Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Northridge Earthquake

The Northridge Earthquake took place twelve years ago today. Has it really been that long? Tempus Fugit.

Rather than rehash things in this space, permit me to link to my previous post about the event. I updated the post with several more photos not previously included. All the photographs linked in the post are ones that I took the following Sunday after the quake. Notice the Kaiser Permanente picture in the post.

While taking that picture, I ran into Phil Johnson of Pyromaniac. Phil and two of his boys were also out taking photos that day, and I accidentally encountered them as we were both taking photos of the Kaiser building at the same time. Our vantage point was the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant at the corner of Devonshire and Balboa. That McDonald's no longer exists there, and the place where the building stood is now an empty lot.

I hope you click over to my earlier post, click through to the photographs and read my personal experience of that day. And be glad if you do not live in earthquake country.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

If you are as great a history buff as I am, you will love this website: The Apollo Lunar Surface Journal.

I have been interested in America's space program since the mid 1960s. Of course, I was just a little kid then. But that only made the accomplishments of these extraordinary men, our astronauts, all the more magical. This site gets into the nitty gritty of actual flight transcripts, details about the spacecraft, and boatloads of high-resolution pictures. I have been to this site dozens of times and have only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. If you love history, and especially the history of America's space program, I am sure you will agree that this site is one of the best.

As a bookend to the above NASA photo of Buzz Aldrin, taken by Neil Armstrong during Apollo 11, here is a photo of me taken at the Kennedy Space Center in January, 1971. We took a tour of the facility including the vehicle assembly building where we saw components for an Apollo spacecraft being assembled. I particularly liked the tour of the blockhouse from which "the button" was pushed that actually fired the Apollo Saturn 5 rocket. Here I am, eight years old, standing at the foot of the ladder of the Apollo Lunar Module mockup.

Buzz Aldrin photo: NASA

Lunar Module mockup photo: Dad

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Days Gone By

As part of my ongoing project to electronically archive my old family photos, I offer this from 1937. The man in the middle is my paternal grandfather, Glen Hanke. On the left, the younger boy is my father Fred, and on the right is my uncle Glen Jr.

It is easy to be wistful about such pictures as this. What happened to that car? I wonder what the dog's name was. You did notice the dog, didn't you? I missed the dog the first time I saw the picture. The location looks like Michigan sometime in the spring, where the snow has started to melt and make a mess of things. All three have passed away from this life. Only our family's love for them and a few photos remain of them all.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Which Celebrity Do You Resemble?

Several weeks ago I ran across this interesting site. For free, one can upload a picture of a person and search their database to see which celebrities bear a resemblance to the person in the uploaded picture. Yesterday I revisited the site, and I uploaded this picture of me with two of my friends.

On the left is Scott, I am in the middle, and Fred is on the right. This picture was taken during the final meeting of a church group where we were the sound team (hence the cables we are clutching). The group was dissolved a few years ago. By the way, both gave me their permission to post the picture. The results were quite interesting.

After uploading the picture, all one has to do is click on "Run Face recognition" and the website handles the rest. The software dutifully found all three of our faces, and placed a rectangle around them. Then the site generates three of what I will call "celebrity boxes" and displays them at the bottom of the screen. Within the "celebrity box" are left and right arrows that are used to scroll between the matches found in the celebrity photo database. Each box will show about eight different possible matches. The pictures below are screencaps, so of course the scroll arrows will not work. Upload a picture and run it to see how they really work.
I scrolled through all the matches for each of us and found it very interesting. Scott's face was the only one of us that generated exclusively male matches. Mine generated some male, some female, and interestingly, several African-American matches. Fred took the female matches with a total of five women in his match list.

The color of the rectangle framing our faces corresponds to the color of the border on each "celebrity box." For the first screencap, I chose what I thought was the most flattering matches for each of us. Click the pictures below for larger version.

Not too bad, I guess. The men that matched Scott and Fred are famous race car drivers, Formula One drivers I think. Gary Cooper of course is an American film star. Perhaps my current profile pic had some influence. Anyway, I continued to scroll through the possible matches for each of us. Things got strange.

Scott was now matched to one of my favorite singers, Roy Orbison, of "Pretty Woman" fame. Fred matched...Kate Winslett? Must be those high model's cheekbones of yours, Fred. And I matched...Beyonce'. I have been called many things in my life, good and bad, but "bootylicious" has never been among them. Then I scrolled to a different combination:

Scott now had Kevin Costner for a match, Fred had Uma Thurman (cheekbones! cheekbones!), and I had...jazz artist Nina Simone for a match. Hmmm. Maybe if I had enough hair to pile on top of my head like that...

Anyway, the final screencap was the one that I thought was the most interesting:

Well, Scott was the leader of our team. Yeah, that's why he matched Kim Jong Il. Fred matched British comedian Rowan Atkinson, and I matched...the Dalai Lama.

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into "Which Celebrity Do You Resemble," and I hope Scott and Fred are still my friends.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Whales in the Clouds

Every now and then someone does an original Photoshop that really catches my eye. This is one of them:

Click the picture for larger version.

Photoshop by Spiffyandredhot.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

One Shot, One Kill

This report in the Telegraph (UK) caught my eye. An American sniper exacted revenge for the killing of an American serviceman with a single shot from a distance of 1,250 meters (4101.04 feet).

The shot was the longest confirmed kill in the Iraq war. Snipers are a little-known tool in the US war effort, largely due to the fact that stealth is their modus operandi. They do not operate in such a way as to generate photos or exciting video.

This particular sniper, Staff Sgt Jim Gilliland, has between 55 and 65 confirmed kills. And that in a period of only five months. He might soon reach the record by a Marine sniper, 93 confirmed kills held by the late Carlos Hathcock. You can read Hathcock's Washington Post obituary here.

Aim true and be safe, men.

M24 Rifle photo from Military.com