Neil's News

Crescent Moon

26 February 2007

[Sorry for being so quiet lately. As many have noticed, we've been somewhat busy.]

Every evening I take the shuttle from Mountain View to San Francisco. While waiting for the shuttle to arrive, the moon often catches my eye. It looks broken. After seven years of living in northern Scotland, I'm used to the moon looking like this:
[Crescent Moon at 58 degrees]

Down here in California the moon looks like this:
[Crescent Moon at 37 degrees]

The difference is subtle, but very noticeable when close to the horizon. Geometrically it's the difference between being at 58°N and being at 37°N.

On a hunch, I looked up the flags of Islamic countries:

[Flag of Uzbekistan] Uzbekistan
Winner of the "My flag is longer than yours" contest.
[Flag of Pakistan] Pakistan
[Flag of Mauritania] Mauritania
[Flag of Comoros] Comoros
In 2001 this flag was replaced by a new, less geographically correct version.

There does seem to be a good correlation between the angle of the crescent moon on a country's flag and its appearance in their sky.

Of course the Islamic tradition of putting a star (or four) between the horns of the crescent moon is somewhat less realistic. If you don't understand why, think about it for a moment.

Random nesting stuff:

I bought some house plants: four cacti (Up, Down, Top, Bottom; named for their respective positions on my kitchen shelves), a bonsai (Charm) and something green I can't identify (Strange).

Broadband finally arrived. Yay! Now I don't have to connect to the intertubes via some unsecured wireless router named "HotWANg Adult Entertainment" (don't ask, I have no idea).

The other day I stumbled across some unusual code which the programmers amongst you might enjoy.

Although I've mostly settled in, San Francisco had two more surprises for me. First, there was a (very) mild earthquake. Nothing anyone here would bother mentioning, but it got my attention. Second, the fog rolled into the city at 3am. That set off the fog horns on the Golden Gate Bridge. They blasted away every twenty seconds until dawn. In fairness they are quite harmonious, but it will take a bit of time before I can sleep through their performances.

Pic of Widget! Eating her morning porridge.

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Legal yada yada: My views do not necessarily represent those of my employer or my goldfish.