Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life's A Musical - Only In New York

What do YOU know about New York? Have you visited? Have you lived there? I have! What do you think of when a friend tells you that they met someone from New York? A pleasant, happy go lucky individual who will go out of his way to help?

It's true that most consider New Yorkers as a bit stand-offish, and I can tell you that, for the most part, it's earned. After all, you don't hear the challange: "got a problem with that?" said very often anywhere else in the world – unless maybe France. But, there is Central Park, and Macy's and Gimbal's and about the highest concentration of difference-tolerant carbon-based organisms found anywhere in the galaxy!

I mean, there was a reason that the "Men In Black" story could only have its setting in New York – it's the only place in the world where the story would be believable! I mean, alien creatures living completely unnoticed amongst the population? Really… they were aliens not wizards like in England.

So, what would happen in, let's say, Salt Lake or Mesquite, if you were in a food court and literally everyone except you broke into a chorus of Handel's Messiah? Or, broke into an opera about passing them a napkin? … Would YOU simply fake it and join in so you weren't the only one left out?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Godspeed Endeavour

Finally, after several delays, the spaceship Endeavour left the Cape Canaveral starting blocks for its final voyage to the International Space Station. Its 16 day journey to outfit the Space Station with the long awaited Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer began with a lunge toward the clouds upon the command of the Auto-sequencer which controlled the thousands of "double-checks" and switch-throws necessary during the last nine minutes before the sparks started flying.

The six lucky astronauts' families watched from the roof of the launch control center as the clouds swallowed the ship mere moments after the launch, leaving them stunned silent from the site. Congresswoman Gifford (the commander's wife) made her second trip to the cape from her rehab hospital stay in order to participate in the event and said "Good stuff… good stuff" as her husband flew toward the stars.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Offroad: Gold Butte - Jumbo Creek Mine

It's plain to see why the "old-timers" decided to put in so much effort exploring around the Jumbo Creek Mine area. Quartz has always been known as a harbinger of precious metals because the same geologic forces which produce them produce quartz as well. And there's a lot of it, at least on one outcropping.

We've been there several times but we've never been able to find any thing left of the once "Jumbo Creek Mine" besides the white post in the middle of a quartz tailing's pile so attesting to its name. No mine entrance. No left over mine equipment. Nothing!   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Google Earth Trail FileOffroading Home.]

In fact, there is no mention of it on either our GPS maps, our topo or other paper maps or even the official USGS "US Features" file which lists every registered landmark and geological feature in the CONUS. To make the enigma a bit more of a mystery, we stumbled across several BLM "mine-type" officials on our way down the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway who had come to The Butte to blow up some dangerous old mine entrances.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Wilderness of Gold Butte

For some time now I have had the BLMs map of their proposal for turning Gold Butte (and Bunkerville Flats) into a WILDERNESS AREA, glaring at me from the middle of my desk top, not knowing what else to do with it except look at it and shake my head in disgust.

Frankly, as a useable map for making an assessment leading to meaningful comment, it is completely worthless; there, I said it. It is nothing more than an enhanced clone of the map the Las Vegas BLM field office foisted on us when they went through and systematically closed close to fifty or so trail segments a couple of years ago. That map was completely worthless to the public, and so is this.

Absolutely NO geo-location marks! Absolutely no latitude or longitude markings! No road names. For the most part NO readable, meaningful labels! All this leaving even the most basic understanding of where things are, woefully complex and time consuming; beyond what most reasonable people are either able or willing to undertake. Then there's obsessive-compulsive me.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Offroad: Mesquite - Noodling on North Flats

Probably one of the easiest ATV, SUV trailheads to get to in Mesquite is up the Mesquite Heights Road, most know it as the "road to the dump." There is quite a large staging area for the trailers of offroad vehicles just to the left before you arrive at the land-fill, a testament to its popularity and frequency of use.

Most of the use is from all forms of carry-alls of motorcycle's. The sandy wash banks and trails make for favored two-wheeled riding and we have never failed to see a group of cyclists whenever we have been there ourselves. This day was no exception, there were five in a "sleeper-van" who were spending the day offroad down from St. George. Actually, they were back at their trailer taking a "break" when we arrived.

It had been one of the ubiquitous rainy days this season and quite chilly; when, the sun coming out of the clouds triggered one of our genetic responses to "swim upstream" and get out in the air. Late in the day, there is really only one place to go offroad from Mesquite and that's North Flats.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Google Earth: Present and Future Tense

All indications are that Google Earth is about due for another Richter 7.0 shake-up – at least if you can believe the scuttlebutt at "Where 2.0" last week. I wasn't there myself, but lurkers in the "blogosphere" sure are all a-buzz about it.

"Where" is the massive conference started by Google last year to showcase their product and draw "groupies" from all around the globe who want to learn about and show off and network their projects that they are developing – notably those that use Google Earth and Google Maps. Using their familiar nomenclature, this, the second "version," is 2.0.