Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lighthouse of the Week, July 24-30, 2016: Rubjerg Knude, Denmark

Here's what I did this week:  I searched for "Denmark's best lighthouse".  And I found one right away.  The somewhat ironic part of this search-and-find is that the lighthouse isn't a working lighthouse anymore.

And the reason that it isn't working is the same reason it is an extraordinary photographic subject:  sand dunes.

You see, the Rubjerg Knude lighthouse in Denmark is on a sand dune bluff on the North Sea.  And sand moves when the winds blow.  And here, the winds blow pretty hard.

Here's the history of the lighthouse (at the Web site about it).

Construction started on it in 1899, and was completed late in 1900.  It was built a couple hundred meters away from the shore, and at the time, there weren't any sand dunes around it.

That changed, and the mitigation measures taken to protect the lighthouse from the growing sand dunes didn't help (and might have made the dunes grow faster).  Even though they kept trying, the inevitable result was that they had to close the lighthouse because the dunes got so high that it couldn't be seen from the North Sea.  Not very useful.

They tried to make a "Sand Drift" museum in the lighthouse buildings, but that had to be closed because of the still-encroaching sand.

There are lots and lots and lots of pictures of this one.   I've got four below.

You can definitely see the problem -- and the beauty the problem created -- in this picture

Ichiro watch

Numbers with several zeroes are commonly milestones in sports.  400 goals (hockey), 100 goals (soccer), 30,000 points (basketball) -- etc., mark truly outstanding careers in those sports.

So add to that the milestone of 3,000 hits in Major League Baseball.  29 players have accomplished that, and when Ichiro gets his next four hits, he'll be the 30th to 3,000.   (Of course, he hit hundreds more in Japan, which begets a controversy I won't touch.)

So let's stick to 3,000 being a major mark.  And Ichiro will get there by the end of July, I think.

Ichiro Suzuki's two hits give him four from 3,000 for his MLB career

She didn't smile

Princess Charlene of Monaco looked spectacular at the Red Cross gala, but in all the pictures that the Daily Mail had in the article about it, she didn't smile. (Well, in one she sort of had a pleasant look on her face.)

She's a beautiful, elegant woman.  She should smile more.

Princess Charlene steals the limelight in a dreamy lilac and blue gown as she joins Prince Albert at the annual Red Cross gala in Monaco

Still pretty, so let's look happy!

See? She can smile!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

One of Audubon's best

One of my casual interests is great nature photography.  So I took a look at the winners of the 2016 Audubon Photography Awards and was suitably impressed.

My favorite was this Escheresque picture of a flock of eared grebes on Lake Yellowstone.

The rest of the winners are here:

The 2016 Audubon Photography Awards Winners

Miranda Kerr is off the market again

News is out that Miranda Kerr has become engaged to the billionaire founder of Snapchat, Evan Spiegel.    Which means that she's off the market for the rest of us.

Well, it was always a very exclusive market to begin with.

Mr. Spiegel has astutely noted that his chances at a supreme catch like Miranda come around less than big bright comets (lately), so he astutely put a big ring on her finger.

Smart guy -- well, it was clear from inventing Snapchat that he probably was, but this is pretty definite confirmation.

Pretty?  Well, perhaps gorgeous confirmation is closer to the truth.

Miranda Kerr engaged to Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel

There's still time

It's possible that a volcano will erupt soon in the suburbs of Rome.

Soon in geological timescales, that is.

An extinct volcano appears to be waking up in the outskirts of Rome

This volcano, the Colli Albani (Alban Hills) erupts around every 36,000 years or so.  And it's due -- in about 1,000 years.

But it's definitely active. This steam vent began venting in 2013 near the airport.

Here's another video of it.

The biggest sign something is happening is that the ground is rising as magma moves into the magma chamber under the Colli Albani.

So, the people living there don't exactly have to pack their bag tomorrow, but it's good to know about these things in advance, for the purposes of urban planning.

(I sure would like to be alive 1,000 years from now, just to see what Earth and mankind are like.  I'm not very optimistic about our next century.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An excerpt from "GOP, RIP?"

Herewith, a pithy excerpt from a Washington Post op-ed by E.J. Dionne, entitled "GOP, RIP?"

"It is comical but also embarrassing to watch politicians [Sen. Mitch McConnell, notably -- ow] and consultants fall all over themselves to declare that Trump is “maturing” because every once in a while, he reads partisan talking points off a teleprompter. This is seen as a great advance over the normal Trump, whose free-association rants refer to his opponents as “lyin’,” “crooked,” “sad,” “weak,” “low-energy” and — in the very special case of Sen. Elizabeth Warren — “Pocahontas.” "

That's the same Trump that just became the official Republican nominee for President.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Lighthouse of the Week, July 17-23, 2016: Cape May, New Jersey

I decided to go decidedly local for this one;  the Cape May lighthouse in New Jersey.  It's reachable by ferry from Delaware, a departure just a bit up the coast or over the border from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

The Cape May Light is a utilitarian and simple light beige (it had been white for awhile) tower with red top, and no doubt photographed millions of times by now by Joisey beachgoers and ferry riders, too.

Here's what Lighthouse Friends has to say about it:  Cape May, NJ

One tidbit from the above - this is actually the third lighthouse tower built on the site (or nearby).

Pictures, four from a host of more:

On the subject of Nina Agdal

Speaking of Nina Agdal (see the post entitled "Oh dear God, how?"), why is it that when I go to a beach, I never see a girl wearing a so-called swimsuit like Nina is wearing in the photograph below?

For that matter, why don't I see Nina Agdal at the beach wearing a so-called swimsuit like the one in the photograph below?

Answer:  I don't go to the right beaches.  And Nina's too busy with Leonardo to hang out at my stretch of Maryland bay coastline, darn the luck.

Oh dear god, how? Part 2

And in the category of "They Don't Know When to Stop", we have the knews that Mick Jagger has initiated a pregnancy with his girlfriend.   He's been rolling for 72 years, while she -- a prima ballerina, no less -- is a mere 29 years of age.

Seriously, Mick, we know it still works, right?

Since this will be his 8th child, he will then be two ahead of Rod Stewart.  This reminds me of the finish of this year's British Open, except that instead of making birdies, these rockers are making chicks.   (Another Rolling Stone sexagenarian -- emphasis on the sex -- also just achieved the six brats with a set of twins born to him and his 37-year old baby mama.)

As the saying goes, if you have to ask, you can't afford it.

'Nothing fazes him': Sir Mick Jagger, 72, is set to become a father for the EIGHTH time with American ballerina girlfriend Melanie Hamrick, 29

Melanie appears to know what she's doing, ballet-wise

Oh dear God, how?

In the category of "We Can't Take It Anymore - Make It Stop!", we now have the news that actor Leonardo DiCaprio is dating (with emphasis) humongously gorgeous model Nina Agdal.

Even if this is a two-week fling, he wins.

For let's remember, on Leo's X-list are such as:

Gisele Bundchen
Bar Refaeli
Madalina Ghenea
Blake Lively
Toni Garrn
Erin Heatherton
Kelly Rohrbach
(and quite a few other short-timers and rumors)

In a sense, I think he missed his chances with his long-time relationships with Bundchen and Refaeli.  But this is clearly a rich and accomplished guy who enjoys his freedom -- and what that gets him.  He may be lonely, but he's sure not alone.

PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: Leonardo DiCaprio, 41, confirms romance with model Nina Agdal, 24, as he puts on a very steamy display with bikini-clad blonde on Malibu beach

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Spectacular Erta Ale pictures and video

The Daily Mail had this article:

Welcome to the Gateway of Hell: Daring photographer captures rare images of lava lake that's been flowing for over 100 YEARS

which has an amazing 3-minute video of the lava lake. I recommend it. Though I appreciate the efforts the Daily Mail goes to in writing "news" articles about supermodels and other girls with big titties and tight butts, it's useful for other information, too. Occasionally.

Here's a still (the video is better, but this isn't bad):

Erta Ale

I was afraid this might happen

After reading a bit more since the articles came out, I am somewhat less concerned than I was earlier when I first read this (and similar in more established media).

Republican committee chairs officially ask for PERJURY probe of Hillary Clinton over congressional testimony that 'nothing marked classified' was on her server - which FBI director disputed

The truth of the matter is that Hillary said that there wasn't anything classified on her server, while the FBI director said that there were a couple of items with classified markings.

What I think now is that there still is very little chance a perjury charge could stick if prosecuted -- because they'd have to prove that Hillary KNEW that the email messages with the classified markings was on (or had been on) her server when she said that there had never been.

This very recently published article says as much:

Why Hillary Clinton Will Not be Charged for Lying to Congress — Even Though She Did

"While a conviction under section 1001 is generally considered to be easier to obtain than a conviction under section 1621, it still requires a showing that the witness had intent to deceive or mislead Congress. The intent element can be satisfied by demonstrating the witness had a reckless disregard of the truth under section 1001."

Now, the article does describe a couple of her other statements that could be a bit more problematic, but they conclude that there isn't enough there to prosecute.'

Let's just state this to wrap up:  it was stupid of her to have her own private server, and she shouldn't have done it.  I think she's probably figured that out by now.'

Monday, July 11, 2016

Not sure if this is what Heigl meant

Back in February, I noted a nice Instagram pic of Katherine Heigl and hubby (lucky hubby), in which I referred to the caption, where she mentioned they had a "secret project" in the works.

I'm not sure if getting pregnant was what she meant by that, but if it is, then the project is beyond the conception stage, because she is definitely pregnant.

Lucky her.  Lucky them.

I repeat:  lucky hubby. 

Wimbledon wrap-up

Well, they didn't take long to make history, did they?   Both Serena Williams and Andy Murray won the title in straight sets, with Serena tying Steffi Graf for second on the all-time Grand Slam title list.  I tend not to like it when someone is so dominant, but you can't deny how great she is.  And she's battled back from injuries and life-threatening conditions, so there's a lot of good in her story.

Regarding Murray, he smartly took the title without much drama after his nemesis Djokovic got knocked out in an upset.  Not quite as momentous as the first one, finally getting it back on the British Isles, but still noteworthy as an achievement in his home country, sort of, depending on how you classify Scotland.  The Brits will take it, as indicated by the numerous British notables in the Royal Box.

OK, so Serena got her next one.  So now I want Halep to get her first one in the U.S. Open.

Also impressive was Venus Williams making it to the semifinals, and then teaming up with Serena to win another Wimbledon doubles.  She's battled back too, and she's 36 -- not too many other women have played that far into a Slam tournament at that age.

Lighthouse of the Week, July 10-16, 2016: White Shoal Light, Michigan

If you want to see a lighthouse without any land around it, I've got a good one for one.  Michigan's White Shoal Lighthouse marks a shallow spot in Lake Michigan about 20 miles due west of the Mackinac Bridge (which if you don't know, is at the northern end of Lake Michigan).   On the little map below, you can see Hog Island (Hog I.) -- the light is about halfway between the bridge and Hog Island.   Somewhat near the "S" in "St. Ignace".

Building a bridge out there was a challenge back in the early 1900s -- they had to build a "crib" to support it, and put the lighthouse on top of it.  The crib had to be sturdy enough to stand up to lake ice and winter conditions up there, which can get feisty.

Lighthouse Friends has a good article about it, leading up to its current status.  It was for sale in 2014;  I don't known if anyone bought it.

White Shoal, MI

Obviously you can't see this one from shore, you'd have to take a boat.  The article notes that if you want to see the Fresnel lens that used to be in it, you can go to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point.  And it's also on Michigan license plates devoted to saving lighthouses.

Now to the pictures.  Basically a lighthouse and water -- or ice and snow.

It can get cold out there. Picture by Dick Moehl. 

Saturday, July 9, 2016

How is this possible?

Here is the first sentence from an article -- the link to the article is posted below the quote.

Global per capita fish consumption has hit a record high, passing the 20kg per year mark for the first time, United Nations data has shown.

With many (over 30%) of wild fisheries overfished, how can this be?  Well, the answer is, consumption of farmed fish.

Here's the article:

UN: Global fish consumption per capita hits record high

Is this good news?  Maybe.  But not far from the first sentence, we find this:

"However, the report's authors warn that marine natural resources continue to be overharvested at unsustainable levels."

That's not surprising.  The per capita increase is seen as a plus, according to the article, because "fisheries have a very much smaller footprint than other main sources of animal protein", said Manual Barange, director of FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources.

The main reasons are the growth of aquaculture and more direct consumption of fish and fish products.

So maybe it's a good thing, but we must conserve the wild resources better.  Now.

Who else remembers Dallas Townsend?

When I was growing up, my family and I would listen to the "CBS World News Roundup" on the morning radio, which was normally broadcast by Dallas Townsend.

He was quite noteworthy;  here is his NY Times obituary.  I knew he was no longer alive, but I didn't remember when he passed away.

Even in this era of the Internet, I couldn't find a color picture of him.  Below are two black-and-whites, the latter with his notable contemporaries Douglas Edwards, Mike Wallace, and of course, Walter Cronkite.

I thought of him because I heard about the IPO of CBS Radio that will separate it from CBS Corp., as radio listenership declines.  We live in changing times, don't we?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The secret lies with Charlotte

If you read the following Daily Mail articles (and take a look at the instructional picture I've provided), you'll realize that if the massively bosomy Charlotte McKinney has a secret, she isn't keeping it hidden very much.

(I believe that having these three articles on one Daily Mail Web page ties the record for articles about large-breasted women not named Kelly Brook.)

Looking good Charlotte! Baywatch babe McKinney showcases her bounteous bust in tiny bikini top on the beach in Malibu

Charlotte McKinney shows off her fab legs and plenty of cleavage in short plunging lace dress as she celebrates July 4 weekend

Beach babe! Charlotte McKinney flaunts her curves in white bikini top and tiny shorts at Fourth of July party in Malibu

A double caught-in-the-act shot

The National Geographic Travel Photographer contest is done, and as would be expected, the pictures are outstanding. The one that stood out as I perused the Daily Mail article (the actual contest winner link is this one: National Geographic Travel Photographer Contest) is one that took a moment to figure out.

 And then I realized it shows the Catch of the Day - twice. Amazing.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Halep watch at Wimbledon 2016

Simona Halep got past Madison Keys (who got injured during the match) 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, and will face Angelique Kerber in the next match.  It's a pairing of the fifth seed (Halep) against the fourth seed (Kerber) -- could be good.

Halep keeps her eye on the ball

The end of Rosetta

CNES, the French space agency, has announced when the remarkable Rosetta mission will end:  on September 30 of this year, with a "landing" on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  That's the comet it has been orbiting, observing, and even dropping probes on.  I presume, though I haven't seen it described, that they'll probably spiral in slowly, and get as much observation time in at high resolution as they can before touchdown.

That's what I'd do, anyway, and it's also what the NEAR mission did (quite a long time ago, now).

Another way to celebrate the Fourth of July

Celebrate the Fourth of July with a good ol' fashioned car wash.

Here demonstrated by Abigail Ratchford.

Lighthouse of the Week, July 3-9, 2016: Fireworks and lighthouses

Rather than one featured lighthouse, since I'm writing this on the Fourth, here are two lighthouses with fireworks in the sky behind them.  And this is also bicoastal.

Mukilteo Lighthouse, Washington State

Fort Pickering Lighthouse, Salem, Massachusetts

Unique place in the USA: Great Salt Plains Lake, Oklahoma

I tried using Google Street View to find a view of the Great Salt Plains Lake or the salt plains themselves, but it was difficult.  The best I could do is below.  You can see the white of the salt plains in the distance.  News flash:  this part of Oklahoma is flat.  Click on the map link and then the "Earth" image to see what this place looks like from on high.

This is a unique place;  it's a salt lake, a wildlife refuge, and you can "mine" the area for either selenite (gypsum) clusters of blades of selenite that have an hourglass shape visible inside them (like the one shown here).  

Happy birthday, USA, and all the great places in this country!