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Noctilucent Clouds

First time ever that Noctilucent Clouds have been photographed from space:

Hat Tip to Skye Puppy

They hover on the edge of space. Thin, wispy clouds, glowing electric blue.They’re called noctilucent or “night-shining” clouds (NLCs).

Scientists think NLCs are ice crystals in the a layer called the mesosphere ranging from 50 to 85 km high. What we see may be the sun reflecting off those ice crystals.

The interesting thing about NLCs, they were first spotted in 1885.

A century ago the clouds were confined to latitudes above 50 degrees; you had to go to places like Scandinavia, Russia and Britain to see them. In recent years they have been sighted as far south as Utah and Colorado.

It is not clear if they are ice crystals or something else and if they are ice crystals, how did they get there? Finally, are they a symptom of (sharp intake of breath!) “global warming” or global cooling?

Noctilucent Clouds

Kilauea Magma Mystery

Scientists are puzzled and excited says Star Bulletin,

Every day, enough magma rises to fill 100 to 200 Olympic-sized swimming pools (OSP)….”So if magma is still being supplied at a rate of 100 OSPs per day, where is it going, and what might happen next?”


The Three Amigos

Two reasons why Bush’s approval rating is in the tank:

Three reasons why we don’t have a good immigration bill.

Bush worked with Kennedy from the start of his first term and look what it has gotten him. And McCain with his partnering with the left has earned him hatred from the right. Finally, Bush turned against his base and suffered a major defeat.

We want, first, a secure border; second, we want the laws that are on the books enforced, and then we can give the illegals a way to gain citizenship.


Portland Selects Oden #1

Interesting draft, in light of the column by Dwight Jaynes in the Portland Tribune.

One perhaps-telling thing about Kevin Pritchard and the direction of this franchise that hasn’t been emphasized much is that the general manager has said many times that he believes the future is in an up-tempo, Phoenix-style game. Wide-open. … Would that fuel the temptation to draft Durant, rather than Oden?Don’t know – but when you think about playing a quick lineup of LaMarcus Aldridge at center, Zach Randolph at power forward, Durant at small forward, Brandon Roy at shooting guard and Sergio Rodriguez at the point, that’s one exciting team.

If you ask Jaynes about the Blazers, he thinks that Nate McMillan will not give up control to favor an up-tempo, Phoenix-style game or maybe even Lord, Lord, Golden State Warriors. So that’s why we drafted Oden instead of Durant and Oden fits in well with Zach Randolph.

Well, now we’ve traded Z-Bo to the Knicks and get Steve Fisher in return and we get Rudy Fernandez with Phoenix’s pick. Francis can replace some of Z-bo’s points, but Fernandez could be another Sergio Rodriguez. In a way it looks like we are getting an up-tempo team, however, an in control up-tempo McMillan coached team.

BTW, Zach, thanks for the 20 and 20. IMO, your fate was sealed here when you visited Club Exotica instead of playing the night your team was grinding its guts out. No excuse! Watch your back in the Big Apple. There are a lot more temptations to be a gangsta’ in NY.

Greg Oden

Immigration Bill Dies

From the WSJ,

The Senate fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to end debate on immigration overhaul, dealing a near fatal blow to the landmark bill and one that could very well dash President Bush’s hopes of making progress on immigration before leaving the White House.

We are left, still, with the same problem: a border that leaks 500,000 plus immigrants a year into this country, 12-20 million illegals in the U.S. with no track to citizenship afraid of the knock on the door, and taxpayers unwilling to may for services to people who came here illegally.


Mother Nature’s Been Busy

map 2.0 2007/06/27 15:59:45 45.742N 123.424W 2.4 22 km (14 mi) SW of Vernonia, OR

map 1.9 2007/06/27 11:05:01 42.144N 120.511W 4.0 14 km ( 9 mi) WSW of Lakeview, OR

map 1.2 2007/06/27 09:54:31 44.991N 122.493W 27.4 15 km ( 9 mi) ESE of Scotts Mills, OR

map 1.5 2007/06/27 09:03:25 43.446N 124.065W 12.8 15 km ( 9 mi) ENE of North Bend, OR

R.I.P Aussiegirl

From About me of Ultima Thule written by Aussiegirl aka Helen

I am a naturalized Ukrainian-American, fortunate enough to have been admitted to this great land as an immigrant. My personal history is the spur for this blog. My parents lived through the Ukrainian Genocidal Famine of 1933, survived years of Communist persecution, fled to the West, endured forced labor in Nazi Germany, and following liberation, ended up in Allied internment camps fighting forced repatriation to the Soviet Union under the Yalta Agreement. Their courageous struggle to bring our family to freedom, first to Australia, then to America, and their example of unflinching faithfulness to truth and honor, have left an indelible impression on me. My parents did not save me from Communism and Nazism for me to go gently into dhimmitude or slavery. Hence my passion and my mission to expose threats to freedom and democracy wherever they are found. This blog is a testament to their courage and my small gift to their heroism.

Her husband David emailed to say she died of lung cancer on January 13th of this year. He will continue to keep her blog open and post some of her writings. I encourage you to look back over her blogging record.

If I had been more diligent in my reading of blogs in my blogroll, I would have noticed before now that she was gone. Reading what David has posted for her I was struck by her intelligence and love of music. In one post he reprints her email to a friend after attending a Verdi concert. She wrote:

Verdi has taken me on a journey — even though I know this piece by
heart — have heard it many times — hearing it in that great hall —
live — with real people pouring their hearts and talents and energies
into it — I understood it and experienced it fully for the first time
— Verdi — that unbelievable colossus — how could he have been
to create such music.[…]

If men like this existed — if talent like this existed — if music
like this exists — there must be a God — else where does all this
magnificence point? What is its purpose —- it has nothing to do with
procreating the species — or survival of the fittest — no —
music like this exists I KNOW there is a God and something divine and
mysterious that we can only dimly apprehend — but I know it — and
is why I cannot live without it.

I feel as she did, but about Mozart. I remember seeing Amadeus for the first ever exposed to his music, thinking it was so pure, so emotional, that it could only have been a gift to us from God.


Milk Prices

June 1st, The Oregonian asks Will milk prices become America’s new oil?

Dairy market forecasters are warning that consumers can expect a sharp increase in dairy prices this summer. By June, the milk futures market predicts, the price paid to farmers will have increased 50 percent this year — driven by higher costs of transporting milk to market and increased demand for corn to produce ethanol.

The SacBee today covers the increasing price of milk and tells us how, at least in California, milk prices are determined.

Q: What determines the price of milk?A: Unlike any other food, the base price of milk in California is calculated each month from a formula. State officials plug in the market prices for the four globally traded dairy commodities — butterfat, dry milk powder, whey powder (a byproduct of cheese-making) and cheddar cheese — and churn out the price that bottlers must pay farmers for their milk.


So the lowest prices in stores are equal to the cost of the milk paid to the dairy farmer, plus the cost of putting it in a carton and getting it onto store shelves — which usually adds up to about $1 a gallon.

The only way farmers can increase their margins is to cut their feed cost by shrinking the size of their herds. Milk prices here in Portland have been going up and may reflect the increased costs of transportation and increased cost of feed, but in California, it appears they are behind the curve. Expect higher prices of milk there as farmers cut their herds. Oregon could feel a ripple effect.
But of course, it is not inflationary, because the government rips out food and energy from the inflation reports and just touts the “core” rate of inflation, which is benign. My, oh my!

Milk Prices

Oden Vs Durant

My central Oregon friend Michael Hall sends me information by John Hollinger ESPN Insider, in which Hollinger has developed an analytical method for evaluating draftees and makes the case that Durant is the best player in the draft. Thus Portland should draft Durant #1. His two big knocks against Oden are the bad wrist he suffered that held down his stats and 7-footers.

Hey, I don’t make the rules, I just play by ’em. Seven-footers in the drafts I studied tended to greatly underperform their college stats in the pros.

We’ll know tomorrow. I’m guessing Oden!

Portland Trailblazers

2.5 in Ashland

map 2.5 2007/06/26 13:45:55 42.199N 122.631W 3.7 6 km ( 4 mi) E of Ashland, OR


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