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Old Man

A Thread for Random Musings

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We had another cold wave come through here Friday afternoon; since noon Friday most of a foot of snow has fallen, most of which is still with us.


We have kept the bird feeders stocked, including the hummingbird feeder.  I have found that if I bring it in after dark, let it thaw on the kitchen counter, and put it out again early, and while it is slushy by end of day, they can syill get liquid food.


This morning I slept in til 6:30, and after setting the coffee going, I took the hummingbird feeder out.  The ornery little git was out there waiting, and cursed me vehemently the entire time it took me to go out through the door, negotiate the snowy back porch, take the one step up the rockery so I could hang it, reverse course, and get back in through the back door.


And I thought the cats were impatient.

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Townsend's warbler 

Ruby-crowned kinglet

Anna's hummingbird 

Bewick's wren


Dark-eyed junco

Northern flicker

Steller's jay

Black-capped chickadee 


Red-breasted nuthatch


White-crowned sparrow 

Fox sparrow

Rufous-sided towhee

Varied thrush

Downy woodpecker

Pileated woodpecker

Chestnut-backed chickadee

Song sparrow 

House finch


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About 9:30 last night, as the temperature was rising and the snow was beginning to turn to rain, a couple of branches in the Douglas Fir in the back yard broke off and came down.  Took out the back fence.  (Context: by Monday evening we had had well over a foot of snow fall since about noon Friday, so there was pretty considerable buildup all over; Seattle area has been pretty much paralyzed.)  No damage to anything but fence and foliage, but an unnerving thing to listen to right before going to bed.  I went out and confirmed that the deadfall was not blocking anything but back yard (it didn't impinge on the arterial street right behind the back fence), so I took pictures, the wife called the homeowners' insurance, and once the snow has melted away I'll be able to maneuver out there (about a foot and a half of snow inside the yard, where there had been some drifting behind that fence before it was taken out), consider my options, and start cleaning up.  The ones that broke off ... I think I can encircle the thickest part of the fall with both my hands (one hand is completely out of the question).


Oh, and DSL service into our neighborhood seems to have died an hour or two prior to the branch-breaking, so the boredom level is higher at home than we have become accustomed to.

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…It was conceived mentally on the 8th [of] March in this year one thousand six hundred and eighteen, but submitted to calculation in an unlucky way, and therefore rejected as false, and finally returning on the 15th of May and adopting a new line of attack, stormed the darkness of my mind. So strong was the support from the combination of my labor of seventeen years on the observations of Brahe and the present study, which conspired together, that at first I believed I was dreaming, and assuming my conclusion among my basic premises. But it is absolutely certain and exact that the proportion between the periodic times of any two planets is precisely the sesquialterateproportion of their mean distances…


It's  400 years since Kepler's 3rd Law of planetary motion was found and published.  68 years later, Newton showed that this relationship is required by the laws of motion and gravitation, and Newton's extension of Kepler's 3rd Law remains the means by which we determine the masses of astronomical objects.


Oh, and "sesquialterate" means the 3/2th power.

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