Category Archives: Uncategorized

Great Auk Egg

Great Auk Egg

This is a preserved egg from the Great Auk, now extinct.

The last known living egg was smashed by Ketill Ketilsson on June 3rd, 1844 as he helped his friends Jón Brandsson and Sigurður Ísleifsson kill the parents.

They were valuable, you see. Due to their rarity.



Mountains usually stay put because they’re very sensitive and don’t want to destroy all the neat stuff we’ve built. They’ll wait until our bedtime and then sweep it all up when we’re not paying attention.



Cloud computing sounds cool, but you have to remember that clouds are one small part of the entire water cycle.

Remember to put bounds on your fractal generation scripts to prevent data leaks.

UV Flower

UV Plant_11

Since ultraviolet light doesn’t map to visual colours, sometimes I play with band separation to figure out what look I want. In general, the camera picks up UV light as red, orange, purple, and magenta, with two primary bands falling either into orange/purple or red/magenta. I can then use colour shifting to move them around a bit, and get this sort of blue. I think it looks nice.


UV Plants_1

I picked up an ultraviolet camera last year, but it wasn’t until a month or two back that I got the lens I needed with it. I had hoped that I could leverage older lenses with this camera and, as it turned out, the answer was “not really”. They do work, but they don’t have full transmission across all UV bands, so it wasn’t clear if I was getting everything I really wanted.

I still need to find a way to generate full spectrum UV light (the sun is a good source, I think, but I need a flouride spectrum or something to spread out the colours) so I can test the lenses I have to see how close they really are. I also have concerns that the camera itself may not be detected everything I want it to, but testing that is much harder as it means I have to convert several cameras so I can do side-by-side testing.

For now, enjoy the weirdness that is less than ideally scientific (non-fluorescent) UV photography.

Giant Plumose Anemone

Giant Plumose Anemone

The word “plumose” comes from the Latin: “pluma” meaning down or “plumosus” meaning full of down or feathers. Further exploration suggests that it means something like “having multiple filaments coming off one axis, like a feather”. This gets more interesting when you look at the historical examples: “a plumose leaf”, “plumose tentacles”, or as in this example “plumose anemone”.

Basically, “plumose” means “feathery but not, you know, having anything to do with actual feathers”

Porpoise in Lights


Every winter, the Phoenix Zoo does a “ZooLights” event, where people come after dark to admire the lights. This is, traditionally, something that is difficult to photograph, but my new camera does better in low light and I happened to have a “sparkle” filter in my bag, so I figured I’d see how it worked.

I like it.

Huachuca water umbel


The Huachuca water umbel is a plant that looks like grass, but isn’t grass. It’s a water plant that needs flooding to propagate and survive. It’s an Arizona native … where flooding is pretty rare now that humans consume the water as fast as they can get it.

Of particular interest is the approximately seven meter run that you see here. This is the largest habitat for this plant in the world.

That’s right, the largest, healthiest stretch of this plant is at the Phoenix Zoo, in a non-public area.

Zoos don’t save only the animal species.