Wednesday, November 30, 2016

(Animal) Crazy People

From the New York Times...


The Rock Faces of Chinsekikan

The Japanese Museum of Rocks That Look Like Faces

Amusing Planet  Kaushik  November 15, 2016 

Two hours northwest of Tokyo in Chichibu, there is a museum of rocks called Chinsekikan where you won’t learn a thing about geology. However, you’ll do spend a few delightful hours marveling at strange exhibits such as the Elvis Presley rock, the Boris Yeltsin rock, the Jesus rock, the Nemo rock and the Donkey Kong rock. 

Chinsekikan, which means “hall of curious rocks”, features over 1700 specimens. About 900 of them resemble human faces. These unaltered rocks naturally resemble celebrities, religious figures, movie characters, and more.

The museum was started by avid collector, Shozo Hayama, who spent 50 years collecting naturally eroded rocks that looked like faces. Mr. Hayama passed away in 2010, and the museum is now run by his wife.

 First librarian director Shinji Hayama

Flip Ship

RP FLIP, the Strangest Ship in the World

Amusing Planet  Kaushik Saturday, May 19, 2012 

The U.S. Office of Naval Research owns a very strange piece of oceanographic equipment. It’s called the FLoating Instrument Platform (FLIP), conceived and developed by the Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California. FLIP isn't a ship, even though researchers live and work on it for weeks at a time while they conduct scientific studies in the open ocean. It is actually a huge specialized buoy. The most unusual thing about this ship is it really flips.

FLIP is 355 feet (108 meters) long with small quarters at the front and a long hollow ballast at the end. When the tanks are filled with air, FLIP floats in its horizontal position. But when they are filled with seawater the lower 300 feet of FLIP sinks under the water and the lighter end rises. When flipped, most of the buoyancy for the platform is provided by water at depths below the influence of surface waves, hence FLIP is a stable platform mostly immune to wave action. At the end of a mission, compressed air is pumped into the ballast tanks in the flooded section and the vessel returns to its horizontal position so it can be towed to a new location.

from: Wikipedia

FLIP is designed to study wave height, acoustic signals, water temperature and density, and for the collection of meteorological data. Because of the potential interference with the acoustic instruments, FLIP has no engines or other means of propulsion. It must be towed to open water, where it drifts freely or is anchored. In tow, FLIP can reach speeds of 7–10 knots. 

FLIP is 700 gross tons. It carries a crew of five, plus up to eleven scientists. It is capable of operating independently during month-long missions without resupply. It can be operated around the world, although the normal area is off the west coast of the United States. The ship has specially designed interiors. Some fixtures, such as the toilet seats, can flip 90°. The lights are on the ceiling and also on a wall that becomes the ceiling after the flip. Also, the shower heads are curved 90°. The vessel operates out of a home base at Scripps' Nimitz Marine Facility in San Diego, California.

Ghost Ship of the Caterpillars

 click to enlarge
from: NASA APOD  

Milky Way over Shipwreck 
  Image Credit & Copyright: Sergio Montúfar (Planetario Ciudad de La Plata
Explanation: What happened to this ship? It was carried aground by a giant storm that struck the coast of Argentina in 2002. The pictured abandoned boat, dubbed Naufragio del Chubasco, wrecked near the nearly abandoned town of Cabo Raso (population: 1). The rusting ship provides a picturesque but perhaps creepy foreground for the beautiful sky above. This sky is crowned by the grand arch of our Milky Way and features galaxies including the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, stars including Canopus and Altair, planets including Mars and Neptune, and nebulas including the Lagoon, Carina, and the Coal Sack. The mosaic was composed from over 80 images taken in early September. A 360-degree interactive panoramic version of this image is also available. The adventurous astrophotographer reports that the creepiest part of taking this picture was not the abandoned ship, but the unusual prevalence of black and hairy caterpillars

Agriculture Now and Way Back Then

Over on Terrierman this morning, I saw a video of a machine that chops the heads off of tulips in the Netherlands.  They do this so the bulbs will get the benefit of the energy that the plant would otherwise send to the flowers.  Later, the bulbs are harvested.  Here's the video.  It's rather hypnotic.

I went looking for more and found this video on a year on a tulip farm.

This led me to another video about several different agricultural machines the separate food crops from their fields.  I especially enjoyed the contraption that digs up daikon (radishes) in Japan. (Don't look for the quad-copter sprayer pictured here - it's not in the video.)

After all those big, busy machines, I craved something a bit more bucolic, and I found this bit of British nostalgia entitled "A Day in the Hayfields (1904)"

Then I found this vintage Footage of Horse-Drawn Combines in the Early 1900s (narrated in the 1930s, and in 1938 in the Palouse, and made for Washington State University.)