I’ve traveled quite a bit, and since about 2001 I’ve carried either a small camera or at least a cell phone with a camera. These pictures appeared on my main page at one time as a photo of the day or week—something to share with the people kind enough to visit my web site.
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From my last trip to Italy: I was staying with a friend in the Camerino / Muccia area of Marche when the first pair of large earthquakes hit. The first earthquake motion was mostly vertical and this quake was smaller than the one that would follow a couple of hours later. There was a small amount of damage done to the house, but like most people in the area I took it as a sign to get out of the old building, which was built using a dry stack process of rocks (no mortar). Earlier that day—in fact, just before (and as the sun was westering), I had taken a walk through the old central parts of Camerino—I’ve stayed here a number of times and Camerino is one of my favorite Italian towns, so I carried my camera and for some reason began taking as many pictures as I could. Above is one of the photos I took, I hope to combined it with a photo I saw on the web, taken by (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) and have asked permission. Anyway, My picture was taken about 3 hours before the earthquakes hit and the other appears to be from the next day.
Unfortunately, the old central part of Camerino is in terrible condition and my friend as well as her extensive family in the area and 95% of the people living there lost their homes to the earthquake—too damaged to occupy and in need of destruction before rebuilding can start. Fortunately, the less damaging earthquake hit first, and this meant that when the larger quake hit—the one with mostly horizontal motion—the older buildings were empty and no one was killed as the buildings collapsed throughout the region: a miracle. Aftershocks have continued to hit the area and the old central part of the city is off limits and has been taken over by rats. Still, everyone looks forward to rebuilding and breathing life back into the many beautiful towns. Another of my favorite towns was severely damaged: Visso, a great place to visit and to eat.
These images were taken in a cleanroom at Goddard Space Flight Center (in 1988), during the pre-launch testing and optical characterization of the LAGEOS-2 satellite. LAGEOS 1 and 2 are a part of a constellation of different satellites at various altitudes used to measure tectonic plate motion, deformation, and other characteristics of the Earth, like changes in the rotation, and the wobble of the axis. They are also used for other kinds of experiments, such as validation of the principle of equivalence for relativity, quantum entanglement, as well as less esoteric things like Earth tidal changes. These are science satellites, but they can also serve as convenient calibration targets for RADAR systems tracking in orbit debris or even for missile defense. LAGEOS-2 is a passive satellite (which means there are no electronics or other active parts of the satellite. It has a brass cylindrical core (for stability) covered by an aluminum skin, into which are inserted cube corner prisms, used to reflect laser pulses from ground stations. There are 426 cube corners total, 422 in the visible optical range and 4 germanium cube corners (arranged in a tetrahedral configuration) for long-wavelength applications. There are twoLAGEOS satellites, in complimentary orbits, both at an altitude of approximately 6000 km. Each has a diameter of about 60 cm and looks like a great big golf ball. I was privileged to be a part of the team doing the re-launch testing, as well as having used them in-orbit for different experiments. NASA and an international coalition of space and science agencies worldwide use the constellations of satellites, as well as other satellites equipped with cube corners.
The town of Cripple Creek, Colorado—at almost 9500 ft., it’s about a 30-minute drive from my home. Cripple Creek is the site of one of the largest gold strikes in the US and there is still an operating mine in operation, which is producing more than 200 thousand ounces per year. It is also the county seat for Teller County. The town is one of the few places in Colorado able to have casinos.
Riding toward Divide Colorado on a back road
The weather opened up with blue sky for a little while, so I went for a ride.
Since I removed the almost-road-slick tires from my dual sport bike and replaced them with Heidenau K60 Scouts, it’s opened up more roads up here in the Ute Pass area. Many roads are fire or forest service roads (this is Pike National Forest, after all), which are a kind of compacted dirt road with soft sections and lots of washboard patterns to make the tires leave the surface
Still getting used to the new tires. I wouldn’t take them on a true off road path, since they’re really 50 /50 (road / dirt) tires, but they’re good on these forest roads and on regular roads with sand and gravel sprinkled across the surface. Plus, you need to expect to fall on true off road wild paths, and I’d rather ride a 200 to 250 pound bike when I fall than this 500 pound bike.
Photo taken at Eleven Mile Reservoir. This long body of water was originally formed when a volcano blocked the flow of the South Platt River. Today, it’s a park and recreational area, located on the edge of the South Park Valley, near Lake George CO—about a twenty to thirty minute drive form my house.
Panoramic View from a hike near home