Sunday, June 29, 2014

This one is totally new to me

I never heard of a clam with flashing (reflector) lights until I read this article (with a video).

How the flashy disco clam lights up the sea

What's also interesting is that the lights aren't bioluminescence, they are simple light reflections off of silica microspheres.

I looked, but I couldn't find a microphotograph of the microspheres, which the researchers are calling silica nanobeads.

But I'll keep trying.

Where will Bendtner go now?

Ever since Niklas Bendtner fathered a love child with one of the richest women in the world (who was also an A-class looker), I've been following his up and down career.  He had an UP this Barclays Premier League season for Arsenal, where he had been rarely used, when he was put in the game as a sub, scored the game-winning goal, and then suffered a pretty severe injury.  That would be a DOWN right after the UP.

Well, he's on another DOWN, having been released from Arsenal.  But he's still a pretty good player.  So where's he going to end up?  One possibility I just saw is Southampton.  Maybe he can find a place where he'll fit in.

Guess who's on the cover of July's Cosmopolitan Body UK

Here's a clue:

and there's a short (too short) video here:

Lighthouse of the Week, June 29-July 5, 2014: Calcanhar

In honor of the World Cup being played in Brazil, I decided to look at Brazil lighthouses.  Brazil obviously has a lot of coastline, and it turns out it has a lot of lighthouses, too.  But one immediately caught my eye, the black-and-white striped Calcanhar (also called Touros).  Here's some info about it:

1943 (station established 1912). Active; focal plane 74 m (243 ft); white flash every 10 s. 62 m (203 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with four ribs and lantern, painted with black and white horizontal bands.  

This great lighthouse deserves to be better known: it is Brazil's tallest traditional lighthouse and one of the tallest concrete lighthouses in the world. It marks a headland near the northern end of the great curve of the Cabo de São Roque, the northeastern shoulder of South America. The  first lighthouse was replaced by a 52 m (171 ft) cast iron tower in 1927.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Random thoughts with random links

Random thought Number One:

The problem with Ellen Page coming out was that I had to stop fantasizing about her.  Oh well, there's always Chloe Grace Moretz, Elizabeth Olsen, and Willa Holland.

Random thought Number Two (which is true):

The last global monthly cold record was set in December 1916.

It's going to be a long hot summer (warmest May ever globally).

Random thought Number Three:

Whenever you think the Universe is weird, it manages to be weirder.

Earth-sized star is a diamond in the sky  (it's a white dwarf orbiting a pulsar)

Random thought Number Four:

Australian model Renee Somerfield may have the best bikini body in the entire world. 

That includes Sports Illustrated and Victoria's Secret swimsuit models. And this is, of course, admittedly, a decidedly Caucasian viewpoint.

Renee Somerfeld's Instagram

Two examples (there are many):


If you ever wanted to look into Kelly Brook's bedroom window

The divinely delovely Kelly Brook Instagrammed a picture she took from the vantage point of her bed, showing the lights of London. 

But there was also a reflection that provided an intimate candid glimpse into her bedroom life.

She appears to be happy with her current relationship.

Judging from this picture, her boyfriend David McIntosh should be happy too.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Dear genie in a bottle, thank you for this

After seeing pictures of Vanessa Hudgens at a party,

Now that's a smile

I thought to myself "she really needs to be photographed at the beach in a white bikini".

 My wish was granted.

Aloha! Vanessa Hudgens shows off her tanned and toned bikini body in a white two-piece while vacationing in Maui

I don't know if it was a trick of the lighting or that she was in very fit state at the party, but her abs were much more 'cut' at the party than on the beach.  But still looked very appealing.

How much faster?

She's still not rested and tapered, and yet Katie Ledecky broke another of her world records at a tune-up meet.  This time it was the 800 meter freestyle, and she bested her own previous personal best by almost two seconds.

Katie Ledecky breaks 2nd world record at swim meet in Texas

"Ledecky, a rising senior at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, touched in a time of 8 minutes 11.00 seconds to shave nearly two seconds off the previous record of 8:13.86, set last year at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona. This, just days after shattering the 1,500 freestyle world mark by 2.3 seconds."

So how much faster is she capable of swimming when she's rested for a big meet?  Another two or three seconds in the 800 and 1,500?

She could set records that won't be broken for a very long time, except that she might break them again soon. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lighthouse of the Week, June 22-28: Two from the Bahamas

When I started looking at Bahamas lighthouses, I realized quickly there were a lot of them. So instead of one this week, I chose two, which are quite distinctly different.

The first one is the candy-striped Hope Town lighthouse on Abaco.  Judging from the Google image search, it is photographed a lot.  It's also called Elbow Cay.

Lighthouses of the Bahamas has a short description of this one.

The second is the modernistic Eastern Road lighthouse on Nassau, which is not the most photographed lighthouse on Nassau because there is a lighthouse that everyone sees when they fly into Nassau.  But this Eastern Road lighthouse is quite interesting.  And also interestingly, I haven't been able to find a single written description of it anywhere on the Web!

During the passage of Hurricane Sandy

Saturday, June 21, 2014

And it's not even a "big" meet

The amazing Katie Ledecky set a world record in the 1500 meter freestyle - at a warm-up meet.  The national championships are still like a month away.

The USA has a lot of great swimmers, but Ledecky is certainly, notably, currently one of the greatest.

Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky shatters own world record in 1,500 meters

"The reigning queen of distance swimming began her summer meet schedule by breaking her own world record in the 1,500-meter freestyle by two seconds at the Woodlands Swim Team Senior Invitational Meet in Shenandoah, Tex. — a summer tuneup meet her coach, Bruce Gemmell, added to the schedule because it was convenient."

However, there is more to the story:

"A senior in the fall at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, she finished in a time of 15 minutes 34.23 seconds, beating the old mark of 15:36.53. She did it coming down from altitude after spending 18 days at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs with Gemmell and her Nation’s Capital Swim Club teammates."
Though it wasn't planned training-wise, I have a little personal experience with the altitude training effect.  Trust me, the return to sea level oxygen levels makes one feel supercharged. And I think Katie responded to that feeling.

THEN do the woolly mammoth

Here's an article about how scientists / geneticists/ future thinkers plan to bring back a famous species from extinction:  the passenger pigeon.

Passenger pigeon to make a comeback

"The goal... is to bring the passenger pigeon all the way back using the genome of the band-tailed pigeon and state-of-the-art genomic technology," wrote Revive & Restore. "The genomes of the two birds will be compared in close detail, to determine which differences are most crucial. The data and analysis will begin with the process of converting viable band-tailed DNA into viable passenger pigeon DNA."
It'd be great to see then succeed.  Then they can tackle bringing back the woolly mammoth.  After that, maybe a couple of the freshwater dolphins that have gone missing.  After that... well, there's a good long list.

James Audubon got to see passengers pigeons alive in the wild and painted this picture of them.

What I wrote to the Washington Post this time

I made a comment on the Washington Post Capital Weather Gang blog, in response to this column.  Actually, I wrote a couple of them.  But I'm providing the main one.  The discussion was about the unfortunate temporary hiatus in Earth surface warming, which is providing climate deniers (skeptics) all sorts of reasons to support their denying arguments.  The author may have been well-meaning, or maybe not, but he vertently or inadvertently became their supporter.

Here's the blog article:
Global warming of the Earth's surface has decelerated (Viewpoint)

Here's what I wrote in response:

The hiatus/pause talking point crops up frequently on Twitter. I've collected a couple of graphics which show that the main recent influence has been La Nina (colder surface water in the Pacific). Since we might be seeing the reversal this year, and since the warming has been like a step function, as you show in your plot, then the pause is inconveniently misleading what is really happening. In fact, La Nina years have warmed as well. This graphic puts the argument in a considerably altered perspective:

Second, it pay to really see how cold the last couple of years have been, which is holding the trend back. Remember that 2010 was a dead-heat tie with 1998 as the warmest year ever, with a very mild El Nino present. On this page, scroll down to the Oceanic Nino Index plot:

The past years coincident with the pause have been dominated by La Nina, and even when it wasn't officially La Nina, the ONI index has been negative a lot more than it has been positive. Regarding the models, El Nino/La Nina specific behavior is not well captured by them. 

Also worth evaluating is the state of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. This has been indicated as having an influence on the frequency of occurrence and intensity of La Nina and El Nino. For the past decade, the PDO has been in the favorable phase encouraging to La Nina.

So to answer your question, it IS temporary and length concerns are not evaluable. When the PDO switches and we have more El Nino state than La Nina state in the Pacific, temperatures will (unfortunately) rise rapidly and strongly. The other climate factors mentioned (solar, volcano, Arctic data) are secondary. 

The problem is that the hiatus gives psychological support to denierism. And you just helped. 
 Just checked back.  There's  470 other comments now.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

It's all in the viewpoint

It's all in how you look at things, I always say.  And here are two examples of where the point-of-view is everything.

Julianne Hough, from the back:

Julianne Hough leaves little to the imagination in barely-there sheer bodysuit as she dances with brother Derek on Move Live tour

Miranda Kerr, from the front:

She's the ultimate biker babe! Miranda Kerr flaunts considerable cleavage in a low cut top as she straddles a motorcycle in VERY racy new photo shoot

Two lousy (conservative) PMs

With good reason, I've disparaged Canadian despot Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his anti-science and anti-environment policies.  He's also running Canada with a very heavy ministerial hand.  Now, I haven't said as much about the relatively new Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, but he is the guy that got elected vowing to roll back one of the most forward-sighted laws on the planet regarding climate and energy, Australia's carbon tax. 

Well, these two lousy PMs have been back-slapping each other in recent public appearances. Commentator Christopher Hume rips this show of happy disdain.

Stephen Harper and Tony Abbott deserve each other: Hume
"Brothers in their short-sighted neglect of global warming, Canada and Australia’s prime ministers let cash rule everything around them.

That pained smile Harper adopts when forced to explain his most indefensible actions to a room full of doubters was much in evidence Monday when the two PMs showered the benefit of their wisdom upon ungrateful media hordes. The difference between us and them, we were reminded, is that other nations are hypocrites and we’re not. We’re upfront about it — the environment is not our issue. Other leaders may say they care; but they don’t.

Well, actually, some do care. But not Canada or Australia. Why should we? Just because Oz is burning up and beset with drought. Just because two-thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach 70. Just because Canada was the only country of 27 studied by the Centre for Global Development whose record on the environment actually got worse last year. Just because the tarsands are synonymous with greed, environmental degradation and, in Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s word, “filth.”  "

These guys are definitely not on my list of politicians to admire (which admittedly is a very short list).

A sonnet in June

when we learn about love

Some say that wisdom comes from varied strong
experience; we do remember things
which have affected us, if they were wrong
in motivation or if we made springs
of joyfulness when they afflicted us --
and thus I know that eros is both boon
and bane, for in the brush and blush and buss
of bonding we expose our hidden moon
to orbital discovery, and then
we have no mysteries which could protect
the pith of certainty that holds us when
we see the arrows that we must deflect,
though some were strung on Cupid's bow. So know
that thoughts of love protect with nightly glow.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Don't open that so fast

Well, when archaeological historians say that they might have found the tomb of Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as DRACULA, I take notice.

Is this Dracula's final resting place? 16th century headstone unearthed in Naples could belong to Vlad the Impaler

The end of the article:
"Medieval history scholar Raffaello Glinni said that the 16th century tomb is covered in images and symbols of the House of the Transylvanian 'Carpathians', not in keeping with the tomb of an Italian nobleman.

‘When you look at the bas-relief sculptures the symbolism is obvious’, he told Neapolitan newspaper Il Mattino. 

'The dragon means Dracula and the two opposing sphinxes represent the city of Thebes also called Tepes. In these symbols, Dracula Tepes, the very name of the count is written,’ he said. 

The researchers have now applied for official permission to investigate the grave"

So, if they are going to consider actually OPENING the tomb as part of that investigation, I hope they have garlic, crosses, and holy water handy, and that they do it in daylight.

Just in case.  

But seriously, it's kind of amazing to me that they just now discovered that Vlad might be buried in Naples. It's somewhat amazing in general that archaeologists and historians keep figuring out where historical figures might be buried, as occurred recently for Richard III of England, who was under a parking lot.

And that's going to require nuclear energy

According to a recent report, the most gains on fighting greenhouse gas induced global warming will be made by reducing carbon emissions.

That's not a very surprising result, but it does emphasize what nuclear industry types like myself have been saying for years, and also that which several reputable climate scientists have said as well.

Reducing emissions will be the primary way to fight climate change

"Ultimately, the group focused its investigation on the five strategies that appear to hold the most promise: reducing emissions, sequestering carbon through biological means on land and in the ocean, storing carbon dioxide in a liquefied form in underground geological formations and wells, increasing the Earth's cloud cover and solar reflection. 
Of those approaches, none came close to reducing emissions as much as conservation, increased energy efficiency and low-carbon fuels would. Technology that is already available could reduce the amount of carbon being added to the atmosphere by some 7 gigatons per year, the team found."
I will note that interestingly, burying biochar is also considered a useful strategy.

Smart move, Charlie

And here lots of people were feeling sorry for him because he lost on "Dancing with the Stars".

Well, Charlie White didn't wait until long after to pop the question (and get the right answer) from the stunning Tanith Belbin, also an ice dancing Olympic medalist.

I will point out that this article features the first shots I've ever seen of Tanith Belbin in a bikini.  Once somewhere I thought I read that she'd never pose in a swimsuit, but of course this was informal.  And quite nice indeed, too.  I thought there'd be more but I only saw a couple others taken about the same time as the two in the article.

From a gold medal to a gold ring! Olympic-winning ice dance Charlie White gets engaged to fellow Olympian Tanith Belbin

Lighthouse of the Week, June 15-21, 2014: Livorno, Italy

I found a lighthouse with a LOT of history for this week's pick:  the lighthouse in Livorno, Italy. The original was built centuries ago, and there was apparently some intrigue and deception associated with that.  In 1944, the Germans blew it up.  It was rebuilt very similar to before in the mid-1950s.

Here's a PDF monograph on it:

The Lighthouse of Livorno:  Tuscany, Italy

And a much shorter blog post:

The Lighthouse (from Livorno Daily Photo)

Three shots.

Livorno Lighthouse at sunset, by tjshot on Flickr:

With the port (and yachts) in the background


Friday, June 13, 2014

Ten places I'll likely never see in person, but wish I could

I was just musing a day ago, and this is what I came up with.  I'm sure there's more.

1. Angel Falls, Venezuela
2. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe
3. Mount Asgard, Baffin Island, Canada
4. Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, Tanzania
5. Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, Argentina/Chile
6. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
7. Okmok Caldera, Alaska
8. Ayers Rock, Australia
9. The Danube Delta, Romania/Ukraine, 

and the Black Sea
10. Monteverde Cloud Forest, Costa Rica

Here's a great shot of Mount Asgard from below.


Now we can see the fitness clearly

A brief post I wrote back in February ("Who Meryl Davis reminded me of") has garnered quite a few views.  I attribute this to two things;  one, that Meryl stayed in the news by virtue of being in, and eventually winning, "Dancing with the Stars" (in one other post, I picked either her or her Olympic gold medal partner, Charlie White, to win it, which wasn't a hard guess to make but turned out to be right);  and two, I had a picture of Meryl in a bikini, which was about the only one on the Internet.  It wasn't a great picture - it was small and she was jumping in the air.

Now, we know that Meryl is fit and lithe because of the various costumery that she wore during the weeks of DWTS.  But know we have much better photographic evidence of Meryl in a bikini than previously, because she went on vacation and wore a bikini and someone there took several pictures of it. Hope the Daily Mail doesn't mind, because I'm going to show one here (and also link back to the article with more of them).

Meryl Davis at the beach in Hawaii (I left out the Daily Mail's embellishments)

(Note, Charlie White got engaged to Tanith Belbin in Hawaii a couple of days ago.  More on that later.)

The Mauna Loa watch continues

"Big Island Now" reports that Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii is showing "signs of stirring", which more accurately means that some earthquakes have been detected underneath it.  We've heard that before several times since the last Mauna Loa eruption in 1984.  OK, Loa, we're waiting...

 Mauna Loa showing signs of stirring

I report this because Mauna Loa eruptions are usually pretty impressive;  here's an example from that 1984 eruption:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Two good reasons I like Cheryl Cole

She's a talented actress and singer.  And a talent show judge.  And she's got a fabulous accent.  Great eyes. Great dimples.  I won't mention that giant rose tattoo on her bum, though.

But here are two other good reasons that I like Cheryl Cole.



 "I'm feeling a little hot. Can you help me with that?"

Sander and Munch

No, it's not a German two-man comedy team.  It's two extremely different side-by-side craters on the surface of Mercury!  MESSENGER is not done yet.

Craziness and nuttiness in the Virginia legislature

Virginia leaders may vote on stripped-down budget

"The budget plan rolled out Wednesday at a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee calls for holding most state spending at current levels to account for a projected budget shortfall that has swelled in recent weeks to $1.5 billion. The few exceptions are mostly in areas where the state is bound by certain legal or financial commitments, such as increasing school funding to match rising enrollment.

But most new spending that had been in earlier House or Senate budget plans — raises for teachers and state employees, expanded pre-kindergarten programs, inflation adjustments for hospitals — is gone. “There’s going to be a lot for everyone not to like tomorrow night,” S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk), the committee’s chairman, said at a gathering with reporters afterward. He said he was just glad that the plan does not call for cuts from existing spending levels."

In week’s political tumult, Terry McAuliffe is long-term loser and Md. status quo is winner

"The legislature is set to approve a budget. Financial turmoil is averted.
In addition, a perfect excuse has fallen in the Democrats’ lap to explain why McAuliffe failed to broaden Medicaid as promised. It was all the fault of the conniving GOP and that quitter, that renegade, that back stabber Phillip Puckett. 
In fact, the Republican-dominated House of Delegates wasn’t going to approve Medicaid expansion, anyway. McAuliffe should say a quiet prayer of thanks to Puckett for giving him an easy out."
Man, now we can look back on the governorships of Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner and think of them as the good ol' days in the Old Dominion.

What could mean big trouble

From "What went wrong for Eric Cantor":

"Smith said the volunteers [working for Cantor's opponent] found something interesting. Unlike in much of the rest of the country, the top issue for voters was not the economy, Smith explained. ...

But, she said, they found that many Republicans in the district were still unhappy with Cantor. He had voted to raise the debt ceiling. And he had supported a Republican version of the Dream Act, which would enable some illegal immigrants who entered the country as children to qualify for in-state college tuition rates. "

We're in big trouble if voting to keep paying the government's current obligations (and not understanding what that means) is a problem for members of one of the two major political parties.  And because it's a problem for those members, this level of ignorance actually endangers the viability of the democratic governing process. 


Gotta vote, Dems

Cantor loss a wake-up call for Democrats

"Failure of Democratic voters to show up at the polls five months from now could mean a Republican-controlled Senate and a stalled presidential agenda for the next two years. Stalled is worse than gridlocked. Where gridlock assumes eventual movement, stalled is a nice way of saying “dead.” And just imagine the politically damaging nonsense (read investigations or even impeachment) a Republican-dominated legislative branch would pursue to tie down the lame-duck Obama in his last two years."

I wish I was in a state where my vote would make a difference.  Maybe I can find a way to make some phone calls to people in the states that NEED to make a difference.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Some guys get some

Actor Julian McMahon is just way too good-looking.  But he is what he is, and being good looking and reasonably successful as an actor, he gets what comes with the territory, which among the other perks, means that he gets babes.  First he was married to the nice Danii Minogue, nice enough to have posed for Playboy (but she's still not as brilliantly hot as her sister Kylie).  That only lasted a year. He married and fathered a child with the extraordinarily hot, especially when they were together, Brooke Burns, and after that they divorced.  I haven't kept track of his activities since (he was in the first Fantastic Four movies, of course) but I just saw a recent article with his current girlfriend, who also happens to be pretty darned hot, Kelly Paniagua.  No, I don't know how to properly pronounce that.  No, I don't care, either.   Kelly is quite attractive and possesses, primarily, a great rack.

As seen here:

The reverse view isn't bad, either:

Julian, we know some guys have it and because they have it, they get it.  We get it.  Now, you can stop.  You got enough.

Speaking of which, Jake Gyllenhaal might possibly be with Rachel McAdams on a personal basis;  he is definitely with her on a professional basis getting ready for a movie they're going to shoot together.   Since Jake has been priorly linked with Kirsten Dunst, Reese Witherspoon, and Taylor Swift (and some fashion models in between and subsequently), Jake seems to have gotten enough too.  But he hasn't found the one yet, so I'll cut him a little slack.  But if he bags another hot actress in a short-lived relationship, I'm going to have to ask if he really wants to live his life like Leonardo DiCaprio. Admittedly, most of us would, if we had the chance.  I can't hold up George Clooney anymore as a horndog role model not that he is (gasp) engaged. 

So, Jake, I adore Rachel.  Keep your pants on and start looking for the One, like George did.  Don't hurt the poor girl.  But if she does happen to be your One, give it everything you've got.

More insight into Cheryl's BF

I wrote an article a couple weeks ago noting Cheryl Cole's new interest on the male side

Since I am a sponge for any drips of information about Cheryl's love life, I peruse the Daily Mail every day for more rumor, conjecture, and half-truth, as well as that which is somewhat closer to what is really happening.

This article gives some more insight into who the new BF is and where they are, relationship-wise. 

(I will sob quietly over here.)

Well, we're all thinking this

In an article in Mother Earth News, Chris Mooney lays out what all of us versed in the climate change science vs. denier discussions are thinking -- that the potential of a real El Niño out in the Pacific makes it likely (I wanted to say 'very likely' but desisted) that 2014 could be the warmest year ever.  Now, what deniers who claim that there hasn't been any warming since that way-ahead-of-its-time 1998 temperature (caused by a definitely major El Niño) won't admit is --- there have been a couple of years deemed as actually higher (2005 and 2010), but since the honest scientists doing the work called it a statistical dead heat, they've maintained their dubious claim.  But with everything clearly warming up generally globally, this El Niño year could really go clearly higher than all the rest.  This is bad for the Earth but good for the debate, because it will take away a denier talking point. 


However, it's already been pointed out that the denier strategy on this is to bide their time for a year, take the hit in 2014 and wait for 2015, which will very likely be cooler than 2014 if the El Niño subsides as it usually does, and then with 2015 cooler than 2014, they will claim that the Earth is cooling down again, and try to convince the public that a record 2014 was a fluke...

... because of El Niño!  Whilst we who know something will try to point out that since most of trapped greenhouse heat is going into the oceans, El Niño(s) may be the mechanism that releases some of that heat back into the atmosphere, such that global warming will proceed as a step function. 

So hold on to your pants, cognoscenti.  El Niño is coming.

I can see that

Yes, I have extolled the vibrant virtues of Michelle Keegan many times.  So it comes as no surprise that a British poll found her to have the best body for the beach.  The Daily Mail seems surprised that she beat out Kim Kardashian and Rihanna.  I'm not.  I can see that Michelle in a bikini comes about as close to perfection in that category as is potentially possible.

The girl from Weatherfield did good! Michelle Keegan beats Kim Kardashian and Rihanna to be crowned best beach body

Note:  men voted for her ahead of Kelly Brook and Kate Upton.  I'd vote the same way -- but I'd hate to vote AGAINST either Kelly or Kate!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hope it's OK to quote on ENSO

Will there or will there not be a significant El Niño event this year?  The chances of having one are high, but apparently the chances of having one that would be classified "large" are marginal.  To find out why, this discussion gets right to the heart of the current state.

An excerpt:

"Another factor the forecasters are considering is the model guidance. Most climate models are predicting a weak-to-moderate event, with dynamical models slightly favoring a moderate event and statistical models favoring a weaker event.  The ensemble mean of NCEP’s Climate Forecast System, CFSv2 (Figure 3, black dashed line) has been fairly consistent in forecasting Niño3.4 anomalies in the range of 1.0-1.5°C, but, as you can see from the individual model runs (blue, red, and gray lines), there is an envelope of possible values from 0°C to slightly above 2.0°C."

Link to the figure discussed above:  it's right here.       

For a lot of reasons, I'm pulling for this one to come on strong and stay strong.

Quick cutting quote from Krugman

From Paul Krugman's (NY Times) op-ed entitled The Climate Domino":

"Claims that the effects will be devastating are, however, not just wrong but inconsistent with what conservatives claim to believe. Ask right-wingers how the U.S. economy will cope with limited supplies of raw materials, land, and other resources, and they respond with great optimism: the magic of the marketplace will lead us to solutions. But they abruptly lose their faith in market magic when someone proposes limits on pollution — limits that would largely be imposed in market-friendly ways like cap-and-trade systems. Suddenly, they insist that businesses will be unable to adjust, that there are no alternatives to doing everything energy-related exactly the way we do it now."
Yeah, that does seem inconsistent.  I wonder why they do that?

This is why we like it when Maria wins

If you follow tennis, then you're aware that Rafael Nadal won his mind-boggling 9th French Open title, and Maria Sharapova won her 2nd.  Not so mind-boggling, but it appears that Maria is learning that when Serena Williams is out of a Grand Slam tournament, then she better win it.   And I will note that Simona Halep played a very strong, gritty match -- clearly had chances to win -- and if she stays healthy, will likely win a Grand Slam soon.  (And I didn't catch a single mention of her breast reduction surgery, which was apparently one reason for her ascendancy in the rankings.  But there was an article in the Australian.)

But now back to Maria.  One of the reasons we like her winning is that she's Maria.  And that means that after she wins, she poses in Paris with the trophy, and with the Eiffel Tower behind her, and in these pictures she's wearing a short skirt and heels.

THAT's why we like it when Maria wins a Grand Slam.

Lighthouse of the Week, June 8-14, 2014: Paphos, Cyprus

This appears to be the most-photographed lighthouse in Cyprus. According to Lighthouses of Cyprus (UNC) it's also the most-visited:

"1888. Active; focal plane 36 m (118 ft); one long (1.5 s) white flash every 15 s. 20 m (66 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery. Entire lighthouse painted white. The lighthouse stands next to a second century Roman amphitheater.  This handsome British Imperial tower is the best known and most visited lighthouse of Cyprus. Paphos is at the southwestern corner of the island, where the lighthouse served as the landfall light for ships arriving from Britain. Located on a promontory projecting into the Mediterranean at Paphos."

This one shows the Roman ruins right next to it.  The next two below show the amphitheater in the ruins, and a view of the lighthouse from the ruins.

Chezza releases CSL video

Cheryl Cole has released the official video for her new single, entitled "Crazy Stupid Love".

Wish this would get U.S. airplay. It is a lot better than many of the other dance mix/hip hop type music that
is on the radio now, and I like this much much more than "Talk Dirty to Me".

Cheryl is a great dancer and a pretty good singer.  Wish the U.S. public could get to experience that, too.

But then she wouldn't be my little secret.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Just helping everyone stay informed and happy

These two links caught my fancy as they passed by on Twitter, so I grabbed them to provide to my legions of readers and the rest of the world public in a somewhat more stable medium of communication.

51 Sultry Facts About Sex

#7 is about one of my favorite topics to speculate on:
A far-out thought: Could you have sex in zero-gravity? Well, the idea has yet to be tested as far as anyone knows, though if the human race were to colonize another orb it'd be key, albeit, tricky. "Sex is very difficult in zero gravity, apparently, because you have no traction and you keep bumping against the walls," biologist Athena Andreadis of the University of Massachusetts Medical School told, a sister site to LiveScience. "Think about it: you have no friction, you have no resistance."
 How long do we have to wait for the SPACE HOTELS?

 And I also took an interest in this one:

8 Secret Things a Man Wants in Bed

I'm definitely a fan of number 6 -- not really for number 8, but if my gal wants to leave me a rose, I'll be glad to kiss her petals.

There's a lot more, of course, but some things are just better read yourselves.

The global war on science - Canada is a leader

You wouldn't think that the great country of free democratic Canada is a place that would restrict the free speech rights of its citizens, and particularly the free speech rights of the employees of the government.  But this is Canada governed by a government headed by Steven Harper, and they DO control the speech of their employees -- even more so than attempted by the administration of George W. Bush.

The government now says that government meteorologists can't talk about climate change.  I wonder how much oil money got put in the Ottawa bank accounts to make that happen.

Canada bans its government meteorologists from talking about climate change

"According to a leaked Environment Canada document, the agency has noticed that 'Media coverage of climate change science, our most high profile issue, has been reduced by over 80 per cent.'

Critics say the government is seeking to 'muzzle' scientists from speaking about climate change.

According to a study by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, many federal scientists feel they are unable to speak openly in their areas of expertise.

'90 per cent [of federal scientists] feel they are not allowed to speak freely to the media about the work they do and that, faced with a departmental decision that could harm public health, safety or the environment, nearly as many (86 per cent) would face censure or retaliation for doing so,' reads the report.

'Federal scientists are facing a climate of fear,' says PIPSC president Gary Corbett, 'a chill brought on by government policies that serve no one’s interests, least of all those of the Canadian public."

Let's just put it this way - Stephen Harper is as close to the embodiment of what Tea Party conservatives in the U.S.A. would want in a leader of the country.

Which means he's bad news for just about everybody else.

Rory, you might want to rethink this

As reported widely, top young golfer Rory McIlroy broke up with top young tennis player Caroline Wozniacki a few days after they sent out wedding invitations.  Not his finest moment.  Even so, after that, he went out and won the BMW PGA Championship, one of the biggest prizes on the European tour.  Wozniacki, meanwhile, went out in the first round of the French Open, and there was some commentary about her struggling emotionally with the breakup, but that misses the reports that she was hurt enough (wrist and knee) to consider not playing in the French Open at all. 

Well, anyway, to take a break and soothe her broken heart, Caroline hit the beach in Miami.  The resulting paparazzi fest is worth the time to peruse.

Wozniacki wows on the beach

Now, reportedly, there were problems in the relationship before the ill-timed and ill-performed breakup.  And these are still young kids prone to missteps in the romance department.  It has happened before (remember that Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert were once together?) and it will happen again.  But still, Rory, if and when you look at these pictures -- you might just consider rethinking your decision.  Because the world-class package that Wozniacki possessess - beauty and athletic talent -- is a rare thing.  There are a few others (a former player with the initials AK immediately comes to mind), but they aren't numerous. 

Even so, if the relationship is well and truly over, I hope you made the most of your opportunities, lad.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The long game

Sometimes I really adore the Washington Post's strongly liberal columnist Greg Sargent.  This is one of those times.

Never mind 2014, climate change will be a big issue in 2016

And here's why I adored him from this column, when he counts it out:
"But the long game may matter a whole lot more. To understand how some Dems see this, look back at this Pew poll from last fall. It shows that the very voter groups who could continue giving Dems a demographic edge in national elections — the same groups that Republicans must broaden their appeal among — overwhelmingly believe there is solid evidence of global warming:
* 73% of those aged 18-29 believe it’s happening.
* 76 percent of nonwhites believe it’s happening.
* 67 percent of college educated whites believe its happening.
Meanwhile, far more Republicans remain skeptical of global warming, but this is largely driven by Tea Party Republicans. While 61 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans believe there is solid evidence of global warming, only 25 percent of Tea Party Republicans believe this."
 So no matter what bilge Morano spills, it's not changing the minds of those who will count;  the ones who are numbered above.  The wind is changing and the tide is turning, no matter what the dissenters and the deniers try to say.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Lighthouse of the Week, June 1-7, 2014: Kråkenes (Norway)

This particular Norwegian coastal lighthouse does not have a high tower, but it is on a high rock.  And there's a reason that it doesn't have a high tower, I think.

First of all, here's where it is located:

And here's what it looks like close-up.  You can barely see where the light is.

Here's the lighthouse under calm conditions.  It also appears to have some pretty good-looking rocks behind it.

The reason I think it has such a low building and tower is that it is exposed to the power of the North Sea.  Which means it gets serious WAVES.   Two examples below.

Truly world-class

At the link below, there are several arty semi-nude pictures of a Lithuanian model with a name I can't pronounce -- her name is Gintare Sudziute.  YOU try to pronounce it.  Maybe if there's a Lithuanian handy they could help out.  The pictures appeared in Treats! (not Teats!) magazine.  View at your own level of risk.

Gintare Sudziute par David Benoliel pour le Treats! magazine.

But more to the point -- in these pictures, it is apparent that the lovely Gintare has fabulous breasts.  We can't evaluate color since the pictures are B&W, but in terms of size and shape, and particularly as part of an equally fabulous torso, they are just about on the level of perfect.

(I did a quick search just now and found one that is purportedly her, topless, in color. Color is quite good, too.)

Thank heaven for little girls -- with fabulous breasts.  And thank heaven for the photographers who give us the opportunity to see just how good fabulous is.

Cosmos vs. Game of Thrones

It's June 1st.

Tonight on Game of Thrones, I'm sure someone will get skewered on a sword or pike for something. 

Tonight on Cosmos, host Neil de Grasse Tyson skewers climate change deniers.

Preview:  Weather vs. Climate Change (YouTube)

[currently running at 792 comments -- most of them from p-o'ed climate change denier types, thus devoid of even minimal scientific accuracy, and a few rejoinders from exasperated know-somethings]

Mother Jones Commentary by Chris Mooney

Sharapova through to quarters in French

Watched the Sharapova - Stosur match live today.  Samantha looked great and Maria looked very tentative early, and Stosur took the first set 6-3.   It was fairly even after a couple of breaks in the 2nd, and then all of a sudden Stosur's level dropped and Sharapova recognized it.  She turned on the pressure and took the 2nd set 6-4, and then dominated a fading Stosur to take the match with a 6-0 final set.

So, with the household names Muguruza, Suarez Navarro, and Bouchard (Canadian!) the other three in the quarters on her side of the draw, she and we will have to wait until tomorrow if the seeds on the other side get through.  Since I picked Halep as a dark horse, will she be able to take out Sloane Stephens?  And will Jankovic or the Energizer bunny on clay, Errani, emerge from that high-seeds match?

(Muguruza is from Spain, and Spaniards know how to play on clay. Sharapova should be wary.)

On the men's side, Djokovic and Murray advanced, and Federer didn't.  Too soon to say he's done, but I don't expect him to do well on clay any longer.