Thursday, October 19, 2017

Intersections on Highway 41

I took a longer break than expected to return to my pictorial trip on U.S. Highway 41, due to Hurricane Irma.  Luckily, Irma didn't do as much damage as it could have, because it went inland instead of dragging a big storm surge up the coast.  Obviously, it did some damage, but even though it was sporting a bull's-eye, the state managed to avoid the worst outcomes.  And learned a lot in the process about what could happen in those worst case scenarios.

So, now that we have returned to Highway 41, I expect to move faster.  We have a long way to go.  So the next two stops are the intersection with State Route 29, which can be taken to Everglades City, and the intersection with State Route 92, which can be taken to Marco Island.   I will note with these articles that both of them were hit pretty hard by Irma, and the water supply in Everglades City was contaminated for a time.

Photos of Everglades City post-Irma

Photos from Marco Island after Hurricane Irma (only 6, most structures seemed to hold up, and helped a lot that the storm surge was minimal)

So, now that I have not ignored the hurricane, here are the two stops.  There isn't much at the intersection with the road to Everglades City:

There isn't a lot more at the intersection with the road to Marco Island (San Marco Road), but this intersection is inside a state park (Collier-Seminole State Park), so it's a bit greener.

Next stop:  Naples. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quite fetching

Glamour model Ekaterina Zueva (Instagram: zuueva) looks like she's just out of the shower in this picture, about to completely lose her white terrycloth robe, and that appears to be a Very Good Thing.

There are lots and lots, and lots and lots, of nude pictures of Ekaterina on the Internet, and she looks good that way.  But in this case, it's the setting and the suggestion that works together to make a great shot.

Where the mud comes from

In case you haven't heard of Java's mud volcano, let me catch you up.  In May of 2006, hot mud suddenly started bubbling up on the island of Java.  A lot of mud.  You can read about the statistics in the article I'm noting here, but the interesting (and difficult to deal with) aspect of this mud volcano is that the voluminous ejection of mud has continued since then.

So the question facing the scientific community has been -- where is all this mud coming from?  Well, the answer is, the plumbing of some nearby volcanoes.  The heat below the volcanoes, likely combined with hot water, steam, and corrosive gases, keeps making mud, which flows up at the vent (now called Lusi by the locals).  The article describes how they figured it out.

Scientists determine source of world's largest mud eruption
"The researchers discovered that the scorching magma from the Arjuno-Welirang volcano has essentially been “baking” the organic-rich sediments underneath Lusi. This process builds pressure by generating gas that becomes trapped below the surface. In Lusi’s case, the pressure grew until an earthquake triggered it to erupt."
If you want to see where Lusi is, click here.   You can't miss it.

Lighthouse of the Week, October 15-21, 2017: Torre de Hercules, Galicia, Spain

Sometimes you find something completely by accident.  I wasn't even searching for lighthouses in Spain, but a weird combination of search factors led me to this one.  I won't call myself a lighthouse expert in any sense -- I admire the settings that they are found in as much as I do the structure and history of the actual lighthouse -- so I didn't know anything about this one.

I've only slightly edited down the Lighthouse Directory entry, and I will give due credit to that section of this amazing guide:  Lighthouses of Spain, Northern Galicia.  Otherwise, here's the fascinating story of Torre de Hercules, the oldest active lighthouse in the world.

Early 2nd century AD (extensively reconstructed in the late 1700s). Active; focal plane 106 m (348 ft); four white flashes every 20 s. 49 m (161 ft) square cylindrical stone tower, incorporating keeper's quarters, surmounted by an octagonal stone watchroom, lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted dark gray stone; lantern is black. This is the world's oldest active lighthouse, and also one of its most famous and most historic. The original construction date of the lighthouse is not known, but an inscription found near the original foundation mentions an architect known to have been active in Spain during the rule of the Emperor Trajan (98-117 AD). At that time, A Coruña was the Roman city of Brigantium. The lighthouse was abandoned during the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome, but it was put back in service by the 13th century, when A Coruña became an important port. By the 17th century, however, the lighthouse was a quaint ruin, and efforts were made to shore it up. Complete restoration had to wait until 1785, when Carlos III ordered a reconstruction. What was left of the Roman structure was patched up and encased in new granite masonry, and the tower was extended in height with an octagonal second stage and the octagonal watch room. Today the lighthouse is the symbol of A Coruña and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Galicia. It is called the Tower of Hercules because of an old legend that Hercules himself built it. In June 2009, the tower was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the Parque de la Torre at the northern end of the peninsula on whch A Coruña is built, nearly surrounded by water and with a sweeping view of the open Atlantic.
Click on this line to see a map of where it is located.  To describe it in words, it's the part of Spain on the coast that is north of Portugal.  The nearest large towns are Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, and Oviedo.

Here are the pictures, and there are a LOT of pictures of this one.  I've chosen four.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Eruption of Shinmoedake in Japan

The technology we have these days to see things we've never seen before, and that can go places that haven't been gone to before, and which can get much closer to things than we as humans could ever dare to approach -- well, it's pretty incredible.

I found the drone video below of the Shinmoedake cone eruption of Kirishima volcano in Japan in this article (the article has a good discussion of this event):

Kirishima in Japan Erupts for the First Time Since 2011

It's almost like being there -- "there" being a place you really wouldn't want to be.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Washington Post reports on the banana crisis

Since the helium crisis may have been alleviated by the discovery of immense helium reserves in Tanzania (I wrote about the concern in past years), we now return to the banana crisis, which I have mentioned previously.

The Washington Post just had an article about it:

Bananapocalypse: The race to save the world’s most popular fruit

"No other variety of banana combines the sweetness and suitability for packing and export of the Cavendish. If the Humpty Doo experiment [read the article] — or simultaneous efforts with conventional breeding techniques — don’t bring positive results, scientists say we could be looking at a future where bananas all but disappear from store shelves."

That would truly be a different world.

A ring around Haumea

It's amazing what can be learned from a quick occultation.  Using one of these momentary occasions when a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt passes in front of a star, astronomers have determined that this dwarf planet the size of Greenland has a ring of debris around it.

Amazing to me is that the gravity of this little planetoid is strong enough to keep the ring around it, but after all, the stuff in the ring is probably dust and pebbles.  Not much gravity is neeed to keep them in orbit.

Astronomers spot first ring around a distant dwarf planet

The actual article, written by astronomers:

The size, shape, density and ring of the dwarf planet Haumea from a stellar occultation