A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Fallbrook California’

Fallbrook, Escondido, Pala and Mount Palomar, California

Posted by graywacke on December 29, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2382; A Landing A Day blog post number 816.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (33o 20.480’N, 116o 57.615’W) puts me in far SW California:

My local landing map:

I landed in the watershed of the Pauma Creek:

Which, as you can see, makes its way to the San Luis Rey River (1st hit ever!).

I’m going to knock over two beer cans with one stone, and look at my drainageway and my landing at the same time:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

So, we’ll take quickie visits to each of my titular towns, as I found no singular, compelling hook.  Let’s start with Fallbrook, where Wiki notes that a Notable Person is Tony Hawk.

For some reason, I was actually aware that Tony Hawk is (was?) a world-class skate boarder.  After a little research, I discovered that he was the first person in the world to do a 900.

900?  Well, if you spin all the way around once, it’s a 360.  You spin twice, it’s a 720.  You spin two and a half times, and it’s a 900.  So, here’s a You Tube video featuring Tony Hawk’s first 900. 




And here’s his last.  Give the guy a break.  His first was when he 31 (in 1999) and the last, in 2016, when he was 48. 


And in between Hawk’s first and last, another 15 guys have successfully landed a 900. . .

And this, from Wiki:

The advent of the MegaRamp, invented in 2002, gives much higher vertical height which enabled even more revolutions and on March 26th, 2012, Tom Schaar (at age 12) landed a 1080 on his 5th attempt:


Just in case you’re a skateboard junkie, here’s a video of Tony’s son Riley.  The kid’s not bad . . .


Moving way down south to Escondido.  While pretty much hookless (like Fallbrook), I noticed that the town is home to the Deer Park Buddhist Monastery, one of three monasteries under the leadership of Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

As it turns out, I’m actually quite familiar with the writings of Thich Naht Hanh.  He has written over 100 books, and I’ve read maybe six or seven of them.  Although I can’t call myself a Buddhist, I do appreciate the wisdom of Buddhist teachings.

From his website (he’s the old guy):

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a global spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, revered around the world for his powerful teachings and bestselling writings on mindfulness and peace. He is the man Martin Luther King called “An Apostle of peace and nonviolence.” His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment—the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.

His teachings center around mindfulness and how to achieve mindful peace.

From Wiki:

In 1961 Nhất Hạnh went to the US to teach comparative religion at Princeton University and was subsequently appointed lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia University.  By then he had gained fluency in French, Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, Japanese and English, in addition to his native Vietnamese. In 1963, he returned to Vietnam to aid his fellow monks in their non-violent peace efforts.

Nhất Hạnh returned to the US in 1966 to lead a symposium in Vietnamese Buddhism at Cornell University, and to continue his work for peace. While in the US, Nhất Hạnh stopped at Gethsemani Abbey to speak with Thomas Merton [an interesting fellow; more about him in a bit]. When Vietnam threatened to block Nhất Hạnh’s re-entry to the country, Merton penned an essay of solidarity entitled “Nhat Hanh is my Brother.  Merton also wrote a letter to Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1965 entitled: “In Search of the Enemy of Man,” mentioning Nhất Hạnh.

It was during his 1966 stay in the US that Nhất Hạnh met with King and urged him to publicly denounce the Vietnam War.  In 1967, Dr. King gave a famous speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, his first to publicly question the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Later that year, Dr. King nominated Nhất Hạnh for the 1967 Nobel Peace Prize. In his nomination Dr. King said, “I do not personally know of anyone more worthy than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity”.

The fact that King had revealed the candidate he had chosen to nominate and had made a “strong request” to the prize committee, was in sharp violation of the Nobel traditions and protocol.  The committee did not make an award that year.

From Wiki, about Thomas Merton:

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968) was an American Catholic writer, theologian and mystic. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, social activist, and student of comparative religion.

Merton wrote more than 70 books, mostly on spirituality, social justice and nonviolent pacifism, as well as scores of essays and reviews. Among Merton’s most enduring works is his bestselling autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain (1948), which sent scores of World War II veterans, students, and even teenagers flocking to monasteries across the US.  The book was featured in National Review’s list of the 100 best non-fiction books of the century.

Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith understanding. He pioneered dialogue with prominent Asian spiritual figures, including the Dalai Lama, the Japanese writer D.T. Suzuki, the Thai Buddhist monk Buddhadasa, and the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.

He remained Christian throughout his life, but he obviously embraced eastern philosophies. 

Time to move on to Pala. From Wiki:

Gem mines in the Pala District produce tourmaline, with the pink variety as the regional specialty.

China’s Dowager Empress Cixi (who effectively ruled China from 1861 until her death in 19098) highly prized the pink tourmaline mined in Pala. Under her influence, China’s demand for this gem created a boom in the California tourmaline industry beginning in the early 1900s.

Here’s a Wiki picture of “Green Cap” tourmaline from Pala:

My geologist wife Jody loves this type of tourmaline, which she calls “watermelon” tourmaline.  Here’s a picture of one of Jody’s earrings:

Yes, that’s me holding the earring . . .

I’ll now head up the road to Mount Palomar and its famous observatory:

And a closer look:

From the Observatory’s website:

Palomar Observatory is among the most iconic scientific facilities in the world, and a crown jewel in the research traditions of Caltech.

Conceived of nearly 100 years ago, the observatory has been in continuous scientific operation since the mid-30s, and remains productive and relevant today.

George Ellery Hale was the person most responsible for the building of Palomar Observatory. A graduate of MIT and a founder of Caltech, in 1928 he secured a grant of $6 million from the Rockefeller Foundation for the fabrication of a 200-inch reflecting telescope.

During the 1930s, he assembled a remarkable team of engineers and designers from academia and industry. Under his direction, these people set to work on the mirror, on the mounting, and on the dome and its support facilities on Palomar Mountain.

A triumph of innovation, insight, persistence, and precision the telescope was dedicated in June 1948 ten years after Hale’s death.  This is the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory, an instrument that after many decades of service continues to play a leading role in the advancement of astronomy and astrophysics.

Perhaps the most historic scientific discovery using the 200 inch Hale telescope involved understanding the nature of quasars.  Here’s a bulleted Greg-style list:

  • In the late 1950s, astronomical objects were noted that had a strong radio signature, but no light signature. They had no idea where these objects were located.  In our Milky Way Galaxy, or in other galaxies?
  • In 1963, a faint blue star was noted at one of these radio source location (not by the Hale telescope). The light was studied, and its spectra could not be identified.  But astronomer John Bolton claimed that it was a Hydrogen spectra (common coming from stars), but red shifted a lot.  No one believed him.
  • Note 1: the red shift is similar to the Doppler Effect, whereby sound waves are lengthened when the sound is moving away from us, resulting in a lower pitch.  With light, if the light source is moving away (at incredibly fast velocities), the wavelength of the light gets longer – i.e., shifted towards the red end of the light spectrum. 
  • Note 2: The magnitude of the red shift is proportional to the recessional velocity.  It turns out that the farther a galaxy is away from us, the faster it is moving away from us.  Remember this.
  • Another visual identification of a quasar radio source was made using the Hale telescope. It showed the same spectrum, but better optics and sensors at Palomar allowed astronomers to definitely determine that the red shift interpretation was correct!
  • This discovery revolutionized quasar observation and allowed other astronomers to find redshifts from the emission lines from other radio sources. As predicted earlier by Bolton, 3C 48 [the radio source he observed] was found to have a redshift of 37% of the speed of light.
  • The term “quasar” was coined by Chinese-born U.S. astrophysicist Hong-Yee Chiu in May 1964, in Physics Today, to describe these puzzling objects:
    • So far, the clumsily long name ‘quasi-stellar radio sources’ is used to describe these objects. Because the nature of these objects is entirely unknown, it is hard to prepare a short, appropriate nomenclature for them so that their essential properties are obvious from their name.
    • For convenience, the abbreviated form ‘quasar’ will be used throughout this paper.

So here’s the bottom line:  A quasar consists of a super massive black hole surrounded by an orbiting accretion disk of gas. As gas in the accretion disk falls toward the black hole, immense quantities of energy are released. The most powerful quasars have luminosities exceeding 1041 W, thousands of times greater than the luminosity of a large galaxy such as the Milky Way.

Oh my.  Did you catch that?  One quasar releases light (luminosity) thousands of times greater than the entire Milky Way (which consists of approximately 250 billion stars). 

Here’s some more from Wiki:

The peak epoch of quasar activity in the Universe corresponds to redshifts around 2, or approximately 10 billion years ago.  (The Big Bang created the Universe approximately 14.5 billion years ago.) 

As of 2017, the most distant known quasar is ULAS J1342+0928 at redshift = 7.54.  Light observed from this quasar was emitted when the Universe was only 690 million years old (a mere toddler). The super massive black hole in this quasar is the most distant black hole identified to date, and is estimated to have a mass that is 800 million times the mass of our Sun.

I love it!  I love the fact that the Universe is so immense; so old; so exquisitely complex.  It drives me crazy that people of traditional religions generally reject (or ignore) science.  If one believes God created the Universe, why did He give us the brains to study it?

Moving right along . . .

Here’s a quote from my August 14, 2017 Liberty Mills and North Manchester, Indiana post:

By the way, this Breaking News just in:  yesterday, I saw my first Googlemobile!  It was in Pennington NJ on Broemel Place, and I was driving in the opposite direction.  I’ll be checking Broemel Place Street View coverage to see if my 2012 black Camry made the big time . . .

And here’s the very exciting update.  Yes, I checked Street View on Broemel Place and there I am! 

Here’s my Camry on Route 31, getting ready to turn left on Broemel Place:

And here I am in the middle of the left turn.  And yes, that’s me driving:

I immediately pulled over to try and get another look at the GoogleMobile (he turned right and sped away, never to be seen again):

I’ll close with some Mt. Palomar shots.  Here’s the dome (Pano shot by Ian Merritt):

Here’s the actual telescope inside the dome (from the Observatory website):

And a picture of the telescope getting ready for the night’s observations (by P.K. Cheng):

Here’s another GE Pano shot of the dome, by Kyrk Barron:

That’ll do it . . .




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