The Cathedral in Cartagena de Indias

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This is the picture that I mentioned in my previous podcast. Susan took it around sunset and once we got home played around with it in Picture Publisher (yep, she still uses it).

Larger versions and a close-up after the jump.

Continue reading “The Cathedral in Cartagena de Indias”

What is happening to our civil liberties?

It’s been a year since I wrote this post about the problems in New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

I think it’s very relevant today as much of the nation thinks back to September 11, 2001.

At the time I hadn’t thought about the connection between the two events even though I was writing my comments on 9/11 but in light of our steadily eroding liberties as we travel the skies I have to wonder just how far things will go before we say "stop!"

The terrorists are winning and as a group we’re not doing enough to get our leaders to realize that the more restrictions they place on the the law-abiding citizenry, the more the terrorists achieve their aims of making us all afraid.

Continue reading “What is happening to our civil liberties?”

Laser tapping reveals flaws in rail tracks

New Scientist is reporting that the FDA is testing some new hardware that locates flaws in rail lines using lasers.

The laser pulses create ultrasonic waves that travel through rails at high speed. This means the device can scan for cracks while being pulled along a rail track at up to 112 kilometres (70 miles) per hour – much faster than existing equipment. The machine identifies microscopic fractures by monitoring the strength of ultrasonic waves passing through a rail.

The lasers vaporise a very small amount of the top of the track as they simultaneously generate transsonic waves that can be detected by a microphone positioned ahead of and above the track. This is much improved over previous methods which limited the testing speed to 50 km/hr.