Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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It Works! ~ Monday, August 21, 2017

Just about at the peak of the eclipse now. 

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Eclipse Viewer ~ Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tomorrow is a solar eclipse (not complete here, but at least 75%) so we made a sun viewer.

First we tried the cereal-box/camera-obscura design that you've probably seen recommended in the internet. I thought the image was kinda meh so I built a version made out of mailing tubes, with a pinhole lens at one end and a "screen" (cap) for it to project onto at the other,  and cut out a window to view it.

It works but was a little hard to aim, so I added some cards as a guide--if the shadow of one card is on the other,  you're holding it right and shold see the sun.

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Emoji Building ~ Wednesday, August 16, 2017

At first glance this new building in the Netherlands looks like pretty conventional retro-styled architecture, but note the molded details.

Perhaps Emojis will be with us forever (that is to say, remain popular--thanks to the Unicode Consortium they're going to be available for a very long time, alongside the world's cultural heritage of alphabets, syllabaries, ideographs, numerals, etc), or perhaps in the future this building will be a funny cultural reminder of the "twenty teens" when it was built.

Either way, it would make an interesting structure on a contemporary urban transit layout.

You can read more about it and see more pictures here.

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Lepidopterology ~ Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Is not something I know much about, but I got this nice picture at Wunderlich Park.

I try to take pictures of lots of butterflies, but they are a tricky subject!

Comparing this with pictures on this SF Bay Wildlife site, I think it's either a Northern Checkerspot or a Mylitta Crescent, but I can't decide.

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Ran into Wini at Work ~ Saturday, July 29, 2017

At the Chabot Space Science Museum.

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"Needs Work" ~

Saw this on the road today (traffic was stopped). At least it has wheels!

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Slime! ~

OSH is showing kids how to make slime this morning (glue, water, borax and optionally green food coloring).

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Charlie Chaplin Lookalike Contest ~ Sunday, July 23, 2017

We're back in town and went to the Niles Silent Film Museum's Annual Chaplin Festival (commemorating the movies he made in Niles, CA), and Nathan entered the Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest.

All contestants received prizes--a Charlie Chaplin DVD, an assortment of souvenirs, and an ice cream cone from Niles Ice Cream down the street.

Across the street, the Niles Canyon Ry was running trains pulled by this WP F-Unit.

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Nessy Burger ~ Saturday, July 22, 2017

This place is at Pala Mesa, near Fallbrook (there used to be a Santa Fe brach line around here). Pretty good burgers and generously sized, too! Next week it's back to the office cafeteria salad bar for me...

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Palomar Observatory ~ Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lest you think we're doing nothing but go to amusement parks and swim in the pool on this trip, I can report that we also visited CalTech's Palomar Mountain Observatory (http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/mobile.html), whose 200-inch telescope was used to discover several of the newer (to human knowledge) members of our solar system such as 
Quaoar, Sedna, Eris (originally proposed to be named Xena), Haumea, and Orcus (lead astronomer Mike Brown has a nice blog: http://www.mikebrownsplanets.com/).

There is a small museum. One item on display is a CCD sensor built in the 1970's at CalTech for use in the telescope--basically an early digital camera, with 0.25 megapixels! There are also O and N scale models of the train that transported the 200" mirror from the Corning glass plant in New York State.

On the way down the mountain we found an artesian spring which has been piped into drinking fountains. The water really does taste pretty good. We even dumped out a water bottle full of Redwood City tap water to refill with some of the spring water to drink later.

Heading back to civilization we passed through the town of Pala, which has a mission and is in an Indian reservation--this is (according to wikipedia) the only California mission that has persisted as part of a community descended from the original mission Indian inhabitants. 

We also found a produce stand that sold local avocados and honey from bees who take pollen from avocado flowers--it's good, with a slightly intenser-than-usual flavor. 

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