What clock sets the official time of the United States? Answer = the NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.

My wife has an atomic clock. It’s not really atomic but …… I like changing the batteries in it. When I do, if you wait until it is an o’clock, you will see it whiz around and settle EXACTLY on the right time. Quite amazing to this non-technical twit. Club member Jim  Willimas told me that Sarah’s clock gets a signal from Colorado. I guess I have never been curious enough to ask any more questions.

But, I have recently found out how Sarah’s clock gets  “put right.” My info comes from an article in the Daily Mail:

If you’ve ever wondered what clock sets the official time of the United States, look no further. The bearer of that important standard is the NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock, located at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado. Built in four years, and officially established in 2005, the F1 is the latest in a series of increasingly accurate clocks responsible for keeping time for the entire country. The clock will neither gain nor lose a second in the next 80 million years.”

80 million years eh? I guess I won’t be around to see what they do with that lost second. I digress.

The process that the clock uses is, needless to say, extremely complex. Basically, it measures the frequency of microwaves needed to produce maximum fluorescence in a ball of cesium atoms. That frequency–the resonant frequency of cesium–is used to define the second. The “Fountain” in its title refers to the rising and falling of the ball of cesium atoms, which is produced by a group of lasers.

This increased accuracy is not just a matter of idle dispute. The improvement in time measurement can aid advances in telecommunications, satellites and medical technology. It can also be used to obtain a greater degree of accuracy in scientific experiments where the tiniest measurements can make a huge difference–for example, determining the presence of fluctuations in what we perceive as constants of the universe.

What’s this clock look like? Well, it doesn’t look like a clock to me but …….

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock with people showing its size

NIST-F1 Cesium Fountain Atomic Clock with people showing its size

I thought about asking for one for my birthday but Then I thought, save your breath!

 

 

600 Miles of Scenic Britain in One Day

I cut this out of the January 2013 copy of a British Mag named, “Best of British.”

Cutting from Best of British

Cutting from Best of British

Now remember I am an ex-auditor. Auditors are VERY suspicious SOBs. If you get to be a partner in a major auditing firm it means you are a very serious SOB. So I was VERY suspicious as what is described by Mr. Sutcliffe as being doable. One way of checking it out (obviously) is to go and try it. The other alternative is to do a virtual tour.

I thought that the internet, being what it is, would make the exercise a doddle. Like all battle plans my battle plan failed on its first encounter with the enemy. There are billions of sites flogging you tickets you tickets which are worse than useless for what I wanted. To cut to the chase I finally did get it sorted.

The first stage is from London to Leeds. Below is a route map and a view of the rout from a satellite. The view from the satellite shows what the terrain looks like along the journey.

As you can see from the satellite pic there’s not much to see.  From London to Leeds takes  2 hours 11 mins. Leave on the 7:03 am and you’ll arrive at 9:16 am – 169 miles covered.

The next section is quite short from Leeds to Carnforth.

Leeds to Carnforth takes 1 hpur 40 mins. I “took” the 10:18 am and arrived at 11.50 am. 55 miles covered, total miles so far 224 miles.

Next section is from Carnforth to Barrow-in-Furness, This is a very short section as you can see below:

Carnforth to Barrow in Furness takes 53 minutes if you take the 12.12 pm. It arrives in Barrow -in – Furness at 1.05 pm. 18 miles travelled making a total of 242 miles so far.

Next is from Barrow – in – Furness to Carlisle. This is VERY scenic.

From Barrow in Furness to Carlisle takes 2 hours 5 mins. The 1.16 pm from Barrow gets you to Carlisle  at 3.46 pm.  Journey is 55 miles making a total of 297 miles.

So far so good. Next from Carlisle back to Leeds. Again VERY scenic.

Carlisle to Leeds takes 2 hours 39 mins.  Take the 4.18 pm and one arrives  at 7.08 pm.  94 miles covered – 391 miles cumulative.

The last leg is from Leeds back to to London, Travel time  2 hours 11 mins. The 7.45 pm from Leedsw arrives in London at 9.59 pm.. Distance travelled is 169 miles making a total of  560 miles,

Not 600 miles but pretty close.

Am I going to try and do it? It’s added to the bucket list!

 

Angels coming to earth on sunbeams

When we go over the hill (from Fort Bragg to Willits) I enjoy watching the sunbeams coming down from through the trees. When I was growing I was very sick and I spent a lot of time with my grandmother on my father’s side – Granny Phillips. The bedroom I had looked east through some very old oak trees. When I would tell Gran that I had seen sunbeams she would always respond, “The angels slide down the sunbeams – that’s how they come down from heaven.” When I saw this photo my aged brain took me back 70 years!!!!!

Sunbeams on Route 20 between Fort Bragg (CA) and Willits

Sunbeams on Route 20 between Fort Bragg (CA) and Willits

Snoopy’s Christmas vs. The Red Baron

I’ve been reviewing/listening to old “records” and vids of the holiday season that I grew up with and enjoyed. Among these, of course, were vids of Snoopy. With all the chaos in the world I thought this one was appropriate:

The Royal Guardsmen made this record. They were 5 guys from Ocala, Florida. They recorded a quartet of songs inspired by Snoopy the Beagle in the “Peanuts” comic strip between 1967 and 1968.

835 Tuba players set new world record, playing “Silent Night”

I have NOT lost it. Read this – it was written by a man named Dale Lowe:

You have to give props to the people who picked the tuba as their school instrument.   I mean, getting it home to practice with should’ve been worth an extra credit in itself, right??!!

Plus, those kids were “all about the bass – – no treble” long before the rest of us.

A massive tuba ensemble has smashed a Guinness World Record in Kansas City – – 835 tuba players (between the ages of 11 and 86) performing “Silent Night” this past Friday . The previous record of 502 tuba players in California in 2007. (Ahem.  “Tuba-d for them…there record was broken.  Thanks…I’m here all week!)

While a few performed on a tenor version of the tuba, called a euphonium, the Guiness officials have declared it an official new world record.

And the rendition of this Christmas carol is surprisingly beautiful.   have a listen:

Did you sing along? I did!!!