Some shots from the Halifax Waterfront Submarine Playground; bit snowy that weekend, but Ezra found it no less fun in the cold — though maybe a bit more icy and slippery.
- More on the Perseverance Rover
- Launch aboard an Atlas V from CCAFS SLC 41 in July 2020
- 3D simulation of EDL
- Descent and touchdown video from rover and skycrane cameras
- First image from one of the rover’s hazard detection cameras — and a glimpse of smoke from the skycrane after it flew off to crash to the surface away from the rover
- Perseverance rover raw image updates
- Mars sounds, from an audio mic mounted on the rover
About 15cm of snow on Friday meant nice conditions for snow tubing over the weekend, much to Ezra’s delight.
Been cold enough since to keep most of the snow on the ground, too, which makes for some picturesque winter views all day from the deck.
Caught the last full moon of 2020 as it rose, big and orange, over the hills of Nova Scotia a couple days before the New Year. (I’m cheating a bit here, this was actually a waning gibbous moon the day after the last full moon.)
Then I was up early after New Year to catch the first sunrise of the year, shining red through the bare winter trees and glinting off the water of the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon.
It’s now 2021, the year of Johnny Mnemonic.
Snowy days mean building snowpersons in the backyard and tubing down a snowy hill.
In Cole Harbour Heritage Park, a stream fed by a hundred different culverts winds through fir trees and mossy rocks to drain out to the harbour.
Back on the Old Lawrencetown Road Trail, the marsh is lit gold and amber by a fading winter sun.
On the sandy paths through the snow-dusted dunes of Rainbow Haven Beach Ezra picks a blade of dry grass to be his magic wand. He zaps me. He zaps the moon.
Along the Salt Marsh Trail a freezing wind cuts across the harbour, and a sunset pierces the clouds with crepuscular beams as a muddy tide rushes under the bridges.
Thus ends 2020. Maybe in 2021 we’ll get to the ends of some of these trails, too.
Got our Christmas tree, a Nova Scotia balsam fir, at the local Sobey’s lot for $40, transported home atop a kind neighbour’s SUV. (I could probably have transported one on top of my FIAT but it would have been a lot shorter.)
For the church Christmas pageant (virtual slideshow format due to pandemic) Ezra got to be a shepherd.
Ezra also enjoyed helping bake gingerbread cookies.
No travel or gatherings for us this Christmas, just staying at home with presents.
A Merry Christmas to all; these are dark times but the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Evening of 21 Dec 2020, the winter solstice, brought a rare celestial event: a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, so close together in the night sky as to appear almost like a single celestial body. Unfortunately it it was cloudy and rainy over Halifax all that night, but the planets were still fairly close together the next evening. I hauled out my NEX3N mirrorless DSLR with its 200mm telephoto lens and managed to catch the planets post-conjunction in the western sky:
Zoomed and cropped it was even possible to see the Galilean moons, though any other details like Jovian bands or Saturn’s rings were lost to blur and glare:
If you missed seeing it, it’s okay; you can set a reminder for the next comparably close Jupiter-Saturn conjunction: 15 March 2080, early morning.
Two COVID-19 cases hit schools in our immediate neighbourhood, so we pulled our kid from Pre-K out of an abundance of caution and started staying home again. New cases in NS peaked at 37 on Nov 24th, driven primarily by exposures at unmasked venues like bars, restaurants, and gyms — then gradually began to fall off later with the delayed effects of increased restrictions. (I still go to work if I’m needed on-site — coworkers are mostly properly masked and distanced, and we have our own offices.)
I think a lot about how billionaires are thriving in this pandemic era while ordinary people run out of money and face eviction. I think of how demand for exotic meats such as pangolin and bat was driven primarily not by the Chinese, but by wealthy travelers seeking exotic thrill. I think about Filipino nurses dying of COVID-19 in disproportionate numbers.
Last week was Thanksgiving, this month will be Christmas; too many people seem to be travelling like there’s no contagion, which means the weeks and months ahead will likely be overflowing with disease and death. Paradoxically, I worry that with good vaccine news on the horizon, undisciplined, lockdown-fatigued populations may treat the mere promise of vaccination as license to relax restrictions even more, causing new outbreaks and viral mutations — not to mention antivaxers and other conspiracy theorists rousing enough lethal denialism among reactionaries to make COVID-19 endemic, leading to even more death in the long term.
Meanwhile we sit and wait, still glad to be here in NS, where the community pandemic response has been called “magnificent.” Hoping that continues to bear out in the days ahead.
We’ve been going for occasional nearby walks on days when it’s not too cold and rainy. Some scenes from the Old Lawrencetown Road Trail which goes over the unnamed brook connecting Broom Lake to Cole Harbour:
Rainbow Haven Beach, still nice to walk around even outside of summer:
And the Halifax Waterfront, first time there in months, mostly deserted and okay for a [carefully physically distanced] stroll along the harbour:
(Apparently the floating structure across the Harbour is “Deep Panuke”, a natural gas extraction and processing platform, now retired.)