A Grand Illusion


Super Duper Moon
On August 10 we will have the second of three super moons this year. This perigee moon will appear larger than than the other two because it becomes full during the same hour as perigee.

From NASA:
According to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, “The ‘Moon Illusion’ is probably what will make people remember this coming set of Full Moons, more than the actual view of the Moon itself,” he says.

The illusion occurs when the Moon is near the horizon.  For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging Moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. When the Moon illusion amplifies a perigee Moon, the swollen orb rising in the east at sunset can seem super indeed.

“I guarantee that some folks will think it’s the biggest Moon they’ve ever seen if they catch it rising over a distant horizon, because the media will have told them to pay attention to this particular one,” says Chester.

Enjoy Dennis DeYoung of Styx fame – Grand Illusion:


Summer Down Under


The Global Warming Party Ship Stuck in Antarctic Ice
Australia’s media-loving climate scientist, Professor Chris Turney, along with 73 others including the crew, 4 journalists, 36 members of the science team and 26 tourists, are sitting on the Russian vessel, the MS Akademik Shokalskiy, stuck in the ice near the South Pole.

Professor Turney’s plan was to re-create the 3 year exploration led by Sir Douglas Mawson in 1911 and to measure changes in ice and climate since that time.

Unfortunately, someone didn’t check the weather reports. The Akademik Shokalskiy is now in a dangerous situation and the attempts by 3 ice breakers and a helicopter to rescue the people on board the vessel have failed. If another helicopter rescue attempt cannot be made because of the high wind and low visibility, the US Coast Guard Polar-class icebreaker, Polar Star, will we directed to the area.

So why was this underfunded and poorly planned expedition attempted anyway? Well, it seems the 38-year-old entrepeneur/scientist wanted to prove global warming is melting the Antarctic ice. It would tie in perfectly with a new book and could be used to promote his carbon business.

News reports failed to mention Turney is a founding Director of Carbonscape, a New Zealand carbon refining company that offers a global solution for mitigating the effects of human-caused climate change.

According to Carbonscape co-founder Nick Gerritsen, the company has the patent on the one-step microwave charcoal technology that turns biomass waste such as sawdust into what is known as activated carbon (AC). Sawdust or corn or sugar cane can be turned into bio oils, which become biochemicals and fuels. There is plenty of money from governments and private corporations looking to fund alternatives to fossil fuels.

If the good professor had checked any of NASA’s weather and climate data he would have known that for the second year in a row the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its annual winter maximum at the end of September and set a new record. Oops.

Update: Chinese helicopter successfully rescues passengers from the Akademik Shokalskiy. Video.

Enjoy Foreigner performing Cold As Ice:


June Gloom in July
“Late night and early morning low clouds and fog along the coast, clearing by noon.” The weatherman hasn’t changed the forecast for this time of year in Southern California since I was a kid.

We start with May gray, move into June gloom and, even though the foggy conditions continue into July, we still don’t have a catchy term for it.  Any suggestions?

Anyway, we took dad to the beach yesterday and the only people not wearing beach cover-ups or sweatshirts were the tourists. I just checked the current ocean temp off the San Diego coast and it’s a teeth chattering 64°F (18C).

While we wait for the sun to appear, enjoy Katy Perry singing about California Gurls:

Photo by Scott Randall

We’re Having a Heat Wave

Staying Cool
The summer-long perfect weather we’ve had has finally come to an end. This morning I went outside at 5:30 and the temp was 64°F. By 11:30 it was 110°F in the backyard! It was so hot the dogs didn’t even want to go outside.

Tomorrow it’s supposed to be a few degrees cooler. Whew!

The Santa Ana winds have been blowing all day keeping the humidity down even though tropical storm Kristy is pushing northward off the southwest coast of Baja. On the plus side, the storm is pushing warm water north so the local ocean temps have stayed above 70°. A perfect time to go to the beach.

In the meantime, enjoy Craig David – Hot Stuff (let’s dance):

Blue Moon

The Second Full Moon of August
This year we will have 13 full moons instead of 12. The extra moonrise will happen tonight. For those who live in the far eastern time zone – like Russia and New Zealand, you’ll have 2 full moons in September.

Tonight we all have a reason to look up in the sky. The first man to step onto the moon, Neil Armstrong died last week and his family has made a simple request:

“Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.”

With a wink, enjoy Blue Moon by the always awesome Aussie, Tommy Emmanuel:


Photo by Chris Martin

Southwest ‪Monsoon‬
The summer monsoon we experience here in San Diego is part of the low pressure system over the desert in Arizona and part of southeast California that pulls tropical moisture north from the Sea of Cortez and the Gulf of Mexico.

In July and August many Zonies (folks who live in Arizona) drive west to San Diego to escape the heat.

This year’s monsoon has brought higher temps along the coast. It’s unusual for the beach to experience 80°F+ heat.

For the past week we’ve had to have the A/C on. Ugh. At 5AM this morning it was 70°F and the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife – kind of like being in the south in the summertime. On the plus side, it makes for great sunsets at the beach.

Enjoy the great Ella Fitzgerald – Summertime:

Old Rockers

Driving Music
It’s summer and folks are driving around with the top down, windows open and the radio on. My favorite station is “80’s on 8” on SiriusXM. There are still a few deaf kids driving around with hip hop blaring from their boom box speakers, but I keep my music cranked up so I can’t hear the little buggers.

80’s music is everywhere. This summer there are so many old rockers on tour I don’t have space to name them all. Interestingly enough, it’s not just a bunch of gray-haired people at the concerts. A lot of young people are going to the concerts with their parents! Something unheard of before the 80’s. Although I do remember going to Vegas with our parents when we were kids and going to the dinner shows.  Kids could go to the early shows because there was no nudity or swearing – that was reserved for the later shows. How times have changed. Now kids can see and hear anything and everything on the 5 o’clock news.

Anyway, one of my favorite bands, Def Leppard, kicked off their 2012 concert tour at the House of Blues in LA last week. Their 1983 hit song Rock of Ages was the inspiration for the Broadway Musical of the same name. This weekend the movie version of the play is opening in theaters everywhere. What a great way to kick off the summer!