Saturday, February 28, 2009

Searching for Bob Norton's Plane

So a few weeks ago, Bob Norton’s missionary plane went down in the jungle of Venezuela and no one has found the wreckage. (or Bob and group, if they are still alive). The country doesn’t have search and rescue operations set up. So there are some ideas on how to get around that. Google Earth is being commissioned to take high resolution photos of the jungle area where he went down. That should will us details of objects a few feet across and bigger. So using the photos, we can try to locate the wreckage, calculate the GPS coordinates, then have a plane fly over for a closer look. However, sorting through hundreds of photos manually would take too long (especially if there is hope he might have survived the crash) to speed up the process, one of my friends is writing a program to search the photos and I get to help him with a small part of it.

Just like when you are setting up a query with constraints to search a database, this can be done to search the photos. Ideas for constraints are: search for anything not green, isolate edges, and check for small clearings were the trees have been obstructed/ or taken down by a plane. So while we wait for the satellite photos to come in, we can work on some stuff. My part is to download sample satellite photos of plane wrecks in trees. Then I will work in photoshop to make the wreckage more visible. While I am working, I will record what filters and settings I use to enhance the photo. Then I send my work off to zach, who will write my data into his program code. After we test the program, he will apply it to all the photos from Google. I am hoping to talk to Southern’s computing department and see if I can work it out to use their cluster (super computer) for a day and run all the data on that. (zachs computer would take maybe a week to process all the data). After that, we will have a smaller batch of pics to sort through. These will have a much higher probability of Norton’s location.

Then we can have pple sign up to take a small set of photos and look at them manually. By roughly the third time we eliminate photos, we should have it isolated to just a few places where the plane wreck could be. Then they could have a plane fly over those spots for a closer look. That way, the limit funds to send out searches will be saved for the most likely spots instead of spending it all up on random guesses. Anyways, zach put together a website with information about the search at:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fossil Digging and Ninja Driving

Today I went with my sister and brother in law to dig fossils in GA. We went off roading to wehre there is an abandoned coal mine from the turn of the century and the tailings (left over rock) have some fossils in them. I found some 'wild' coal. I wanted to collect a whole bag for blacksmithing fuel. but once I have my forge set up again, I will go back and dig up some coal to use (its the good kind where I can get enough heat to weild over my forge :D ). We dug around for a while and found a wide assortment of fossilized plants and bark. And then I got the find of the day when I split open a rock and found this cool little fern. Apparently, it was still living when the flood came because the imprint is in such good condition. It was exciting to find it!

We also found a very pretty little waterfall and a nice spot for camping once it warms up. Also, my dear sweet brother in law let me drive his 'new' 2000 kawaski ninja motorcycle today. mmm. FUN!!! In time I want to get my motorcycle endorsment and a sporty bike.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Here are some recipes that people have been asking about and I thought I would share. Enjoy!

Mango bread:
3 cups of flour
1 Can of mango juice
1 ts of salt
1tb of wheat gluten
2 tb of yeast
1 cup of chopped, dried mango, (rehydrate it before putting in dough)

Mushroom soup:
1 package of fresh, sliced mushrooms (sauté them, then blenderize them)
½ of a sweet onion (sauté them, then blenderize them)
Soymilk or silk creamer instead of water
Some celery
Season with McKays chicken and thyme, and garlic
2 cups of cooked barley
2 cans of condensed mushroom soup
A diced potato
Can of chopped fri chick

Vegan eggplant Lasagna:

Eggplant cut into coins, then cut in half. (Bread them and then Oven fry them, or if short on time steam them)
Summer squash, zucchini, Onion, bell pepper, mushroom; all chopped
Tofu crumbled,
Add salt and season with mckays chicken, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary, and garlic
Layer everything with cooked lasagna noodles and generous portions of tomato sauce to keep it moist.

Potato Soup:
Use half water and half soymilk for the base
Dice 5 large baking potatoes, leave the skins on if desired
Add frozen corn and a ¼ cup of minced cashews
1 cup of shredded carrots
2 big stalks of fresh broccoli, mince up the florets (I don’t use the stems)
Mince a clove of garlic and ½ an onion
Mince 3 stalks of celery
Can of chopped fri chick, drained
½ cup of raw, minced cashews, creamed/ blenderized to thicken the soup
Season with rosemary, lots of dill, thyme, salt, mckays chicken,

Monday, February 2, 2009

ode to have a microscope...

For lack of fun microscope toys, I decided to play around with my scanner instead. (By chance, does anyone know where I can get cheap parts to build my own high-powered microscope for home and garden purposes?) Anyways, so I took a closer look at my lucky fingerprints. The one below is mostly normal. The other two underwent an accidental alteration a few years back, so they are not exactly traditional prints. But I thought it was neat to see the details. It would be super awesome cool to experiment with a scanning electron microscope...