Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Babe Week 2019 Day 3: Jocelyn Binder

Today's Babe Week post features Jocelyn Binder, who I have featured by herself once here:

"What makes a picture sexy?" 

and with a couple of other pictures here and there.  She is lithe, slender, graceful, elegant, and apparently a model that doesn't have a problem finding jobs.  She has a unique look with cat-like eyes.  She was in Playboy while in college, and was recently featured in Playboy Australia, and she's been in other international versions, even on the cover, as shown by the Playboy South Africa cover below. 

She also occasionally replies when I comment on an Instagram picture; that's nice of her to do.

What I just found out about Jocelyn is that she's also a cancer survivor.  Not just any cancer, but she survived breast cancer, with a double mastectomy.  She has implants/prosthetics, and whoever her doctor was, he was good at what he does, because they appear natural and pretty, and her modeling career is doing great.

Unfortunately, I can't show what they look like in their full nude glory here, but it isn't hard to find if you know how to look.  Before that, though, you can enjoy these selected pictures.       

Her derriere is just about perfect, too.

Lighthouse of the Week, April 21-27, 2019: Point Bolivar, Texas, USA

I discovered that I only featured one lighthouse from Texas before on my blog;  it wouldn't take long to feature all of them, because they are only five left.  This one is the Point Bolivar lighthouse, located by Port Bolivar, and it hasn't been active since 1933.  The Fresnel lens that used to be in the lantern room is now in the Smithsonian.  Port Bolivar is on the northern side of the pass that allows entrance into Galveston Bay.

It's also big and tall, at 116 feet.  Here's the excerpted info from the Lighthouse Directory:
"1873. Inactive since 1933. 117 ft (36 m) cast iron tower (brick lined). The 3rd order Fresnel lens used from 1907 to 1933 is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington DC. Two 1-story keeper's quarters are used as private residences; one was being restored to its historical appearance in 2003."
OK, 117 feet.

Three pictures below, and a StreetView drive right up to the base of the lighthouse.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Sony Photography Award contest winners

The Daily Mail comes through with the winning shots from the Sony Photography Award contest.

Over 300,000 entries have been whittled down to these stunning winning images for the 2019 Sony Photography Awards

Here is a direct link to this year's winners and runners-up:

2019 Winners and Shortlist Galleries

An intriguing one is below.

Babe Week continues with five pictures of Valenti Vitel

Valenti Vitel is a globe-traveling model that I've mentioned here once before. Via Instagram accounts in which sometimes they include pictures of themselves together, it is clear that she also has a sister with very similar figure characteristics, to whit, they both are amazingly slender, with very narrow waists, abs tighter than a timpani, long legs, derrieres that define the word "pert", and well-proportioned and well-carried bosoms.  Now, I'm not certain that the bosoms are entirely natural, but they definitely attract attention, and they sure look nice.

So, here are five pictures of V2

looking fantastic.

Sweet dreams are made of these

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Ali Rose kicks off Babe Week

The scrumptious and lush glamour model Ali Rose kicks off Babe Week 2019. 

True blue

The few yet perspicacious readers of this blog may remember that I am somewhat fascinated by large and unusual diamonds. 

Because of that, they will not be surprised that I immediately paid attention when I saw the announcement of a new and spectacular blue diamond, about 20 carats, named the Okavango Blue.

Simply put, it's spectacular, and obviously rare.  In an interview (shown below), there was no attempt to speculate on how much it might sell for.  The expectation is a LOT, and I think that's reasonable.

Articles about the find:

Rare 20-carat blue diamond unveiled in Africa

Biggest blue diamond ever in Botswana  (meaning it's the biggest ever found in Botswana, not the biggest blue diamond ever).


Well and truly safe

The Crystal Palace FC has survived again, officially now, to stay in the Premier League for another year.  They did this with a 3-2 upset over Arsenal.   Meanwhile, Cardiff City, the only remaining time in the PL relegation zone that could escape, lost (but put up a good effort) against Liverpool.

Palace storm the Emirates

They received goals by Benteke, Zaha, and McArthur for the win.

In other news, apparently Crystal Palace is finally willing to let Zaha go to a club willing to pay a deservedly high asking price, and then (hopefully) they can use that money to add a couple of younger lesser talents that will nonetheless maintain the presence of the team in England's top-tier league.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Well, I guess I wish I'd known beforehand

On April 19, I read an article dated April 17, about a bus-sized (big bus) asteroid that zipped by Earth within the Moon's orbital distance on April 18.

Well, obviously nothing happened.  But still, I'd like to have known about it.

They actually knew about it on April 10 (as mentioned here).  But I saw the article about it on the 19th (today as I'm writing this).

Another April sonnet, "consorted harmony"

consorted harmony

When this was understood, that on this day
and place within disaster, he would be
unlike the life of any other man
because of what was offered him, what she
according to their own unspoken plan
awarded there -- and though we cannot stay
with them, and only think to know his place
and stature, e'en if he was not aware
himself when he became more than his own
acquaintance would admit; when he did share
this love and bed a single night, the throne
a goddess grants to mortals when their space
converges and their stark distincton flows
and then dissolves amidst the fire-lit glows.

An April sonnet, "A-C"


She is so beautiful, that were she nude
we might not even notice it! and yet
the fineness of her figure makes a crude
assessment difficult, for if we let
our lusts o'erwhelm our eyes, then we would lose
the joy of pure appreciation she
invokes -- as if we watched the fleshly hues
of life pervade a sculpture and then free
a marble maiden to receive the views
of her admiring followers, she would
be real, and thus revealed could not refuse
what had before been known and understood --
she is so far above the human norm
that we must adulate her face and form.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Highway 41 crosses another border

The Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek crosses the Georgia-Tennessee line in this blog post. So after spending a really long state, we are finally in the third state.  Not very far, yet, but it is indeed Tennessee.  There will be lots of posts in the next couple of weeks, as I try to cover some miles this and the next month.

Entering Tennessee! (They don't make a big deal of it, but you can get a Krystal Stacker).

Crossing WEST Chickamauga Creek

And of course, Highway 41 crosses over I-75 again.

Lighthouse of the Week, April 14-20, 2019: Anse-à-la-Cabane, Quebec, Canada

After three lighthouses in the Philippines, I headed north to Quebec, Canada.  I found this one on the Îles de la Madeleine, which is an isolated group of narrow islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, north of Prince Edward Island and west of New Brunswick, population about 13,000.

The lighthouse is Anse-à-la-Cabane, which I've also seen written as l'Anse-à-la-Cabane.  It's the biggest lighthouse on the islands.

Here is a Web site about it:

And here are some excerpts from that Web site (I don't always use Lighthouse Directory)
"The lighthouse at Anse-à-la-Cabane was built in 1870 and 1871. It is the oldest lighthouse of the archipelago that is still in service. It is also known as the Millerand or the Havre-Aubert Island lighthouse.

This type of lighthouse is characterised by an hexagonal wood structure and a slender shape. This shape was abandoned after 1871 in favour of a square design that was cheaper and easier to build. The lighthouse at Anse-à-la-Cabane was likely one of the last of its type built in Canada.

With a height of 17.1 metres, the lighthouse is the tallest one on Les Îles de la Madeleine. With the keeper's house and other outbuildings, the lighthouse à Anse-à-la-Cabane forms a grouping that is unique on the archipelago."

And herewith, the pictures.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Anchialine, not anchovy

For my entire life, until I read this article, I did not know that there was a word anchialine, and of course, since I didn't know the word existed, I didn't know what it meant either.

What is an anchialine pool?

The Kanonone Waterhole, near the far southern point of Hawaii's Big Island, is one such pool.

(Oh yeah, an anchialine pool is an enclosed body of water connected to the ocean. Now you're satisfied.)

A couple of StreetViews north of Ringgold, Georgia

Still on Highway 41, and can't wait to get to Tennessee.  Two more views in this post.

Crossing South Chickamauga Creek

A side trip from Indian Springs, a small town north of Ringgold, could be the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, but 41 swings by to the north.  Don't worry, there are more battlefield opportunities to come.

Crossing Peavine Creek

Tennessee is nigh.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Good news for the oceans?

Good news about the warming, plastic-ridden, and overutilized oceans is in short supply these days, but this seems to be something good, even if it's not a done deal.

First ever high-seas conservation treaty would protect life in international waters

Speaking of dealing:
"One key issue facing negotiators—who met for the first time late last year and are scheduled to gather twice more over the next year—is how much of the high seas to protect. Existing preserves cover about 5% of the world's oceans, mostly in territorial waters. Under a different U.N. agreement, nations endorsed a goal of expanding reserves to cover 10% of the entire ocean by 2020. But many conservationists and scientists—as well as the government of the United Kingdom—argue the new pact should go bigger, placing 30% of the high seas off limits to unregulated exploitation."

We'll see how this goes, won't we?  I'd be very happy with 25%.

Whole lotta meltin' goin' on

Very sadly, there is a new quantification of how much glaciers around the world have melted in the past 50 years.  Not only are they unique, beautiful, and scenic features of Earth's landscape, they also provide water resources for millions of people, and their melting also creates natural hazards.

Simply put, This Is Not Good News.

Glaciers Lose Nine Trillion Tons of Ice in Half a Century

Some news from Maryland

If you hadn't heard, the Speaker of the House of Delegates in Maryland, Michael E. Busch, died due to prostate cancer a few days ago.  He also died near the end of the session, and some of the causes he cared about were the subject of legislation.

Md. lawmakers boost oyster sanctuaries, renewable energy; overhaul UMMS board

One of the things they did was to override a veto of a bill to create oyster sanctuaries in the Chesapeake Bay.  Not only would this be good for oysters, but over time (unfortunately, over quite a bit of time), bigger and healthier oyster populations will improve the Bay's water quality and probably the habitat for many different kinds of fish that live there.

As you'll see below, watermen (who harvest oysters) said the sanctuary bill would be bad for business.  Well, forgive me for saying so, but having no oysters in the Bay would be bad for business, too. 

A quoted excerpt is below:
"Environmentalists heralded the sanctuary bill as key to helping revive the bay, but watermen said it would jeopardize their livelihood. Republican lawmakers were muted in their criticism of the measure in deference to Busch, who led the chamber for 13 years.

The Democratic-majority General Assembly also voted to require that 50 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources ..."

About that last part ... sure wish they included nuclear energy, because we DO have a working nuclear power plant in this state, one that has operated with very few problems.  But the energy sector is currently fascinated with solar and wind -- and yet they haven't thought much about my remarkably useful idea to put solar panel farms over parking lots.  Search this blog for "PLUGS-In". 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Brace yourself for more conspiracy theories

Paul Waldman, writing on the Washington Post's Plum Line, predicts that we'll be hearing about a lot more conspiracies from Donald Trump in the next couple of years.

In 2020, Trump’s conspiracy theorizing will only get worse

The part I liked was so good I made it a special feature.

That applies to so many things that Republicans and conservatives believe are true, but really aren't.

Lighthouse of the Week, April 7-13, 2019: Cape Bojeador, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

So for the last of my Philippines lighthouses for awhile, I went with a Spanish heritage lighthouse.  Now, the first of the three, Corregidor Island, was a Spanish lighthouse, but it was rebuilt. The Cape Bojeador light, featured this week, has been renovated recently -- there are numerous pictures of this one on the Web, many of them taken before it was renovated, but enough after it was renovated to make it clear that it was renovated.

So where is it?  Here is where it is.  It is on far northern Luzon, the northern main island of the archipelago.

Here's what the Lighthouse Directory says about it:
"One of the best known of all Philippine lighthouses, located at the northwestern corner of Luzon. It is a 65 ft (20 m) octagonal stone tower completed in 1892. The original lantern and lens remain, although the lens was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1990; the active lens is outside the lantern, I believe. This is one of the few Philippine lighthouses still staffed, although the principal function of the keepers is to lead tours."
And now the pictures I've selected - and a short drone video, too!

Safe and nearly safe

A couple of sports teams I've been following have hit some milestones.  The Hershey Bears American Hockey League team, the affiliate of the Washington Capitals, clinched a playoff spot.  I wrote about them before, when they were on an amazing hot streak, and they rode that to the playoff position.    And at the beginning of the season, they were BAD - started with 5 straight losses, and on December 21 of last year, they had the worst record of all the teams in the league.

Quite a comeback.

My Premier League interest, Crystal Palace, moved into a nearly safe position, meaning that they likely won't be relegated to the next league down, called the Championship.  They now have 39 points, after winning, losing, winning, losing, and then most recently winning.  Nothing like consistency.  They were the sacrificial team when Tottenham Hotspur had their first official game in their new stadium, but they won their next outing.

The bottom three teams are the ones that get relegated, and of those three, Cardiff City has the most points, at 28.  Each team has 6 games left, and in the Premier League, a win is worth three points.  So if Crystal Palace didn't win another game, Cardiff would have to win 4 of their last 6 games (12 points) to catch them.  Two of Cardiff City's last six games are against the power teams Liverpool and Manchester United, and they also play Crystal Palace.  So it would be pretty miraculous for Cardiff to catch CP.  However, Cardiff City could still avoid relegation, as the two teams just above them in the standings, Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton, only have 33 points.

So it will be interesting to watch the final stretch.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

True of so many things

Paul Waldman, from this op-ed in the Washington Post entitled "In 2020, Trump's conspiracy theorizing will only get worse",  provided a paragraph that is sadly true of many different things in this modern era of post-scientific thought, politics, and philosophy:

"It’s important to appreciate that the conspiracy theorist doesn’t just believe a set of outlandish stories. He has adopted an entire way of thinking about the world, one in which there are always a dozen layers of lies concealing the hidden truth. The fact that most everyone believes something becomes evidence that it’s probably false. Trump constantly feeds into this worldview not just by offering a steady stream of preposterous lies but by characterizing settled questions as deep mysteries whose truth is waiting to be uncovered."
I underlined that one sentence, because I have heard and seen many different behavioral examples of it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Back on Highway 41, near the end of the Great Locomotive Chase

The Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek continues - now headed north of Dalton, toward the locations of the final stages of the Great Locomotive Chase in the Civil War.  And we are also getting closer to Tennessee!

But the trek is not there yet.

I-75 again!

Mill Creek Gap, by the Johns Mountain Wildlife Management Area

Near the Tunnel Hill tunnel.  Having gone through Dalton, one potential place that the raiders could have damaged and caused serious problems to the rail line was the Tunnel Hill tunnel.  But they didn't have time, because their pursuers were right behind them.

You guessed it - I-75

By South Chickamauga Creek, south of Ringgold

The railroad tracks near Ringgold

Ringgold Depot

Downtown Ringgold.   The Great Locomotive Chase passed through Ringgold and ended north of the town, when the General ran out of fuel. The raiders were captured, some of them escaped, some of them were executed as spies.

Onward and northward!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Oh yeah, Kelly Brook

STILL one of the most gorgeous and sexually magnetic women in the world, Kelly gets sensual on the beach, as we approach Spring Break Babe Week on WM&E !

Pretty women get pregnant

Lovely Miranda Kerr, former Victoria's Secret angel and former wife of Orlando Bloom (with one child from that relationship) has announced a second pregnancy by virtue (well, not exactly) of her second husband, whose name I don't remember and really don't have to.   (To clarify, that's one with Orlando and now the second of two with the new guy.)

Two articles about that, showing the early pregnancy glow:

Miranda Kerr announces she's pregnant with her second child to Snapchat founder husband Evan Spiegel

Oh yeah, Evan Spiegel.  Well, he WAS part of the process, and probably didn't mind being part of the process at all.

Miranda Kerr cradles her blossoming baby bump in elegant cape gown in Germany as she's seen for the first time since announcing her pregnancy

Actress Amy Jackson, who I featured here once before, is also pregnant.  Based on a different article I saw recently, apparently she hasn't reached the glowing stage quite yet.  She's engaged, as the title indicates, but obviously the couple behaved like a married pair in certain ways, and I would bet that her betrothed didn't mind being part of this process, either.

Supergirl's Amy Jackson announces she's pregnant with her first child in sweet Mother's Day post three months after confirming her engagement to multi-millionaire George Panayiotou

Let's not get confused

After World War II, the global economy revved up fast and strong.  Part of the reason for this rapid industrialization was the need to rebuild war-torn countries and cities, and also to build housing and infrastructure for the burst in population that followed the war.

The energy for this industrial accelaration was coal -- dirty coal, loaded with sulfur.  London was famous for killer fogs in the '50s, but the problem was worldwide.  And what the sulfur made was sulfur aerosols in the atmosphere, and they caused a slight global cooling period, which famously became the global cooling "scare" that the current crop of climate change skeptics and their bad brood ilk, climate change deniers (I think they should be grouped differently, because one group is misinformed and the group peddles disinformation) continue to misunderstand and/or promote. 

This article is not about that.  This article examines the question of whether the smoke from all the burning cities near the end of the war could have caused some climate cooling in the year of 1945 and a couple subsequent.

Did Smoke From City Fires in World War II Cause Global Cooling?

You could read the abstract at that link if you want to, but the bottom line (literally, from the abstract) is:
"Although the climate record is consistent with an expected 0.1–0.2 K cooling, because of multiple uncertainties in smoke injected to the stratosphere, solar radiation observations, and surface temperature observations, it is not possible to formally detect a cooling signal from World War II smoke."

Monday, April 1, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, March 31 - April 6, 2019: Sabtang Island, Phillippines

I thought I'd stick around the Phillippines for a couple more weeks. I was looking for historical lighthuoses, but when I saw a picture of an exposed lighthouse on a rocky outcrop, I had to feature it.

It turns out this is a relatively modern lighthouse built to attract tourists.  It's on a small island in a small group of islands, the Batanes, between the northern Phillippine island of Luzon and Taiwan.  As you might expect, given the title of this post, the island the lighthouse is on is named Sabtang Island.

Here is what we know about it, from the remarkable Lighthouse Directory. I'm not sure if they even turn the light on!  I did find one picture taken at twilight where it looked like the light was on, so I don't know for sure.
"2006. Listed as inactive by PCG; focal plane unknown; flash every 5 s, either white (NGA) or red (PCG). Approx. 18 m (56 ft) round rubblestone tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted; the watch room and trim are painted white and the lantern red."
Pictures below, and a bonus scenic highlight, which is Nakabuang Beach, also on Sabtang Island, with a scenic sea arch.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Another way to raise greenhouse gas concentrations

Raising greenhouse gas concentrations is not something the Earth needs, but by doing something else -- fertilizing crops and lawns and plants, etc. -- then the concentrations will rise.

The problem is that excess fertilizer gets into streams and lakes and rivers, and that increases the growth of algae.  Then the algae die, and sink, and bacteria break them down, and that uses up oxygen.  This process is called eutrophication (if you haven't heard of it before).

So ... when the oxygen gets used up, other bacteria take over.  And those bacteria produce methane.  So this study projects that as a) human population increases, b) nutrients and sewage input to lakes and rivers and streams increases, and thus c) lake and ocean temperature increases, THEN eutrophication increases, methane release from these eutrophied bodies of water will increase, and since methane is a greenhouse gas, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere increase.

Which, unfortunately, is not good.

The solution is to improve overall global water quality.  That, also unfortunately, won't be easy.

Eutrophication of lakes will significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions

Looking down in a drone photography contest

As the small number of people who read this blog know, I'm a big big fan of photography contests.  This one is intriguing -- it is for photographs taken from the aerial platform of a drone, which offers perspectives and viewpoints ground-based humans rarely achieve.

The contest is the 2018 Sky Pixel Aerial Storytelling Contest.  Go there to see videos.

The Daily Mail article is here:

Going above and beyond: The stunning winners of a prestigious drone photography competition revealed

From the contest site, this picture of the Santuario Madonna della Corona in Italy is quite impressive.

A quote from "How contagious is Trumpism"

Washington Post columnist Fred Hiatt wrote an op-ed column recently, entitled "How contagious is Trumpism?"   He made many good points in the column, but one of them made a certain large amount of sense to me.

Here's the point he made:
"If Congress modestly raised the tax on gasoline (or transitioned to a tax on vehicle-miles traveled), it could repair the nation’s roads and bridges and build new bikeways and mass transit, as Congress is forever promising and failing to do."
I have been saying that for years!  As fleet mileage increases, and as they are more hybrids and electric cars, gasoline taxes return less revenue for what they are supposed to pay for.  So the entire country (on a state-by-state basis, considering population and road/infrastructure maintenance needs) should transition to a system that is based on the miles traveled on the state's roads.  We have the technology, either GPS or toll beacons, so it's not hard to implement.  It needs to be.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, March 24-30, 2019: Corregidor Island, Phillippines

While looking for new lighthouses, I discovered that Switzerland has lighthouses.  Not many, as you might expect for a land-locked country with no saltwater coastline, but a couple on the larger lakes.  However, there are not enough pictures of them to make them worthwhile for LoTW.

So, I tried a new country, the Phillippines.  It has quite a few lighthouses, and several are historical (and attractive ruins).  I did do one previous lighthouse from the Phillippines, one that was right out in the middle of the ocean, but now I'll do some on the coast.

This one is on an island famous from World War II, the island of Corregidor. (Zoom out on the map to see where it is in relation to the larger Phillippines islands.)  Corregidor only has one lighthouse, right on the highest point of the island.  It was originally Spanish, and has been restored.   More from the Lighthouse Directory:
"1950 (station established 1835). Active; focal plane 193 m (633 ft); three white flashes every 20 s. 14.5 m (48 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and double gallery, rising from the center of 1-story stone keeper's house.

The lighthouse was heavily damaged during the war ... This historic light station was recently restored with funds from the Spanish government, and the lantern was replaced with modern equipment by the Japanese government."
So here are four pictures (one historic) and a non-professional video.

Monday, March 25, 2019

I've been saying this for a long time!

From the Washington Post op-ed article "How Contagious is Trumpism?", this bit of logic, which I believe I've said in various ways for years:
"If Congress modestly raised the tax on gasoline (or transitioned to a tax on vehicle-miles traveled), it could repair the nation’s roads and bridges and build new bikeways and mass transit, as Congress is forever promising and failing to do."
The underlined part is what I do agree with the most.  Because of the increase in availability of higher mileage vehicles, a gas tax is inequitable -- people who use more gas pay more taxes.  All that needs to be figured out is how to measure road miles traveled.  In this era of transponders and GPS, I would think that the miles a car travels on state roads and interstates.  But the computing power to process all that data would of necessity be large, and would have to be pretty robust.

Old Highway 41 and new Highway 41

Near Dalton, Georgia, there's an interesting situation.  Officially, Highway 41 now follows a bypass around Dalton.  But it used to go right through Dalton.  I decided to do both. 

Route 3 and the South Dalton Bypass and the Admiral Mack Gaston Parkway

Whitfield County Fire Department Station 8, off the parkway

US 76, Georgia 3, and Highway 41, which gets its number back "officially" here.

I did a little sleuthing, and it turns out that while the modern route of Highway 41 follows the bypass and is co-numbered with 76 and 3 around Dalton, "Old U.S. Highway 41" went through Dalton. I somewhat suspected that a road with the name "South Dixie Road" or "South Dixie Highway" used to be Highway 41. In Dalton, the road/highway turns into South Thornton Avenue and then North Thornton Avenue.

Even though I have some pictures of the bypass, which are above and rather boring, I figured if I was really doing the trek by car or bicycle, I'd go through Dalton on what used to be Highway 41, rather than taking the bypass (less mileage, too). So here are some StreetViews in Dalton on this stretch.

The Blunt House is the house hiding behind the tree (not the house with the two flowering trees). Zoom in to locate the historical marker. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=44735

The creek the road is crossing here is named Drowning Bear Creek.

By the Whitfield County Superior Court.

The little blue building is "Cheesecake Heaven". No kidding.

So, if you're ever driving through Dalton: https://www.cheesecakeheavendalton.com/

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Think it's raining more in the USA?

If you think that it's raining more in the United States, especially the heaviest rains, you're right, it is.

Climate Central shows where.

Here's Where Heavy Rain is Increasing the Most in U.S.

One of the states where it's increasing the most is in Iowa.  One might wish to take note of what's currently happening in Iowa and it's neighbor state to the west, Nebraska.

Did you wonder why?  Well, that's pretty easy to explain.  From the accompanying text:
"Heavier precipitation is a signature of climate change. For every 1°F of temperature increase*, the atmosphere can effectively hold 4 percent more water vapor. So as the world warms from the increase in greenhouse gases, the amount of evaporation also increases from oceans, lakes, rivers, and soils. The extra water vapor is available to produce additional rain and snow, creating an environment ripe for heavy precipitation events ... "

* Which is primarily being caused by increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, most especially CO2.

You'd think the simple and obvious would appeal to most people. But those who are in tribes that are opposed to the consideration of science as fact, they can still not see the Occamic appeal of the simple and obvious.

(Oh yeah, Occamic.  I'm not the first to coin that.)

Christian Slater knows about Hard Rain (the 1998 movie was set in Indiana, where hard rain has actually increased, but not as much as in Illinois and particularly Iowa.)

February science pictures from Nature magazine

I promised myself to start checking Nature magazine's monthly compilation of science images every month, and I remembered (I only made that promise last month).  While there's a fish with a mouth that has growths around it that look like eggs to attract females, I decided that there was really one clear standout image in this group.

Meet Bagheera.

Actually, this is not really Bagheera.  But Bagheera was a black panther, and this is one too, the first picture of one captured in 100 years in Africa.

Isn't it strange that there was just a movie last year about the Black Panther superhero?  How in the world did Marvel Studios manage to get this bit of free product placement?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Moving northward on Highway 41, toward Tennessee

No, the Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek has not yet reached its third state.  But it is getting closer.  Here are four more spots along the way.

Crossing I-75 (again)

Crossing the Conasauga River. Note the train bridge next to the road bridge.

Resaca, Georgia.  According to the map of the Great Locomotive Chase that is shown in the Wikipedia article, the raiders dropped one of the box cars off the General near Resaca.  That's about it, but there was also a Battle of Resaca during the Civil War, near the beginning of the Atlanta campaign.

Crossing Swamp Creek, which is actually a nicer-looking creek than you would expect from the name.

Crossing Little Swamp Creek

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, March 17-23, 2019: Punta Palascia, Capo d'Otranto, Italy

As promised last week, I moved just up the coast a bit from the lighthouse at the end of the heel of Italy's boot, which was the Faro di Santa Maria di Leuca.  This week's lighthouse is the Punta Palascia light, on the Capo d'Otranto, which is the easternmost point of Italy.  These two lighthouses are about 45 km apart by road. 

Surprisingly for a lighthouse in such a notable location, it was abandoned in the 1970s, according to Wikipedia, but has been reclaimed and restored since then.  Here's some more information about it:

"The lighthouse was built in 1867 and abandoned in the 1970s, however, was reopened in 2008 and currently hosts the Centre on Environment and Health of the Mediterranean Ecosystems and a multimedia Museum of the Sea. The lighthouse consists of a white stone cylindrical tower, 32 metres (105 ft) high, with balcony and lantern rising from a 2-storey white building. The lantern is positioned at 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level and emits one white flash in a 5 seconds period visible at 18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi) of distance."
(If you think I'm not being faithful to the outstanding Lighthouse Directory, well, Wikipedia gets some of the information for their article from there.)

It's quite photogenic, as you'll see.

This last one is by Angelo Perrone, and you can get stuff with this picture on the stuff.  Order here.

March trio of sonnets III: "invited by assent"

Third of my three-sonnets-in-a-row special, this one with special inspiration.

invited by assent

She gives completely, as we see, as one
receives her all in thrall of full and deep
commitment -- they are in a realm which none
would dare compare to theirs, its breadth and sweep
encompassing the yearnings it creates
and casting all their other cares away
like windblown leaves. Where dedication mates
with gratifying urges, we can weigh
the tender purpose that we view, and yet
we cannot feel or sense the innerness
that drives external needs 'til they are met
and then reflected as her sighs impress
us with their heartfeltness. So while we stare
we always wish for more than we can bare.

(Thank you, Connie.)

March trio of sonnets II: "it's not so far away"

Second of three sonnets in a row.

it's not so far away

A journey of short distance still can cross
some fundamental boundaries, so I
must scope it carefully; a loss
of reason could allow whatever my
adventuresome imagination might
envision to be real, despite the chance
of gentle danger from illusion's bright
attractiveness -- and if some sights entrance
my vision like mirages o'er the sands
of empty quarters, then my quest might stray
away from where my resolution stands
unchallenged by my conscience, when the day
is by bewitching night beguiled, and wise
excitement is my personal disguise.

March trio of sonnets I: "aspirationally speaking"

I wrote a few sonnets recently, so I'll be posting three of them.

Here's the first:

aspirationally speaking

I wish that I could climb a mountain like
a mountain climber can, or surf a wave
of monstrous height as eas'ly as a hike
upon a vernal trail. If I could brave
such escapades with daring skill, my days
of tedium would be far less to bear
uneasily, for I would plan my ways
to joust with dragons or seek out the lair
of ancient scourges, to defeat their bane;
or I could have a diff'rent kind of dream,
of legendary love, the prized refrain
where bonding hearts and passions are the theme
which I would hope to proudly emulate
e'en though my fucking would not be so great.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Take your best shot

I just checked the leaderboard for the just completed rounds of The Players Championship (men's pro golf), and Rory McIlroy took the cup and the big check, but only by one shot over a surprising Jim Furyk.

That is great and all, but the shot of the tournament was this one, by Ryan Moore.  He finished in a tie for 20th, which should at least put food on the table for a week.

Ryan Moore slam dunks his ball straight into the cup without a bounce on Sawgrass' iconic 17th island hole during the Players

As you might expect, that's pretty rare.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

What's going down in the upper stratosphere

There are a lot of different flavors of people who profess or demonstrate that they don’t understand what science knows about climate change:  those that don’t think global warming is happening, those that take the more malevolent view that it’s not happening and there’s a global scientific conspiracy to conceal the truth, those that just think it’s happening some but it isn’t a problem, or those see it as a concern but also think that it isn’t going to be a bigger problem in the near future. 

As someone who has spent time trying to learn about the science, as various aspects have been important to my professional career, and as someone who tries to keep up with the science as more is learned, it pains me (to put it mildly) that there are people who believe that it isn’t happening, or worse, that it’s a “hoax”.   

So I have tried to explain, in simple terms, sometimes indignantly, that there is scientific data that shows conclusively that global warming is happening right now, and the cause of it Is increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, and the cause of that is human activities, primarily and predominantly the burning of fossil fuels.  And one of the key elements of trying to explain this is the data that shows the middle stratosphere is cooling.

Now, I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago, by request, as to why science knows that CO2 is causing this.  That post is here:  https://tugpullpushstop.blogspot.com/2017/03/my-explanatinon-of-why-we-know-its-co2.html

Point Number 2 is entitled:  If CO2 is absorbing longwave radiation, there must be a directly observable effect.

Well, there is a directly observable effect, and that’s the cooling of the middle stratosphere.  If you are wondering why I emphasize the middle stratosphere and not the whole stratosphere, it’s because there are two factors that cool the entire stratosphere – one is ozone depletion, and the other is the increasing concentration of CO2 in the troposphere.  As ozone depletion has leveled off (thank you, Montreal Protocol), the cooling rate of the entire stratosphere has slowed.  More on this later.

However, the effects of ozone depletion and CO2 are somewhat separated in location in the stratosphere.  The effects of ozone depletion happen in the lower and middle stratosphere, but the effect of increasing tropospheric CO2 is mainly in the middle stratosphere.  That’s shown here:

So now let’s get briefly into why increasing tropospheric CO2 causes cooling in the middle stratosphere.  First of all, the troposphere warms and cools convectively;  as the earth’s surfaces warm up or cool down, the overlying atmosphere changes temperature accordingly, and warm air rises and cool air descends, making cells of circulation around the globe, that get moved around and stirred together by the circulation of the atmosphere (which is partly affected by the rotation of the Earth).  If you want more than that, study meteorology.  But the stratosphere warms and cools radiatively – it is warmed by infrared radiation rising from the troposphere, and it is cooled as heat radiates into space.   If you wonder about the difference between convective and radiative warming, turn on your stove and hold your hand over the burner (not too close).   The heat you feel, especially if the burner is red (speaking of an electric stove element here), is infrared radiation.  Now, if you put a pot of water on the burner, the bottom of the pan heats up, that heat gets transferred to the water, the water circulates as it gets warmer – that’s convection.

So, the simple and KEY fact is this:  as tropospheric CO2 increases, it traps more heat aka longwave IR in the troposphere, so less longwave IR is reaching the middle stratosphere over time to warm it.  And since the middle stratosphere is getting less longwave IR, and it’s still radiating to space, it cools off.   I’ll return to this point in my conclusions.

The reason I’m writing this now is that when I recently brought up the phenomenon of middle stratospheric cooling on Twitter in response to a tweet, I was challenged by a non-believer (putting it mildly) with a couple of resources from oppositional Web sites.  What was provided was not something I was unfamiliar with – in searching previously on this subject, I’ve encountered it, and I’ve also seen explanations of some of the problem embedded in it. It relates back to the problem of deconvoluting the effects of ozone depletion and increasing tropospheric CO2.

One of the problems that I’ve encountered is that there isn’t a lot of literature about this phenomenon, and sometimes what I’m trying to find isn’t the main point of a scientific paper.  But I decided now is the time to consolidate the most up-to-date papers I can find.  So I went out and found some.  And the bottom line is – it’s still happening.

So let’s get started.  One of the key figures I’ve noted and posted comes from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).  This figure shows data from the middle stratospheric channel C13 of the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU). There are AMSUs on several satellites, and some of them are still operating.  So what I don’t know is why there is no AMSU data for the middle stratosphere at RSS after mid-2013.  Maybe someone who knows will read this and understand it.

Below are the results of my reference searching.  I’m providing a link to the paper page (even though only the abstract may be available unless you're a subscriber), the title of the paper, and the relevant quotes.

Postmillennium changes in stratospheric temperature consistently resolved by GPS radio occultation and AMSU observations (2017)

“This study exploits two independent sets of satellite observations by Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU) and GPS radio occultation (RO).” 
“The observations indicate a statistically significant global cooling in the middle stratosphere since 2001 at a mean rate of −0.14 to −0.36 K/decade and insignificant change in the lower stratosphere.”

Regional and seasonal stratospheric temperature trends in the last decade (2002–2014) from AMSU observations (2015)

“SSU operated on NOAA platforms from 1979 to 2006, i.e., covering more than 25 years. It provided invaluable global‐scale stratospheric temperature data; however, SSU data require special processing before it can be used in climate applications.” 
“They found that over the more than three decades coverage period the stratosphere cooled with a rate of −0.1 to −0.2 K/decade at the lower stratosphere to 0.5 to 0.6 K/decade in the middle and upper stratosphere, but the cooling slowed down in the period of 1998–2015 compared to the earlier one (1979–1997).”

Towards a physical understanding of stratospheric cooling under global warming through a process-based decomposition method (2016)

“... this study demonstrates that the changes of radiative radiation due to CO2, ozone and water vapor are the main drivers of stratospheric cooling in both winter and summer. They contribute to the cooling changes by reducing the net radiative energy (mainly downward radiation) received by the stratospheric layer.”

Attributing the forced components of observed stratospheric temperature variability to external drivers (2015)

“Finally, the anthropogenic response in the upper stratosphere gives rise to a cooling of 23 K over the 27year period, with two thirds of this attributed to GHGs, and one third to ozone depletion.”

Stratospheric Temperature Trends Inferred from the Merged SSU and AMSU-A Observations (2017)

“The total decreases in global mean temperatures found from the merged dataset were from 1.8K in the middle stratosphere to 2.4K in the upper stratosphere during 1979-2015.”

The Stratospheric Changes Inferred from 10 Years of AIRS and AMSU-A Radiances (2017)

“The results show a cooling rate of 0.65 ± 0.11 (2σ) K decade−1 in the upper stratosphere above 6 hPa, approximately 0.46 ± 0.24 K decade−1 in two midstratospheric layers between 6 and 30 hPa, and 0.39 ± 0.32 K decade−1 in the lower stratosphere (30–60 hPa).”

Stratospheric Temperature Trends over 1979–2015 Derived from Combined SSU, MLS, and SABER Satellite Observations (2016)

“Linear trends over 1979–2015 show that cooling increases with altitude from the lower stratosphere (from ~−0.1 to −0.2 K decade−1) to the middle and upper stratosphere (from ~−0.5 to −0.6 K decade−1).

So, as can be seen, through 2015 there is a clear mid-stratospheric cooling trend in different data sets, using different data instruments, using different methods, and consistent with what was previously known about how stratospheric cooling should occur and what causes it.  There some variability in the actual numbers, but that's to be expected with the different instruments/measurements/reporting periods.

But why is there a discrepancy in some of the papers that have been repeatedly cited on oppositional Web sites?

The basic problem with those papers is not in the science, it’s in the instruments used.  The SSU was imperfect, as one of my references notes, and the methods used to look at SSU data had to integrate over most of the stratosphere.  So they couldn’t distinguish well between the lower and mid-stratosphere, so when they report the cooling of the whole stratosphere, the interpretation includes the effects of both ozone depletion and increasing tropospheric CO2.  So using these instruments and data, over the time period available, there’s a strong cooling trend caused by both ozone depletion and increasing CO2, which slows down near the end of the data set because of the cessation of ozone depletion.   Combining that trend with the imprecision of the SSU (plus the fact that there were multiple SSUs and merging their data was challenging) means that it’s possible to say that the cooling signal integrated over the entire stratosphere, into the period when ozone depletion had leveled off, became much smaller in the SSU data.

But let’s sum up to this point, before my conclusions, with a quote from the RSS Web site:
“The plot shows the that middle stratosphere cooled during the most recent 15 years, even as the lower stratosphere ceased cooling.”   See?  It’s simple. 

CONCLUSIONS:   Now that it’s been pretty well established that the middle stratosphere continues to cool, here’s an evaluation of the implications.  This is a case where Occam’s Razor cuts pretty sharply.  The CO2 molecule absorbs and re-radiates IR radiation (heat); that’s basic physics (actually physical chemistry).  The stratosphere warms and cools radiatively;  that’s basic (atmospheric) physics.  The effect of increasing CO2 in the troposphere is to trap more IR in the troposphere, causing less to reach the stratosphere;  again, basic physics and atmospheric dynamics.  And because less IR reaches the stratosphere, especially the mid-stratosphere, it will cool.  Basic physics again.   So to insist that this isn’t happening is to not be in opposition to “global warming”, it’s to be in opposition to basic physics.

The implications of this are in my previously posted article (linked above), but here it is in a nutshell.  Since mid-stratosphere cooling is happening, then the effects of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere are also happening.  That means that the troposphere should be warming, and the additional heat will be transferred into the Earth climate system;  melting ice, warming the oceans, changing atmospheric circulation patterns, etc.  That also means that paleoclimate events make sense, so an abrupt increase in Earth’s temperature should accompany the massive and rapid addition of CO2 to the atmosphere during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum;  increasing CO2 should drive the temperature change at the end of a glacial period, as Shakun et al. 2012 showed;  decreasing atmospheric CO2 should cause the temperature of the Earth to decrease, as happened in the late Ordovician.  Essentially, as Dr. Richard Alley said, “But an increasing body of science indicates that CO2 has been the most important controller of global average climate of the Earth."

So, I’m not going to try to affect your opinion about what might happen in the future as Earth’s climate warms.  But there is very little doubt that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere (the troposphere, really) is causing Earth’s climate to warm, and mid-stratospheric cooling is a key observation showing that it is.   In fact, if it could somehow possibly be shown that middle stratospheric cooling ISN’T happening, that would be an almost fatal blow to the entire scientific framework of CO2-influenced climate change.

I’m not losing any sleep over that possibility.