Monday, June 29, 2015

Lighthouse of the Week, June 28-July 4, 2015: Aveiro, Portugal

According to some Web sites, though unconfirmed, this candy-striper might be the second tallest in Europe.   Here's what UNC's site says, in part:

"1893. Active; focal plane 66 m (217 ft); four white flashes every 13 s; in addition a green flash every 4 s is displayed at 54 m (177 ft). 62 m (203 ft) round stone tower with lantern and gallery, rising from the center of a 2-story keeper's house. 3rd order Fresnel lens (1937). Lighthouse painted with red and white horizontal bands; lantern painted red. This is the tallest Portuguese lighthouse. Standing directly on a barrier beach, it is exposed to Atlantic storms. A great storm in 1935 swept away the fog signal building, and sea walls have now been built to protect the lighthouse. The tower is unusual in having a elevator, installed in 1958, that rises through the middle of the spiral stairway. Located on the south side of the entrance to the Ria de Aveiro in Barra, the seaside neighborhood of Aveiro."

Four pictures below:  the last is by Sam Seyffert on Flickr.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

REALLY bad timing

Pretty, and very fast, Danish sprint specialist Jeannette Ottesen (who I have written about before) got hurt in a road rage altercation in Denmark. Her boyfriend got the worst of it.

While her injuries weren't traumatic, for a swimmer they're significant:  she broke a finger.

Jeannette Ottesen and boyfriend injured after assault in Denmark

The bad timing aspect of this is that the World Championships in Kazan, Russia start at the end of July, but the events that Ottesen would compete in don't start until August 2.   There is an event the first day, the 100 meter butterfly, she might compete in, but I'm not sure.  So she has time to get better and to stay on track for the championships.  But not a lot of it.

Michelle Mone can pick 'em -- and has 'em, too

Ultimo lingerie head Michelle Mone is pretty darned good at picking truly outstanding models for her lingerie lines -- Kelly Brook (briefly), Luisana Lopilato (outstandingly), Abbey Clancy (tremendously), and now Petra Nemcova (amazingly) are some recent examples. As well as her daughter, who modeled for girls with larger attributes (see here my discussion of that).

And Michelle herself shows that she's got her own particular set to display -- it's nice to see the president getting into her product.

Here's another example of her entrepreneurship. I think that's what it's called.

How to protect your eggs

Amazing, amazing, amazing video showing how a deep-sea squid keeps her brood of eggs safe (hopefully) in the deep dark waters of the ocean.  She wraps her arms around them - literally.

There is so much yet to discover in this world.  Let us hope some of the amazing things we have yet to discover will still be there when we have a chance to look for them.

Bluefin tuna get another assist

Five Mexican tuna fishing companies have declared that they won't catch bluefin tuna for several years, in an effort to give the stock chance to recover.

Top Mexican fishing companies withdraw from fishing bluefin

Individually, such actions may not make a big difference, but everything helps. Collectively, such actions can gain momentum and force public opinion to advocate for more action, which hopefullly other companies and governments decide to take. Applause to the Mexican fishing companies for taking this bold action.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weather Channel pushes GOP climate change buttons

The Weather Channel, to their credit and much to John Coleman's chagrin, has a new series out on climate change.

The Weather Channel's Climate 25 (by Slate)

Here's the whole series:

Climate 25 - The Weather Channel

Here's Eli Lehrer on insurance risk

Well hello Elle

Elle Evans (aka Lindsey Gayle Evans) is so up-and-coming that she defines the term.  The "Blurred Lines" video got her noticed, and she's used that springboard to get her career moving.  And that includes a hip boyfriend, Matt Bellamy of the band Muse  (Kate Hudson's most recent ex).  She's just been seen in a music video for Muse.   Coincidentally, she's going to be in a movie named Muse.  Now that's confusing.

But she's not confusing.  She's just beautiful.

Elle and Matt sighted in London

Lighthouse of the Week, June 14-20, 2015: Point Bonita, California

California's Point Bonita Lighthouse is spectacularly situated above a sea arch at the entrance to the Golden Gate.  To get to it, you walk over a wooden bridge.  Plus, it's still got a Fresnel lens.  Classic.

Point Bonita Lighthouse at Lighthouse Friends

It's a postcard from every angle.

Monday, June 8, 2015

The banana crisis continues

You know those nice yellow bunches of bananas you see in every supermarket around the U.S. (and likely in many foreign nations)?

Well, this particular kind of banana does not have a great upside for the future.  An unstoppable plant fungus will probably wipe out this variety.

There might be no saving the world's top banana

I found this interesting:

"To make money on exports, growers had to rely on a single variety to ensure uniformity and keep production costs low. Until the 1960s, that was the Gros Michel, which all but disappeared after a decades- long spread of what came to be known as Panama disease.
"Losing breeds can be costly. When Gros Michel was killed off, the Cavendish proved immune to the fungus strain, though the bananas were smaller, less hardy and not as tasty, Koeppel said by phone from Los Angeles. It allowed the industry to recover, but the new variety required shipping in smaller boxes rather than big containers, he said. It took years to convert operations from farms to retailers."

That made me wonder how good the Gros Michel banana actually tasted!  Well, in a few years we may have to find out how a different variety of banana tastes - if the banana industry can find one that tastes decent.    Because the article also says:  "While there are more than 1,000 types of bananas, many are consumed where they are grown or are inedible."

That's not good.  Hopefully the disease can be kept out of Latin America for a couple more decades, or some kind of treatment can be found.  After all, this is the era of agricultural science.  They just need to breed.

Salma Hayek - epic beauty

Salma Hayek has been one of the entertainment world's great beauties for quite awhile.  And she hasn't lost the ability to turn heads.  It's amazing that she can be a wife, a mother, an actress, and a fashion and glamor icon.

So it's no surprise that she won the Decade of Hotness award at the Guy's Choice awards.

A worthy winner! Salma Hayek shows off her incredible assets in a plunging little black dress as she picks up the Decade of Hotness gong at Guys Choice Awards

And though she was hot there getting the Decade of Hotness award, she was even hotter at the Cannes Film Festival.

She's got some front! Salma Hayek puts on a very busty display at Cannes Film Festival in plunging purple gown

Lighthouse of the Week, June 7-13, 2015: Malarrif, Iceland

One more trip to Iceland for a lighthouse.  This lighthouse gave me a Tolkienesque feel, though others might think it looks like a rocket ready for takeoff.

This is the Malarrif lighthouse, on the Snæfellnes peninsula. Here's what my favorite lighthouse site (UNC) has to say about it:

"1946 (station established 1917). Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); four flashes every 30 s, white, red or green depending on direction. 24 m (79 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with four buttresses, lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white, lantern red."

This map shows where the Snæfellnes peninsula is.  The Malarrif lighthouse is right at the end of the peninsula (southern side), in Snæfellsjökull National Park. Snæfellsjökull itself is a big prominent volcano.

So here are the pictures of the lighthouse.

Friday, June 5, 2015

It's still not a good idea

While I doubt taking a picture in the nude on top of a sacred mountain is actually what triggered an earthquake in Borneo -- which is what the locals are complaining happened -- it still was a really stupid thing for the tourists to do.

Tourists' naked photo shoot atop Malaysian peak blamed for major earthquake as locals claim nudity angered 'mountain spirits'

So next time, take your nude pictures somewhere less seismically active, and also less important to the local mountain spirits.

Stating the obvious

In a Washington Post article about the current (bad) situation in Congress, I found a statement of something that should be pretty obvious to most of us citizens by now, but which still bears repeating.  Especially in an election year.

The GOP's shifting goal posts

"Polarization in the House and Senate is now at the highest level since the end of Reconstruction, according to at least one measure. And it’s true that both parties have moved outward. But the polarization has been asymmetric, with Republicans having moved much further right than Democrats have moved left."

Anybody reasonable -- and I mean anybody -- should realize the danger of electing a Republican President if the Republicans control Congress.  It's because the ideologues are in control of Congress, and the only candidate that's going to have a chance in the primaries is either going to be a far-right ideologue or he's going to have to pander at every opportunity to the far right.  All of which adds up to a really bad situation, politically and governmentally.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

I just found out this existed

Totally accidentally, I found out that Agent Provocateur lingerie is on Instagram.

It may be awhile until I come up for air.

Here's one set that took my breath away.

'Til Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane

If you know what that title means, then you might already be excited.

If you don't know what it means, prepare to BE excited.

Excited about the new movie adaptation of Macbeth, with Michael Fassbender in the titular role and Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth.

No clue yet on whether or not she does the "Out out damned spot!" scene in the nude, as Francesca Annis did in Roman Polanski's 1971 version.  Guess we'll have to wait until its onscreen to find out.

Darn, Ivanovic is out of the French

Ana Ivanovic couldn't extend her comeback today, losing 7-5, 7-5 to Lucie Safarova.  With Serena powering through flu to the final, we might as well start polishing the trophy for her now.

The Djokovic-Murray men's semifinal could be great, but it also might last five hours.  I guess it'd be neat for the French populace if Tsonga gets to the final, but I doubt he could beat either Djokovic or Murray.   This might be Tsonga's last chance to get it (at age 30).

Tomorrow could be interesting.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Cassini's last look at Hyperion

Unfortunately for science, NASA's hugely successful Cassini mission to Saturn is nearing its end.  Knowing that, the satellite took one last look at the very unusual moon Hyperion.  The moon looks like it was turned inside out while still bubbling with the heat of formation.

Cassini sends final close views of odd moon Hyperion

Here's the Daily Mail's take on it:

Farewell, Hyperion:  Saturn's "sponge moon" is captured for the final time

One thing I didn't realize before I read this is the presence of the "shockwave" formation on one side due to the impact and resulting large crater on the other side.  Now that I've read this, it's pretty obvious.  In the image below, the crater is on the lower left side and the shockwave formations are at top left and lower right.

The Clancy-Crouch connection yields another babe

Just saw the news that delish Brit model and TV personality Abbey Clancy, also WAG to Stoke City's tall striker Peter Crouch, had her second child with him.   They named the baby girl Liberty Rose.

Abbey Clancy poses for a selfie from her hospital bed as she and Peter Crouch welcome new baby daughter Liberty Rose into the world

Lest we forget, here's Abbey in nothing but paint:

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

If it wasn't for Serena

Very likely Serena Williams will be the story of the French Open when she wins her 20th Grand Slam title, but that might get eclipsed slightly if Nadal goes all the way and wins his 10th.

But one could hope that the story is Ana Ivanovic, who won here once (her only Slam) and finally got back into the semis of a Grand Slam tournament again this year.

Even if she doesn't win, it's a good story.  She could have just made it on her good looks, but she has continued to battle since that French Open win, and she's shown her heart and courage just in getting this far.  I'm sure Bastian Schweinsteiger (her boyfriend) appreciates that.

Ana Ivanovic beats Elina Svitolina to reach French Open 2015 semi-finals as boyfriend Bastian Schweinsteiger cheers her on

Fast ones 3: Experimental sonnet

Here is where I tried writing an experimental erotic sonnet with a repeated phrase.  It worked out pretty good.  The last two lines surprised me with an ending I really like.

I want

I want to feel my longing sliding in 
your need; to pluck our harmonies, for which
I want to break the barriers of skin
and meld into your core. If I could switch,
I want to sense how you accept my length
when you perceive our joint connection, and
I want to know the tender way that strength
produces pleasure. As you take my hand
I want to touch as you desire me, where
accumulation makes elation, for
I want you to surrender and to bare
your wonderment to me, until the more
I want to give is all I have, and then
I simply want to tell you now is when.

Fast ones 2: Yes, it really is a comet

The Rosetta probe shows that 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is jetting stuff all over the place as it gets closer to the Sun.

No wake-up and call home signal yet from Philae. Darn.

Fast ones 1: The Lava and the Sea

Let's start off June 2015 with some fast ones.

This BBC article has a :51 clip showing lava from the Wolf volcano eruption in the Galapagos flowing down the slopes and entering the sea at night.  Awesome.

Galapagos eruption: Footage shows Wolf volcano spewing lava