Monday, December 31, 2018
If you haven't heard, tonight (aka New Year's Eve) NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will fly by the Kuiper Belt object that has been named "Ultima Thule". It'll take a couple of days to send back good pictures of it; it'll take weeks to get really good pictures of it; and it will take months to get all the data back from this swift encounter. But tonight it's happening, billions and billions of kilometers (or miles, if you prefer) from Earth.
And That's Really Cool.
NASA's New Horizons Spies Elongated Target Ultima Thule Ahead of Flyby
(I'd post the picture but it's really not that spectacular yet.)
at 2:40 PM
Finishing off 2018 with a bang.
essential and basic
It is the vaulted time — my blazon stands
protrusive from my self, a scepter forged
by her arousing love, while eager hands
explore the naked offerings engorged
by pulsing heartbeats and desire — alone
we are together in a universe
of two, its boundaries defined by moan
and sigh and groan and cry and profane curse
of captivated imploration true
in its intent and meaning, known and heard
innately when our peak delights ensue —
and as we join our pure emotions stirred
by pleasure, physical reality
infuses our conjoint duality.
at 2:18 PM
Sunday, December 30, 2018
Two quick and short stops on the Highway 41 end-to-end trek.
Biscuits and Bar B Que (sounds yummy!) by Lake Talmadge
Even though we're going north, we'll take a quick look over on the southbound side at the Sigma Chi Clayton Memorial Park (and Constantine Monument).
at 9:26 PM
The next lighthouse of the Five Lighthouses Regatta is Punta Cavazzi. If you will look at the map again:
you will see that Punta Cavazzi is one of the two lighthouses on the island of Ustica. Apparently it is a great place for snorkeling and diving in very clear waters.
Now, the Lighthouse Directory, which I think is great, apparently has a typo for this one, because it has it listed as "Punta Gavazzi". Since there are only two lighthouses on Ustica and this is one of them, it's the same one. So we can trust the stats:
"1885. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); four white flashes every 12 s. 28 m (92 ft) tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. The lighthouse appears to be covered with unpainted white concrete panels; lantern dome is gray metallic."Below are four pictures of this one.
at 8:27 PM
What should happen on January 3rd, 2019: the newly-Democrat controlled House passes a clean CR without funding for a useless and wasteful border barrier (cuz it's not really a wall anyway), and gives it to the Senate to consider. The Senate considers it and votes, and it goes to the President. If it doesn't have funding for what the current President-in-name-only thinks is necessary, he vetoes it. Then the House and Senate can try to override the veto.
But no; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who seems to be making up new rules and guidelines and do-it-my-way procedures every day, now seems to think that the Senate can't vote on something that the President won't sign.
The last time I looked (and it was recently), this was certainly not in the Constitution. But the Constitution is rarely a consideration for Mitch McBitch.
Federal shutdown enters second week with no resolution in sight
"But House Democrats alone will not be able to break the impasse. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) indicated last week he will not hold a vote on any spending plan that Trump will not sign, meaning a solution to the shutdown will depend on a deal between Trump and Democratic leaders."That ain't right. I'm contributing to anyone running against the bitch in 2020, even if they don't have a chance to beat him, because I need to make a statement about this corndog.
at 7:17 PM
Saturday, December 29, 2018
As Highway 41 approaches Atlanta, it gets a bit more interesting. Two places of note here are Richard Petty Boulevard and the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Highway 41/19 (two highways currently sharing the same pavement) meets Richard Petty Boulevard.
By the Atlanta Motor Speedway (in the distance).
Coming up real soon: biscuits and BBQ at the same place, with a table on the water.
at 9:02 PM
Following the Crystal Palace Football Club can be quite entertaining.
Over the course of the past couple of weeks, the team had some disappointing losses in Premier League play. But suddenly (soccer being a funny game and all), they used both skill and a bit of luck to defeat last year's champions, Manchester City, 3-2. They didn't do quite as good in their most recent game, a 0-0 draw with Cardiff City, but it's still another point in the standings.
As I write this, they'll be facing Chelsea early on the morrow. (Translation: they're playing the first game of the Premier League slate against Chelsea on Sunday, December 30, which will be on U.S. East Coast TV at 7:00 AM. That's 12 noon in the UK, I think.
So defeating Manchester City 3-2 is the good news, as is the fact that they are a few points above the relegation zone. The potentially bad news is that a team in China offered CP's one truly star quality player, Wilfried Zaha, a fairly large salary increase if he would come to play with them. The amount of the raise? About 3x more than he's making now.
Such an offer is probably something Zaha will consider. The article indicates that the Crystal Palace management will try to keep him, but it may not be enough.
So what will tomorrow bring? Every day is a new adventure with this team.
Wilfried Zaha receives staggering £44m offer to move to China as Crystal Palace face major fight to keep hold of star man when transfer window opens
at 8:53 PM
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
I found this Web article about the least-visited national parks of the United States. I've actually visited some of them:
- Wind Cave
- Mammoth Cave (which I can't believe is one of our least-visited national parks)
- Carlsbad Caverns
- Great Sand Dunes
- Channel Islands (by water, never actually set foot on them)
I don't have the equipment, stamina, or money to visit some of the super-remote parks of Alaska (like Gates of the Arctic or Katmai), nor do I want the mosquito bites. Of this list, the two that I'd like to see that I haven't seen are North Cascades (which I've heard of before) and Pinnacles (which I had never heard of before reading this article). Pinnacles should be possible to visit on a trip to San Francisco.
Here are two pictures from Pinnacles National Park, if you, dear reader, have never heard of it before either.
at 8:46 PM
When last we were on the Highway 41 end-to-end trek, we were in the outer skirts of Atlanta, Georgia. Now we move closer.
Highway 41 crossing Old Milner Road (near Milner). Note railroad tracks.
Next, the Highway 41 and U.S. 19 intersection near Griffin, Georgia. This is actually the intersection of two great U.S. highways; U.S. 19 starts just south of St. Petersburg, Florida on the southern shore of Tampa Bay (north of Bradenton) and ends near Erie, Pennsylvania, while Highway 41 is the famous highway that this series of posts is traveling on. And perhaps slightly more interesting, Highway 41 also crosses Highway 19 right where 19 begins in Florida.
What's extra confusing here: at this intersection, Highway 19 and 41 join up for awhile. Business 41 and Business 19 go into Griffin, while 41 and 19, now the same road, stay west of Griffin. We aren't going into Griffin, which is an exurb or satellite city of Atlanta, but we're quite close.
Just to the east of the northernmost extension of Griffin is the town(?) of Experiment, Georgia. It isn't the home of mutant experiments gone bad, it's just the location of the University of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station. This is the intersection of Highway 41 and McIntosh Road, just west of Experiment, not that exciting, but McIntosh Road is named Experiment Street where it links Griffin to Experiment. I'm sure that isn't confusing.
This is also close to Wyomia Tyus Olympic Park. Since the Web page about the park doesn't say much about Wyomia Tyus except that she was an Olympic gold medalist, here's more about her, with links to a lot more information about her. And she was an important figure in sports history.
at 3:40 PM
I've been thinking a lot about Sicily in the past couple of days, as Sicily's own volcano, Mount Etna, has entered into a new eruptive pattern with a flank eruption, something it hasn't done for a decade. And the last time it did this, no significant damage was done, but just after the turn of the century, a flank eruption lava flow destroyed a ski lift station and some tourist-service buildings. So it always bears watching, and it's also enjoyable to watch (especially if it isn't destroying something), which is good for now.
Since I've been thinking about Sicily, I decided to cast about for lighthouses. Surprisingly, even though Sicily has quite a few lighthouses, I've only featured two of them here before -- the truly stunning Strombolicchio, and the more traditional, but still scenic, Faro di Santa Croce ad Augusta.
I performed my traditional image search, found the one I'm featuring this week, and then discovered that it's connnected to some other nearby lighthouses. So that made my life simpler, for awhile, because I'm going to feature the other lighthouses to which it is connected. You'll see how it's connected to them shortly.
This week's lighthouse is the Scoglio Porcelli, which is located on its own island off the north end of the western coast of Sicily. And pretty much all that's on the island is the lighthouse (it's not a big island). The nearest city on the main island is Trapani.
Rather than utilize the esteemed Lighthouse Directory, for the stats on the Scoglio Porcelli, I'm using the Lighthouse Explorer. Here's the full entry. The stats I always look at are the height - 82 feet; the type - a round masonry tower; the color - white; when it was established - 1904; and the distance the light can be seen from - 11 miles or so.
Here are some pictures. I always like to find pictures of lighthouses that show the view from the water; in this case, that's all I could find.
|This one is high-definition|
Now, about the connection to other lighthouses -- it turns out there's a regatta (a sailboat race) called the Regata dei Cinque Fari, which is basically the Regatta of the Five Lighthouses. This is really a long (140 mile) race in the middle of summer, so there is a good amount of daylight. One of the five is the Scoglio Porcelli. The map below shows the route and the lighthouses. The map also provides a locator for the Scoglio Porcelli, conveniently.
Now, the Web site for the regatta also has a page for each of the five lighthouses, and I decided it would be fun to feature each of them in the upcoming weeks. So the first month of 2019 will have four posts about the other four lighthouses seen by the sailors competing in the Regata de Cinque Fari. I think it'll be fun.
at 2:57 PM
Friday, December 21, 2018
One of the main things that the NASA InSight lander planned to do on Mars was deploy its seismometer to record seismic activity on the planet (of course). So, shortly after landed, it has done that.
This article has an animation of the deployment:
NASA's InSight Places First Instrument on Mars
Almost incidentally, this happens to be the first time a seismometer has been placed on the surface of another planet, and yesterday (as I write this) was the 50th anniversary of the first time human beings were in orbit around another body in the Solar System, which in this case is the Apollo 8 mission that orbited the Moon.
|InSight's seismometer touches down|
at 9:07 PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
About a week ago, the OSIRIS-REx satellite reached its destination, little asteroid Bennu. It's not exactly in orbit around the space boulder, because Bennu has so little gravity that it's hard to get gravitically captured. Rather, it's keeping pace with Bennu right now.
But even though it just arrived, it discovered that Bennu has water. Well, actually not now, but it did once, as it found minerals that require water to form.
OSIRIS-REx Discovers Water on Asteroid Bennu
"When OSIRIS-REx aimed those spectrometers [as it is now close enough to use them] at Bennu, they spotted signs of hydrogen and oxygen molecules bonded together in groups called hydroxyls. These hydroxyls are all over the asteroid in various rocks and clays, and the most likely way they could have gotten there is through some sort of interaction with water."
Bennu is a cute little somewhat octahedral asteroid, as this picture shows.
at 9:17 PM
A new record was recently set in Canada.
What, the most sap from a single maple tree, you ask? Or the most poutine consumed at a single sitting? Perhaps the most penalty minutes in a single youth hockey game?
No, nothing so mundane as that. Canada now has a record for the largest diamond found in the country, and it's a LOT bigger than the previous record. For the record, the previous biggest-diamond-in-Canada was 187.7 carats; this one (found in the Northwest Territories) is 552 carats. Not bad at all.
Article about Canada's new biggest diamond (I think the actual headline is kinda dumb)
at 8:30 PM
Monday, December 17, 2018
Here are two stops on Highway 41 on the outer outskirts of the Atlanta region.
Barnesville, Georgia - it's hot, so hopefully we can take a quick swim in the Barnesville City Pool, which is where this StreetView scene is.
Downtown Barnesville - and only a block away from the Georgia South Barbeque!
Because of the pool in Barnesville, we took a shortcut -- 41 dips south while Forsyth Street goes straight through the town. But we rejoin 41 after going through Barnesville on Forsyth, go a short distance on Zebulon Street, then head north again on Highway 41.
We are literally and finally on the outskirts of ATLANTA!
at 8:34 PM
A woman's body is created by
a multitude of splendored curves and arcs
that merge together and invite the eye
to contemplate the fettle which strikes sparks,
igniting flames of lusty hopefulness
within our calm demeanors. We cannot
give words to thoughts of how this does impress
us; circumspection means that any plot
to make such musings action must remain
internal, like a musty treasure map
that guides to massive fortune -- so our pain
is wanting what we see, yet with the gap
dividing our behaviors, knowing what
we wish to touch is legs and tits and butt.
at 8:26 PM
thoughts while watching a young and beautiful woman swimmer
The shape of fitness is a stirring sight --
not with a glamorous curvaceousness
but with efficiency, both smooth and tight
so that her movement seems both effortless
and graceful, like a dolphin through the waves
as curling surf cascades upon a shore --
and as I see her swim, my thought behaves
just as it should, admiring nothing more
than reasons for her beauty shown
without performed pretense or self-aware-
ness, moving with a purpose and a tone
of skill that is as if her body bare
was so athletic we'd note not her sex,
but just what lovely expertise reflects.
at 8:22 PM
the loss of anonymity
Temptation was so close to me, and yet
I did not say her name; she was so near
that just a whispered word would certain let
her be aware where I was placed; but fear
prevented my advances then and there --
but I am not completed; I will find
the moment I will have a chance to stare
into her eyes to look into her mind,
then ascertain what she remembers and
perceive the person that she thinks I am.
For I will not coerce, or more, demand
an answer for her actions and the sham
of interest she conveyed -- I truly just
want her to know that I can hold her trust.
at 8:18 PM
Sunday, December 16, 2018
Lighthouse of the Week, December 16-22, 2018: Edgartown Lighthouse, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
As promised in the just-posted previous post, this week's Lighthouse of the Week is the Edgartown Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard.
If you want to see where Edgartown and Lighthouse Beach are on Martha's Vineyard, click right here.
If you aren't familiar with the region, and want to see where Martha's Vineyard is, click up there and then zoom out.
The interesting thing about this lighthouse is that it looks like it's sitting on a concrete pad right on Lighthouse Beach. Let's see if that's true or not.
Here's a little more about it: Martha's Vineyard Museum - Edgartown Lighthouse
No history or specifications there, though, so I went to Lighthouse Friends. And from the article there, I found out the very interesting fact that the current Edgartown Lighthouse is not the one that was there for many decades. The original building, which was there from at least 1828, was torn down in 1939 after it was damaged during the Great Hurricane of 1938. To replace it, they took a defunct lighthouse from Ipswich, MA and relocated it on the beach at Edgartown.
It's been restored and refurbished since, and the public can visit and go inside. It also has a children's memorial.
As for specifications, it's 45 feet high and it's mostly white. Location, location, location.
at 9:03 PM
OK, while on my pre-Christmas vacation, I missed last week's Lighthouse of the Week (I'm posting at the beginning of the next week). So to cover LAST week, here's the Edgartown Lighthouse on the island of Martha's Vineyard, decorated for Christmas.
And coming up next, for the Lighthouse of the Week December 16-22, I'll feature the Edgartown Lighthouse!
at 8:31 PM
Friday, December 7, 2018
So many great photographs are taken every year that get submitted to photography contests. It amazes me, and I am glad that such art can be easily accessed.
The stunning entries for the Sony World Photography Awards
Here's one that caught my eye, because it's actually a place I've been. Seems like most of the places that I see in these contests (in the Nature or Travel categories, usually) are places I could never, ever hope to visit.
at 9:30 PM
Outside Macon, by the Morgan View Farm.
Smarr, Georgia. There are several small churches at this intersection outside Macon: the New Providence Baptist Church, the Midway Baptist Church, True Vision, and Lighthouse of Prayer. I don't know why they're all clustered right here.
Forsyth, Georgia, has a nice downtown and a very good-looking Probate Court building.
You may not believe it, but we're getting close enough to Atlanta to say we're near Atlanta. And that will be very fun.
at 9:22 PM
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Despite the fact that China has both a Yellow River and a Yellow Sea, the yellow snow that just fell there is not due to either. It's due to desert dust.
Rare 'yellow snow' blankets north-west China due to freezing temperatures and sandstorms
at 7:57 PM
If I had a lot more time, I'd write a lot more about the sickening spectacle that has played out in Wisconsin this past week or so. I'm referring to the Republican-held legislature (which it wouldn't be if not for the gerrymandered districts*) passing lame-duck session laws that limited the powers of the incoming elected Democratic officials. This is something that the despicable Republicans in North Carolina already did (and now they're trying to stop a legitimate inquiry into voter fraud that might have illegally gotten one of their boys into office). Michigan's repugnant Republicans might try to pull a similar stunt.
* Yes, I'm aware Maryland has outrageously gerrymandered districts that favor Democrats. We shouldn't.
But anyway, I don't have a great deal of time, so I'll just provide a link to an article and a quote from that article:
Where the GOP can’t win elections, it changes the rules
"Scott Fitzgerald (R), Wisconsin’s Senate majority leader, admitted Monday that Republicans would not be trying to limit the governor’s powers if outgoing GOP Gov. Scott Walker had won a third term, explaining that Republicans do not trust the incoming Democrat. It does not matter if they trust the next governor. Wisconsin voters chose to do so."I've been to Wisconsin a couple of times, and it has a lot of dairy cows, which is one reason cheese is a famous product from the state. The dairy cows produce a lot of manure, and its distinctive aroma can usually be detected for large areas around the fields.
The GOP in Wisconsin stink worse than that, and what they just did is the same thing that drops from the rear orifices of the cows,.
at 7:48 PM
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
This week's lighthouse is on the shores of Lake Superior, on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It's a restored lighthouse that hasn't been a working light for a long time, but it's a landmark. The lighthouse is on Grand Island, and since it's on the east channel, it's called the Grand Island East Channel Light, naturally.
Just to the east of the lighthouse, and the nearest community, which is Munising, Michigan, is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. And in the winter, which is still usually quite cold up here, there are remarkable picturesque ice caves on Grand Island, too.
But about the lighthouse - here is the Lighthouse Friends page.
You can look at the map to see where it is. The funny thing about its location is that the northern end of Highway 41 swings right by it -- so we'll be back, eventually.
Historically and briefly, there was a lighthouse of some kind here in 1856, but it took until 1867 to get a lighthouse built there. It was hit by lightning in 1891, and after a shipwreck in 1903, they took the lighthouse out of service in 1905. Some range lights were put up, and the lighthouse was last lighted in late October 1908. Somehow the building managed to survive the entire remainder of the 20th century, and finally at the turn of the century the shore was protected and the lighthouse was restored in the next years.
So it looks kind of aged. But it's supposed to look like that. There's a restored lantern room, but I don't think it has an actual light in it. I'd sure like to visit it
So here are the pictures:
at 10:43 PM
There's a castle for sale in England. It's pretty nice.
Historic castle built to replace one gifted to Catherine of Aragon by Henry VIII and dubbed the 'most gorgeous in Christendom' goes on sale for £2.5m
"Devizes Castle in Wiltshire was once owned by the Crown for around 500 years after it was claimed by King Stephen of Blois in the 1130s.
The Grade I-listed building has lots of period features, such as castellations, turrets, stone mullioned windows, impressive fireplaces and oak floors.
It was passed down through the Royal family over the years and was frequently visited by monarchs including King John, Henry III and Edward I, while Henry VIII gifted it to his first wife Catherine of Aragon, although it was later reclaimed after their divorce."
The article at the link has a lot of great pictures, so I found a different one. This is not the original castle, this is a house built like a castle that was built on the grounds of the historical one.
This is an aerial shot of the quaint little cottage.
at 9:28 PM
In the last Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek post, we visited the Allman Brothers "big house", where the Allman Brothers Band museum is now located. Now we move on.
Where Highway 41 meets Vineville Avenue, though the Allman Brothers Band Museum is east (a right turn), Highway 41 goes west (left turn) on Vineville Avenue. There are other places of interest in Macon, like Mercer University and the Tubman Museum, but we're going to stay on the highway.
A view of Wesleyan College.
Now north of Macon, in a community named Bolingbroke, there is a place called the Sweet Tea Cafe just off 41. There are several StreetView panoramas here, so it must be a place of interest. Looks quaint. There are panoramas inside too, if you want to see more. Doing a quick search indicates that this place was formerly called Miss Hattie's. Use that information wisely.
We'll move on quickly in our next post.
at 8:44 PM