The other day I went to bodysurf at Carlsbad beach, and as I was wading into the water happened to notice that I was surrounded by stingrays.

Specifically, baby bat rays, about 1′ across – over the course of an hour I probably saw over a hundred of them. I waded in and out of the water (carefully!); when a wave would come in and the water would clear, I could see several of them feeding on the bottom or “flying” – when I moved or stomped my feet a little they’d skitter away. Amazingly cool to watch.

Here‘s the article I wrote about stingrays for Wikipedia.


There’s a partial eclipse tomorrow afternoon; most prominent at about 5:15. Apparently the Reuben H Fleet museum has glasses you can wear to view it. Otherwise, a neat way to watch it is to make yourself a “box camera” – take a big box; fold down or remove the top flaps; pop a small round hole in a side of it (with a pen, for example), then let the sun shine through the hole to the inside of the box, where you should see the eclipse well-defined. If you want to get sophisticated about it, cut a larger hole in the side, cover the hole with piece of aluminum foil, then make your small hole in the foil (easier to make a nice clean hole in the foil than in the side of the box); tape a white piece of paper to the inside of the box so the “camera” will shine on it – you can then label it and take pictures! A bigger hole makes a bigger, but less-defined image; the hole should be as round as possible. You can also do some stuff using binoculars as a lens (NOT looking through them, of course).


Hello and welcome to Obtainium! I’m justfred, and this is my combination home page/bookmarks/blog/php public beta/whatever!

Some of my entries are links; some are just blog entries; some may even be random gibberish and navel-gazing (like this one!). Can’t promise anything – obtainium is what you make of it.

Someday I may even have places for visitors to enter comments. For now you can email me; justfred and the domain name of this site (please, no unsolicited commercial email; I don’t need a mortgage, investment opportunities from Liberia, Viagra, or email harvesting programs!!!)

Also, eventually the code for this blog will be open source (as soon as I can live with having it seen by the public). The obtainium source runs Microsoft-free on OSX, using php and mysql – but should run fine on other platforms, databases, and browsers.