Porcupyn's Blog

July 11, 2008

From India … with flair

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 9:56 am

Here is another interesting pair of dancers.

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July 6, 2008

Composition of a Wimbledon Champion

Filed under: Tennis — Porcupyn @ 7:19 pm

Rafael Nadal

  • Torso of a bull (made for awesome forehands and backhands)
  • Legs of a stallion/gazelle/buck (even McEnroe was overwhelmed by some of those unbelievable gets)
  • Eyes of a hawk (NBC should start a new stat – % of line-call challenges won)
  • Heart of a lion (this is perhaps the first time ever that someone had a better breaks to breakpoints percentage that Federer)

Now I understand why Borg retired after losing Wimbledon. There was something in him that could not take defeat. If Federer is anything like him, I think he will hang up his racquet if (when) he is left without a Grand Slam in hand – for the first time in ages (ok, six years I guess)!

Post Mortem:

I think that like Steffi Graf, Federer has trouble adjusting to changes in the field (did I write this sometime before?). Steffi had a tough time retiring the sliced backhand (she retired instead) and switching to the top-spin version instead. Federer, for his part, should have worked on being more comfortable at the net, and he should have practised more with a left-hander. I was surprised to hear – from commentator McEnroe himself – that Federer never rallied with him (Nadal had earlier this week during Wimbledon).

For readers outside the USA: McEnroe was overcome by the quality of tennis today, and he felt for Federer. First, he hugged Federer after the obligatory runner-up’s interview, then he hugged Nadal. I have a feeling that had even I come through the door next, he would have hugged me too! đŸ˜‰

Post script:

Sanath Jayasuriya, meet Dara Torres!

July 4, 2008

Visit to Four of Southwest USA’s National Parks (Part Two of Many!)

Filed under: Travel — Porcupyn @ 8:07 pm

The drive from Hurricane, UT to Bryce Canyon, UT was a very nice ride indeed, especially the portion of the drive between the Zion National Park entrance and the Checkerboard Mesa. My biggest mistake: judging distances in this part of the country based on the map-based distance, or even relying on Google maps and Mapquest’s driving time approximations. Here is a view of the town of La Verkin, UT from the appropriately named La Verkin Overlook (need to thank Sundar for forcing me to learn and use the stitch function on my camera).

Given that we were stopping practically every mile for a photo, we were behind schedule even before we even got to the State Road 9 (Zion Mount Carmen Highway) tunnel inside Zion National Park limits. Incidentally, “zig-zag curves” are referred to as switchbacks. The previous night, I had thought about driving up to the tunnel in the evening as it was “only 3.4 miles” or something from the park’s entrance. Good thing I had not attempted that!

As it was, we took about an hour to get there, and it would have taken us longer had we gotten stuck behind the RV that was about a few hundred metres behind us. That vehicle shows up in this picture (below) right about the centre – family was scared when I ran back to the car after taking this photo (I did not want them to cut us off)!

IMG_1383

This tunnel is narrow and bigger vehicles need to be escorted through the tunnel, as traffic is closed in the other direction for the duration that the big vehicle is travelling through. Needless to say, RVs and vehicles behind RVs are delayed by the amount of time that it takes the tunnel to be shut down in the other direction.

IMG_1386

Anyway, long story short, after a stop for Subway sandwiches that cost an arm and a leg apiece, we got to Bryce Canyon at about 1 pm, though we had left Hurricane about 9 am.

Here is a shot of Checkerboard Mesa!

IMG_1417

Entertaining

Filed under: Uncategorized — Porcupyn @ 6:37 pm

A diversion from the travel series – check this out!

July 2, 2008

An Astronomical Question …

Filed under: Science — Porcupyn @ 5:06 pm

An astronomy question from someone who – once upon a time – wanted to be an astronomer (long story snipped):

Here is a quote from Yahoo –>

Voyager 2 hit the southern edge of the solar system nearly 1 billion miles closer to the sun than Voyager 1 did to the north. Voyager 2 hit the edge at 7.8 billion miles from the sun.

Now, the Earth spins around its axis which is tilted about 23.5 degrees off the vertical. The best way I can describe its orbit is either east or west (I don’t know which), but definitely not north or south. Similarly, to the best of my understanding, the orbits of all planets are – more or less – on the same plane.

So, how can the Voyagers have gone north or south, unless we use Uranus’s poles for reference? For those that don’t know, Uranus rotates about its horizontal position.

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