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Zero-G Baskeball Cafe | Main | Daily Tech News 15 April 2023
April 14, 2023

Overnight Open Thread – Friday 04/14/2023 [Roger Ball]

”Like Sands Through The Hourglass”

Roger Sands NM.JPG

Howdy, horde! I’m guessing this ONT title will bring back memories for some.

Days of Our Lives, one of the cheesy “afternoon soaps”, ran for a pretty amazing 21 years from 1972 to 1993. I admit that I did not watch one hour of any soap opera, ever, because I was more interested in…umm…other activities. But I know there were some of my generation who were loyal fans. If you remember, the opening goes like:

”Like sands through the hourglass... so are the Days of Our Lives.” - Dr. Thomas "Tom" Horton Sr.

Oh, okay, for the fans, here’s the full effect:

Uh huh. Sorry I missed it [not]. On with the show then…


I gotta work on my intros, yay? I may have degraded the atmosphere somewhat with that cheesy intro because the main subject is just sand. And we know sand and cheese definitely don’t go together. I’m talking lots of gorgeous sand, not running through the hourglass, no cheese, but piled high in spectacular dunes as God intended. And how would I embark on an investigation of the subject, you might ask? Purely random, I assure you. No hidden agenda, unlike some other famous/elite/experts that we know these days. No, this is just exploration for the fun of it. I came across a picture of the Tattori sand dunes on the coast of the Tattori Prefecture, Honshu, Japan. It looks like a beautiful, manicured park complete with walking trails, gardens and even a chair lift. And it’s free! And dogs are allowed! Sign me up! (Although I’m not sure about how camels fit in, but that’s a different question.)

Roger - Tattori - 1.JPG

I would have lost money on a bet that Japan even had sand dunes. I thought it was mostly sushi places, bullet trains, banzai gardens, and tsunamis. (Kidding, of course.) The aerial photo does not do justice to the scale of the park. You can get a better idea of the place by going to any number of travel guide websites like this one Even better, plan a tortuous 14 hour flight in a coach seat…no, wait, don’t think of it that way. You know what I mean. Maybe you can figure out the camel angle too.

Flying back and forth over our United States for many years, I always looked with fascination at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. Nestled against the west face of the Sangre de Cristo Range, one wonders how sand dunes came to settle at 8000 feet above sea level. The Park website provides a simple answer:

The dunes were formed by the right combinations of wind, water, and sediment. Creeks and streams brought in large amounts of sediment and sand into the valley. Wind then blew the sand toward the bend in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where opposing storm winds helped squeeze the sand into the tall dunes you see today.

You will need to go to the Geology page for the rest of the story. But what a cool place! You get to enjoy sand, snow, and hypoxia all at the same time!

Roger - Colorado Dunes.JPG

Now that’s just two of many sand dune parks on opposite sides of the globe. I did not purposefully leave out the many sand dune areas in the southern hemisphere, so don’t read anything into tonight’s selections. There are many more dune parks and preserves to explore. You know how to do it: just type
“famous sand dunes” and enter!

Happy exploring!


Let’s jump back to Tattori for just a moment. Imagine sipping sake and munching wasabi Nori chippusu (seaweed chips) at the Takahama Café while gazing at the vast Tattori sand dunes. Simply magnificent. どうもありがとうございます ! (Dōmo arigatōgozaimasu!/Thank you very much!)

Roger - Takahama.JPG

Once fortified with beverage and food, you might decide to head up the hill to the Dune Observatory and visitor center.

Roger - Tattori - 2.JPG

Since you are up there anyway, you really should ride the chair lift that will take you to the dunes and back. Perusing the handy photos available in the google map view, there are a couple of pictures taken on the chair lift. Looks like it would be a relaxing scenic ride to those wonderous dunes.

Roger - Tattori - Chair.JPG

Being a western, U.S. kind a guy, I noticed that the chairs load on the left side of the lift. Then I remembered that Japan drives on the left. I didn’t remember Japan being a British colony, so I had to look that up. Why Does Japan Drive On the Left?

The sheath of a samurai’s sword was on their left, and they would draw them with their right hand. This meant that when walking past someone, namely another samurai, they would feel more prepared having their right hand on the side closest to the other person.

Mystery solved! I am led to believe that is why the British drive on the left too. I guess the Continent didn’t get the word. Or, more likely, if it was something the British did, they all would do something else out of spite.

BOILING!!!! (No wait, boiling? Really?)

Yikes! Japan will be wishing for the good old days of just tsunamis. Quick, somebody really needs to check Al’s meds.

The former Democratic presidential candidate said in an impassioned jeremiad at the conference that carbon emissions are raising the temperature of the troposphere, the part of the atmosphere that contains oxygen, to an unsustainable degree. He claimed that increased emissions are linked to extreme weather events and the apparent boiling of the oceans… “We’re [who’s “we”, Kemo Sabe?] still putting 162 million tons into it every single day,…”

162 million tons sounds like a lot. If you will just send him all your money in trade for carbon credits, “we” will all be ok. Well, at least he’ll be okay. Yay?


A logical progression from “sand” to “boiling” might result in “sand boil”. Ok, I’ll bite. What is a “sand boil”? I didn’t even know there was such a thing but apparently:

A sand boil occurs when the weight from the high river water pushes down (pressure) on the soil layers under the levee. If the water can find a weak spot in the soil, it will seep up to the surface on the land side of the levee. Sometimes it can look like it is bubbling or "boiling" and that is where it gets its name.

Using some of the taxpayer dollars I’ve “invested” in my government, I found a US Army Corps of Engineers website to find a little more about sand boils. Especially based on the recent experience in the 9th Ward, they know a thing or two about levees, flooding, and mud…err…sand.

Roger - Sand Boils.JPG


I ask you, horde, does boiling sand not logically lead to melting sand? {Don’t feel you have to answer that.] And melting sand makes glass, no? We’ve always learned about the Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Bronze Age. But what about the Glass Age, eh? Obviously, glass has been around for centuries but, according to various sources, we are just now really in the GLASS AGE.

Even Myth Busters got into the act. (Video at the link.)

Watch the Mythbusters discuss the glass age, how different types of glass are produced and some of the super-cool new variants Corning is producing to meet some very specialized applications.

Oh, super cool! That’s much better than simple cool, I’m sure. Hollywood meets science or something.

Glass has been used for millennia for all manner of things but probably the greatest, most visible use was in huge, intricate stained-glass windows of the European Gothic Age cathedrals. (I’m guessing because the church had most of the money). But those windows were just evolutionary developments.

Glass had been around for millennia.

It is more likely that Egyptian or Mesopotamian potters accidentally discovered glass when firing their vessels. The earliest known manmade glass is in the form of Egyptian beads from between 2750 and 2625 BC. Artisans made these beads by winding a thin string of molten glass around a removable clay core. This glass is opaque and very precious.

Roger - North Rose Window.JPG

Stained glass exploded in popularity during the middle ages, and by the 12th century, the practice had become much more sophisticated. Chartres in France became the leading stained glass manufacturer, and the materials they produced were of extremely high quality. Chartres Cathedral contains one of the oldest examples of a rose stained glass window; a circular type of window featuring intricate coloured glass designs. - Grassmoor Glass, Ltd, UK

In my view, modern glass art doesn’t seem to soar to the heights of the cathedrals. But it’s still an intriguing medium, mainly because it involves fire!

Roger - Fiori.JPG

If you think you’d like to try it yourself, there’s plenty of instruction readily available.

Stained glass is easier than it seems. Although it does require a special set of tools and equipment, once you have access to these, you'll find that the process of turning your designs into gorgeous stained glass pieces is really quite simple!

Yeah…I’ll take her word for it. I’m whipped with all this exploring. If you’re still here, pat yourself on the back for perseverance! But get some rest! (Oyasumi, good night)

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posted by Open Blogger at 10:00 PM

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