Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lighthouse of the Week, November 30 - December 6, 2014: Peggy's Point, Nova Scotia

Likely the most famous, most visited, and most photographed lighthouse in Nova Scotia, partly due to its situation on solid rock and partly due to its proximity to Halifax, Peggy's Point Lighthouse (also known as the Peggy's Cove Lighthouse) is well known.   If there was a lighthouse Hall of Fame, this one would certainly be in it.

So finding a "different" view of this one is a challenge.  I chose two.  See what you think.  The third one is a classic view, including the tourists.  Credit:  top,;  middle, "John" on Flickr;  bottom, found on

Easy leftover turkey dipping or sandwich sauce

This one is absurdly easy, but it is fabulous with leftover turkey.  We still have quite a bit left.

Mix one part Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce with 2 parts Duke's Mayonnaise.

Once mixed, grab a fork and dip in cut pieces of cold leftover turkey.  Enjoy!

If you prefer a sandwich, just the sauce, turkey, fresh bread, and crisp romaine lettuce make a real tasty one.

(If you're feeling fancy, mix in a little dried basil or rosemary.)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cheryl's evening look

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (the former Cheryl Cole) was out on the town with her new young handsome hubby, and she looked absolutely fabulous. 

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is stunning in strapless green dress as she attends charity gala with handsome husband Jean-Bernard

I sure hope that guy knows what he's got in her, treats her right, and has lots of sex with her.  That last part in particular shouldn't be too hard to accomplish, even if you aren't totally into huge backside rose tattoos.  I mean, after all, this is Cheryl we're talking about.

Absolute WOW factor.

Japan ready to restart reactor

With the fears engendered by the Fukushima event fading, Japan is ready to restart a reactor complex.  The local government of the Kagoshima prefecture has approved restarting of the Sendai reactors.  Like it or not (and I can understand why there's a general uneasiness), Japan need nuclear power.  Because they really don't have any other non-greenhouse gas generating options at this point.  I do think that they could get a substantial quantity of energy from tidal and even ocean current power.

Japan local government approves first reactor restart

"The local go-ahead came after the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said in September it believed the two units at Sendai met toughened safety standards introduced after the Fukushima accident in 2011.
The actual restart, however, is likely to be delayed until next year as technical procedures are still under way, including more NRA approvals for remedial work at the site."

At least one guy sees reason

According to this article from Nuclear Power Daily, Germany wants to stop using coal for energy after they've stopped using nuclear power for energy.   Noble goal, but ridiculous.

And one guy stepped up and said so.

"Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has said that if Europe's biggest economy doesn't reduce coal use, it has no chance of meeting its 2020 target of cutting Earth-warming carbon emissions by 40 percent from three decades earlier.

Hendricks' cabinet colleague in charge of the economy and energy, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, sees things differently and has argued that coal is here to stay, citing energy security, cost and many thousands of jobs.

"We can't simultaneously get out of nuclear and coal," Gabriel, the leader of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) who co-govern with Merkel's conservatives, has said."

Das ist richtig.

Our fracking efforts have made this possible, it seems.

"The coal boom in Germany is in part an echo of US shale gas boom.

Cheap natural gas in the United States means coal is being exported to Europe where it undercuts expensive Russian gas, making cleaner and more flexible modern gas plants unprofitable, and several have shut down.

Another factor has been the collapse of the European emissions market, a system meant to factor in the environmental cost of burning fossil fuels. As the penalty for carbon emissions has dropped in price, coal plants have become more lucrative."

So, lacking more nuclear capacity, we keep burning more fossil fuels. Great. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Volcanic activity takes an uptick

Volcanic activity around the world varies, obviously.  Sometimes there are a few more volcanoes erupting, sometimes a few less.  I would not try to prophesy the End Times based on what's currently erupting.

Be that as it may, the past few days have seen an uptick in volcanic activity, I think.  Here are three links to some of that activity:

A plume from Pavlof

Activity at Aso  (video)

A flow from Fogo  (four videos in this article)

Meanwhile, the lava flow that was threatening the Hawaiian village of Pahoa has backed off for the moment.  Hopefully it will get blocked completely and divert into a new, less destructive, direction.

How did the Daily Mail miss this?

The Daily Mail is usually all over any time a Victoria's Secret (or ex-Victoria's Secret) lingerie supermodel Angel offers up a picture of her extraordinariness on the social media.  Particularly if said picture is of her extraordinariness unencumbered by the ordinariness of clothing.  Now, Miranda Kerr, of whom I am referring to here, has been photographed totally unencumbered, allowing us mere mortals to have full view of her bosom and bottom.

So in this case, the artistic pic she provided on her own Instagram is actually quite mild, even though she's unclad.  It is the pose, the idea that we could imagine her in our own bed in such a position and state, that makes us appreciate it.   (This picture was taken by Chris Colls, who was also the photographer of what I consider Miranda's sexiest picture ever.)  Chris has my admiration for his work - and my envy for being the one that gets to do it.

How good can Kate look?

I have lauded the luminous Kate Beckinsale several prior times on this little blog.  But after seeing her at the American Music Awards, I am forced to do so again. That Len Wiseman is a very lucky man - and judging by their common and hot PDAs caught by the paparazzi, he's a wise man to keep her close.

Well then, back to the AMAs. Here's how she looked:

Sara Silverman, who is currently involved with Kate's ex, the remarkably fortunate Michael Sheen (also had a fling with Rachel McAdams), had some funny things to say about Kate:

'I can't believe my boyfriend ever dated this PIG!' Sarah Silverman jokes about boyfriend Michael Sheen's stunning ex Kate Beckinsale

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lighthouse of the Week, Nov. 23 - 29, 2014: Cove Island, Georgian Bay, Ontario

Lake Huron, the middle child of the Great Lakes, has a big bay that sticks out of it to the northeast, into Ontario, named Georgian Bay.  One of the things that Georgian Bay has is Manitoulin Island, the world's largest freshwater island.

Another thing that it has is a LOT of lighthouses.  Many of them are small (compared to the big ocean coast lighthouses).  After looking at several of them, I went with one that has a lot of tradition, and which is bigger than most, is Cove Island Lighthouse.

Georgian Bay Coastal Route - Cove Island Lighthouse

Cove Island is located offshore of the end of the northern Bruce Peninsula, where there's a town named Tobermory.

Here's two pictures of the lighthouse by Jack Salen on Flickr:

And here's a third, photographer unknown, focusing on the tower:

More Abbey Clancy, more Ultimo

Based on some stuff I read a couple of months ago, I thought that Abigail had reached the end of her run as the Ultimo spokesmodel.  Well, apparently she's not quite done yet.

Fancy Clancy! Abbey flaunts her perfect pins in racy lingerie shoot for Ultimo

Strictly sensational! Abbey Clancy stuns in Ultimo's party perfect underwear range

She's in a bra here that supposedly adds two cup sizes.  Not that she needs it, but it looks just fine.

The first article happened to have links to other lingerie news, so I'm passing them on right here:

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are PRICELESS

Kristen Bell is incredibly cute when pregnant, and Dax Shepard is lucky to both have her like that and to have had the opportunity to make her like that.

And now, they are making some seriously cute commercials using that state to their advantage, as seen here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Very tight in Barclays (below the top)

Crystal Palace defeated Liverpool 3-1 on Sunday, with the insurance goal coming on a nicely bent free kick.  Didn't look good early, as Liverpool scored in the first two minutes.  But the Palace came back.

Highlights:  Crystal Palace v. Liverpool 

That win makes things even tighter in the BPL, as the table shows.   Fourth (the once lowly Man U., which has crawled back to respectability) and Newcastle United in fifth both have 19 points, and the 15th and 16th spots held by Crystal Palace and Aston Villa are at 12 points.  Still a long way to go and a lot of changes are going to happen.



3(3)Manchester City

4(4)Manchester United

5(5)Newcastle United

6(6)West Ham United

7(7)Swansea City



10(10)Tottenham Hotspur

11(11)Stoke City


13(13)West Bromwich Albion


15(15)Crystal Palace

16(17)Aston Villa

17(16)Hull City

18(18)Leicester City


20(20)Queens Park Rangers


The comet in 3D (and in French)

Grab your red-blue glasses;  this is a memorable 3D image.

ROLIS nous montre le noyau en relief

Here's the text, slightly mangled by Google Translate:

"Wednesday, November 12, ROLIS offered us moving images of the descent of Philae towards its landing site. The first was obtained just under 1 hour before the impact, and it showed the two lobes in perspective. Today, a relief assembly to better visualize this grand stage.

It took almost 2 minutes between the 2 images ROLIS (Rosetta Lander Imaging System) assembled to create this relief in sight. 2 min during which, Philae moved closer to the core of a little over 100 m, which allows us to admire a truly fantastic perspective.

You absolutely must find a pair of glasses with a red filter on the left and a green or blue filter on the right to appreciate the magnitude of this vision of another world. [Yeah, that's what I said.]

On the 1st level, within 3 km in Philae, the small lobe is brightly lit by the Sun which is on the right and the landing site Agilkia is practically in the center. In the distance, beyond the chaotic skyline of the small lobe, the cliffs of the large lobe appear much darker. The depth effect is accentuated by the presence in the top right of the image of a portion of one of the 3 feet of Philae which gives a human dimension to the scene.

In the lower part of the image, the small lobe, the "crater" Site B acquires a striking relief. It is all the more impressive that we know the sequence of events after 1 contact with the surface and we imagine the slow drift of Philae to the immense wall of this training, diving in a threatening darkness."

Pretty impressive for a dirty snowball, eh?

Everybody does it (a sonnet)

Yes, indeed.  Well, almost everybody.  And it's even better if you do it right.

surpassing expectations

It is the norm, the common place, the same
for each impassioned couple which creates
the basic actions in the mating frame.
For in its base simplicity it sates
the special need for procreation, yet
if it were only that, we would be just
like animals that merely only get
the cause and outcome -- not the naked trust,
the seeing and the holding mingled, merged
with clear emotion and the awesome sheer
entrancement of the shared connection.  Urged
by want and hope and love (ideally) -- near
to both depravity and godliness,
they make a meaning words cannot express.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The sound of a historic achievement

Scientists listen to the thud of Philae hitting the comet

Yup, scientifically speaking, when Philae landed, it made a sound, which was dutifully recorded. You can listen to it at the link.

It occurred to me that next year humanity will have probes in orbit around Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, a comet, and an asteroid (Ceres). Another planetary probe will be flying by Pluto next year, too.



Speaking of energy efficiency

I pretty much agree with the The Post View on this:

The Senate should revive a bipartisan energy efficiency bill

"Energy is among the most polarizing issues in Washington, dividing coal-staters from environmentalists and often stranding pragmatists in between. But Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wrote a bill that avoids every major policy landmine, basing their proposal on the unassailable principle that the country should waste less energy.   [How quaint.]

The pair aim to close the so-called efficiency gap — the perhaps 10, 20 or 30 percent energy savings that can be had at no disadvantage to lifestyle or living standards."
Definitely worth a try.  It might mean (gasp!) offering upfront payment plans or rebates for homeowners to get rid of old, energy-wasting appliances and replace them with sleek new modern more-efficient ones;  something that I've advocated for many, many years.  The net result would be more spending cash for consumers. 

So how's this going to work?

The Washington Post writes about the plans of our new Hogan Hero Governor to stand up for the common man:

Maryland Governor-Elect Larry Hogan says budget gap won't prevent tax rollbacks


"In addition to the shortfall in the coming budget, the state is still dealing with a shortfall of nearly $300 million in the budget for this fiscal year. Hogan said he would await the results from a team he has assembled to comb through the budget before making specific decisions about where to cut. He also suggested that he may continue to offer changes during the course of next year — possibly including a special legislative session.

As he did during the campaign, the governor-elect said he believes that he can find “a couple billion” dollars’ worth of savings in the current state budget, based on audits done over several years."

Really?  A couple billion?  In a state budget of about $40 billion?  As they say in Missouri:  "Show me".  Can't wait to see what he thinks isn't important in this state.  I'm guessing he'll end up cutting "wasteful" spending on education, environmental protection, and energy efficiency programs (the three "E's").

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vote for the best Smithsonian wilderness picture

Just passing this along:  every day you can vote for the best wilderness picture in the Smithsonian Wilderness Forever online exhibition. To do that, go here.

If you want to see all the pictures vying for your vote in a medium format (to speed things up), go here (Facebook).

I wouldn't want to influence your vote, but this one is good - striking and unusual.  I recommend seeing it larger than this, of course. 

I'm a big fan of the vista type scenery shot, and there are some really good ones of that type in the gallery, too.

Lone Evergreen in Aspens:  Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado, by Benjamin Walls 

(Clicking on the picture makes it bigger)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Just a brief check-in with Monaco's expectations

I hadn't seen an update on the heiry Monaco situation for awhile, so I was happy to see this Daily Mail update from the Principality.

Princess Charlene, due in about two months with twins, doesn't look as large as one might expect when one is expecting twins (unlike Zoe Saldana, who is definitely showing what that looks like).  But Charlene is a tall woman so she might not look as large with the double bump, unlike Zoe, who is small and slender, and therefore upon whom the womb with two looks more like a blimp than a bump.  (I think Zoe Saldana is spectacular, so this is not criticism, it's admiration for demonstrating what the female body is capable of).

Well, back to Monaco:

Princess Charlene's parents decamp to Monaco ahead of royal birth next month - and say they will treat their new grandchildren 'just like our other ones'

Monday, November 17, 2014

Volcanic artifacts from St. Pierre

Just a few posts ago I said that one of five movies I'd like to see made would be a realistic one about the Mount Pelee eruption that destroyed the city of St. Pierre, Martinique.    Given the advances in CGI special effects even since Dante's Peak, the volcanic eruption should look pretty good (imagine Pompeii, but with turn of the century Caribbean French people).  But it was also a story about staying in town when everyone should have gotten out before the volcano unleashed its nuee ardente - not that anybody really knew it would.

Well, interestingly, a museum exhibit opened that displayed artifacts from St. Pierre, collected soon after the devastating eruption.  The amount of heat that would fuse stacks of glasses in a restaurant is phenomenal. 

Photos and Melted Artifacts from a Horrific Volcano Disaster

Lighthouse of the Week, November 16-22, 2014: Point Judith, RI

I decided to go with the well-known, rustic-looking but still glamorous, Point Judith Light, Narragansett, Rhode Island.

Background, Point Judith Light 

Point Judith Light by Frank Grace (Flickr)

Point Judith Light by Jeremy D'Entremont (Flickr)

Point Judith Light by Mallory (

Point Judith Light Stamp

Friday, November 14, 2014

She wears them well

Former Playboy playmate and now model/spokesmodel/fitness guru/lifestyle coach/ and social media personality Amanda Cerny demonstrates the proper form required for wearing a skimpy light-green panty and bra set while taking a selfie.

Amanda's abs are sensational, the rest of her figure is curvaceously fit, she's beautiful, and from her Twitter posts and Vines and apparently her Snapchat stories (I don't subscribe to that, not enough time in the day), she's also quite a bit of fun.

Quite a package.

She also wears a red bikini quite well, as shown in these picture excerpts from a video shoot in Aruba. More of them are readily available for avid searchers, this is just a taste.  The first one is just plain too sexily cute for words.  The other three?  Spectacular from any viewpoint.

This is good. This is needed.

Even if good solid global limits are placed on fishing, especially for overfished and endangered stocks (like the archetypal bluefin tuna) there still remains the issue of illegal fishing.  If many of the world's governments agreed to control fishing, it'd be nice if there was a way to control the rogue fishermen and fishing boats.   No way to do that, right?

Apparently in this technologically advanced era, there might be a way to do it.

The plan to map illegal fishing from space

"With satellite data from SpaceQuest and financial and engineering support from Google, two environmental activist groups have built the first global surveillance system that can track large fishing vessels anywhere in the world.

A prototype of the system, called Global Fishing Watch, was unveiled today at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney. The tool makes use of Google’s mapping software and servers to display the tracks followed in 2012 and 2013 by some 25,000 ships that were either registered as large commercial fishers or were moving in ways that strongly suggest fishing activity.

The project was led by Oceana, a marine conservation advocacy group, and the software was developed by SkyTruth, a small non-profit that specializes in using remote sensing technologies to map environmentally sensitive activities such as fracking and flaring from oil and gas fields."

I like it.  This makes me smile.   This is good news for the world.  Hopefully it's not too late.

(Read the whole article.  It's heartening.  The world isn't out of hope yet.)

Here we goooo again

Great.  The GOP isn't even in control of Congress yet, and already they're talking about bringing back the Paul Ryan budget blueprint - which is both horrid and ridiculous - and threatening to shut down the government if the President does something they don't agree with.  As long as its Constitutionally legal, he is still the President and they should realize that.  (Hah.)

So here's the plan, which is smelling awfully Cruzy.

Morning Plum: the Paul Ryan blueprint is back

"Ted Cruz has signaled he will demand that the new GOP Senate fashion itself in the image of the more confrontational, more conservative House, a reliable indicator other conservatives may demand the same. At the same time, multiple Republican Senators are up in states carried by Barack Obama, amid a presidential year electorate."

Like I said. Great.  JUST great.

I wonder if they'd sell this there

It seems, according to this article, that archaeologists have found an antler bone artifact that is carved into a particularly recognizable shape.  Which, even though they aren't sure what it might have been used for, based on the shape, they have a pretty good idea of what it could have been used for.

The title of the article sort of gives it away.

Stone Age Carving: Ancient Dildo?

Now, from a marketing perspective, this gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "going caveman".  So, if wants to really get off like they did in prehistory, you could get a nice smooth replica made out of modern materials, but still with that old-school (really really really really old) feel.

So, just to keep this relevant, they could sell it in a store in Nebraska:

Tunnel of Love: How an Omaha Store Reinvented the Sex Shop Experience

Here's all the article says about the Tunnel of Love, from the shop owner:

"I don’t want to give too much away, but if you’re in Omaha, Nebraska you’ve got to stop by our store and check out our Tunnel of Love. That’s all I can really say. It’s an attraction you walk through, but I don’t want to give too much away. "

Well, if they sell Stone Age replica dildos, then I'll try to stop by.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Some great pictures of sea slugs

The name "sea slug" does not exactly make one think of gorgeous sea creatures.  "Nudibranch" is better.  This gallery has some amazing pictures of a variety of nudibranchii.

WIRED:  Absurd creature of the week

Here's an example:  the regal sea goddess.

A handful of firsts

The observations made by the satellites orbiting Mars of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring are likely to be very useful to science.  But what got me when I read this article about the observations was how many first-time-evers were involved.

Mars Spacecraft Reveal Comet Flyby Effects on Martian Atmosphere

Feel free to read the article about the discoveries.  But here are the extracted firsts:

1. "Two NASA and one European spacecraft that obtained the first up-close observations of a comet flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, have gathered new information about the basic properties of the comet's nucleus and directly detected the effects on the Martian atmosphere."

2. "In these observations, scientists were able to make a direct connection from the input of debris from a specific meteor shower to the formation of this kind of transient layer in response; that is a first on any planet, including Earth."

3.  "The remote-sensing Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph observed intense ultraviolet emission from magnesium and iron ions high in the atmosphere in the aftermath of the meteor shower. Not even the most intense meteor storms on Earth have produced as strong a response as this one."

4. "These are the first direct measurements of the composition of dust from an Oort Cloud

That's an impressive list.

Well, we knew that was going to happen

The Pentagon reports that military readiness is being adversely affected due to sequestration budget cuts.

You remember the sequestration, right?  The one that the White House came up with when recalcitrant Republicans forced the Congress and the country toward a "fiscal cliff" of potential debt reneging, which was a consequence that could not be considered.  So in a last minute desperation attempt, the White House got a deal because they didn't figure the GOP would allow drastic cuts to the military, potentially affecting our ability to wage necessary wars.

Didn't exactly work out the way it was supposed to, did it?

Pentagon: Funding cuts damaging readiness

Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work warned returning members of Congress on Wednesday that the military would be less able to fight future wars unless they reverse half a trillion dollars in defense cuts forced on the Pentagon last year.

“It would be unconscionable to send American troops into a fight where they are not adequately trained and equipped,” Work said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"Lawmakers partially relieved the cuts in 2014 and 2015, but it is unclear whether they will return in full, as currently scheduled, in 2016.

Lawmakers had agreed in 2011 to cuts of $500 billion to be equally and automatically applied to each defense program budget over 10 years if they were not able to agree on tax and spending reform. The cuts were designed to be so damaging they would force lawmakers to come to an agreement, but they kicked in when Congress failed."

Think this will happen with a Republican-controlled Congress?

Kelly, behind the scenes

A 1:32 video of  Kelly Brook behind-the-scenes shooting her 2015 calendar is worth a look.  Or two. Or three.

It's got the usual:  lingerie, cleavage, butt, boobs, lips, hair, smiles, eyes, and attitude.  One thing Kelly knows how to do is work the camera.  And the camera loves her for it.

So do we (well, a bevy of admirers does).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Exactly right, EJ

Washington Post writer, magnificently liberal E.J. Dionne, discusses the 2014 midterm elections:

Democrats defeat in 2014 is worse than it was in 2010

Yes, it was bad.  We knew that.  But still, I have a lot of confidence that the Republicans will misjudge their mandate (they don't really have one), and take a lot of steps that are out-of-step with the way that most Americans think.

And one thing that most Americans think is that they should be able to breathe clean air, drink and bathe in clean water, be able to visit national parks and forests that aren't shrouded in haze, and protect the amazing natural heritage of this country that previous generations and governments have preserved.

What the Republicans start doing when they come into power in situations like now -- they've done it before -- is dream about dismantling the remarkable environmental protection and natural heritage (also historical) preservation that currently exists.  Not to mention pushing increased exploitation of resources in natural areas like national forests, which actually gets hunters and fishers (who would more normally be on their side) pissed off at them. 

And they also go after education, which most mothers and several fathers tend to think is important for their kids.   And as E.J. notes below, when they overstep and overreach, it makes them vulnerable.  The nice thing about Republicans is that on these issues, they ALWAYS overstep and overreach.  They don't think that the environment is an important issue to "the American people" because when polls are taken about issues important in an election, jobs and the economy and defense against terrorism and prevention of the spread of killer epidemics tend to be on the minds of Americans, especially if the Democrats have been in power and have prevented the worst instincts of Republicans from turning into law.  But with Republicans in power in the halls of Congress, they get these grandiose dreams that they can rein in the EPA and repeal the Endangered Species Act (as was discussed during the prior "Republican Revolution").  This makes them look bad.  But they don't remember that this makes them look bad until it's too late. 

So here's what E.J. wrote about that:

"Moreover, as Bill Clinton showed after the Democrats’ 1994 midterm defeat, the surest way to beat conservatives is to confront them when they press for steep cuts in government programs that voters like. Clinton’s mantra defending “Medicare, Medicaid, education and the environment” was revealing and successful. If Republicans move to repeal Obamacare — a cause they used to mobilize their base — the GOP will only remind Americans of the many parts of the Affordable Care Act they want to retain."
 So, if they act like Republicans in power usually act, they will make themselves vulnerable.  And environmentally and energy (clean energy) minded voters like me will make sure that everybody knows what they're thinking about dangerously doing.  Because when it comes down to it, Americans don't want their Congresspersons attacking the protections we have in place for clean water, clean air, national parks, national forests, our historical heritage, and our public health.

Keep that in mind, GOP. 

Five movies I'd like to see made that haven't been

1. A biopic of Andrew Jackson - I'm truly amazed this hasn't been done yet.

2. A movie about the Crater tunneling and subsequent battle at the Siege of Petersburg in the Civil War (not just the opening scene of Cold Mountain).

3. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (supposedly this is in development - major plum role for an young actress)

4. A historically accurate feature length movie about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  I'm also surprised this hasn't been done yet.

5. A special-effects spectacular about the 1902 eruption of Mont Pelee on the island of Martinique.  This could have a tragic love story or something (and French-speaking people).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oxymoron: Science in a Republican Senate

Just read an article in Scientific American with this title:

Science in a Republican Senate: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

But when I read that, I chuckled, realizing that there won't be much science in a Republican Senate.  At least not the normal mainstream kind of science, the one that answers questions about how nature and the universe work.

Another reason there won't be much science in a Republican Senate?  Because the Tea Party is powerful enough that its influence must be acknowledged, and apparently Tea Partyists don't believe much in science as an authority on determining how nature and the universe work.

POLL: Tea Party Members Really, Really Don't Trust Scientists

Question:  "Would you say that you trust, don't trust, or are unsure about scientists as a source of information about environmental issues?"

 And the results?  (You can see a graphical presentation in the article, if you want.)

"This is pretty striking: The first three political groups—Democrats, independents, and non-tea party Republicans—all trust scientists on the environment. But then you come to tea party members, and suddenly, distrust in scientists soars. The numbers are stark: 60 percent of traditional Republicans trust scientists on the environment, versus only 28 percent of tea partiers."

This explains a lot.  Mainly why the Tea Party supports a lot of anti-environmental legislation and initiatives.  They don't believe scientists when scientists say that's bad, and that the ramifications (had to use that word) could be worse.

Oh yeah, why don't they trust scientists?
"The main factor, Hamilton thinks, is that the highly polarized climate issue is leading climate deniers to break up with scientists in general. "Climate change is sort of bleeding over into a lower trust in science across a range of issues," says Hamilton. That means the consequences are not limited to the climate issue. "The critiques of climate science work by often arguing that science is corrupt, and then that spills over to other kinds of science," Hamilton observes. Prior research has found that watching Fox News, in particular, leads to a declining trust in climate scientists."

Now, getting back to the Scientific American article:

The "Good" :

"If Republicans win the Senate, it is likely that Thad Cochran would return to his prior post (2005-2007) as chairman of Appropriations. Cochran, too, supports increased funding for NASA, and back in 2013 he was one of the few Republicans who voted in favor of protecting ocean, coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. In the past, he has voted for telecommunications deregulation and even advocated for an extra $18 billion toward waterway infrastructure."

The "Bad" :

"Meanwhile, based on senate seniority, it is likely that the Republicans would appoint Ted Cruz as chairman of Commerce, Science and Transportation. Cruz is a climate skeptic who recently pushed for a reduction in NASA’s budget. It is also noteworthy that he was the public face of last year’s government shutdown, which did lasting damage to scientific research. "

The "Ugly"  (also Horrible, Unbelievable, Tragic, Awful, and Unfathomable)

"If Republicans win the Senate, James Inhofe will likely take charge of Environment and Public Works. That would be disastrous for science. ... If Inhofe gains control of the Senate committee in charge of climate change legislation, that’s probably the end of climate change legislation (not that great strides have been made in the past seven years of Democratic dominance). And, global warming aside, it’s probably not a good idea to put someone who calls scientific consensus a “hoax” in charge of a Senate committee that holds the purse strings for scientific funding."

Well, the Republicans are in charge of the Senate now.  The ride is going to be really bumpy for science and the environment. 

Vocabulary expansion: ramify

It occurred to me that there might be a verb form of ramification, which would be ramify.  But while I've had this thought before, I didn't look it up until now.   So here is the definition of ramify:


Definition of RAMIFY
intransitive verb
1:  to split up into branches or constituent parts
2:  to send forth branches or extensions

transitive verb
1:  to cause to branch

Now that you know this, use it to impress your friends!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Hyperextendable butterflyer knees

I've known for a long time that good butterfly swimmers have some physical advantages (I almost called them adaptations) for this most strenuous of strokes.  But I never knew how advantageous one particular aspect of their physique was until I read this article:

Elite swimmer dolphin kick analysis

The elite swimmer being analyzed is Thiago Pereira.

Here's what caught my interest:

"At least in this trial, Thiago´s maximal knee flexion was 112 degrees. Interestingly, in a sample of 19 international level swimmers Arellano (2002) reported an average angle of 113 degrees. His maximal hip flexion was 148 degrees."

OK, so 90 degrees of knee flexion is essentially a perfectly straight leg.  His knees (and apparently many other top flite swimmers) hyperextend 22 degrees.  *Shudder*.    Another piece of information indicating that elite athletes are not anything like the vast majority of us average persons.

Padma Lakshmi is still pretty fine

Padma Lakshmi is one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she was one of the first Indian women to be a major fashion runway model.  If you search in my blog on "Padma Lakshmi", you'll find I've written about her a couple of times.  I had a little fun with the speculation on who fathered her daughter, until it was revealed, as that was a position a lot of men would have liked to be in.  (She was also on Top Chef, of course.)

Well, every now and then she shows up on a red carpet or at an event, and at this recent event, she looked pretty darned good.  And when Padma looks pretty darned good, that's really good.

She's really cooking now! Padma Lakshmi causes a stir in plunging blue gown at Keep A Child Alive charity fundraiser

And here's a nice posed shot in lingerie

As well as this one.

She is definitely a fine woman.

Good article about menhaden

"Southern Fried Science" recently posted a good article about menhaden.

Six reasons why menhaden are the greatest fish we've ever fished

I've written a couple of blog posts about it, too:

One of the craziest ideas ever - and it just might work

So much for that idea

Menhaden on the mind   

Made in menhaden  

Why isn't the Chesapeake Bay a national park?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A sonnet for the beginning of November

act of instinction

Each time this happens, I profess delight
as you reveal each perfect place and part
that I adore. It is not just their sight
it is their pith, that you impart your heart
as you expose your loveliness.  My eyes
accept, my thoughts connect, and I react
by proffering what you expect, my prize
obsession, meaningful for both its act
and its propensities.  You recognize
that my overt intention is inspired 
by what you give, and then you authorize
conjoining binding bonding, as required
by needfulness we satiate. So take
my aim and find what we together make.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 2-8, 2014: Cape Spear, Newfoundland

I was a bit confused when I first looked at pictures of the Cape Spear lighthouse, because it appeared that there were two different Cape Spear lighthouses.  I wasn't sure if that was the case or not until further investigation.  The further investigation revealed that there are two Cape Spear lighthouses, the old restored one and the new operational one.

In the case of either one, they are located on a spot that is picturesque, historic, and geographically noteworthy.  Cape Spear is the easternmost point of North America.  So the old Cape Spear Lighthouse is a Canadian National Historic Site.

Cape Spear (new)

"Just a couple of years after Newfoundland became the newest Canadian province in 1949, two new dwellings were built for the keepers followed in 1955 by a new concrete, octagonal tower that stands 13.7 metres tall. The Fresnel lens was transferred from the 1835 lighthouse to the new tower, where today it still produces a light with a signature of three white flashes every fifteen seconds."

Cape Spear (old)

" In 1834, the newly formed representative government under Governor Thomas Cochrane passed “An Act for the Establishment of Lighthouses,” which among many things appointed five persons to serve as Commissioners of Lighthouses and authorized £1000 to be raised by loan for a lighthouse at Cape Spear. Governor Cochrane, accompanied by the Commissioners, the Commanding Royal Engineer, and the Surveyor General, visited Cape Spear in 1834 and selected a site for the lighthouse near the edge of a vertical seventy-three-metre sandstone cliff. "

Cape Spear Lighthouse National Historic Site of Canada

Below are four pictures of the Cape Spear lighthouses, two of the old (the building with the dome on top) and the new (the white tower).

Serge Chriqui also has a couple of great pictures of the Cape Spear lighthouses in his Recent Additions: Newfoundland section.

New tower

New tower

Historic lighthouse

Historic lighthouse

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Microphotographs of note

The annual Nikon microphotograph contest winners have been published.  These results are always worth examination, as they are frequently amazing, and not something that most of us see very often.  If at all.

20 incredible photos of a world too tiny to see

I liked these two in particular:

This might look like the nasty end of a proboscis, but in reality it's just the bottom of a caterpillar leg, which allows the caterpillar to hang on to almost anything:

And these are brine shrimp appendages.  I don't know what they're good for, but they sure are pretty.

Last (for now) of the "not fair" theme

Finishing up my posts on the unfairness of some lives and loves, let's take a look at how Victoria's Secret model Doutzen Kroes looks a couple of months after having her second baby:

What is her secret? Doutzen Kroes puts her unbelievable post-baby body on display in white mini-dress at the Elle award

And furthermore, as a reminder of what her hubby hopefully/ frequently/ probably gets to witness firsthand, this has been making the rounds online (because it's in an artsy book):

[ In case you want to expand on this level of unfairness, Doutzen has been photographed with even more of her fine attributes exposed.  I'm sure you know how to search for things like that. ]

Oh, but wait.  Doutzen says it is hard taking care of two kids.  (Hey, I could have told her THAT.)