Air quality and sunset


Caja del Rio just after sunset

Sunsets – along with sunrise and every other reason for looking to the horizon – have been crap for weeks. Tonight was different.

The smoke from wildfires has been persistent and often oppressive. Key fires here in New Mexico have been out for a little while; but, about 50 square miles of Colorado is still burning. So said the morning news. Air quality indications on my iPhone’s weather app have been moderately unsafe at best…usually “unhealthy for sensitive groups”…like human beings.

Most of this week, I’ve worn a cloth mask to keep the crud away from my lungs.

But, tonight, on my last exercise lap walking our fenceline, I glanced East towards the road and realized there were a few lovely red clouds in the sky and I could see the Sangre de Cristos East of Santa Fe clearly as evening approached. Most of this week, I could barely see there was a mountain range there – not that many miles away.

I turned and looked back at the mesa across our valley and the sky was smoke-free, clouds colored by the sun which set several minutes earlier. And grabbed a quick photo.

After I took the picture, I brought up the weather app. I hadn’t worn the mask tonight and the app confirmed my opinion. Air Quality was “good”. Hope it stays so…through the weekend and on into autumn.

“Fawkes” can protect you from facial recognition online


Jason Hargrove/Flickr

Software called Fawkes “cloaks” photos to trick the deep learning computer models that power facial recognition…

The rapid rise of facial recognition systems has placed the technology into many facets of our daily lives, whether we know it or not…But thus far, people have had few protections against this use of their images—apart from not sharing photos publicly at all.

The Fawkes project provides a powerful new protection mechanism.

With enough cloaked photos in circulation, a computer observer will be unable to identify a person from even an unaltered image, protecting individual privacy from unauthorized and malicious intrusions.

Math and science wins, again.

I know how silly this seems; but…

Though I don’t recall the variety’s name, we bought some of these freestone peaches at Trader Joe’s, this morning. This is the first one I cut in half to have after today’s lunch.

What a perfect freestone. The stone fell out after I separated the halves and took this quick iPhoto. Dry stone. Flesh light and barely perfumed with whatever someone may have named this fruit’s flavor. Cut the two halves into sections and then slices. Took lots of time to savor my dessert.

…Thank you, TJ.

“Unique” corona shape?

Read this blog often enough over this summer, you know I love the numbers of Osha in our meadows here in Northern New Mexico. I also get a chuckle when I see articles about the shape of the coronavirus being unique. In nature in general, not so unique. Whether you’re enjoying the scent of Osha on a sunrise walk or – for that matter – fishing from a coastal breakwater and catching a spiny Pufferfish. :-]

Balloon spider migration


Click to enlarge

The annual migration of balloon spiders started a week or so ago. Always look for their webs tangled in our East-facing fenceline. A usual sign that summer is here.

Took this iPhoto about 5 minutes after sunrise on my first walk of the morning, today.

Detroit Wall, 1941

August 1941. “Negro children standing in front of half-mile concrete wall, Detroit, Michigan. This wall was built in August 1941 to separate the Negro section from a white housing development going up on the other side.”

The wall still stands, mostly because it would be a pain to take it down, but now it’s just a backyard wall. Some sections have been repurposed as murals, like the one…showing Rosa Parks catching the bus.

Times change even if some people don’t have the courage to change.