Daily Archives: November 20, 2011

Double Helix Nebula

I mentioned the double helix nebula in a post a couple of days ago:  The Sky’s Too Jam-Packed These Days.  Some of you weren’t familiar with it.  In fact I didn’t know about it until a couple or three months ago.  Here’s a bit more about it:

The double helix nebula:

The spots are infrared-luminous stars, mostly red giants and red supergiants. Many other stars are present in this region, but are too dim to appear even in this sensitive infrared image.
The double helix nebula is approximately 300 light-years from the enormous black hole at the center of the Milky Way. (The Earth is more than 25,000 light-years from the black hole at the galactic center.)

This false-color image was taken by the Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS).
Date 15 March 2005(2005-03-15)
Source http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/2305-sig06-004-Double-Helix-Nebula

That double-helix pattern in the gas is perpendicular to the galactic plane.  It’s mainly interesting by what it implies.  Problem is, nobody’s actually sure what it implies.

Aside from my humble self.  And I’m not saying nuthun.

Old Jules


RAZ Auction and an Aborted Escape Route

Yesterday Gale and Kay were away on another craft fair and I had access to Little Red, so I decided to trip into Harper for the farm/livestock auction.

The pickings were fairly slim because fewer people showed for it than I’ve ever seen at that auction.  But things were going dirt cheap as a result.

Cheap, I should have said, by comparison with the usual fare.  On a normal third Saturday someone falls in love with this sort of thing and is willing to hock the family jewels to carry it home.

But yesterday even jewels of this sort were going for a couple of bucks:

You’d think the seat and steering wheel on this would be worth someone hauling home at those prices.

A few items did draw bids a bit higher.

This compressor that might work went for around $15.

Plenty of antlers of all description but I wasn’t sure what Gale could use or I’d have stayed around to bid on some of the lots.

The poultry barn only had a few dozen birds, none I found a compelling need for.  The livestock weren’t out in force.  A few bighorn sheep, four starving longhorns, a few ibex, maybe a wildebeest I didn’t get a look at, and a horse headed for the dogfood factory.

I could have left after one quick swing around except for this:

I’d been nosing around for different living arrangements [also here Pack Goats for the Elderly and a Youngish Hermit and here Thursday morning meanderings].  I had a lot of reservations about this domicile.  That’s particle-board it’s constructed of, the frame looked to be for something a lot lighter, the door’s so narrow I had to turn my shoulders sidewise to go inside.

It was set up for propane and water at some time, but mostly everything except the wiring and hoses were removed.  That bottom-middle vent, when opened, looks directly inside through a stripped cabinet that evidently once held a sink.

This rear window would have to be removed to get anything wider than the door inside.  It doesn’t open.  And I couldn’t help wondering why there had been a deliberate removal of the tail lights.  No evidence of a license tag ever having been on it.

Those two vents open directly into the trailer underneath the two seats at the front, which would be a problem on the road in inclement weather.

But even knowing it was going to require a lot of work, beginning with protecting that particle board, it was a possible.  This winter would be a lot warmer living in there, and that’s a factor to warp judgement to a degree.  And having something that would provide a mobile escape route if I need one, a lot easier than anything I’d come across thus far lent itself to a decision to bid if the competition wasn’t strong.

I figured it might go for $300, which I could cover.  I decided I couldn’t go more than $500, and even that would squeeze things a bit uncomfortably.  When the bidding came it went to my $475, long pause and someone bid $500.  I turned to walk away, then spur of the moment raised my arm for $525.  And the bidding stopped.

I’d just bought the damned thing.

I went to the office to pay for it, forked over the money and the young lady was filling out the paperwork when the older lady behind her chimed in.  “He told you about not being able to get a trailer title for it didn’t he?”

“Hmmm.  No.”

Her face curled into a snarl.  “That SOB!  He was supposed to announce that before he auctioned it.  You can’t take it onto the road.  You can’t get a title for the highway.”

This caused me to have to back up and try my hand at rapid thinking.  Not my long suite.

After a pause, both of them staring at me, “Do you still want it?”

“Um.  I guess not.”

She counted my money back to me, I handed them the keys and went back outdoors to re-organize my life.

Nothing much had changed while I went from one package of my immediate future back to the one I began the day with.  The world was still waiting for Godot.

But while I went about the task of getting my mind back unshuffled I watched this dog make a statement about the whole event, laying a line of cable between me and all that potential future I’d just stuck my toe into, then pulled it back out.

Old Jules