Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lighthouse of the Week, July 24-30, 2016: Rubjerg Knude, Denmark

Here's what I did this week:  I searched for "Denmark's best lighthouse".  And I found one right away.  The somewhat ironic part of this search-and-find is that the lighthouse isn't a working lighthouse anymore.

And the reason that it isn't working is the same reason it is an extraordinary photographic subject:  sand dunes.

You see, the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse in Denmark is on a sand dune bluff on the North Sea.  And sand moves when the winds blow.  And here, the winds blow pretty hard.

Here's the history of the lighthouse (at the Web site about it).

Construction started on it in 1899, and was completed late in 1900.  It was built a couple hundred meters away from the shore, and at the time, there weren't any sand dunes around it.

That changed, and the mitigation measures taken to protect the lighthouse from the growing sand dunes didn't help (and might have made the dunes grow faster).  Even though they kept trying, the inevitable result was that they had to close the lighthouse because the dunes got so high that it couldn't be seen from the North Sea.  Not very useful.

They tried to make a "Sand Drift" museum in the lighthouse buildings, but that had to be closed because of the still-encroaching sand.

There are lots and lots and lots of pictures of this one.   I've got four below.

You can definitely see the problem -- and the beauty the problem created -- in this picture

Ichiro watch

Numbers with several zeroes are commonly milestones in sports.  400 goals (hockey), 100 goals (soccer), 30,000 points (basketball) -- etc., mark truly outstanding careers in those sports.

So add to that the milestone of 3,000 hits in Major League Baseball.  29 players have accomplished that, and when Ichiro gets his next four hits, he'll be the 30th to 3,000.   (Of course, he hit hundreds more in Japan, which begets a controversy I won't touch.)

So let's stick to 3,000 being a major mark.  And Ichiro will get there by the end of July, I think.

Ichiro Suzuki's two hits give him four from 3,000 for his MLB career

She didn't smile

Princess Charlene of Monaco looked spectacular at the Red Cross gala, but in all the pictures that the Daily Mail had in the article about it, she didn't smile. (Well, in one she sort of had a pleasant look on her face.)

She's a beautiful, elegant woman.  She should smile more.

Princess Charlene steals the limelight in a dreamy lilac and blue gown as she joins Prince Albert at the annual Red Cross gala in Monaco

Still pretty, so let's look happy!

See? She can smile!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

One of Audubon's best

One of my casual interests is great nature photography.  So I took a look at the winners of the 2016 Audubon Photography Awards and was suitably impressed.

My favorite was this Escheresque picture of a flock of eared grebes on Lake Yellowstone.

The rest of the winners are here:

The 2016 Audubon Photography Awards Winners

Miranda Kerr is off the market again

News is out that Miranda Kerr has become engaged to the billionaire founder of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel.    Which means that she's off the market for the rest of us.

Well, it was always a very exclusive market to begin with.

Mr. Spiegel has astutely noted that his chances at a supreme catch like Miranda come around less than big bright comets (lately), so he astutely put a big ring on her finger.

Smart guy -- well, it was clear from inventing Snapchat that he probably was, but this is pretty definite confirmation.

Pretty?  Well, perhaps gorgeous confirmation is closer to the truth.

Miranda Kerr engaged to Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel

There's still time

It's possible that a volcano will erupt soon in the suburbs of Rome.

Soon in geological timescales, that is.

An extinct volcano appears to be waking up in the outskirts of Rome

This volcano, the Colli Albani (Alban Hills) erupts around every 36,000 years or so.  And it's due -- in about 1,000 years.

But it's definitely active. This steam vent began venting in 2013 near the airport.

Here's another video of it.

The biggest sign something is happening is that the ground is rising as magma moves into the magma chamber under the Colli Albani.

So, the people living there don't exactly have to pack their bag tomorrow, but it's good to know about these things in advance, for the purposes of urban planning.

(I sure would like to be alive 1,000 years from now, just to see what Earth and mankind are like.  I'm not very optimistic about our next century.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An excerpt from "GOP, RIP?"

Herewith, a pithy excerpt from a Washington Post op-ed by E.J. Dionne, entitled "GOP, RIP?"

"It is comical but also embarrassing to watch politicians [Sen. Mitch McConnell, notably -- ow] and consultants fall all over themselves to declare that Trump is “maturing” because every once in a while, he reads partisan talking points off a teleprompter. This is seen as a great advance over the normal Trump, whose free-association rants refer to his opponents as “lyin’,” “crooked,” “sad,” “weak,” “low-energy” and — in the very special case of Sen. Elizabeth Warren — “Pocahontas.” "

That's the same Trump that just became the official Republican nominee for President.