Sunday, September 24, 2017

Senator Smith should leave Washington

Senator Lamar Smith, from Texas, is against anything that might positively influence the issue of climate change, and in favor of anything that keeps CO2 pumping into the atmosphere.

Thus, he is a climate denier favorite.  And this tactic shows why.

Rep. Lamar Smith cites fake news in fight against climate science

Here are a couple of illuminating excerpts:
"The Mail on Sunday was forced to publish an “adverse adjudication” on Sept. 17 admitting that a story by its reporter, David Rose, had breached the Editors’ Code of Practice of the UK Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). The organization was established and is funded by a group of British newspapers, including The Mail on Sunday and its stablemate, the Daily Mail."

"Most reputable media were skeptical of Rose’s false claims when they were published in February. However, a few outlets, such as The Times in the U.K. and Fox News, were fooled and erroneously reported the story without checking its veracity.

In addition, Science Committee Chairman Smith, was taken in by Rose’s article and cited it in a letter he wrote in February to the Acting Administrator of NOAA, Mr Benjamin Friedman."

The article goes on to suggest that Senator Smith should apologize to Friedman.  Fat chance of that happening, I think.  Smith does not impress me as someone that practices propriety.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Video of the Indianapolis on the ocean floor

After posting about the wreck of the USS Indianapolis, I discovered a video of an ROV tour of the ship a day later.  Not much else to say:  it is both extremely interesting and somber.

Web site: Watch: A Tour of the USS Indianapolis Wreck

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

One of the last great wrecks was found

This is moderately old news by now, but the finding of the USS Indianapolis by an expedition led by Paul Allen marks one of the last great shipwreck finds available.

Oh sure, there are still lots of wrecks.  But there aren't a lot more truly historically significant wrecks that haven't been found.  One of the remaining challenges with historical and human significance isn't even a ship, it's a plane, the wreck of the ill-fated flight Malaysian Airlines 370 (MH 370).  And that's going to be even harder to find than a big battleship.

So, noted briefly, this was a major shipwreck find.  Sometimes I state the obvious.

Wreckage of WWII-Era Warship U.S.S. Indianapolis Found After 72 Years

An image of the wreck, taken by an ROV:

End of the run

In the end, they didn't have enough.

The Minnesota Lynx are loaded -- as the Washington Post called it, they are a super team (and maybe more than that).  And the Washington Mystics aren't.  You need at least three great players, it seems, to have a chance to win a basketball championship, and this year, after Tayler Hill got injured and went out for the season, the Mystics were down to two (Elena Delle Donne and Kristi Toliver), plus a strong supporting role from Emma Meesseman.

Not enough against the Lynx. So even though they made the semi-finals, they were outmatched, and were swept.

But it was enough to give us a little hope, especially those two wins in the one-and-done rounds.

They just need a little more.

On their way up, the Mystics just saw what a genuine super team looks like

Just to put it in context:
"And then they played a team [the Lynx] that had two former league MVPs, four all-stars and an experienced core that has recorded 37 playoff wins since 2011. The Mystics have four. Maybe that sweep wasn’t a super shock."
Final thought:  I think both men's and women's professional basketball has a bit of a problem if at the beginning of the season there's hardly any drama about who'll be in the championship round at the end of the season.  And given super teams like the Golden State Warriors, the Lynx, the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron and the Miami Heat with LeBron before that, the expectation is that they are so good that it would take something significant to stop them from getting that far.  Dynasties are OK, but hey, give the rest of the country at least a chance to dream about getting a ring.

A sonnet: "in modern times"

Yes, we do live in the future we imagined.

in modern times

I find a new one ev'ry day - a shot,
a view, a revelation, and a name
I never knew before. Though I cannot
be sure, I think that they exist, their fame
dependent on the eyes of we behold-
ers, looking, gazing, longing, wishing we
could be upon those slopes and shores, not cold
and lonely in the steeped stark nights, just free
to roam with needful vision, finding them
both posed and casual, unclothed or clad
in silk or lace or string, each frame a gem
of femininity that makes us glad
to know humanity can reach such heights,
and soothe our savage hearts with lissome sights.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Finding the Bay of Kotor

Just learned about this place by happenstance.  I doubt I'll get there, but it seems like a good place to visit if I was in the neighborhood.

Montenegro's Bay of Kotor by Rick Steves

Of course, if I was near Croatia, I'd also want to see the Plitvice Lakes National Park.

So many places to see, so little life to see them.

Lighthouse of the Week, September 17-23, 2017: Oluvil, Sri Lanka

So I asked myself, "Does Sri Lanka (the pendant-shaped island south of India) have lighthouses?"

I suspected that it did, because it is, after all, an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean.

And the answer to this simple question is:  Yes.  In fact, it has quite a few of them.

I'm going to start off this look at Sri Lankan lighthouses with Oluvil, a cute and modern (1999) lighthouse on Sri Lanka's east coast.

Because it was built in 1999, it doesn't have a lot of history.  This Web site has all the info you really need:  Oluvil Lighthouse, Ampara

It also has a map that can show you exactly where it is.

If you're in a hurry, skip the Web site, it's 24 meters (79 feet) high.  Now you can go look at the pictures and the drone video.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Caprice, now and then

Caprice Bourret is a glamour model who went simply by the moniker "Caprice" when she was at the height of her modeling fame and modeling career. And she was pretty famous for being pretty.

Two kids and a brain tumor (successfully treated) later, she still looks very fine, as shown in this casual shot captured during a recent Ibiza vacation:

Age-defying Caprice, 45, looks every inch the blonde bombshell as she displays her sensational figure in a TINY lace-up bikini in Ibiza

And you have to consider that she had twins (the pre-delivery picture here is rather remarkable):

Caprice gets back in model shape after 12 weeks... by breastfeeding her new babies

If you're wondering what she looked like at the aforementioned height of her career, when she was appearing on numerous magazine covers, here's an example:

The ongoing banana crisis

I've said it before, but the agricultural banana crisis is serious business, because bananas are big business.

This article describes the full range of problems:

The world's bananas are under attack

The problems are a fungus attacking the Cavendish banana (which is the one in U.S. supermarkets far and wide)  and a bacterial disease attacking bananas in East Africa, where they are a major staple (but not the Cavendish variety).

Genetic engineering may come to the aid of the banana, particularly for the bacterial disease attacking the cooking bananas in Africa.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Fantastic Jupiter by Juno

These most recent pictures from Juno are nothing short of fantastic.

Juno's eighth close approach to Jupiter

And the Daily Mail had an article with numerous Juno image highlights.

Jupiter 'up close and personal': NASA releases stunning new photos from Juno spacecraft's 8th flyby of the gas giant planet

The image below was from the 7th pass. Click on it to see it larger -- it's phenomenal.  And it's important to note that Juno is doing great science observations of Jupiter while getting these unprecedented images.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The remarkable Ms. Hingis

OK, so Sloane Stephens won her first Grand Slam women's singles title in something of a yawner of over Madison Keys, in a match that was more historical than entertaining, and a dominant Rafael Nadal showed us why he's won so many (3 U.S. Opens now) in a straight-setter over unlikely finalist Kevin Anderson for the men's title.

That's where most of the attention is paid.  Me included.  But I just found out today that Martina Hingis did something quite remarkable -- she won her 25th Grand Slam title (5 in singles, 13 in doubles, and 7 in mixed doubles), and the 24th was also at the 2017 U.S. Open in the mixed doubles with Jamie Murray.

Murray and Hingis in the mixed doubles, U.S. Open 2017

Hingis made her relatively brief ascension to the top of the women's game playing a game like very few others have -- composed of finesse, point building and shot making, and not based as much on power hitting and baseline stalking.  So she was soon eclipsed by the Williamses, even though in a couple of tournaments she had to defeat one Williams in the semis before facing another in the final.  That didn't seem quite fair.

She retired from the singles, had some misadventures, and has unretired twice, and is now -- still -- playing world-class doubles.  At age 37, that's a great achievement.  She knows how to play the game.

This made me wonder -- where does she rank in terms of all Grand Slam titles?  Well, she's fifth in the "modern era", though the woman in first place, Margaret Court, spanned the eras, because the Open era began in 1968, and Court won her titles from 1960-1975.

I hope Hingis wins a couple more before she's done.  No reason to think she can't.

It's time for a sonnet

I haven't posted a sonnet for awhile, so here's one to make up for that.

when we are given what we wish for

It has a certain special welcomeness,
as it occurs the times when it will be
appropriate -- although bright minds could guess
it is not always so! But when I see
her expectation, and I know I can
provide the bare intensity she needs,
then I appreciate the place a man
is welcome and desired, and where my deeds
are awesome in the private rite and realm
that my erectitude creates. Here seeds
could cert be planted, yet the overwhelm-
ing urge is to conjoin, as love concedes
the value of the physical exceeds
the fundamentals of the clan and creeds.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Something had to change

Ever since Crystal Palace made it into the Premier League, I've followed their fortunes.  They've had a couple of good years.  More recently, they've been performing relegation escapes.  Last year was remarkable when they dropped manager Alan Pardew, brought on Sam Allardyce, and managed a couple of fantastic upsets to stay out of relegation.

But being a lower-level Premier League team, they didn't get a lot of help via transfers, and surprisingly, Allardyce politely quite as manager.  So they hired Frank de Boer, who hadn't lasted long at his last posting.

After a no-goal, 0-4 start (even though they really outplayed Burnley last Sunday), something had to change, and what could be changed was the manager.  So de Boer was out, and Roy Hodgson, who has managed a lot of teams successfully, though his recent English national team stint didn't go particularly well, was picked.  Despite that disappointment (no one could have expected what Iceland was going to do, anyway), he's a great coach.  Plus, he's a former player, and even played for the Palace youth team.

Will it make a difference?  Well, if coaching can make a difference, then they couldn't do much better right now than Hodgson.

Not everybody's impressed.

But a player who played for him seems to think it will work:

Roy Hodgson has been written off before... but he will turn it around as Crystal Palace's new manager

Next step - score a goal.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

England defeats the West Indies in 3rd cricket Test

I noted the West Indies side surprisingly upset England in the second test of their three-Test series.  Of course, they had to play the third Test, and they did it at the venerable Lord's cricket ground.

It was a surprising Test, because the bowlers had a decided advantage over the batsmen - meaning that the score was very low as cricket scores go.

It was also notable because Jimmy Anderson, a true cricket superstar bowler, took his 500th Test wicket, first time that's ever been achieved by an Englishman -- and then kept on going.  Anderson was one of the main reasons England won.

The Windies had 123 runs in their first innings and 177 in their second, for a round total of 300.  England had 194 in their first innings, and hit the number of 107, totaling 301, to win the Test.

Stokes was the top England batsman in the first innings, with 60 runs, and didn't even have to bat in the second innings.

The five-Test series Ashes match against Australia (in Australia) is next.

England secure series victory over West Indies at Lord's as Jimmy Anderson takes seven second-innings wickets to set up success

Lighthouse of the Week, September 10-16, 2017: Eshaness, Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK

I've definitely got a liking for the striking -- lighthouses located in striking locales, that is.

Eshaness Lighthouse in Scotland's Shetland Islands is one of those.

This nice Web site has a map on the front that shows where it is located -- along with a lighthouse I previously featured, Sumburgh Head.

Shetland Lighthouse Holidays

On this same site, the Eshaness Lighthouse page.

It's a rather humble lighthouse, but the location is inspiring.

Regarding the history, here's what the Lighthouse Directory has:
"1929 (David A. Stevenson). Station established 1915. Active; focal plane 61 m (199 ft); white flash every 12 s. 12 m (40 ft) square masonry tower with lantern and gallery, rising from 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black."
Also according to the Lighthouse Directory, it is a Stevenson-designed lighthouse, with the Stevenson being Robert Stevenson, a civil engineer who designed a lot of lighthouses.

And now for the pictures:

by David Gifford

by Aaron K. Hall

Third round, baby!

The Washington Mystics, the Women's National Basketball League (WNBA) team in Washington D.C., have just done something that no other Washington professional sports team has done for many years -- I'm too lazy to figure out how many -- but a long time.

They're in the third round of the playoffs.  They are one round away from the championship round.

Seriously.  Unfortunately now they have to play the best team in the league, the Minnesota Lynx (27-7).   But this is not the team that had the regular season record of 18-16, because for much of the season, they didn't have Elena Delle Donne.  And Emma Meesseman missed some time too.

And they also have Kristi Toliver, who got the Mystics into the third round on 9-16 three-point shooting against New York.

So I think they have a chance.  Not a great chance, but you don't have a chance if you lose in the playoffs.  And they made it this far, and beyond that, they're actually good.

Good enough?  We'll see.  But breaking a curse as strong as the Washington D.C. championship sports curse requires something remarkable, even miraculous.

Perhaps Mystical will be what it takes.

Toliver’s shooting lifts Mystics to 82-68 win over Liberty

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

A very nice dress on the red carpet

Jennifer Lawrence made several appearances at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, but it was her glamorous dress when she got dressed up that deserved the most attention.  Michelle Pfeiffer, costarring in the upcoming cinematic release Mother!, looked good too.

The article has several good pictures of both actresses (and also of J. Law dressed down, but still stylish, look).

Bellissimo! Busty Jennifer Lawrence steals the show in plunging lace gown as she promotes her movie Mother! with director boyfriend Darren Aronofsky... during another star-studded day at Venice Film Festival

Here's one shot of the nice dress.

The next three stops on Highway 41

Although in the next few days Hurricane Irma might make the next stops on Highway 41 look considerably different than they do in these StreetView scenes, I will carry on. Note that in this stretch of the highway, it's also called the "Tamiami Trail".

If you don't remember the Valujet 592 crash on May 11, 1996, it was notable partly because the plane basically got swallowed up by the Everglades.  (An article is here, and a picture is here.) Until I undertook this Highway 41 project, I was unaware that there was a memorial at the crash site.  But there is, and Highway 41 goes right past it.  Zoom in with the "+" to get a closer look.

 The next stop is the entrance to the Shark Valley Visitor Center (Shark River being the main still existent Everglades "river of grass").  There's an observation tower, not visible from here.  Feel free to drive down the entrance road to find it.

And finally, just east of the Kirby Storter Roadside Park, I found this very Gladesy view.

Next stops: the road to Everglades City, and the road to Marco Island.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Florence has moons

I remember the first time it was discovered that an asteroid had moons, when a review of Galileo data indicated that Ida, which Galileo had flown by, had a little companion moon that was subsequently named Dactyl.  I don't think anyone was really surprised that asteroids had moons, as there are so many little chunks of rock in the belt that it's not a shock a little chunk got gravitationally bound to a much bigger one.

So, when asteroid Florence came close by Earth a few days ago, a relatively routine radar scanning observation program revealed that Florence has not just one, but two little rocky companions.  Which means that there are probably hundreds of asteroids with mini-moons, even if we can't see them.

Read about it here:

Close Encounter by the [Big!] Asteroid Florence

And here's a radar image of the big one and the little ones along for the orbital ride.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Sometimes you find something you weren't looking for

Neat story happened last week when construction workers in Denver happened upon a Triceratops skeleton.  They've already extracted some of it and are examining it and taking care of it at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  Rather than try to explain it, I'll let the articles do the explaining.

Triceratops skull, skeleton dug up by workers building new Thornton police, fire station

Thornton triceratops to go on display at Denver science museum this weekend

Thornton triceratops fossils draw crowds to Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Here's what they've found so far:
"The collection includes two brow bones, a lower jaw beak, parts of the frill (the shield behind the dinosaur’s head), shoulder bones, vertebrae and ribs. As of Thursday afternoon, arms and legs had not been found, according to Denver Museum of Nature and Science curator of dinosaurs Joe Sertich."


and Video:

Lighthouse of the Week, September 3-9, 2017: San Sebastian Light, Argentina

Last week I noted that while searching for a blue lighthouse, I found one painted with yellow and blue stripes in Argentina, specifically in the far southern reaches of Tierra del Fuego.  I indicated that I'd probably visit that lighthouse for the Lighthouse of the Week, and so here it is.

It turns out there isn't a lot to know about this one, which is the San Sebastian light, on the southern coast of the Bay of San Sebastian, near the town of San Sebastian.  If you want to see where that is on Google Maps, click here.

Here's what the Lighthouse Directory says about its specifications:
"1949. Active; focal plane 60 m (197 ft); three white flashes, separated by 5 s, every 40 s. 11 m (36 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted with blue and yellow spiral bands; lantern painted black."
There aren't very many pictures of this one, unlike the other Argentinian lighthouse I featured.  Below are three.  The first one is from a ham radio call sign expedition to this lighthouse near the end of the world.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Finding Julianne

Julianne Kissinger is a model and Instagram hottie who is curvaceously captivating.  I've posted about her once before (here), but she's been recently expanding her desirable domain, with a private Snapchat and Supe location.

Here are some links for this lovely being.

Official Web site


The reason for this post is that I accidentally encountered a provocative photograph of Julianne on somewhat by accident. The picture is directly below.  She has both a great bosom (recently augmented, which was well done) and a great derriere, and here the latter is shown off to good advantage.  I believe this was pre-boobjob.

This picture below, however, is post-boobjob.  As you can see, she's got more up top to go with the well-rounded natural assets down below.   Let's also note that her face is exquisitely symmetrical with big brown eyes and full lips, and she has a great head of hair, too.  Superb package.

The West Indies cricketeers astonish England

I haven't been following cricket as much as I used to, and I commonly posted about cricket here on the blog. Truth is, I really only followed English cricket because the Daily Mail includes news about cricket in their sports section. And I just pay attention to Test cricket and not the shorter one-day events, which are reputedly more entertaining (but they aren't part of the lore, history, and heroism of Test cricket). Oh, I occasionally tried to figure out who was ranked where, and whether or not Tendulkar had gotten 100 centuries, but by and large I just followed what England was doing. Later this year they go down to Australia for the Ashes Test series, which I usually pay attention to.

They've been getting ready for that by playing their usual summer Test series. Most recently, they've been playing the West Indies, which is not the power it used to be, even though it has a rich history and some of cricket's most noted players. In the first Test, England handled the "Windies" pretty easily. And in the second Test, at Headingley, despite a slow start, they looked to be headed toward another win. They built up a 322-run lead in their second innings (each team bats twice), and late on the fourth day of the five-day test, they "declared" at that point, which meant that the Windies had to get 323 runs to win, 322 to tie, and anything less than that would be a loss. Going after a point total is called a "chase".

Well, the Windies chased, and caught. It was surprising, it was good cricket, and England was a little bit miffed.

Here's the day 5 recap. But basically, two youngsters from Barbados, Kraigg Braithwaite and Shai Hope, scored 95 runs and 118 runs, respectively, and that was what did it.

There's one more Test in this series to go. Anything less than a series win would be a disappointment for the Brits. We'll see who spins and who misses.

Samuelson puts it simply

Even while President Trump was tramping through the puddles left near Hurricane Harvey's path of destruction in coastal Texas, he was also talking about tax reform. At least that's what he and the Republican fuzzy thinkers in Congress are calling it. In reality, as several pundits have noted, it isn't really tax reform. It's a plain ol' tax cut, and the benefits, as would be expected, go primarily to the top 1% of wealthy households in the nation.

The thing is, as the Washington Post's Robert Samuelson so well explains, we don't need a tax cut. In fact, we need money, via higher taxes -- as the necessity of providing disaster relief to Harvey victims indicates. And paying for more troops in Afghanistan. And building up the Navy.  And improving programs to address climate change.  (Ha, just kidding on that last one. Ugh.)

Here's what Samuelson says:
"Second, we cannot afford a net tax cut. If we are to lower tax rates and simplify complex tax provisions, we must offset the revenue losses by plugging loopholes, raising other taxes or cutting spending. Under current policies, the Congressional Budget Office has projected $10 trillion in deficits from 2018 to 2027. Trump’s tax plan, including provisions that would raise revenue, would add an additional $3.5 trillion in deficits over a decade, estimates the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC)."
Why do we need higher taxes, not a tax cut?
"The truth is that we need higher, not lower, taxes. When the economy is at or near “full employment,” the budget should be balanced or even show a slight surplus."

Pretty simple to understand! But the Republicans are pretty stupid, so pretty simple is over their heads.