Saturday, January 12, 2019

Does Trump know what's going on with the shutdown?

The answer to the question posed in the subject line is:  no, of course not.

That is emphasized in the excerpt I've extracted from the following Washington Post article:

‘In the White House waiting’: Inside Trump’s defiance on the longest shutdown ever

"Only after Christmas did administration officials begin realizing the full scale of the logistical problems a prolonged shutdown would cause. Aides said Trump has been largely uninterested in the minutiae of managing government agencies and services."
Not only that, he isn't interested in the minutiae of the millions of people being hurt by his shutdown.  And it is only going to get worse.

Indiana is pretty flat

For some reason, yesterday I was wondering how high the highest point in the state of Indiana would be.  At the time, I speculated that it might be under 1,000 feet, because Indiana is a flat prairie Midwestern state, mostly.

I was wrong.  Indiana's highest point is 1,257 feet (383 meters).  It even has a name -- HOOSIER HILL, of course.  (Click that link to see where it is.) It also happens to be about 2 miles west of the border with Ohio.

If you go down the road (that StreetView skipped) about 500 meters from this location, you'll be there.   Not exactly Denali, but hey, can you say you've visited the highest point in YOUR state of residence?   (I can't, but I've been near it.)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

I believe the smart guy, not the ideologue

An article from the Daily Mail was about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticizing former President Barack Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East with regard to terrorism by radical Islam adherents.

Pardon me, but I believe the serious consideration of Obama's policy effort over the single- and simple-minded viewpoint of Pompeo.

Pompeo slams Obama in Cairo speech for claiming 'radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from ideology' as he takes new aim at Iran and tries to calm fears about Syria troop pullout

"Former Obama administration officials rejected Pompeo's assertions as petty, political and weak. They said the speech pandered to authoritarian leaders and ignored rights violations that Obama had called out.

'That this administration feels the need, nearly a decade later, to take potshots at an effort to identify common ground between the Arab world and the West speaks not only to the Trump administration's pettiness but also to its lack of a strategic vision for America's role in the region and its abdication of America's values,' National Security Action group, a group of former officials, said in a statement."

The perils of a shrinking winter

Winter is becoming warmer and shorter, and boy would I like to discuss sea ice cover on the Great Lakes with a couple of nasty climate change deniers right now.   The shortening of the winter season is distinctly at odds with any claims that temperature records for the past 120 years or so have been faked or manipulated, because nature shows us exactly what is happening, if we pay attention.

Here's another take on this subject, from the Los Angeles Times, with a West Coast perspective:

Winter is shrinking, study finds, posing new fire and water risks

"Climate models have predicted the snowpack would diminish earlier in the season and melt more gradually as the planet warms. [Amato] Evan affirmed those projections through an analysis of data from 1982 through 2017.

“There are theoretical models that say as the planet continues to warm, this is what should happen; snow melts earlier in the year, and doesn’t melt as fast as it does in the springtime,” he said. “We went back to the mathematics, and said, that’s actually exactly what we’re seeing.”
And the problem is, seeing it means that it's happening, and quibbling over temperature data is not going to change the FACT that it is happening.

Here's another sonnet: 'destinations and desires'

I offer another sonnet for thought and consideration.

destinations and desires 

I've been so many places, in my years,
alone, that this seems normal now; though still,
I would have liked to share some joyful tears
of awe, and talk about the stunning thrill
of merely seeing splendor, rather than
replaying it within my single mind --
and so I also wish, that as a man
in such a splendid setting I could find
the joy of sensuality, to be
exhilarated and enthralled, enhanced
by nature's wonders and their certainty
by which we know that we have been romanced
and overwhelmed, astonished by the place
that we inhabit, in ourselves and space.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Funny picture from a terrible war

The Daily Mail just had an article about colorized pictures of scenes from World War II.

There isn't a lot of carnage and gore in the pictures, so they aren't really horrific, but they do show the reality of war.  However, one picture was kind of humorous.  While the Allies were attacking in Italy (which was actually a very rugged and difficult part of WWII), Mount Vesuvius erupted.  While it certainly wasn't the same powerful outburst as the gigantic eruption that buried Pompeii, it was a strong eruption, and it produced a lava flow.

The humorous picture shows Allied Troops attempting to toast their bread using the heat from the lava flow.

A paratrooper ready to drop into Normandy, the hero crew of the Memphis Belle and troops making TOAST: WWII is brought to life in a series of colourised images

Lighthouse of the Week, January 6-12, 2019: Punta Omo Morto, Sicily, Italy

The third lighthouse of the Five Lighthouse Regatta is the other one on the little gem of an island north of Sicily, Ustica.  The lighthouse is Punta Omo Morto, which means "Deadman's Point", and when you see where it is, you'll know why.  I'm sure this is a great sight from the sea to see when sailing in the regatta.

Here's what the Lighthouse Directory has about it, and it's spelled right:

"1884. Active; focal plane 100 m (328 ft); three white flashes every 15 s; also a red light, occulting once every 5 s, is shown over a shoal to the northeast. 10 m (33 ft) tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the seaward end of a 1-story keeper's house. Tower painted white."

And what the Lighthouse Directory doesn't say, but what one picture attests, is that Punta Omo Morto still has a Fresnel lens in the tower, which is always good to see.

Here are the pictures:

Note the Fresnel lens

Deadman's Point - not an easy stroll

And it's a long way down