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Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cigar boxes

Tobacco and “vaping” stores seem to be all over the place these days, but I had never been inside one until today. My mission was to see if the shop would be useful as a drop point for Amazon packages. It’s the nearest Amazon drop point, and I’d like to keep those big Amazon trucks […]

Upgrading our masks

As the pandemic wears on, we need to consider switching to better masks. The simple pleated masks, or homemade fabric masks, no longer cut it. N95 masks are certainly an upgrade. But from an article last week in the Economist, I learned about an even better mask, the FFP2 mask. The FFP2 masks are available […]


Source: Hubble telescope, NASA, Jesœs Maz Apellÿniz, and Davide De Martin via Wikimedia Commons An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics. Bradley W. Carroll and Dale A. Ostlie. Cambridge University Press, 2017. 1,342 pages. Quick now: How old is the universe? Answer: About 13.8 billion years. If you were to walk out under the night sky this […]

Oh no. I hear the hum.

I first noticed the hum many weeks ago. When I first became conscious of it, I gave it little thought. Though this area is very quiet, engine noises can carry a long way. When I heard it in the middle of the night, it became more puzzling, because I couldn’t think of any reason why […]

The coveted card

I’m including an image of the card, because I think everyone would like to know what these cards look like. I’ve obscured identifying information and information that could be useful to counterfeiters. What the blank card looks like is no secret. I have hesitated to post very much here about having gotten my Covid-19 shots, […]

Gothic weather for a gothic election

Source: Screen shot from, 8 a.m. EDT, Oct. 29, 2020. The remnants of Hurricane Zeta, moving northeast, will pass over Acorn Abbey in a few hours. Here in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we’d be hard pressed to say which time of year is the best. The two choices are pretty clear, […]

Rock Castle Gorge

Yesterday was a get-out-of-the-house day. The hike was to Rock Castle Gorge near Floyd, Virginia. The trail is near the Blue Ridge Parkway and is on land owned by the National Park Service. The trail follows a fast-flowing creek through the gorge. Many years ago, the area was sparsely settled. Now the pastures are mostly […]

A morbid measure of mass insanity

Wikipedia photo from the entry on Multi-Vehicle collisions During the weekend, in Pennsylvania, yet another traffic pileup killed five people and injured more than 60. Oddly, I can’t find any information on how many vehicles were involved in that pileup, though several of the stories have referred to a pileup in Virginia two weeks ago, […]

Are we overdue for a cat picture?

Click here for high-resolution version. I apologize for not having posted for a while. For now, here’s a cat picture, because I don’t think I’ve posted a cat picture for a long time. It’s shocking to me that Lily, who still thunders up and down the stairs like a kitten, is almost 11 years old. […]

A globe is worth a thousand maps

North America at sunset in New York, winter solstice. Click here for high-resolution version. Maps are fascinating. But maps also are highly deceptive. That’s because there is no way to represent the surface of a sphere on a flat piece of paper without distortion. Today is the winter solstice, when the earth’s northern hemisphere is […]