Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ever hear of the Carcross Desert? Neither had I

Until I followed a tweet to the Weather Channel, I had never heard of the Carcross Desert, which was called in the article both Canada's desert and the world's smallest desert.

Carcross Desert:  Yes, Canada has a Desert - Sort Of  (22 pictures)

If you search for Carcross in Canada in the satellite images of a mapping site, like Google Maps or Bing Maps, the little desert shows up readily.

It's a unique and pretty place.  I think it rather unlikely I will ever visit it in person, so via the wonders of the Internet, now I know about it and also know what it looks like.

Speaking of calendars, I'll take this

I previously noted that Kelly Brook's 2015 calendar is quite appealing, but there is another girl I'd like to get my hands on -- I mean, another girl's calendar I'd like to get my hands on.

That stupendous girl is the outrageously charmingly sexually gorgeous British actress Michelle Keegan, who I still have tabbed for eventual world domination in the glamor girl category.  I'm not sure where and when the breakthrough to international acclaim will take place, but I'm still pretty confident it will.  We'll see.  Meanwhile, here's Michelle's 2015 calendar.  I couldn't find a site with all the pictures large-size, but on this site you can zoom in and see each month's picture medium-size.

Michelle Keegan Official A3 Calendar 2015

I like May (below) and June in particular.  

Finally, a good idea on road funding

With many cars and trucks getting a lot higher gas mileage than before, and a small but growing number of vehicles not using gas at all, the traditional way of funding roads with a gas tax is gradually becoming obsolete.  Furthermore, many big new road projects are being built as toll roads, some without the traditional coin-tossing toll collection booths and machines. 

So it makes sense to come up with a way to fund roads based on who drives on them, and how much they drive on them.  There is a supposed privacy problem, because you have to use GPS to only record the mileage on your own state's roads.  However, I have a feeling that as this becomes the norm, it will become inter-state and every state will charge drivers for the mileage driven on their roads.

That's a way off, but I can see a day when it's the accepted way of doing things.   The first step in getting to that place is a trial -- and that's what this article is about, a trial of VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled).  Because of the changes in the way roads are used as I described above, I think that eventually this will be implemented nationwide.  That or revenue-collecting interstate highway speed cameras, something I advocated a couple of years ago on this blog.  But since that involves collection of fines based on our right to break the law, maybe this VMT idea is better.

Oregon to test mileage-based gas tax

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another op-ed thinking GOP control of the Senate will be bad -- for the GOP

Here's another opinion (I posted this one a couple of days ago) that expresses the idea that the Republicans winning the Senate won't be good for them -- in this case, the writer thinks it will be a nightmare for them.

Republicans will probably take the Senate. Here’s why it will be a nightmare for them.

Three intriguing excerpts:

1. "There will be tremendous built-up pressure from conservatives that Sen. Mitch McConnell (assuming he wins his own race and becomes majority leader) will have to satisfy. That means votes on things such as repealing the Affordable Care Act, building border fences, slashing environmental regulations and cutting corporate taxes, most or all of which will be unpopular and inevitably filibustered by Senate Democrats."

2. "Though it was called “the nuclear option,” the true nuclear option would apply to legislation, which under current rules the minority is still free to filibuster (as the Republicans do). Would McConnell go fully nuclear and get rid of that, too, so the GOP Congress could send bills to the president’s desk? ... There wouldn’t be much point, since Obama would just veto the bills. And McConnell surely knows that his time as majority leader would come with a two-year expiration date, since in 2016 there will be only 10 Democrat-held seats up for election, while Republicans will be defending 24 seats, many in Democratic states, and they will be doing it in a presidential election year, when the electorate that comes to the polls is far more friendly to Democrats." *

3. " Not only that, at various times they will have no choice but to make deals with Obama. McConnell, John Boehner and the more sober Republicans know that there’s nothing worse for them politically than forcing government shutdowns and debt defaults. That means they will have to agree to continuing resolutions keeping the government open and making increases in the debt ceiling in order to avoid national and political disaster. And when they do, the tea party base of the GOP will be enraged. “What did we elect a Republican Congress for?” it will shout."

* My thought:  if they end up doing very little, which is very likely;  or looking really obstinate and mean-spirited while opposing President Obama; then there will be even MORE incentive to vote the GOP bums out. So while I don't relish two years of Republican congressional rule (looking on the bright side, Eric Cantor is GONE), the prospect of a heavy overturn two years later is slightly heartening. 

Lighthouse of the Week, October 26 - November 1, 2014: Cattle Point, Washington

I was going to do the Cape Spear Lighthouse in Newfoundland this week, but fell behind, so I decided to wait.  Instead, I chose an "ugly duckling" lighthouse that isn't classic in shape, but which still has a nice location, on the tip of San Juan Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. While the Cattle Point lighthouse itself may not be picturesque, its setting definitely is.

Description:   Cattle Point Lighthouse, Washington (Lighthouse Friends)

In the first picture, you can see the snowy peaks of the Olympic Mountains on the horizon.  So yes, this is a nice spot (and it's a national monument, too).

Another on the "not fair" theme

To think, I felt kinda bad for lucky Ryan Reynolds, who had been married to Scarlett Johannson, which likely meant he had sex with her at least a few times, but their marriage ended, apparently mostly at her behest.

Still, Ryan apparently thought that he and Blake Lively got along reasonably well when filming "Green Lantern", so apparently he got back in touch.  And that apparently went pretty well, considering that they became an item, got married, and are now expecting a child together.  (Which means they've had sex.)

Gee, moving on from Scarlett Johansson to Blake Lively -- not a bad move.  And somewhat not fair to mere mortals who are not in Ryan Reynolds' league (or for that matter, in Scarlett or Blake's league).

But there's another level to this unfairness, and that is seen in the following article.  The level of unfairness is what Blake Lively looks like pregnant.  Which is to say - she looks pretty much incredible.

And Ryan appears to be aware of that.

She's all mine! Ryan Reynolds can't tear his eyes off Blake Lively as she highlights her bump in plunging yellow gown at Angel Ball

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The first aircraft carrier

I was wondering recently when someone came up with the idea of putting a plane on a boat to attack the enemy.   Obviously by World War II this warfaring technology had been developed to be the dominant mode of seaborne attack, but somebody had to come up with the idea in the first place.

It turns out that the first idea was to put a single plane on a boat.  And they just recovered the first of these boats from the Thames River near London.

World's first aircraft carrier restored after it was found rusting by the Thames - and it's just 58 FEET long

The second idea was to build a ship with a flat top to land planes on. The first example of this was the HMS Argus.

That information satisfied my curiosical inauiry,.