Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Behati Prinsloo gave birth WHERE?

One of the things that the Daily Mail likes to do is cover celebrity pregnancies, which they do well. And one of the other things that they like to do is cover the "recovery" of the figures of beautiful actresses and supermodels who manage to get back to their pre-pregnancy levels of gorgeous litheness pretty amazingly quickly after popping out their tyke.

But in the case of Behati Prinsloo, married to Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, they may have set a new record.  (I grabbed this headline verbatim before they had a chance to change it.)

OK, so Behati gave birth at the AMAs and then showed off her post-baby body in a plunging little black dress at the same event.

That's impressive.

Aren't misplaced modifiers fun?

Here's what she looked like, by the way,

What will happen to nuclear power under Trump?

Worrisome as it may be that Donald Trump will be able to launch nuclear weapon strikes when he's President, as a nuclear power advocate, I've been wondering what he'll mean for the nuclear power industry.   Focusing solely on that issue, I think he'll keep it going.  Trump may think that he can reinvigorate the coal industry, but a lot of energy analysts think there are too many downsides to that, cost being just one of them.  Natural gas, despite shaking up Oklahoma, is less expensive and less carbon-intensive -- and we're exporting it, too.  And that's also what's holding back more nuclear power.

But nuclear power is clean and reliable, and until we have a great leap forward in battery technology (which is really all the USA and the world need), nuclear will still be important.   I recommend the article below, which lays out a pretty good scenario.

Hopes for Nuclear Power, However Unlikely, Blossom With Trump’s Rise

"The environmental impacts of all this could be drastic, and clean energy advocates in particular fear that wind and solar power generation may suffer under an administration backed by — and even made up of — fossil fuel lobbyists. Meanwhile, a variety of experts over the years, including former and current Energy secretaries Stephen Chu and Ernest Moniz, have echoed Hoffman’s enthusiasm for nuclear power — or at least its potential role in reducing runaway carbon dioxide emissions."

The microworld, revealed

As I've noted a few posts ago, I'm a fan of photography contests.  One that I look forward to every year is the winners of the Nikon microphotography contest, which is properly called the Nikon International Small World Contest.

So, before reading  the article at the link, guess what this is:

Read the article to find out (it's mostly pictures, anyway):

From a butterfly's wing to coffee crystals, Nikon reveals the mesmerizing winners of its microscopic image contest

Lighthouse of the Week, November 27 - December 3, 2016: Trowbridge Island, Canada

It's fairly easy to find lighthouses in the United States on the great lake of Lake Superior. There are lesser-known and harder-to-find lighthouses on the Canadian side. A good example of why they are harder to find is found with the Trowbridge Lighthouse, at the southern end of the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

The Trowbridge light sticks out above the trees, and has a dramatic stone wall backdrop (that's the Sleeping Giant), so it does lend itself well to pictures, even though it's hard to see the entire lighthouse building, which is only 39 feet tall.

Specs as of 1923, from Lighthouse Friends: "A thirty-nine-foot-tall octagonal tower, built of reinforced concrete and topped by a red lantern room, was placed on the summit of the island. Inside the lantern room, a third-order, Chance Brothers Fresnel lens slowly revolved around an oil-vapour lamp, producing a white flash every five seconds at a height of 114 above the lake. When needed, the fog alarm would boom out a group of two blasts each minute in this manner: two-and- a-half-second blast, ten seconds of silence, two-and-a-half-second blast, forty-five seconds of silence. The characteristic of the fog alarm was changed in 1928 to sound two three- and-a-quarter-second blasts each minute."

From the Lighthouse Directory: "Active; focal plane 35 m (114 ft); white flash every 5 s. 7 m (23 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and gallery, painted white with red trim; lantern and gallery painted red. 3rd order Fresnel lens."

So apparently it still has a working Fresnel lens. Cool.

Web site with a map

Pictures, including the Sleeping Giant itself (in the top one, the rock walls of the Sleeping Giant can be glimpsed at far left).

This is the Sleeping Giant

How to lose a game... and a job

Following the Crystal Palace - Swansea City game last Saturday was akin to riding the proverbial sports roller coaster. First Palace took the lead; then Swansea took what is usually a pretty comfortable lead in a soccer game, 3-1; then Palace battled back to make the score an improbable 4-3 with only six minutes (plus stoppage time) to go; and most improbably of all, Swansea City scored two goals in rapid succession to win the game 5-4. Good for American coach Bob Bradley, who won his first Premier League game, and the first ever by an American coach; really, really bad for James Pardew, who now finds his coaching job on the line.

The main reason for all the scoring was that neither Swansea City or Crystal Palace did a very good job of defending free kicks and corner kicks. One wonders how much of that is skill and how much of that is fortune, but likely the better teams don't allow as many goals on "set pieces" as poorer teams. Of course, the poorer teams don't have the highly-skilled and athletic players that are seen on better teams frequently scoring on set pieces.

Well, the articles indicate Pardew's job is on the line, and it should certainly be. Unfortunately, though, losing Wilfried Zaha for five weeks to the Cup of Africa in January won't help either. And even worse is the loss of forward Connor Wickham to a season-ending knee injury. So the team is going to have to figure out how to be more stingy on defense and find somebody that can score occasionally, or their three-year run in the Premier League will end this May.  And Pardew's run will have ended long before that.

A loss of character

Sad to read about the death of actor Ron Glass, who was probably best remembered for his role on Barney Miller, but who gave depth and insight to the part of Shepherd Book in the sadly short-lived science fiction TV series Firefly (and the wrap-it-the-series movie Serenity).

Veteran character actor Ron Glass of Barney Miller and Firefly fame dead at 71

He definitely had "range".

Buy me this

Looking for a Christmas gift to give me?  After all the years of dedicated blogging I've done?

The pictures are from Yandy.com.   And actually, the lingerie is not what I'm looking for.  If this lovely model had a price (truly I think she's priceless), then that's what I'd like under my Christmas tree.

She has a name:  Julianne Kissinger, (goes by juli.annee on Instagram).  She very recently gifted herself with a breast augmentation. Improving on perfection isn't easy, but I'll give her credit for the effort.

The best way to read

Lovely-beyond-words Joanna Krupa demonstrates the best way to read a book in Chicago.

By the window.  (That's the landmark Water Tower at left.)

In the nude.

 (Sure would be nice to be a drone on occasion.)

The Daily Mail had all the angles on this covered.

No clothes, no problem! Joanna Krupa goes completely NUDE as she does the mannequin challenge

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dawn is still out there

I hadn't heard much about the Dawn asteroid mission for a few months.  Apparently it hasn't been napping, it's been mapping -- the asteroid Ceres.  Now it's destined for a higher orbit.  

Two new pictures were released;  one of Occator Crater, the one with the largest bright white spots that were still a mystery as Dawn approached -- now identified as a magnesium salt.  The other is an attempt to provide a color image much as the human eye would see it, but likely a bit brighter, considering how far away the Sun is.

If you want lot and lots and lots of Ceres pictures from throughout the Dawn orbital phase, go here.

Here's the two new ones.

Just plain not good

I've stuck by Crystal Palace for each season that they've been in the Premier League.  I was happy the first season when they didn't get re-relegated, the second season when they made it up to 10th in the table, and last year when they staggered to the end of the season and avoided relegation by a couple of points.

This year, just scoring a couple of points has been real difficult.  So difficult, in fact, that they are the worst-scoring team in the top four divisions of English soccer.

That is just plain not good.

Here's hoping they can turn it around.  But they need to figure out something soon. As they stand now they are 1 point above the relegation line.  They play the lowest team in the table, Swansea City, this Saturday.  If they don't win that one, hoo boy, we got trouble.

Crystal Palace are the worst team in England's top four divisions this year... Alan Pardew's struggling side have a measly 0.71 points-per-match ratio

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Zealand's earthquake lifts the seafloor above the waves

The earthquake that hit New Zealand on November 14th, also called the Kaikoura earthquake, really did a number on the island country.  Because it's on the Ring of Fire and obviously possesses a lot of volcanic and tectonic features, it's not surprising that earthquakes happen here; maybe it's surprising that there aren't more.

Along with the 'regular' types of earthquake damage to buildings and infrastructure, landslides caused a lot of problems and cut off several communities for awhile, including the community of Kaikoura that the earthquake was named for.  The epicenter was actually closer to Culverden, but one of the big aftershocks, was very close to Kaikoura.

The uniquest thing about this earthquake was the effects on the local coastal seafloor, which was raised up by around two meters in some places, exposing what normally lies under the ocean waters, and confusing at least one spiny lobster quite a bit.

I should be underwater

Where the seafloor was exposed

Lighthouse of the Week, November 20-26, 2016: Lange Jaap, The Netherlands

As I promised, this week I'm returning to the "traditional" lighthouse design, rather than the avant garde and unusual (and even erotic) lighthouses found in South Korea.

This one is called Lange Jaap, which translates to "Long James".  I think I prefer the former, because the latter sounds kinda like a male porn star.  Lange Jaap has several superlatives associated with it, according to Wikipedia.

Here's what it says:

-- For almost a century, from 1878 to 1974, it was the tallest lighthouse in the Netherlands
-- tallest non-skeletal cast iron lighthouse in the world (probably)
-- it is a Rijksmonument, meaning it is a national heritage site for the Netherlands.

Listed as 63.5 meters (208 feet) high, thought it might only be 55.5 meters (182 feet) high.  Somebody needs to measure this one to make sure, definitively.

It has a first-order Fresnel lens and 284 steps to the top,

The pictures:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Two, no, three more Lighthouses of the Week (Nov. 13-19) from South Korea

After last week's symbolic lighthouse (highly symbolic), I thought I'd move on from South Korea, but I decided to do two more. On one page, it's called "Wando and Jindo, Wando Hang".

A different page, identifies it as the Wando Hang lighthouse.

From the Lighthouse Directory: "Active; focal plane 19 m (62 ft); two red flashes every 6 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower wrapped in square panels creating a heliacal effect. Entire lighthouse is red. ... In the evenings, the lighthouse is illuminated and plays music while the panels rotate around the tower. These unusual enhancements were apparently added in 2009". Before that, it was a simple red tower.

The second lighthouse I chose this week is the equine Iho Hang East Breakwater lighthouse. It's pretty obvious what this one is supposed to be.

From the Lighthouse Directory: "2009(?). Active; focal plane 20 m (66 ft); three green flashes every 7 s. 12 m (39 ft) concrete tower, built in the shape of a horse with the lantern perched on its head."

The Iho Hang West Breakwater lighthouse is a red horse. You can see both of them in this picture.

I think I'll go back to the more traditional lighthouse next week. Thank you, South Korea.

NOT due to climate change

Many bad things happening in the environment can frequently be connected, directly or indirectly, to climate change. This is not one of those things. According to the story (you can read it too, including the video), a large school of menhaden (the very valuable filter-feeder fish that is an important middle trophic step in the oceanic and estuarine food chain) got cornered by hunting bluefish into the Shinnecock Canal on Long Island. Unfortunately, the locks on the canal were closed for the night. With all of the fish in a restricted water mass (I guess they were too agitated to swim back out), they rapidly used up the oxygen and died.

Too bad this mass can't get turned into fish protein, which is what menhaden is used for elsewhere -- like the Chesapeake Bay.

I guess that helps

It's hard not to slightly envy Ryan Reynolds, who is a good-looking, well-paid Hollywood actor once married to Scarlett Johansson and now apparently very happily married (as evidenced by two successful acts of procreation) to the magnificent Blake Lively. And he recently told how they fell in love -- they were at a nightclub/restaurant, did some dancing, he walked her home, and apparently (as the story went), they then first engaged in the human copulative act.

It worked. More power to that method.

One of those days

Sometimes, you just can't bear the disappointment.

Credit to Rob Kroenert, who took the shot, and the Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards, where it was featured.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Think before you vote

Well, it's a little late for that now, those of you who voted for Donald Trump.  You know who you are.  The questions:  when will the first of them realize that they made a mistake, and how long will it take for widespread voter's remorse to set in?

Catherine Rampell, in the Washington Post:  Americans have voted for Trumpism - let them have it

Some excerpts are below.
American voters — or at least, half of them — wanted something different than what many of us expected they’d want. A man with the endorsements of zero national newspapers and zero living presidents, who lost all three debates, and who 61 percent of exit-poll respondents said was unqualified to be president, has won the presidency.
As a writer, I have always believed in the power of words. This election, and the parallel media echo chambers that have encased it, have shaken that belief. We writers can preach to the choir, but our chances of converting anyone outside our house of worship have narrowed.
And also to let him try and fail to keep sick Americans from “dying on the streets” and prevent health-care prices from spiraling out of control, while simultaneously shredding Obamacare’s coverage and cost provisions. Let him twist in the wind as he struggles to define the vague “something terrific” that will replace the Affordable Care Act.

And also watch him try and fail to close the deficit while simultaneously implementing a $7 trillion tax cut without any spending offsets.

She's not very optimistic about this the prospect for the next President, is she?

This does not look normal

Here's a plot of global sea ice concentrations (using data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, aka NSIDC) for every year since 1978.

2016 is in red.  And it's looking a lot different in 2016 than in most of the previous years.

Check that;  ALL of the previous years.

More about this later.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Heck of an investment to just go fast

I'm mostly in favor of the quest to set new sports records (particularly in athletic events). I read this article about the quest to set a new vehicular land speed record, and was both impressed and slightly appalled at the amount of investment in money and time that was required to just make the track for the effort. But hey, if the people clearing the rocks got paid, maybe I shouldn't complain so much. At least they had a job.

"The track team of over 300 people has worked away for the past seven years, clearing an area equivalent to a wide road from London to Moscow.

They have prised around 16,000 tonnes of stones (over 50 tonnes per person!) out of the surface to leave the most incredible track surface behind, ready for Bloodhound to arrive next year.

The track team has hand-cleared the largest area on earth ever prepared for a motorsport event. We felt this should be formally recognised, so we contacted the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)."

And when you read the article, the rocket car is an impressive work of science and technology. Perhaps even inspirational to some sectors and students. But I keep thinking that this is a lot of money and time -- just to go fast.

Records are made to be broken, right?

Let's get this out there

What does the American Geophysical Union, the largest organization of scientists in the country, have to say about the election of Presidoofus Donald Trump? (And yeah, I'm calling him a name. If he doesn't want it, he'll have to prove that he doesn't deserve it. Right now, he does.)


The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) Executive Director/CEO Christine McEntee. AGU represents more than 60,000 Earth and space scientists worldwide:

“From the nation’s founding, science has been the backbone of America’s economy, security, and well-being, and the underpinning of our democracy. In the days and months ahead, AGU calls on our elected leaders to remember the role science plays in our society and to support scientific innovation and discovery, and the people and programs that make it possible. AGU will continue our work to educate policymakers on issues of critical importance to the Earth and space sciences. We stand ready to share our knowledge with the new administration and Congress, and to help ensure that scientific knowledge can remain the underpinning of successful public policy decisions.

Wind turbines? No -- land use

One of the places that alternate energy enemies point to is the environmental "blight" of wind turbines, i.e., power-generating windmills. Now, I'm still of the opinion that they are a large-scale effort to make small-scale additions to our power-generating capacity, which is why I'm still a nuclear advocate (being in the industry does play into that).

However, wind turbines are accused of causing the deaths of birds. Well, they do that. How much and how many is open to interpretation and investigation. But as this article shows, the potential extinction of numerous bird species is much more affected by land use -- i.e., human exploitation of the bird habitat, at the expense of the birds.
"The study, published Nov. 9 in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, used remote sensing data to map recent land-use changes that are reducing suitable habitat for more than 600 bird species in the Atlantic forest of Brazil, Central America, the western Andes of Colombia, Sumatra, Madagascar and Southeast Asia.

Of the 600 species, only 108 are currently classified by the IUCN Red List as being at risk of extinction.

The new analysis, however, reveals that 210 of the species face accelerated risks of extinction and 189 of them should now be classified as threatened, based on the extent and pace of habitat loss documented by recent remote sensing."

So, maybe wind turbines are not cost-effective or land- and bird-friendly, but reducing habitats for birds is doing a lot worse.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Lighthouse of the Week, November 7-13, 2016: Sinnam-gil, South Korea

OK, I saved the best for last. (Or at least the most uplifting.) This is the lighthouse by the port of Sinnam-gil, South Korea.

If you think this lighthouse resembles something, you're right, it does. I'll let anyone interested do the necessary research to find out why. But I will give you a clue; look up "Haesindang Park".

And after considerable effort (it was a hard job), I couldn't find any other information about it. Nothing about how long, er, tall it is (but size doesn't really matter, does it?), when it was first erected, or how difficult it was to get it up on that jetty.

Surprisingly, there weren't even a lot of pictures of it. The first one shows the lighthouse in the distance, and one of the art pieces in Haesindang Park in the foreskin, er, foreground. I'm not showing it here, due to trying to keep this particular post somewhat classy. If you're easily offended, be fore... warned before you click here.

Here are the other three.  Definitely a tourist attraction.  Not necessarily the most picturesque lighthouse on the planet, but certainly one on the list of unique ones.

Nina is back, and her back

Sports Illustrated's online swimsuit page had a feature about Nina Agdal today, and I had to feature it, too. In the gallery section, she's wearing what appears to be two strategically deployed strings.

Best swimsuit I've ever seen.

Nina Agdal SI Swimsuit 2016 -- Zanzibar

See what I mean?

Siberia gets ALL the good impacts!

OK, Siberia has had Tunguska, Chelyabinsk, and now another blazing flash that might have signified a space rock coming to Earth. Well, fortunately there's a lot of empty land up there for it to hit.

Blazing 'fireball' is captured lighting up the sky as it falls to the ground in Siberia

Charles Krauthammer on Trump

On the eve of the momentous, ridiculous election, I thought I'd quote Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Post's strong conservative voice, who can't bring himself to vote for Hillary Clinton. But he's certainly not voting for Donald Trump, either.

Final Days, Awful Choice

"We are entering a period of unprecedented threat to the international order that has prevailed under American leadership since 1945. After eight years of President Obama’s retreat, the three major revisionist powers — Russia, China and Iran — see their chance to achieve regional dominance and diminish, if not expel, U.S. influence.

At a time of such tectonic instability, even the most experienced head of state requires wisdom and delicacy to maintain equilibrium. Trump has neither. His joining of supreme ignorance to supreme arrogance, combined with a pathological sensitivity to any perceived slight, is a standing invitation to calamitous miscalculation."

Exactly. I know who I'm voting for.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Photography contests are great

Photography contests can feature photographs and images that depict wonderful things in even more wonderful ways.  I particularly like nature photography contests, because I'm fond of nature and scenery, but microphotography contests and amateur travel photography contests are good, too.

So I will note this photography contest article from the Daily Mail, about the Siena International Photo Awards.

An exploding volcano, a nosy killer whale and a very brave skier: The new photo contest that is setting EXTREMELY high standards

There's a Web site for the contest, too:  SIPA contest

Since I have a place in my heart for swimmers, I borrowed this Honorable Mention recipient from Davide Lopresti.

This one by Joel Marklund received a Remarkable Award.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Keegan in blue

I rarely pass up a chance to comment and feature British wonder woman Michelle Keegan (and she could play a good Wonder Woman, I think, with all due respect to the luminous Gal Gadot).  So I'll take this chance to do it again.

It is a shame that her lovely mane of dark brown hair got a bit fried by going blonde for her recent role, though. She's still incredible in this slinky blue dress, and hubby Mark Wright had better be repeatedly showing his appreciation, I think.

Michelle Keegan flashes her perky posterior in a slinky midnight blue gown at the Pride of Britain Awards with husband Mark Wright as she confesses she's 'always broody'

Why orgasms feel... well, orgasmic

In case you wondered:

Why DO orgasms feel so good? Neuroscientist explains how sexual stimulation re-routes brain activity to reach an 'altered state of consciousness' akin to a seizure

To examine this unique trance, Dr Safron reviewed related studies and literature over many years to come up with a model in which rhythmic sexual activity likely influences brain rhythms. His model showed stimulating particular nerves in a particular way at a particular speed over and over again focuses our neurons.

They begin to synchronize their activity. This focusing process is called neural entrainment. Eventually, if stimulation continues long enough, this synchronization can spread throughout the brain making us more focused than ever.

This may be crucial for allowing for a sufficient intensity of experience to trigger the mechanisms of climax.
So, in the words of Miami Sound Machine, the rhythm is gonna get'cha... off.

Star Wars island

I'm not the first (by far) to call it that, but now I know where this particular striking location (from Star Wars Episode VII) is located on Earth. If you want to get all romantical about it, then it really isn't on Earth, this place just resembles a place in the Star Wars universe.

It's off the coast of Ireland.

I learned about it from this Daily Mail article, which has other great natural shots. There are still great places on this Earth, too.

More things in heaven and Earth

We may think that the Solar System is unusual, and it may be. The other planets in this system all have their unusual qualities, from the massive volcanoes of Mars to the dense hot atmosphere of Venus to the rings of Saturn and its own system of moons (Jupiter has some crazy ones as well), and the outer planets and moons with ice and gas geysers... I could go on. And now astronomers are starting to describe the weirdness of exoplanets, including a 'hot Jupiter' where it rains glass.

But this Earth still has capacity to startle, as with this intriguing article and video about a brine-filled pool dubbed "the jacuzzi of despair", complete with a dense flow of salty water making an underwater waterfall. It's a five-minute video, very fun to watch.