Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, March 18-24, 2018: Ailsa Craig, Scotland

This week the Lighthouse of the Week was inspired by an Image of the Day from the NASA Earth Observatory.  I like taking a look at that site frequently, because it has a lot of different images, a new one each day (as you might be able to guess).

So, this one showed a small island off the coast of Scotland, named Ailsa Craig.  I fully admit I had never heard of this place before.  It appears that every four years, it briefly becomes noted, because the granite from this island is the stone from which curling stones are made, and every four years the world pays attention to curling in the Winter Olympics.  (By the way, that's not fair to curling, which is a fascinating sport.  But hey, hardly anyone plays it.)

Curling stone

From Scottish magma to Sochi ice: the geologic history of curling stones

So, here's an article about Ailsa Craig and the curling stones.  Sochi 2014:  the island providing Olympic stones of destiny

Here's a picture of the barge being loaded with the granite used for the curling stones.  They do this about every ten years or so, getting 2,000 tons at a time.

Now, it is not the reason Ailsa Craig is famous (obviously), but the island also has a lighthouse, and the lighthouse still has a Fresnel lens.

So, here are pictures of the lighthouse on Ailsa Craig, island of curling stones.

A sonnet tribute to the fallen on World Poetry Day

Although I specialize in erotic sonnets, they are not my sole theme.  A few days ago I was thinking about the many soldiers that have fallen in battles or in wars (because many deaths in wars are not from fighting) -- from Ch├ólons to Cowpens to Chickamauga to Chosin Reservoir -- whose names have been lost to history, or those who were barely ever known.  That thought inspired this sonnet, which I offer on World Poetry Day.

those who fought and fell

They are the nameless dead who had a name,
perhaps not known to many, but indeed
a person with a life, though lacking fame
and living thus uncounted. So when greed
or lusts for power gathered them and made
their individualities into
a military force, when on parade
their army had historic lines, and through
it they were given names by soldiering;
but if they died, heroically or not,
by battle or bacterium, we sing
soft eulogies to those unknown, forgott-
en one by one yet still remembered for
what they did lose or gain in fearsome war.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Short notes about the NCAA Division I women's swimming championships

While a great majority of sports watchers are watching the first round of the NCAA basketball championships (men and women, hopefully), a few of us watched -- or will watch -- the NCAA D1 women's swimming championships.

Reviewing the results, the swimmer of the meet was either Ella Eastin of Stanford or Lilly King of Indiana.  Both of them set national records (as well as meet, pool, U.S. Open, and NCAA) in their two individual events.  Eastin did it in the 200 and 400 IM (where second place was Katie Ledecky), while King did it in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.  All of these are short-course yards records.

Ledecky won the 500 and 1650, and was also on the winning 800 freestyle relay, but no records. Considering the level at which she set the records, that's understandable.

Stanford nearly doubled the point total of the second-place team, so no drama there.

Simone Manuel of Stanford won the 50 and 100 freestyle in pool records.  Her 50 freestyle was 0.01 second off her national record, so still pretty good.

I'll see if I can find a couple of videos of the national record swims.

Eastin in action below.

So do we - if she's wearing them

Sports Illustrated states the rather obvious, with lots of pertinent illustrations (of course):

Alexis Ren loves tiny bikinis

Another op-ed about Trump lying

I'm sensing a trend here.  More and more articles about how much, and how big, our own (cough) President Trump lies.  Remember back not long ago when the media shied away from saying that any politician, let alone the Chief Executive of the USA, told lies.

Not anymore.

Trump is perfecting the art of the big lie

Two short quotes from this:

"Trump is signaling that he doesn’t care what the truth is. From now on the truth will be whatever he says, and he expects every loyal follower to faithfully parrot the official party line. Or else." 
"Trump is sending a signal that not only does he insist on his right to lie but that he regards telling the truth as a firing offense. Government officials, take note."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

We know Trump lies, and he even admitted it

There isn't much more I can say about this article, and Trump's admission that he ignorantly ad-libbed to Justin Trudeau about the trade surplus with Canada. He made it up on the spot and said it as if he believed it, so if the writers and pundits want to call it a lie, I will too.

As he prepares to face Mueller, Trump boasts of his ability to lie

The problem is, as the paragraph excerpted below notes, from a position of power a person can lie, and assert that their lie is the truth, which is an assertion of their power. And because of that power, people who recognize the position of power -- who respect it, even if the person in that position doesn't -- believe what that person says, and also defend it as it is incorporated into their own belief system. And though the trade surplus is not a major issue, Trump is doing this all the time with issues of considerably greater importance. That, to put it mildly, is not good. Not good at all.

"As Jacob Levy has written, these “demonstrations of power undermine the existence of shared belief in truth and facts.” The whole point of them is to assert the power to say what the truth is, or what the truth should be, even when — or especially when — easily verifiable facts dictate the contrary. The brazenness and shamelessness of Trump’s lying is not a mere by-product of Trump’s desire to mislead. It is absolutely central to the whole project of declaring the power to say what reality is."

An article about Amy Jackson, and a picture

I never heard of Amy Jackson before she showed up on Supergirl, but she immediately caught my attention. She's a looker, a Miss Teen World, a runner-up to Miss England, listed in FHM's World's Sexiest Women for 2013, and has been acting in films from India, as she has Indian parentage from British citizens. I have a strong feeling we're going to see more of her. And I personally would like to see MORE of her, but that's just me. (And maybe several thousand other guys.)

Bollywood star Amy Jackson flaunts her ample cleavage in a sultry black thigh-split gown at the Asian Awards in London

Glamorous black-and-white shot below.  Yes, she does have ample cleavage.