Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Yikes, that was close!

It's the one we don't see coming that's gonna make a mess, big-time.

That could refer to a lot of things, but in this case, it refers to an asteroid.  We can look and look and look and find and find and find (and NASA could look a lot better if Congress would appropriate more money for the effort), but if we miss one before it hits us, then that one is going to leave a mark.

Sobering thought - if we do see it coming and it is going to hit us, there's not a lot we could do about it other than to try and figure out where it's going to hit and warn people that might be living there (if it is on track to hit a populated area) to get out of the way pronto.

We didn't see one coming last weekend (only a few days ago, and this being August 31, that would have been August 27), Earth just got missed by an asteroid estimated to be 50-100 feet long (or wide, if you prefer).

Earth just narrowly missed getting hit by an asteroid

By "just got missed", that means if you take the distance from Earth to the Moon and divide it by 4, that one-fourth is how far away it was at closest approach.  Which is to say, about 60,000 miles.  An astronomical whisker, as it were.

Like I said -- yikes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The holes around Phobos

This is actually one of the absolute cleverest subject lines I've ever come up with.  Skip down to the bottom if you want to know why.

In the meantime, however, I'm highlighting an article (one of several that has appeared since yesterday) about a determination of what likely caused the strange long rows of craters on the Martian moon Phobos.

Put real simply, they happened by this process:

Step 1:  Phobos gets hit by a large rock, though considerably smaller than Phobos.

Step 2:  The impact forms a primary crater; some of the debris generated by the impact escapes the weak gravity of Phobos and goes into orbit around Mars.

Step 3:  Some of the heavier debris doesn't escape Phobos and falls back down, making some smaller secondary craters.

Step 4:  A few orbits later, the debris re-encounters Phobos; and the resulting impact with the orbiting debris field creates the long row of craters, called sesquinary craters.

Cool, eh?

Here's a picture of what the article, and the research paper that inspired it, are describing.

(Oh yeah, about the subject. There's a short story called "The Holes Around Mars".  It's science fiction, though the scientific aspects aren't greatly accurate.  But Phobos is involved.)

Bendtner news!

For some reason (mainly because he bedded a fabulously wealthy and fabulously gorgeous divorcee and they had a baby together, even though she was about a decade older), I've been continually watching the ups and downs of the soccer career of Nicklas Bendtner.

I kinda thought Hull City would take a shot at him, considering how few players they actually have.

But it appears from this article that Bendtner could end up in the English Championship division, one notch below the Premier League, giving him a chance to make enough of an impression to move up (or to get on a team that qualifies for the Premier League next year).

I promise to keep an eye on this and report any additional developments.

Late Hull City news on Twitter:  they signed Will Keane from Manchester United, which helps their roster situation a little.

Who wouldn't?

The fabulous Diane Kruger, at the moment single after breaking up with her 10-year boyfriend Joshua Jackson, was on the beach recently, showing off a figure that does not look anywhere close to 40 years old.

According to the Daily Mail (quoting a Page Six article) Jackson is thinking that he wants "to work things out" with Kruger, so they can get back together.

After seeing her in fiery red and looking hotter on the beach, who wouldn't want to get back together?  I have a feeling that the breakup may have happened because Diane just can't commit.  The article alludes to a sentiment in that regard.

I mean, this is what he's missing (shown in the collage below).  There's a whole lot of males that would like to get together with Diane, and I'm betting Joshua still has the inside track.  If he can just figure out what she's looking for.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Lighthouse of the Week, Aug. 28 -- Sep. 3, 2016: Outer Island Light, Wisconsin

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, on Lake Superior by way of Wisconsin, has several lighthouses.   An outstanding one is Outer Island Lighthouse.  (Click the link for a surprise.)

Here's a lot about the Apostle Islands and the lighthouse itself.

Outer Island Light, by Dave Wobser

"The tower was built with a circular iron stairway leading to a watch room and outside walkway below the lantern. The Third Order lens had six bulls eye panels which produced a flashing white light 130 feet above Lake Superior and 86 feet above ground. The lens was turned by a clockwork mechanism powered by weights."

And below are four pictures this time:

by Dennis O'hara

Friday, August 26, 2016

Just read it -- more than once, if necessary

I read this Dana Milbank column in the Washington Post, but I'm linking to it in the Monterey Herald because the Post only allows free reads of 10 articles a month, I believe.

It's worth reading, because Milbank lays it out.  Hillary Clinton is the only reasonable choice for President this November, even though, as Milbank also lays out, she is certainly flawed. (As if any one of us isn't.)  If you're unreasonable, unreasoning, and can't see reason, then I guess you can vote for Trump.  Even then, I wouldn't recommend it.

The singular danger of Trump

This is what really moved me:
"He [Trump] shows an autocrat’s disregard for our constitutional system. He bans news organizations that he doesn’t like. He wants to “open up” press laws to weaken the First Amendment. He claims an American-born federal judge can’t be impartial toward him because of his Mexican heritage and threatens to use the presidency to go after him. He once said he would order the military, illegally, to torture detainees and target innocent civilians. He has talked of banning members of an entire religion from entry into the United States and forcing those here to register.

Trump invites violence as a political tool. He suggests “Second Amendment people” — gun owners — could stop judges Clinton nominates. He has spoken of paying the legal fees of supporters who assault hecklers at events, saying things like “knock the crap out of them” and “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Trump has alleged the vote will be “rigged” against him, and those around him suggest violence could ensue.

Trump brought racism and paranoia into the mainstream with his “America First” campaign and his leadership of the movement challenging Obama’s American birth. He hesitated to disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. His tweets have included messages from white supremacists, a Jewish star atop a pile of cash, phony crime statistics that originated with neo-Nazis, a quote from Mussolini, even an image of Nazi soldiers superimposed on the American flag next to Trump’s likeness. Trump has mocked Asian accents and the disabled. He has said “half” of the 11 million illegal immigrants are criminals."

Not Presidential. Not reasonable. Not possible.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Best abs ever

I admire lovely women with flat tummies and athletically fit abdominal muscles ("abs" for short).

Supermodels frequently have nice abs, as shown for Doutzen Kroes below (and she's had two kids).

These are Doutzen's abs, too

But supermodel abs, even Doutzen's abs, can't compare to world-class Olympic gold medalist gymnast abs.

See this article for confirmation of that.

Ab fab! Simone and her golden girls hit the beach in Rio ...

I cropped a picture I found from this photo op to show Aly Raisman, looking particularly impressive.

Fit.  For real.

Skull game

Some indescribably lucky volunteer paleontologists were looking around the site that they were volunteering on in Montana, and they found something very significant.

It was a BIG, almost completely perfect Tyrannosaurus Rex skull.

That's what the article is about:

Large Tyrannosaurus Rex skull found in Montana  (read to find out the clever name they gave it)

There's a video about it in this article.

The skull will go on display at the Burke Museum in Washington in 2019.   Might be worth a trip out there.

Below is a picture of the skull arriving at the museum, in its protective plaster.  Humans are shown to scale.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Another Great Lakes wreck - this time, a train

Close on the heels of the discovery of the second-oldest shipwreck in the Great Lakes, a wreck hunter named Tom Crossmon of Minnesota has found something else -- in this case, the derailed locomotive CPR 694, which went off the tracks and into Lake Superior on June 9, 1910.

The article at the link below has a seven minute video about the find.

Train found at bottom of Lake Superior, 106 years after derailment

A very close conjunction

Whether or not you have a view of the sky on August 27, and whether or not you're reading this before or after August 27, that night has a very unusual and rare astronomical event;  a planetary conjunction (two planets appearing very close together in the sky) between Venus and Jupiter.

In this case, very very close.  Almost on top of each other.

Here's a good video about it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Paul Krugman on politics, climate change, and Trump

Paul Krugman had a very good piece in the New York Times on climate change and Donald Trump, echoing some of the tribalistic concerns voiced by other writers (including my small self here on thie blog, occasionally).

I provide a link to the article here:  The Water Next Time

And below are some excerpts.  The emphases (underlining) are mine.

"Or to put it a different way, we face a clear and present danger, but we have the means and the knowledge to deal with that danger. The problem is politics — which brings us back to Mr. Trump and his party.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that when it comes to climate change, as with so many issues, Mr. Trump has gone deep down the rabbit hole, asserting not just that global warming is a hoax, but that it’s a hoax concocted by the Chinese to make America less competitive."
and this:
... "It’s interesting to ask why climate denial has become not just acceptable but essentially required within the G.O.P. Yes, the fossil-fuel sector is a big donor to the party. But the vehemence of the hostility to climate science seems disproportionate even so; bear in mind that, for example, at this point there are fewer than 60,000 coal miners, that is, less than 0.05 percent of the work force. What’s happening, I suspect, is that climate denial has become a sort of badge of right-wing identity, above and beyond the still-operative motive of rewarding donors."

Based on a recent article in The Hill ("Poll:  Climate is most divisive issue in U.S."), the tribal allegiance of the hard right-wing to climate change skepticism makes what Krugman writes ring true.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Another August sonnet - "but who's counting?"

I've had more chances to be poetic this August.  So below, I hope you enjoy one of my fun ones.

but who's counting?

In basic elements she is the same;
her components no different than those
who like her are a woman! So her frame
is legged and possessed of pairs with ten-count toes
or fingers, plus the special type with cur-
vatures appealing and arousing; still,
it is the singularities of her
that alter both my wisdom and my will.
For one of them does kiss me, on my lips
or on my own distinct uniqueness; and
there is another place between her hips
that too is primal -- there, when my demand
is matched to her acceptance, she transforms
to one whose sole existence transcends norms.

Lighthouse of the Week, August 21-27, 2016: Orient Point, NY (The Coffee Pot)

Did you know that Long Island, NY, has 24 lighthouses?

Neither did I, until I looked at this map:  Lighthouses of Long Island, New York

I looked down the list, and thought that Orient Point (The Coffee Pot) looked intriguing.  It turns out that the lighthouse itself isn't the most photogenic (hence the nickname), but location, location, location:  it can still make some great photographs.

Here's more about it (it was built 1898-1899):  Orient Point, NY

It is currently privately-owned.

A map, and then three nice pictures are below.

from slack12 on Flickr

Friday, August 19, 2016

Just a little ... bit ... lower

I don't try to hide my admiration for the talent, charisma, fitness, and All-American beauty of dancing star from Dancing with the Stars Julianne Hough.   And while she has a great figure, with all the necessary components, one of her outstanding components is her dancing-sculpted butt.

Below is one of the better photographs I could find of this particular component.

Now, it would be enjoyable but unlikely that Julianne would provide a view of her bare derriere (except maybe to her paramours, who are very fortunate guys).   However, during her vacation with Nina Dobrev, Milissa Sears, the fortunate Brooks Laich, and a few others, Nina, Julianne, and Milissa offered a glimpse of at least the top of their bare bottoms.

And that was very nice of them to do.

Click this to see that

(this shot has garnered 3,530 comments at the time I looked at it)

Now, some of the comments aren't exactly favorable.  So should we judge harshly?  Well, the nature of the beast of the type of dancing Julianne does is to be artistically sexy -- and one of the reasons she's a star is because she does that quite well.  So yes, this might be a little risky or risqué (take your pick), but that's an element of how she's built her stardom.

Now, if she posed for a nude photoshoot, their might be more disapproval, and it might more radically affect her wholesome+sexy image.  It would also be very nice of her to do -- but I don't expect it.

About Milissa Sears:  she's the wife of  TV's Flash hero/villain Teddy Sears, who was responsible for setting up Julianne and Brooks, which has worked out pretty well (it appears).

About 90% of the pictures I could find of her are with Teddy, so here's one in which she looks quite fetching.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Really cool shipwreck find in Lake Ontario

A band of veteran shipwreck hunters that searches the Great Lakes found one of the most significant finds of their shipwreck-finding careers:  the wreck of the sloop Washington, which was built in 1797 and went down in a storm in 1803.  According to the articles that I've provided as links below, this makes it the second-oldest ship on the bottom of the Great Lakes.  (I doubt there are any ships older than this still afloat on the Great Lakes, either).

What got me was the amazing preservation of the ship.  I guess wood doesn't deteriorate a lot in the cold low-oxygen darkness of the freshwater Great Lakes (and as support, they do underwater salvage logging in Lake Superior).

Here's a shot from the underwater ROV that surveyed the ship after they found it with side-scan sonar.


Rare 18th Century Sloop Washington Discovered in Lake Ontario.

Watch the moment explorers find 'very special' 200 year old Canadian sloop shipwrecked in the Great Lakes (Daily Mail, with ROV video)

E.J. agrees

E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post today basically agreed with what I posted yesterday;  that Donald Trump staying in the race and not quitting (as had been both suspected by some, suggested by others, and advocated by a few) is great news for Hillary Clinton.

If you thought the old Donald Trump campaign was wild and crazy, just wait

Here's the part that echoed my own thoughts:
"The good news is that Trump seems determined to fight through the campaign on his own terms. This reduces the chances that he will drop out of the presidential race, which, in turn, means that Clinton is more likely to avoid what would be the biggest blow to her chances: a Trump withdrawal and the naming of a new GOP candidate."

E.J. sure got that right.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The benefits of fathering (not necessarily fatherhood)

New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has confirmed that he has impregnated a lovely Swedish model named Ella Rose, with whom he had a relationship now and then.

Ella Rose, Julian Edelman’s Babymama: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Julian apparently likes women and frequently is in their company. Seeing Ella in top modeling form (as shown below) makes it clear that the idea of coitus and impregnation would be rather hard to resist, particularly if she encouraged the idea.

What a waist

Ella Rose Instagram page

Oh yeah, she's DEFINITELY pregnant, as the recent pictures below demonstrate. (And looking quite nice that way.)

Bluefin tuna still need our help -- desperately

I think it's been quite awhile since I commented on the state of the magnificent bluefin tuna.

It's still very, very troubling.

From this National Geographic article:

Pacific Bluefin Tuna and the Spirit of Aloha 

A quote to set the stage:

"Right now, Pacific bluefin tuna are in big trouble. The population is at only 2.6 percent of its historic abundance, according to the latest stock assessment. In other words, fishing fleets from several nations have taken more than 97 percent of Pacific bluefin tuna out of the sea—and we’re not slowing down."

Like I said, very troubling. This article suggests that there be cooperation to bring the bluefin back.

Why is Japan so specifically mentioned? Here's why:

"... the vast majority (approximately 80 percent) are caught by Japanese fleets in their waters, and Japanese markets consume about 90 percent of the resulting bluefin products.

Japanese fishermen are not entirely to blame. Other countries, including Mexico, South Korea and the U.S., also catch Pacific bluefin, and have to be part of the solution. However, the scale of the catch in the Western Pacific, particularly by fisheries that target Pacific bluefin in and around their spawning grounds, has no reasonable scientific justification."

So, simply put, Japan is eating most of the bluefin tuna.

So what does he suggest? This:

"We chefs must take Pacific bluefin off our menus now, and give these powerful fish a chance to rebound.

Besides, there are delicious alternatives that are also sustainable. I encourage my customers to be adventurous and expand their seafood palates with dishes like mackerel scad (opelu) and monchong (kuro aji modoki). Hawaiians can still enjoy ahi [tuna] through more sustainable tuna choices like skipjack, albacore and yellowfin."

Great idea. But what about NOW?

"Japan, the U.S. and other Pacific nations will come together in late August in Fukuoka, Japan, for a critical international negotiation over the future of Pacific bluefin tuna. It is time to make science-based commitments to recover this species, including serious harvest reductions and the closure of fishing in their spawning grounds."

Exactly! There is no more time to wait. Do it now. For the fish, and for the kids.

The concern: Trump pulls out too soon

I'm perfectly content with the Republican Party going down in flames because they nominated Donald Trump for President. However, I keep having a recurring daymare as Trump's campaign problems get worse and worse. What I fear is this:

He quits running for President.

You see, he's very likely going to lose, and that likelihood is increasing every day that he's running. But if he quits, the Republicans will have to put up another candidate (somehow), and there's a problem with that, in my mind:

Even at this late date, they might nominate someone who's actually electable.

Now, filmmaker and part-time curmudgeon Michael Moore thinks that Trump never planned to be President, and probably doesn't want to be (I think that too, but for slightly different reasons -- see below). Moore has stated this publicly, and even added in the advice to Donald to quit the race now.

Michael Moore: Trump 'never actually wanted to be President' 

NO! That's not what we want!

We want Donald to stay in, and split the Republican Party massively. Make the Trumpians mad. Help disintegrate the party, especially in the gerrymandered Congressional districts, and maybe take back both the House and the Senate, as Hillary gets elected.

Now, my reasons that Trump never wanted to be President. I think he knows it's too hard a job for someone used to the trappings and leisure activities of being super wealthy. Being President would mean he'd have to work really hard, every day. I doubt he wants to. (There were reports that Trump was shopping around the Vice Presidency to governors like Kasich or Walker with the offer that they could actually run the country. Presumably that meant he'd shake hands, sign bills, talk with head of other foreign countries, and host state dinners with Melania in some expensive designer dress.)

But I suspect even something more sinister. I suspect that Donald planned to run to try and get Hillary elected! Look back - there are pictures showing that the Clintons and the Trumps were cordial, and Donald is on record with praise toward Hillary. Obviously he can't act nice toward her when he's ostensibly a candidate for President. But I think he might have come up with the idea that by being an impossible candidate to elect, he'd make it easier for America to get over the "hump" of electing a woman President, especially one with the difficulties Hillary carries with her, i.e., the lack of public appeal, the concerns voters have about her character (which I think are misguided), the liberal Democrat aspect, etc. So if Hillary gets elected, he can take credit for a major role in getting the first woman President elected.

Seriously, I think he would (and will).

Thus, I want Donald to keep running, and I want Donald to lose. Big.  HUUUUUGE.  I don't want the RNC to kick him out, and I don't want Donald to quit the race. The moves that he made today, campaign-wise, should help keep his voter appeal down. The debates are likely to be almost unwatchable for anyone with an average IQ or above, so I'll probably just read the summaries the next day.

So GO, Donald, GO -- in the direction you're going -- which is to say, you're currently going down in flames and there's no reason to stop, for the good of the country.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

If you can grab this month's Maxim Australia...

If you can grab a copy of this month's Maxim - Australia, I would.  The cover girl is the divinely shaped Renee Somerfield, who I believe has the world's most perfect bikini body.  See below.

If you should happen to grab it, my congratulations.  Because inside, Renee is photographed grabbing herself, which makes us (OK, really me) want to help out with the grabbing.  See below.

Renee has been photographed as above, or quite similarly, numerous times.  She is one of the women for whom I would truly like to ask to take part in the "Free the Nipple" worldwide campaign.  Because she's worth it.

Lighthouse of the Week, August 14-20, 2016: Cabo Mayor, Spain

Do you know where Santander, Spain is?

If not, don't feel too bad about it.  Neither did I.

Here's a map:

Well, as you might have guessed already, Santander is the location of this week's Lighthouse of the Week, which is called the Cabo Mayor Lighthouse.

It is apparently a well-known landmark, according to this page:  The Cabo Mayor Lighthouse

Here's an excerpt of the pertinent facts from the amazing Lighthouse Directory:
"1839. Active; focal plane 89 m (292 ft); two white flashes every 10 s. 30 m (98 ft) stone tower with lantern and gallery rising from the center of a circular 1-story stone keeper's house; an additional 1-story house is attached. Lighthouse is unpainted stone; gallery painted white; lantern dome is gray metallic. Fog horn (two 3.5 s blasts every 40 s)."

Here are three pictures of the Cabo Mayor lighthouse.  The last could be printed as a poster, suitable for framing, from here.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

A novel way to use nuclear power

For years, Russia has demonstrated a unique use of nuclear power;  nuclear-powered icebreakers.   They just launched the hull of one in a new advanced class in June -- it's not finished yet -- and they're starting work on another.

Russia Lays Down Nuclear-Powered Ural Icebreaker at Baltic Shipyard

Russia's second serial project 22220 nuclear-powered icebreaker Ural has been laid down in St. Petersburg on Monday, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.

The Arktika, the first project 22220 class ship and the first nuclear icebreaker to be fully built in modern-day Russia, was successfully launched at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg on June 16. The second ship, the Sibir, was laid down at the shipyard in May 2015.

Russia has had successful nuclear icebreakers (and nuclear submarines, like us) for years. So how difficult is it to have "neighborhood nuke plants" all around the globe -- especially the developing world? Seems simple to me.

One thing to note: over the next few decades, there's going to be considerably less polar ice for these ships to break.

Is this going to be cost-effective?

Deep Space Industries has announced that they're planning to launch an asteroid "mining" satellite within three years.  It's not really going to mine an asteroid -- it's going to survey for the presence of water ice.

They say that if they have an asteroid with water ice, it can be used as a refueling stop for other space probes.

In my opinion, there are a lot of problems with this plan.  For one thing, the space probe that needs refueling would have to have a mission plan that would get it close enough to a water-bearing asteroid.  The deep space probes used so far either have hydrazine (not a water-based propellant), or ion engines (which use very, very little fuel).

So I don't know if there's a client list for this plan. But they seem confident that there will be
"The company ultimately plans to develop follow-on missions that will extract water ice from asteroids, which the company can then sell to other customers for use as in-space propellant or other applications, reducing the cost of missions that would otherwise have to launch those resources from the Earth."

If there are such missions, they have a chance. If not, at least we'll know if a couple asteroids have water.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some surprises in Rio

As one might expect, I've been watching the Olympics.  No surprise that the U.S. women gymnasts won the team gold -- by a monstrous gap in this sport.  No surprise that Katie Ledecky won the 400, but a bit of a surprise that she won the 200 (but it shouldn't be anymore).  Her eventual win in the 800 won't be a surprise (she already set an Olympic record in the prelims).  Also no surprise that the USA women won the 4 x 200 freestyle relay with Ledecky anchoring.

We shouldn't be surprised anymore by what Michael Phelps accomplishes -- but still, looking as good as he does, and outswimming the field in the 200 IM sure looked surprising.  (And it was surprising that Lochte fell off by so much at the end and didn't medal.)   Go look at the world record progression;  only Phelps and Lochte have been in the 1:54s for the 200 IM.

Big surprise (and great swim) -- Simone Manuel winning the women's 100 freestyle - a surprise tie with 16-year old Penny Oleksiak of Canada, which is a double surprise because she's 16 and she's from Canada.

But the biggest surprise of tonight (August 11) had to be the USA men's volleyball win over Brazil.  I saw part of it, and didn't think they'd sustain how well they were playing, but they did.  So after a disappointing start, they still have a chance to get into the medal round. But to do that, they'll have to beat France, which is pretty good, and Mexico, which isn't as good.  What might help is that they're ranked fifth and France is ranked 11th.  Let's go, boys.

An sonnet in August: the meaningful reality

I've been writing more sonnets!  Here's my first for this month:

the meaningful reality

The hiddenness that lies beneath the norm --
which marks the form expected of my days,
and how I show myself to those who think
they know me -- lets imagination's craze
become a brief reality, to link
my bonding urges with another's form;
and though our acts will never be portrayed
in verbal epics told with native rites,
they still possess the essence of romance --
those moments cherished yet untold, sweet sights
reserved behind a curtained circumstance
where we both live as humans unafraid
to be exposed, aroused -- adventurous
as we create ferocity and bliss.

Another Google StreetView scene

This one isn't directly from the road; it's a panorama from an overlook at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado. But it's on Google Street View, and it's one heck of a view.  Slide it around to take a look around.

Ichiro makes hit to 3,000

(That was fun.) I had posted an Ichiro watch a short while ago, and the Japanese hit machine finally made it to the 3,000 mark, with an uncharacteristic triple. So when he goes in the Hall of Fame, even though his MLB total will be a number a few over 3,000, his professional baseball hit total will be a lot more than Pete Rose.

Inside the numbers: from age 27 on, only Pete Rose had more hits than Ichiro

Ichiro becomes 30th player to reach 3,000 hits

Sunday, August 7, 2016

One reason the world's top predators are declining: less for them to eat

Yes, I'm hungry

I wanted to bring this article to the attention of the readers of this blog, who though they be few in number are obviously great judges of character and content because they put up with me.  (Or perhaps they just like the supermodel posts.)

But this one was eye-opening, and though it makes sense, it wasn't something I'd thought about before.   In the oceans, the top predators are being overfished.  They aren't declining primarily due to lack of prey species (even though some of those species are being overfished too).

But this National Geographic article describes that lack of prey for top predators on land is indeed one of the primary reasons for the decline of these famed charismatic species:  the lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, leopards, wolverines, bears, etc.

The World’s Top Predators Are Dining From Dwindling Menus

A good paragraph to extract:

"Their results show that for many carnivores, it’s not enough to just focus on hunting, poaching, and other direct threats to their lives. Conservationists will need to turn their attentions to measures that protect both the predators and a large number of their prey. “It’s a simple concept but it just hasn’t had the same level of emphasis,” adds Ripple. “We found that just 7 percent of prey ranges overlapped with protected areas.” Expanding and strengthening those areas will ensure that the world’s top carnivores have enough flesh to eat."

Lighthouse of the Week, August 7-13, 2016: Tranøy Lighthouse, Norway

The Tranøy Lighthouse in Norway is truly picturesque, as one might expect a lighthouse located on a rocky coast by a strait of water near mountainous snow-encrusted islands should be.

Here's some info:

It stands 89.6 feet (27.3 meters) tall, and is 91.9 feet (28 meters) above high tide. It was built in 1914, but was actually moved to its present location in 1935. It's an active lighthouse with tri-colored lights, and it's also a tourist attraction.

Two links will tell you more about it.  The first photographically describes a journey to the lighthouse.

Tranøy Lighthouse in Nordland

Tranøy Lighthouse: A Nordland Treasure

Three pictures will tell you how picturesque it is.

by Tobias Richter

Friday, August 5, 2016

Is this really the birthplace of King Arthur?

I found this particular article very interesting.  It's possible that archaeologists have found remains of the castle that was the possible birthplace of an actual person that formed the basis for the legends of England's King Arthur.  Later writings put the birthplace at Tintagel, which is where the archaeologists have found the outline of a 6th-century castle -- when Arthur was doing his legendary thing.

Now, none of this actually proves there truly was a King Arthur -- but like the discoveries of the NASA rovers on Mars, indicating it was indeed possible for life to have existed on an earlier wetter planet -- it does indicate that there could have been.

And that's cool.

Possible 6th century palace found at site linked to King Arthur


This is just good

Presenting the Comic-Con trailer for the Wonder Woman movie.  Having recently seen Batman v. Superman:  Dawn of Justice and enjoyed it far more than a lot of critics, apparently, there were some other bits about the future members of the Justice League.   The trailer explains one of the bits quite well.

And it's a great trailer to watch.  Looking forward to the movie.

Creationism, climate change skepticism, and voting for Trump

There are a lot of parallels between the mental processes that enable a belief in Biblical creationism, adherence to the inaccurate arguments of climate change skepticism, and voting for Donald Trump in this year's Presidential election, as explained in this Washington Post article:

Why facts don't matter to Trump's supporters

Two paragraphs provide insight.  I underlined the good parts:

"Trump is a vivid and, to his critics, a frightening present-day illustration of this perception problem. But it has been studied carefully by researchers for more than 30 years. Basically, the studies show that attempts to refute false information often backfire and lead people to hold on to their misperceptions even more strongly."

(Boy, I can vouch for that. I argued with immune-to-all-phenological-data Tony Heller aka Steve S. Goddard for years on Twitter before he blocked me.)

Here's the second quote:

"When critics challenge false assertions — say, Trump’s claim that thousands of Muslims cheered in New Jersey when the twin towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001 — their refutations can threaten people, rather than convince them. Graves noted that if people feel attacked, they resist the facts all the more. He cited a study by Nyhan and Reifler that examined why people misperceived three demonstrable facts: that violence in Iraq declined after President George W. Bush’s troop surge; that jobs have increased during President Obama’s tenure; and that global temperatures are rising."

So what should be done? Rather than argue, sympathize. Tell them you're sorry that they have to think that way. I've done that a few times, too.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

If you're in Singapore this October

If you're in Singapore in October, and you're a fan of Hong Kong entertainment, you can catch singing star Joey Yung, in duet concert-singing with Hacken Lee.

Hacken Lee and Joey Yung to perform in Singapore Oct 9

I've written previously about Joey -- here, and here.

Joey and Hacken below in publicity shot.  And that tuxedo Joey is wearing is hot.

Since I was in Oregon

Since my lighthouse was in Oregon (actually, off the coast of it), I thought I could display a picture of a remarkable scenic spot that I just found out about, courtesy of Sara Underwood.

The spot is Toketee Falls on the Umpqua River.  There are actually two, the upper being about 40 feet high and the lower being about 80 feet high.

Not much that I can say about it, other than it is utterly spectacular.

See for yourself.

Lighthouse of the Week, July 31 - August 6, 2016: Tillamook Rock, Oregon

Appropriately enough, this is the 4,000th post on my blog.

I'll have to say something more about that soon.

Meanwhile, here is the Lighthouse of the Week, an abandoned lighthouse on a big rock about a mile and half off the coast of Oregon.  It is named after a brand of cheese.

Actually, I think many things are named after Tillamook, which was actually a tribe.  There's the town, the county, the bay, the cheese, and the rock upon which the lighthouse is situated.

There's probably more but that's enough for now.

For more:  Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

It was somehow built in the 1870s, with the light first lit in 1881.

It can get rather stormy out there, as you'll see in one of the pictures.

It's now a wildlife refuge

Surf's up

Plain and simple

August has a sonnet

I didn't post any sonnets in July.  I'll try to write and post a few this month.

Here's the first.

days to go

A sense of the impending -- nearness still
so far, a temporal proximity
that could not true exist before the fill
of days through what was weeks ago. The sea
of luminescent imminence creates
a froth above the depths where more emo-
tion dwells, combining several vital states
of being, only few of which we know
and recognize while short time passes by,
and we approach the site of native sights
unusual and integral, to try
across a spectrum of sublime delights
when rendesvous is real and the destined place
does coincide with times when pulses race.

The sky IS falling (daily, on Io)

Chicken Little wouldn't be wrong on this moon of Jupiter.

Every day, as Io slips into the shadow of the mega-planet, its atmosphere (primarily composed of tenuous sulfurous gases vomited from within, where it is squeezed by the tidal forces of Jupiter) gets colder.  In fact, it gets cold enough to snow -- which has the effect of reducing the atmosphere to nothing.  When the surface of Io gets re-warmed by the distant energy stemming from the Sun as it emerges from the shadow, the sulfurous snow becomes gaseous again.

Every orbit.

This is termed "atmospheric collapse" by the planetary moonologists.

We just term it very unusual -- and very interesting.

This phenomenon is further explained here:

Scientists observe Io's atmospheric collapse during eclipse