October 2013

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A few hours before the really big moment on Saturday evening, our niece Melissa–now Mrs. Matthew Solomon–enjoyed a little moment with her Grandma Helen.

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This photo sequence by Vince Perraud was among the winners of the 2013 Red Bull Illume competition. The photographer claims that the cyclist, Luc Legrand, found this spot underneath the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and nailed his flight around it the very first time he tried.

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Moscow in the background.

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Every Sunday afternoon on the Race Street Pier, there is of course a hula hooping dance class.

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Well, of course now that our American space program is shut down because of hateful people in the House of Representatives, the brand new Landsat 8 satellite that you and I paid for, which had just started phoning in dramatic new views of our planet, has gone dark. But fortunately, many other countries have legislatures that don't seem to go quite so insane over efforts to help people get medical care, and so new earth imagery from foreign satellites is still available to us.

This is the view from Kompsat 2, a Korean satellite, as it crossed southern Africa above the Namib Desert on the morning of October 5. What appears to be blue water is actually an ancient riverbed, almost entirely dry for millions of years; the white streaks are bone-dry salt flats.

Click to zoom in and see roads in the riverbed and some black dots that represent the only vegetation for hundreds of square miles; These desert shrubs survive on groundwater, of which there is hardly any; such as is there is, however, collects deep underneath the riverbed, below the gullies where water does trickle on those rare occasions when it rains here. Annual precipitation is less than half an inch on average, though it is supplemented a bit by coastal fog.

Note the short spur leading off the main road near the middle of the scene and ending at the base of a dune. This is the route to a parking lot at Dune 45, a thousand-foot high sand dune popular with tourists.

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Apple hired National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson to go up into the Scottish highlands and shoot some scenery with an iphone camera.

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The little Patriot tour boat chugs up the Schuylkill toward the Walnut and Chestnut Street bridges.

Visible in the lower righthand corner is construction work on a new boardwalk which will extend the Schuylkill Banks foot path and bike trail out over the river from Center City toward South Philly. "They" say the boardwalk should open in about a year.

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But probably better than a blank wall. See also here and here and here.

Posted by Ellen

In the shop window of L.K. Jikson's on South 20th Street, a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, stands a woman wearing a dress made of fabric printed in chartreuse, orange, and maroon. Click on the picture to see an enlarged view: the maroon shapes in the print are actually jet airliners.