Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, January 20, 2023

Four How-Tos

It was time to go through some bookmarks. In the bargain, I got a reminder, some neat trivia, a funny trip down memory lane, and something to try with one of my favorite kinds of birds.


1. The green comet passing Earth soon will be making its first appearance in our skies since the time of the Neanderthals, and it may be visible to the naked eye.

Mental Floss explains when and how to see it.

2. While we're still on the subject of astronomy, did you know that lunar eclipses can occur before sunset, thanks to atmospheric refraction?

Not only that, it happens all the time, and further down in the discussion, someone explains how to go about seeing it, for those with time and money on their hands.

3. Oh, okay, one more on astronomy, albeit indirectly.

"I washed my USB drive. Any long-term risks?" comes up because some time ago, I was going to set up a telescope for the family and some visiting relatives to see a lunar eclipse at night.

This was in Florida, at my in-laws' house, which had a small dock on the bay out back. It was at night, and, while the dock had lights around its edges, it also branched in a couple of places, so that the lights, when viewed a certain way, formed a grid. Some "squares" were over water, and some weren't.

Eager to view the eclipse, and absorbed in the task at hand, I took a step to the side...

... and quickly found myself seated on the bay bottom, in very shallow water. Annoyed -- because how effing lucky I was hadn't sunk in yet -- I climbed out and walked back to the house. By the time I got there, I was laughing about it.

As a bonus, I'm pretty sure I photobombed a Zoom conference my sister-in-law was holding in the middle of the dining room, while on my way to clean up and change.

I'll have to ask her some time if anyone noticed.

Naturally, I had a USB drive in my pocket. It got wet, and the above link is what I found.

Said drive still works, I have a funny story, and I won't go out to play around on a dock at night without having someone with me again.

4. I thought I liked crows a lot ... until I happened upon "How to Befriend Crows":
Image by Kevin Mueller, via Unsplash, license.
If you feed them regularly, they will come to recognize you. They're remarkably good at recognizing faces, gaits, and even the sound of a particular car's engine.

In the rain wearing a new jacket with the hood up? They recognize me.

After a year away from the office due to COVID policies, I thought my office friends would have forgotten me. No. They spotted me within a few yards of the parking garage.
The thread is nicely illustrated with photographs, including a fine one of a crow shelling a peanut.

-- CAV


: Corrected section on comet. HT: Steve D.


SteveD said...

'the green comet passing Earth soon will be the first such comet since the time of the Neanderthals.'

I had to reread the article carefully because it was somewhat ambiguous at the beginning. However, they clarify themselves later. They mean that this is the first time that particular comet has passed the Earth since the time of the Neanderthals (50,000 years ago), regardless of whether or not it is visible. Visible comets are too infrequent. I saw one a few years ago.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the correction.

Thinking back, I am slapping myself on the forehead for not checking on that myself.