Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Its Perihelion Day!

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

The Earth’s slightly elliptical orbit means that we are about 3% closer to the Sun in January than in July.   Today the Earth will again be at its closest point to the Sun, aka perihelion.   The seasonal changes caused the earth tilted axis of rotation overshadows the slight difference in solar radiation ( about 7% ) due to our elliptical path around the Sun.   Last July, I took a shot of the sun and made this side by side comparison with one form today.

Shot With My Fuji S100fs + Welder's Glass Filter

My camera rig is not really up to the challenge of capturing fine detail of the solar disk.  But you can still make out a sun spot at about the 10 o’clock position.   I set the S100fs to maximum zoom and use the 2x digital zoom with a green welder’s glass filter.   Then color corrected to give the sun a more natural appearance.

Rain Causes Cancer!

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

… But Only In California

Even rain water cannot meet California’s proposed limits on hexavalent chromium ( aka chromium-6, Cr(VI), “Erin Brockovich Chemical” ).   The .06 ppb ( part per billion ) limit is more stringent that the .08 ppb actually present in rainwater.  ( See Kieber et al, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2002, 36 (24), pp 5321–5327 )  In fact, certain areas have rainwater which greatly exceed the the proposed standard, with 10 to 30 times higher concentrations.

Let the Enviro-Scare Begin

In the shadow of California’s announcement, various environmental groups and the Water Purification Industrial Complex have jumped on the bandwagon.   The EWG’s report makes it sounds as if most municipal water supplies are unsafe, cause cancer, and so on.   They disclose their bias with the cover of the report:

From this pipe, to your baby's sippy cup.

And on the landing page for their chromium web site:

"You may already be dead!"

But read the report.    With the exception of Norman, OK the highest levels detected were within 10 times the amount found in rain water.   So if this is such a ghastly toxin, its practically everywhere in comparable amounts.   If its in the rain, its in your vegetable garden.