Category Archives: Nature

Here is a list of useful constants, etc.:


  • 1 inch = 2.54 cm
  • 1 mile = 1.6 km
  • 1 km = 1000 m
  • 1 m = 100 cm = 1000 mm = 109 nm
  • Planck Legnth = 1.616252×10-35 m = sqrt (hbar G/c3)
  • Classical Electron Radius = 2.81794×10-15 m = e2/ me c2
  • Proton Radius = 0.83×10-15 m = 0.83 femtometer = 0.83×10-13 cm
  • 1 Angstrom = 10-10 m = 10-8 cm
  • 1 Earth Radius = 6.37814×108 cm = 6.37814×106 m (Equatorial)
  • 1 Jupiter Radius = 7.1492×109 cm = 7.1492×107 m (Equatorial)
  • 1 Solar Radius = 6.959910 cm = 6.9599×108 m (Equatorial)
  • 1 Moon’s Mean Orbital Radius = 384,400 km = 3.8440×108 m
  • 1 AU = 1.4960×1011 m = 1.4960×108 km (Astronomical Unit)
  • 1 ly = 9.4605×1015 m = 9.4605×1012 km (light year)
  • 1 pc = 3.0857×1016 m = 3.0857×1013 km = 3.261633 ly = 206264.806 AU (parsec) = 3.0857×1018 cm
  • 1 Mpc = 106 pc (Megaparsec) = 3.0857×1024 cm
  • DH = c/H0 = 3000 h-1 Mpc = 9.26×1027 h-1 cm (The Hubble Scale)


  • 1° = 1 degree = 60′ = 60 arcminutes
  • 1′ = 60″ = 60 arcseconds
  • 1 radian = 360° /2 pi = 57.2957795131° = 206264.806″
  • Area of a Sphere = 41252.96124 square degrees = 4 pi Steradians


  • 1 amu = 1.6605402 x10-24 gram = 1.6605402 x10-27 kg
  • 1 amu c2 = 931.49432 MeV
  • 1 Hydrogen Atom Mass = 1.007825 amu = 1.673534 x10-24 gram
  • 1 Helium 4 Atom Mass = 4.00260325415 amu
  • 1 Carbon 12 Atom Mass = 12.0000000 amu
  • 1 Proton Mass = 1.6726231 x10-24 gram
  • 1 Neutron Mass = 1.674920 x10-24 gram
  • 1 Electron Mass = 9.1093897 x10-28 gram
  • 1 kg = 2.20462 lb
  • 1 Solar Mass = 1.989×1033 gram = 1.989×1030 kg
  • 1 Jupiter Mass = 1.899×1030 gram = 1.899×1027 kg
  • 1 Earth Mass = 5.9736×1027 gram = 5.9736×1024 kg
  • 1 Lunar Mass = 7.3477×1025 gram = 7.3477×1022 kg
  • (Proton Mass)/(Electron Mass) = 1836.15
  • Earth’s Mean Density = 5515.3 kg/m3
  • Moon’s Mean Density = 3346.4 kg/m3


  • 1 Planck Time = 5.39124×10-44 s = sqrt (hbar G/c5)
  • 1 Sidereal Day = 23h 56m 04.09054s
  • 1 Solar Day = 24h = 86400 s
  • 1 Sidereal Year = 3.155815×107 s
  • 1 Tropical Year = 3.155693×107 s


  • 1 Joule = 2.39×10-1 calorie
  • 1 Joule = 107 ergs
  • 1 eV = 1.602177×10-12 erg = 1.602177×10-19 Joule
  • 1 Solar Luminosity = 3.826×1033 ergs/s = 3.826×1026 Joules/s = 3.826×1026 Watts
  • Sun’s Absolute Magnitude V = 4.83, B = 5.48, K = 3.28
  • Vega’s Absolute Magnitude V = 0.58, B = 0.58, K = 0.58


  • Solar Surface Effective Temperature = 5770 K

Physical Constants:

  • Avogadro’s Number = NA = 6.0221367×1023 /mole
  • Gravitational Constant = G = 6.67259×10-8 cm3 gram-1 s-2 = 4.301×10-9 km2 Mpc MSun-1 s-2
  • Planck’s Constant = h = 6.6260755×10-27 erg s
  • Speed of Light = c = 2.99792458×1010 cm s-1 = 2.99792458×108 m s-1
  • Boltzmann’s Constant = k = 1.380658×10-16 erg K-1
  • Stefan-Boltzmann Constant = σ = 5.67051×10-5 erg cm-2 K-4 s-1
  • Radiation Density Constant = a = 7.56591×10-15 erg cm-3 K-4
  • Rydberg = RH = 1.09677585×10 5 cm-1
  • Electron charge = e = 4.8032×10-10 esu = 1.6022×10-19 Coulomb
  • 1 Coulomb = 6.24151×1018 e

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Filed under animated gif, animation, Nature, pictures

Day Off

As a State employee I have the perk of getting tomorrow off without pay (part of the Furlough Day program to cut budget deficits). I decided to take today off as well, using a vacation day, to make a 4 day weekend.


Anyway, I have lots of stuff to do over the weekend- more than I could do in 2 days. We have a guest arriving from out of town- a long-term guest- and we’re turning part of the garage into a bedroom. There is still much to do and she arrives in a week.

Today I’ll just share some pictures, maybe another thing or two.

The pictures below are from National Geographic, they are free desktop images. You can find these and more at this place. Click for full size then right click to save.

This one makes me think the little guy is saying, “What in the heck has happened to my neighborhood?!”

For my next trick- courtesy of Goopymart

Nature is amazing, eh? This is from the Guardian:

The oldest evidence of a fungus that turns ants into zombies and makes them stagger to their death has been uncovered by scientists.

The gruesome hallmark of the fungus’s handiwork was found on the leaves of plants that grew in Messel, near Darmstadt in Germany, 48m years ago.

The finding shows that parasitic fungi evolved the ability to control the creatures they infect in the distant past, even before the rise of the Himalayas.

The fungus, which is alive and well in forests today, latches on to carpenter ants as they cross the forest floor before returning to their nests high in the canopy.

The fungus grows inside the ants and releases chemicals that affect their behaviour. Some ants leave the colony and wander off to find fresh leaves on their own, while others fall from their tree-top havens on to leaves nearer the ground.

The final stage of the parasitic death sentence is the most macabre. In their last hours, infected ants move towards the underside of the leaf they are on and lock their mandibles in a “death grip” around the central vein, immobilising themselves and locking the fungus in position.

“This can happen en masse. You can find whole graveyards with 20 or 30 ants in a square metre. Each time, they are on leaves that are a particular height off the ground and they have bitten into the main vein before dying,” said David Hughes at Harvard University.

The fungus cannot grow high up in the canopy or on the forest floor, but infected ants often die on leaves midway between the two, where the humidity and temperature suit the fungus. Once an ant has died, the fungus sprouts from its head and produces a pod of spores, which are fired at night on to the forest floor, where they can infect other ants.

Scientists led by Hughes noticed that ants infected with the fungus,Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, bit into leaves with so much force they left a lasting mark. The holes created by their mandibles either side of the leaf vein are bordered by scar tissue, producing an unmistakable dumb-bell shape.

Writing in the journal, Biology Letters, the team describes how they trawled a database of images that document leaf damage by insects, fungi and other organisms. They found one image of a 48m-year-old leaf from the Messel pit that showed the distinctive “death grip” markings of an infected ant. At the time, the Messel area was thick with subtropical forests.

“We now present it as the first example of behavioural manipulation and probably the only one which can be found. In most cases, this kind of control is spectacular but ephemeral and doesn’t leave any permanent trace,” Hughes said.

“The question now is, what are the triggers that push a parasite not just to kill its host, but to take over its brain and muscles and then kill it.”

He added: “Of all the parasitic organisms, only a few have evolved this trick of manipulating their host’s behaviour.

Why go to the bother? Why are there not more of them?”

Scientists are not clear how the fungus controls the ants it infects, but know that the parasite releases alkaloid chemicals into the insect as it consumes it from the inside.

On the subject of Zombies, Zombie nuts!

Saddest photo ever-

Unrelated nonsense-

At the place I work they are hiring a new Superintendent. I know some people who having worked in this place for many years are on the verge of quitting. I just hope this guy lives up to the hype.  I can hardly stand to lose more people who support the good things. So far, all the news is good. We meet him next week.

Bye for now,


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Filed under animated gif, animation, Nature, pictures

Better post something before the next full moon

Pete Townsend – There’s A Heartache Following Me

Click when you want bigger size- some of these are biiig. Click sound thingys where they appear. Click click click. This is just for fun. Obviously.

Abandoned- top > down

Sub Base
In a bay on the northern shores of the Black Sea, the Soviet army maintained an elaborate submarine base throughout much of the Cold War. Now a museum, this abandoned submarine base is in the town of Balaklava, Ukraine. One picture.

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre explored some of Detroit’s dying landmarks for their photo series The Ruins of Detroit. As the industrial revolution came to a close and race riots crippled a once bustling city, many buildings throughout Detroit fell into disrepair and eventual abandonment. Three pictures.

Beelitz Hospital
It is rare that a ruin like this should decay so gracefully and without the marks of vandalism. The Beelitz Military Hospital in Berlin is in great condition for a ruin, perhaps for the history it represents. In 1916, a young Lance Corporal Adolph Hitler recuperated here after taking a bullet in the Battle of the Somme during the First World War. One Picture

NYC City Hall Subway Station
Under the busy streets of New York City rests a perfectly preserved monument to that city’s transportation history. The City Hall Subway Station was first constructed over 100 years ago, a part of New York’s earliest underground transport network. It was shut down in 1945, where it lay dormant and untouched until a one night public exhibition on the station’s centennial. Two pictures- present and past.

Ryugyung Hotel
The Ryugyung Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea is one of the 20th century’s greatest architectural failures. Initially designed as a beacon of progress and power, the Ryugyung Hotel was unable to sustain construction when the North Korean government ran out of money. Ground was broken in 1987, construction was halted in 1992. One picture.

Pripyat, Ukraine. In a span of sixteen years, the population of Pripyat grew from zero to 50,000 and back down to zero, following the greatest nuclear power disaster in human history. Pripyat was billed as an atomic city, built into the forests south of Kiev in 1970 to house the families of workers at the Chernobyl nuclear facility. One picture (but you can gopogle many others).

A massive, indoor water park was planned for the children of Russia, one towering many stories high with a myriad of rides within. Before this park could be completed, the developer went belly up and couldn’t afford its completion. One picture.

Sea Forts
During the Second World War, the British Royal Navy constructed a series of sea forts for an advanced line of defense against inbound air raids and potential sea invasions from the Axis powers. The Maunsell Sea Forts still stand today, abandoned a few meters above the North Sea. One, however, remains inhabited, now a nation of its own referred to as the Principality of Sealand. These sea forts are a favorite of maritime explorers. One picture.

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Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park

“The Bemaraha National Park, situated in the west of Madagascar, has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. And for good reason… 752 km² of breathtaking scenery with this incredible stone forest known as the Tsingy.
From the Malagasy word “mitsingitsignia”, which means ‘to walk on tiptoe’, the term Tsingy has been accepted in common language to denote the exceptional topography. This topography of eroded limestone may exist in other areas around the world, but nowhere as tall, slender and extensive as the spires here.
Beneath this apparent austerity, an extraordinary world of forest canyons, humid caves and burning karst karren is inhabited by fundamentally differing plants and animals who thrive in close proximity.”
some links:
National Geographic-
google maps-
(type Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park into Google Earth- wowza)

click for full size

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Radio Night, Frog Spawn Days

Getting the announcement part out of the way, tonight is Mad Liberation by Moonlight at 1 a.m. PST on KBOO, 90.7 FM in Portland, Oregon. Streamed on the web at It’s a call in show, blah blah blah, call in at 503-231-8187 to be on the radio, read other posts about it here. Archived shows are found on the MLBM tab above.

Always remember- click pics for full size; most are really big.

West on the Springwater Corridor trail near my home- On the left (south side) is a marsh. On the right (north) are a series of ditches that collect water and keep it for a bit until mid June or so. This is one of several places I monitor for amphibian eggs and relative potential for supporting polliwogs through their transformations.

Marsh on south side of Springwater Corridor

Picture with hard-to-see newt tadpoles as of last week

The marshy area stays pretty moist and frogs that spawn there can expect their babies to grow up unless they’re eaten by birds or some such. The ditchy area is iffy. Eggs there will hatch- the ditch pools will fill with tadpoles- but the puddles will mostly dry up before the frogs can mature.

Lots of froggy love goin on- look at all that slimy frog spawn!

The marshy area also has a healthy population of newts- gilled newts that look like this as they are changing:

The frogs I’m talking about are basic pacific tree frogs. They are brown to green ion color and start out very small and stay just a bit bigger. The newly transformed froglings will be about the size of your thumbnail. Or smaller. Fully grown, 1 or 2 years old they may be the size of your thumb. This presupposes that they survive tadpole-hood.

Babies look like this when they mature:

Hey little fella/ gal/ whatever you are

More frog eggs

The ditch puddles are still quite moist. Too wet and muddy around the edges for me to get close enough for you to see the tadpoles. But they are there- here’s a picture I took last year of  one I brought home to mature:

Newts also spawn in these ditches and most don’t survive. I’ll get some of them, too. With the newts, I have to take them back out to a place like the marsh when they’re ready.

Almost ready to leave the tank (last year)

The frogs just hop out into the world. Usually 90% of them will take off in one day from the tank on my back porch.

More spawn

My annual hobby/ mission involves finding places like this that serve as marginal habitat- attractive to frogs in love (blush) but generally not capable of sustaining their babies. I find several spots near home. Powell Butte is one of my favorites but the marginal ditch I find them is messed up this year due to construction of an underground water reservoir.

This is a picture from Powell Butte, pre-reservoir.

Powell Butte from SPACE!

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Filed under Frogs, Mad Radio, Nature, pictures

Absolutely Beautiful, plus news clips

Cherry trees in bloom at Oregon State Hospital (click for full size, as usual)

Other news from OSH:

State Furloughs = Lack of Logic!

Controversial Ruling by PSRB!

Dying in Plain Sight!

Let the Feds Clean it Up!

Increased Federal Oversight Needed!

Maybe there are really serious problems!

Why Dr. Robinson didn’t come to work!

Duh!!! (Thanks, Gary)

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Filed under Mental health recovery, Nature, pictures

Mozart sandwich with Birthday Cake

I just had a birthday last week. I was born in 1955, 55 years ago.That makes me 5,555 years old! Below is a twenty dollar bill in circulation at the time of my birth.

(click for full size, as usual; you know I never skimp on picture size-always the biggest pictures here at moonsoup!)


I have a variety of things to share today. Music, pictures, animated gifs, personal history, stories from where I work, other things.

Enjoy! or not.

Okay, some of the Mozart promised in the title:






So, this is an odd time of year for me. My birthday last weekend, April 11th will be my older son’s 25th birthday (he’s coming to visit from SF this weekend- riding the dog, ought to arrive by tomorrow morning), and smack in the middle of these things is the anniversary of my oldest/ youngest child’s death- April 6th. I often dread this time of year- if I’m going to be symptomatic mental health wise, this is the time I would do it. These days, however, I’m not expecting badness. She has mellowed in my heart. I experience her as a kind, gentle angel of death; reminding me of the preciousness in each moment. Thank you Erin.

Here’s a doodle by Andrew, the oldest living child,

and one of the most coolest people I know.

One of our cats- Blizzard, has been suffering from glaucoma for years, gradually going blind. Last month she had surgery to remove her eyes- it’s called “enucleation“. Anyway, these are some shots of her recuperation. By the way, she’s doing great. She’s way more comfortable and happy and since she’s been blind for a while she has no trouble finding her way around. My younger son paid for the surgery- over $1000- because he is also a really great guy. Blizz gets the cone off her head later today.

Here’s Blizzard today, sans cone head,

in the arms of my youngest son.

The Jupiter Symphony is one of my favorite Mozart compositions-





I wrote a while back, I think, about the death of a patient at Oregon State Hospital where I work. The Oregonian newspaper just did it’s first major story about it (better late than never).

From the article linked above:

The body of Moises Perez, 42, was discovered in this bed located just to the left of the door of a room he shared with four other men. The Oregon State Hospital patient had been dead several hours before he was discovered during evening medication checks.

Below- some great pictures of/ from the ESO Paranal Observatory in Chile, high in the Andes. The top picture is a full-sky, 360 degree panorama. The other pictures are of the observatory itself in summer and winter.

Richard Harris is the state Director of Addictions and Mental Health. He wrote this to the Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition, our primary collective voice as survivors of the Mental Hell treatment system. I don’t know if it’s serious or comic relief. Time will tell. Anyone can yak yak yak.

From: “Richard HARRIS” <>
Date: 18 March 2010 12:14:23 PM PDT
Subject: Re: Consumer Voice—-REVISED MEMO


DATE:        March 18, 2010

TO:            All AMH Staff

FROM:      Richard L. Harris
Assistant Director

RE:            Consumer voice

Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to meet with
many people representing many mental health consumer groups. From
these meetings it has become clear to me that there is a need for
increased consumer voice within local and state government. Len and I
recently met with the Oregon Consumer Survivor Coalition (OCSC) and
together we have identified four ways by which consumer voice can be

1.    Increased public education on addiction and mental health issues;
2.    Increased training for those providing addiction and mental
health treatment;
3.    Continued and increased peer support services and;
4.    Supporting and promoting an independent voice in the addictions
and mental health consumer community.

My initial commitment to increase consumer voice and to support and
promote peer delivered services will be for AMH to provide phone and
video support to the upcoming strategic planning summit sponsored by
OCSC. The summit will identify a clear pathway to establishing a
formal mechanism to support consumer voice statewide. In addition
Oregon’s Olmstead Plan calls for increased consumer participation in
all aspects of transition from residential facilities to independent
living with people having a key to their own home with access to
addiction and mental health services when needed.

To further consumer voice and increase consumer visibility in the
community, OCSC will reach out to the addictions community and attend
and participate in the OHA/DHS statewide budget forums scheduled
around the state later this spring.

These are important first steps in creating a solid foundation to
promote consumer voice and visibility within local communities and
local and state government. I look forward to continuing dialogue with
the OCSC and others to develop a highly visible and robust consumer
voice as part of AMH and the developing OHA.

Richard L. Harris
Assistant Director
Addictions and Mental Health Division
500 Summer St NE E-86
Salem, OR 97301-1118
Blackberry: 503-569-3183
FAX: 503-373-7327

Heads up: may contain graphic violence–

By the way, you can’t outrun a Samurai!

My personal favorite by Mozart, his unfinished “requiem”. This is the whole shebang, huge file, high quality-


A couple weekends back my wife and I went hiking at Catherine Creek to look at the first wildflowers of spring. You get there by going to Hood River, Oregon, crossing the troll bridge (don’t look! you’ll turn to stone!) into Washington, driving east through the town of Bingen, Washington and at the second roadside lake take the old state road that climbs the hill. You’ll know you’re there when you get to it. There are a few waves of wildflowers that bloom and pass relatively quickly in the stony volcanic earth. By now there’s a whole new batch. By the middle of April they’ll almost all be gone. I hope we get back up there before the end of the season.

Mozart plays the bassoon!




Bye for now, have a great day.


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Filed under animated gif, animation, cats, Family pictures, Free Music, Mental Hell Treatment, mp3, Music, Nature, personal story, pictures

On the way to Meeting this morning

These are all big- click for full size.




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Kelly Point

This sign is found at the tip of Kelly Point in Portland, at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Due to the many large river islands that occupy the area, Lewis and Clark missed the Willamette River twice, once on the way to and again on the way back from the Pacific Ocean. The Willamette is the second largest watershed in what later became the Oregon Territory (and later became Oregon, Washington, Idaho) not to mention British Columbia (pictures are really big, click for full size):


Snaps from Kelly Point, where my wife and I went walking yesterday. Google shots show context.

The place was empty- we saw one fisherman and one Heron. Mighty quiet.

The collage is followed by larger pictures.














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