GOES-16 Geostationary Lightning Mapper

Thirty-six hours of lightning in the severe storms over the Eastern US a week ago, captured by the new GOES-16 NOAA satellite, which launched last November. It was known as GOES-R before launch.

Summarizing the satellite’s capabilities:

GOES-R will scan the skies five times faster than today’s GOES spacecraft, with four times greater image resolution and three times the spectral channels. It will provide high-resolution, rapid-refresh satellite imagery as often as every 30 seconds, allowing for a more detailed look at a storm to determine whether it is growing or decaying.

This image demonstrates the vast increase in resolution from GOES-13 (r) to GOES-16 (l). It’s 4572 x 2252 and 7.3MB:

Click for a much larger version

Hey, I can nearly see my house from here in this medium resolution image of the Northeast US taken in January:

Click for a larger version

“Adam and Eve off the raft, sweep the kitchen!”

I was thinking this morning of stepping out to try a diner that’s down the road and quickly questioned that idea as possibly a bit rash: “But why?” They seem to have mixed reviews, so there’s a good possibility that I make better versions of their breakfast fare, and I’ll wager their eggs weren’t laid approximately Wednesday like mine. Plus, a month ago, I finally got around to buying a few of the true diner plates I was eyeing some years back – and I’m talking about real diner plates, 13″ ovals weighing 2½ pounds each – so now I even have the proper ambience. To wit:

Click for a larger version – but maybe you should eat something first

The title – or something like that, anyway – is diner lingo for corned beef hash (sweep the kitchen) with poached eggs (Adam and Eve) on the hash, not the toast (raft).

“The one the front fell off?”

I just found out that satirist John Clarke died on 9 April. I loved his style, possibly the driest straight-faced humour I’ve ever seen. When I watch his weekly 3-minute bits with Bryan Dawe on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, I’m usually grinning widely by the end, having sniggered the whole way through.

This was the first of their segments I ever saw. It’s from 1991:

A few years ago, I bought a boxed set of seven of their DVDs, which consist primarily of hundreds of these short interview segments from a 25-year span, great fun to dip into at random, plus the boxed set of “The Games”, a two-series, twenty-six episode mockumentary made prior to the Sydney Olympics, written by Clarke and Ross Stevenson and starring Clarke, Dawe, Gina Riley, and Nicolas Bell.

It is suggested that the BBC may have lifted the concept and many ideas from “The Games” for their later rather similar series, “Twenty Twelve”, though they deny it. On that topic, Clarke said in this article, “The BBC have investigated themselves and found the accusation of copying doesn’t hold. Well, we’ve investigated it, too, and found it’s very sound.” I know who I believed. Clarke provided the sordid details in this article: How television works: a heart-warming story for all the family

You can see an archive of the last few years of ABC Clarke & Dawe segments here. His last taped segment is listed there but doesn’t seem to be working. A working copy can be found here.

Here’s the ABC’s tribute to Clarke on 17 April:

“All right, let’s go and stick some ferrets down some trousers.”
– John Clarke

The Butterfly Place

My friend and I visited The Butterfly Place on Monday and left with a boatload of photos after wandering around in a leisurely fashion for 90 minutes. They have butterflies from every continent except the obvious one – a mite too chilly there. The best of my photos are below, presented in the order I took them. I’ve identified a few of the butterflies in the captions, and you can find many of the other names on their web site here.

All of these photos are 1920 x 1440, about half their original resolution. The only editing other than resizing that I did was some cropping on a handful and Photoshop’s auto-tone on most. Auto-tone automatically adjusts exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks, and it’s usually the first thing I do to photos imported from my camera. It’s almost never a bad idea.

Click on any thumbnail below to enter the gallery, where you’ll see medium-sized images. To see or save any particular image in full size, click on this at the lower right – you may need to scroll down to see it:

A brief panoramic video of the flight area is at the end of this post.

The doctor is in (5¢)

My best mate had a pretty bad week last week, so I suggested she take a couple days off and visit – for the cure. Part of that was her first visit to The Butterfly Place, where I took plenty of photos yesterday that’ll be in my next post (update: it’s here), and then the delectable popcorn shrimp and catfish at Border Cafe, a small chain that first opened in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Another part was a delicious dessert we hadn’t made for years, James Martin’s Croissant Butter Pudding with white chocolate and bourbon. Costco had a great deal on their high-quality all-butter croissants a couple weeks ago – their “let’s clear just 3 or 4 cents per croissant” price was US$4.99 a dozen – so I had those in the freezer and brought four out for this. Like most breads, croissants freeze and thaw beautifully.

Post-blowtorch with a bruléed crust; click for a larger version

This is how Martin serves it in a restaurant setting; click for a larger version

I first saw Martin make this in his BBC “Sweet Baby James” series in 2007, so we reviewed episode 4 last night and I dug out his Desserts cookbook for the weights and measures. The croissant portion of that episode happens to be on YouTube:

He hasn’t changed it much over the years – here he is making it again in his 2013 series “United Cakes of America” on the Good Food Channel:

Refreshing the spice rack

My herb and spice drawer; click to see a larger version

Twelve years ago, I found nifty food-safe, windowed storage tins at Specialty Bottle at a great price and started storing my dried herbs and spices in them. I recently replaced the tins – the reason detailed below – and was happy to see the price had risen little in twelve years, so I sent a note to the company:

I just placed an order to replace the square tins I bought from you in August of 2005 – quantities exactly the same, forty large and ten small – and was pleased to find that the price went up just $7, from $53 to $60, so I’m writing to say thanks for keeping prices reasonable – it’s much appreciated.

I’m replacing my 12-year-old herb-and-spice tins because I’m putting waterproof laminated labels on the new set. I used inkjet-printed adhesive paper labels before and the ink has run on many of them, plus the adhesive is a bear to remove. For the still great price, it’s easier to replace than to spend several hours trying to clean glue off the old ones.

Thanks to you and The Spice House, I don’t have to take out a loan to have a well-stocked and perfectly organized kitchen.

I forwarded that email to The Spice House folks later, and both responded appreciatively.

Order from The Spice House; click to read the labels

To expound on the other half of this kitchen supply equation, I recently placed an order with The Spice House for eleven items, ten of which are pictured above (the ten whole nutmegs I also ordered were already in their tin). Most of these are 4 ounce/113g bags, four to eight times what’s in your typical supermarket herb/spice jar, but the price per ounce from The Spice House is perhaps a quarter to a third the per-ounce price of the McCormick, Spice Islands, and other brands typically found in US supermarkets. The bags at foreground right are 8 ounces/227g, an even better bargain. I’ll mention here that, in that bottom row, the toasted onion powder and roasted garlic powder are so far above untoasted and unroasted that they’re in an entirely different league – a fantastic one.

Here’s the bottom line: My Spice House order above (plus the nutmegs) was $75, with free shipping. A rough calculation tells me that the equivalent weights of the distinctly lower quality supermarket brands, much of which would have spent months in various warehouses and then gathering dust in the aisle, would cost at least $225 and probably closer to $300.

My ducks all in a row (you can’t easily see, but there are labels on both the covers and the fronts of all the tins); click to view a larger version

Postscript: I forgot to mention that I used the Brother PT-1230 USB label printer, small at 6 x 4 x 2″ and a relative steal at $30, to produce all those labels using their TZe231 1/2″ laminated black on white tape. However, be sure to read this Amazon reviewer’s notes on how to use it economically. You can use the printer without the (free) P-touch Editor software he discusses, but you’ll waste a lot of tape if you do.

A visit from the family

Back in July 2013, I took this photo of a rafter of turkeys at my office:

The hen and her eight poults (Click for a larger version)

Yesterday, what might well be the same family showed up, but there were ten instead of nine ’cause Pop was there this time:

I wonder, would a sourdough, boursin, and cranberry trap work? (Click for a larger version)

He paused about every sixth step to puff up and flash this display (Click for a larger version)