I call this one Larry, Curly and Moe.
This picture was taken soon after. I am not sure if they are the same birds. (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)
Moving on to a different kind of theme, here are two pictures from an airport in the US. (Guess which one!)
And finally there is this pair for sentimental reasons. Love you guys!
Submitted for this week’s challenge.
Here is what the local government in Washington DC did to one of its residents who was in trouble. Instead of trying to help, they took advantage of the situation and made money off his woes. Apparently stuff like this happens regularly. They are preying on the powerless.
A while back I wrote about technologies being worked on for regenerating and saving energy that would otherwise be wasted. This is the way hybrid vehicles work, and this is the way that the London Underground is experimenting with powering an underground station, using the energy regenerated when trains brake to come to a stop in a station.
At that time I pointed out that one of the major issues with using regenerated energy was the need to store the energy for later use. Batteries that are used to store electric energy today simply do not do a good enough job when it comes to saving significant amounts of energy efficiently for long periods of time. This is one of the reasons that solar systems that are used to power homes in the US today do not in general use battery storage. Instead of capturing the excess energy that is generated during the day in batteries and then powering the home from the stored batteries during the night, these systems send the excess power back into the electric grid during the day, and draw power from the grid during the night.
It turns out that that there is actually quite a bit of work going on regarding new battery technologies. A lot of this work is in the R&D stage. I came upon an article recently about one such company. As could be expected with some R&D work, this technology seems to have been given birth to in a university setting. The more I read about the technology at that company’s website, the more fascinated I became. There is quite a bit of innovation going on, and it is only a matter of time and investment before new technologies with far greater potential (no pun intended!) than today’s batteries will become real. From the perspective of this particular company, such improvement in performance can be powered by a fundamental change in the way in which the layout of the battery takes place. It involves thinking about the layout of the anode and the cathode for the battery in a true 3D sense rather than the traditional 2D manner. This kind of a layout is facilitated by newer technologies that were not available in the past, but that are more common today (think nanotechnologies!).
All of this made me interested in further investigating the playing field of battery technologies, and I came upon a few articles, some of them not that recent.
There is much other work going on in battery technology, some of it along more conventional lines. A lot of this work is motivated by real needs of today’s existing infrastructure, and also by other newer areas of development, including the ongoing emergence of the electric powered automobile as a real consumer product.
What we will have to remember when some of these technologies mature is that unless they are used in the right context, they are likely to create additional problems that will need to be addressed and solved. If quick recharging of high capacity batteries from the electric grid becomes a common need, the grid itself will have to change.
Something crazy happens to me every autumn season. It usually happens when the colors of the leaves on the trees are changing, when the leaves begin to fall to the ground. I am so taken in by the change that is going on that I start taking plenty of of pictures. It does not matter that I have gone through a similar experience of autumn many times over many years. It does not matter that I have taken pictures of the changing scene almost every year. It does not matter that I am actually seeing all of this change in the area around my home, so that it is more than likely not a new experience. It does not matter that I tell myself that I have seen and done this stuff before, and that there is probably nothing new for me to record.
The craziness manifests itself in ways that are unique to the season. I end up placing my camera in the car where ever I happen to be going during the daytime, regardless of the purpose of my trip. I end up taking trips into the countryside and driving the lightly traveled country roads around me for hours looking for the fall colors. I end up stopping the car in potentially dangerous spots beside the roads and stepping out to take pictures, perhaps even stepping into the center of the road if the probabilities seems to be in my favor. I end up making U-turns in my car to return to the spot on the roadway where I saw something that caught my attention. I end up walking around trying to find just the right angle so that the sun lights up the trees in a manner that accentuates the colors of the leaves that are dying. I end up waiting patiently for the clouds that are drifting past the sun to get out of the way so that the trees are lit up just right. And all of this happened to me once again this year!
And it turns out that I still continue to enjoy looking at the new pictures I am taking. But even among these pictures there are some that present a special treat to me. There is something about the way these pictures effect my state of mind. Take a look at some examples.
I was driving out of my neighborhood when I came upon a scene that caused me to stop the car right there on the road. I had to step out of the car and wait for just the right moment for the swiftly moving clouds behind me to get out of the way before I was able to take this picture.
I usually run my loops from home beside Seneca lake with the minimum load I can carry. But knowing that the time was right, I had carried my camera in my backpack while running on this particular day even though the added weight increased the level of effort needed. I was rewarded by this sight.
Then this was what I saw while I was driving to different points on the C&O canal to experience the fall colors. I wonder if she was using water colors!
Finally, this one was closer to home on the road leading out of the neighborhood. The splash of color caught my immediate attention.
What a treat!
A dear friend of mine lost his mother recently. Death is but a part of Life, but knowing this does not make the event any easier to deal with. But even in the grieving that takes place when this happens, one also celebrates the life that was lived.
The falling of the autumn leaves and this season of change are an especially poignant time to be reminded of the transient nature of life, and my friend has experienced both the beauty and sadness of this moment multiple times in the passing of both his parents during different Fall seasons. And in going though this experience, he has also been blessed with many wonderful memories that come back to him, memories that will always be with him, memories that he shares with his family and friends.
Life does go on, and we will continue to celebrate it even as we remember our loved ones. This one is for you my friend.
The falling leaves….
Maybe it is a curse that I tend to take the subject matter of the WPCs very literally. I am not good at getting into a poetic frame of mind and coming up with something that may be a little more thoughtful and abstract. So here I go again..
Hiking, as opposed to walking on a flat trail, can require a lot of care depending on the terrain you are on. In spite of the care I take, I have had my share of minor incidents. Just yesterday, while hiking the trails and enjoying the Fall colors at the Catoctin Mountain Park in the northern section of Maryland, my shoe got stuck on a pointy vertical protrusion from a root in the middle of the trail. The front of the top of my trail running shoe literally got stuck and the shoe began to tear before I was able to stop my forward motion. Fortunately I was not going too fast. This happened soon after I had stepped on a rock that was deceptively slippery because of a light cover of moss. I managed to get a grip to stop a downward slid, while the camera which was hanging from my neck took a hit on to the rock. Fortunately nothing happened to the camera. I am still feeling the aftereffects of a fall that happened a few weeks ago while running on the trail in the park nearby. But that is life….
After some thought, this week’s challenge took me back to our Spring vacation in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The trails were quite challenging when compared to the ones closer to home. We also had some unexpected encounters with snow and ice on the trail during this trip. And then there were some folks who chose to take the path less traveled. One had to be careful!