Sunday, February 28, 2016

10,000 miles

As I've blogged about previously, we usually go for a walk to do our exercise. On days when the weather is inclement, I use our exercise bike for about half an hour. Since we've had many weather-appropriate days for walking lately, I have used the bike only occasionally.

Today, I finally pedalled it to 10,000 miles, according to its odometer. We had this bike given to us about 10 years ago, when it had about 300 miles on it. It originally belonged to my sister's brother-in-law; he gave it to us when he upgraded his own exercise equipment.

As you can see, the bike is truly low tech. There are no fancy electronic displays, or computer controlled adjustments and "calorie calculations". I usually put a little over nine miles on the odometer each time I use the bike. It's never given a problem - the occasional drop of oil on the wheel bearing and chain is all it needs. No need for electricity either.

Here is a link to my earlier blog posts regarding the bike.

A few pictures:

 The "end of the count"

 "Turning the clock"

 Starting over

Old trusty (not rusty)

Monday, February 22, 2016

No snow this year.

So far this winter, we've had no snow to shovel. Yes, there has been the odd dusting, but judicious use of "presalting" kept the sidewalks clear and prevented "black ice". What little snow there was usually melted away by mid-day. Right now, as I type this, we've had a local shower, but the sun is  shining through the clouds with a nice rainbow visible right through our front window:

Usually, when snow is more plentiful, shoveling is required. On those occasions, I wish the snow would stay in the local mountains, where it belongs. Well, this year that's what seems to have happened. There is a lot of snow in the mountains; the local ski hills have been open since November and are going strong.

There have been few clear nights for astronomy. None-the-less, I have been involved in a couple of related activities. At Telus Science World, the RASC (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada) Vancouver Centre sets up displays once a month for scheduled high school classes from various local and province-wide schools. We have videos, telescopes, handouts, and answer inquiries from teachers and students alike, which may result in setting up in-school astronomy events for those schools. We also give talks to a groups of girl scouts and boy scouts, again with telescope displays. If the weather permits, we use either one or more solar telescope or, after dark, regular telescopes to look at planets, the Moon, star clusters and nebulae.

Last Friday (unfortunately it rained again), I had made arrangements with Professor Trottier to show our two granddaughters the new Trottier Observatory at Simon Fraser University.  Howard Trottier is professor of physics at SFU, and the Trottier foundation donated the funds for the observatory and the Trottier Studio for innovative science education at SFU. Professor Trottier is also a past president of the RASC Vancouver Centre (as I am) and originated Starry Nights at SFU, in which the RASC participates with its support. Here are some pictures:

 As you can see, no snow (but plenty of rain).