Sunday, October 20, 2019

The kind of bad news that's good

Saw this in the Washington Post:

More bad news for the survival of the Republican Party

So, is it possible to summarize the bad news for the GOP in this piece?  I'll try:
"Republicans have created a zero-sum game wherein the increasingly racist and radical appeals to white Christians needed to drive high turnout alienates a substantial segment of the growing nonwhite and/or unaffiliated electorate. They are doubling down on a diminishing pool of voters as they crank up fierce opposition among the fastest-growing segments (millennials, nonwhites) of the electorate."
How about current events?

Watch Senate Republicans. They might reach the point of no return.

"      Meanwhile, vulnerable Democratic incumbents are rising in polls. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) are up 1 points and 3 points, respectively. If these sort of numbers persist, or get even worse for Republicans, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will lose his majority.
      McConnell, infamous for his shameless, ice-water-in-his-veins brand of politics, will do whatever he must to save his members. If that means shoving Trump off-stage, he will gladly do it. (Notice his especially tough condemnation of Trump’s Syria debacle.)"

Let's just hope bad news like this just keeps on coming.

Rifle with a past

In case you're into collectibles, a rifle with considerable provenance if for sale.  It's the rifle that fired the first shot of the Battle of Bunker Hill, a conflict that occurred early in the Revolutionary War.

It's not often that a firearm with such a pedigree is for sale. So if you're interested, act fast.

Musket that fired the first shot of the Battle of Bunker Hill is auctioned by family of Revolutionary War soldier who was court martialed for shooting at Redcoats prematurely and whose grandson Ulysses S. Grant became president

Here it is, with what must be its provenance certificate:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Breakfast in bed with Russian glamour models

Ekaterina Zueva, a Russian model who is now Monaco-based, and Anya Areva, a Russian model who is now California- and Hollywood-based, both provided pictures on Instagram just a couple of days ago showing an outstanding way to have a casual breakfast in bed.

Ekaterina:  (by the way, she's had a child - it's hard to see where it fit)

Anya: (by the way, this is one picture of a set of five)

I must add, from a heterosexual male perspective, this is truly a fantastic way to have breakfast in bed.

Good, long, in-depth article about climate change and wine

The New York Times featured a long and extensive article about how climate change (yes, it's happening) is affecting the wine industry globally.

How Climate Change Impacts Wine

By the way, the author of this piece is Eric Asimov, the NY Times wine critic.  Now, I'm a rare wine drinker, and definitely not a wine connoisseur.  So I haven't made a habit of reading NY Times columns about wine.  So, I'm sure that many of the people who do already knew if Eric Asimov is related to famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov.  I did not know.  So I looked it up, something that's easy to do in these wonderful information-rich days.  And as I suspected, he is related to Isaac, fairly closely -- he's his nephew.  Or was, to be precise, since Isaac sadly left us in 1992, due to complications of AIDS -- which I also just found out.  He got infected by HIV from a blood transfusion during triple bypass surgery.  Isaac also had two kids of his own, who are much lower profile than Eric, as they are noted in the Wikipedia bio, but not linked anywhere to more information.

That was quite a digression.  Sorry about that.  I'm going to extract three sections from the article and make a short comment on each of them.
1. "Producers are now planting vineyards at altitudes once considered inhospitable to growing wine grapes. No hard-and-fast rules limit the altitude at which grapes can be planted. It depends on a region’s climate, the quality of the light, access to water and the nature of the grapes. But clearly, as the earth has warmed, vineyards are moving higher. ... At higher elevations, peak temperatures are not necessarily much cooler, but intense heat lasts for shorter periods, and nighttime temperatures are colder than at lower altitudes. This increased diurnal shift — the temperature swing over the course of a day — helps grapes to ripen at a more even pace, over a longer period of time, than where temperatures remain relatively stable."
Comment:  This isn't exclusive to wine grapes.  Coffee growers are having to do the same thing. And climate change is directly affecting maize and potato cultivation.  Farmers don't really consider the scientific aspects of climate change, particularly whether or not it's happening.  They just do what they have to do in response to conditions that they can clearly tell are changing.

2. "For many producers, particularly small family estates or those in historic appellations, new vineyards in cooler environments are not an option. Instead, they must consider whether to change the essence of what they have been doing, in some cases for centuries. That might mean leaving behind the grapes that have long been associated with their region, and selecting ones more appropriate for the changing climate. It may seem impossible to imagine Bordeaux without cabernet sauvignon and merlot, or Champagne without pinot noir and chardonnay, but the prospect of a much warmer future may require even the most famous wine regions to rethink their methods."
Comment:  People wonder about the economic impact of climate change.  The canard "More CO2 makes plants grow more" doesn't consider all of the other impacts of increasing warmth and changing precipitation patterns.  But as this section shows, it's causing changes in long-established practices, practices which were established when the climate was much more stable and natural climate change rates were much slower.

3. "While weather always surprises, experienced farmers generally knew what to expect. With climate change, that is no longer true. “It hails when it never used to hail, rains in the summer when it used to be dry, is dry in the winter when it used to rain,” Gaia Gaja of the Gaja Winery, which has made wine in Barbaresco and Barolo for generations, told me in April. She said the increased moisture in summer has caused vine pests to reproduce faster, with four cycles a year rather than two. Forest fires, floods, droughts — wine regions will have to learn how to deal regularly with these once-rare devastations."
Comment:  It's related to the second excerpt, but the changing patterns in weather, particularly extreme weather, are changing the economics of agriculture all over the world.  And climate change will not be an economic benefit for farmers that are forced out of farming due to the instability of the weather, causing their marginally profitable operations to become unprofitable.  That will affect all of us, with higher prices and reduced availability. 

So, even if you don't drink wine, the changes and adaptations of the wine industry may be a harbinger of similar things to come for many other consumables.

And I didn't even say anything here about bees.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Annable available

An actress that I am quite fond of, Odette Annable, has apparently decided that she and her husband should no longer be that, i.e., husband and wife.

After a suitable waiting period after hearing this news, probably 24-36 hours should be enough, she can probably be asked out on a date.  But don't rush things.

Supergirl's Odette Annable separates from husband David after nearly a decade of marriage

Here's a fine picture of Odette:

Highway 41 trek heads into northern Tennessee

Now we take Highway 41 north of Nashville a bit on the end-to-end StreetView trek.

Brother Z's Wang Shack - if you didn't get enough chicken at Harold's.

Not sure this is a good idea - Rocketship Elementary School is across the street from Jenna's Adult Toy Box. (Who zoned THAT?)  Pan around to see what I mean.

Crossing I-65

Just in time for Halloween - the Beast House!

Old Stone Bridge over Mansker's Creek near Goodlettsville - it has a historical marker. The historical marker says the bridge was on the stage line between Nashville and Louisville, which operated until 1859 (just a year before the Civil War).

We should get close to the Kentucky border next time.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, October 13-19, 2019: Marshall Point, Port Clyde, Maine, USA

I took another lighthouse off the list of scenic lighthouses from the Daily Mail, in a post that I posted a couple of weeks prior to this.

This one is the Marshall Point lighthouse, in Maine, which I expect is not one of the most-visited lighthouses in Maine.  It doesn't look like it's difficult to get to, but because there are picturesque lighthouses closer to the main road, such as the ones in Rockland and Owl's Head, many tourists probably eschew the longer trip.

But the Marshall Point lighthouse might be worth it, because it's somewhat unique, as you'll see in the pictures.

Here's a short page on it from New England Lighthouses:  Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde, Maine. 

And a page with history from Lighthouse Friends:  Marshall Point Lighthouse

Here's a map with which to locate it.

Active U.S. Coast Guard aid to navigation.

Station established: 1832
Present lighthouse built: 1857
Automated: 1971
Construction material: Granite, brick
Other buildings still standing: 1895 keeper's house, 1905 oil house
Height of tower: 31 feet
Height of focal plane: 30 feet
Earlier optic: Fifth-order Fresnel lens (1857)

What this doesn't mention is that the lighthouse is at the end of a walkway over the rocks, extending from the keeper's house.  Must have been a ton of fun to get out to the light when a nor'easter was howling in January.

Kinda like this:

And by the way, if it looks familiar, it was in a scene in the movie Forrest Gump.

by William Britten

by Rick Berk