Got the Shot

Sort of. It’s not quite the shot I’d hoped for, but it’s close-ish:

There actually is a cloud bank on the eastern horizon, so the Sun wasn’t too visible as it rose, but once it got a bit above the horizon, it was. And, a day later, it’s moved a bit south, too.

Some of that being south of the road (which runs east-west pretty true) is due to the Sun having rising above the horizon. It angles to the south as it rises. It would have been closer to the road when it actually rose.

(My ideal was to capture it half-risen right at the end of the road. Ah, well.)

It would be a better shot with a better camera (although I have to say my XR takes pretty decent pics given such a tiny lens). In the shot above I used the camera’s digital zoom (which, to be honest, sucks).

Without the zoom, the picture isn’t very interesting:

It had been a little humid lately (possibly from the various storms), hence all the haze. That’s what I really needed — a crystal clear morning.

§

So it goes. I’ll leave you with a nice picture of a maple tree:

Maples have some of the best color changes! One reason I loved walking my dog every morning was watching the plant life change day to day.

In the spring, things come back to life; buds and shoots form, then leaves, and everything goes green (in the original sense of the word).

In the fall, of course, it’s the leaves. The woods slowly become more and more transparent as the leaves fall. By winter, one can see deep into the woods through the bare trees.

I’ve always been especially fascinated by how tree leaves turn — the patterns that form. You see what I mean in the tree above. A section of it has gone bright red while other parts of it are green. It won’t be long before the whole tree is bright red.

§

I’m not really a plant guy — definitely not much of a flower guy — but I do think trees are really cool (in so many ways).

In my Perfect Albums post the other day, I mentioned that Son of Schmilsson was one of my all-time favorite albums. One of the many reasons is the final cut, “The Most Beautiful World in the World” — which is a love song to the Earth.

In particular it has a line I especially love (and find extremely clever): “I love the way you wear your trees.” I gotta agree. I do love the way Mother Earth wears her trees. She looks really good in them.

“You’re a scary old place out there, world.
But I couldn’t be happy without you.
And I swear all my thoughts are about you.
The most beautiful world in the world”

Stay sunny, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

16 responses to “Got the Shot

  • Wyrd Smythe
    The most beautiful world in the world
    And though there are times when I doubt you
    I just couldn’t stay here without you
    So when you get older
    And over your shoulder
    You look back to see if it’s real
    Tell her she’s beautiful
    Roll the world over
    And give her a kiss… and a feel

    (God, I just love those lyrics!)

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Idle quantum thought for the day:

    “The younger a person is, the more they are a superposition of possible people they could be. Life is a process of decohering into who we turn out to be. We might even say that life ‘measures’ consciousness.”

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    I think trees are cool because they bootstrap themselves from a seed using sunlight, carbon dioxide, and soil minerals into what they are. When you think about it, that’s very cool. Imagine if we could build roads, bridges, or buildings that way. (Although we probably wouldn’t be willing to wait long enough for it to happen.)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well, that’s the dream of nano-machines, isn’t it (as seen on TV and in movies, although energy requirements almost certainly would prohibit that kind of speed). Start with a plan, add energy and building material, and von Neumann’s your uncle. We build humans that way, too!

      I’m especially drawn to huge trees (redwoods take your breath away) where that whole “from a seed” thing really stands out. And trees can be so long-lived, too; a few have lived for very long.

      Ever since childhood I’ve loved this little ditty. It’s along the same theme:

      Don’t worry if your job is small,
      And your rewards are few.
      Remember that the mighty oak,
      Was once a nut like you.

      I learned something interesting about aspens yesterday. A friend (with more woods knowledge than I have) asked if my “birch” trees might not be “quaking aspens” (as they are called, and called that for the very reason I detailed about “shimmering” leaves).

      Sometimes I still haven’t quite caught up with the internet age. I forget how easily available information is. I’ve always kind of wondered what the difference between aspens and birches was, but never wondered enough to bother looking it up. Yesterday, through the new-fangled magic of Wikipedia, I learned those are entirely different species of tree.

      And aspens are a bit weird. A stand of aspens is all clones from a master body that lives underground (a bit like mushrooms). Most of an “aspen” tree is underground — it just puts up trunks with branches with photosynthesizing leaves to get energy. Supposedly you can tell the clones from clones of a different aspen because the clones all have the same branching structure (due to having the same genetics). I’ll have to look closely at that stand next time I pass it.

      Aspens have smooth edged leaves, and their bark doesn’t readily peel. Birches have saw-tooth edged leaves, and their bark famously does. (I remember peeling off page-sized pieces of birches in the neighborhood when I was a kid.)

      So that was cool. One less hole in my mind. That’s the information that always sticks best for me — answers to questions I’ve long had in the back of my mind. Like a missing piece of a puzzle.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        On the nano-machines, yeah, science fiction tends to ignore how much time this stuff takes. I suppose we could speed up the reactions, but those reactions release oxygen. Rapid release of oxygen is usually called burning up. Although if we can wait, it might be a good way to do it.

        I’ve reached the point where I reflexively look for things on Wikipedia, and if I don’t find it there, try Googling around. Or if I need to know how to do something physical, find a Youtube video of someone demonstrating it. (Which sometimes demonstrates to me that I need to call someone to do it.)

        That said, there are things I’ve wondered about for years, but always forget to look them up. They usually occur to me when I’m doing something away from any device I could use to do the lookup.

        I’m pretty ignorant on tree species, or plants in general. Not one of the things that have ever stuck in my mind. Which is not good. I should at least make sure I can recognize Poison Ivy and similar hazards.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, exactly. It’s when you can’t do it at the moment that you think, “I should really look that up.” I’ve had a smartphone for only a bit over a year now, and I’m finally getting used to that, when hanging out with someone and some question comes up, I can just whip out the phone and check Wiki or Google. (Or, for that matter, that I always have a camera with me. I am not what they call an “early adapter”! 😀 )

        As an aside, on airplanes, the oxygen masks that drop down if the cabin loses pressure — the oxygen in those comes from a chemical reaction. There’s no stored cans of air or O2. (Actually there usually are, but only a few and they are intended for other types of emergencies.) The masks for the pilots, I think are from actual O2 bottles, though.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Getting used to the camera took me a while. The idea that I can take a picture of anything, for any purpose, was not something immediately obvious. For example, when I guy backed up into my car, I took a picture of his insurance card, as well as the attending police officer’s card. Describing things over the phone is pointless. Take a picture and send it!

        I didn’t know that about the oxygen masks, but it makes sense. They always say to be careful what you touch with the masks, because it’s hot. I always wondered if that meant the air was hot too and how comfortable that would be breathing it.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        We’ve gone beyond the Dick Tracy wrist communicator at this point. The camera isn’t just a camera — it’s a video camera (and not a very bad one, either). The information age definitely has cool toys.

        I suppose hot air is better than no air, but that’s a good point. The process definitely produces heat. Is the air cooled somehow? That yank you’re supposed to give the mask — that starts the chemical reaction. I’ve worried I’ll pull too hard and yank the hose out of the supply. 😮

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        A few years ago there was a meme going around about something science fiction authors of fifty years ago wouldn’t believe, that everyone carries a computer with access to all of human knowledge, and they primarily use it to watch cat videos.

        I don’t remember the mask yank. I thought they dropped out of the overhead panel. I do remember you’re supposed to get yours on before helping someone else. Maybe I should actually pay attention the next time I fly.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’ve long been amused by how many SF authors didn’t predict portable screen devices. Just couldn’t think beyond CRTs. So many from the fax era have some form of high-tech portable fax machine. (Even Star Trek came close with “padds” and communicators, but didn’t quite nail it.)

        The masks do drop down. The yank on the hose is to start the chemical process. (IIRC, it punctures something that allows chemicals to mix.)

        If I were an airline, I might consider some kind of kiosk at airports with a setup that allowed interested passengers to actually experience these things. The thing about aircraft emergency procedures is that nearly all of us would be doing them for the first time in an actual emergency, possibly under terrifying conditions.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Star Trek came closer than a lot of science fiction. What’s wild though is they were projecting to the 23rd century. Although to be fair, our devices still can’t do everything they did with tricorders. (To be fair the other way, those tricorders could do whatever the plot required them to be able to do.)

        There was an interview of William Gibson not that long ago, where he was thinking about his hits and misses in early stories. He noted that everywhere he was aggressive and didn’t get into details, he was good. It was where he did try to ground the details that he messed up, such as having dot matrix printers in the future, or characters having to deal with the physicality of network paths in a way no one today fusses with.

        I also remember one of Arthur C. Clarke’s early novels, where an author was writing with a typewriter on his way to Mars.

        All of which is to say, it doesn’t pay to be too rigorous with your technology projections.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, it’s hard to predict the future. That’s why they call it the future.

        It’s kind of cute how Star Trek and Star Wars — two franchises with similar names — represent different modes in science fiction. Trek takes tech seriously — The Roddenberry Vision — and Wars is essentially space opera — swashbuckling fiction.

        (That said, Trek cloaks itself as hard SF, but I wouldn’t give it many awards for its scientific prescience.)

        I think I’ve seen parts of that Gibson interview quoted in articles about his latest book. (My library app has access to those, and I’ve got them tagged for reading.) I found him kind of hard to read back in the day, but recently I’ve had another go at Gibson and really enjoyed him.

        I suppose a writer on a spaceship could use a typewriter to be highly eccentric. Or for complete privacy; that might make an interesting plot device. (My “password manager” is a small notebook that’s impossible to hack. Old tech has its advantages! 😀 )

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I don’t think of Star Trek as hard SF by any measure, but it is SF. Star Wars is a fantasy using classic space opera props. The story is more about good and evil than anything about the science or technology.

        It seems like Gibson is a lot easier to reread than to read. When I was reading Neuromancer, one of my friends, who had previously read it and acknowledged how difficult it was, re-read it, and said it was a lot clearer on the second round.

        On the Clarke story, yeah, the context wasn’t presented as a security measure. I think Clarke just missed what was coming on the word processing front. To be fair, it’s a 1951 novel, when computers were still those rare room sized expensive things, so rigorous extrapolation to what they would eventually be would’ve been hard. But Star Trek, who just went for wow gadgetry, ended up being closer on some things because they didn’t worry about being rigorous. (Of course, those are the hits. If we look at the ratio of hits to misses, Clarke type fiction comes out better.)

      • Wyrd Smythe

        😀 I’m quite sure the Clarke story, as you say, missed what was coming. I was just being droll that you could have an author typing away on a typewriter in modern SF.

        “If we look at the ratio of hits to misses, Clarke type fiction comes out better.”

        Indeed. Exactly what I meant when I said I wouldn’t award Trek “many awards for its scientific prescience.” Clarke, on the other hand, had government officials visiting him to know how he’d found out about America’s top secrets about atom bombs and communications satellites! 😮

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I hadn’t heard about government officials visiting Clarke on that. I do remember hearing something similar for Tom Clancy, on how he knew as much as he did about American military submarines. I’d heard Clarke was credited with invention of the idea of communications satellites, but looking at the Wikipedia, the history appears to be more muddled.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        They way I heard it, it was his writing about an atomic bomb that concerned them. The Wiki page for Clarke just mentions that, “Although he was not the originator of the concept of geostationary satellites, one of his most important contributions in this field may be his idea that they would be ideal telecommunications relays. He advanced this idea in a paper privately circulated among the core technical members of the British Interplanetary Society in 1945.”

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