28 September 2015

The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration

The Atlantic (magazine) has printed many fine articles in its quite-long history. But I don't recall reading one that I thought was more important or more powerful.

It's quite long and will take you a while, but is definitely worth the effort.

Click here for the Atlantic site and article.

Let me know if you have any problems accessing the article, I'll send it to you another way.

07 September 2015

Burning Man Backlash

There is also backlash from non-Burners. An online fund-raising campaign this year called for a wall to be built around San Francisco during Burning Man to keep those who departed for Black Rock City, as the festival location is called, out permanently.


From a NYT article


Click on picture for full-size version. Once it's displayed, click on it again to change background from white to black (much better viewing).


10 August 2015

The Big Race

Quote of the day, courtesy of friend JB:

“Hopefully the race to grave between body and finances will end in a tie.” (S.W. Martin)

05 August 2015

Disco Ball

Another extraordinary picture. Read the caption below the pictures for some details, though the photographer doesn't say if the picture is (a) one shot or a composite, or (b) "natural" or PhotoShopped. Click on the picture to change the background to black, which is almost always better (than white) for viewing.

23 July 2015

Monument Valley

I was recently in Monument Valley, and took a fair number of pictures of that magnificent place. Today I saw this picture by a professional photographer and was reminded—again—of the place's awesomeness. The sunset sky doesn't hurt either.

21 July 2015

A Couple Great Pictures

Click on them for links to full-size images, then click again to change background to black.



13 July 2015

Take A Hike

I'm on a driving trip to Colorado to see some friends, stopped off at my favorite place in the world--Zion National Park--for a little walk.

Following in an explanation of the pictures that you'll find here:


Three sets:

1. Driving through the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona on Sunday. Not great photos, but they give a sense of what a spectacular gorge it is. Usually I'm going 60 or  70 mph, so was happy for the road construction and 10 mph.

2. The approach to Zion. Again, not great photos, but they give a sense of the fantastic rocks and mountains that one drives through on the way to the Big Show.

3. The Angel's Landing Trail, which starts at the Virgin River and climbs to the stop of a giant rock/mountain. The light was very intense and it was hard to strike a balance between the deep shadows and the bright light of the sky and the giant rock faces. No photography awards in this batch, but you get a sense of the walk. It was only 2.5 miles one way, but there was a lot of vertical packed into those miles, especially the last half mile. The trail is so steep and dangerous that there are chains along most of the way in the final approach--and they're definitely needed. Lots of people quit at Scout's Landing, a large flat area 1/2 mile short of the summit--which gives a very clear view of what's coming. Many more people gave it a shot, but turned around after realizing what they had gotten themselves into. The view from the top defies description--and, unfortunately, I was conserving camera-phone power at that point.

It was a fabulous walk, one of the best ever. Not for the faint of heart.

After looking at my pictures, I recommend an internet search for "Angel's Landing" where you'll find a description and many more great photos.

08 July 2015


So if you decided that you wanted to join a church, and these headlines and articles were your main sources of information, I guess it wouldn't be a very hard choice, would it?

Muslim Religious Scholar Calls on Muslim to Accept the Equality of Homosexuals

Muslim Groups Raise Money for Black Churches Burned Across the South


KKK Leader: 'We're a Christian Organization'

USA Today: Christian extremists pose threat

Griechenland uber Alles?

For anybody following the Greek debt situation: You'd think Germany would be a little more flexible, given its history. Let's hope that Greece doesn't try to solve its debt problem like Germany did in the 1920s/30s/40s.

07 July 2015

Earth As Art

Although I didn't see this page until three years after it was published, I'd say it's worth waiting for. Click on the line of text below the following image to be redirected to the NASA "Top Five 'Earth as Art' Winners" page. When you get there, read the little blurbs about each of the five winning images, and then click on each image itself for a larger view.

30 June 2015

Tech Tips

Here are two important things that all children of the digital age should know. (And like it or not, you're probably one such child.)


1.  Google Flights. Look up "Google Flights," go to the page, and enter the airport nearest you. Optionally enter your travel dates.

a. To find the lowest fare to anywhere in the world, enter the destination.

b. To find the lowest fare to EVERYWHERE in the world (!!!), do not enter a destination (just an origin) and click on "expand map." Then us the +/- keys at lower left to zoom in/out, and click-and-hold to drag the map to the part of world in which you are interested.

What a wonderful thing!


2. Photos in the Cloud. Do you take pictures with your phone?

Apple, Google, Microsoft (OneDrive) and probably others all offer (a) "automatic upload to cloud" services, and (b) in most cases, free storage of your photos. Apple's service is called "iCloud" and "iPhotos," and I'd recommend that for Apple phones. I've tried all three of the services named here on my iPhone 5, and Apple's seems to work the easiest and most reliably. All  the services have software that runs on PCs and Macs so that you can access your cloud photos as if they were on your local computer.

So if you take pictures with your phone, they can be (a) automatically uploaded to the cloud without you having to do anything, and (b) thereby become completely accessible from your PC and other cloud-connected devices.

21 June 2015

Reflection of the Wave

Unusual and fabulous picture.

Unfortunately, the photographer didn't list any details—like where this was taken. I've seen pictures like this before, however, and think it's a safe bet that the place is Antelope Canyon, one of the famous "slot canyons" near Page, Arizona. 

20 June 2015

Big and Bigger

You may recognize the gentleman on the left as Duane "The Rock" Johnson, an American movie star. Mr. Johnson is six feet five inches (1.96 meters) tall. Shown here with his friend, Sun Ming Ming, a Chinese basketball player.

04 June 2015


A most remarkable "map" showing the evolution of Earth, Earth-based life forms, and Mankind, from Earth's beginnings until the present day.

From the original text:

The Histomap of Evolution: earth, life and mankind for ten thousand million years. Arranged by John B. Sparks. Copyright, 1932, by John Sparks, 1942 edition. Printed and distributed in U.S.A. by Rand McNally & co. One dollar.

To navigate:

1. Locate the little slider bar with the minus sign at one end and the plus sign at the other. Here it is shown on some yellow-with-text background:

Click on either end, or use the slider, to increase/decrease magnification level.
2. Use your mouse—click and hold and move—to reposition the map.
Note that this map is just one of approximately 60,000 digital maps that have been created from the collection's total supply of over 160,000 historical maps. Unbelievable.

03 June 2015


Great bumper sticker seen on a car in San Luis Obispo:

Safety Third
Follow me to certain death.

Interesting Fact of the Day:

When Captain Garcia Lopez de Cardenas and his men, of the Spanish exploration party led by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, became the first Europeans to see the Grand Canyon, in September of 1540, they estimated the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon to be eight feet wide. (It is actually 200-300 feet wide.)

The point is that even with their eyes wide open, standing there on the South Rim some 5000 feet above the river, having sent three men partway down into the Canyon, they still could not believe—literally—how big the Canyon is.

If you've been there, you probably know the feeling...


01 June 2015

Valley of Fire

If you are driving from Las Vegas, Nevada, to St. George, Utah, which you would certainly want to be doing because it's how you get to Zion National Park, then out in the middle of the desert you would encounter a sign telling you of the "Valley of Fire."  And if you were inspired to take the uninviting turn-off from the freeway, and go a few miles into what I believe is a Native American reservation as well as being a Nevada state park, you would encounter a landscape like this.

Among other things.

If you are ever on that drive, and the temperature outside the car is less than 110º, it's definitely worth a side-trip of an hour or two to go see the fabulous mountains and old Indian stuff in the Valley of Fire. You can continue through the park to Lake Mead's North Shore Drive, and turn north to continue towards Zion or south toward Vegas. More great mountains on this road.

29 May 2015

Dumb Headline

This may be the dumbest headline ever on a New York Times article:

Selling Off Apache Holy Land: What motivated Congress to give Oak Flat, a sacred Apache site, to a mining company that will certainly destroy it?


What does the writer think motivated Congress? How about the same thing that normally motivates Congress to take something from Party A and give to it to Party B?

The bribes—oh excuse me, campaign contributions and important fact-finding trips—paid to members of Congress by Party A.

It's not like this is rocket surgery....

22 May 2015

Picture of the Day


(Click on picture for a big version)

Here's a link to the website / on-line studio of the photographer, wherein some great pictures are to be found.

20 May 2015


Know your wines fairly well?

Of course you do.

Here's a nice article (with video) on the subject.


This remains one of my favorite pictures. I've shown it on these pages before, but just came across it again and am thereby posting it again. See if  you can spot what makes it so special.

14 May 2015

Understanding Capitalism, part 17

Room for Improvement

A great tweet from Blobert Ironside ‏@blobert :

Breaking News: American CEO-to-employee pay ratio rises paltry 16% to 373:1 because workers still being paid.

24 April 2015

I Always Knew It

I took one of the many internet IQ tests this morning, and scored an impressive 190.

And since we know that IQ doesn't change over time, I thought it was perfectly appropriate to take a test designed for third graders.