It was not easy to find a photo of these bookshelves as they were installed in my parents’ house. The shelves were behind a table and hard to photograph, and they were also not very photogenic. I thought they were cool and modern in the sixties, but I never thought they were important (I do now). The shelves are probably in the background of some other photos, but this one from 1972 was the first I came across and is certainly more interesting than the rest. Many of the books in this shot are still on these shelves.
A year ago on my birthday Galen gave me the 2006 update to Orson Miller’s mushroom field guide, with no knowledge that I had the old one or a dozen other mushroom books. This year he gave me Eugenia Bone’s 2011 Mycophilia, with no knowledge that it is a wonderfully smart and funny book about mushrooms and the people who make and use knowledge about mushrooms. I am reading it now, so when I noticed the profusion of oyster mushrooms sprouting from the aspen log across the pond, I was primed to act.
The common oyster mushroom is Pleurotus ostreatus, but there is apparently an almost indistinguishable species around here that likes aspens and cottonwoods, so this might be Pleurotus populinus. That made it more exciting to have it for dinner since I really didn’t know what species it was. It was also exciting because it was an excellent dinner.
Twice this year I walked around for more than an hour flying a kite-lofted camera that I thought was taking photos, when in fact it was just fooling me into getting exercise. On the first occasion the shutter controller battery died, and the other time the camera just got confused and stopped shooting. I think I sent radio commands to shoot too frequently and it decided to take a nap. This happened another time as well but I happened to reel everything down after only 20 minutes of not taking photos while I was jogging here and there. I have modified the controller so the battery lasts much longer, and I have learned to be patient when sending radio commands, but I am certain that the rather fragile KAP rig electronics will surprise me again with their unexpected inactivity. So I have been looking for a way to monitor the camera operation from the ground. I have been brainstorming with some friends about how to do this, and Don Blair, a physics graduate student at UMass has been prototyping an alert system based on a $20 pair of walkie-talkies. I couldn’t stand hearing about all the fun he was having in Amherst using MOSFETs to remotely push the walkie-talkie PTT button, so I decided to build my own solution. Continue reading “Downlink”
Four months ago Galen and I sawed down a white ash tree to get some green sapwood to bend into the keel of a model ship. Yesterday Galen presented the completed Viking warship at his school, as each student presented his or her “Inquiry” project. The consensus is that Galen enjoyed his project almost as much as his Inquiry mentor (guess who?). The video below tells the story of the construction of the model.