search and pointing. The dogs were cast off individually – as they burned off some steam on the initial run-out, a shotgun was fired twice. Dog, handler and judges continued on and searched for about 15 – 20 minutes; as this was going on, birds were planted in the 1st field. As the testing party returned to the start, pointing instinct and use of nose was evaluated. When it was all over the pups were raring for more and the handlers were typically ready to collapse from adrenaline aftershock (I know I was – and Dinah barely had the edge worn off).

After everyone had run, and after the Wesen test, the club conducted a Zuchtschau – a conformation evaluation. Dogs and bitches were looked at separately; the format – everyone trots their pup around the ring together, dogs are then looked at individually, then all are looked at as a group again, with the judge determining placement – should be familiar to anyone who’s seen a dog show on teevee with one crucial exception – every animal in the ring gets rated.

I took some pictures, but was too busy to do the event justice. The pictures I did take are puppy-heavy – blame the cute factor and the blur component (imagine a bunch of year old kurzhaars + quail + new people – not a lot of lounging was done). The Flickrset is here.

Mystery handler experiencing puppy-induced kensho.

It was a very good day for Dinah and me – a Prize I in the Derby (4’s in all categories except use of nose – that was a 4H – I’m told a 4H earns us a special pin), and an SG1 in the Zuchtshau (SG is as high as juveniles can be rated – the 1 indicates that the judge liked her the best). Woo-hoo! On to a NAVHDA Natural Ability test in September and maybe Solms in the fall too (if not, then AZP next year). And – of course – the reason any of this means anything – the grouse woods will be seeing a lot of Dinah and Janey – and a bit of Boone – come October.