Results from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

Some of you might know that back 2004 I worked for a venture capital firm that made investments in satellite and advanced technologies. Working there, I definitely got the “solar system” bug.
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So check this out, the first images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory have been released. We’re talking pictures of “huge explosions and great looping prominences of gas”. The satellite’s five-year mission will help NASA get a better understanding of solar activity. The project cost NASA $856 million.
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Starfish

change is like an adrift starfish.
a floating starfish seems free.
to the starfish it’s agony

other wall stuck starfish say,
“that starfish is fortunate for the change”.
these other starfish are glad they’re not adrift.

the moral is never stick to a wall,
to avoid the risk the pain of coming unstuck.
that’s no way to live.

in time the new homed starfish will be fine.
the wall from whence it came will be fine too.

-neal mueller

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How I Came To Get Mauled By A Dog

jaxon-023On Sunday at 9AM I walked past my front window and noticed that my cat was staring at a gorgeous Amber German Shepard standing in the street outside my house. What I did not know was that 5 minutes later this gorgeous animal would maul me and send me bleeding to the Hospital Emergency Room.

Here’s how it happened.

I walked outside and heard the dog was whining anxiously and prancing around a street gutter. His ball was down there and he wanted it back, badly.

No good deed goes unpunished.

John, the owner, came by and asked me to help him move the heavy grate so we could get this sweet dog’s his ball back. He told the dog’s name was Jaxon. I bent over and began to move the grate. Jaxon mouthed my foot and left teeth marks.

At that point I should have run away.

For some reason I wasn’t at all concerned that the dog had just bit me, probably because my skin hadn’t broke and I was uninjured. I asked the John to curb his dog so it didn’t get hurt by the grate or knock me over. John curbed his dog a little but the Jaxon was so anxious that he was uncontrollable.

I bent over again to lift the heavy grate. Like a dart, Jaxon opened his mouth and latched onto a large chunk of my tricep. His left top canine tore through my skin and dug deep through skin and flesh. It happened lightning fast, in less than a second it was done.

I looked down and saw a 1″ x 1/2″ hole in my right arm. The puncture had deep tissue protruding and was oozing blood.  I screamed in pain and Jaxon scooted away.

Then it got quiet except for the drip of my bloody arm.

Jaxon curbed himself and was far enough away for me to calmly stand at a distance. John and I spoke. He gave me his business card. He is a Mercedes auto mechanic. He was a nice guy and was visibly surprised.

At that point it could have gone one of two ways. Neal = cranky, or Neal = reasonable human being. I chose to…

Turn the other cheek.

I told him that I would neither be suing him nor demanding his dog be punished — provided he agreed to train his dog to prevent this from happening again. He agreed and told me Jaxon had all his shots — that was a relief!

photo (7)I spent the next 2 hours in the ER getting 5 stitches. On the way home from the ER I updated John on the phone and repeated my intentions to let this thing go. He was effusively appreciative and his appreciation felt good to me.

It’s really strange but my arm never hurt during this entire thing. It began to ache a lot as soon as I pulled into the ER parking lot which I attribute to psychosomatic response associated with my knowledge that it was about to be stitched. The doctor prescribed me pain relievers and antibiotics, neither of which I filled. The human body is an amazing machine.

Get back on the horse.

The first thing I did when I got home is play with my two neighbor dogs Mango and Max. I knew I had to “get back on the horse” and spend time with dogs in a positive environment or my love of dogs might be ruined by one anxious Shepherds mistake.

I spoke to John again recently, and he told me that he’d already talked to his trainer about ways to socialize Jaxon in a way that prevented his anxious biting response. It was good thing this happened to me and not some young kid with a smaller arm.

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Should I Raise Ducks In The Backyard?

[Update] It is not illegal to raise chickens in San Mateo, California. No word on ducks.

[Update] My current preferred duck species is the Khaki Campbell (pictured below). They are good in the water, are hardy and lay more eggs than a chicken. I do not know how loyal they are.

Khaki Campbell in hand

I want to raise a flock of 5 ducks and keep them in my backyard. This is a surprisingly common suburban practice, although more people do it with chickens than with ducks. There is even a Yahoo group called Silicon Valley Chickens for people doing this same sort of thing in my community. If I raise ducks from chicks I’m told they will fly and swim in my lagoon, and return home at night.

Why I want to do this:

  • I miss having animals around. I grew up in rural Minnesota and worked on a sheep farm in Switzerland
  • Fresh eggs are yummy
  • Being disconnected from our food sources is not healthy
  • My backyard is too perfect for ducks not to take advantage of it
  • How cool would it be if they swam alongside me at Aquatic Park (file this idea under “amazing pipedreams”)

coop

Things I’ve figured out:

  • I want ducks, not chickens. Ducks are quieter, and like to fly and swim
  • I want a coop with an enclosed run to keep them safe when I’m not able to watch them

Things I am still working on:

  • What species duck? My criteria are #1 loyalty, #2 egg laying ability
  • Who will sell me 5-6 duck chicks? Hatcheries sell ducks in 25 chick lots
  • If I let them out for a fly/swim how do I “call” them back home?
  • My landlord and local ordinances

Stay tuned. And please email me if you can help.

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Goal = Get iPhone

Huge news, I got my sweet invited into the Cisco corporate iPhone pilot. I’m pretty excited, but am also leery that as soon as I get this iPhone 3GS the iPhone 4G will launch and make my new fancy gadget look like a stone.

While the cartoon is funny, here’s my thoughts on it. 3GS is the upgrade to 3G. 3GS has video recording. As for MMS, I feel like the Facebook app solves this. The memory criteria is just not relevant given cloud computing trends. That said, the cartoon is smack-on with the video call capability, and apparently this is reportedly coming in iPhone 4G.

Why is it a goal of mine to get an iPhone? Well, 100,000 apps cannot be wrong. My Blackberry Bold is/was good but it has only a couple dozen applications. Blackberry apps pale in comparison to their iPhone counterparts (e.g. Webex, Scrabble, Gmaps). And there are loads of apps that do not even exist on the Blackberry, even Chipotle has an iPhone application. A man’s gotta eat!

Source: Journaldugeek

iphone-vs-stone

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Panorama of San Francisco After 1908 Quake

desktopThis desktop panorama is just amazing. If you have double monitors at your desk try spanning this image across your desktop. It looks amazing.

I’ve stared at it’s detail for the past 20 minutes waiting for a work telecon to begin. It was taken from a flying gunship overlooking the waterfront and the Golden Gate (before the GG bridge spanned this gate). The picture was taken just after the 1906 earthquake that destroyed much of the city.

What I noticed:

  • Most the buildings are still standing, even after the quake. Reportedly, this mid-week quake struck on Wednesday and was huge,  7.8 on the Richter scale
  • After 100 years of urban development the only recognizable landmark is the Ferry Building, which survived both the 1906 earthquake and the 1989 earthquake with amazingly little damage.
  • The other landmark are the San Francisco piers, but they were different in 1906 when San Francisco was an active port. Now the piers are a tourist destination with a small crabbing and fishing operation based out of Fisherman’s Wharf.

1906-SFquake-panorama

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