I'm sure this happens to you...
You're out and about when something captures your eye. Quick! Pull out the phone/camera and grab the image. Later, when you get back home, you can look it up. (Usually.)
Recently I took a couple of photos that I've puzzled over for a while. What's going on in these images? Can you help me figure out what the backstory is for each of these images?
These are fun Challenges that can go in many different directions. Where will your curiosity take you?
1. Here's a pic I took the other day in my back yard. I live not too far from San Francisco International airport, so it's common to see contrails in the sky. But this one seems unusual to me. For lack of a better term, it's unusually poofy with lots of blobs along its length. What's going on with these poofs on the contrail? Does this happen often? Is there a name for this phenomenon?
2. Here's another photo I took while hiking on a trail next to a channel in the greater Los Angeles area. I'll spare you from having to extract the lat/long from the photo (it's 34.1628333,-117.9922528). It's not the most exciting trail in the world--it follows along a fairly barren path next to this concrete channel for quite a ways before getting to Monrovia Canyon Park (which is quite nice).
As you can see, for most of its length, the concrete channel has plain square walls. Here, though, there's a kind of angled buttress on one side of one corner of the place where the ramp enters the channel. Why is it there? Why would someone feel the need to build this special buttress?
As I said, there are all kinds of ways to think about these SRS Challenges. For instance, you could extrapolate the questions: Why aren't all contrails poofy like this? Or, Why does Los Angeles have all of these strange channels that obviously don't have water in them? Assuming that this channel sometimes does carry water, where does that water go? (Ultimately, it will go into the Pacific, but where does it stop on the way?
I'm curious about your curiosity. What motivates YOU to take a note or snap a photo for later looking-up? I do it all the time, but I've been led to understand that not everyone does this! Do you? If so, what motivates your curiosity? And how far will you go to figure something out? Does your mind naturally ask just one more question, the way mine does?
After The Joy of Search came out I ran into a friend at grocery store. She told me that "I've been reading your book and now I know a lot about how your mind works. You know, you're not normal..."
I assume she meant that in a friendly way as a comment on my curiosity. I think of my level of curiosity as normal, but it's not a common topic of conversation.
Is your level of curiosity normal? What do you think? What motivates you to pursue SRS-like investigations in your life?
Please leave your comments in the blog comments area. And, as always, let us know HOW you found the answers to these Challenges.