Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Award-winning pano photos

I know that I have mentioned before that I have a fondness for photography contests.  (I haven't figured out where the awards for nude photography are located, though.) In lieu of nudes, I also have a great liking for nature and landscapes and scenic locations.  My ongoing "Lighthouse of the Week" feature here demonstrates that.

So I always like a good photo contest, and this one, which features panoramic photographs, is quite good.

From misty peaks in China to a rainbow over Arizona: The stunning winners of the panoramic photography awards revealed

The images in the Daily Mail article above are from the contest Web site;  it is officially the Epson International Pano Awards.  Let your eyes and mind appreciate the

2017 Winner's Gallery

This shot of one of the Italian Dolomites' most recognizable landmarks, Tre Cime Lavaredo, at night under the Milky Way, really appealed to me.  It helps that this is a location I viewed during the day -- but not this spectacularly.  (Click on it to make it bigger -- I wish I had it even bigger than this.)

A quick quote from Eugene Robinson

In the continuing comedy of errors that is the Trump Presidential Administration, there has been one clear pattern of consistency:  disdain for mainstream science.  Of course, there is also a disdain for fact and indeed reality itself, but that's a topic for many others to handle.  (And they have, and likely will continue to do so.)

But I spied a small yet profoundly troubling part of Eugene Robinson's recent column, entitled "We will all pay a price for Trump's nihilism*", and that quote reads like this:
"The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, by contrast, has no master. In its 41-year history — it was founded during the Gerald Ford administration — the office established to advise presidents on scientific matters has never gone so long without a leader. From 135 staffers under Obama, it has been slashed to 45."
That's shocking.  OK, cut a few positions to help with the budget, but this level smacks of book-burning repugnance for actual knowledge.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a few experts around to provide good advice?

Clearly not where the Trump administration is concerned.

* nihilism -- in case you don't know what it means, and I had to look it up myself:

1. total rejection of established laws and institutions.
2. anarchy, terrorism, or other revolutionary activity.
3. total and absolute destructiveness, especially toward the world at large and including oneself

Sounds about right to me.

Lighthouse of the Week, Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2017: La Corbière, Jersey

As with last week, I decided to go with a well-known, oft-visited, and oft-photographed lighthouse again this week.  This one is named La Corbière, which might make one think it is France.  But no, it is actually located on an island on the island of Jersey, which in fact is much closer to France than the main landform on which England resides.  (Where is that, exactly?  Right here.)

Wait, look again!  It's on a peninsula on the island of Jersey.  Must be low tide.  (Switch to the satellite view in Google Maps above and you can see where the frequently-submerged land that connects the lighthouse island to the mainland is located.)

La Corbière has a few distinctions, one of them being that it's the first reinforced concrete lighthouse built in England. (But Jersey is not officially a part of England/UK, it's a "self-governing state", though it does recognize the monarchy.  So is it really the first reinforced concrete lighthouse in England?  You make the call.

Here's a Web site about it, though they can't spell "concrete" consistently.  Must be a French translation thing.

Here are the main facts, from the Lighthouse Directory, of course:
"1874 (John Coode). Active; focal plane 36 m (119 ft); white or red light, depending on direction, 5 s on, 5 s off. 19 m (62 ft) round concrete block tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Fog horn (4 blasts, long-short-long-short, every 60 s); the signal is the Morse code for "C," representing the name of the lighthouse. This was the first British lighthouse to be built using concrete. The lighthouse is perched atop a rock just off the southwestern tip of Jersey. It is accessible by a causeway at low tide, but visitors must take care not to be stranded by the incoming tide (an alarm sounds to warn visitors when it is time to return)."
Enough with the text.  Let's get to the pics.

At high tide

At low tide

by Danny Evans

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Palace edges closer to safety

They've got a long way to go.

But a lot of other teams do too.

With a draw versus Everton, a win over Stoke City, and a draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, the Crystal Palace Eagles now have 9 points.  That isn't a lot, of course -- but for the first time, they aren't the only team at the bottom of the table on points;  Swansea City is down there with them.  And they're only one point behind West Ham, and a win (combined with Everton and West Brom not getting any points) would drag them out of the bottom three.   

There might be a little hope yet.  And it's a long season.

Match report for Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Crystal Palace

Apparently CP forced some great saves from B&HA standout keeper Mathew Ryan, but I haven't found any videos of them yet.  I'll keep looking.

Highway 41 in Fort Myers, Florida

Three more stops on Highway 41 in this post.

By Page Field, Fort Myers (note plane in flight as you pan around).  That was a lucky shot.

By the Fort Myers Country Club

Crossing the Caloosahatchee River Bridge, Fort Myers

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Titanic was not the target

Just read this short but interesting story today about the discovery of the Titanic shipwreck on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

It turns out that the Titanic was not the main target of the expedition -- but they had to make it seem like it was, because the true targets were the U.S. nuclear submarines Thresher and Scorpion, which in a somewhat unlikely coincidence, had sunk near where the Titanic ended up. Inspecting the sunken subs was a secret at the time.

Bob Ballard inspected both wrecks for the Navy to see if their nuclear plants were leaking.  (They weren't.)

After looking them over, he had extra time, and the Navy had told him he could do what he wanted with the extra time, if he had any.

So he went looking for the Titanic -- and found it, using a technique he'd learned while looking at the submarine wrecks.

And now you know the rest of the story.

Jenna Dewan Tatum wears a DRESS to the American Music Awards

While considering how to evaluate the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, I just have to note the dress that extremely fit and quite comely actress Jenna Dewan Tatum wore to the American Music Awards.

In a word: Wow.

In three words:  WOW. WOW. WOW.

As you might be able to tell, I was considerably impressed. No doubt that she's a hottie starlet, and she showed it to full advantage.

See what I mean.

Rendesvous with Oumuamua

OK, if you don't get the reference in the title of this post, I'll help.

Back to the Hugos: Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C Clarke

Now, I won't give very much away, but suffice it to say for the purposes here is that Rama was a very big, unusually shaped object that came into the Solar System from interstellar space.

OK, just a very short time ago, the Solar System had an encounter with an asteroid from interstellar space.  And it was reasonably big (though not nearly as big as Rama).

And now it turns out it was very unusually shaped, too.

ESO Observations Show First Interstellar Asteroid is Like Nothing Seen Before

Here are a couple of different renderings of what it might look like up close.  Note that these are artistic conceptions, not photographs.

Now let's note that we already know asteroids can have unusual shapes.  Consider Ida, which was encountered by Galileo on the way to Jupiter:

I used this picture as a reminder that Ida was accompanied by the cute little moonlet named Dactyl.

So anyway, we know asteroids can have unusual shapes.  It's just fun that Oumuamua came in from outer space and was unusually shaped, too.  This allows our imaginations to roam wildly.

Jana Novotna only needed one Grand Slam singles victory

Sad to hear of the death of Jana Novotna at age 49. I distinctly remember her crushing loss to Steffi Graf in the 1993 final, one of the most memorable losses in the history of the tournament. And it was never clear if she would win it, because she was a grass court serve-and-volley specialist near the end of the era of that kind of player. But she persisted, persevered, whatever -- and indeed did win it. Despite all the doubles titles -- and she was really good at doubles -- winning Wimbledon once in singles, her only singles Grand Slam, and the only Grand Slam tournament that suited her grass court skills -- capped her career.

I couldn't say it better than this Washington Post perspective, so I won't try.

Jana Novotna faced her humanity, and triumphed
"And of course, her losses had magnified her win, in that odd capability of all losses. She had become both a one-time Grand Slam champion and unforgettable. The perseverance, the overcoming, all the things that make competition so compelling, all filled Centre Court."
I won't give away the ending. Read it.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lighthouse of the Week, November 19-25, 2017: Petit Minou, France

After looking for lighthouses around the Black Sea for a couple of weeks, where I found some but couldn't find a lot of pictures of them, I decided to look for more popular lighthouses, specifically ones that have been photographed numerous times.  I found a couple of Web sites with lists of popular lighthouses, which led me to Le Phare du Petit Minou, or (in English) the Petit Minou lighthouse.

It's located near Brest, France, which is on the northern coast of the Bay of Biscay.  You know that part of France that sticks out west into the Celtic Sea, south of England?  That's where it's located. (Click to jump to Google Maps.)

Here's how the Lighthouse Directory describes it:
"1848 (Louis Plantier). Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); two flashes every 6 s, white or red depending on direction; also a quick-flashing white light, focal plane 22 m (72 ft), which serves as the front light of the Portzic range. 26 m (85 ft) round granite tower with lantern and gallery, rising from a circular 1-story stone keeper's house. The tower is painted white on the southwest (seaward) side and is unpainted otherwise; lantern painted red. Fresnel lens in use. Next to the lighthouse is a shorter signal tower carrying radar equipment.

The lighthouse is the front light of a range, with the Portzic lighthouse (see above) as the rear light. Located on an islet just offshore, connected to the mainland by an arched stone bridge, at the northern entrance to the Goulet de Brest, about 6 km (3.5 mi) southwest of La Trinité."
Because this is a well-known and picturesque lighthouse, there are indeed lots of pictures of it.  So I have a variety of them (6) below, and also a drone video, which seem to be proliferating all over YouTube.

Friday, November 17, 2017

On Highway 41 north of Naples

Continuing our Streetview trek on America's Highway 41:

Crossing the bridge over the Cocohatchee River

Mel's Diner in Bonita Springs

Crossing the Imperial River

Hertz Corporate Headquarters (note the sign)

The Estero River by the Koreshan State Historic Site

Next stop: Fort Myers.

Close encounters of the fireball kind

If you haven't seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, then you might not get this, but simply put, many cinematic alien abductions or other relationships with extraterrestrials tend to start looking a lot like this fireball sighting in Lapland.

Hopefully the aliens picked up the reindeer they were looking for and left quietly.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

And now some words from Robert Rubin

The House Republicans have passed a terrible "tax reform" plan -- it's hard to see how they can even say good things about it with a straight face -- but hopefully the Senate will derail their hopes.  Meanwhile, I am quoting from Robert Rubin's appearance in the pages of the Washington Post, in a piece entitled "The Republican Tax Plan's Five Worst Dangers".

"Adding $1.5 trillion or more to the federal debt would make an already bad situation worse. A useful measure of our fiscal position is the ratio of publicly held government debt to economic output or gross domestic product, called the debt/GDP ratio. In 2000, the debt/GDP ratio was 32 percent. The ratio is now 77 percent. Looking forward, the CBO projects the debt/GDP ratio to be 91 percent in 2027 and 150 percent in 2047. After $1.5 trillion of deficit-funded tax cuts, those future ratios have been estimated to increase to roughly 97 percent in 2027 and 160 percent in 2047. These estimates likely substantially understate the worsening of our fiscal trajectory. That’s because they do not account for the increasingly adverse effect on growth of the difficult-to-quantify effects of fiscal deterioration.
We have an imperative need to address our unsustainable longer-term fiscal trajectory with sound economic policies. Few elected officials want to face this fact, but, at the very least, they should not make matters worse. We can only hope that responsible elected officials will prevent this irresponsible tax plan from being adopted."

There might be just enough responsible elected Republican senators to stop this atrocity. These are dangerous times.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Probably sexist, and somewhat sexy

The Daily Mail had a fun/funny article about the sexist Christmas ads of yesteryear:

Sexist Santa! Cringe-worthy Christmas ads from yesteryear show how ironing boards, hoovers and toasters were marketed as ideal presents for women

Yes, we've come a long way, even though these recent reports of widespread sexual harassment indicate that in many ways we haven't come far enough.

(I personally respect women and their rights, and I also think that a fit woman naked is beautiful. Myself and thousands of artists and photographers -- mostly male, admittedly -- are all in agreement here.  And there's a reason that lots and lots and lots of men watch the Victoria's Secret Christmas special, and I daresay that it's not because of all those fancy wings.)

But getting back to the article:

One ad in particular caught my eye.  I expect that most women don't get fantastically excited about boot polish, but even given the lady's antique hairstyle, the figure under that flimsy lingerie is pretty darned fine.  And they even allowed a hint of the presence of what the French call les mamelons to show through.

Tu n'es pas d'accord?

Global warming makes it hotter more often

As if anyone with a functioning brain didn't realize that global warming will make the world get warmer, there's news from the AGU (that's the American Geophysical Union) that makes it clearer:

Human-caused warming increasing likelihood of record-breaking hot years

Yes, that should be fairly obvious.  But what's the statistical breakdown?

Quoting the press release:

"Global annual temperature records show there were 17 record hot years from 1861 to 2005. The new study examines whether these temperature records are being broken more often and if so, whether human-caused global warming is to blame.

The results show human influence has greatly increased the likelihood of record-breaking hot years occurring on a global scale. Without human-caused climate change, there should only have been an average of seven record hot years from 1861 to 2005, not 17. Further, human-caused climate change at least doubled the odds of having a record-breaking hot year from 1926 to 1945 and from 1967 onwards, according to the new study."
Here's something really interesting -- which I have told to numerous global warming denier-types on Twitter, sometimes repeatedly:
"He [Andrew King, lead author of the study] also determined human-caused climate change at least doubled the odds of having a record-breaking hot year from 1926 to 1945 and from 1967 onwards. The odds didn’t increase from 1945 to 1967 because man-made aerosol emissions generated a cooling effect, which counteracted warming due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases."

The press release provides a link to the article (which isn't even officially published yet), and I will do the same here:

Attributing changing rates of temperature record-breaking to anthropogenic influences

Final thought: sometimes you have to clarify the obvious for the benefit of those for which the obvious is not something they want clarified.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Rupert Murdoch's legacy

How Rupert Murdoch destroyed the Republican Party

by Richard Cohen in the Washington Post
"Murdoch’s lifelong passion has been newspapers, but his real power base is Fox News. The network is to Republicans what the Daily Worker was to American communists — the only trusted news source. With the possible exception of the way the once isolationist Chicago Tribune dominated the Midwest, there has never been anything like it. In the most recent presidential campaign, fully 40 percent of Trump voters said their main source of news was Fox News. Just 8 percent of them relied primarily on CNN — enough, nevertheless, to send Donald Trump baying at the moon about fake news."

And we wonder why some people would vote for Roy Moore even if he was a convicted child molester?

A Niklas Bendtner sighting!

Denmark played Ireland today for a spot in the World Cup tournament.  It was Ireland's first chance to get in for quite awhile, so the Irish were pretty excited.

Denmark played it cool and dominated, winning 5-1. 

The late highlight was an appearance by Niklas Bendtner, put in for the last couple of minutes.  But he saw action, drawing a penalty and converting the penalty kick.

I'm not sure what kind of shape he's in, but he's obviously still on the Denmark national team.  And it's noteworthy for the Danes, because they missed the tournament in 2014.

Bendtner (the Dane in red on the right) played in the first game of the playoff, too

USA wins the Fed Cup

I completely missed this when it happened, and if I hadn't been paging through a two-day-old sports section while waiting for coffee, I never would have known about it.

But the USA won the Fed Cup!

If you're now asking what the Fed Cup is, I don't blame you.  Years and years ago, when amateur sports still had panache, the Davis Cup, the nation vs. nation tournament played by men was bigger than the Grand Slam tournaments.  Because it was for king and country, don'tcha know.  And it had some epic matches, too.  John McEnroe was positively heroic for the USA in Davis Cup play, including a truly epic monster of a match against Mats Wilander.  Because they play "real" tennis in the Davis Cup -- no tiebreakers.  The McEnroe-Wilander match lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes and the score was 9-7, 6-2, 15-17, 3-6, 8-6.  The USA went on to win the Davis Cup that year (1982) over Australia.  And in 1987, McEnroe lost to Boris Becker 4-6, 15-13, 8-10, 6-2, 6-2.

So what's the Fed Cup? you are no doubt still wondering.  Well, the Fed Cup is the women's version of the Davis Cup.  It began in 1963;  if you want to know lots and lots more, go here:  Fed Cup - the World Cup of Tennis.

This is the actual Fed Cup:

The USA had won 17 Fed Cups, but none since 2000 -- which is a pretty long time for a country that has won 17 of them.  So they finally won again over Belarus.

The hero was Coco Vandeweghe, who won both singles matches and was one of the partners in the deciding doubles match, paired up with Shelby Rogers.

Here's the story:

United States downs Belarus to claim first Fed Cup since 2000 and 18th overall

Sloane Stephens, though she played a rugged 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 match (the winner was Aliaksandra Sasnovich), lost both her matches.  But she softened up Aryna Sabalenka with in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 match on the first day.

Monday, November 13, 2017

More from Juno

The Juno satellite, on a spectacular mission to Jupiter, has provided more images of the Lord of the Planets.

Astonishing images of Jupiter

Here's just one example:

And there's still more to come.

It's almost time for Miss Universe (November 26)

Occasionally in the past I have taken a few looks at the contestants in the Miss Universe contest.  As one might expect, they are generally and uniformly fantastic looking women.  And despite the ethnic variety involved for women from around the world, it's hard to prefer one gorgeous example of femininehood over another.  

I.e., they're all pretty hot.

But this year I have a favorite.  My favorite is Miss Iceland, who has a back story.  But first, here she is:

Her name is Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir, and her back story is that she relinquished a previous beauty queen title when the organizers wanted her to lose weight.  Seriously, what were they thinking?

Yes, I follow her on Instagram.

What's interesting is that she said she wouldn't compete in another pageant after her experience with the previous one. But she set her sights a little higher, and she's in the big one now.

I wish her well, and I just don't want Brazil to win it again.  (Kinda like the World Cup.)

OK, I know what some of you are thinking.  Yes, she took a stand, and she competed again, and that's all good, but does she have what it takes to win Miss Universe? 

She doesn't have to have a talent in the Miss Universe contest, she just has to look good.  And as the picture above shows, she's really beautiful.  But there is one other aspect to these contests.  And I'm sure most of  you know what that is.

Yeah, that's what it is.

She can win it.

What affects coral growth rates

Here's a very good summary of research into what affects coral growth rates for the reefs around Bermuda.

Study of Bermuda corals finds temperature is most influential factor on coral growth

Ah yes. Temperature.

And right now, temperature is helping the corals around Bermuda compensate for the effects of ocean acidification.
" “At the present time, Bermuda’s coral reefs appear to be faring reasonably well with high rates of coral production and calcification that appears to be temporarily offsetting the impact of ocean acidification,” said Nicholas Bates, the director of the Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences and a co-author on the paper.

“We saw that as the temperature got warmer, there wasn’t a point in the data where it got too warm and calcification started to slow down,” Courtney said. “We also didn’t observe significant coral bleaching in the study, so in Bermuda the thermal maximum, or the highest temperature at which coral can grow, likely wasn’t exceeded during the two-year study.”
However, not all is rosy, if the temperature of ocean surface waters keeps increasing.
"The positive effect of modest warming on coral calcification had been observed in many laboratory experiments. But, as [graduate student Travis] Courtney explained, it comes with a caveat: if the warming is too much or too fast, corals quickly reach a tipping point. 
“Then there's a very sharp downturn, which is usually somewhere around the maximum average summer temperature—just a little warmer than what they’re used to—where corals have a very quick downturn in how fast they can grow,” Courtney said. “About another degree past that maximum summer temperature is often when bleaching can happen. The coral is stressed, and it starts growing slower, and then stress mechanisms trigger bleaching and it loses its symbiotic algae. If that bleaching stress is severe enough for long enough, that's when you can have coral mortality.”
And this has been happening when it gets too hot.

Yes, people, there's a warning in that.  And we need to pay attention to it.

Lighthouse of the Week, November 12-18, 2017: Gelendzhikskiy Vkhodnoy, Russia

Last week I featured a lighthouse on the Black Sea, and as I indicated in that post, I returned to the Black Sea this week.  This week's lighthouse is Gelendzhikskiy Vkhodnoy.  It's located at the entrance to this bay on the Black Sea.   Here's what the Lighthouse Directory says:
"Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 55 m (180 ft); two white flashes every 15 s. 42 m (138 ft) octagonal concrete tower with lantern and double gallery, painted white with three red horizontal bands."
There's no indication of how tall it is.  But here are some pictures, one near and one far away:

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Abbey's sister is a model

The 18-year old sister of Abbey Clancy Crouch (aka Abbey Clancy) is also a model.

This counts as Very Good News.  Her name is Elle Clancy, as shown below.

Britain's Next Top Model in the making! Elle Clancy, 18, follows in lookalike sister Abbey's footsteps as she unveils stunning fashion shoot on Instagram

Here she is on Instagram:  elleclancyx

Let's see what we can find.

Looking ... looking ... looking ...

Here's two samples from her IG uploads.   I'd say she has really strong potential.

Didn't work in Kansas

From the Washington Post's Plum Line, authored by Greg Sargent:

After massive rejection of Trumpism, Democrats expand offensive to take back House


Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn tells CNBC’s John Harwood why cutting taxes bigly on the rich and corporations will be good for America:

“When you take a corporate tax rate at 35 percent and move it to 20 percent … it’s hard for me to not imagine that they’re not going to bring businesses back to the United States. We create wage inflation, which means the workers get paid more; the workers have more disposable income, the workers spend more. And we see the whole trickle-down through the economy, and that’s good for the economy.”

Fortunately, Americans have heard this argument for decades at this point, so perhaps they won’t get snowed by it.

Here's the problem.  Sam Brownback played the trickle-down shell game in Kansas.  It was a fiscal and governmental disaster.  I've written here about that recently.  The problem is that Kansas, like all states, has to have a balanced budget, and it was tremendously out of whack due to the cuts that DID NOT stimulate growth at all.  So the legislature in Kansas recently passed tax increases, so that basic services like garbage pickups and public schools would have sufficient funding to operate. 

However, the USA can have a deficit (and we've had one, for years).  The Republicans get all holier-than-thou about budget deficits when there's a Democratic President to block and stymie, but when they're in charge and focused on passing tax cuts for their wealthy friends, all of a sudden they can have a $1.9 trillion dollar addition to the national debt, and they don't care!  They say that the tax cuts will "pay for themselves" by fostering economic growth.  As Sargent says, we've heard this for decades.  And despite the lessons of the Kansas debacle -- the collapse of the Republican nirvanic state that Brownback tried to create -- the GOP denizens of the House and Senate are going to make things worse by doing to the country what he tried to do in Kansas.

Didn't work there, and it won't work by going full-country.  But wealthy Republican donors want their money and are pressuring Congress to go down the road to ruin again.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lighthouse of the Week, November 5-11, 2017: Ostrov Utrish, Russia

I was thinking about the various places that I've found lighthouses (and I'm sure there are still many more), and I pondered whether or not there was a major body of water that I hadn't yet visited that would likely have lighthouses. 

It took me only a short time to realize that I had never looked at the Black Sea for lighthouses.  And there are some.

The first one I'll visit is called Ostrov Utrish.  It's on the northeastern coast, just below the entrance to the Sea of Azov, and not far from Novorossiysk.   Below is a map that allows finding of the approximate location as just described.

The Ostrov Utrish light is interesting because the cylindrical concrete tower is encircled by a monument to fishermen killed during World War II.   There is an older lighthouse (now defunct) nearby.  The tower is 56 feet high and there's a little balcony at the top.  The light station was established in 1911 but even the Lighthouse Directory doesn't know when this lighthouse was actually built.

And there aren't a lot of pictures of it;  Wikimedia/Wikipedia has a couple more.

I think I'll visit the Black Sea lighthouses again next week.

Into Naples Florida on Highway 41

Continuing our StreetView travel on Highway 41, we are now out of the Everglades and into Naples, Florida.

Near Naples.  There is a nice sculpture of running horses here -- zoom in.

In Naples, by the Hyatt House.

Downtown Naples (corner of 5th Ave S and 9th St S, Hwy 41 heads north as the Tamiami Trail)

On to north Naples!

Colder and deeper

National Geographic has a picture gallery of underwater pictures taken on a recent expedition to see what's under the ice of Antarctica.

One thing that's obvious -- the water is extremely clear.  (I was going to say "One thing is clear...", but I refrained.  Well, maybe I didn't.  Anyway, the water is extremely clear.  And lots of unusual things are living down there.)

Pictures:  Mysterious Deep-Sea Life Under Antarctica

Here's my favorite.  Doesn't seem to bother this seal pup that he's immersed in very frigid waters.  It shouldn't -- he's a seal.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Chelsea 1, Manchester United 0

In a fixture between two of the Premier League's top teams, Chelsea prevailed over Manchester United 1-0 on a header goal by Morata in the 55th minute.

That was important sports news, but I had to chuckle at the Daily Mail's short story lead-in on the main sports page.  I guess you could say that the game unraveled for Man U. after Morata scored.  Or that Chelsea caught Man U. with its sports pants down.

If that's too small, click it to read.

Trump and Zinke likely to decimate Bears Ears National Monument

We basically knew that the Trump administration was going to attack precious preserved wilderness in the United States when they said they were going to "review" a number of national monuments.  That they would do so was undeniable, but the scale of their attack was unknown.  Now we have a better idea.  And it's looking bad.

In addition to reviving the idea of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, now Zinke has acquiesced to the pressure put on the Administration by vested interests in Utah -- but Native Americans don't appear to be one of those interests.  They've announced that they're going to scale back the recently established Bears Ears National Monument, and by "scaling back" they really mean reduce it to a much diminished, nearly unrecognizable status.

Who cares if they are important Native American heritage sites all over the place in Bears Ears?  Particularly, why would they care?  Instead, they are listening to the opinions of gnarly old white guy Orrin Hatch and all the business interests that stuff money in his back pocket and his campaign coffers.  Sickening.

Well, read the story, and try not to choke on the sheer audacity of it.

Trump's 'Review' Of Utah Monument Was Over Before It Started
"There is no legal precedent that establishes the president’s authority to abolish, shrink or otherwise weaken national monuments. Congress, not the president, has sole legal power to rescind or weaken protections for monuments designated under the Antiquities Act, four legal scholars concluded in June. Area tribes and other groups have vowed to sue if and when Trump makes an official announcement.

Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, did not mince words about Trump’s looming decision on Bears Ears: “It should be clear this ‘review’ was a sham designed to let rich companies get richer off our public lands and settle grudges against Presidents Obama and Clinton,” he said in a statement Friday."
So it goes.

Hingis reaches the end of a remarkable run

Not very long ago at all, I commented on how it was pretty remarkable that Martina Hingis was continuing to win tennis Grand Slam titles (now in doubles) at a relatively advanced athletic age of 38.  She has the type of game to make it possible, though -- she make shots rather than bludgeons her ball past her opponents, and she is one of the cleverest players in the game at building a point to win it.

In my previous post linked in the first paragraph, I opined that Martina could probably still win a few more Grand Slam titles in doubles. Now that won't happen because apparently she's had enough, at least enough to call it a career, because she announced she's retiring at the WTA Finals.  Unfortunately she didn't get the chance to go out with a win, having lost a tight semi 4-6, 6-7, the second set going 7-5 in the tiebreaker.  May not have gone out with a win, but definitely went out still competing.

Congratulations, Martina. It's been fun watching you play.

Former World No. 1 Martina Hingis retires from tennis with 25  total Slams

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Starting November with a sonnet

I had a spare sonnet in my folio, so I decided to post it to get November started.  It accidentally has an A-B-A-B-C-D-C-D-E-B-E-B-F-F rhyme scheme.

worth in truth

My verse could be a lovely rhapsody
with words like love and light, and butterflies --
some think that this is all that poetry
entails, though that is far from true. The guise
of mere frivolity can be both boon
and curse, for those who do not understand
might think that all astronomy is Moon
and Sun and stars -- yet we ourselves demand
there should be more in what we rhapsodize,
both darkness and delight, and we are free
to delve for deeper meanings -- feel the rise
and flow of pangs and pleasures truthfully
experienced -- as we create these words,
we show that poetry's not just for birds.

Happiest of Halloweens from Julianne

Julianne Kissinger, known on Instagram as juli.annee, posted a selfie a day or so before Halloween.

It's very appealing, but I might get concerned (and perhaps a bit excited) if she starts shaking that cat-o'-nine-tails.  That is, of course, standard Catwoman gear.