What’s inside a high tech ocean buoy?

Perhaps you’ve seen those spherical yellow buoys bobbing on the ocean off San Diego’s coast. Have you ever wondered what’s inside them?

Well, there’s a CDIP (Coastal Data Information Program) buoy on display near the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. And a nearby sign describes the technology that makes a buoy such a valuable resource of information!

Buoys like this one measure wave height, period, direction and sea surface temperature information.

The data is used by coastal engineers, planners, scientists, harbor masters, lifeguards, mariners, boaters, surfers, divers, fishers and beach-goers! That’s a lot of people who benefit from buoys!

Inside a plain-looking buoy there are various high tech instruments, including accelerometers, magnetometers, a thermometer, acoustic pingers, a computer, GPS and antenna to transmit all the collected, archived information!

(Did you know biofoul was a word? I didn’t!)

Next time I see one of these yellow CDIP buoys, I’ll have a much greater appreciation of what they are!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Gray whales breach at Birch Aquarium!

Have you seen those huge gray whales breaching in La Jolla? They emerge from a pool of water near the front entrance of Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography!

The impressive whale sculptures stopped me in my tracks during my visit to the aquarium a couple weekends ago. Together they are titled The Legacy. This awe-inspiring public art was created by artist Randy Puckett.

According to his website: “At the time of its installation in 1996, THE LEGACY was the only life size bronze sculpture in the world of any of the large whales: at 39 feet 10 inches tall, it was the second largest bronze sculpture ever cast in the U.S. This life size work features a breaching Gray Whale and calf, and the diving tail of a third Gray Whale displayed in two fountains….”

Families and kids approaching Birch Aquarium from the nearby parking lot are absolutely wowed by these monumental sculptures. You understand the immense size of a gray whale when you stand right next to them.

I noticed two identical plaques placed at The Legacy…

In Memoriam Edward W. “Ted” Scripps II

“I have long hoped to do something for the institution. I seem to have the same salt in my veins as did my grandfather.”

Scripps Institution of Oceanography


I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Sojourner Truth walks through San Diego.

Every day, every moment, Sojourner Truth walks through San Diego.

Students at UC San Diego’s Marshall College might encounter her as they proceed down the Ridge Walk. And if they pause to use curious eyes, they can see her humanity and read her words.

The statue of Sojourner Truth debuted on the campus in 2015. It was created by UCSD alumna Manuelita Brown.

Sojourner Truth was born into slavery but managed to escape it. She became an abolitionist and women’s rights activist who would not be deterred. Feeling guided by God, she testified to the hope that was within her. Read her history here.

Read an article about the sculpture’s dedication ceremony here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Culture, spirituality at UC San Diego Powwow.

The UC San Diego 2022 Powwow began late this morning with Bird Singers from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

As people slowly arrived at Marshall College Field, the singers sang ancient stories of the world’s creation. Traditional dancers and shaken gourd rattles moved in rhythm with the words.

In the San Diego sunshine, the culture and history of the Kumeyaay was alive, passing from heart to heart, from generation to generation.

One of the bird singers explained how culture and spirituality live together hand in hand. The singing takes much time and sacrifice. It is for the people. It brought him and others happiness, enriching life in many ways.

Bringing this beautiful music to our world helps many to thrive in this day and time.

I listened. Took some photos. I stretched my legs and ate some Kumeyaay fry bread with powdered sugar and drizzled honey. Yum!

Bird Singers were followed by Gourd Dancers.

After a little while, I felt the urge to move forward through this amazing world, and I walked again down my path.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Graffiti Art Park at UC San Diego.

Some might be surprised that at UC San Diego, a premier research university, where faculty and staff have been awarded an astonishing 71 Nobel Prizes, student graffiti is encouraged.

Spray painted creativity and thoughts written by students fill several large boards at UCSD’s colorful Graffiti Art Park. The art park is located among eucalyptus trees south of Mandeville Auditorium, near Art of Espresso’s outdoor patio.

As you can see, some of the artwork is quite striking.

I read the numerous posted rules and then pondered possible contradictions. How free is the speech? And isn’t graffiti about breaking rules?

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fun at the Barrio Logan STEAM Block Party!

Explosive reactions! A gigantic walking virus! Snakes, molecules, robots and rockets!

Oh, wow! Check out the fun that families and kids enjoyed today during the Barrio Logan STEAM Block Party, part of this year’s very cool San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering!

There was much to see, do and learn in the outdoor plaza of Mercado del Barrio!

The event featured immensely entertaining live science demonstrations, creative kids activities, and even a bunch of awesome lowriders on display! I was personally pleased to see the substantial community involvement by UC San Diego.

Look at the great event attendance!
There’s plenty of science and technology to learn from lowriders–especially the hydraulics!
Check out this awesome lowrider!
Everywhere I turned, people were engaged in hands-on learning at this Barrio Logan Science and Art Expo!
Young Women in Bio.

I saw a demo of the above very cool science video game Microscopya, designed by Dr. Beata Mierzwa, an artist and UCSD molecular biologist! Students learn about cells and human biology while having tons of adventurous fun! Check out the web page here!

Friendly folks from the San Diego Public Library!
The ladies of Mad Science make a memorable demonstration using carbon dioxide.
That is planet Earth’s size relative to Jupiter!
Free Trees for your neighborhood!

If you live in San Diego, and want to plant a free street tree where you live, check this out!

EcoVivarium brought snakes, tortoises and other critters for the educational event.
A scientific experiment in progress.
Concentrating on science.
Two very impressive young men give a presentation concerning groundwater.
Look at all the drones!
That’s the biggest virus I’ve ever seen! I didn’t bring enough hand sanitizer.
That’s either goop or slime.
A smile!
The Vulcan-1 rocket, built by students at UC San Diego. It’s the world’s first undergraduate rocket powered by a 3D printed engine!
What’s the space weather today?
The science of tortillas!
Even very young kids were interested and excited!
STEAM related artwork by local students decorates the event stage.
A hand crank powers different light bulbs.
A fun demonstration of various physics principles by folks from General Atomics.
Yes, the boiling point of liquid nitrogen is -196 degrees celsius! Brrr!
What happened?
Hair-raising fun!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of the historic Old Scripps Building.

Enjoy a few photographs of the historic Old Scripps Building, at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

Today the building is referred to as the George H. Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory. Located on the oceanfront campus a short distance south of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, it stands next to a grassy area called Pawka Green.

Built 1909-1910, the Old Scripps Building was the original home of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which back then was called the Marine Biological Laboratory. The rather modest building (in which founder and director William Emerson Ritter and his wife also lived) contained research laboratories, offices, and even a public aquarium.

Today, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has grown into a world-famous campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and is part of the University of California, San Diego.

The two-story Old Scripps Building might appear plain at first glance, but look again. The simple, elegant building was designed by none other than renowned architect Irving Gill. His pioneering Modernist designs often integrated simple lines and pure forms. In Southern California’s brilliant sunshine, his spaces are light-filled and welcoming. He also pioneered the use of reinforced concrete. This building is one such example.

In 1982 the Old Scripps Building, due to its historical importance, was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The adjacent Pawka green is dedicated to Steven Sitter Pawka, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography coastal oceanographer and waterman. His sophisticated observations and numerical models improved prediction of coastal waves throughout the world.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Exhibit of 19th century patent models at UCSD.

Anyone interested in inventions, technology and history would love an exhibit now on display at UC San Diego. The fourth floor of the Design and Innovation Building is where you’ll find Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention.

The exhibit features 19th century patent models from the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of the artifacts might appear primitive and quaint to those who live in the 21st century, but they’re a reminder that unlimited human imagination and generations of visionaries, experimenters and builders have produced the complex technology that we take for granted today.

I walked around the exhibit last Saturday, peering into various glass display cases and reading signs that detail the history and progress of American invention.

I learned that by the late 1860’s, during the golden age of American invention, more than 13,000 patents were issued every year. But as applications continued to increase in number, the resulting deluge of patent models became difficult to cope with. After a change in regulations by the Commissioner of Patents in 1880, models eventually became a rare part of the patent application process.

Inventors highlighted in the exhibit include women, immigrants and people of color, and there are descriptions of struggles through the years for equal recognition and opportunity. Many of the inventors were “everyday” people inspired by a really good idea.

Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention is open through November 6, 2022. Reservations are required. You can reserve a tour by visiting this page.

I took a few photos…

The spirit of ingenuity characterizes America…
Patent Model – Life-preserving state room for navigable vessels. Patent #20,426.
Patent Model – Improvement in electro-magnetic induction-coils. Patent #138,316.
Women invented in industries ranging from agriculture to shipping…
Patent models by 19th century women inventors.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A tour of UCSD’s new Design and Innovation Building.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a tour inside the new Design and Innovation Building at UC San Diego. The special tour, part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event, was one of many opportunities for the public to go “behind the scenes” at fascinating places around the city.

The Design and Innovation Building opened late last year. This great article describes the building as “A place where disruptive ideas come together to spark learning, technology, collaboration and new ventures.”

Inside the building it feels very spacious. Hallways are lined with large inside windows, allowing one to see activity in classrooms and labs and practically everywhere you turn. From the third floor you can look up through part of the ceiling to see the fourth floor. Even during the tour when the building was quiet, I had the feeling that I was moving freely through an incredible, connected, creative space.

The floors, from first to fourth, are called: The Basement, Maker Space, The Design Lab and the Entrepreneurship Center. Our student tour guide described how ideas proceed upward through the building, forming in The Basement, undergoing design and testing in the Maker Space, then rising to the Entrepreneurship Center where products can be brought to market. The Design Lab is where “faculty from the arts, humanities, engineering and the sciences join forces to solve complex issues related to education, health, mobility, communication and urban planning.”

The building will eventually include a good old restaurant on the first floor, but above all it was designed to inspire innovation.

I was excited to discover a museum-like room on the fourth floor of the building, with a gallery full of inventions! The exhibit is titled Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention. It was so cool, I think I’ll post a separate blog concerning it!

Now, to give you a taste of what our tour group saw, on with the photos…

Looking into a classroom on the first floor of the Design and Innovation Building.
Bits of stimulating art on the first floor.
Looking down from the second floor.
A room where there are seminars open to the public. At the conclusion of the building tour, our group heard a talk here about the selection of San Diego-Tijuana as 2024 World Design Capital.
We walk out onto the second floor terrace, with great views across UCSD, including the nearby trolley station.
Walking through the Maker Space on the second floor.
Display includes rapid prototyping.
I took this quick pic as we moved along.
Windows into the future.
A metalworking shop, if I recall correctly.
Tables where people with unique ideas can freely interact.
Gazing up from the third to the fourth floor.
One fascinating room at the Design Lab: Speculative Ecology and Bioarchitecture.
A room on the fourth floor where students can speak to entrepreneurs.
Social Contract on a fourth floor wall. I am joining an inclusive, collaborative community of partners. Together we will extend and expand the innovation economy in San Diego…
Nearby post-it dreams. Seeing beyond the horizon…Curating your knowledge and influence to create or envision something new…Solve problem in a new way…Opportunity and solutions with flare…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Tour of new UC San Diego Park & Market!

A sneak peek was enjoyed yesterday inside the new UC San Diego Park & Market building, in downtown’s East Village neighborhood!

The special public tour was part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s big annual Open House event.

UC San Diego Park & Market is designed to be a collaborative hub where students, researchers, community organizations and business partners will interact in the heart of the city. It will also feature space for private conferences and events, and high quality entertainment venues for the public.

Once completed, the building will be home to a digital movie theater, a top notch black box theater, a small art gallery, a bistro, and a huge two-sided video wall that can be enjoyed inside on the ground floor and from the Market Street sidewalk!

This unique, truly visionary multi-use facility will have its grand opening in a couple months during Cinco de Mayo. It sounds like the celebration will be epic!

During yesterday’s tour led by Mary Walshok, UC San Diego Associate Vice Chancellor, several floors of the innovative building were explored. We learned about its conception and development. One of its most important qualities is its location next to a UC San Diego Blue Line trolley station, connecting this extension of UCSD to the main La Jolla campus, providing students easy accessibility.

As you can see from my upcoming photographs, Park & Market will certainly become a stimulating cultural destination for people living downtown and around San Diego. Numerous future events and festivals are being planned. I can’t wait!

Please read my photo captions to learn a little more about this amazing project!

The next photo shows the public plaza north of the building, adjacent to the new The Merian apartment tower. It’s where our tour group gathered.

Two fantastic murals by regional artists can be found in the inviting space. I posted photos of both murals back in January here.

Standing on the second floor terrace north of the building, with downtown views in several directions. (I didn’t photograph it, but one can see Balboa Park’s California Tower in the distance from here, too!)
About to enter the second floor of the glassy building.
Outside art is by Tammy Matthews, artist from New South Wales, Australia. Taranora, 2020. Original painting adapted to steel screen.
The second floor was busy! A private conference had been booked, even before the building’s official opening! We next headed left to the digital movie theater.
Inside the cozy theater, which will be operated by acclaimed Digital Gym Cinema.
A small gallery on the second floor, near the top of a grand staircase leading to the ground floor. The debut exhibition concerns UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection. (I’ve blogged about many of these outdoor UCSD public artworks in the past.)
Nearby windows look down on downtown San Diego’s busy Market Street.
Mary Walshok addresses the group as we stand near the top of the fantastic staircase.
Looking down!
Now we’re downstairs on the ground floor, after taking the elevators. This big black door is the entrance to the black box theater, where there will be concerts and diverse performances. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside.
Emerging near the bottom of the spiraling staircase!
A bistro will be located here. People can come off the street, dine, sip and hang out. The bistro operator, we were told, has one of the largest vinyl record collections in San Diego!
Making our way across the large space near the Market Street entrance. That big black thing is a two-sided computerized video screen! Events can be streamed live from the UCSD amphitheater and other venues. Proposed users include Comic-Con and the San Diego Symphony! Folks walking down the sidewalk can stop to watch outside, too!
Pretty cool, huh?
Chairs and tables can be set up here. UC San Diego Park & Market will utilize technology to connect people in new and stimulating ways.
Finally, we headed to the fourth floor, the research center, where students engaged in projects, and people from academia, non-profits and private business will rub elbows, interact and collaborate. There are many small offices for faculty and community organizations. We didn’t visit the third floor, where classrooms are located.
A view up Park Boulevard from one extraordinary new building!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!