Iceland Volcano Webcam

Click the photo for a great webcam feed of the little volcano on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland.

Looking Up in Svalbard

After it’s annual four month absence, the sun returned to Longyearbyen, Svalbard yesterday.

Read about it in Svalbard’s English language newspaper Ice People.

Every Second Is a Day

No, that’s not a reflection on life under Coronavirus lockdown (though some days it might be). It’s an explanation of how this absorbing compilation of images of the sun works. NASA has compiled 425 million high-resolution images into a one hour “decade in the life of the sun.”

Sky Photography from Miguel Claro

I commend to you the work of Miguel Claro, Portuguese photographer. Here’s a screen grab of some of his work. Click through to his site.

Remarkable, Too

Here is a video that displays the rotation of the earth. From BoingBoing,

“Eric created this time-lapse by using a star-tracker with his camera. A star-tracker rotates the camera at the same speed as the Earth, but in the opposite direction. It has the visual effect of stabilizing the sky. Usually, star-trackers are used to stabilize the camera during a long exposure, to avoid blurry or streaked stars in the image.”

Annular Solar Eclipse

Visible Christmas night US time across Indonesia, southern India, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Click this screen grab for video from Slooh.

Happy Summer Solstice

A midsummer ceremony at Stonehenge.

“The summer solstice occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, or 23.5 degrees north latitude. This will occur at exactly 11:54 am Eastern on Friday the 21st.”

Here is more from Vox.

Here is a live feed from Stonehenge.

Dramatic Rift This Week

In geology, a rift is a tearing apart of the earth’s surface due to tectonic activity. Here are two photos of a rift, a physical tear in the earth, along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at Þingvellir National Park, Iceland, where the North American and Eurasian Plates are moving apart. We visited and talked about Þingvellir in Out in the Cold. If you’ll remind me, I’ll excerpt that portion of the book in a separate post.

There have been dramatic happenings in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley over the last several days. Last week, the split you can see in the reports below wasn’t there:

Equinox in Ecuador

Happy Vernal Equinox, the day of the year when the sun is directly over the equator. Its direct rays are northbound, coming to warm the northern hemisphere for our local summer.

Balancing an egg on the equinox, when the sun is directly overhead, is supposed to demonstrate the temporary lack of the Coriolis effect. That this is true is thoroughly debunked around the internet. In March of 1997, though, while on the equator in Ecuador, I saw it done. Was this man just good at balancing things? Was it a trick egg? You decide. I’m believing my lying eyes. Regardless, a bit of good fun.

Quotes: On Speech in Different Cultures

They’re hanging on every word.

A 2009 study by the sociologist Tanya Stivers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues found that it’s the norm in most languages and cultures to avoid overlaps and to take turns in conversation, with some local variation. Delivering an affirmative response to a question within 36 milliseconds is judged ‘on-time’ in Japan, while in Denmark you can take 203 milliseconds and still be judged timely. Even though the ‘huge’ inter-turn Nordic silences observed by non-Nordic anthropologists aren’t all that large, such comments reveal that deviations from one’s own acculturated norms are seen as highly salient. In other words, what is experienced as a ‘delay’ – and thus as an indicator of dissent, since confirmations are generally delivered faster than opposing statements – differs across cultures. A congenial Danish tourist in Japan might well be puzzled to find herself taken for something of a contrarian.