Whales, Ahoy!

June 27, 2007

Ever wondered what it’s liked to mobbed by eight hungry school buses?  Check out that photo on the right.  That’s a group of humpback whales consuming a school of fish that was previously under our boat.  I was lucky enough to be pointing my camera into the water off the bow, and they popped straight up into the frame.  The whole thing was visible for only a few seconds, but I managed to get some good shots.

Here’s a better description of what they were doing (taken from this page):

A group of Humpback whales swim rapidly in wide circles around and under a school of fish, blowing air through their blowholes. The bubbles form a visual barrier that serves to confine the school within an ever tighter area. One humpback whale or more then suddenly swim upwards and through the bubble net, mouths agape, swallowing thousands of fish in one gulp.

This is the whales coming up to the surface.  If you look closely at the bigger versions of the images, you can see the little fish, doubtlessly screaming in terror.  Click the photo to check out the full set of 7 images.

“People’s Korea”

June 22, 2007

Ever wondered what it’s like to read a North Korean newspaper?   Check this out — “People’s Korea” is a pro-North Korea paper published in Japan.  You’ll find gems like this littered through out:

Noting that the workers of the smeltery have upheld the Workers’ Party of Korea with a pure conscience and a sense of obligation, firmly maintaining the consistent working class stand and steadfastly abiding by the principle of socialism even under the difficult and complicated situation, thus strikingly demonstrating the invincible might of the heroic working class of Korea, he highly appreciated their life totally dedicated to the prosperity of the country.

Wow.

House Out, Camera In

June 21, 2007

Nikon D80We sold our first house yesterday, and as a gift to myself I went out and bought my first digital SLR — a Nikon D80.   I’ve been itching to get a digital SLR for about five years, and I think the quality and price have finally reached the point where I won’t feel guilty about plonking down the dough.

I’m still a little grumpy about digital photography, for two reasons.  First, I sit in front of the computer all day, so I’m not exactly thrilled with the prospect of spending more time sitting on my ass and clicking on the mouse.  Second, and I guess it’s kind of related, but I love the “old fashioned” process of printing black and white photographs in a darkroom with chemicals and enlargers and all that.

Never the less, I love taking pictures, and I’m thrilled with how easy it is to share photos and find inspiration on the web.  The D80 is a great camera to build on, and I’m looking forward to spending the next several years with it.

So, expect more photos.  In a couple of days I’m headed up to Alaska on a trip with the extended family, and I’m excited to see what comes of it.

Carbon Neutral Google

June 19, 2007

This is encouraging — Google’s energy consumption will be “carbon neutral” by the end of this year. I’m keen to see what else they can do with the world’s largest collection of information about green practices at their finger tips.

They have a Clean Energy page on their site now that details some of their efforts, but it’s a little thin on details. If they want to own up to the efforts they’re making, maybe they can publish some impressive figures about how much they’re spending, and how much they’re saving? It’s an issue that everyone in the computing industry is aware of, so a vague brochure site about Priuses and solar panels isn’t particularly interesting …

Update:  So, there is one fun little page that details how much energy the solar panels are generating:  http://www.google.com/corporate/solarpanels/home  … turns out it accommodates about 30% of their energy usage on campus.

Marc Andreessen’s Blog

June 14, 2007

Marc Andreessen decided to start blogging about entrepreneurial tendencies a little while ago, and he’s freakishly good at it.  He writes clearly, and offers some very compelling ideas.  I’m not sure how he’s able to quickly produce so many long and detailed posts about startups, but it’s really good stuff.

Go read it.