Archive for June 2016

Hubble Captures Amazing Auroras over Jupiter   Leave a comment




A month-long observation of Jupiter by the Hubble Telescope has produced some breathtaking images of the massive auroras over the planet’s poles.

Incredibly, the auroras are double the size of Jupiter’s famed ‘red spot,’ meaning that they are a jaw-dropping four times the size of Earth!

And, unlike their Earthly counterparts, the auroras of Jupiter are not a fleeting phenomenon, but are actually a constant presence on the planet.

The images are the first in what promise to be a bevy of new insights about Jupiter’s auroras as NASA’s Juno probe is expected to arrive at the planet next week to study the phenomenon.

The $1 billion dollar spacecraft has spent the last five years traveling to the planet and will be only the second manmade probe sent to Jupiter.

With such an amazing natural fireworks display at the planet’s poles, it’s only fitting that Juno’s planned date for arrival is July 4th.

Posted June 30, 2016 by markosun in Space

U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle flying at low level over Norway   Leave a comment



Cool GoPro footage shot by 492nd and 493rd Fighter Squadrons during Arctic Fighter Meet 2016.

From May 23 to 27, the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, trained alongside the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish air forces during exercise Arctic Fighter Meet 2016.

Seven jets (F-15C and F-15E) from the 492nd and 493rd Fighter Squadrons deployed to Bodø airbase, Norway, to conduct BFM (basic fighter maneuvers) and DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) to improve combined air operations.

The Arctic Fighter Meet gave the U.S. pilots the opportunity to train with the “Nordics”: Finnish Air Force F-18s, Royal Norwegian Air Force F-16s and Swedish Air Force Gripens. “That allows us to get a different perspective on how other aircraft maneuver because when we go to war, we don’t expect to fight other F-15s” said Maj. Nick Norgaard, the Arctic Fighter Meet 2016 project officer in a release.

The joint training gave also the Eagle pilots a chance to shoot some interesting GoPro footage.

Alaska based F-15E


An F-15E Strike Eagle flys over glacial fields during a training mission April 20 over Alaska. The F-15E is assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, which traces its history back to August 1917. The F-15E at Elmendorf AFB will soon be replaced by the F-22 Raptor. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Keith Brown)


“Elephant Walk” of 70 F-15E Strike Eagles of the US Air Force’s 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina, April 16th 2012.



Now that is one hell of a lot of punch!


Posted June 29, 2016 by markosun in Aircraft, Aviation, Military

March of the Winnipeg Geese   Leave a comment


St. Vital Park Winnipeg




As municipal parks go, this park is a gem.




The park has become home to many gaggles of geese




The 33rd Canada Goose Regiment returning from drills


Posted June 28, 2016 by markosun in Animals, Winnipeg

That mysterious lake in the Clint Eastwood movie High Plains Drifter   7 comments



High Plains Drifter is a classic Eastwood movie from the early seventies.  I think I have seen the movie 7 or 8 times.  And every time I watch it I am mesmerized by that beautiful lake.


High Plains Drifter is a 1973 American Western film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood and produced by Robert Daley for The Malpaso Company and Universal Pictures. Eastwood plays a mysterious gunfighter hired by the residents of a corrupt frontier mining town to defend them against a group of criminals.




The film was shot on location on the shores of Mono Lake, California.

Mono Lake is a large, shallow saline soda lake in Mono County, California, formed at least 760,000 years ago as a terminal lake in a basin that has no outlet to the ocean. The lack of an outlet causes high levels of salts to accumulate in the lake. These salts also make the lake water alkaline.

This desert lake has an unusually productive ecosystem based on brine shrimp that thrive in its waters, and provides critical nesting habitat for two million annual migratory birds that feed on the shrimp.





Mono Lake

Max. length 15 km (9.3 mi)
Max. width 21 km (13 mi)
Surface area 45,133 acres (182.65 km2)
Average depth 17 m (56 ft)
Max. depth 48 m (157 ft)
Water volume 2,970,000 acre·ft (3.66 km3)
Surface elevation 6,383 ft (1,946 m) above sea level
Islands Two major: Negit Island and Paoha Island; numerous minor outcroppings (including tufa rock formations). The lake’s water level is notably variable.


Clint riding into the town of Lago, on the shore of Mono Lake.











In the movie they paint the town red to try and disorient the killers who are on their way.





The movie set (town of Lago) in the first picture, and the same location with the town gone in the second.










The most unusual feature of Mono Lake are its dramatic tufa towers emerging from the surface. These rock towers form when underwater springs rich in calcium mix with the waters of the lake, which are rich in carbonates. The resulting reaction forms limestone. Over time the buildup of limestone formed towers, and when the water level of the lake dropped the towers became exposed.










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Posted June 28, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Paul Williams sings in his ‘Planet of the Apes’ makeup   Leave a comment




Paul Williams, the witty and diminutive singer-songwriter (Carpenters, Three Dog Night)  would often appear on 70s talk shows, games shows, on The Love Boat, in Smokey and the Bandit, on The Muppet Show, celebrity roasts—not to mention his greatest role as “Swan” in Brian DePalma’s campy cult classic Phantom of the Paradise. He was in, or on just about anything back then, including heaping mountains of cocaine (Hence all of that manic energy he used to exhibit back then.)

Williams also played “Virgil” the smart orangutan in Battle for the Planet of the Apes. He wore his makeup straight from the 20th Century Fox movie set for this memorable appearance promoting the film on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1973 and sang in costume.



Posted June 28, 2016 by markosun in Animals, Celebrities, Music

Weed-Eating in Summer, doesn’t get any better   Leave a comment


I worked parking lot maintenance back in the day and the best part was working the weed-eater. The weed-eater was light and easy to handle. Loose yet firm grip, and a left to right motion with fluid rhythm, and I would get totally immersed in the weed-eating moment. Okay, it wasn’t exactly Zen-like, but it sure was a hell of a lot better than carrying around  a 12 litre spray tank full of roundup. The roundup operation was weed genocide. The weeds sprayed with that hellish concoction liquid were gone forever. With the weed-eater I was just cutting the weeds down to size, they would rebound in a few weeks and I would be back to do it all over again. 

City bylaws required a weed-eater worker to wear a hardhat and steel toed work boots, so me and my partner Larry felt like full fledged construction workers. But we weren’t stuck at the same site all day.  We had 45 parking lots to maintain so we were moving around the city in our pick-up seventy percent of the time. Fifteen percent of the time was sitting in the pick-up parked in a lot. We had to survey the lot first. Decide which way to attack the outgrowth, do a run around the perimeter first, or zig zag up and down the parking aisles.  We actually weed-ate ten to twelve percent of the time. The rest of the time was refilling the weed-eater with string. One of the best bloody jobs I ever had.


Posted June 27, 2016 by markosun in Work

Boston Dynamics reveals new ‘SpotMini’ robot that can help around the kitchen   Leave a comment




The robotics firm has revealed its latest creation – a dog-like robot designed to help around the house. Best known for its impressive humanoid ‘Atlus’ and infamous gas-guzzling ‘BigDog’ robots, the company has now come up with something a little more consumer-friendly. Known as ‘SpotMini’, this quadrupedal contraption looks a bit like a small dog and is equipped with a special arm attachment that can enable it to do everything from dropping empty cans in the bin to putting dirty glasses in to a dishwasher.  A recently released YouTube video also shows how the robot is able to climb up stairs and recover from a fall – a feature hilariously demonstrated thanks to a conveniently placed banana skin. Whether the robot will ever be available for consumer purchase however, epecially given Boston Dynamics’ recent financial difficulties, remains to be seen.

Posted June 27, 2016 by markosun in Technology