Monday, January 30, 2012

The Klickitat Canyon Winery In Lyle, WA. Is An Ecologically Balanced Vineyard

Robin Dobson is growing an ecologically balanced crop of grapes for his winery in Washington, on the edge of the Columbia Gorge. He chose the area he did for the myriad of micro climates available for a variety of grapes. Miraculously, water is only needed for the first three years after which the grapes fend for themselves.

The winds, common to the Gorge, tend to keep the plants dormant. When the winds taper off in the evenings, the grapes come alive and it is during these times the plants grow. He has made a point of keeping native flora and fauna between the rows. I'm actually quite curious if the grasses slow the growth cycles of the grapes, and possibly act as fine tuning aspects to flavor. Also Robin mentions modest yields of a ton per acre. Knowing the Dobsons' intense command of plant biology, I'm looking forward to possibly having some of my questions answered as to the ameliorating aspects of such a natural ecosystem.
Robin was one of my neighborhood friends when our families lived overseas during my high school years. The Dobsons lived across the street from us in one of the very desirable older Swiss buildings in the town of La Capite on the outskirts of Geneva. My Father provided a basketball hoop and backboard in our driveway, which turned out to be a meeting place for us in the neighborhood. Robin mentions drinking the squashed grapes in the link at the beginning of this post. I remember it well! I also remember that one time I let the sediment settle overnight and was shocked at the amount of "fiber" (twigs, leaves etc.)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mini Monkey Lights Make Bike Riding At Night Safe And Fun

The Mini Monkey Light is a clever light show designed for safety and fun.

They are powered by batteries mounted to the hub of a bike wheel while the lights are attached to the spokes, spinning with the wheel and creating a programmable, and changing light show that is sure to turn heads.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Michael Yon Captures Beauty At One Of The Most Dangerous Places On Earth

Michael Yon relentlessly fights bureaucratic red tape from the battlefields of Afghanistan. But, even so, he has time to see the beauty in a perilous place.
Michael has captured a static electricity effect visible at night which is the result of dissimilar materials, in this case titanium/nickel helicopter blades moving through dusty air fast as the blades rotate. Yon, who made these shots with a Canon 5D Mark II with a 50 mm lens at an ISO of 800 mentions that longer time exposures reveal more colorful effects.

The Smithsonian writes that, "He was moved to create a name, the Kopp-Etchells Effect, for the rotor phenomenon to honor a pair of fallen soldiers, U.S. Army Corporal Benjamin Kopp and British Army Corporal Joseph Etchells, who died one day apart in July after fierce fighting in Helmand (Kopp had been evacuated to the U.S. before he died). “The tent in the foreground is a medical tent,” says Yon, “so that casualties can be kept in a tent until the last minute. A substantial number of British casualties in Helmand have been lifted off of this exact spot…because this is probably either the most dangerous place in Afghanistan, or nearly the most dangerous.”

Yon is currently cutting through bureaucratic red tape to enable medevac from other than Red Cross specific craft because they are unarmed. Lives are being lost while the wounded wait for Red Cross craft.