Wednesday, November 14, 2018

When even the Russians who got you elected don't like you

This article in the Daily Mail caught my attention:

Russia hits out at US 'unpredictability' under Trump, saying it is causing 'deep global concern'

"The Kremlin hit out at the 'unpredictability' of the United States under Trump, saying it was causing 'deep global concern'.

'The fact that America has become unpredictable lately is no secret to anyone,' Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Dozhd TV today during a visit by President Vladimir Putin to Singapore.

'Such unpredictability from the largest country, the most powerful economy in the world, is the subject of deep global concern,' he added.
Does the phrase "hoist by their own petard" seem appropriate about now?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Two amazing pictures of Jupiter from Juno

Some of the best pictures I've seen from this mission - and that's saying a lot, because I've seen quite a few great shots.  But these are really, really special.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 11-17, 2018: North Foreland, Kent, UK

England has a lot of history.  England also has a lot of lighthouses.  And thus, a lot of England lighthouses have a lot of history.

As one might expect, a lighthouse that guides ships into the estuary of the Thames River (that's the one that flows through London) would have quite a bit of history.  And it definitely does. In fact, according to the Web site I found about this one, the first year there was a light set up at this location was 1499.   We just missed the 500th anniversary back in 1999.

This site is all about English lighthouses, so here's a whole page about the North Foreland Lighthouse.

Extracting a few morsels of information about this one:

"Later in 1636 the first lighthouse was constructed, a wooden octagonal tower, 2 storeys high with a Iron coal burning grate on the top. The timber tower structure was completed with lathes and plaster. This was destroyed by fire in 1683."

The new 1691 lighthouse burned coal. They switched to oil in 1793. They put a lantern house on it in 1890.


"Octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white, attached to two 2-story keeper's houses."

The height of the tower is 26 meters.

Pictures also indicate that it is close to Kingsgate Castle, of which I have a picture below, too.

Kingsgate Castle.  North Foreland lighthouse is at far right.

A sonnet, contemplating the reasons for taking chances

swing for the boundary

What kinds of risk are those that we can find
acceptable? For some of us wish not
e'en scant amounts of danger, with a mind
for safety by the simplest path to plot
toward lands of soft serenity. Yet that
is not the way of those who see the face
of nervelessness as when they take the bat
into their hands and man the crease, the space
where they can fully fail, yet if they swing
and hit and run, they have a chance to win --
and for that to occur, their offering
is courage and their penalty akin
to endings, brutal or sublime, the fate
that all must face though none shall know the date.

Highway 41 in Georgia, north of Cordele

A few stops traveling north of Cordele.

Vienna, Georgia

Dooly County High School, Home of the Bobcats

Pinehurst, Georgia

Thursday, November 8, 2018

I want to try durian - but not fly with it

I wrote a few posts ago about how I'd like to try the strange Indonesian fruit durian. It's the fruit with the big spiky outer hull, big enough to kill someone if it dropped on them, and containing an interior edible "custard" that smells horrible but which aficionados claim is one of the world's great flavors.

Well, I knew from previous reading that no one likes someone with durian traveling on a bus with them.  From the article below, we find out that this general rule applies to airplanes as well.

Overwhelmed passengers abandoned an Indonesian flight crammed with 2 tons of a notoriously smelly tropical fruit
"According to a reporter Boyke Ledy Watra with Indonesia's national news agency, Antara, several passengers were so overwhelmed that they were "almost coming to blows with flight crew members."
EWWW.  (And yum!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It really is there

I like Google Maps (as you might guess from my end-to-end, eventually, Google StreetView journey on America's Highway 41.

So this interesting article in the Daily Mail (of course) caught my eye.

Water we REALLY looking at? Stunning Google Earth image appears to show a plane submerged under the sea seven miles off the coast of Scotland

After reading the article, I went to Google Maps, and found the location, and zoomed in.  Then I grabbed the satellite image and put it right below.  Just zoom in on the right side of the image and you'll see it too (it's the white spot).

It has a perfectly reasonable explanation, of course.  But it's still a little bit weird.  Also, weirdly enough, it's brighter in this linked image below than it is on the Google Maps site.

On Highway 41, through Cordele, Georgia

On Highway 41, going through the town of Cordele, Georgia. 

Google Maps says this is "Carter's Hamburgers", but the sign says "Carter's Fried Chicken".

Cordele, Georgia: Highway 41 and W. 12th Avenue

Another view of downtown Cordele

Off the highway eight miles: Georgia Veterans State Park, Lake Blackshear. It's the first stop on the SAM Shortline train (see below).

SAM Shortline Excursion Train, - goes through some noteworthy places, like Plains, Georgia.

Crisp County Courthouse (also in Cordele)

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Dawn mission is over

After orbiting Vesta and then Ceres, the first time one human-built spacecraft has orbited two different astronomical bodies, the Dawn spacecraft has gone quiet because the exhaustion of its maneuvering fuel meant that it couldn't point its antenna at Earth.

Amazing mission, and we learned a lot, but the highlight was figuring out that the bright white deposits on Ceres are made of salt.

So, good night and good flight, Dawn.

Mid-term 2018 election results, first thoughts

Well, it came out about as expected -- which is good for Democrats.  Unfortuately, the Rethuglicans added a couple of seats in the Senate, partly due to the overwhelming numerical advantage that they had regarding vulnerable Democrats in majority Republican states.  But the Democrats have carried the House, so I can post this:

Governorships - good news and bad news.  The baddest news is that DeSantis won in Florida, which along with Rick Scott's Senate win, makes me feel very bad for the people of Florida.  Good news -- a Democratic win in Kansas, ending the run of nutty Republicans starting with Sam "Banana Republic" Brownback.  Wisconsin is still close as I write this, but Evers is leading over Walker, who I would definitely like to see out of office. 

I can still write more on this, and will.  But as for now, the Democratic win in the House means a lot of the crazy, boot-licking partisans that headed up House committees are out of the chairman's seat. And that means there should be some real oversight now, something the country badly needs.

One final comment, and note that I said it here first.  Even though the Republicans added seats in the Senate, they were expected to at least retain their majority, and maybe add to it, which they did.  But Donald Trump clearly hurt the party, and that has invoked the House flip.  Coming up soon will be more revelations from Robert Mueller's investigation, and many pundits (and I as well) think there are going to be some serious charges and statements from him that are going to make Donald look pretty bad.  So, I think, if in post-election analysis it can be determined that Donald is a net liability for the party, malfeasant Mitch McConnell will give Nancy Pelosi a call and ask how soon the impeachment proceedings can get started. 

The game is afoot.

Nearly insane

Roughly every 3-4 days, the Daily Mail has an article about Elizabeth Hurley wearing a bikini (or sometimes less).

Obviously one of the reasons that the tabloid's Web page has devoted readers, such as me, is that some of their articles are precisely about this basic subject.  The names may change, but it's basically beaches, bikinis, bodies, and boobs.

Which is not a problem.

Elizabeth Hurley has a great figure and is phenomenally fit at age 53.  If she wants to keep demonstrating her fit figure, she can go right ahead and provide pics to the Daily Mail.   The one below is from one of the most recent articles ("Elizabeth Hurley, 53, sets pulses racing as she performs sexy striptease to showcase her incredible curves in paisley print bikini on Maldives break").


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, November 4-10, 2018: Ákra Doukáto, Lefkas, Greece

First, before we get to the description and spectacular pictures of this lighthouse, a bit about the name.  This lighthouse is on Lefkas (also known as Leucas) island, and there's another lighthouse on the island named Lefkáda. But I saw some pictures of the lighthouse I'm featuring here labeled Lefkáda. But this is on the lighthouse on Cape Doukáto, which can also be spelled Dukato. Confused yet?

I will also note that this is surprisingly only the fifth lighthouse from Greece I've featured, and three of them were all on Crete.

So, let's get to it.  Basic specs from the Lighthouse Directory:   "1890. Active; focal plane 70 m (230 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a 1-story keeper's house. Entire lighthouse painted white. ... The light station stands atop a spectacular cliff at the southern tip of Lefkáda, commanding a view of the islands of Ithiki and Kefalloniá. According to legend the poet Sappho leaped to her death from this cliff around 570 BCE."

So there you have the description and the legend. Now, is it a spectacular cliff?

Yes, yes it is.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Proceeding north through central Georgia on Highway 41

More sights to view on Highway 41 as the trek heads toward Warner Robins.

Crossing the West Fork of Deep Creek, with a little bit of forest.  It's a very brief respite from the Georgia farm fields.

Highway 41, by the Turner County Nursery,

Arabi, Georgia, Post Office and Country Store.

Crossing Cedar Creek.

The next trek sector will be Cordele, Georgia, which has a very interesting and historic feature for tourists.

Lighthouse of the Week, October 28 - November 3, 2018: Laem Phra Chao, Thailand

This week's lighthouse is one of the fanciest I've seen - partly because it's also a monument. It was built for the 50th anniversary of the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  The lighthouse is Laem Phra Chao, and I even have a nice map that shows where it is.

Here are the basic stats from the Lighthouse Directory.
"1996. Active; focal plane 94 m (308 ft); white flash every 9 s. 15 m (49 ft) octagonal white concrete tower with an ornately decorated gold top, rising from a 1-story building.  ...  Located at the southernmost point of Phuket Island"
And it's open to the public - you can climb up to the fancy gold top.

Two more pictures below.  I couldn't find a lot (one site has several), despite Phuket being a vacation/resort destination and the easy public access.

This one is real big if you click on it

Two good fortune cookie quotes to play the game with

You know the game. Add "in bed" to the end of the fortune from the fortune cookie.

I recently got these two:

Your happiest days are ahead of you ...

A challenge will bring forth your finest abilities ...

Dang, sounds like fun to me! (So first I've got to get a date.)