Looking homeward

For 13 years the Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn and its moons, sending back thousands of spectacular pictures.  Now nearing the end of its mission, it will be exploring the ring system and ultimately entering Saturn’s atmosphere on September 15th, 2017.  Once in a while when the geometry is suitable, Cassini pauses to take a picture of the Earth while moving between science targets.  These homeward looks from 900 million miles away evoke a haunting loneliness.

.454 Casull

If you are considering buying your first .454 Casull and are looking at a Ruger Super Redhawk with the older grip panels, you will probably want to get a Hogue Tamer Monogrip for it.  These make the .454 much more pleasant to shoot and are standard on new Super Redhawks.  Pleasant is relative here.  Shooting one is kind of like being in a car wreck.  There’s a loud crash, you get knocked around, and there’s pain.  It’s not so bad when you get used to it, but you should practice sighting and double action trigger control with .45 Long Colt and not shoot more than one cylinder of .454 on any given day.  One cylinder periodically is enough to adapt to the recoil, avoid flinch, and give your capillaries time to recover.  Several full power cylinders in succession will injure your hand.  Also, don’t try impact absorbing gloves made for use with impact tools.  They compress your hand to a higher density, hold in the recoil shock pressure wave, and, with a .454, sting a lot more than no glove.

White skunk

Last night my wife and I saw a white skunk in an urban residential area of Bloomington.  It walked across a street in our headlights, padded across a yard, and ducked under a garden shed.  I had never even heard of a white skunk.  This one had black on the sides of its head so it wasn’t an albino.  As it turns out there are four genera of skunks, each of which consists of several species, including some with spots or bizarre circular stripe patterns.  Who knew?

Irrelevant Tech

When my great-grandfather needed to warm his farmhouse, he would cut down a tree, chop it into firewood, and carry a portion back to put in the fireplace. If he ever wondered about future generations automating that chore, he might have imagined a mechanical man performing a similar task, much like the Tin Woodsman from The Wizard of Oz. He could not have imagined that his grandchildren would warm and cool their homes with the turn of a dial, taking advantage of technology and infrastructure that are inevitable only in hindsight.

The Tin Woodsman is irrelevant tech.