In plane view

Photo by Joel Achenbach

When I fly I try to get a window seat, usually, both because it’s easier to sleep and because I like to keep an eye on the world below, just to make sure it’s not pulling a fast one. Here’s a view of the Ohio River, which looks like a river of fog. It was a cold morning, the first real rush of Arctic air, and the warm rivers of the East boiled up a lot of fog. Note the steam from the power plant in the lower left corner.

By Joel Achenbach

If I could fiddle with this picture with Photoshop I could make the contours jump out. These are the Rockies of Colorado — I think. Sadly, the government funding problems have prevented states like Colorado and New Mexico from painting the state boundaries clearly enough to be seen from airplanes.

By Joel Achenbach

That’s a canyon. I don’t think it’s the Grand Canyon, though, because I don’t see any tourists or helicopters or rafters. But maybe it is. The scale of things can be hard to figure out from 35,000 feet or so. I need an app on my phone to tell me what I’m looking at.

An ocean of clouds.


Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."
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