Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, July 29 - August 4, 2018: Granite Island, Michigan, USA

After a month with the lighthouses of Crete, it's back to the States and the lakes, specifically the Great Lakes. This week's lighthouse is Granite Island, in Michigan, and on Lake Superior. It's very picturesque, and it isn't an actual working lighthouse any longer, but it does have it's own Web site, which is absolutely loaded with information. It's privately owned, and can apparently be used for events.


Granite Island is located about 11 miles north of Marquette, and the island is about five mile offshore.

According to the Lighthouse Directory, there is a working (1995) lighthouse structure, with this description: "1995 (station established 1869). Active; focal plane focal plane 96 ft (29 m); white flash every 6 s. Approx. 50 ft (15 m) square cylindrical steel skeletal tower."

But the interest (and the pictures) is about the historical lighthouse, established in 1869.
"1869. Inactive since 1939. 40 ft (12 m) square cylindrical granite tower with lantern and gallery attached church-style to 2-story granite keeper's quarters."

The Web site above has panoramas and pictures, but not great pictures. I've got a few below, including a historic black-and-white one. The Web site has aerial shots.  The bottom picture looks even better bigger, so click it and see.

ca. 1913

On Highway 41, northward from Tampa

As we head north of Tampa (finally), Highway 41 gets into one of several Florida regions that has a lot of lakes. But rather than this region being called Lot o' Lakes, it's called Land O' Lakes, phenomenally enough. There are a lot of lakes, but roadside vegetation being what it is, it's not easy to see most of them from the highway. Deer Lake is an exception.

Deer Lake is actually located in the community of Lutz, which rhymes with "boots", not "butts". I had to say that.

Land 'O Lakes near Deer Lake

View of Deer Lake (look down the fence line)

A small community north of Land O' Lakes and Lutz is Masaryktown. Note how quickly we're moving now! On the to Masaryktown, the highway passes by the edge of the Conner Preserve.

By the Conner Preserve

Masaryktown. For some reason it's named after the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. I'm sure he'd be thrilled.

Onward and northward!!

I was thinking the same thing (and that's scary)

I'm not a pundit, but apparently I can think like one.

If Trump does it, it's not a crime - or so Republicans think
"We are very, very close to the Putin Republicans arguing that they’re glad he worked with the Kremlin to beat “Crooked Hillary.” In fact, some MAGA-heads have already made this very case. It is, after all, the natural culmination of the hysteria of so many Trumpists. If you believe, as former White House aide Michael Anton argued, that the Democrats are the moral equivalent of the al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked Flight 93, then anything is permissible to save the country. Even collusion with its enemies."

A New Talking Point from the Pro-Trump Fringe
A new line of punditry is bubbling up among the president’s followers online: It was a positive thing that the Russians hacked the 2016 election.

And here's what I said, in Very Strong Words:
"One wonders where this could end - what if the special counsel makes some irrefutable, stunning revelations about how much Trump was really in league with the Russians, and the Republicans still defend him with their unethical actions? What will diehard Trumpian voters/supporters think about him then? Will they think that what he did was justified and necessary, no matter how illegal and treasonous, because it prevented Hillary from becoming President and stopped another four years of a Democratic Presidency?

I would not be shocked if that's exactly what they end up thinking."
Uncanny, isn't it?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Hayabusa-2 gets closer

The ambitious Japanese asteroid sampling mission Hayabusa-2, is getting closer to its target asteroid, Ryugu.   Read the article to find out how close, and see the latest up-close-and-geological picture.

Japan's Hayabusa 2 snaps stunning close-up photo revealing the surface of the of dice-shaped asteroid Ryugu

Next step - choosing a landing spot. They're going to take their time with this important decision.

Very strong words

The move by House of Representatives Freedom Caucus members to impeach Rod Rosenstein was shocking to me when I first read about it, but given the proclivities of Meadows, Jordan, et al.  (birds of a feather suck together), it shouldn't have been.  It's phenomenal how deeply tied to Trump these nutcases are, but again, it shouldn't be surprising.  They've sold out.  They deserve to be tossed out, but they are in such safe districkts that they can just go on being overbearing, underwhelming, and revolting.

So then I read this:

The baseless, shameful campaign to discredit Rod Rosenstein

BY John S. Martin, who served as U.S. district judge for the Southern District of New York from 1990 to 2003 and as U.S. attorney for that district from 1980 to 1983.

which contained this:
"The actions of the Freedom Caucus members are not only baseless, they are also shameful. While they call for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Rosenstein, it may be more appropriate to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate an attempt to corruptly obstruct justice by members of Congress who so obviously use their office to intimidate the deputy attorney general and to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation."
One wonders where this could end - what if the special counsel makes some irrefutable, stunning revelations about how much Trump was really in league with the Russians, and the Republicans still defend him with their unethical actions?  What will diehard Trumpian voters/supporters think about him then?  Will they think that what he did was justified and necessary, no matter how illegal and treasonous, because it prevented Hillary from becoming President and stopped another four years of a Democratic Presidency?

I would not be shocked if that's exactly what they end up thinking.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Lighthouse of the Week, July 22-28, 2018: Chania, Crete, Greece

The final lighthouse from Crete is a superstar - well-known, historic, photogenic (and oft-photographed), with classic lines and a pedigree of wealth.  This is the lighthouse of Chania, first built by Venetians, bombed but not toppled in World War II, and still standing as a well-known Cretan landmark.

The Web site Visit West Crete has a good description:
"The original Venetian lighthouse was built around the late 16th century to protect the harbour. A chain could be connected from the base of the lighthouse to the fortress of Firkas in oder to close the harbour.

During the Turkish occupation the lighthouse fell into disrepair and was eventually rebuilt between 1824 and 1832 in the form of a minaret. The modern lighthouse is often referred to as ' Egyptian' because it was built during a time where Crete was occupied by Egyptian troops who were supporting the weakening Ottoman Empire against the rebelious Cretans.

The base of the lighthouse is still the original Venetian base although the Lion of St. Marc which was carved there has long gone.

The 'Egyptian' lighthouse was leaning badly due to bombings during WWII and earthquakes but it was extensively renovated in 2005 and now looks as good as new."
That pretty much covers it, except for the physical stats.
"Active; focal plane 26 m (85 ft); red flash every 2.5 s. 26 m (85 ft) round cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a much older stone base."
That covers the basics - now we can look at some outstanding pictures (and there are a lot of them available).

I meant what I wrote - it's a famous lighthouse

The wave is the real star

Just happened to see this pretty-amazing article in the Daily Mail, about a guy that surfed a wave for over a mile and got under the "barrel" eight times.

The surfing is amazing - but the real champion is the wave, that maintained a curl that was surf-able for that distance.

The waves are off the coast of Namibia, and Namibia is basically a desert, so I guess that offshore the deserts of Namibia is a long expanse of smooth wet sand, apparently allowing these long, long waves if the direction is right.  So in surfing, it's not just about the height - the length is important, too.

It's cool that this remarkable surf ride was captured both by the surfer (wearing a GoPro) and a drone.  So there's no doubt it happened.

Barreling along

The best wave EVER! Surfer takes a ONE MILE ride and catches EIGHT barrels in incredible drone video

The video in the article shows extended excerpts from the drone footage.

Highway 41 in the environs of Tampa

Here are three Highway 41 StreetView sights as the trek goes north past Tampa.

Crossing the Hillsborough River.  Highway 41 is also called Nebraska Avenue through Tampa.

Fletcher Avenue and Nebraska Avenue near the main University of South Florida Campus.  An exciting intersection.

Skipper's Smokehouse - great place for music.  It's behind the red motorcycle shop.

Another July sonnet: "real yet not the same as reality"

real yet not the same as reality

How might I meet what I have seen? Each day
I view outstanding sights released and shared
to be examined and acquired, to stay
inside my mind so that I've thought I cared
to know what can't be known. But what is true
is though I might converse with them, and they
might know the name I give so that a few
could entertain my face, I can't construe
such whispers to be like relationships
where sweat and tears and blood and bone and hopes
can be exchanged and shared. So if my lips
could speak directly in their ears, the scopes
of admiration's dreams would then expand
and I would be both real and there unmanned.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Stink bug eggs are really pretty

One of nature's great mysteries;  stink bugs, which are drab and smell bad when just slightly damaged, lay gorgeous eggs.

Three examples:

Did you see why the Hunley sank?

If you don't remember (or never heard of) the submarine Hunley, it was an eight-man, human-powered submarine built by the Confederates as a blockade breaker.  The idea was that it would approach a ship from underwater, plant an explosive, back off, and blow it up, and sink the ship.

It almost worked.  The slight problem was that after it blew up the ship (in water that was shallow enough that the ship didn't sink all the way, so the crew got off), the submarine sank and everybody onboard drowned.  When it was found several years ago -- one of the great marine archaeological finds of history - they still couldn't figure out why it sank. Well, it filled up with water, of course.  But was the crew helpless?

That's still not certain, but it turns out the Hunley had an escape mechanism - that wasn't used.  It had two big keel weights that could have been released, making the ship much more buoyant and hopefully getting to the surface where the crew could at least have a chance to swim for it.

Well, for some reason, the Hunley crew didn't release the weights.  We may never know why.  But we do know that they could have had a better chance than they had.

Mystery of the secret Confederate submarine Hunley is SOLVED: Scientists finally reveal why world's first sub to sink an enemy ship then sank itself, killing all eight crew on board

The real, recovered Hunley during the preservation effort, before they dried it out:

Thursday, July 19, 2018

We're back on Highway 41

Back in April, I temporarily stopped my Google StreetView trek south of Tampa.  So now we continue.  I'm going to try and be consistent, and move about 100 miles a week.  So climb aboard.

First stop: Crossing the Alafia River.

Getting close to the Bay - some of the mangroves that used to surround it still remain.

The McKay Bay channel - with the Tampa skyline in the distance.

The next river we cross will be the Hillsborough.

Lighthouse of the Week, July 15-21, 2018: Cape Sidero, Crete, Greece

This week we have the second of the three Cretan (spell that right) lighthouses that I selected two weeks ago.  I'm saving the most well-known for last.  This one is the Cape Sidero lighthouse. Don't get confused, because there is also a Sideros lighthouse located near Corfu, and now that I've mentioned it I'll probably have to visit there, too.

Here is a Web site about it, and some pertinent information I acquired from that site:

Built:  1880
Destroyed:  1941, during World War II
Rebuilt: 1945
Cape Sidero (Kavos Sidero) is located at the northeastern corner of Crete, 32km east of Sitia and 99km east of Agios Nikolaos, near the Naval Station of Kyriamadi. The surrounding area is characterized by a unique landscape of wild natural beauty.

At the tip of the Cape and very close to the church of Agios Isidoros (Saint Isidore), stands the imposing building of the lighthouse, 15m high, which still operates.
See where it is on Crete.

The Lighthouse Directory adds this info:
Active; focal plane 45 m (148 ft); white flash every 10 s. 15 m (49 ft) round cylindrical concrete tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story concrete keeper's house. The tower is unpainted white concrete; lantern painted white with a dark green dome.
I'm glad they both agree it's 15 meters tall.

This is apparently not a lighthouse that is visited often (it's way out on the point of the cape - zoom in on the map at the link to see what that means), so there are very few pictures of it, it seems, and I already used one in my "Three Lighthouses from Crete" article.  So here are two more.

A sonnet in July - "heat seeker"

heat seeker

It is a fundamental question - where
do I discover the solutions to
my quandaries? I am (for one) the bare
reality of humanness, but for two
I seek a greater depth, a way to feel
the linkage which connects the each of us
and how we can produce a time so real
that only lasts while joined, yet keeps a lus-
ter long removed from when and where it happ-
ened. So I search for resolutions and
summations, never what could fill my gap
effectively, e'en though my questing gland
can do what they require for same -- and when
I do, my answer works for me and then.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A thing about Trump

Very insightful article about the current President and the way he communicates.

How Trump retreats: Grudging apologies, plus a wink and a nod to the original insult

That article contained this nugget:
"In politics or in business, Trump believes, as he wrote in several of his best-selling books, that repetition of a false or exaggerated statement is a powerful tool — hardly an occasion for apology."
Good thing to know. Make people believe what you're saying, even if it isn't true, and thus create an illusion. And this is what Trump tries to do.

This is what Fox News does, just to keep their viewers believing what they say -- and what Trump says -- is true.  Even if it isn't.  Just keep repeating the untruth.

Finding a piece of one that made it

On June 2, a small (luckily) asteroid was spotted in space by telescopes. It was rapidly realized that this asteroid was headed straight toward Earth.    When it got here, it heated up and disintegrated in the atmosphere, but pieces of the disintegrated body still made it to the Earth's surface.

I even wrote about it.  This includes a picture of the fiery disintegration captured on a security camera.

In that article, I wrote that the incoming piece of space debris was caught "blazing out of existence".  That turns out to be not quite true. Pieces of the incoming 'roid made it down to the surface, and amazingly enough, scientists went out looking for them (after calculating their impact area) -- and found one.  In the Central Kalahari Game Preserve.

Here's what it looked like.

Maybe it doesn't look that impressive, but that rock was from SPACE.

Here's a picture of the search party with their quarry.  It was not large.  It's amazing that they could find it in the savanna of Africa.

Visual definition

Russian model Valenti Vitel helps us define the word "tight" with a visual aid.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tasty click bait

There are numerous "best of 'something' in every state" Web features that provide the opportunity for 51 clicks. (Sometimes they also do the "worst of" or variations of that theme.)

Sometimes they lure me in.  They did in this case.

The Most Famous Dish in Every State, According to Locals

A half-dozen highlights (including my home state of Maryland):

Kentucky:  Hot Browns

Maryland:  Blue Crabs (of course)

Minnesota:  Jucy Lucy

North Carolina:  Shrimp and Grits

Rhode Island:  Coffee Milk   (I've had it, it's good, and not caffeinated)

Vermont:  Fiddleheads (I've only read about these)

To make coffee milk, you need coffee syrup. 

Lighthouse of the Week, July 8-14, 2018: Drepano, Crete, Greece

The first Lighthouse of the Week from Crete I'm featuring is either named Drepano or Drepan.  It's small but cute.  The Crete Lighthouses R' Us Web site provides this information:

latitude 35° 28' 23.6" N longitude 24° 14' 28.6" E

The original lighthouse was destroyed by German troops during World War II, but the present lighthouse is a copy. Ákra Drépano is on the south side of the entrance to Soúda Bay, an important NATO naval base.

And it even has it's own Web site, with both pictures and map!

Lighthouse Drepano

Here's three pictures.  Note the Greek flag in the fourth one.  It has a small but fancy stone tower.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cycling race yields climate change insight

Intriguing article from National Geographic, regarding an unusual phenological data record:

36-Year Climate Change Record Found in Cycle Racing Footage

Informative selections from the article:

"De Frenne, who studies the way plants respond to climate change, was idly watching old video clips of that epic race one day. Not only was the weather atrocious, he noticed, but the trees along the roadside were bare. But in the past few years when he’d watched the [Liège-Bastogne-Liège] race—a national Belgian obsession—he’d seen lush trees behind the riders."

"So de Frenne and his colleagues could scan through the old video footage and find the exact same tree that the peloton pedaled past in 1980, 1990, 2000, up through today."

"They found that back in the 1980’s, branches were almost always bare on the race date—but now, the same trees almost always had leaves. In fact, over the ~40 year period, leaf emergence jumped up almost two weeks."

Below, the finish of the 2015 race, won by Alejandro Valverde.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Pictures that make one go 'woof'

Her name is Emma Hernan.

Hey, down here!  I'm trying to get your attention again!

Here's more about her:

Blonde Beauty Emma Hernan is Hollywood’s Golden Girl

If you want a lot more pictures (556 when I just checked), here's her Instagram page.

And a Google Search with just her name will find several features about her (mostly photographic) -- she even landed the Sports Illustrated Lovely Lady of the Day.

She definitely qualifies as 'amazing'.  Woof.

Clever ploy

Because Trumpophiles fear that their conquering hero/dolt will be impeached by a House of Representatives controlled by Democrats -- which is a good possibility - current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says that it won't happen.

Unless, of course, they have enough to impeach him for.

See, that's a good play.  Pelosi undoubtedly knows that there's enough out there to impeach Trump four or five times, but she doesn't want to come out and say it, because that would stoke the methane fires of the Trumpophiles.  So she maintains that as of now, she wouldn't do it, because she hasn't seen enough to do it with.   And she probably hasn't seen enough as yet.  So it's basically a true statement, to be modified when more information becomes available.

As I expect, and as I assume she expects, will happen.

Very clever, Nancy. 

Let's hope it works.

'I’m not going after it': Nancy Pelosi says impeaching Trump is 'off the table' if Democrats retake the House in November

Monday, July 9, 2018

Alyssa comes clean again

A short time ago, I suggested that a shower at a luxury hotel in Positano, Italy, might be the World's Greatest Shower.  The reason I discovered it was that a lovely Playboy Playmate named Alyssa Arce was photographed in it.  After I tweeted with a link to the article, Alyssa was nice enough to retweet, and many of her fans read the article.

Thank you, Alyssa.

Well, based on her Instagram pictures, Alyssa is back in Positano, and she took a picture of herself, this time getting ready for a relaxing bath, complete with a glass of wine or champagne. It would be remiss of me to not provide a review of such a nice gesture on her part.

I really like this girl and her lifestyle. (Her lack of clothing is also somewhat appealing.)

Actually, on further review, she has been to Positano already, but this is the Jiva Hill Resort near Geneva, according to the label on the picture.  It's a nice place too.

May have missed an opportunity

Prior to England's World Cup game with Sweden, Russian authorities asked the residents of the city of Samara to save water.  They did this because all the visitors to the city for the game were using lots of water in the hotels, and the area is having a moderate drought.

So they suggested showering with a partner to save water.


So the citizens of Samara could ask a 'friend' to take a shower with them both as a patriotic duty and in the service of the international sporting community.


Why haven't I thought of that one?

Samara residents asked to shower in pairs to save water for World Cup fans

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Seeing the salts

If you didn't know, NASA's Dawn mission satellite sailed in close to Ceres -- real close -- and the initial photographic results are fantastic. And they did capture one dead-on bullseye of the bright salt deposits in the Occator Crater. So now, with all this high resolution data, scientists will finally be able to figure out why these salts are there, why there are so bright, and exactly what they're made out of.  They already have a pretty good idea on the last one (sodium carbonate).

At least that's what they're hoping to do.

Here's the salty shot:

You can see all the Dawn pictures here - most recent are at the top.

Dawn Mission/Multimedia/Images

The winner by a tail

The Daily Mail has the winners of this year's National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest, and the winning picture is of a whale tail.

See them here:
A whaly great shot! Striking close-up of a humpback calf's tail and stunning shot of Dubai are among the winners of the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest
Travel Photographer of the Year Contest 2018 (the National Geographic site)

One of the prize winners is a drone shot by Enrico Pescantini of the big pyramid at Teotihuacan in Mexico, directly overhead. It's a great shot, and it also has the optical illusory effect of sometimes looking like a big hole in the ground rather than a structure rising up from the ground.  See below.  Full-size is quite amazing.  If you click on the image below you can see it bigger, of course.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Lighthouses of the Week, July 1-7, 2018: Three from Crete

Rather than have one lighthouse for the Lighthouse of the Week during this holiday week, I'm going to show three that I will feature in the next three weeks, all from the island of Crete.  I'm having fun bouncing around the Mediterranean Sea islands finding lighthouses.

So here they are.

Cape Sidero



See you next week!  Which one will be my first choice?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Did anyone think that there was?

This is a Public Service Announcement, and I am reproducing the title of the article exactly as written.


Well, that sounds like the definitive word on the subject. But still, this is a subject requiring considerable in-depth investigation.


You will note that I resisted the temptation to illustrate this posting.

But I have to provide at least one quote.

"Moreover, the average length of the clitoris was seven millimetres, with the diverse measurements ranging from 0.5 millimetres to 34 millimetres."

So now I know, and you lucky readers now know what I know.

It had to happen (snif)

Fabulous, gorgeous, entrancing, lovely, exotic, erotic, spectacular model Julia Lescova just got married.

Congratulations to her, and of course, to the magnificently extraordinarily fortunate husband.

Now I'm sad.  (But happy for them.)

If you need more of Lescova, just search in the bar at left top.  You'll get enough.

Sonnet for July: "enshrined in mind"

A sonnet about ... well, you'll figure it out.  I've provided one clue below.

enshrined in mind

They aren't so much remarkable -- each pair
belongs exclusively to half of us,
although the other half does seem to share
as many as thought possible. We thus
have elevated them to artistry
(despite their functional simplicity)
and so they now possess a mystery
beyond their simple physiology
that captivates the eyes of those who hope
to first admire what they desire, and then
to hold what they've beheld, to glide their slope
and round their curve and know that they are men
because these lovely glands incite each thought
to make from dreams the touch that they have sought.

The crater rim

One of the few places on Earth where you can see a meteor impact crater (perhaps the object that hit was large enough to be considered a tiny asteroid) is Meteor Crater (aka Barringer Crater) in Arizona.

I used Google Streetview to show what it looks like while on approach to the crater (and I've seen this in person).

The interesting thing about this is, the terrain is flat enough and desert-enough to be very similar to Mars.  And a crater rim on Mars looks very similar to a crater rim on Earth.  Below is the rim of Endeavour Crater, as the Mars Opportunity Rover (which we hope to hear from again soon) first approached it, which is now several years ago.