Saturday, October 17, 2020

Not ALL climate-change related (but most of them are)

 

There's a report out that indicates the number of natural disasters has doubled since the year 2000, mostly due to an increase in climate-change related disasters.

As my title indicates, they aren't all climate-change related.  Catastrophic tsunamis are not climate-change related.  Neither are big, building-flattening earthquakes.  (Of course, those two are related by geology.)  Avalanches happen every year when it snows heavily.  But more avalanches might be climate change-related.

In fact, other than earthquakes and the tsunamis that love them, it's hard to think of any other kind of natural disaster that doesn't have a climate component.

Now, there are some astonishingly adamant climate change skeptics/deniers out there who can deny anything is climate-related, but they are way off base, i.e., they are wrong.

UN:  Climate emergency causes number of natural disasters to double in last 20 years

From the article, there were 7,348 natural disasters between 2000-2019.  6,681 of these were 'climatic' disasters.  That's 91%.

Some people say climate change is primarily a "benign" process.  Won't bother humans much.

They're wrong too.





Spaghettified

 

There may be many ways to end one's existence, but death by spaghetti may not be the most attractive.

Actually, I mean death by spaghettification.  And unless you eat really, really way too much pasta, you're probably safe.

But stars that wander too close to a black hole aren't safe.  For the process of spaghettification describes how a star gets destroyed by the massive gravity of a black hole.

And this has just been observed, and set a record for being the closest to Earth that it has ever been observed.

Witness The Very Last Scream of Light From a Star Devoured by a Black Hole

"Although catching a stellar death-by-black-hole is uncommon, astronomers have observed enough by now to figure out the broad strokes of how it happens. When a star ventures too close, the immense tidal force of the black hole - the product of its gravitational field - first stretches and then pulls the star so hard that it's torn apart. 

 This tidal disruption event (TDE) releases a brilliant flare of light before the debris of the disintegrated star disappears beyond the black hole's event horizon. But that flare of light is often at least partially obscured by a cloud of dust, which makes studying the finer details difficult. 

 The new TDE, first spotted in September of last year [warning:  highly technical!] and named AT2019qiz, is now helping a team led by astronomer Matt Nicholl of the University of Birmingham in the UK shed light on the origin of this dust."


Pretty good animation of spaghettification  (also in the article at the first link): 


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

For the discerning collector

 

Well, if you weren't paying attention, you missed out on the chance to bid and buy a nearly complete (70%) skeleton of an Allosaurus.  

That'd look good next to the Monet, wouldn't it?










As of today, 3 million Euros is about 3.5 million USD.

With Allosaurus skeletons selling so cheap right now, everyone will want one!


Paris auction sees allosaurus skeleton sell for, €3m, twice the asking price


Monday, October 12, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, October 11-17, 2020: Armenistis, Mykonos, Greece

 


This post features a lighthouse in a great location, on a famous vacation island that attracts the rich and famous (and sometimes gorgeous) to its Grecian shores, and a lighthouse that is in sad shape.

This post features the Armenistis lighthouse on the island of Mykonos in the Aegean Sea.  Mykonos is indeed an island that attracts a topflight and exclusive clientele, as I can ascertain from Instagram.  So one wonders why the lighthouse can't be maintained, as it apparently attracts tourists.

It's located here (I switched things up and used the satellite view, rather than the map view). 

The Lighthouse Directory tells us this:
"1891. Active; focal plane 184 m (604 ft); white flash every 10 s. 19 m (62 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story stone keeper's house. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted white with a green dome. ... Perched spectacularly above the sea with a fine view of Tínos, this lighthouse is a popular tourist attraction. However, local TV has a video documenting sad deterioration inside the building."
Well, it'd be great if somebody would step in and renovate it, as it is a fine lighthouse in a superb place.











A man and his surface

 




Rafael Nadal has a career Grand Slam.  Meaning he's won at least one of each of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments.   But he has a decided imbalance on clay, where he's now won 13 French Opens.



I haven't written much about tennis for awhile -- I was happy when Caroline Wozniacki finally won a Slam, though she had to defeat Simona Halep in an epic to do it, and I was also pulling for Halep to win one.  Since then, she's won two, the French and Wimbledon, leaving me to hope she can somehow add a U.S. Open.  But there are a lot of good young women players showing up.  So Halep may not ever win another Slam tournament.  Serena Williams, sadly, may also have lost her opportunity for one more.  So now we have Kenin, Swiatek, Barty, all near the beginning of their careers.  

But we never know for sure.

I was also happy that Dominic Thiem, a brave and valiant player, won the U.S. Open this year after Novak Djokovic tossed himself out of the tournament with an errant ball toss.  (And yes, I thought the punishment was excessive.)  Thiem and Zverev ended up in an epic that nobody appeared to want to win, and Thiem gamely hung on to get to the line.

So, back to Nadal.  He didn't make it interesting at this strange fall French.  No epics.  Simple pure dominance on clay;  remarkable to watch and revere even as we wish for more drama.  No problem, he has provided that elsewhere.

So, here's to Nadal. All streaks eventually end.  Maybe next year this one will end, too.

...

But probably not.  



Highway 41, briefly, gets an important new name

 

We are back on Highway 41, inside the boundaries of the city of Chicago.  Watch what happens.


This is the Schafer (Clara D.) Park. 

.  


By the way, Highway 41 is now also called ...

LAKE SHORE DRIVE. (South Lake Shore Drive, to be specific.)

Take the curve by Park 566.




Between the buildings, you can glimpse Lake Michigan. The street leads to Rainbow Park Beach, which is located in Rainbow Beach Park.




This little park is the Arthur Ashe Beach Park. For those who don't know their tennis history, Arthur Ashe was one of the first prominent black men to play professional tennis, was a civil rights advocate, and tragically died of HIV contracted from a blood transfusion.



The StreetView views will keep getting more impressive.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Daily Mail strikes again

 

As many readers of this blog will determine without much trouble, even though this blog is not troubled by many readers -- I am a huge fan of the Daily Mail tabloid newspaper and even more, their Web site.  They have a lot of interesting articles, plus as any good tabloid should have, they feature 

  • murders and crime; 
  • politics; 
  • political scandals;  
  • celebrity affairs, marriages, pregnancies, babies, and breakups;  
  • sports of all kinds, including strange English sports;  
  • science, environment, and technology;  
  • Demi Rose Mawby;  
  • many other models, starlets, girlfriends, wives, mistresses and less wearing swimwear, lingerie, and less;  
  • and advice and opinion columns from many sources on many subjects.

They print fast, they change articles and headlines fast, and most importantly of all, they make great mistakes.

This article is interesting, because it's about a possible eruption of the subglacial volcano in Iceland, Grímsvötn.   This volcano is somewhat unique, because it's under Iceland's largest ice cap (Iceland has a few, and is also slowly losing the smaller ones).  Sometimes when it erupts the ash and lava and such doesn't even break the ice (ha), and all the results is a big glacial meltwater flood, the astonishingly well-named jökulhlaup.  Stronger eruptions do melt enough ice to break through, and then ashy clouds are visible emanating from the crater, as for all good volcanoes.  (See this picture from the previous eruption in 2011, which caused some airline flight cancellations, and you can search for more.  Picture, not flight cancellations.  We've already had too many of those.)

So, Grímsvötn may be on the cusp of erupting again.  That would be what volcanoes do, and it might generate more impressive pictures.  But this article is not about that, because, you see, according to the Daily Mail, an eruption of the volcano might endanger certain Icelandic reptiles.

If you don't believe me, take a look at the verbatim sidebar I screengrabbed right from the Daily Mail's Web site.  Read all of it, every word, from beginning to end.


































See? I told you it was dangerous to Icelandic reptiles.

That being said, there really aren't any Icelandic reptiles.

Including toads.

So maybe they've been wiped out by previous eruptive activity.  After all, the meltwater flood from the volcano can wipe out entire toads.

(Bridges and roads have also been damaged by such events.)


This could be interesting

 

D.C. United  (or DC United, I'm not sure) just fired their long-time coach and former player, Ben Olsen.  The team had done well at times, but without Wayne Rooney, who went back to jolly old England, and with key injuries, they are not doing well.  Olsen survived some poor seasons before, but this was too much.  They've got a great new stadium, and when people can actually go back and watch games there, I guess the management wants a team with at least a chance to win occasionally.

So they're looking for a coach.  This column suggested getting former U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) coach, Jill Ellis.

"Ellis has never coached a men’s team, but she is open to it. Last year, as her U.S. women’s tenure wound down, she said, “I went to the pro licensing [programs], and what I learned a lot in there was coaches, whether it’s MLS, [lower-division] USL, international, we deal with many of the same things in terms of management and tactics and such.”  "

My guess is that they won't have the bravado and bravery to try this. But it would be intriguing, and would definitely draw some attention.    I'll report back when they do hire a coach.

 

Lighthouse of the Week, October 4-10, 2020: Mission Point, Michigan

 

As promised, this week's Lighthouse of the Week is the Mission Point Lighthouse, near Traverse City, Michigan.

It is uniquely situated, on the end of Old Mission Point, without which there would just be Traverse Bay, instead of West Traverse Bay and East Traverse Bay.  View the map here.  Note that it's not too far from Mackinac Island and the Straits of Mackinac.

There's a sad story this year about the lighthouse.  2020 is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the lighthouse here.  The annual Michigan Lighthouse Festival (remember, Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state in the USA) was supposed to be held here because of that.  However, they had to push it into 2021.  

But hey, we can celebrate here!  Let's get some facts on this lighthouse (from the Lighthouse Directory, of course).

"It was established in 1870. Inactive since 1938 but charted as a landmark. 30 ft (9 m) square cylindrical wood tower mounted schoolhouse-style on a 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house. ... Famous for its location precisely on the 45th parallel, the lighthouse was discontinued because it fails to warn ships away from extensive shoals north of the point. It was transferred first to the state in the 1940s and then to Peninsula Township in 1948. It served for many years as a park manager's residence, but in 2008 it opened to the public. Volunteer keepers are needed (year round) for stays in the rear of the structure."

I bet there's a video, or a few of them, but I'm being lazy.


45th Parallel Sign




by courthouselover



Monday, October 5, 2020

Lighthouses in autumn, part 1

 

This lighthouse -- Mission Point lighthouse in Michigan -- will be the Lighthouse of the Week this week, but in October (as I have done at least one time before), I will also be featuring pictures of lighthouses depicted with the colors of autumn in their environs.  Mission Point lighthouse provides three of this ilk. 






This is a really good paper

 

I haven't been heavily engaged on Twitter for several months -- particularly in fruitless yet somewhat entertaining discussions with dedicatedly misinformed climate deniers -- but I got back into it briefly today.   

In the course of that exercise, I found this paper.   It's a good summary article with lots of real bona-fide scientific references.  Well-written too, about a complex subject.

Southern Ocean Warming

















Figure 1. Schematic showing temperature trends in different layers of the Southern Ocean. The layers are defined as main water masses of the Southern Ocean: Subtropical Water (TW), Mode Water (MW), Intermediate Water (IW), Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), and Bottom Water (BW). Black arrows show the main overturning pathways in the basin, and the dashed black contours show a vertical slice of the deep-reaching Antarctic Circumpolar Current circulating clockwise around the Antarctic continent. The red arrows and associated numbers represent processes at play in the warming of the Southern Ocean and are discussed in the text: (1) increased surface stratification and shallowing of CDW layer, (2) increased heat uptake in the subpolar basins, (3) increased northward heat transport associated with increased subpolar heat uptake, (4) reduced eddy-​mediated southward heat transport across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, (5) intrusion of CDW onto the continental shelves, and (6) warming of the bottom water ventilating the abyssal ocean.


Sunday, October 4, 2020

One more thing about Trump, COVID-19, and infecting others

 

OK, did anyone else think of this scene and dialogue from The Hunt for Red October when the news broke about Trump being infected with the coronavirus, and how his activities and irresponsibility probably infected many others?


There's already too much about this already

 

So ... President Trump caught the Covid.  Boo-hoo waw-waw.  Cry me a river.

I don't want him to die, but admittedly, that would make things a lot simpler going forward.   Given the hijinks, election-wise, that the Republican Party is up to, even if he does die, he would probably carry a lot of Red states.

And if he did actually die and lose the election, the GOP would still accuse the Democrats (baselessly) of somehow manipulating the outcome with mail-in ballots;  even though they're quite safe and perfectly legal.

Oh yeah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin caught it too.  Like I said, I don't really want any opposition politician to die of an infection by this insidious virus ... but I have to grit my teeth to say that about Johnson. 

But still, where are we on this?  Greg Sargent of the Washington Post summarizes it well.

Wish Trump well. Then get right back to work in removing him.

"But really, all this is just one more mark on the ledger of a much broader indictment, in which Trump has just never felt any obligation to treat the virus as something worth caring all that much about, no matter how many people got sick and died of it." 

 As the Atlantic summarizes: 

"Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus defines his presidency. He downplayed the severity of the disease, misled the country repeatedly about it, tried to pin the blame on local governments, did not “take responsibility at all” for the anemic American response, held massive rallies against scientific advice, hammered on states to reopen before it was safe, rejected easy safety measures, and undermined trust in our public-health institutions. Trump was never going to protect the country from the virus. But ultimately he could not even protect himself."

We'll see if he cares now -- because if he doesn't, and acts like he doesn't, it will be obvious how misguided he is.  That's been obvious for a long time, but maybe now it will be clearly in focus for all to view.



 

Highway 41 continues, with a minor historical note

 

This is an interesting little historical item that Highway 41 is passing by.  And very soon, it will be passing by a lot more.

The map shows that Highway 41 goes past the "von Zirngibl gravesite". Click that, it's quite interesting. 

Just past the resting place of von Zirngibl, Highway 41 crosses over the Calumet River. 



Make the turn here. And trust me, it's about to get GOOD.



Be ready for goodness.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

News now, comments to come

 

I'm just going to get this out and exposed in my blog, and then make extensive comments on how extraordinary and remarkable it is later.

(You can't seriously be thinking what you were just thinking, can you be?)

Mixing of the planet’s ocean waters is slowing down, speeding up global warming, study finds

"The results also suggest a reduced ability of the oceans to act as a massive carbon savings account, otherwise known as a carbon sink. The ocean absorbs huge amounts of carbon dioxide annually, and it is circulated through mixing into the deep ocean, to remain there for decades or longer.

A more divided ocean, with less exchange between layers, means there may be less carbon absorption over longer time periods. This could lead to more carbon dioxide remaining in the atmosphere that will lead to greater and faster global warming."

Now, the article authors may have screwed up the difference between feet and meters, but we've all done that at one time or another, haven't we?

Update on October 4:  I checked, and they didn't screw up.  More later (in another post).



 

Demi Rose Mawby's demonstration of symmetry

 

Several posts ago, I lauded a beautiful picture of Jocelyn Binder demonstrating both symmetry and asymmetry in a beautiful glamor shot.

Here, the extraordinary and unique Demi Rose Mawby provides a shot with both a similar viewpoint and a similar theme, but a dissimilar curvature.  (That's OK, every body is delightfully different.)




Tartans -- I don't know why

 

Without much apparent reason, I recently became interested in Scottish clan tartans (and no, it's not because I'm waiting for the next season of Outlander).

No, I just began wondering what the most famous tartans are.  After some brief research, more on that later.  Whether or not it's included in the most famous tartans, I decided I really like the Clan MacLeod tartans.  Below are the dress, hunting, and weathered MacLeod tartans.









Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Even if you have never heard of him

 

It's very possible that you have not heard of the clever German musician and composer Louis Spohr.  I admit that I hadn't, and his name and accomplishments only recently became known to me.

As a composer, Louis is not particularly well known now, even though he was pretty well known as a performer and composer when he was doing both.  But almost every performance of classical music today owes him for two significant contributions.

One, he invented the chin rest for the violin.  Virtually every violonist uses it now, and Louis used it when performing back in his day.  It made it easier for the musicians to play in increasingly longer works, and also made it easier to hold the violin or viola when playing, so that it wouldn't slip out and get dropped.

The picture below shows a 19th century chin rest.  They weren't as smooth and form-fitting as the modern versions.










The other thing Louis invented was the conductor's mark in the score.  This allowed the conductor to say to the orchestra he's rehearsing, "Let's start five bars before E", rather than have to count stanzas from the beginning. 




A-D are the rehearsal marks (much more closely spaced in this example than in an actual score). 

So Louis was both a violinist and composer and conductor - he was also one of the first conductors to use a baton.  Next time you hear a 19th-century symphony, think of Louis.



Sex must be fun!

 

Yes, it must be, judging by these headlines.  Fun and productive.

Er, reproductive.


Elsa Hosk puts her baby bump on display in NYC with beau Tom Daly... after revealing she's pregnant 

(She's a Victoria's Secret model, one of their best.)


Ashley Tisdale reveals she's pregnant with her first child as actress debuts baby bump on Instagram

(Actress associated with Disney's High School Musicals, occasional pop singer)


Mandy Moore is PREGNANT! This Is Us star reveals she is expecting a baby boy early next year with husband Taylor Goldsmith

(Actress on This Is Us, also a pop singer in her past)



(Superbly talented actress and beautiful woman -- well, all of the women in this article are quite beautiful)


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, September 27-October 3, 2020: Torre del Mar, Spain

 

Even though last week (yesterday) I found a lighthouse with a couple of wavy blue stripes, I still wanted to find a real blue lighthouse.  I was Google searching for such and starting to despair, but then I happened upon this one.  Apparently for awhile it was painted all-white, but it was recently repainted in the blue-and-white stripes you'll see here.  This is the best I've done so far.  The colors are the flag of Málaga province.

Another surprise is that the new blue tower is next to an older version, which became obsolete when the hotels got much bigger and it wasn't visible from the sea. I have a picture of that below, too.  What's somewhat confusing is that before the blue-white striped tower was built, a replica of the earlier tower was sourced locally and built on the waterfront.  YOU'LL SEE THAT TOO!

Now, I'm just going to give specs on the new one, but they are all described on this page of the Lighthoue Directory:  Lighthouses of Spain - Eastern Andalusia.  

The name, you are wondering?  This is the Torre del Mar lighthouse(s).  Click that to see where they are.  Zoom in to see how the lighthouse is on a beachfront plaza.

Specs on the blue-and-white tower:

"1976 (station established 1864). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); three white flashes, in a 1+2 pattern, every 10 s. 28 m (92 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and double gallery. Lighthouse painted with blue and white horizontal bands; lantern dome is gray metallic."



The replica of the old lighthouse is to the right of the new one in this picture


The replica lighthouse is also in this picture

A lighthouse-themed beach shower

The original lighthouse, not too useful now.

Time for another pretty girl post

 

I noticed that my two previous "pretty girl" posts had been near the end of the month.  For one thing, I was surprised the month of September has passed by so soon;  for another thing, I thought I had done these with a little more frequency.  So my goal for October will be 2-3.

The pretty girl here is German model Alexa Breit.  Based on what I can ascertain, she's based in Kaiserslautern, she was born on March 5, 1999, and she's mind-bendingly gorgeous.  She hit 100,000 Instagram followers in March and a few days ago she went over the 500,000 mark.  So obviously she's in the middle of the process of getting very well-known.

Below, you'll see why I expect she's going to achieve that.  These pictures were acquired from her Instagram submissions.





Angelic in the water





Saturday, September 26, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, September 20-26, 2020: Lange Nelle Lighthouse, Oostende, Belgium

 

"Well," I said to myself, "I wonder if there are any blue lighthouses?"

It turns out that there might not be, at least with blue as the dominant color.  I may not have fully searched to make sure, partly because I found this one.   

This is the Lange Nelle Lighthouse in Oostende, Belgium. (link goes to map). Belgium doesn't have a lot of coastline, but it certainly has some. Dunkirk/Dunkerque is just down the coast in France from the Belgian border.

Let's have some details, courtesy of the great Lighthouse Directory:

"1949 (station established 1771). Active; focal plane 65 m (213 ft); three white flashes every 10 s. 58 m (190 ft) two-stage round cylindrical tower with lantern and double gallery rising from the center of a square 1-story building. Lower 1/3 of the tower is octagonal and probably concrete, upper 2/3 circular and probably brick. Lighthouse painted white with two sinusoidal blue bands around the upper section; galleries painted gold. The unusual color pattern was added in 1994."
This particular tower stands in the same place as two predecessors, one of which was destroyed during World War I, and another which was destroyed in WWII.

Lange Nelle means "Lanky Nellie", apparently because this tower is pretty tall, as lighthouses go.

So now let's examine four pictures of the tall girl.


























The image above is on a postcard.

This keeps happening!

 

Because of the trumpet-bell shape of Hangzhou Bay, China, the tidal cycle creates a tidal bore, which is a large rapidly-moving wave generated by the incoming waters.  The tidal bore here is called the "Black Dragon", and it moves up the Qiantang River.   Tidal bores on other bodies of water and rivers are uncommon but not rare -- the Severn River in England, several rivers draining into the Bay of Fundy in Canada, Turnagain Arm near Anchorage, Alaska are some examples -- even the mighty Amazon River can have a tidal bore under just the right conditions.

The Qiantang River tidal bore is big, perhaps the biggest in the world.  And every now and then, everything combines just right to make it larger than usual.  When this happens, people, bicycles, and cars get swept away.   My question -- since this keeps happening, why don't they stay out of the way when the wave is going by?

This query is prompted by the Daily Mail aticle linked below.  I don't think anyone was killed, fortunately, but it sure is inconvenient.

Dramatic moment massive tidal wave sweeps away vehicles as gushing river water swallows a road in China


Here's a picture of a previous bigger-than-expected Qiantang wave.

Bad News Bore


The edge of Chicagoland on Highway 41

 

Technically, the end-to-end Streetview trek is in the city of Chicago.  But not quite to the most recognizable part -- and you may be surprised when we get there.  But we have to get there first.


At this point here, you can see the Chicago Skyway to the right. Pay attention, it's about to get a little complicated (but not much).




If you go past the intersection where Highway 41 turns, there's a tank. Apparently it's a memorial.




Let's make the turn now; Highway 41 on Indianapolis Boulevard becomes Highway 41 on Ewing Avenue. Follow the signs.




Just making sure it's still Highway 41.  If you can't see the sign, pan to the right, it's on the light pole.  We are indeed still heading north on the esteemed highway.




Be prepared for a historical surprise next time.


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Read the caption

 

The Daily Mail had a very interesting story about the aftereffects of Hurricane Sally on the Gulf Coast:

Thousands of starfish washed ashore on Florida beach after Hurricane Sally ripped through the area last week

They also had an interesting picture with an even more interesting caption.





If you can't read the second sentence, here it is verbatim:

"Experts say storms have brought these creatures ashore, but never of this magnetite."

(Click on it if you don't believe me, or if it's too small to read.)

Umm, magnetite is ferric oxide, Fe2O3.  I believe they meant "magnitude".  Also, they should have written "Experts say storms have brought these creatures ashore before, ..."

I could make so much money as a Daily Mail proofreader.



Republican's don't play fair, and never have, and never will

 

From the Washington Post:

Justice Ginsburg is gone, but democracy must survive

"McConnell’s spectacular hypocrisy perfectly encapsulates why Republicans must lose up and down the ballot. They have adopted a mentality in which fairness is for fools and the rules apply only to the other side. It is a mind-set at odds with fairness and the rule of a law, which demands that the rules apply equally regardless of one’s status or identity."



Pieces of an asteroid found on a different asteroid

 

The asteroid Vesta has a very unique chemical composition (and it's also optically distinct). That's why it's been possible to identify a few meteorites on Earth as fragments of this particular asteroid, or at least asteroidal fragments that are very similar to it, i.e., from the same asteroidal composition family.

Now it appears that pieces of asteroid Vesta have been found on asteroid Bennu.  Watch the video to find out more.



So, in a short time, OSIRIS-REx will be lowering to the surface of Bennu to grab a sample and bring it home to Earth.  Wouldn't it be funny if it accidentally brought back a chunk of Vesta?  Because we already have a few of those.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

How reassuring this news is

 

A Daily Mail article with an alarming title.


FBI's background check system fails because of huge surge in gun sales amid a summer of civil unrest and rioting and the COVID-19 pandemic


"Background checks may have become more difficult to complete as state law enforcement and other government agencies housing records may have been closed or slower in replying to FBI requests because of the pandemic's impact on staffing, said Rob Wilcox, deputy director of policy at Everytown.

The delays worry groups like Everytown because it means thousands of people prohibited by law from owning guns - such as most convicted felons - may have obtained them as the FBI background check was delayed. '

This is dangerous because of the Charleston loophole, which allows gun sales to proceed by default when a background check takes longer than 3 days to process—meaning that people who are otherwise prohibited from owning firearms are able to purchase guns,' the group said."

As if we needed something else of considerable concern on our collective consciousness this year.

(Got some alliteration in that sentence!)




Highway 41 into Illinois

 

Back onto Highway 41, and we're about to experience a state change.  No, not water freezing into ice.  We're going to leave Indiana!

OK, important intersection here, though it may not look like it. Highway 41 has been headed due north, as Calumet Avenue; now it bears northwest (there's a really good reason for that, which will be seen shortly) as Indianapolis Boulevard.




If you look closely, you can see cars on a train parallel to Indianapolis Boulevard. MORE trains!




Highway 41 is now under an interstate, I-90.




There may not be a sign right here, but this is the Indiana-Illinois border.  I verified it by going back and forth on Streetview a couple of times.




Not far from where we just were on Highway 41 is this obelisk, the Indiana-Illinois Boundary Marker (click that link for much more information). It's NOT the big arch you'll see if you pan around. You will also see another body of water.




So let's get back to the highway. Yes, we are still on Highway 41!



Do you believe that we crossed the Illinois-Indiana border on one of the most famous highways in the entire United States, and there wasn't a sign? But we did.

MUCH more to see up ahead.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, September 13-19, 2020: La Caravelle, Martinique

 

After last week's lighthouse on the shore of chilly Lake Michigan, I've traveled south to the Caribbean, specifically the island of Martinique.  The island is perhaps most famous for the tragic eruption of Mont Pelée in 1902 which destroyed the city of St. Pierre and all of its inhabitants.

Despite that, it's a beautiful tropical island, and being an island, it has some lighthouses.  The first one that shows up is La Caravelle, pretty as a picture and in a great lighthouse location. Sufficiently picturesque to be on a postage stamp. 

The Lighthouse Directory provides this information :

"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. ... The lighthouse occupies a spectacular site overlooking the Atlantic. Located at the eastern end of the Caravelle Peninsula east of Trinité, in the Martinique Regional Nature Park." 

That's here.

Below, a video and pictures!








Princess Charlene and the Sea

 

There were a couple of articles in the Daily Mail recently about one of my favorite royals, Princess Charlene of Monaco, former Olympic-level swimmer and now turned mother of Principality twins.  But she's still pretty athletic, and so she took part in this charity event where a team of athletes rides a waterbike (really!) from Monaco to Calvi on the island of Corsica.

In case you are wondering -- oh c'mon, you must be wondering -- the distance is 180 kilometers.

She looks good on the waterbike below, but she looked pretty tired when it was over.



Would you fly on an airliner with folding wings?

 

I accidentally ran across this article while searching for something else.  While folding wings have been on a lot of planes for a fairly long time, I think having a big, long airliner with them would be disconcerting.

I'd sure want to see it take a lot of test flights before I got on one.

Boeing 777X, future widebody with folding wings

By the time this one is ready to fly with passengers, maybe there will be passengers again who are willing to fly on it.

In fact, the article says something like that:
"The 777X is scheduled to be delivered to the first customers in 2022. Thus far, three test vehicles were produced and extensively tested throughout 2020 in order for the design to be viable for the certification in 2021 by the latest. As a flagship, the 777X will undoubtedly see its fair share of customers but at the moment the future is being dimmed by COVID-19, some hesitant customers, its own peers and predecessors, and a great offering from Airbus."


 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

What will we see on Highway 41 today?

 

This segment of the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek starts in Hammond, Indiana. 

I chose this location to show that the weather (and the season) had changed a bit when Streetview drove through. The White Castle really is white.




Haven't seen a high school on Highway 41 for awhile. This is Hammond High School.




Hmmm, an overpass over a lot of train tracks. Think that means something?




Bridge over the Grand Calumet River.




The body of water visible here is Wolf Lake, and the structure is the PAV (Pavilion at Wolf Lake Memorial)



Much more lies ahead, and we're getting there.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

All you ever wanted to know about the world's longest beaver dam

 

I just read this, though it seems to me that I may have read it a few years earlier than now.  Anyway, Google Earth was employed to discover it.

The Longest Beaver Dam in the World

Once you read it, you will know more than you did before.





Lighthouse of the Week, September 6-12, 2020: Gary Harbor Breakwater Light, Indiana, USA

 

If you look at a map, you'll discover that the state of Indiana (which my unprecedented Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek is about to leave) does not have a lot of coastline.  It does have some, though, all on Lake Michigan, and it has a few lighthouses.

All of them are listed and described here:

Indiana Lighthouse Road Trip

One of them is the functional, not beautiful, Gary Harbor Breakwater Light.  Terry Pepper has an extensive Web page about it, and in my gratefulness, I'm using one of his pictures below.  I recommend reading his detailed description in the article.

Seeing the Light - Gary Breakwater Light

Basics from the Lighthouse Directory are quoted below.  Lighthouse Friends has the most pictures of it.

"1911. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 40 ft (12 m); red flash every 10 s, every fourth flash omitted. 40 ft (12 m) round steel tower, painted red. Fog horn (blast every 30 s). The original 6th order Fresnel lens is mounted in the tower but not in use; the active light is an acrylic lens on top of the lantern."

 Oh yes - in terms of location, it''s on the lakefront of the city of Gary, Indiana.


Pictures:
















by Terry Pepper





by Cathy Peek


Not much more of Highway 41 in Indiana


Another "I" state is ahead.  A few more things to see in Indiana before we get there.


Though there's no sign, Google Maps indicates that the hacienda here is "Jalapeno's, the Hottest Mexican". Well, maybe it's the hottest Mexican cuisine in Schererville, Indiana.




This is the crossing of the Little Calumet River in Hammond, Indiana.




Now, it gets a bit confusing next, and it would be difficult for hikers or bicyclists to officially stay on Highway 41 right here. For a very brief stretch, Highway 41 shares the road with Interstate 94. There are side roads that would allow a connection without getting on the interstate (which right here is also called the Frank Borman Expressway, very likely named after the astronaut).

Thus, here's the interchange, with the sign indicating where the highway goes:



And the sign on the interstate indicating where to get off, to continue the quest:




We're getting close to a remarkable stretch of road. Stay on target.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Two related posts about the Presidential election

 

I hope they're right and I hope they stay right.


What do the polls tell us?  by Jennifer Rubin (Washington Post)

"Most calamitous for Trump, voters by a wide margin (55 to 45 percent) see the election as a referendum on his four years rather than what Trump (21 percent) or Biden (24 percent) propose going forward. On metrics such as cares about people (63 to 44 percent), temperament (59 to 37 percent) and intelligence (56 to 47 percent), Biden clobbers Trump. Far more voters (50 percent) blame Trump than credit him (33 percent) for the covid-19 response."

“WHAT DO I DO? WHAT DO I DO?”: TRUMP DESPERATE, DESPONDENT AS NUMBERS CRATER, “LOSER” LABEL LOOMS by Gabriel Sherman (Vanity Fair)

This quote is featured in the Jennifer Rubin column above.  The Sherman column was written in early July.

"A Republican strategist close to Mitch McConnell told me that Republicans have Labor Day penciled in as the deadline for Trump to have turned things around. After that, he’s on his own."

So -- will that happen?  Watch the events of the next days closely. 

Cedar Lake, Indiana and beyond on Highway 41


We're continuing north in what is now northern Indiana, on Highway 41.

Crossing the Kankakee River, which looks much more like a river than the Iroquois River did.




Now we'll take one more slight diversion off-road, to see Cedar Lake, in Cedar Lake, Indiana. This is actually a pretty big lake, and is described as a getaway vacation spot for people from the big city, which is not very much further north now. This is the Cedar Lake public access site, just off Lake Shore Drive. (You may want to remember that street name.)



North of Cedar Lake is St. John, Indiana. In a domicile with a name like that, you'd expect to find some Christian places of worship. And right here is the Shrine of Christ's Passion. Note that it has a Gift Shoppe.



Behind the marshy growth next to the road is Bingo Lake. Looks like the Streetview crew hit a bit of rain driving through here.



Here's a better view of Bingo Lake from a side road (85th Street), and on a better day. 

 

Hopefully, the trek continues tomorrow.



Monday, September 7, 2020

Highway 41 cruises past some prairie chickens

 

I'm hoping (seriously) to post a Highway 41 end-to-end trek post every day of the upcoming week.  I'm getting impatient to get to the good stuff just up the road.  Today in this post, a few more sites (ha) in Indiana.


Crossing of the Iroquois River, which does not look very riverish right here. It gets bigger as it flows into Illinois, eventually joining the Kankakee River.



Took a very minor detour to see what Morocco, Indiana looks like. It does not look like Morocco in Africa, but it does have a water tower that says "Morocco".



Not far from here is the Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area, right on the IL/IN border.

Just south of Lake Village, and just off Highway 41, is the Beaver Lake Prairie Chicken Refuge. This is what it looks like. Make sure you're looking east (white compass end to the right), because the other side of the road, which is not the refuge, looks pretty similar.   (Unfortunately, there are currently no "prairie chickens" aka pinnated grouse, in Indiana.)




 Crossing the Kankakee River, which looks much more like a river.




On the horizon in the next post: beautiful Cedar Lake.



Between the covers

 

In this very recent Instagram post, the astonishingly curvaceous and still devilishly cute Demi Rose Mawby gets very involved with her book.




Sunday, September 6, 2020

Time for a Holliday (baby)

 

Just saw this article, which indicated that Holliday Grainger (whom I remember most fondly from The Borgias TV series) is with child, which could slow down production of the current show she's on.

TALK OF THE TOWN: Holliday Grainger's baby job puts her TV hit on hold as fans of The Capture will have to wait for a second series


Holliday as Lucretia Borgia, clothed version














Holliday as Lucretia, unclad version

Lighthouse of the Week, August 30 - September 5, 2020: Bell Rock, Scotland

 

Almost a year ago, I wrote this post:

Lighthouse of the Week, September 22-28, 2019: A lighthouse article

In the post, I provided a list of twenty of the world's most picturesque lighthouses (which came from a Daily Mail article), and promised to feature some of them subsequently.  And I did.

This is another one on the list.  It is Bell Rock, Scotland, which Wikipedia says is the world's oldest "sea-washed" lighthouse.  Which basically means that at times, the ocean waves hit the base of the lighthouse.  Bell Rock is situationally in the North Sea, about 11 miles off the Scottish coast.

First of all, here's a Web site devoted to the 200th anniversary of the lighthouse, which was in 2011.


And its basic home Web site:


And its basic, impressive stats, from the Lighthouse Directory

"1811 (Robert Stevenson). Active; focal plane 28 m (92 ft); white flash every 5 s. 36 m (118 ft) tapered stone tower with lantern and gallery, incorporating keeper's quarters. Tower painted white with a brown band at the base; lantern painted black and covered by a bird-protecting mesh. Bell Rock, also called Inchcape, is an extremely dangerous reef that barely breaks the surface at low tide. Construction of the lighthouse took four years and was justly considered one of the greatest triumphs of early nineteenth century engineering."