Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A lot of books have been written on how to be innovative...

"They didn't know it was impossible so they did it...."

What a great execution of a dream and inspirational example for all of us.  Here's to the future and those brave enough to dare to make a difference.  (Without a book)

AML NLO, JRO and SEO AML  Believe in the power of dreams...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A HIke to St Peter's Dome and a really nice waterfall!

Spring is happening!  The trees are just starting to bud, the grass is green and the temps are just right for a hike in the North Woods.  Early hikes like this are special as the biting insects are not yet out and the temps are very favorable to climbing rocky steep trails.

This weekend I zeroed in on a place I have wanted to see for some time.  It's a granite bluff with a beautiful view of Northern Wisconsin with a vista that sweeps 30 miles to Lake Superior.

About 500 Meters from the trail head you get to make a choice.  To the right is Morgan Falls, to the left is the Dome.

Morgan Falls is especially picture worthy in the early spring when the snow melt increases the flow rate to three and four times what we see in this pic taken this morning.  A beautiful red granite rock cut forms the falls.

A little different angle. 

How about a selfie with a Nikon?  I brought a couple of cameras on this hike.

If you turn left at the sign post and go on the St Peter's Dome trail, you start off with a pretty well groomed surface.

Things thin out and slowly get a bit more austere.

This is a topo from my Garmin - I finally remembered to bring my GPS on a hike!

It's still very early spring here.  Night time temperatures are still around freezing, but these trees are starting to bud.  In another week or two this will be a totally green leafed forest.

You hike through two or three streams and actually follow a stream bead on part of this hike.

A light cloud cover muted the greens, but the moss was very spectacular.  

Blaze on this trail is a blue diamond.  There are a few spots where you have to look hard to find a marker.
Well here we are at the rock face.  To the horizon is Lake Superior and at bout 11 o'clock is the harbor town of Ashland, Wisconsin.

This is a mixed forest of pine and hardwoods. This is the view from St Peter's Dome.

I pushed the DC Vario ELMARIT to the limit to zoom in on Ashland Harbor from the rock face of St Peter's Dome. This is  almost 30 miles away!  Leica makes good optics...

Hard to see depth in this shot, but what I'm pointing out is snowmobile cleat scarring of the granite rocks on the trail.  During the winter, with snow on the ground, snowmobiler's visit the dome too.  Their spinning cleated track makes these cuts in the rock.
A low trickle, these streams grow pretty quickly when it rains, and in the spring melt.  Lots of debris falls into the spring fed streams and tannin's leach out.

Just for fun... a Google Earth pic of this trail reveals how densely wooded and how green this remote part of Wisconsin is once the trees leaf out.
Hope you liked the hike!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016


It's been around for a while... but it's hilarious!  AND, what the heck - I love Engineering!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Michigan Technological University's Design Expo

One of my favorite things to do as a professional is  participating with young people at universities.  I have been a Society of Automotive Engineers faculty advisor, judge and occasionally a judge on Senior Design and "Enterprise" projects at Michigan Tech.  It is always a wonderful experience as I get to talk to these bright young students about their technical projects.

These  Design Expo's are amazing. This year's Expo was no different, awesome students doing the coolest things.  For me, this is a window into the current technologies that our technical community is mastering and adapting in their design projects at the undergraduate level. What a new hire into industry would have in her or his technical tool set...

Hosted by the Pavlis Honors College and the College of Engineering, the work of over 600 students in dozens of projects was on display.  Here's a pic of a virtual gaming system developed by the students.

A beautiful day in Houghton!  The University Mascot is a Husky - as in the Michigan Tech Huskies!

I pulled over to take this pic.  Mid-April and a couple feet of snow slowly melting...  The Keweenaw Peninsula gets a lot of snow.  Follow the link to see the accumulation for this year!

One of the coolest things I saw was a Raspberry PI powered robotic submersible designed to dive to 300 feet and acquire video.  Another adaptation of the Phantom 4, for a fraction of the cost...  Materials Science Research that was very interesting, and a Hybridized truck from the 1940's!  What a great group, the creativity and technical acumen was really impressive.  These students will go on to do amazing things.  I'll close with these videos from last years Expo...

 I had to add this, it gives you a flavor for the students at this great university!


Sunday, April 10, 2016


Incredibly we had high winds and lots of snow last week, so getting out this weekend was a nice change of pace.  Today's post is all done in very low light, but an interesting adventure.

Among other mundane travels, we stopped in to see Mummies: New Secrets from the Tombs!
Animals were often included with the dead for making the journey on "the other side."

Fascinating vibrant colors have been found on garments and shrouds buried with the mummies.

Articles like these from an ancient Peruvian tomb are really remarkable.

CAT scanners are used to "see" inside of the mummies warps.  In this new type of analysis everything from bone health to tooth decay is assessed.

Oops, this was not in the Mummies Exhibit, but I thought it was very beautiful.  It's an American Indian Jingle Dress

Here we have a child's likeness recreated with forensic science, 3-d printers and CAT scanners...

Peruvian cultures had practiced skull molding.  This was achieved by binding the head at a young age and delineated social classes and various groups in their culture.

These figurines were buried with a mummy in Peru over a thousand years ago.  Some say they represent other members of the family, some theorize they were to be workers to help the dead in the after life...

Peruvian mummy.  DNA samples now reveal where geographically these mummies lived.

Next week looks like MAYBE spring temperatures will finally arrive.  Hope all are well,


Sunday, April 3, 2016

The James Hill Mansion

What a great weekend!  It started off with a little SNOW, but turned into a really nice trip to visit the James Hill Mansion in St Paul, Minnesota. 

This is the largest home by square foot in the State of Minnesota!

I've been through a number of these great old estates, the Hill house was a little different in that it seemed to incorporate a lot more warmth.  More wood, more function, more livable...  The table in this room was made to have the same major to minor axis ratio as the oval in the ceiling,  attention to detain was a hallmark of the man who would  create the Great Northern Railroad which connected Minneapolis to Seattle.

Every mansion needs a pipe organ, this is the 1000 pipe model...

Electralears all over the place

Mr Hill

A sample of the master carver work which is all over this fine old mansion

An early "Selfie." This is a carving of the carver by the carver...

Amazing woodwork really sets this estate apart, in my opinion.  Much warmer than Biltmore IMHO.

More about this in a later post.  It has a story and a painting!

A really nice library tucked away in a first floor corner of the house.

Secret passages a plenty.  This star obscured a button that would open a hidden door...

to the mansions silver vault!

Gold leaf ceilings in the dining room

The Hills started from absolutely nothing.  A waitress and partially blind emigrant from Canada who worked hard...

How neat!  This is a rocking chair from 1890... Ergonomic, smart design, could be marketed today
Very nice library

The central heating plant looks like two locomotive boilers, maybe they were!
Hope you had a nice weekend too!