Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ecuador's tallest waterfall goes missing

I hate it when we lose a perfectly good waterfall.

The Disappearance of Ecuador's tallest waterfall

Geology happens, I guess.

But this was definitely a loss of one of the world's scenic wonders, even though it may have been less well-known than some of the others.

Here's a "before" picture.  The "after" picture is kind of sad, so you can seek it yourself.

Passing of Tom Coburn

Former senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma passed away a couple of days ago.  Coburn was an idiosyncratic individual.  I believe he served his country well, as he saw fit, even though there was not much on which we would politically agree.   And he had a habit of screwing up the basic works of government at times.

He was an MD who continued to practice medicine while in the House and Senate, and he tried in his own ways to control government excess and overspending, even though I think he made poor choices at times in his quest to do that.  The goal was good, and he made efforts to get there, but his opposition to basic scientific research that sounded "meaningless" or "wasteful" was, at times, misguided.

So, Tom, here's to you.  I think you were a patriot.  And you can't spell "patriot" without PITA.

Political maverick Oklahoma US Senator Tom Coburn, who railed against government subsidies for the rich, dies at the age of 72

Foreseeing the future

Back in earlier February, I mused on what had happened to Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss star Michael Biehn, in a post unapologetically entitled "Whatever Happened to Michael Biehn?"

Well, that appeared to be a prescient question to ask, as just a few days ago, something happened to Michael Biehn.

'The Mandalorian' Casts 'Terminator' Star Michael Biehn

Despite all the publicity about Baby Yoda, I haven't watched The Mandalorian.  I may have to change that.

Proceeding on Highway 41 in Indiana

As promised, I'm going to make several Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek posts in rapid succession.   Here's the first.

Crossing Maria Creek, which is near Maria Pond, which appears to be an oxbow lake formed by the Wabash River. This is about the closest Highway 41 gets to the Indiana/Illinois border for awhile.  Click "View on Google Maps" to see where this is.

Near Oaktown - actually looking right at it (west). I told you Highway 41 was quite rural in Indiana, right?

Very slightly off the highway - cute and petite Carlisle, Indiana.

More views coming up real soon.

Typical Trump

This is how Trump works.

1.  Make a statement that falls just short of an accusation, i.e., allude, don't accuse.
2.  Follow up by saying "he doesn't know if it's true or not" or words to that effect.
3.  Let the right-wing media echo and amplify the accusation as if it is true.

And that's just what he does in this disgusting miscomprehension of the dramatically increased use of face masks for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

Donald Trump Just Suggested Healthcare Workers Are Stealing And Selling Face Masks

First statement:
" “For years [suppliers] have been delivering ten to twenty thousand masks. OK, it’s a New York hospital and it’s packed all the time but how do you go from ten to twenty thousand to 300,000?”

“Something’s going on and you ought to look into it as reporters.

“Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? And we have that in a lot of different places so somebody should probably look into that because I just don’t see from a practical standpoint how that’s possible.”

Then he says:
Asked by a reporter to explain his comments more fully, Trump said: “I don’t think it’s hoarding, I think it’s worse than hoarding.”

He added: “I don’t know, I don’t know, I think that’s for other people to check out.”

So now, you see, anyone or any organization reporting on demand for protective equipment, or shortages thereof, will be called into question as to whether they have investigated if these items are "going out the back door" (wink wink).

Did you know that many doctors, particularly in New York, are Jewish, and those who practice the Judaism faith have been caricatured, particularly by the farther reaches of the right-wing, as nefariously always trying to make money, rightly or wrongly, off of other people, particularly those of the white Caucasian Christian type?

We'll see how this gets reported on Fox.

This is how:
"How do you go from 10 to 20 to 30,000, to 300,000 [masks] -- even though this is different," Trump asked. "Something is going on, and you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000? And, we have that in a lot of different places. So, somebody should probably look into that. I just don’t see from a practical standpoint how that's possible to go from that to that, and we have that happening in numerous places."

Pressed on the matter later at the briefing, Trump called on New Yorkers to "check" Gov. Andrew Cuomo and de Blasio, both Democrats, about the changing mask numbers. "People should check them, because there's something going on." He asserted that it could be "something worse than hoarding."

Cuomo said earlier this month that some people were stealing medical supplies. "Not just people taking a couple or three, I mean just actual thefts of those products," Cuomo said. "I've asked the state police to do an investigation, look at places that are selling masks, medical equipment, protective wear, feeding the anxiety." Nevertheless, a CNN "fact-check" reporter, among others, accused Trump of making his claim without "evidence."

See what's missing?  The "out the back door" part of the quote.  THAT's the implication of a nefarious black market.  Fox News can only go so far as to say he asserted  it was "something worse than hoarding".  But that doesn't show that he implied part of the medical establishment might be trying to profiteer.

Furthermore, there's a difference between people stealing medical supplies, which other articles say has been more like petty theft driven by anxiety about not having such products available, and an actual black market that would be causing much more demand than the medical community needs.

So Trump makes it look like the demand might not be mainly because of the rapidly increasing number of cases and corresponding medical treatment, casting doubt on the severity of the problem, and also makes it look like the urban medical establishment (in the big cities)* is trying to make a buck on this.

*I.e. rich Jewish Democrat doctors.

It's his typical game, and the people who he wants to get the message are getting the message from where he wants them to hear it from.

The con continues.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, March 22-28, 2020: St. Joseph Pier, Michigan

Having just featured four Fresnel lenses, I promised to feature the lighthouses that either house them or housed them at one time.   Since I missed a week, this post is a two-for-one;  the St. Joseph Pier Inner and Outer Lighthouses.

First, a link with a cool 360-degree video.  The title is about the outer lighthouse, but both of them are shown in both the still picture and the video.

St. Joseph North Pier Outer Lighthouse

Now, it's not unlikely that you've seen pictures of these, coated in ice (and I've got one picture like that included below).  That's because these lighthouses are frequently coated in ice created by the cold waves and freezing spray of Lake Michigan, as they are located on the coast of Lake Michigan in the state of Michigan and all.

For a general location without looking at the map, they are on the Michigan southeastern coast of Lake Michigan,  just about the same latitude as Evanston north of Chicago.

So, now, let's learn about them.

I'm going to be brief;  there's a lot of information here.  They are the first two lighthouses on the page.

The Outer:
"1906. Active; focal plane 31 ft (9.5 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off. 30 ft (9 m) round cast iron tower built at the end of the pier. The original 5th order Fresnel lens is on display at the St. Joseph Heritage Museum in St. Joseph. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black."
So now you know where the picture of the Fresnel lens came from.

The Inner:
"1907. Active; focal plane 53 ft (16 m); continuous white light. 53 ft (16 m) octagonal steel tower mounted on square 1-story cast iron fog signal building, built midway in the pier; 4th order Fresnel lens. Lighthouse painted white, lantern and gallery black; fog signal building roof is red."
Both of the lighthouses were restored in a project starting in 2013 and finishing in 2016.

So now, the pictures.  I'm sure there are videos too, but this time finding them is left to the reader.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, March 15-21, 2020: Four Fresnel lenses

Because I missed last week's Lighthouse of the Week, for this "late" catch-up edition, I'm going to feature one of the beautiful and fascinating aspects of lighthouse history, the Fresnel lens.  While many lighthouses still have them, many more have been retired or put in museums and replaced in the lighthouse by electric lights.  Fresnel lens are marvels of both optics and glass manufacturing, and now they seem like industrial artwork.

First, a link:

Million dollar lens:  the science and history behind the Fresnel lighthouse lens

And an image of the various orders:

Here are the four Fresnel lenses I've found and chosen.  And guess what?  These will be the next four Lighthouses of the Week!   I may have featured these before;  if so, I'll try to find new pictures that aren't in my previous post.

St. Joseph Pier North

Pointe Aux Barques

Pigeon Point

Cape Blanco