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Posts Made By: Fred Lusk

August 11, 2019 12:05 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

Did I see the Grace-FO satellites this weekend?

Posted By Fred Lusk

UPDATE — Well, it wasn't the Grace-FO satellites after all.  I also posted this observation on CosmoQuest asking for the same help.  Someone there recommended Heavens-Above, which is a website I had forgotten about because I hadn't used it in years. 

It turns out that the Grace-FO passes on August 2/3 matched neither my time nor my field of view, and it wasn't even close.

I next did a search for "twin military satellites" and found several, including a slew of NOSS twins and triples. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to go through them all. It's also possible that I won't ever be able to figure it out because current military satellites (US, Russian, etc.) are not out there on the front page. At the very least, I can say that I was spying on two military satellites that were spying on me. :-)

January 1, 2020 07:47 PM Forum: Wildlife Photography

January 1, 2020 07:55 PM Forum: Landscape Photography

Valley of Fire

Posted By Fred Lusk

In October, we spent a few days in Las Vegas....doing virtually nothing in Las Vegas.  Instead, we visited Hoover Dam, Red Rock Canyon, and Valley of Fire.  Oh, and I got to drive seven laps in a Ferrari 488 GTB and seven laps in a Porsche GT3 at Exotics Racing (my birthday present from my 60th in 2018), but that's for another day.

The most beautiful spot in Valley of Fire State Park is the Fire Wave:

January 1, 2020 10:02 PM Forum: Landscape Photography

Valley of Fire

Posted By Fred Lusk

Red Rocks was nice.  Unfortunately, the only time slot we had for it was late afternoon and some of the best parts were already in shadow.  My photos there just weren't as good as the ones from Valley of Fire.  Next trip, we will go to Red Rocks in the morning.

We don't visit Lost Wages all that often, but since it's only about a 6 hr drive from Fresno, it works for a long weekend.  We just avoid the casinos.  We have flown in the past, but right now there is no direct service between Fresno and LV.

Regardless, this was going to be a driving trip from the start.  We drove over in two vehicles with my oldest daughter and her family.  We rented a house for the weekend (Air B&B).  It was my daughter's 15th anniversary, so we did some stuff with the grandkids while she and our SIL went out for a nice dinner on Saturday.  Having two vehicles meant we could move the grandkids around so they didn't get on each other's nerves too much (11-yr-old girl and 8-yr-old boy).  And, it gave us the opportunity to show the grandkids Callico Ghost Town near Barstow.  Sure, it's a tourist trap, but they had fun and it's actually a pretty good place for photography, especially B&W.

The driving experience I rate 11 out of 10.  It was a hoot and both instructors were really good.  I went faster in the Porsche, but I liked driving the Ferrari better.  However, I would accept either one as a gift.  smile  My oldest nephew raced cars for several years and he had told me beforehand I would like the Ferrari better but would probably get around faster in the Porsche.

I drove the Ferrari first.  My best lap was 1m01.74s, which is only about 40th percentile for all best laps at Exotics Racing (the data is available on their website).  My best lap in the Porsche was 56.537s, which is about 86th percentile for all best laps.  For comparison, the track record (by a professional driver) is under 49 seconds and the slowest best lap (as of mid-October) is an astounding 4m03.794.  I think I could ride my bicycle around the track faster.

I also beat my personal top speed record.  In both cars I hit 119 mph and change.  My previous record (set back when I was in college and invincible) was 115 mph in a Mazda RX-2 on the I-580 between Livermore and Tracy.  And, I was NOT the fastest vehicle on the freeway at that time.  I was passed by a full-size, fully tricked out Ford Bronco doing at least 150 mph.

January 26, 2020 07:23 AM Forum: Politics

But beware of the Dark Side.

Posted By Fred Lusk

Yoda also said, "Always two there are; no more, no less. A master and an apprentice."

We can now confirm that Darth Nadler is the second Schiff Lord.  smile

March 7, 2020 07:21 AM Forum: ASTRONOMY

SkyTools 4 Visual is now available

Posted By Fred Lusk

IMHO, SkyTools is the best observation planning and logging software available on the market today and SkyTools 4 Visual is finally now available after a long wait.  Go to

I am only a humble board member for Central Valley Astronomers and have no affiliation with or Craig Crinklaw, the author of SkyTools.  But, I have been using SkyTools for nearly a decade and have found the program invaluable for my planning my observing sessions.

May 4, 2020 04:08 AM Forum: Politics

Trump Gallup up 6 to 49 Disapproval Down 7

Posted By Fred Lusk

Here is an interesting take on the Mika Brzeezinski-Joe Biden interview:

David Freiheit (a.k.a. Viva Frei) is a Canadian attorney / YouTuber who has covered quite a bit of American politics and law on his channel over the past couple years.  He is pretty insightful and always entertaining.

May 4, 2020 07:31 PM Forum: Politics

Trump Gallup up 6 to 49 Disapproval Down 7

Posted By Fred Lusk

Originally Posted by James Lacey

This video is a bad take. No active politician is going to allow anyone who wants to go on a fishing expedition through their records. Donald Trump, for example, has fought this exact kind of investigation repeatedly. Why would anyone expect Biden to have to subject himself to all types of scrutiny unrelated to the Reade case? You don't expect Trump to do that, so why is it ok to expect such a high burden from Biden? The University of Delaware papers are not entirely curated yet. They do not contain any personnel records, and it's entirely in keeping with standard practice to not release these kinds of records until two years after whoever donated has retired from active political life. If you think that Biden should open these records, then you should be ok with Trump opening his accounts of his business dealings with Russia. I suspect you are not ok with this, though.

The UofD documents are actually irrelevant here because they are not central to Freiheit's (Viva Frei's) analysis and were only a part of Brzezinski's line of questioning.  Freiheit focused mostly on Biden's responses to Brzezinski's questions, not the UofD documents, and I think his analysis is pretty accurate.  An attorney friend I have known since junior high school (early 1970s) posted his own, corroborating analysis on his Facebook page a couple days ago.

Biden's responses did him no credit.  He could be 100% innocent of all allegations, yet he came across as someone who couldn't give a straight answer and whose mental agility leaves a lot to be desired.


May 4, 2020 07:40 PM Forum: Politics

Trump Gallup up 6 to 49 Disapproval Down 7

Posted By Fred Lusk

Originally Posted by Mel Maki
We weren't there. Biden is another guy that knows he has a special talent for the ladies. Well, there was that one. Most likely something happened between the two of them. His hands on, hair sniffing self is open to these accusations. And people made fun of the Republican that insisted the door was open when a woman was in his office.
Men of integrity do NOT meet alone behind a closed door with women who are not family (e.g. wives, daughters, etc.), travel with such women, and so on.  Women of integrity follow a similar rule.  It's not that hard to understand or to follow.  A lot of problems throughout history could have been avoided had the men and women in questions had integrity.

May 4, 2020 08:53 PM Forum: Politics

Trump Gallup up 6 to 49 Disapproval Down 7

Posted By Fred Lusk

Originally Posted by Rod Kaufman

Men and women of integrity have meetings behind closed doors all the time throughout the world. They're quite capable of differentiating their professional/business lives from their personal lives and social interactions. It's not hard to understand or to follow...
Yes, men and women do meet like this, and that's when problems can occur.  A lot of men and women leave the "straight and narrow" in situations like this because they eventually stop differentiating their professional/business lives from their personal lives.  I know about a dozen cases personally where "working closely" became an affair, and in each case it was someone nobody thought could or would cheat.  These are anecdotes, to be sure, but this situation is replicated across the world far more than your all-encompassing statement admits.

The best way to guard one's self is to not put one's self in a potentially compromising situation.  In addition, the appearance of impropriety has sunk quite a few people.