Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Is Antarctica losing ice? Yes

Satellite gravity measurements show that the ice on the continent of Antarctica is melting (as most of us in  the know already knew).  That fresh water going into the ocean will affect the dynamics of sea ice formation (something us in the know already knew, too). 

South Africa might be dealing with Russia for lots of nuclear

Though Russia thought it had a deal for eight nuclear reactors in South Africa (which needs them), South Africa says they're still in the talking stage.

But if Russia thought they had a deal, they're probably close.

Another indicator that nuclear energy will be a major player on the world stage in coming years, even if the U.S. media and greenies don't think so.

South Africa says no nuclear reactor deal with Russia, yet

Sob - Katherine Jenkins get hitched

Gorgeous and highly talented Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins got married, same day as the much more publicized Clooney nuptials.  But while women all over the world may be sad that George is off the dating market (a market that he played well), I will be somewhat sad that Katherine is no longer single.

And though thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife, I will admit that I'm inclined to a tinge of envy toward Katherine's new husband.

Katherine Jenkins wows in her wedding gown posing with her new husband

Now, this dress is not her wedding gown.  The only picture of that is in the article above.  However, thematically, it looks like a wedding gown, and it also shows why I've got that bit of a tinge of envy.

This picture shows why a lot of guys might share my inclinations.

What Michael Bublé wakes up to

When Michael Bublé is being domestic at home and not doing his singing thing, he gets to wake up in the morning next to his gorgeous wife Luisana Lopilato.  I found a picture on her Instagram that provides an inkling of what this might be like from his viewpoint.

Well, maybe she doesn't look quite this good every morning.  But still, it's something to ponder.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The dark side of volcanoes

I admit to an ongoing fascination with volcanoes.  They are powerful, beautiful, largely uncontrollable, and visible demonstrations of the power of nature and geological forces.

Unfortunately, under the wrong circumstances, they can  be deadly.  And that was the case this weekend when Japan's Mount Ontake, a popular hiking mountain that had been inactive for a couple of decades, awoke and erupted without warning.  According to the news reports, 30 hikers were killed and many more were trapped, as rescue operations are ongoing.

From Pompeii (Vesuvius) to St. Pierre (Mont Pelee) to the island of Java (Krakatoa) to Goma (Nyiragongo) to Montserrat (Soufriere Hills) to Armero (Nevada de la Huascaran), volcanic eruptions have killed thousands of people.  The sudden Japanese eruption was a reminder of both the terrible power of nature and its ability to surprise us, despite our best efforts to understand and predict them.

Many pictures of the event in this Daily Mail article:

More than 30 hikers dead after Japanese volcano erupts without warning

Lighthouse of the Week, September 28 - October 4, 2014: Nawiliwili, Hawaii (Kauai)

Probably the most famous lighthouse on the Hawaiian island of Kauai is the Kilauea Point Lighthouse.  That's partly because it's in the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, partly because it's got a name that's easy to remember, and partly because it's picturesquely located on a bluff.

But I would imagine that the Nawiliwili Bay Lighthouse (which as far as I can determine, is also called the Ninini Point Lighthouse, due to its situation on Ninini Point) is seen more often and photographed more often, because it is near Lihue and also very near the airport.  And while it might not quite match Kilauea Point in scenic power, it's still pretty strong.  It's also closer to the golf course.

Nawiliwili, Hawaii 
(Lighthouse Friends)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Famous Daphnes, part 2

Here are some more Daphnes, perhaps not as famous as the first five, but still famous enough to get found when I searched for "Daphne".

Daphne Joy (hip hop dancer, 50 Cent's girlfriend and mother to his child)

Daphne Oz (cohost of The Chew)

Daphne Groeneveld (unusual looking model)

Daphne Guinness (fashion designer;  also unusual looking)

Daphne Moon (character on Frasier, portrayed by British actress Jane Leeves)

Famous Daphnes, part 1

For some reason I became fascinated with the unusual female name, Daphne.

Here are my top five:

Daphne Zuniga (Melrose Place, The Sure Thing, Nip and Tuck, One Tree Hill)

Daphne Blake (Scooby Doo)

Daphne du Maurier (novelist)

Daphne (Naiad, here shown sculpturally with Apollo)

Daphnia (water organism)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jason-2's view of the maybe El Niño

The Jason-2 satellite is an altimeter, which measures very small (but significant) differences in the height of the ocean surface by making repeated accurate measurements of the return time of a radar signal.  (By making repeated accurate measurements, the uncertainty is reduced and the accuracy is improved, the so-called "law of large numbers".)

Jason-2 is currently showing some elevated ocean surface height on the equatorial Pacific (red, yellow, and white), indicative of the presence of warm water, which is what happens during an El Niño.  This El Niño hasn't exactly gotten going like gangbusters, and it will be interesting to see if it graduates from El Niño conditions to an El Niño event.  Still, the longer that most of the Pacific Ocean stays warm, the more likely it is that 2014 will be an all-time high annual temperature record.

That would be bad.  But nice all the same.

Good video, superb ending

This video about common climate change denier misconceptions (or lies, when repeated by those who have been told repeatedly that they aren't true, but whose stock in trade is to keep lying to people who believe their lies) has most of the regular stuff covered.

But what I found interesting was that they ended up with the common misconception / repeated misstatement / repeated untruth that during glacial/interglacial transitions during the Pleistocene, the rise in CO2 lags the rise in temperature.  The scientists pretty much understood this already, but the Shakun et al. 2012 paper (which you can read here) explained it all quite well with definitive proxy data.  This paper is one of the clearest and strongest demonstrations that CO2 is the primary atmospheric control knob on Earth's climate.  Because a rise in CO2 changes the radiative forcing of the atmosphere by absorbing more infrared (longwave) radiation, the CO2 we humans are adding to the atmosphere will cause the global climate system to get warmer.  Right this moment, it appears that most of the heat is going into the oceanic water column and melting polar ice.  But that may change and the incipient (hopefully) El Nino in the Pacific may push 2014 to an all-time high annual record temperature.

So everybody pay attention.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I like Ultimo

Ultimo lingerie (a UK brand) has previously featured the supremely lithe and luscious Luisana Lopilato (Michael Buble's main squeeze and baby mama, lucky guy) as their lead model, and briefly had Kelly Brook doing that too.  And the founder of the brand, Michelle Mone, even has posed herself in her own underthings, and looked good doing it.

After Luisana, she hired Abbey Clancy, which also appealed to my manliness genes.  Unfortunately reports are in that collaboration has run its course (though Abbey has moved into other skimpies).

But still, I liked her in Ultimo:

And what's not to like about a mother that puts her fully-endowed and now fully mature daughter (Rebecca Mone) into the family business by wearing the family brand?   I like that in a woman.  I also like that in a daughter. Here's Rebecca:

OK, so to find more, go to:


Remember when one picture was enough?

I remember back a few years now when an amazing single picture of a man and a woman engaged in the pleasurable act of intercourse was achieved within a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner, showing what it looked like inside when the man was inside.  (That picture is still widely available, like here.)

But we have moved on technologically.  Now we have movies of the same thing.

This is what sex looks like inside an MRI scanner

And here leaks of nude celebrities in the privacy of their own cell phones have been thought invasive!  While science is showing us the ultimate physiology of intimacy.  Is that exciting or WHAT?

However, I would like to view more than just a few seconds of the intimate imageries.  For research purposes, of course.

Or help out with the experiments.  In the name of science.

How bad it is in Kansas

Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas set out to make the Republican Utopia of low taxes and high economic growth.

It hasn't quite worked out the way he planned.

Sam Brownback’s failed ‘experiment’ puts state on path to penury

Mr. Brownback’s Kansas trial is rapidly becoming a cautionary tale for conservative governors elsewhere [and, I may add, Tea Party Congresspersons and Senators ] who have blithely peddled the theology of tax cuts as a painless panacea for sluggish growth. Most key indicators suggest that job creation and economic growth in Kansas are lagging those of its neighbors.


As it happens, spending reductions have been sufficiently draconian and divisive that large numbers of Kansans, including more than 100 current and former GOP elected officials, have expressed alarm and are supporting the man trying to unseat Mr. Brownback, Paul Davis, the Democratic minority leader in the state’s House of Representatives. There have been particular expressions of anxiety about cuts to per-pupil expenditures in public schools, which have dropped more than 10 percent since 2008."
Yep, certainly not what he was hoping for.  And now we're hoping he's GONE.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Good news from Congress, really?

In an op-ed article entitled " Building trust, one palm frond at a time ", there's some interesting commentary that some of the Congresspersons realize that things aren't working well and it's up to them to change things.

Not sure if that will work with Bozo Boehner and Shut-It-Down Mitch McConnell running things, but at least some of our elected representatives and Senators are thinking in the right direction.

There's this:
"But the Marshall Islands adventure Flake and Heinrich took is more evidence of lawmakers coming to the (correct) conclusion that Washington is broken because personal bonds have unraveled."

and also this:

"A more recent effort, undertaken by Democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson and backed by former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, has made some progress. The group “No Labels” now claims a “Problem Solver” caucus of 75 House members and eight senators. On Wednesday, No Labels held a gathering in Washington to refine an unobjectionable platform the group hopes to inject into the 2016 presidential race: create 25 million jobs over 10 years, secure Medicare and Social Security for 75 years, balance the federal budget by 2030 and make America energy secure by 2024."

Actually sounds reasonable. Doesn't stand a chance unless the winds of change start blowing harder in the halls of Congress.

Lindsay's second

Speaking of second babies and the same fathers (as I did with the Leonor Varela post), Lindsay Price just had her second tyke with her chef husband Curtis Stone.  Good for them.  I understand his motivations perfectly.

Curtis Stone and Lindsay Price welcome a baby boy - find out his name

The new baby boy's name is Emerson Spencer, by the way.

Whatever happened to ... Leonor Varela?

Usually I ask a question like this when I haven't seen news about a particular person in the news or on screen or on the Internet for awhile.  Usually they have moved on to a different phase of their career.  Sometimes they've moved on to a different career or calling.

This case is slightly different.  I always thought Leonor Varela was one of the best aspects of the somewhat ridiculous Blade II.  She died a somewhat poignant death for blood-sucking vampire.  But I didn't see her getting roles in anything else after that.

Well, as many women do, she did move on to the calling of motherhood, and the article I happened to encounter was news that she was pregnant with her second child:

'We're happy to share this wonderful news': Dallas star Leonor Varela, 41, announces she's pregnant with her second child by posting bump shot

The article also notes that she's been getting work besides the Dallas reboot - in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and an upcoming movie called Ride. Good. Also good that the father of the first child is apparently the father of the second too, though they aren't married.  ***** Update 9/23/2014:  After I posted this link in a tweet, Leonor Varela herself replied to me and gave me a thumbs-up, but added that she is married to the father (producer Lucas Akoskin) of her children, born and yet-to-be-born.  I went back and read the article and in my defense, it never called him her husband, and that  would have been easy to do.  But I could have checked Wikipedia or IMDb, too.

Still too close, but better

Democrats now have a 51 percent chance of holding the Senate

Let's remember, these are Mitch McConnell's "Shutdown Republicans" who are running for the Senate.  Maybe that fact will pump these numbers up in the right places.

After Promising The End Of Government Shutdowns, Mitch McConnell Threatens Another Government Shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pledged to strong arm President Obama into adopting a host of Republican policy priorities, from repealing the Affordable Care Act to undoing environmental regulations, should Republicans take back the senate in November. In the process, the Kentucky senator appeared to undermine his pledge to avoid future government shutdowns.

In an interview with Politico published on Wednesday, McConnell laid out a plan of attaching policy riders to must-pass spending measures and forcing Obama into a standoff: sign off on the bill or close down the federal government.

“We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy,” McConnell told the publication. Obama, McConnell added, “needs to be challenged, and the best way to do that is through the funding process. He would have to make a decision on a given bill, whether there’s more in it that he likes than dislikes.”

Plenty of reasons there not to vote Republican.

Lighthouse of the Week, September 21-27, 2014: Robe Light, Australia

(Well, I got off schedule and missed last week.  So I decided to make sure I didn't miss this week by posting it a day early.)

Does Australia have lighthouses? Of course it does. And it was easy to find an unusual selection for this week -- the modern Robe light, which is positioned at the southern entrance to Guichen Bay, according to Russ Rowlett's Lighthouses of Australia: South Australia page.

More description here:  SeaSide Lights - Robe Lighthouse

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Current undangerous prediction score: 3-2-5

With the Washington Nationals winning the National League East and thus obviously making the playoffs, I can count another Undangerous Prediction for 2014 in the "right" column.

So the current score is

Right:  3

Wrong:  2

TBD:  5

Still to be decided:

Status quo in the 2014 national elections
Note:  There is a slow swing toward the Dems.  Will it be enough for them to keep the Senate?

Hillary Clinton decides to run for President in 2016.
Note:  Nothing she's done so far indicates anything otherwise.

NASA's new satellite shows there's more precipitation than expected
Note:  It launched successfully and is taking measurements.

There's an Entourage movie!
Note:  I think this one will be wrong.  Everything pointing at a 2015 release. But I'm not sure if I should say this is wrong, because they did film it and they did make it, so there will be a movie. But I did say "Since it won't have a lot of post-production, I think they'll get it on screens by the end of the year."   I might end up giving this a 0.5.

There will be at least two landfalling hurricanes on the U.S. East Coast (or Gulf of Mexico coast) during the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.
Note:  There's been one.  Another 0.5?

Who's sorry now?

One of the most popular posts on my blog, surprisingly, is this one:

I feel bad for Rosamund Pike - she can cry on my shoulder (in the hot tub)

See, she broke up with her intended when she made an apparent faux pas with the invitations.

Well, all's well that ends badly.  Rosamund moved on, and is in the process of assembling baby #2 while her career does well too.  She was a good foil and friend in Jack Reacher, and she's featured (though I bet she disappears) in Gone Girl.

Pregnant Rosamund Pike looks radiant as she dresses her growing bump in navy shift frock while promoting Gone Girl in Italy

Well, I might have felt bad for her then, but I feel good for her now.  And I also feel good for the kinda funny-looking 53-year old guy (Robie Uniacke) that she's with who has an unconventional past.  Well, his present is doing alright.

Maybe because it's a COMET?

The headline to the Daily Article asked this:

Why is Rosetta's comet spewing jets of water? Mysterious plumes of vapour are spotted on 67P

To which I replied with the title of this post.  Of course it's spewing jets of water -- that's what comets do when they get closer to the Sun.  Which is what this comet is doing.

That factor, of course, it what is going to make choosing a landing site for Rosetta's lander a challenge, because given the fact that this little snowball has hardly any gravity, if the lander happens to land where a jet erupts under it, it could go spinning off into the abyss of space, never to return.

Which is poetic wordage for saying it's gone, gone, gone.

But that's why this mission to a comet is so much fun.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A late Lighthouse of the Week

I'll have a "full" Lighthouse of the Week post on Sunday, but since I'm late to it this week, here's just a quick one.

So I went with the picturesquely situated Five Finger Lighthouse in Alaska, on an islet 65 miles south of Juneau, in a group of islands known not surprisingly as the Five Fingers Islands.

There are some really great pictures of this one with sea kayaks or whales in the foreground, but most of the ones I saw like that had watermarks.  So these are simple and small.  I advise looking for the really good ones with plain ol' Google searching.

This one looks like the little scale models of lighthouses that can be found in gift shops.

Bump reduction

I didn't have a chance to note my congratulations on the birthing of their babies to Alyssa Milano and Scarlett Johannson.   Congrats to the Moms and Dads of the new tykes.

Alyssa Milano and David Bugliari welcome baby girl

Scarlett Johannson welcomes daughter Rose with father Romain Dauriac

(I always like noting the births of babies to attractive women because congratulations to the father are DEFINITELY appropriate.  Wink, wink.)

Warmer or colder?

I took a few days blogging break.  So first thing I thought I'd do is check in on the state of the Pacific Ocean.   SST anomalies, in particular.

Top is September 8, bottom is September 11. I'm looking for the surfacing of that new warm Kelvin wave.  Any sign of it?

 I don't see any real noticeable change, so I'll check with the weekly NOAA assessment on Monday.

Friday, September 5, 2014

1/3 of the Kelly Brook 2015 calendar

I heard the news that Kelly Brook, who has had an interesting year (to say the least), is teasing out some of the pictures from her 2015 calendar.   Four of them, in fact.

That's important news, at least for me.

I can report that Kelly looks as good as ever.  And that's d*mn good.

Kelly Brook - Official 2015 Calendar Preview

Here's the cover.

See what I mean?

I'm also on the watch for the Michelle Keegan 2015 calendar pictures.  All she's released thus far is the cover.

A small step forward toward saving bluefin tuna

Believe it or not, a fisheries commission in Japan agreed to a proposal from Japan to cut the catch of young bluefin tuna (smaller ones) by 50%.

Truly.  In Japan.

International conference strikes deal to slash bluefin tuna catches
"A four-day subcommittee meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) wrapped up in Fukuoka with a broad agreement on Japan’s proposal to cut catches of juvenile bluefin tuna weighing less than 30 kilograms, from the 2002-2004 average."
 And they also agree to try not to catch more bigger tuna than they did on average in 2002-2004.

It's not a big step. What's really needed is a complete ban and international action to cut down on poaching and piracy.  That might give the bluefin a real chance.

But this might be a first step in that direction.  We can hope.

Aerial video of Iceland eruption

I'm putting this here as much for any rare readers of this blog as for me.  It's a wonderful aerial video of the fissure eruption in Iceland.  Like I said with my post on the amazing pictures, this is a rare and remarkable phenomenon to watch.  So I'm going to watch as much as I can.

Aerial shots of Holuhraun eruption (youreporter.it)

Wish I could do that.

Plus, more great pictures and a twilight video here:  http://www.reykjavikhelicopters.com/volcano-iceland/

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More on the banana crisis

If you've been paying attention, there is a botanical scourge on the loose in Asia that is threatening to wipe out (eventually) the world's dominant type -- pretty much the only type grown -- of banana.

OK, so maybe I should be worrying about Ebola.  But I'm not going to Africa anytime soon.  But I do eat bananas.

Here's a very good article about why the scourge (actually a soil fungus) is so bad, the current status of the problem, and some efforts to fight it.

And it also talks about suckers.

Saving the banana

Stunningly spectacular pictures of Iceland's eruption

Put it this way:  "curtains of fire" eruptions are VERY uncommon.

That's why the eruption happening at Bardarbunga in Iceland is something to see.

And amazingly, now we have the Internet to provide spectacular pictures of it just a couple of days after it happened (rather than having to wait months for National Geographic to arrive with pictures of the event, which was the way it happened in the old days), and not only that, we also have a Webcam with live coverage of it.  The Webcam, which I checked just a couple of minutes ago, showed that the eruption is continuing, but clouds drifted over it while I was watching.  According to some reports, measurements indicate that there is more magma entering the fissure system than is currently being erupted.  So this could get bigger before it stops, and it might not stop for awhile.

Here's the site with the spectacular pictures:   Volcanic Eruption 2014

Here's an unattributed picture (but I bet it's from the same place):


Life's Not Fair Department

Seen on Twitter, @OMGFactsSex:

"Despite what men claim, only 15 percent have a penis longer than seven inches. Only 3 percent have a penis more than eight inches long."

OK, fine.  So why do so many of them go to MY gym?