24 September 2007

You can lead a dog to...


but you can't




23 September 2007

Isaiah 40:15

This image was taken by the Voyager 1 space probe on Feb. 14, 1990, while more than 4,000,000,000 miles from Earth. The left-hand colorful section is rotated and enlarged below.

Do you see the small dot in the pink band of light on the right half of the image? If you do not already know, read further to see what it is.

The same dot appears again in this section of a stunningly beautiful mosaic of the night side of Saturn taken by Cassini on Sept. 15, 2006.

The image below as taken by the rover Spirit on the morning of its 63rd Martian day on Mars.
All of these dots are what is sometimes known as the Pale Blue Dot. You probably know it as our home planet Earth.

22 September 2007

My "ecological footprint."


FOOD 4.2




VISIT US: http://www.earthday.net/footprint

21 September 2007

Zombies! Career Options

A surprisingly large number of career options were presented at the Zombie Walk.


Dog Walker


Being a solider was quite popular.

The medical profession has obvious benefits.


20 September 2007

State Fair Photographs

The weather was sunny and hot that afternoon (2007 Aug. 8), but the crowds were still strong and sweaty.

Before Weird Al's concert, I walked around the fair and stopped at the dairy exhibit for a chocolate shake. I learned there that Ohio is the nation's leading produce of Swiss Cheese.
This achievement was commemorated with a cow, calf, block of cheese,
and a small sprite carved out of butter.

We were told not to take photographs during Weired Al's performance, but I took this one before he took the stage. You can see about one quarter of the crowd. The rainbow wig belongs to a clown on stilts who served as pre-show entertainment.

The concert was excellent and hilarious. I had "my, my, this here Anakin guy..." stuck in my head for some time. He performed several full songs and snippets from others from throughout his career, including "Eat It," "A Complicated Song," and "Bob," which he he described as "a song composed entirely of random palindromes." My favorite was, "Ah, Satan sees Natasha." He went though almost as many costume changes as songs; he wore the fat suit from the music video when he sang "Fat!"

He began "White & Nerdy," which hit a little too close to home for me, by riding a Segway onto the stage. Anothe featuer was "The Saga Begins" in which Al dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi and his keyobard player was dressed as Emperor Palpatine. He concluded with "Albuquerque," althought it seemed like an abbreviated version. Overall, the show was hilarious, his performaces was strong and energetic, and it was well worth the price of admission.

On the way back, I found my last name in the sidewalk. It is not a very common name; I did not put it there, and I do not know who did.

Each night of the fair concluded with fireworks. Since I did not bring my tripod, I did not get a clear photograph.

17 September 2007

The Last Days

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."

Paul was giving advice to Timothy about how to behave in the "last days." This implies that Paul expected the last days to occur within Timothy's lifetime. If the last days are the last days of history, was Paul wrong about when they would occur, or have they continued for at least 1900 years?

12 September 2007

Blank Elevation Marker from Camping Trip

From the camping trip, you may remember this photograph, which shows an elevation marker, which I was informed should be called a "benchmark." For some reason the Geological Survey neglected to stamp the elevation on this benchmark.

A few days after the trip, I sent this message to the United States Geological Survey via the contact page.


While on a camping trip with some friends in the Zaleski State Forest in Ohio, I saw an elevation marker. I have seen several of these in other places, but this one did not have the elevation stamped on it. Could you tell me what the elevation is for this marker?

I posted a photograph of the maker here: http://bp0.blogger.com/_QHTs4OUpJ2M/RtnSxU5kbJI/AAAAAAAAA5U/H11w7z-SO5c/s400/Hike_3.JPG

Thank you,

Later that day, I received a response.
--------------- Original Message ---------------
Subject: Re: Blank Elevation Marker
Date: Tue, 04 Sep 2007 11:38:20 -0400

September 4, 2007

Thank you for your request.

The USGS office in Rolla, MO. holds all the records for benchmarks in the eastern half of the U.S. I will forward your inquiry to that office.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us again.

Soon, I received a reply from the office in Rolla, MO.

09/04/2007 03:31 PM

Subject: Re: Fw: Blank Elevation Marker

Luke C.:

Thank you for your inquiry in regards to a bench mark in the Zaleski State Forest in Ohio. Additional information is needed such as: Latitude/Longitude, Township, Range, Section#, Topo map name if known, Stamping or BM# shown on topo map. If you would furnish me with additional information I will look up the information for you.

This response was surprising because I thought the benchmark would contain enough information to allow the staff at USGS to uniquely identify it. Also, I did not know how to find much of the information requested. While I was pondering how to respond, another very helpful message arrived.

On Tue, 04 Sep 2007 16:43:43 -0500 John C Fouke wrote:


If you do not have an easy way to find the lat-long, T-R-S, topo map name, etc., then the fastest method might be for you to visit www.topozone.com, and find the location of the benchmark there (you can view our maps on topozone) so that Mary can find the benchmark description in our paper files.

After a relatively easy search on topozone, I had the information they needed.

"Luke A. Corwin"
09/05/2007 08:18 AM
RE: Fw: Blank Elevation Marker


Thank you for pointing me to Topo Zone; I was able to find the benchmark easily. It is designated "BM 723" on this map:


What does "17 CBT" mean. It was stamped on the maker before "1959," as you can see in the photograph I linked in my original message?

Thank you,

With this, the staff at USGS were able to tell me exactly how high we (or more precisely the soles of our shoes) were above sea level we we stood next to this benchmark.

"BM 723" Ohio is in the 15' quadrangle = 41OH Line 2, Page 4.

The original mark is Third-Order Leveling, National Geodetic Vertical Control of 1929:
Zaleski, 6.0 mi NE. of; 1.4 mi NE. of Hope; in Sec. 15, T. 11 N., R. 16 W.; 35 ft N. and 30 ft E. of, and 2 ft higher than centerline of State Highway 278 at concrete bridge over Sandy Run; in top of guardrail; standard tablet stamped "17 CBT 1959 723" Elevation 722.872 feet


Zaleski, 6.0 mi NE. of, 1.4 mi NE. of Hope, Sec. 15, T. 11 N., R. 16 W., 178 ft NE. of bridge #278-8.59, 22 ft W. of centerline of concrete base of tie-down for guard rail; standard tablet stamped "17 CBT 1959 RESET1982" RESET ELEVATION 722.333 feet (221.082 meters)

What does "17 CBT 1959 723" mean?
The USGS fieldman stamping method is:
17 is the line number (Example next number 18, 19 and so on)
CBT is the fieldmans initials (C. B. Thomas)
1959 is the year the line was ran
723 is the elevation rounded off (If below 5 would be 722 if above 5 would be 723) For this elevation 722.872 it is rounded off the 723.
RESET shows that the mark has been reset since original bench mark was established
1982 shows the year the RESET was done

So there's your information on USGS bench mark training. USGS does not have a website address. NGS has a website: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov You can go to the Products and Publications and it explains bench marks. I have copied how to get to the information on the website below.

If you need additional information please let me know.

Mary Fone

NGS Website: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov
Left side column click on Products & Services
Scroll down to Publications
Click on Publications Available On Line
Scroll down to Operations, Field Procedures
Click on Geodetic Bench Marks

NGS Website: http://www.ngs.noaa.gov
Below Surveyor click on datasheets
Below Retrieval Links click on gray DATASHEETS
Select Retrieval Methods
USGS Quad Name (Without the State)
Click on Submit
Below ST select the 2 letter state then click on Submit
It will display the marks
Click on Select All (Will display in blue)
Then click on Get Datasheets

06 September 2007


It saves money, conserves energy, reduces pollution, and makes the neighborhood even more visually interesting.

03 September 2007

Camping (with photographs and surprises)

In preparation for the CGSA Camping Trip, Chris dried Jenny after she had gotten herself wet finding relief from the hot weather we had been experiencing. Our trip began when we left Columbus on Friday evening and ended when we returned on Sunday afternoon.

The three of us who share this apartment (plus Jenny) all took one car. We were still on the highway for our first surprise.

Surprise #1: I forgot the bread.

I was in charge of providing lunch for the group on Saturday. While at Arby's for dinner on the way to Lake Hope State Park, I realized that I had forgotten the bread in my apartment. Fortunately, a Super Wal-Mart was near the Arby's, and I was able to replace the forgotten bread with little time lost. As you can see in the photograph below, everyone enjoyed lunch despite my forgetfulness.

We arrived at the park and proceeded to the ranger station in charge of the camp sites. Several other cars had either already proceeded to the camp site, were waiting at the station, or were still en route. Chris decided to stay behind with Jenny to wait for the final cars to arrive while the other two of us in the car proceeded to the camp site using directions given to us by the ranger. The road to the campsite was long, winding, and paved with gravel.

Surprise #2: Car Wreck
The gravel was the problem.

Above is the car after we slid of the road into the woods. Below is the scene as viewed from the side of the road.

For about 30 minutes, we waited for the others to find us while I tried, with varying degrees of success to call someone on my mobile phone and alert them to our plight. Two other cars arrived, and we transferred ourselves and cargo into them and proceeded to the camp site.

Neither of us was seriously injured. We were both wearing seat belts, but I did bounce vertically, hitting my head against the car roof. I also received a scrape on my arm, as shown above.

Fri. Evening

After we had all arrived on Friday evening, we started a camp fire. The story is continued by an e-mail sent by the leadership team summarizing the trip.
[One of the InterVarsity staff workers] shared with us "Ten Years of CGSA", a beautiful walk into the origins and growth of CGSA through the years. This fell into various theological and political discussions, and small talk as we were illumined by campfire, and surrounded by moonlit starry night. Luke afterwards gave us a tour of the skies which, because of the bright moon, allowed for a fascinating illustration of how the phases of the moon work, and where the moon's light comes from, with our own Se Kyung representing the moon. Luke pointed out a few bright stars, explained how glorious, how large, and how far away they really are. Looking at the stars is at once an awesome and humbling experience.

Sat. Breakfast

We cooked most of our meals over the campfire. Here Paul is frying vegetables for breakfast.

He and his wife Arwen also made delicious bacon.

Paul is preparing to grill the cooler...erm...I mean douse the fire before we head off to the beach.

As its name suggests, Lake Hope Sate Park contains a lake. That lake has a nice swimming beach, seen above. The water was warm, clean, and somewhat green.

No pets were allowed on the beach, so Jenny had to stay on a leash tied to a picnic table on a patio overlooking the beach; it is the same place where we ate lunch. She was extremely unhappy about that.

Jonathan and Sara appear to be an ordinary couple reading on the beach. Neither they nor their reading materials are quite ordinary. She is a chemistry graduate student; he is a chemical physics graduate student. She is reading a classic American novel; he is reading The Odyssey.

Thanks to some SPF 45 sunscreen, I had only one patch of mild sunburn after spending several hours on the beach and in the water.

This photograph was not taken during our time at the beach, but I thought it was best placed next to the picture of Jonathan and Sara. Paul and Arwen are here shown wearing their matching CGSA T-Shirts.


As is usual on a CGSA camping trip, we took a short hike on a path through part of the forest surrounding the park. Orange paint on some tree trunks assured us that we were still on the trail.

On point of interest on the hike was a pioneer cemetery.

It still had a few headstones.

For some reason the Geological Survey neglected to stamp the elevation on this marker.

The final point of interest on our hike was the Big Sandy Furnace, which was used to extract iron from iron ore in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Surprise #3A: Thunderstorm

When I checked the weather forecast for our trip, it predicted a 30% chance of rain on Saturday. Before the rain arrived, we heard thunder and decided to get into our cars to reduce the probability of being struck by lightning.

The storm was surprisingly strong and last for one or two hours. We stayed safe and dry in our cars.

Surprise #3B: Lighting Strike

One bolt of lighting struck so close to us that the light from the bolt and the sound from the thunder appeared simultaneous. One member of the trip saw the bolt strike this tree in our camp site.
You can see the black region where the lighting charred the tree. On the upper right corner of the charred region is a patch of exposed wood where the lightning apparently ejected a chunk of bark. Also, in the photograph below, you can see two paths down the tree that seem to have been stripped of some bark; perhaps one or both of these are parts of the paths the lightning took to the ground.

Surprise #3C: Dead Snake

If you click the photograph above for the full-size version, you will see a silver object near the bottom of the photograph at the right edge of the charred region. Closer examination revealed it to be a small dead snake.

Sat. Evening

During the storm, a tarp kept our firewood dry, so I was able to restart the fire relatively easily afterwards. We cooked dinner in several stages over the coals of the fire. We had hot dogs, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, and various snack food. It was all made more delicious by the rustic setting and our relief that the storm had passed.

In spite of our relief, more rain was in store. After dinner, we retired to our tents as we felt more rain begin. We talked in our tent for some time about many things before going to bed. I slept fairly well, but I was happy to return to by bed at home.

Surprise #4: Resilient Fire

On Sunday morning, we did not have any firewood left, but a few hot coals still survived in the fire pit.

They were hot enough for Jonathan to ignite a stick sick soaked in White Gas; he used that flame to light his trusty camp stove. He and Sara cooked sausages for breakfast.
We also had cinammon rolls.

Before cleaning our site and departing, we had a small church-like service. We sang a few songs acapella and Bob (one of our InterVarsity staff workers) , led a short discussion on II Samuel 23:8-39.

Overall, it was an exciting and fun trip. I am glad I went, but you can probably understand why I am glad we only do this once each year.