Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wind Power: The future of power generation

In response to the worldwide fuel and power crisis, we are inventing newer methods of harnessing available sources of energy. Well one of the newer means of power generation which costs relatively lesser and is more environment friendly is Wind Power. Conversion of wind energy into electricity using wind turbines is how wind power is harnessed. I read in the wikipeia that last year (2007) 94.1 gigawatts of power was produced across the world and this is just 1% of the total electricity produced. We still have a long way to go if we have to stop or even considerably slow down use of fossil fuels. But considering the statistics of 2000 the global wind power generation has increased phenomenally (500%).

One of the major sources of wind power is at windy regions where corporations install large numbers of windmills which are connected to turbines which help convert the force of wind into electricity and transmit it to the grid for circulation.

Well why am I blogging about Wind Energy, when I am not even remotely connected to the industry? Let me come to the point now, during my recent California trip, I saw the two extremes of harnessing energy sources. In Texas I saw hundreds of oil and natural gas wells dotting both sides of the highway (I-20) and in California I saw hundreds of windmills in numerous windfarms along the highway. Texas also has potential to establish wind farms but the development has been slow.

Here are some pictures of wind farms I noticed while on road to California.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wild Flowers of Arizona

One of nature's creations and human modifications that have astounded me, captured my imagination and caught my attention always is the Plant Kingdom. My interest in plants took me towards Botany in my teen and college years. Though I didn't make it my profession, the study of plants has continued to interest me. So whenever I travel I try to capture these subtle life forms and their beautiful inflorescences which are often the subject of poetic verses and descriptions of writers. Anyway I would not like to bore you with eloquent prose too much.

These pictures were shot in the Fort Bowie vicinity in Arizona which I visited couple of weeks ago when we drove to Los Angeles from Dallas.

A caterpillar which is the middle phase of the lifecycle of a butterfly

A flower yet to open up and soak in the light from the sun rays

Ready and receiving light from sun and waiting to germinate and give rise to offsprings

A bunch of bright yellow flowers succeeds in cheering you

The bud is slowly but surely blooming

Slowly and steadily, wider and wider the flower blooms

Bright yellow flowers are seen everywhere in the US during summer months

Enroute we stopped by a pista plantation. I had never seen a pista tree or the how the fruit looks like when raw

And here I am photographing the same for others who have not seen a pista tree laden with fruits or should I say 'nuts'

Great Vacations happen at Moreys Piers

During the recent labor day long weekend I vacationed at New Jersey and it was one hell of a holiday. Apart from the usual sight seeing and visiting shopping malls, hanging out at the watering holes, the best thing about this New Jersey Vacation was a visit to the Morey's Piers Amusement Park, the best in NJ. East coast of the US is quite different from the flat Texas I live in and visiting here was more than a welcome change for me.

Personally I like extreme sports and love to live life on the edge. And I found my nirvana at the Morey's Piers, the fast roller coasters, amazing rides, exciting fun games etc were the best of the New Jersey attractions. One of the unique features of the Morey's Piers is that there is something providing fun and excitement for the entire family, especially children!! The number of thrills, rides and attractions encompassed in the three piers and two waterparks is something that is amazing and even unbelievable until you see it for yourself.

And what is more, at Morey's piers everyday of the week has some special offer associated with it. For example I visited on Monday and there was the "Magical Monday" offer going on. And what happens is that every Monday of this year (the 40th in operation); some lucky Guests will be randomly picked and awarded fun prizes - such as wristband upgrades, free food and games and even special amenities and party packages. Other specials at Morey's Piers include Tues"Day" Time Special ($20); Xtreme Ride Wednesdays ($30); Thirty Dollar Thursdays and Fired up Friday deals for just $20. Now that is a bargain.

While at New Jersey I stayed with my family and so I didn't have to search for hotels, motels in the area. But if I had to I would have to just visit the Morey's piers website which has all the requirements to give you a great New Jersey Vacation. The site provides information on local hotels & motels, attractions, restaurants, nightlife etc.

Summing up I would say that Morey's Piers in New Jersey is one of the best places for not only individuals, youth groups and couples but it is a great location for a family beach vacation. And if you are planning to take a vacation before the winter sets in, Morey's piers should be on the top of your list of options.

Don't just wait and wonder book your tickets and head out for a fabulous, fun weekend at Morey's Piers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

General Patton Memorial Museum, California

During our recent road trip to California, I chanced upon this unique Museum on the freeway. Sited in Chiriaco Summit, California this museum has been put in place in association with the bureau of land management. The General Patton Memorial Museum was established in 1988 to honor all Vietnam War veterans. This unique monument serves multiple purposes for the US government. First the monument sited in the middle of nowhere amidst vast waste lands of US serves as a national tourist attraction and attracts people to stop in this small town. Otherwise nobody would have bothered to stop and take a look at the arid countryside here.

The General Patton Museum

Second since the museum celebrated veterans, the monument holds a special place in the hearts of those with families and friends in the forces. And most of all through this token gesture the government has ensured that war heroes are recognised and honored. This instills a sense of national in the people who visit the place. And every year on the Veterans Day the museum has a big celebration. Entry is free for all veterans that day and all outside entertainment is free for everyone.

Another view of the exterior of the museum

The museum contains two vast indoor exhibit rooms with memorabilia. One dedicated to the US Civil War and the other to the Iraqi Freedom (of course I'd call it US Destruction of Iraq). The museum's media room also shows a 26 minute movie which talks about desert training, General Patton’s life and WWII. Then there is the tank yard outdoor exhibit which displays several tanks and heavy artillary equipment. Notable among the exhibits are a Sherman Tank and Stuart Tank from WWII. And of course in line with US' commerce orientation the museum has a gift shop which sells books on Patton, T-shirts, caps, hats, coins, toys, magnets, patches, pins and more... all made in China.

Patton Tanks on display

The Museum is open on all days between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm; entry costs $4 (12-61 yrs) $3.50 (62 yrs and up). Military personnel in uniform are allowed inside free.

Who is General Patton?
Major General George Smith Patton Jr. U.S. Army, found the inhospitable landscape of Mohave desert enchanting and in early March of 1942 he surveyed the area and decided to establish a training center for desert warfare here. The Army’s rationale was that American forces soon would be required to fight the German enemy in North Africa.

So, Patton, enamored with the area’s endless terrain and superb suitability for armored combat training, established the Desert Training Center in late March, 1942, making his headquarters at Camp Young, near Shavers Summit, (now known as Chiriaco Summit), which today is the locale of the Patton Museum.

The Camps trained nearly 1 million American servicemen and women and was the world's largest military installation in both size and population. But two years after commissioning, on April 30, 1944, camps were ordered to be abandoned. But the legacy of General George S. Patton remains, as manifested in the General George S. Patton Memorial Museum.