Thursday, August 15, 2019

Positively spriteful

Amazing picture of electrical sprites rising over a thunderstorm.  Since the instructions are "Retweet Only", you'll just have to click below on the caption:

Captured my most detailed jellyfish sprite lightning event last night over NE Oklahoma. A good 30 or so mile wide structure almost reaching to the clouds.

Below, a picture of sprites observed from above, in space.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, August 11-17, 2019: Osinovezckiy Lighthouse

Obviously, the Great Lakes dominate the world in terms of the number of lighthouses on their coasts.  I wondered which other lakes in the world had lighthouses, and a few do - Lake Garda in Italy, Lake Geneva in Switzerland, Lake Baikal in Russia, and this one, on Lake Ladoga, also in Russia.

It's also a good-looking classic lighthouse.

The Lighthouse Directory says:
" 1905. Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); flashing light, white, red or green depending on direction. 70 m (230 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. ... The light marks the west side of the entrance to the southernmost bay of the lake, leading to the Neva entrance. Located on a headland near the southwestern corner of the lake near Kokorevo, about 50 km (30 mi) northeast of St. Petersburg."
It's supposedly the eight-tallest "traditional" lighthouse in the world, however that is defined.  While the Lighthouse Directory says it's 243 feet, Wikipedia says it's only 230 feet tall.    It was also an important landmark for people desperate enough to escape across the lake during the Siege of Leningrad.

Here are some pictures:

Monday, August 12, 2019

Oh yeah - the Ashes

After England's crazy, unlikely to the max, victory in cricket's one-day format World Cup, expectations were high that England would do great in the Test season, especially the famed Ashes 5-Test series against Australia.

Well, maybe not so much, at least not yet.

They looked OK in a warm-up test against Ireland, but they lost their top bowler, Jimmy Anderson, to injury early in the first Ashes Test and they aren't sure when they're getting him back. England proceeded to lose that first Test, and it wasn't real close.

The next Ashes Test starts on August 14.  According to the articles, England is thinking over their batting order and adding a hot bowler, Jofra Archer.

Could be interesting.

One article, 50 beaches

I saw this article on the Daily Mail Web site, of course, and I expected that of the 50 top beaches in the world that it lists, I would not have been to any of them.  Now, I am not someone that seeks out new beach experiences on every vacation (I look for different things to do, and especially breathtaking scenery if I can find it), but I have been to a few beaches.

So it turns out that I've been near a couple of them (but not actually on them), and I've actually been on three of them.    Given that I haven't visited any really exotic places, I wonder if you can figure out which ones.

Have you been to any of them?

The 50 best beaches in the world for 2019 revealed, from a horn-shaped bay in Croatia to paradise in Australia and CORNWALL - so does YOUR favourite make the cut?

I haven't been to this one, but it's one I'd like to visit - in the Seychelles.  (This is a different picture than the one in the article.)

Julia Lescova has a baby, too

A couple of posts ago I noted that Eliza Dushku, Julia Lescova, and Amy Jackson were all very close to giving birth.  Well, soon after, Eliza reported she'd graduated to motherhood, and Lescova shared her first baby picture 5 days ago as I write this.  She put hearts over the baby's face but she had a girl, if you want to check out her Instagram.  Be warned - there are also pictures of a very pregnant, very pretty woman.  That's definitely not a bad thing, but it's not appealing to everyone.

Next on the list of very pretty, very pregnant women:  Joanna Krupa.

On Highway 41 - Manchester, TN's archaeological park

Manchester, Tennessee, has a nice park adjacent to it. So that's where we'll explore next.

Entrance to Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park. This place is a bit interesting, so in addition to the entrance here, I'll include a couple of panoramas. After all, if I was making this trip for real, I'd want to see what was here.

By the river

Big Falls

Little Falls

Remains of a building

Just past the park entrance, Highway 41 crosses the Duck River that runs through the park. The Little Duck River joins the Duck River in the park. Glad we cleared that up.

Next time we'll get to Murfreesboro.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bianca Kmiec continues to amaze

She's from California and she's extraordinary.  There should be no limit on what this young woman can accomplish.

I don't know what her breakthrough into major fame is going to be, but I'm still certain there will be one.

Recent contributions from the social mediasphere:

Lighthouse of the Week, August 4-10, 2019: La Caravelle, Martinique

I've always been a bit fascinated with the Caribbean island of Martinique.  This is mainly because of the stunning tragedy of the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902, which killed about 30,000 people or so, and also introduced the world to the term nuée ardente, now more commonly (and properly) called "pyroclastic flows".

However, there's a lot more to Martinique than that.  It's got beaches and resorts and scenery and French flair.  Plus, it's got Presqu'île de la Caravelle (click there to see where that is), which sounds like an island but is actually a peninsula, and on this peninsula is the best lighthouse on the island, La Caravelle.

Most of the other lighthouses are just towers, but this is a nice cute building, and it's high on a hill, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Specifications from the Lighthouse Directory:
"1862. Active; focal plane 129 m (423 ft); three white flashes every 15 s. 14 m (46 ft) square cylindrical tower, painted red with white trim; lantern white. Clamshell Fresnel lens in use."
Cool, another lighthouse still using a Fresnel lens.  I like that.

Pictures and drone-shot video below.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Catching up on Nature's best science images - April 2019

Second one of my catch-up posts, so here's what Nature featured for April.

Hippos, haloes and black holes — April’s best science images

Just about everyone scientifically-minded in the world saw the image of the black hole, and muddy hippos are always amusing, but I have to go with this fairly remarkable image of hydrothermal mineral towers in the depths of the Gulf of California.

This could be taken in the depths of an ocean on Europa and Enceladus - and it might even look like this down below the icy crust of the moons.

Catching up on Nature's best science images

A few months ago I said I'd take a look at the images that Nature magazine picked as the best science images of the month - every month.

I somewhat forgot to do this for a few months.

So I'm catching up, starting with March and April 2019.

This post features March 2019:

Squid, spacedust and sonic boom — March’s best science images

The sonic boom image made the rounds on the various science news and social media outlets, so I won't show that one.

Instead, I'll show the lightning over Santa Barbara.  There were some storms in California.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Eliza Dushku is unpregnanted

Or something like that.

Actress Eliza Dushku and her husband became the proud parents of a bouncing bundle of baby boy joy, who they named Philip Bourne (and actually released the name fairly soon after the kid entered the world, too).  Happened around the end of July/early August.

Eliza Dushku Gives Birth to Baby Boy Philip Bourne

Lighthouse of the Week, July 28-August 3, 2019: Screw-pile Lighthouses

A thematic week (a little late).  Here are examples of screw-pile lighthouses:  real, replica, and historical.

Choptank River Lighthouse, Cambridge, MD (Replica)

Middle Bay Lighthouse, Mobile Bay, AL (active)

Roanoke River Lighthouse, NC (historical photo)

Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, Baltimore, MD (historical exhibit)

Thomas Point Lighthouse, Chesapeake Bay, MD (active)

Sunday, August 4, 2019

I found out "porge" is a word

Every now and then I'll type a word that my imagination conjures up into the Google search box.  A lot of time this random created word ends being an entry in the Urban Dictionary (which has some really strange, and that's putting it mildly, entries), but every now and then my creativity comes up with an actual real English word.

The most recent example of this is porge.

This is what porge means, from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:

transitive verb
Definition of porge -
-- to make (a slaughtered animal) ceremonially clean by removal of the forbidden fat, veins, and sinews according to Jewish ritual

If you want to know more, and I mean a LOT more, here's a link to the article on porging from the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906).   Not for the squeamish.

PORGING (Hebrew, בורחה, lit. "incision"; Judæo-German, "treibern" 

Who were the Polovtsians?

It occurred to me the other day, while listening (again) to Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from his opera Prince Igor, that I did not know who the Polovtsians were or are.

So this being an era when such questions can be answered, I addressed my lack of knowledge on this topic by looking it up.

Turns out that the Polovtsians are more commonly known as Cumans, because that's what the entry explaining who they were -- yes, past tense -- is entitled on Wikipedia.

It starts like this:
"The Cumans, also known as Polovtsians, were a Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman–Kipchak confederation. After the Mongol invasion (1237), many sought asylum in the Kingdom of Hungary, as many Cumans had settled in Hungary, the Second Bulgarian Empire, and Anatolia before the invasion. 
Related to the Pecheneg, they inhabited a shifting area north of the Black Sea and along the Volga River known as Cumania, where the Cuman–Kipchaks meddled in the politics of the Caucasus and the Khwarezm Empire. The Cumans were fierce and formidable nomadic warriors of the Eurasian steppe who exerted an enduring impact on the medieval Balkans. They were numerous, culturally sophisticated, and militarily powerful."
Here's a picture of two Cuman warriors on horseback, from this article about the Cumani (which is another way to pluralize their name, I guess).

A sonnet in early August: "the difference between images and life"

the difference between images and life

In all her views — at all her sites — each time
that she provides the glory of her sheer
existence, she is never less than prime
and fine and effortless in grace and mere
perfection, so much that we might be led
to integrate this normalcy as part
of daily life if we did share a bed
with her — and if 'twas true, would we be smart
enough to recognize our fortune? I
am sorry to believe her excellence
might become seen as commonplace if eye
and mind dissolved the awesome awestruck sense
she should at all such times engender; then
I would not be so tempted with this ken.

Highway 41 near Manchester

I promised candy on Highway 41, so here it is!

Russell Stover Candy Store, Manchester, Tennessee

Crossing the Little Duck River the first time

Manchester, Tennessee downtown, by City Hall

Crossing the Little Duck River again - there's a sign that says so

Next stop, an interesting park with some pleasing sights.