Seattle to Heathrow: Time Lapse

On my latest flight from Seattle to Heathrow I took a stab at making a time lapse.

11420946_926047324103466_168484926_n

We were scheduled to leave Seattle at 7:20pm1, so I was hoping capture the aurora borealis during the night portion of the flight since we would be flying at at a pretty high latitude, even dipping into the arctic circle for a bit.

DAL37

Unfortunately I failed to account for the fact that during the summer darkness is at a premium which I should have remembered given my prior travels to high northern latitudes. So, we never reached night and I didn’t capture any auroras.

daylight_hours

It was still a good test and I’ve learned some things to refine for next time2. I’ll be getting a larger SD card for sure and will probably use a slightly different mounting technique so I don’t have to shoot through the Go Pro case. I also want to figure out a window cover I can put over it so A) my reflection doesn’t show up; and B) I’m not blasting the entire cabin with light while everyone tries to sleep (sorry guys!).

Gear list:

  • GoPro HD HERO2 with BacPac
  • Generic suction cup mount w/ tripod mount
  • 8GB SD Card
  • Time Lapse Assembler for OSX

  1. we were delayed a half-hour because of a gauge issue on the potable water tank 

  2. tentatively early September 

(NBA) Kings Won’t Build Their Own Castle

I will admit that, in general, I’m not a huge basketball fan. I know how to play, I know the rules, and I do sometimes enjoy watching it from time to time, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve been to a game and I’ve never been to an NBA game1.

Would I like to have another NBA team in Seattle? Sure…it could be fun; but I don’t need them.

Do I want to provide them a financial incentive to come here, such as building them a new stadium with taxpayer dollars? Absolutely not.

The NBA may be “non-profit”, but the Sacramento Kings Limited Partnership2the basketball team — is most definitely for-profit.

This has been one of the biggest the issue I have with professional sports: NBA, MLB, NFL, etc: why should we, as tax payers, pay for a fully furnished building for a for-profit company?

In my opinion, we should not.

Daniels Real Estate of Seattle and equity partner Stockbridge Capital Partners are building a $400 million, 660-foot skyscraper in downtown Seattle: The Fifth and Columbia Tower. They didn’t need to secure financing or public support — they raised the money themselves.

And that should be the lesson from all of this for basketball in Seattle: If the market is truly profitable, then a company should be able to secure funding privately.

That’s what Chris Hansen, et al, have done. It’s not a perfectly privately financed deal, still financed by the public in part, yet significantly better than previous arrangements sports teams have been making with cities in the recent past.

And this same reason, using private funds to build a new stadium, also appears to be why the NBA Relocation Committee voted unanimously to veto moving the Kings to Seattle:

From www.slate.com:

You see, in addition to offering $365 million for the team [which is $35 million more than the next highest bidder], the Seattle bidders were offering to build a brand new arena for the Kings. By contrast, the Sacramento bidders managed to persuade the city of Sacramento to build a brand new arena for the Kings. The Seattle bid, in other words, would have set a good precedent for the future of American public policy. And the owners didn’t want that. The owners want to be able to make this move over and over again. “Give us a new publicly financed stadium or we’ll move to Seattle” is a threat that works as well in Portland or Milwaukee or Minneapolis or Salt Lake City or Memphis or New Orleans or Phoenix as it does in Sacramento. And the major American sports leagues are organized as a cartel for a reason. An individual owner just wants to sell to the highest bidder. But the league approval process means the owners as a whole can think of the interests of the overall cartel, and those interests very much include a strong interest in maintaining the ability to get cities to pony up subsidies.

At the end of the day, the NBA will do what it pleases; and that’s how things sometimes go when people have free choice. Like I said, it could be fun; but I don’t need an NBA team in Seattle.

But if we capitulate to the NBA on who pays for the arena, that makes us only one thing: suckers.

Title shamelessly ripped from: One Foot Tsunami.


  1. as far as I can recall 

  2. California Business Entity Number: 199206300016 

Vaporizing Lake Washington

Sometimes I wonder about interesting things, such as how much energy would it take to boil all the water of Lake Washington:

  • The volume of Lake Washington is 2.89 km31
  • The average lake temperature is 9.71°C2
  • It takes 4.19 Joules to raise the temperature of 1g of water by 1°C: \frac{4.19 \mathrm{J}}{ 1 \mathrm{g^{\circ}C \: _{H_{2}O}}}3
  • The density of water is \frac{1 \mathrm{g}}{1\mathrm{cm^{3}}}

Putting all that together, we get:

2.89 \mathrm{km^{3}} \times \left ( \frac{1000\mathrm{m}}{1\mathrm{km}} \right )^{3} \times \left( \frac{100\mathrm{cm}}{1\mathrm{m}} \right )^{3} \times \frac{1\mathrm{g_{_{H_{2}0}}}}{1\mathrm{cm^{3}_{H_{2}0}}} \times \frac{4.19 \mathrm{J\:} }{\mathrm{g^{\circ} C _{H_{2}O}}} \times  \left ( 100^{\circ} \mathrm{C} - 9.71^{\circ} \mathrm{C}\right )= 1.093\times10^{18}\mathrm{J}

For comparison, the energy that hits Earth from the Sun in one second: 1.74 \times 10^{17} \mathrm{J}4

Basically, if we could focus all the energy from the sun that hits the earth, it would take…\frac{1.093\times10^{18}\mathrm{J}}{1.74 \times 10^{17} \mathrm{\frac{J}{s}}} = 6.281 \: \mathrm{seconds} …to vaporize Lake Washington5.

This is a vast oversimplification of the forces and energies involved, but I think it’s still a pretty good estimate.

Update: Apparently I missed one critical element, enthalpy/heat of vaporization \Delta{}H_{\mathrm{vap}}6. “This energy breaks down the intermolecular attractive forces, and also must provide the energy necessary to expand the gas (the PΔV work). For an ideal gas , there is no longer any potential energy associated with intermolecular forces. So the internal energy is entirely in the molecular kinetic energy.”7

What we have above is the energy required to bring it up to 100°C, but not to vaporize it. To actually vaporize water that’s already at 100°C, we need to add an additional \Delta{}H_{\mathrm{vap}} = 2260\mathrm{\frac{J}{g}}8

Running this number back through our calculations, we now get:
2.89 \mathrm{km^{3}} \times \left ( \frac{1000\mathrm{m}}{1\mathrm{km}} \right )^{3} \times \left( \frac{100\mathrm{cm}}{1\mathrm{m}} \right )^{3} \times \left (2260\mathrm{\frac{J}{g}} + \frac{1\mathrm{g_{_{H_{2}0}}}}{1\mathrm{cm^{3}_{H_{2}0}}} \times \frac{4.19 \mathrm{J\:} }{\mathrm{g^{\circ} C _{H_{2}O}}} \times \left ( 100^{\circ} \mathrm{C} - 9.71^{\circ} \mathrm{C}\right ) \right ) = 7.625\times10^{18}\mathrm{J}

This is still within one order of magnitude from my original answer and really only takes slightly longer for the sun to actually vaporize Lake Washington \frac{.625\times10^{18}\mathrm{J}}{1.74 \times 10^{17} \mathrm{\frac{J}{s}}} = 43.82 \: \mathrm{seconds} 9.


  1. http://wldb.ilec.or.jp/Lake.asp?LakeID=NAM-09&RoutePrm=0:;14:load;14:load; 

  2. Average of all temperature data for 2011 for the Lake Washington buoy: http://green.kingcounty.gov/lake-buoy/Data.aspx 

  3. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/calorie 

  4. According to Wolfram Alpha 

  5. ROM estimate 

  6. this is why I’m not a chemist 

  7. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/phase2.html#c3 

  8. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/phase.html 

  9. still a ROM estimate 

Mission Trip Haiti: Epilogue, Part 3

I’ve spent a substantial amount of time trying to figure out what to make of everything that happened; or perhaps more precisely, in light of what happened, what am I going to do now? Sure, I returned home to Seattle, went back to work, and have even told my story (hence you reading this). In a bigger sense, I ask myself what am I being called to do. Is it different than what I’m doing now? This, of course, has various theological implications about what a calling is and how one discerns God’s will.

Photo by Brenna Hesch

The problem with mission trips, and really anything else that thrusts a person into atypical situations is that it exposes you to what looks like the greener side of the fence without showing you all the weeds. The typical reaction to this feeling, I think, is to change everything in ones life all at once; there’s a huge push to become a better person, but at what expense? My approach has been one of timid toe-dipping: make small course corrections now, nothing that will list the ship. It doesn’t seem like much now, but in one year (or five, or ten) the trajectory change will be substantially noticeable.

I still have more growing to do.

Photo by Jon Mullins

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how I was going to process everything. I would have just liked to have sit in quiet meditation for a couple of days, but I’ve never been one to sit still for very long and my responsibilities in the real world were calling me.

Photo by Brenna Hesch

I spent several hours (over twelve) editing the photos and probably another five or six hours writing (and linking photos). I really wanted to avoid a telling a serialized string of events, so I stuck to recalling events that stood out in my mind, even if that meant skipping over some things. My goal is that I could use the picture to compliment and supplement what I wrote1, and in that regard, I hope I was successful in telling, more or less, the entire story.

Photo by Jon Mullins

I also wanted to avoid having this be all about the earthquake. This has probably been the most difficult issue to deal with. Initially, I felt like a survivor without a disaster. But as the shock of the entire situation has warn off, I find myself wonder what our status really was. Were we evacuees of a natural disaster? What sort of danger were we really in? I’ve tried to push myself to tell a fair story, but it’s a tricky balance.

Photo by Brock Fehler

If you were to ask me to sum up my experience in one sentence, it would be this: Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city2.


  1. they say a picture is worth a thousand words 

  2. to quote Chris Tomlin 

Picking Up The Camera

I picked up my camera yesterday for about the first time in a month and half. Some friends who are all living together requested a photo shoot, and in exchange for some beer, I was all to happy to oblige. Besides, it gave me a good excuse to pick up the camera again.

We went over the photos last night and I really enjoyed the strobed shots, so much so that I think I’m actually going to start a project. I want to shoot some uniquely Seattle scenes with people in them.

We were at Gasworks park yesterday1; I want to go back there to shoot, but there are some other places that definitely need to be on this list. The sculpture at Kerry Park, the Fremont Troll, the red/orange sculpture at the Seattle Center, The Fin Project at Magnuson Park, just to name a few.

So, if you read this blog and are in the Seattle area, leave a comment below if your interested in being a photo2. It’s really easy work and will take about 30-60 minutes of your time. You can also do it more than once. And you can bring your friends.

Thoughts?


  1. Photos should be up by Thursday 

  2. I may also be getting in touch with people myself 

Dear Friends

Dear Friends (and Family) in Colorado,

I’m leaving Colorado tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Leaving Colorado has been one of the most bitter sweet things I think I’ve ever had to do, even more so than at the end high school when I left Seattle for Colorado. The hardest thing for me has been trying to express how I feel. The deep love I have for all of you. The extreme sadness in the fact that I have to go. The giddy delight that I’m returning to Seattle.

I’m sitting in my grandma’s back yard right now, on one of those rocking benches. It’s pitch black out, save the glow from my screen. The wind rustles though the leaves. The wind chime softly sings. It’s one of those perfect moments of reflection, when everything finally comes into focus.

This past year has been amazing. Being a fifth year senior presented a unique set of challenges, and an equally amazing set of opportunities. Most of my friends graduated a year ago, leaving me and just a handful of others left. At the same time, a spark in my faith set me on a journey. I regularly attended church for the first time since leaving Seattle; not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I found an amazing new set of friends through church (both Merge and The Annex). What’s more, this renewed sense of faith found me challenging my beliefs, which is always a good thing, I think. And when I stumbled, you guys were there.

The biweekly Feed1 was often my cornerstone during the week, grounding me when school, and life, was just to much.

At the beginning of this school year, I very desperately wished for school to just be over. However, I’m glad I wasn’t allowed to sleep through these past nine months, as they have easily been my favorite nine months of the last five years. Part of me wishes I could do the first four years over again.

So thank you. To you. To all of you. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all of you.

With Much Love,

Andrew

P.S. My hope is that this is not the end. Colorado always has been2 and will continue to be a second home for me. I will be back. And of course, you always have a bed (at least for a few nights) at my place in Seattle.


  1. a bunch of us would get together at Lance’s house (usually) for dinner, s’mores, and company 

  2. both my parents are born and raised in Colorado, and all my extended relatives live in Colorado 

Some Things to Get Excited About

My long awaited photo book is coming out on Friday.

Rain :: Volume 2
34.0 mm || 1/160 || f/4.2 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Golden, Colorado, United States

I graduate soon! The “M” which normally lights the mountain is been temporarily converted into the words largest graduation countdown timer. It currently shows “4” and that makes me super excited.

DSC_8324
55.0 mm || 1.6 sec || f/5.0 || ISO640 || NIKON D70
Golden, Colorado, United States

I am going to miss views like this though. However, as a student I never really found the time to stop and smell the roses; so I do look forward to doing that, in whatever capacity that may be.

DSC_8329
18.0 mm || 1.6 sec || f/4.0 || ISO640 || NIKON D70
Golden, Colorado, United States

And coming back to Seattle. I feel it’s been to long. Not since I last visited, but since I last lived there. I’m looking forward to being back and being able to do the things I love.

In Seattle For Two Days Only!

My Farecast.com alert sent me an email last night for a last minute, mid-week special on flights to Seattle. It’s been a rather stressful and exhausting last couple of weeks (and it doesn’t look to let up soon either), so I decided to jump on it. Timing couldn’t be better; all the professors tend to let up a little bit right before EDays, so I’m not missing out on much.

Flying in on Alaska 677 which arrives just after 9am this morning and I’ll be taking off tomorrow afternoon at 12:45pm on Alaska 672…just in time for EDays to start.

Who wants to hit up Thai Tom for lunch?

Track my flight: Alaska 667
Track my flight: Alaska 672

Possible Itinerary

After months of plotting, I think I have a possible itinerary. I’m going to call it Itinerary v0.1. It’s basically a version of The Lonely Planet’s Behind The Old Iron Curtain in reverse.

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Paris, France
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Moscow, Russia
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Tallinn, Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Belarus
  • Ukraine
  • Poland
  • Hungry
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Macedonia
  • Albania
  • Serbia
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Austria
  • Czech Republic
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Seattle, Washington

A quick glance at the math yields 21 countries in 60 days, or about three days per a country. I still think this is a little fast, so I will be whittling this down to hopefully 15 countries or less (4 days per a country is a bit better, I think). The entire Behind The Old Iron Curtain trip is supposed to take 2-3 months, according to The Lonely Planet, with a budget of €30-50 per day. Currently, this would be $38-63 per day. Or up to $3,800 for 60 days. This is definitely within my budget. Although I don’t think that includes transportation. Still, I think things are looking pretty good.

I also checked United and A) I definitely have enough frequent flier miles; and B) it will only cost about $60 to book the US to Europe part of the flight.

Now, at this point you may be wondering why I want to tour former Eastern Bloc countries. Two words: Cold. War.

A little know fact about me, if I had to be a history major, my area of expertise (I’m assuming history majors have these) would be the Cold War. I think the Cold War was amazing for a variety of reasons. Two super powers on the brink of self-annihilation. Covert operations. Incredible leaps in technology that we’re still taking advantage of today. The list goes on.

There’s a still a lot to figure out though, including, but not limited, to: A shorter list of countries I’d like to visit. Medical Insurance. Theft Insurance. Visa for Russia (and possibly other countries). A travel partner (for at least some of the trip).

25 Random Things About Me

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

  1. I’m an introvert.
  2. I want to go into space (and visit the Moon, specifically), but probably won’t get the chance.
  3. I plan on getting my EMT.
  4. I plan on getting my pilots license.
  5. I plan on getting a masters degree (although I don’t know in what).
  6. I plan on getting my professional engineers license.
  7. My blood type is O+
  8. I have a website: https://andrewferguson.net
  9. I’ve been consistently blogging since 2003 (2099 posts and counting).
  10. I listen to NPR podcasts when I go to bed (Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me; This American Life; Radio Lab; Car Talk).
  11. My goal is see every single Star Trek TV show and movie, in order, before I graduate college.
  12. So far, I’ve watched 661 Star Trek episodes and movies, I have 116 left.
  13. I enjoy programming, especially in PHP.
  14. I enjoy taking photographs and I want to expand.
  15. I’m thinking about going on a mission trip this summer.
  16. I’ll be working in Seattle for Boeing after I graduate.
  17. Out of all five of the years I’ve been in college, I serously think this year has been my favorite.
  18. I think it’s been my favorite because of the amazing community I found at MERGE and The Annex.
  19. I’m worried about going back to Seattle.
  20. I used to drink rediculous amounts of Dr Pepper. Now I try to limit myself.
  21. I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety.
  22. I used to have lots of panic attacks in school, all the way into high school. I do pretty well now.
  23. I turn 23 on Saturday.
  24. I share the exact same birthday as my mom…only 30 years later.
  25. I think it’s harder to be a Christian and an American than it is to be a Christian and a scientist. I struggle every day.
  26. I can’t put my contacts in using two hands, I have to do it with one hand. I blame my dad for this.

Note: I’m posting this on my blog, which is then sucked into my Facebook Notes.