Friday, April 20, 2018

Again with the Sony World Photography Awards

As I've noted in previous posts through the years, I like photography contests. In a different life, I'd be a photographer, and I admire the work of the experts and skilled amateurs that show up in these various contests.

The Sony World Photography Awards are always outstanding, and the winners (and runners-up) have just been released.

2018 Sony World Photography Awards Winner's Galleries

I screen-grabbed a couple of them (not at full superb resolution - I hope they don't mind).

Worth noting

By now, swimsuit and glamor model Kate Upton is pretty well-known.  And as would be expected, she looked great in the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (despite getting knocked off a coastal rock by a big wave).

However, she models for other brands as well, and she looked pretty darned fantastic modeling for Yamamay swimwear.

Kate Upton looks sensational in new bikini photoshoot for Yamamay swimwear campaign

A small example of sensational:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

That's Gunilda, not Gundila

The Daily Mail had a really interesting article about a really interesting shipwreck dive, undertaken in Lake Superior.  It was risky because of the depth of the wreck (270 feet) -- even with advanced diving technology, the expedition only had 25 minutes to photograph it.

The expedition was led by intrepid (I don't get very many chances to use that word) underwater photographer Becky Kagan Schott of Liquid Productions (good Web site to visit).

The reason for the title of this post is that the Daily Mail, as it does sometimes, gets the spelling wrong in the secondary headline.  I wasn't sure;  they also spell it wrong one time in the article.  But it is the 'Gunilda', as is clear in this article with a lot of history about the ship and also deep-diving.

Here's the Daily Mail article:

The mini-Titanic: A ship's bell, table, chairs and even a piano revealed inside the incredible wreckage of a British ship preserved for 107 years hundreds of feet under Lake Superior

And here's a picture of the ship's bell, confirming that it's the Gunilda. Either spelling sounds Scottish, where the ship was built.

Heard about the "Haywired"?

The "Haywired" is a described scenario of a Richter scale 7 earthquake on the Hayward Fault, which runs under Oakland, California.

It would cause some problems.

Study: East Bay fault is 'tectonic time bomb,' more dangerous than San Andreas
"The Hayward fault is so dangerous because it runs through some of the most heavily populated areas in the San Francisco Bay Area, spanning the length of the East Bay from the San Pablo Bay, through Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and into Milpitas. It is one of the most dangerous faults in the nation "because of the density of the population directly on or astride it, which would include San Francisco, and the amount of infrastructure that crosses it," [USGS earthquake geologist emeritus David] Schwartz said."

I wonder if this will have any effect on real estate prices.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

This Bureau's building is unique

I don't think that the building in Washington D.C. that is the HQ of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives is on most Top 10 lists of things tourists should see on a visit, but it is kind of interesting to look at.

No, it's not the Wendy's, that's on the other side of the street.  But I expect more than a few ATF (also known as BATFE) staffers do eat there for lunch.

If by chance you're visiting downtown DC and decide you also want to see Baltimore via the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, you'll drive by this building on your way out.

Chronicling the close calls

They're out there -- and it only takes one to ruin a planet's day.

'Tunguska'-Size Asteroid Makes Surprise Flyby of Earth
"The asteroid, designated 2018 GE3, made its closest approach to Earth at around 2:41 a.m. EDT (0641 GMT), whizzing by at a distance of 119,400 miles (192,000 kilometers), or about half the average distance between Earth and the moon, according to NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)."
According to the article, the estimated size means that if it encountered Earth, it would cause regional, but not global, damage.  Which is fine unless your region is Ground Zero for the space rock.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, April 15-21, 2018: Tubbataha Reefs, Phillippines

Can you find this place?

If you can, it's purported to be a prime scuba diving site in the Sulu Sea.  If you have to reacquaint yourself with that location (I did), the Sulu Sea is the body of water located to the west of the southern Phillippines, east of Palawan, and northeast of Borneo.  (To make it easier to visualize, click here. The red pin is where the reefs are, and they are in the middle of a lot of water.)

So, though quite small, the Tubbataha Reefs have a distinctive lighthouse, probably a good idea because boats woudn't want to run aground on these isolated reefs, and the lighthouse is a decent landmark making them easier to find.

And here's what the Lighthouse Directory has to say about this light:
"1980 (station established 1915). Active; two white flashes every 10 s. Approx. 15 m (50 ft) octagonal concrete tower with gallery rising from the center of an octagonal concrete keeper's house. It appears that the lantern has been removed and replaced by a light on a short mast. ... The lighthouse is on South Tubbataha."
This lighthouse does have a keeper's house, as it says, but living here would be right out of "what would you bring to do if you were going to live on a desert island"?  Lots of time for introspection, and waiting for the next supply boat.


This one is better bigger - click it

Best I could find of a close-up, though small

Famous enough to be on a stamp

Highway 41 Streetview trek - the Tampa Bay turn

So where we are now on the Highway 41 trek is north of Bradenton.  Highway 41 does not cross Tampa Bay -- Interstate 275 does that, over the Sunshine Skyway II bridge -- while Interstate 75 parallels what Highway 41 is about to do.  The highway is going to go to the east of Tampa Bay, and is much closer to the water than the interstate.

First thing to do north of Bradenton is to cross the Manatee River into Palmetto.

There are a lot of side trips that would be possible, more interesting Floridian sights, but it's time to get moving north.  So we're skipping the DeSoto Memorial, Anna Maria Island, an Terra Ceia Bay, Terra Ceia Aquatic Preserve and Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, those last being some nice natural areas contrasted with the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa.  We're zipping through the little locale of Rubonia (but you can visit that link if you want).    We'll also go by the Tampa Bay Ecosystem Rock Ponds and retirement haven Sun City.   And we go by the unfortunately named Cockroach Bay, and important baylet for larval fish and a remarkably wild mangrove "forest" in this region. Cockroach Bay is also an Outstanding Florida Water and Aquatic Preserve.

Our next point-of-interest is the crossing of the Little Manatee River, not to be confused with the crossing of the Manatee River, which we did earlier.   The Little Manatee is also an Outstanding Florida Water.

But for the end of this leg, I will take a very short side trip to E.G. Simmons Region Park, which is on the shores of Tampa Bay too.  The thing about this park is that it's one of the few places you can drive to the Tampa Bay coastline.

Next -- up to Tampa.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Rachel McAdams had her baby - according to sources

Via this article in the Daily Mail, which references a report from the Hollywood Pipeline, divine actress Rachel McAdams recently gave birth to the baby that was apparently fathered by her partner Jamie Linden.

None of this, however, is official.  McAdams never even officially said she was pregnant.

Of course, no has to announce this type of thing officially. But McAdams and Linden are one of the best celebrity couples ever at not saying anything about it.

Congratulations, I guess.  (Though I'm sure that if they really did have a baby together, they really are happy about it.  Sure hope so.)

One reason

Here's one reason I love women - their mystery, their sensuality, and how they can look so remarkably beautiful in just a casual pose.  As shown below.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sarasota sights near and on Highway 41

We've returned to the Florida mainland on Highway 41, and we'll note a few sites and sights as we head north.  We're going to make some serious progress this week.

The Ringling Museum of Art is literally a few hundred yards off of Highway 41.  First a panorama, featuring an iconic replica of Michelangelo's statue of David overlooking the courtyard.

Here's a view of the museum from the road.  If you head directly away from the museum on the red brick road, you will quickly be back on Highway 41. It's the first road you come to.  Turn left to head north.

New College of Florida - this is a liberal arts, high academic achievement branch of the University of South Florida.  We're just going to drive by.   You can see the logo on the pedestrian overpass.

You knew that there had to be a Bearded Clam restaurant somewhere in the world, didn't you?  Well, there's definitely one, as seen below.  I wonder if they have box lunches available.

North to Bradenton!

Lighthouse of the Week, April 8-14, 2018: Pointe aux Caves (Albion), Mauritius

Now that this is back on schedule, this week's lighthouse is the only working lighthouse on the actual island of Mauritius, the Pointe aux Caves (Albion) lighthouse, which covers the entrance to the capital and main city on the island, Port Louis.  It's a standard lighthouse, but with really great views and well situated.

Specifications from the Lighthouse Directory:
"1910. Active; focal plane 46 m (151 ft); two white flashes every 10 s; there is also a continuous red passing light at a focal plane of 30 m (98 ft). 30 m (98 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with two red horizontal bands."
And just like last week, three pictures and a video:


Lighthouse of the Week, April 1-7, 2018: Île aux Fouquets, Mahébourg, Mauritius

If you notice the date on this post, you'll figure out that for the first time in a long time, I missed having a Lighthouse of the Week for the week of April 1-7, during the week of April 1-7.   So this is a special lighthouse on the island of Mauritius - an abandoned lighthouse that once guarded the main approach to the harbor of Mahébourg, which was the original French settlement on Mauritius. It is kind of symbolic of the island's history.

Some quick info from the Lighthouse Directory:
1865. Inactive for many years. 26 m (85 ft) masonry tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story and 1-story keeper's complex.
That's pretty much it.   Below are three pictures and a short video.

50-second video

Sunday, April 8, 2018

My first sonnet in April

I'll be posting a couple of sonnets in April.  Here's the first one.

A time that never happened, in a place never seen

Within an isolated space, though here
surrounded by humanity, where walls
define their occupants and have no fear
of sound or light or how strange fate befalls
the witnesses to subterfuge—a match
of intersecting lovers finds a place
to be alone, afloat upon a patch
of solitary rapture, though no trace
persists in public view, no five-fold sense
can tell with whom it was, or even where
it happened—if it did—a dense
anomaly adrift, extremely rare
yet massively attractive, so it bends
refined reality to its own ends.

Interesting article, but there's a big mistake for LoTR fans

The Daily Mail just ran this article about the Amazon Lord of the Rings TV series, which is going to have a very impressive $1 billion dollar budget.

Lord Of The Rings: Amazon's TV series will become the most expensive show in history with a budget of $1 BILLION... beating Netflix's The Crown

Clearly, the budget for this series is partly based on the success of Game of Thrones, and the perceived appetite in the TV-watching community for sword and sorcery epics.  But there's a couple of differences between GoT and the Amazon LoTR.  GoT either had scenes that readers were looking forward to seeing (such as the infamous "Red Wedding"), or it is going where the books haven't gone yet (and may never), and hence there's a surprise factor.  I say that even though I saw the Riders of Rohan-style rescue of Jon Snow and his plucky band by the Knights of the Vale, even down to the horn blowing in the distance, coming from a long way off.

In contrast, this LoTR series is going to take place before the War of the Ring, which is described in the three LoTR novels.  Speaking of that, I want to tell the Daily Mail that the accepted title of the third book in the trilogy is entitled The Return of the King, not The King Returns (read the article).

Tolkien does describe the events between the end of The Hobbit and the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring cursorily in the history appendices after the end of The Return of the King.  The thing is, these events weren't nearly as exciting as the events in the trilogy.  Furthermore, we know how it ends -- because it ends with the War of the Ring.  So how interesting and exciting is a story with no surprises and very few "big" events going to be?   Obviously Amazon is betting $1 bil that it will be interesting and exciting for enough people to be worth such a magnificent investment.  But I'm a big admirer of LoTR, and unless I hear that the Amazon LoTR series is magnificent, I'm likely not going to invest my time in it.

Kate Hudson joins the 3-with-3 club

Actress Kate Hudson, who I admire GREATLY (just search my blog) for her talent, her sex appeal, and her overall high cute factor, clearly loves the men she loves deeply.   And she demonstrates that by having their children.

Kate, now pregnant with boyfriend Danny Fujikawa's baby (it's going to be a girl), has already had a child with Chris Robinson, followed by a child with Matt Bellamy.  So by having a child with Fujikawa, she joins the fairly exclusive celebrity club of women that have had children with three different men.  (Christie Brinkley is also a member.)

As I've noted before, having children with several different men is not the exclusive realm of celebrities -- in fact, it probably happens more often to women in lower-income circumstances, and that's quite unfortunate.  Kate is lucky to be wealthy, and that apparently her ex-partners and the fathers of her previous children are caring parents.  Not always the case in the lower-income circumstances.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Eruption at Piton de la Fournaise

Saw the news a couple of days ago that Piton de la Fournaise, likely the world's second most active basaltic volcano after Hawaii's Kilauea  (if you don't count volcanoes with lava lakes, which I'm not doing here) had erupted.  Might still be, I'm working on that. 

Here is an article about the eruption with a video.  You'll have to watch a couple of ads before watching the video, and the volcanologist in the helicopter speaks French, but despite all that, it's worth it.

Éruption du Piton de la Fournaise : les premières images vues du ciel !
(Eruption of Piton de la Fournaise: the first images seen from the sky!)

Article with pictures
Volcan - Vol au-dessus de la première éruption de l'année
(Volcano - Flight over the first eruption of the year)

Below are a couple of pictures I grabbed of this recent activity.

Visiting Mars

Every now and then I want to check in to see what the Curiosity Rover is seeing on Mars.  You can too, on the American Geophysical Union's "Martian Chronicles" blog ( ).

The most recent entry is entitled "Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Wheel Tracks", and it includes a pretty nice shot of the location that Curiosity is currently occupying.

Apparently the robot couldn't get stable enough to deploy its full instrument set, so they took this picture and moved on.

It's just alien enough to be real, yet otherworldly.

ANOTHER space hotel?

As long-time readers of this blog undoubtedly know --- well, let me start over, since I very likely don't have any long-time readers of this blog.

During the course of writing this blog, I have noted several different ideas, and some actual tentative plans, to put civilian humans in space, sub-orbitally or orbitally, in private spacecraft.  There have been several different plans discussed and designed.  One of the recent ones (which might have a better chance to come true than the others) was an add-on module to the International Space Station.

Now here comes another proposal.  I don't know how much of a chance it has to fly (as of now, they don't even have a launch vehicle identified), but hey, the proposal is on the table.

"Luxury Space Hotel" to launch in 2021

Now, if you don't remember why I am so interested in this topic, it's because I'm waiting for that one loving couple to boldly go where no one has gone before, and become the first members of the Higher-Than-Anyone Else Club.  Which is a lot higher than the Mile High Club.  A space hotel, whichever one gets into space in an operating state first, is a perfect place for this unique weightless docking maneuver.  So who's going to make the first reservation for the orbiting honeymoon suite? 

The world is waiting.

Romantic Paris

Recent newlyweds Brooks Laich and Julianne Hough took some time to visit Paris, and had some exclusive photography of themselves taken while they were there.

After getting married, Brooks made a return to NHL hockey with the Los Angeles Kings, played a few games, and then took the rest of the season off.  He's probably done -- he had a good run.  Now, with time on his hands, he can have Julianne in his ... arms.  And that's not a bad thing at all.

Here's a posed and romantic shot of the pair.

And here's a more casual shot, clearly taken by someone in the right place at the right time.  I think it's pretty likely who that was.

Did you hear what Ann Coulter called Donald Trump?

Ann Coulter is apparently more than a little bit disappointed in Donald Trump as President.

Ann Coulter: Trump is a ‘shallow, lazy ignoramus’

Yes, a little disappointed.

Later in the meeting, feisty Ann had this exchange:
“You’re a racist!” a young man yelled from the cheap seats.

“No, I’m sorry, the people bringing in Juanita, the maid, and underpaying her, are the racists,” Coulter shot back. “You are a moron!” she added—prompting a burst of applause. “You’re very stupid. I can’t argue with stupid people.”
Still such a likable and polite lady.  Really.

Pass the guacamole

Important news: it appears that the avocado shortage crisis has ended.

Don't worry, there will be plenty of avocados this year

"According to produce industry trade publication The Packer, avocado crops in California, Mexico, and Peru are expected to be "heavy" this year—at least partially due to the fact that they're an "alternate-bearing fruit," meaning that it's normal for crops to be heavier one year and lighter the next. 2017 was an "off" year with considerably smaller crops, but this year, US avocado volume is expected to reach 2.4 billion pounds—300 million more than 2017, according to Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board."
Well, good, that's one less thing to worry about. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The (global) temperature of 2017

Usually, the hottest years the Earth experiences, as the globe warms (which sounds reminiscent of that famous soap opera), are when an El Niño event occurs in the Pacific Ocean. That can cause an illusion, because La Niña years, when the equatorial Pacific ocean waters get cooler instead of warmer, can look like a particular year is bucking the warming trend, though that isn't true. This plot, which I've shown before on Twitter, helps defeat the illusion.

This ends in 2015, which at the time was a record hot year - until 2016.

So after the El Niño influenced years of 2015-2016, 2017 didn't have one. There were hints of a La Niña, but nothing of significance had occurred through the end of the year. So 2017 was a non-El Niño year.

And, as would be expected with a warming world, it was the hottest non-El Niño year ever. So that is indeed scant comfort.  And in the article below, there's a version of the plot I have above, updated through 2017 - so you can see exactly what just happened.

2017 was the hottest year on record without an El Niño, thanks to global warming

Clara, artistically

Clare Rene is a model and dancer from Reunion Island, now Paris-based.  I got all that from the top of her Instagram page. (Be cautious, she's nude a lot.  Like nearly all the time, at least in the pictures.  I like that in a woman.)  She's also in a Playboy foreign edition (Portugal), very recently, this month in fact.

Well, anyway, her pictures are quite artistic.  And one of them taken recently inspired my artistic side.  And since I can't paint or draw, I used some fun online sites to make simulated paintings. 

So take a stroll through the one-subject, three picture  gallery.

Jupiter by Juno continues to amaze

This is a modified image of Jupiter from data acquired by Juno on December 16, 2017. David Marriott processed it.

Even though we've been aware of the swirls and eddies and spots of Jupiter for a long time, it's hard to think of Jupiter the same way again -- similar to how our perceptions changed when the Pioneers and Voyagers visited it. This is not such a big step as back then, but it's still a change in the way we view the gas giant planet.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, March 25-31, 2018: Pointe à la Renommée, Quebec, Canada

Large bodies of water tend to have lighthouses on their shores.  A couple of weeks ago, I considered Lake Huron, which is a large body of water (a Great Lake), and discovered unsurprisingly that there are several lighthouses on the shores of Lake Huron.

So I cast about for other large non-oceanic bodies of water that I had not considered very much to this point, and I came up with the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  And it was again not surprising to find out that there are many lighthouses scattered around the Gulf of St. Lawrence and also a few on the islands in the Gulf.

It didn't take long to find one to feature this week -- this one is the Pointe à la Renommée lighthouse.

When I looked for it on Google Maps, the first map didn't give me a good idea of where it was located on the Gulf -- so I zoomed out until I got to this point (click to see where it was), and found that the lighthouse is on the Gaspé Peninsula.

But it turns out, this lighthouse wasn't always there.  After it was decommissioned in 1975, it was moved to Quebec City, and spent twenty years there (after being rebuilt).  But the people of the Gaspé Peninsula wanted it back, so they bought it back and brought it back in 1997, and it's been there ever since.  There's a working light nearby, on one of those boring steel towers.

The tower next to the new lighthouse tower is the old lighthouse tower.  And there's also a historic communications connection: it was the site of the first marine "Marconi" (i.e. radio) relay station.

And on top of all that, it's a fantastic location.  I couldn't find any views of it from the ocean, so the pictures below will have to suffice.

The tower is 49 feet high, and it even has it's own Fresnel lens (as you can see in the pictures).

Some other Web sites about this place:

Pointe à la Renommée Historic Site


Historical site of Pointe-à-la-Renommée (Fame Point) [Official Web site]

Off Highway 41, St. Armand's Key

On this post we'll finish the side trip from Sarasota, and then make some progress toward Tampa. We still have a long way to go, but once we get into central Florida, we'll make more mileage progress.

Crossing the Ringling Causeway, looking at Bird Key

St. Armands Circle, fancy shopping and eating on St. Armands Key.  Looks like there was a car show in progress, or just rich people showing off their expensive cars.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, private research institution just around the corner from St. Armands Circle

Now, back to the mainland, with a couple more sights to see.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Badlands from the road

I'll get back to Highway 41 in Florida in a couple of days.  I realized I hadn't shown any StreetViews of landmarks or oddities for awhile, and I thought that would be fun to do again.  So I thought of a drive-through (at least in sections) national park, the Badlands National Park of South Dakota, which lies east of the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.

And I found a couple of good views from the road, which in this case is South Dakota Highway 240.  There are a couple of drive-through views in the southern part of the park too, which I'll show in a subsequent post.

The top one doesn't look that spectacular until you rotate it to the left a bit.

Joe Scarborough doesn't like Donald Trump

It isn't news that former congressman, current political talk show host and pundit Joe Scarborough doesn't think very highly of Donald Trump, and he has plenty of motivation for that.  So in a recent op-ed, Scarborough provided a very good impression of his feelings.

John Bolton’s appointment is a fitting coda to conservatism’s failures

For context:
"Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind,” published in 1953, laid the foundations of a modern conservative movement that dominated the second half of the American Century. But 65 years later, Kirk’s classic work reads instead as a damning indictment against the very movement he helped launch."
That serves to put the Kirk reference in the following in context.
"Yes, the Soviet Union is in the dustbin of history, Osama bin Laden is dead and ISIS is — at least temporarily — on its heels. But the inner chaos Kirk warned of so many years ago runs rampant in a country dominated by the bloated presence of a man who embraces dictators, vilifies the free press, corrupts religious leaders, absolves white supremacists, degrades women and continues a life’s work defined by little more than the amoral pursuit of material wealth."
Like I said, Joe doesn't like Donald Trump very much.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, March 18-24, 2018: Ailsa Craig, Scotland

This week the Lighthouse of the Week was inspired by an Image of the Day from the NASA Earth Observatory.  I like taking a look at that site frequently, because it has a lot of different images, a new one each day (as you might be able to guess).

So, this one showed a small island off the coast of Scotland, named Ailsa Craig.  I fully admit I had never heard of this place before.  It appears that every four years, it briefly becomes noted, because the granite from this island is the stone from which curling stones are made, and every four years the world pays attention to curling in the Winter Olympics.  (By the way, that's not fair to curling, which is a fascinating sport.  But hey, hardly anyone plays it.)

Curling stone

From Scottish magma to Sochi ice: the geologic history of curling stones

So, here's an article about Ailsa Craig and the curling stones.  Sochi 2014:  the island providing Olympic stones of destiny

Here's a picture of the barge being loaded with the granite used for the curling stones.  They do this about every ten years or so, getting 2,000 tons at a time.

Now, it is not the reason Ailsa Craig is famous (obviously), but the island also has a lighthouse, and the lighthouse still has a Fresnel lens.

So, here are pictures of the lighthouse on Ailsa Craig, island of curling stones.

A sonnet tribute to the fallen on World Poetry Day

Although I specialize in erotic sonnets, they are not my sole theme.  A few days ago I was thinking about the many soldiers that have fallen in battles or in wars (because many deaths in wars are not from fighting) -- from Châlons to Cowpens to Chickamauga to Chosin Reservoir -- whose names have been lost to history, or those who were barely ever known.  That thought inspired this sonnet, which I offer on World Poetry Day.

those who fought and fell

They are the nameless dead who had a name,
perhaps not known to many, but indeed
a person with a life, though lacking fame
and living thus uncounted. So when greed
or lusts for power gathered them and made
their individualities into
a military force, when on parade
their army had historic lines, and through
it they were given names by soldiering;
but if they died, heroically or not,
by battle or bacterium, we sing
soft eulogies to those unknown, forgott-
en one by one yet still remembered for
what they did lose or gain in fearsome war.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Short notes about the NCAA Division I women's swimming championships

While a great majority of sports watchers are watching the first round of the NCAA basketball championships (men and women, hopefully), a few of us watched -- or will watch -- the NCAA D1 women's swimming championships.

Reviewing the results, the swimmer of the meet was either Ella Eastin of Stanford or Lilly King of Indiana.  Both of them set national records (as well as meet, pool, U.S. Open, and NCAA) in their two individual events.  Eastin did it in the 200 and 400 IM (where second place was Katie Ledecky), while King did it in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.  All of these are short-course yards records.

Ledecky won the 500 and 1650, and was also on the winning 800 freestyle relay, but no records. Considering the level at which she set the records, that's understandable.

Stanford nearly doubled the point total of the second-place team, so no drama there.

Simone Manuel of Stanford won the 50 and 100 freestyle in pool records.  Her 50 freestyle was 0.01 second off her national record, so still pretty good.

I'll see if I can find a couple of videos of the national record swims.

Eastin in action below.

So do we - if she's wearing them

Sports Illustrated states the rather obvious, with lots of pertinent illustrations (of course):

Alexis Ren loves tiny bikinis

Another op-ed about Trump lying

I'm sensing a trend here.  More and more articles about how much, and how big, our own (cough) President Trump lies.  Remember back not long ago when the media shied away from saying that any politician, let alone the Chief Executive of the USA, told lies.

Not anymore.

Trump is perfecting the art of the big lie

Two short quotes from this:

"Trump is signaling that he doesn’t care what the truth is. From now on the truth will be whatever he says, and he expects every loyal follower to faithfully parrot the official party line. Or else." 
"Trump is sending a signal that not only does he insist on his right to lie but that he regards telling the truth as a firing offense. Government officials, take note."

Thursday, March 15, 2018

We know Trump lies, and he even admitted it

There isn't much more I can say about this article, and Trump's admission that he ignorantly ad-libbed to Justin Trudeau about the trade surplus with Canada. He made it up on the spot and said it as if he believed it, so if the writers and pundits want to call it a lie, I will too.

As he prepares to face Mueller, Trump boasts of his ability to lie

The problem is, as the paragraph excerpted below notes, from a position of power a person can lie, and assert that their lie is the truth, which is an assertion of their power. And because of that power, people who recognize the position of power -- who respect it, even if the person in that position doesn't -- believe what that person says, and also defend it as it is incorporated into their own belief system. And though the trade surplus is not a major issue, Trump is doing this all the time with issues of considerably greater importance. That, to put it mildly, is not good. Not good at all.

"As Jacob Levy has written, these “demonstrations of power undermine the existence of shared belief in truth and facts.” The whole point of them is to assert the power to say what the truth is, or what the truth should be, even when — or especially when — easily verifiable facts dictate the contrary. The brazenness and shamelessness of Trump’s lying is not a mere by-product of Trump’s desire to mislead. It is absolutely central to the whole project of declaring the power to say what reality is."

An article about Amy Jackson, and a picture

I never heard of Amy Jackson before she showed up on Supergirl, but she immediately caught my attention. She's a looker, a Miss Teen World, a runner-up to Miss England, listed in FHM's World's Sexiest Women for 2013, and has been acting in films from India, as she has Indian parentage from British citizens. I have a strong feeling we're going to see more of her. And I personally would like to see MORE of her, but that's just me. (And maybe several thousand other guys.)

Bollywood star Amy Jackson flaunts her ample cleavage in a sultry black thigh-split gown at the Asian Awards in London

Glamorous black-and-white shot below.  Yes, she does have ample cleavage.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Under the right conditions

Under the right conditions, which in this case means a moonless night at an extremely dark (no light pollution) locale, the bright band of the Milky Way can cast a shadow.

I just learned this.

And I found a picture of this unusual occurrence, too.  While I search for more, take a look at this:

A Milky Way Shadow at Loch Ard Gorge

Here's the picture, but it's bigger (and explained) at the site at the link, where it's an Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

She went swimming too?

The Daily Mail has a pattern of fixating on certain people and writing articles about them over and over and over and over and over ... you get the idea ... and over again, especially if these people are a) really good-looking, which covers a lot of celebrities, particularly female celebrities; b) really strange; or c) royalty.  There are other categories, but for this short posting I'm interested in one from column (a).

In this particular case, the subject of the article is a remarkably fit ... make that extremely fit ... and quite lovely 50-year old woman from China, named Liu Yelin.  Because of this combination, to whit, very good-looking at an age when it's common for women to have lost the beauteous bloom of youth, Liu Yelin has been the subject of a few Daily Mail articles.  It certainly helps that she likes to pose in bikinis, which is something the Daily Mail editorial staff appears to delight in.

In this case, Liu Yelin is posing in a bikini ----- on the shores of Siberia's famous and totally unique Lake Baikal, in March.  It is not warm there.  In fact, it is about -40 degrees C.

This is different from cryotherapy, because it's windy.  I don't know how long she did this posing, but she's apparently still alive, so it couldn't have been too long.

The article also says that she went swimming in Lake Baikal, and includes a video of her doing just that. Well, if the water isn't frozen, that means its a bit above 0 degrees C.  I don't imagine she stayed in the water long, either.

Here's a nice picture of Liu Yelin posing in a bikini, in environs which appear considerably warmer than Lake Baikal in late winter.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Juli Annee checks in

Julianne Kissinger, aka juli.annee on Instagram, checked in on her phone quite recently.

Don't close the windows on my account.

Now, someone else had to take this next picture, but even though the room is different, the view is still great.

Is coffee REALLY good for you, or not?

Discover magazine's blog takes on this stimulating subject.

Coffee:  A Most Enigmatic, Ubiquitous Beverage

Sounds like it's mostly a good thing.
"Two umbrella reviews were published last year (here and here), and their findings flew in the face of centuries of coffee gossip. The verdict was that coffee drinking is linked to lowered risk of myriad diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, a few types of cancer, liver disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and depression—not too shabby.  
Above all, coffee drinkers were less likely to die early from any cause. And with the possible exception of drinking it while pregnant, there were no negative effects to speak of. “The key message is that with the evidence that we have up to date, we can say that coffee can be part of a healthy diet,” says nutritional epidemiologist Giuseppe Grosse at the University of Catania in Italy and lead author of one of the umbrella reviews."

Lighthouse of the Week, March 11-17, 2018: Tawas Point, Michigan

After visiting several lighthouses around the world, I return to the U.S.A. this week and to the Great  Lakes in particular.   And the Great Lake I've selected is the middle child, Lake Huron.  This week's lighthouse is Tawas Point Light in Michigan.

Here is a LOT about it, from Lighthouse Friends:

Tawas Point, Michigan

It's pretty classical, though the red roof of the keeper's house is notable.  The white tower is 67 feet high.

Here's where it is -- scroll out further to see where that is in Michigan.  I'm not sure if it's active;  the Lighthouse Friends article indicates that the Coast Guard was planning to shut it down in October 2015.  The Lighthouse Directory says it was inactivated in 2016.  So now I'm sure it's not active.

Four pictures and a video below.