scientists speak


A few signs and images from today’s rainy March for Science. Here’s another batch of photos from a local news station.





seattle area winter


I’ve been sadly neglectful of this blog. I’ll post a few photos from the long cloudy winter:

Ebey’s Landing in February

Rattlesnake Ledge in March

A rare bit of snow seen from our deck in December

An obstructed view of Space Needle fireworks on New Years

Dreaming of a purple Christmas

google wants my blank photos


A note from Google often pops up on my phone after I take a picture. It identifies my location and asks me if I want to submit the picture to Google Maps so others can see it when looking at that map location. 

I usually ignore this, but last week I was down at Green Lake late in the evening and accidentally took a completely black image. Google suggested that I submit the picture. This time I agreed and added the photo. I suggested a caption, “A dark night at Green Lake.” 

Last night I received this thank you from Google along with a copy of my picture.

It feels good to contribute. As you can see, this is exactly what Green Lake looks like when there’s no light. If you’ve been there, you’ll probably recognize it. 



rsvp (ride from seattle to vancouver and party)


It’s a two-day 200-mile bicycle ride sponsored by the Cascade Bicycle Club. Liz and I took it on.

Highlights from Day 1

Just north of Seattle, near Woodinville, there is a mighty hill. One portion reaches a 7.3% grade according to the gps map provided. Oof. There were between 3,500 and 3,900 feet of elevation gained that day.


7.3% grade

Centennial Trail

Centennial Trail

At Arlington we reached the blissfully flat Centennial Trail, though we were completely soaked with rain on this portion of the ride.

Somewhere that day, two adult deer and one fawn crossed a road in front of us. They approached a fairly high fence, paused, and became amazingly airborne; folded their legs and sailed over the barrier like brown paper airplanes and vanished.

Bicyclist fun: Once I made a right turn onto a road and immediately stopped my bike because I was unsure if the turn was correct. A group of a six or eight riders came up from behind and followed me around the turn, assuming that I was on the right path. By the time I figured out that this was the wrong way, my followers had disappeared in the distance and there was nothing I could do for them.

South of Bellingham is the lovely Chuckanut Drive. A more beautiful stretch of road cannot be found. It climbs up along the coast through dense trees and offers fantastic views of Samish Bay and Lummi Island. Too bad there was little room for cyclists on the shoulder. I tried to stay on the right edge of the road as I ground up the hills while cars rumbled past, It was nerve-wracking.

On this stretch I passed one cyclist lying in a ditch with several people gathered to help him. Don’t know what happened. The danger-miles stretched on, and at one point I told Liz, “You know, this a simultaneously a beautiful road and a never-ending uphill cycling nightmare.” She quickly agreed.

Much later we finally rolled down and out of Chuckanut and into Bellingham. 104 miles that day. Hotel. Ice was applied to knees. Mediocre Thai food ordered.


Knee therapy

Highlights from Day 2

The bike club provides food, water, and repairs at intervals each day. A major food stop was in Lynden, Washington, a town that likes Dutch windmills. That’s where I met two dogs riding along with us.


Canine travelers


Two riders contemplate the remaining miles

We passed through Langley, British Columbia and stopped for a hearty lunch of energy bars in Derby Reach Regional Park.



Outside of Vancouver we circled up a long spiral ramp to reach the deck of the immense Golden Ears bridge, which got us over the Fraser River.


Golden Ears

There was a food stop at a park (Port Moody, I think). A band played in the park down by the inner reaches of Vancouver Harbor. Then we rode the shoulder of Barnett Highway, which might as well have been an interstate – cars and trucks whipping by at highway speeds. That was unnerving. We next cruised through multiple suburban neighborhoods and arrived at the Vancouver city limit – still 8-10 miles from the finish.


The end of pedaling is in sight

Finally winding our way into downtown, we snaked along Sunset Beach Park, dodging pedestrians, skaters, and kids on tricycles. Turning off the beach and into the city, the end of the line was near. We don’t need no stinkin’ finisher’s badge, but here it is.

It is finished.

It is finished.

keep it in the ground – paddle in seattle


The Port of Seattle decided — with almost no notice so it would slip by the public — to allow the Polar Pioneer drilling rig to dock in Seattle. It’s bound for the Arctic for deep water oil drilling. That’s one reason I’m not pleased – the port trying to bypass public debate.

Another is that Shell wants to drill in an Arctic region inhabited by polar bears, whales, walruses, hundreds of species of seabirds, and more. It was only five years ago that BP was determined grossly negligent for the Deepwater Horizon disaster. That rig exploded, killing 11 workers and spewing crud into the ocean for five months. Why should we believe Shell will do better? Another Shell rig, the Kulluk, ran aground off the coast of Alaska in 2012. The U.S. Coast Guard said this was due to the company’s “inadequate assessment and management of risks.”

The third and most compelling reason is the overwhelming evidence of global warming due to greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere. The climatic changes will drastically affect food and water resources in an overpopulated world, flood coastal areas, cause increasingly violent storms and temperature extremes, etc. One of the best things we can do is leave fossil fuels in the ground. Renewable solar and wind energy is approaching the price of coal and gas. Spend money pursuing that instead of a potentially disastrous project like Arctic drilling.

The Paddle in Seattle event and its flotilla of kayaks was designed to express the feelings that I outline above, among other things. Native Americans played a large role in activities. I took a few photos. More pictures and some film here from local TV.

polar_pioneer kayak3 kayak1