Sunday, August 2, 2015

Lighthouse of the Week, August 2-8, 2015: Faro di Piave, Italy

On the coast of the Adriatic Sea, near Venice, is the Lido Beach.  North of the famous Lido is the Lido di Jesolo,  There are lighthouses on the Lido di Jesolo.  One of them is the Faro di Piave.

Click on this to see where it is.

It's a black-and-white stripe tower, quite tall, and quite prominent.

UNC says:

"1950 (station established 1853). Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 48 m (157 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 3-story harbor control building. Lighthouse painted with gray and white horizontal bands.

The building at the base of the lighthouse is the harbor master's office for Venice. The original lighthouse was destroyed by German troops during World War II. Located on the west side of the Sile River entrance, about 11 km (7 mi) east of the Porto di Lido."
Here are four good pictures of it:

by Giacomo Lazzarini

Friday, July 31, 2015

England clobbers Australia in third Ashes Test (cricket)

I have been watching the Ashes Test matches, but haven't been reporting on them much.  Well, things just got more interesting.

In the first Test match, England edged the Aussies in a relatively close match.  In the second, the Aussies gave the England team an absolutely massive defeat.

The third featured something you don't see very often in cricket - low scores and lots of wickets taken quickly.  The Aussies only scored 136 in their first innings, which is about 25% of a "normal" innings score.   8 of the 11 batters had 11 or less runs.  That's nuts.   England only scored 281 in their first innings, and they proceeded to give up 265 in the second innings, but they didn't have much trouble scoring what they needed (l21) to win it -- with eight wickets to spare.

If they win the next one, they get the Ashes trophy (a little brown urn) back. One of their key players, Jimmy Anderson, is hurt and won't be in it, though.

Should be fun.

Ian Bell and Joe Root guide England to victory target of 121 as Australia are beaten within three days in thrilling third Ashes Test

New Piton de la Fournaise eruption

The island of La Reunion (here's how to pronounce it) hosts one of the world's most active volcanoes, Piton de la Fournaise.  And to draw more attention to itself, as if it needed more attention after a presumed piece of the missing flight MH370 washed up on its shores, the volcano started erupting today (or yesterday, depending on the position of the terminator).

Lava fountains never get old.  The article below, though in French, has a nice picture and an impressive, though short, video.

Volcan : fontaines et coulées visibles depuis le Pas de Bellecombe

More pictures and another video here:

Volcano erupts on island near Madagascar where possible MH370 debris found  (note, the first picture is not from this new eruption)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Philae's 60 hours of discovery

The Rosetta mission Philae lander -- which landed, bounced, ended up against a wall of comet stuff, went quiet after 60 frantic hours of battery-powered research, and then which came back to life and communicated (though only enough to say it was awake and not do any more science) -- is the source of most of the content of a new issue of Science.

The article below provides a summary:

Surprising comet discoveries by Rosetta's Philae Lander Unveiled

Here's one of them:

"Philae's observations aren't just skin-deep. Using its Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission (CONSERT) instrument, the lander also sounded out the comet's interior. This instrument picks up long-wavelength signals beamed through 67P by the orbiting Rosetta mothership.

CONSERT data suggest that the "head" of the rubber-duck-shaped comet is internally homogeneous on the scale of a few tens of meters, and extremely porous, with open space making up 75 to 85 percent of its volume, researchers said."
Comet from 3 km on Philae approach

New Ultimo, and Petra's in it

Ultimo UK revealed (good word) new lingerie for autumn and winter 2015, and their darlingly gorgeous lead model of the moment, Petra Nemcova, is modeling it.

Let me pause her for just a moment to give thanks for this new opportunity.

Here's the article (in Underlines magazine):

Ultimo Autumn/Winter 2015

Here's the behind-the-scenes video of the shoot, which I think is the best of this genre (behind-the-scenes lingerie modeling videos) that I have ever seen.

And here's an exciting example:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Can Republican travesties be a campaign issue?

What's going on in Congress with regard to the highway funding bill is just a basic example of how these dudes don't know how to make the trains run on time and keep the army fed.  That's basic governing, something they're incapable of.   I made up the link titles to the linked articles:

The new McCarthyism = F*ck the Country
"Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday that the House will not consider the Senate version of a long-term, must-pass highway bill, setting up an apparent impasse as Congress faces a Friday deadline. ...
“We’re not taking up the Senate bill,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters. Pressed on whether he was ruling it out, he said, “Yes.” "

Long-term thinking? Not here

The House has already passed its own four-and-a-half month highway bill. But the Highway Trust Fund — which provides federal funding for transportation projects across the country — will expire on its deadline of midnight July 31 unless the two chambers can agree on a version, or pass a stop-gap measure before then.

McCarthy said the House will leave as scheduled on Thursday for a month-long recess, leaving McConnell to decide whether to forfeit his push for a longer-term bill in order to prevent the trust fund from expiring.


My way or no highway (pat on the back for that one)

“We’re not taking up the Senate bill,” the California Republican told reporters at the Capitol, adding that the Senate should instead take up the bill already passed by the House. “My best advice to the Senate is to get our highway bill moved forward,” he said.

The House bill is a five-month extension of current programs while the Senate’s version authorizes $350 billion in transportation programs for six years, though only three of those are paid for.


So will this be a Presidential campaign issue?  Greg Sargent thinks so, and thinks Hillary Clinton expects and wants it to be.

The GOP Congress is set to run off the rails. That could help Hillary Clinton.

"Hillary Clinton has signaled that she hopes to run for president in part by painting the GOP-controlled Congress — and, by extension, the Republican Party — as a divisive, destructive, hidebound, reactionary force. As the Post recently put it, Clinton has accused Congressional Republicans “of waging a war on women, playing politics with a black nominee, shortchanging students, endangering the economic recovery and trying to yank health-care coverage for 16 million Americans.” "
Well, not funding the highway trust fund would definitely endanger the economic recovery.  So yes, she should make these Republican travesties of governing a campaign issue.

Because this is how they are.  

Natalie hits 60

Natalie Coughlin, USA's current female swimmer mostest-extraordinaire, got her 60th international championship medal at the Pan Ams (in a relay).  That's quite impressive.   While she didn't make the World Championships team this time -- obviously she's been there before -- she's still swimming very fast and probably has a good chance of making the Olympic team for 2016.  We'll wait on that.

According to the article, her leadoff backstroke split was the third-fastest in the world thus far, which is pre-Worlds (the swimming events get started on Saturday August 1).  Not bad at all.

(I'll bet that's the fastest 100 meter backstroke ever swum by a woman who has also posed nude.)

Natalie Coughlin wins unprecedented 60th international medal

(The comments indicate that this might not be unprecedented in terms of numbers, as Jenny Thompson appears to have garnered more, and she would have had more gold if not for Chinese women steroid users.  But there aren't many others who have won nearly this many.)