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Photo of The Day: Bike VS Canoe

Camera: Canon 5D | Lens: EF24-105mm | Setting: f/4, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

My friend K.C. lives in a small Wyoming town and drives a 1980s-era Land Cruiser, tan in color with no extras if you're not counting the beefed up suspension and 33" tires. On his way out to the lake for an afternoon of paddling his canoe, he sent me a text message. Three words and a picture of his simple, classic Cruiser with his forest green canoe strapped to the top captioned, "JUST ADD WATER." Since a picture is worth 1000 words, here's the visual.

He does this. He inspires a very green colored jealousy with his short bursts of stoke via text. And I love him for it.

Gallery: Making a Wish on The Beach in Mexico

Somewhere out there is an ocean. Somewhere.

It's one of the blessings of old friends, writes Ralph Waldo Emerson, that you can afford to be stupid with them. Every couple of months we do a movie night with two other families, where we pile the kids into one room with a truckload of toys and games and turn on a movie for them, and we pater- and materfamilias units hang out in the family room to eat, drink, be merry. So we descend upon Craig and Victoria's house with our kids and blankies and stuffed critters and jugs of pre-mixed margaritas and we don't leave until we're stuffed full of whatever Victoria cooked, baked, mixed, and prepared. One night at this little gathering someone suggested we head down Mexico way for a weekend, and oh yeah, Mark, don't you know of some good beaches without the crowds down there? You should take us. 

So the pressure was on, and I had a go at it.

Photo of The Day: Mickey on Mercury

The planet Mercury completes a rotation once every 59 Earth days, and orbits the sun every 87.969 Earth days. It's the closest planet to the sun and because Mercury has no atmosphere the rock has a heck of a time keeping a mild temperature. Despite her proximity to the sun, Mercury's surface temps range from -170°C to a steamy 430°C. Keep that cottage in Chamonix. While Mercury has no satellites, if a 180-lbs man were to visit the place he'd only weigh 68 lbs.

The Nasa spacecraft MESSENGER launched on August 3, 2004, and made its first gravity-assisted flyby of the planet in January 2008. Then in March 2011 MESSENGER successfully entered orbit around Mercury. It's been snapping pictures of the surface ever since, making 988 orbits around the planet so far. Last month, MESSENGER delivered the 100,000th monochrome photograph of the Mercury, which is a pretty big deal. MDIS Instrument Engineer Ed Hawkins of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md. says, "[A] sunshade protects the spacecraft from direct solar illumination, but we knew it would constrain a camera's range of pointing," Hawkins says. "So, we had to come up with a system that would be able to capture the required observations of the planet, maintain the thermal safety requirements and not jeopardize the safety of the spacecraft.

"We finally came up with the idea for a pivoting mechanism that gave the instrument an extra degree of freedom, allowing it to obtain extra observations even when the spacecraft — and the rest of the instruments — were facing away from the planet."

They've captured some wild pictures. The surface of Mercury has been pounded by asteroids and comets, and as you can see here the place is pummeled. And here we see the undeniable likeness of Earth's most beloved mouse, Mickey, carved in the craters.

That's right. I lured you in with the promise of seeing Mickey Mouse in order to shove some science facts at your face today. Not to be mean, but to be kind.

Thanks for the photo, NASA.

Photo of The Day: Great Biking in Colorado's San Juan Mountains

Not everyone enjoys the charm of a gas station country store, and that's okay. Under most circumstances, I wouldn't either. This time, though, our 11-month-old girl conked out for the afternoon to the gentle whir-n-whiz of the wheels on the road. A sleeping child always sets the stage for relaxation, doesn't it? For more reasons than we can count . . .

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