24 October 2009


potpourri, as in a few random quickie topics, just for fun --

~~ The Goosenecks of the San Juan -- a deep oxbow series of meanders on the san juan river in southern utah. i had the great good fortune to be introduced to the goosenecks from river level, during a five day rafting/kayaking trip orchestrated by my old and dear friend irene. she was in her avon raft, and i was in a kayak borrowed from the university of arizona kayaking club. the san juan is a sweet little river, ranging from class I to III on the international scale of whitewater difficulty, just right for a then-beginner like me. a unique feature -- sand waves. the river bottom is sandy, and the current under certain conditions will sculpt rollercoaster-like waves on the substrate, which in turn generate a series of waves at the water surface. they appear, persist for a few minutes, then vanish. magical. oh yes, the goosenecks are featured prominently at the end of the movie "Thelma and Louise", though the location is mistakenly identified by one character as the Grand Canyon. (click on image to enlarge)

~~ wake turbulence -- disturbance of the air through which an airplane passes. at busy major airports, avoidance of wake turbulence is one factor which determines the spacing between arriving or departing aircraft, as well as following distance and relative position in the air. the primary forms are jet wash and wingtip vortices. vortex turbulence isn't limited to jets. small private aircraft generate it too, and design features like tapered or elliptical wings and wingtip mounted winglets are intended to minimize induced drag on the aircraft, and interference with following aircraft.

~~ Jackie Robinson -- the first African American baseball player to break the color barrier, when he started with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 (the year of my birth) at Ebbets Field. he endured much racist abuse from fans and other players, but persisted in his career, helping the Dodgers win the 1955 World Series. Robinson was one of the early heroes in the desegregation movement, and remains an iconic figure in baseball history in his own right -- he was the first player of any race to win the Rookie of the Year Award, he played in six World Series, he was selected to play in six consecutive All Star Games, and was the first black player to receive the National League Most Valuable Player award, in 1949.

and th-th-th-that's all, folks !

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