Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Parting shot of 2019

Demi Rose Mawby provides 2019's parting shot.

Lighthouse of the Week, December 29, 2019 - January 4, 2020: Bathurst Lighthouse, Rottnest Island, Australia

The final lighthouse of the year and the decade will be from the first continent to completely experience the New Year -- Australia.  The lighthouse is the Bathurst lighthouse on Rottnest Island, off of Perth, Australia, a tourist draw.

The Lighthouse Directory has these statistics:
"1900. Active; focal plane 30 m (98 ft); four white flashes, separated by 3 s, every 16 s. 20 m (66 ft) round limestone tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. Two keeper's houses are available for overnight rental. ... The lighthouse originally served as the rear light of a range guiding ships departing Fremantle past the reefs east of Rottnest Island, but this range has been discontinued. Located on the northeast point of the island."
The setting is a tropical beach, and it's tropically beautiful.

Sunset on 2019

The Nelson response

In case Tom Nelson asks:

Minoan Warm Period
“Not much is known about the Minoan warm period beyond what can be gauged from cores from boreholes in the ice sheet. That the climate really was warmer then may be derived from that in the Minoan warm period, which occurred during the bronze age, millet was grown in southern Scandinavia.”

So what caused it?   Simply put:  Natural variability.   https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2019/07/24/climate-epochs-that-werent/  “A new study puts together the evidence on a global scale for the first time. Based on this, the authors say that the supposed warm and cold epochs may represent, more than anything, regional variations that can be explained by random variability. … “It does not suggest that the periods of high or low temperatures observed during the named epochs did not exist in certain places; rather that they did not exist everywhere at the same time, and thus probably were not caused by some kind of planetary driver. That said, the study does find one very coherent period: an unprecedented warm one extending over 98 percent of the globe, starting in the 20th century. This is almost certainly caused by us.”

The article is based on interpretation of, and an interview regarding, this paper:
No evidence for globally coherent warm and cold periods over the preindustrial Common Era, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1401-2

Both the Roman Warm Period (ca. 100-300 AD) and the Dark Ages Cold Period (ca. 400-800 AD) are thus also ascribed to natural variability.  Also note these are all Euro-centric periods, because that’s where most of the data and observations were being recorded. 

But if an actual mechanism is still desired, the most likely candidate is variability in ocean circulation, particularly deep-water formation and El Niño/La Niña events.  Deep-water formation rates in the North Atlantic can cause European cooling (when the rate decreases, so that more cold remains in the atmosphere) and warming (when the rate increases, sequestering more cold water in the ocean depths and thus allowing an increase in the influence of the Gulf Stream’s warm waters).  If El Niño frequency increases, this will cause increased warming signals particularly on the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean, especially the tropics, and increased La Niña frequency will do the reverse.  The influence of the water temperature is not as strong on the western side, but there would be a tendency for cooler temperatures with more El Niño events, and again the reverse for La Niña events – showing the regional asychronicity.   The influence of either is felt globally, as discussed below.

Medieval Warm Period (~800-1200 AD)
Global Signatures and Dynamical Origins of the Little Ice Age and Medieval Climate Anomaly, https://science.sciencemag.org/content/326/5957/1256

“Relative warmth in the central North Pacific MCA is consistent with the expected extratropical signature of the strong observed La Niña–like pattern in the tropical Pacific (strong cooling in the east and warming in the west).  [As described above.] Certain regions, such as central Eurasia, northwestern North America, and (with less confidence) parts of the South Atlantic, exhibit anomalous coolness.”

Little Ice Age   
“LIA pattern is characterized primarily by pronounced cooling over the Northern Hemisphere continents, but with some regions—e.g., parts of the Middle East, central North Atlantic, Africa, and isolated parts of the United States, tropical Eurasia, and the extratropical Pacific Ocean—displaying warmth comparable to that of the present day.” There is an influence of solar radiative forcing during the LIA, equivalent to a difference of about 0.37 W/m2 at the tropopause between the MCA and the LIA.  This difference occurs during the Maunder Minimum in sunspot numbers.

Early 20th century warming
The early 20th century warming: Anomalies, causes, and consequences
“Attribution studies estimate that about a half (40–54%; p >.8) of the global warming from 1901 to 1950 was forced by a combination of increasing greenhouse gases and natural forcing, offset to some extent by aerosols. Natural variability also made a large contribution, particularly to regional anomalies like the Arctic warming in the 1920s and 1930s.”

“Hegerl et al. [the paper above] focus their arguments regarding internal variability associated with large-scale ocean circulations on the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Warm phases of the both the AMO and PDO contributed to warming particularly during the 1930’s and 1940’s.”

“Since the model includes no forcing from interdecadal variations of volcanic emissions or solar irradiance, this suggests that the observed early 20th century warming could have resulted from a combination of human-induced increases of atmospheric GHG and sulfate aerosols, along with internal variability of the ocean-atmosphere system.”

Mid-20th century cooling
The primary cause of the slight mid-20th century cooling was increased sulfate aerosols from post WWII industrialization.

“The cooling effect of man-made sulfates also helps explain the hemispheric asymmetry in temperature history. Most industrial activity is in the northern hemisphere, so most of the anthropogenic sulfate cooling should be there too. The northern hemisphere has warmed faster than the southern because there’s more land in the north than the south, and land has far less thermal inertia than ocean. But if sulfates are mostly in the northern hemisphere, that means that there should have been a stronger mid-century cooling effect in the north than in the south — and that’s exactly what we observe:” [See data plot at the link]

The linked article also includes plots that show sulfur emission estimates are in line with sulfate concentration measurements in ice cores.

We need to rethink everything we know about global warming

“Rosenfeld and his colleagues were able to more accurately calculate aerosols' cooling effects on the Earth's energy budget. And, they discovered that aerosols' cooling effect is nearly twice higher than previously thought.”

Monday, December 30, 2019

A sonnet about amazing technology

exploring the macroverse and microverse

I cannot magnify my eyesight more
than telescopes or microscopes ⁠— I can't
see ancient galaxies, their light distor-
ted by gravitic strength, nor shall light grant
ability to see a single cell
of blood within my veins ⁠— yet though my eyes
are limited, my knowledge serves to tell
me that this marked range of stretch and size
undoubtedly and truly does exist;
we have the tools to see beyond the lines
of our own limits, so as we persist
to know more than we knew, our mind refines
the library of wisdom and decides
where we should look and what will be our guides.

Jennifer Rubin's double burn

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin fired it up in this piece, and there's some smoking debris.

Here are some New Year’s resolutions for the media and politicians

Burn One:
"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should stop posturing as a defender of the Senate and its institutions. No Senate leader has done more than McConnell to cede power to the executive (e.g., tolerate “acting” secretaries, give up tariff authority to a trade illiterate); fritter away the body’s prestige (e.g., show disdain for impeachment jury oaths); and blur the differences between the Senate and House (e.g., eliminate the Supreme Court 60-vote confirmation requirement)."
Burn Two:
"Fox News executives, board members and stockholders should vow to stop polluting our politics with conspiracy theories, debunked lies, anti-immigrant propaganda and Trump sycophancy. Alternatively, take “News” out of its name and call it “Fox Make Believe." "

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Time for some weird science

LiveScience provides a list of their 10 weirdest science stories of the past year.

The 10 Weirdest Science Stories of 2019

It was unfortunate that the best story -- the DNA study of Loch Ness -- eliminated many of the more esoteric and thus more interesting potential identities of Nessie.  All that remains is big eels.  I would greatly enjoy it if this study somehow was overturned by the discovery of an unknown big something. But that's quite unlikely.

Still, my favorite weird story was the vampire tree.

Vampire tree leaches nutrients from its neighbors

"Deep in a New Zealand forest, an unassuming tree stump clings to the roots of nearby conifers, sucking up their hard-earned water and nutrients. Scientists stumbled upon this botanical vampire while hiking in West Auckland, New Zealand, as they were surrounded by hundreds of kauri trees — a species of conifer that can grow up to 165 feet (50 meters) tall. During the day, the towering trees shuttled water from their roots into their leaves. By night, the squat stump pumped leftover water and nutrients from its neighbors' roots into its own. "Possibly we are not really dealing with trees as individuals, but with the forest as a superorganism," study co-author Sebastian Leuzinger, an associate professor at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, said in a statement."

In rural Kentucky on Highway 41

This part of Kentucky is quite rural, as you'll see.   Thus, some of the highlights are crossing streams and creeks, as you'll see too.

Another view of Crofton, KY.

How you know you're in farm country.

Crossing an unnamed creek - looks pretty, though. It flows into Drake's Creek, but that's the best I can do.

Here we're crossing Drake's Creek.

There will be more to see the next time, I promise.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Nothing but GOOD NEWS

Mark Meadows won't serve another term in Congress.

Let us rejoice!

Meadows, close ally of Trump, to retire from Congress

Still crazy after all these years

I admit, I was fascinated by this image (and the study that conceived it) when it first appeared.  It seemed to me that it was a probing study, delving deeply into an area that had not been adequately plumbed previously.  After I saw it and read about it, I felt that the researchers had fully penetrated the subject, putting it in an entirely new perspective, and thus they had thrust the field in an entirely new direction.  Certainly their novel approach stimulated discussion and interest, likely changed some hardened positions, and provided an opening for further insightful investigations.

BMJ reveals study of first MRI scan of a penis in a vagina is one of its most-downloaded articles EVER despite being medically unimportant 'because readers love free sex pictures'

Oh yeah, that too.

New concern for California coastal shellfish

California coastal ecosystems can't buy a break.  Abalone is still in big trouble;  sea urchins are wreaking havoc on the seafloor, and the kelp are dying due to that and warming waters to boot;  and now, the ocean waters are experiencing a decreasing pH at twice the global rate, which is not good for much of anything that has a shell.  Plus the usual winter storms, harmful algal blooms,

Tiny shells reveal waters off California acidifying twice as fast as the global ocean
“By measuring the thickness of the shells, we can provide a very accurate estimate of the ocean’s acidity level when the foraminifera were alive,” said lead author Emily Osborne, who used this novel technique to produce the longest record yet created of ocean acidification using directly measured marine species. She measured shells within cores that represented deposits dating back to 1895.

The fossil record also revealed an unexpected cyclical pattern: Though the waters increased their overall acidity over time, the shells revealed decade-long changes in the rise and fall of acidity. This pattern matched the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a natural warming and cooling cycle. Human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are driving ocean acidification, but this natural variation also plays an important role in alleviating or amplifying ocean acidification."

"The graph shows the decline from 1900 to 2000 in the concentration of carbonate ions in the waters off California. Carbonate ions are the building blocks used by foraminifera and other shelled marine species to build their shells. As carbon dioxide concentrations have risen in these Pacific Ocean waters due to absorbing excess carbon dioxide emissions and upwelling of carbon dioxide-rich waters from the deep, the carbonate ion concentration has declined and acidity has increased, making it more difficult for marine species to build shells. The inset photos show (a) a typical foraminifera shell; (b) cross section of a shell from 1900 showing thickness of the shell; and (c) a shell from 2000 showing a thinner shell wall. Courtesy/Emily Osborne/NOAA"
(from OregonLive)

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

I've probably seen this

I just happened to come across a picture of a scenic waterfall in Bali, and I realized that I had never heard of it before. Now, I expect that there are a lot of waterfalls I've never heard of before, but this one was sufficiently scenic to surprise me that I hadn't.

The name of this waterfall is Nungnung, and I'm reasonably confident it's about 80 meters (260 feet or so) high.  In addition to being a strong waterfall in a green tropical setting that's this tall, it also features a pool at the bottom that allows swimming under the falling water.

This is such a picturesque waterfall that I'm surprised I haven't seen pictures of it with an attractive swimwear model in front of it.  In fact, I probably have seen it that way -- but haven't had the name of the waterfall to go with it.

Below are two pictures of the waterfall without any swimwear.

Highway 41 just north of Hopkinsville, KY

Here are three Streetview views on Highway 41 north of Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  More of the end-to-end Streetview trek will continue soon after this.

Crossing the North Fork of the Little River (still within the boundaries of Hopkinsville).

Crossing White Creek

Crofton, Kentucky

Lighthouse of the Week, December 22-28, 2019: Pumpkin Island, Maine, USA

As I have done in some years past, I decided to look for lighthouses decorated with Christmas lights for this week's LoTW.   So I did.  I found a picture of one, but it turned out that it wasn't really a lighthouse, it was a house with an architectural feature that looks like a lighthouse.  It was decorated for Christmas.

However, it turned out that near this house was an actual lighthouse, which is, however, no longer a functioning active light beacon, it is also a private home (since 1934).  But it is enough of a landmark that it has been the subject of artistic photography and painting.

The lighthouse is the Pumpkin Island lighthouse.  It's on East Penobscot Bay, just off Little Deer Isle, just east of Acadia National Park, and just off coast from the lyrically named Eggemoggin at the northern end of the isle, which is also at the northern end of Eggemoggin Reach.  If you sail south on Eggemoggin Reach, the next body of water you "reach" is Jericho Sound and Mount Desert Narrows, adjacent to the park. Given its proximity to the national park, the strange shape of Maine's coastline, and the fact that there are many other lighthouses that are somewhat more unique and open to the public, I imagine that it is not seen very often by the tourist crowd.

Here's the basic info on the lighthouse from the Lighthouse Directory;  there isn't a lot of info or history for this one.
"1854. Inactive since 1933 (charted as a landmark). 28 ft (8.5 m) round cylindrical brick tower with lantern and gallery, attached to 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house."   

The house with the Christmas lights is on Haskell District Road, at the southern end of Little Deer Isle.  Even though it's not really a lighthouse, here's the picture of the holiday-decorated house.  According to the article where I found this, there's also a holiday light show.

And here are four pictures of the Pumpkin Island lighthouse, and a short video.

by Carolyn Derstine

Friday, December 20, 2019

Follow that Lamborghini

At Italy's Bologna airport, planes that are taxiing from the runway to the gate or vice versa have a new guide car to follow.

Italy’s Bologna airport has new Lamborghini for planes to follow

That sure makes what is probably a mundane and potentially tedious job -- even though it is quite important -- somewhat more interesting to perform.  And I'll bet every driver is waiting for an emergency call (not that they want an emergency, but if there is one) so they can see what that baby can really do.  The article says it tops out at 199 mph, but I'm sure an intrepid and daring driver could try to up that by at least one more mph.

Why Mitch doesn't have the articles of impeachment yet

It's real simple.

Ornstein: McConnell's admission is ‘a flat violation of the oath he will take as a juror’

And here's the actual oath:

‘‘I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of ——— ———, now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God.’’

So again, MoscowMitch is betraying the Constitution he swore to defend when he was elected.  It's what we've come to expect, but it's still sickening and appalling.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Is stopping menhaden fishing in the Chesapeake Bay a possibility?

Years ago now, I wrote about the important but unglorious fish, menhaden, as did many other people.  Despite its importance, industrial fishing for it in the Chesapeake Bay did not cease despite its markedly decreasing population.

I wrote this.

And this.

And also this.  (With links to other articles, too.)

So, now, after quite a bit of time, something good might happen.

Governors to feds: Stop firm from fishing in Chesapeake Bay
"Governors in nine states along the Atlantic coast are urging the Trump Administration to stop a company that makes fish-oil supplements and other products from fishing in Virginia waters.

A letter sent Friday from those governors echoes concerns of fishing regulators who say Omega Protein defied harvest limits in the Chesapeake Bay.

The firm catches a fish called Atlantic menhaden that's considered a vital link to the bay's food chain. Menhaden are food for striped bass, whales and other animals."
Now, this is going to the Trump administration, which has never met an environmental regulation it didn't want to overturn or a business it didn't want to deregulate.  So I don't know if this initiative stands a chance.  But it sure would be a great thing for the Bay, and the world, if it worked.

Lighthouse of the Week, December 15-21, 2019: Morgan Point, Connecticut, USA

This week's lighthouse was an accidental find.  I was perusing this online feature from the House Beautiful Web site, entitled "The Most Beautiful Small Town in Every State".  I wanted to see what town they picked in Maryland -- it happened to be Berlin, which is near Ocean City.  I've driven through its outskirts but never went downtown.  While clicking through, I hit the chosen town from Connecticut, Noank, which was illustrated with a lighthouse.  I wanted to see more, but StreetView hasn't been down the city streets, which therefore must be both quaint and narrow. I don't know for sure -- even searching for Noank on Google images doesn't yield either a lot of quaintness or a lot of streets.

However, what frequently pops up in the Noank searches is the lighthouse. This might make one think that it's a tourist attraction.  That would be a mistake.  Even though it's undoubtedly a tourist highlight, particularly for sailors, the Morgan Point lighthouse is a former lighthouse, because now it's a private home.

There are several Web pages/sites about it.

Morgan Point lighthouse at New England Lighthouses

Morgan Point lighthouse at Lighthouse Friends

From the Lighthouse Directory, we get that it was built in 1868 after the light station was established in 1831.  Height-wise, it's a "52 ft (16 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a 2-1/2 story granite keeper's house."

Now, I said it's a private house, which might make it hard to find out what it looks like on the inside. But actually, I found an article that provides a tour, and has plenty of exterior pictures, too.

Living in a Lighthouse

Since this has a lot of pictures, I chose a couple of pictures that are slightly different.

Shelf model version

Painting, available at Fine Art America 

With the schooner Argia sailing in behind it.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Yeah, but how did he come back?

In the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984, Chris Pine appears as Steve Trevor.

Leaving us with the questions:  is it really him?  And if it is, where has he been?  And how did he come back from there looking like he hasn't aged more than a couple of years?


A public servicing announcement

Just passing on this important and timely article from the thoughtful editors and writers at the Daily Mail.

How to have a sexy Silent Night! Tracey Cox reveals the positions to indulge in that won’t wake up the in-laws over Christmas

Note:  "doggy on the floor" does not refer to the family pooch taking a nap.

The Very Fashionable Michelle Keegan

Those people who know my blog topics well (the fortunate few) will know that I am hopelessly devoted to the extraordinary beauty of British actress Michelle Keegan (who I believe has kept that name despite her marriage to Mark Wright).  In addition to her acting activities, she also does fashion collaborations.  She was featured with Lipsy London, and now she's with Very.  (Yes, that's what it's called.)

Imagine my surprised happiness when I discovered the entire Michelle Keegan line at Very, including many pictures of Michelle Keegan wearing different fashions in the line.   

Shown below are some of my favorites.  Unfortunately, Very and Keegan don't have lingerie or swimwear items in the line.  I somewhat wish she would emulate Michael Buble's exquisite wife Luisana Lopilato (also featured on my blog several times), who was an outstanding in all ways featured model for Ultimo lingerie, which unfortunately isn't in existence anymore, but during its run it had some of the world's high-end beauties fronting (and backing) its product.

But hey, you can't always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need, right?

Landing site on Bennu chosen

After finding out that asteroid Bennu is basically a roughly cubical mass of boulders, NASA has taken a considerably long time figuring out where they're going to attempt to touch down and grab a piece of the rocks.  Ha.  They just announced where OSIRIS-REx is going to take its best shot.

It's not going to be easy;  they wanted a 50-meter diameter area, but they had to settle for 16 meters.  The name of the top target is Nightingale, with a backup site named Osprey.  (If there was ever a target area named Mockingbird, apparently they killed that plan.)

NASA asteroid hunter chooses landing site on boulder-strewn space rock

See? I told you -- boulders, boulders everywhere.

Here's another article about this plan:

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx must avoid ‘Mount Doom’ to return a sample of the asteroid Bennu

I grabbed this pic of Nightingale from that article.  It shows the size of OSIRIS-REx compared to the size of the landing area.

Highway 41 end-to-end trek, through Hopkinsville, Kentucky

If you're hungry, this is a good installment of the Highway 41 end-to-end trek to view.  It features two barbecue joints AND donuts.  Can't do much better than that!

We're still traveling essentially northward through Kentucky.

Pembroke, Kentucky: Highway 41 and Main Street

The Bar-B-Que Shack on the outskirts of Hopkinsville (next to the water tower)

Dick's Drive-In and BBQ (we find all the good places).  Apparently liquor and beer are also available.

Downtown Hopkinsville, by Whistle Stop Donuts. I recommend panning around the full 360 here, to see the rest of the street.

Turn right here to go north on Highway 41.  Follow of the sign if you're not sure which way to go.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, December 8-14, 2019: Cape Don, Australia

If you look at a map of lighthouses in Australia (like this one) you can see that there aren't many of them on the northern coastline of the continent.

In fact, there's just one, on Cape Don.

That intrigued me, so this one became this week's Lighthouse of the Week.

Let's get the location and the specifications.

Location: here's a map. It's actually located in a national park, the Garig Gunak Barlu National Park; I'm going to have to investigate that later.

As for the specifications, this time we will go to Lighthouses of Australia, which is also where I linked to the lighthouse map for Australia.

Constructed: 1917 (and it wasn't easy)
Environment: Tropical and hot
First light: Third order dioptric lens
1970s: Converted to tungsten-halogen electric light
1983: Automated, high-intensity solar powered light installed, and "demanned".
Range: 20 nautical miles
Color: Somewhat orange
Ease of access: Not easy at all.

By the way, I noticed that the lighthouse map linked above does not have all the lighthouses of Australia, as there is at least at lighthouse at Cape Hotham and on Emery Point near Darwin, which aren't real far away from Cape Don. And they aren't lighthouse buildings, they are both steel framework towers. So Cape Don is indeed Australia's northernmost traditional lighthouse.


View from above:

On a postcard:

The original Cape Don lighthouse lens

On a stamp:

And a different view than most of what you'll find online:

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Wozniacki looks beyond tennis

Getting married can change a lot of things.  For Caroline Wozniacki, apparently it's enough to cause her to call it a career.  And work on having some kids with husband David Lee.

Maybe.  There have been post-kid comebacks before, Kim Clijsters, notably, so I wouldn't count her out completely.  But clearly, after the Australian Open, she's planning on taking a long break.

An amazing career': Tennis world reacts to Wozniacki's retirement announcement

And one can easily see why her husband would be in favor of the kid-making endeavor.

Speaking of Kim Clijsters:

Exclusive: Kim Clijsters announces 2020 comeback - 'I love the challenge'

I coulda used this

A new way to solve the quadratic equation has just been described.

A couple of decades ago, this would have been useful to me.

Mathematician discovers a simpler way to solve the quadratic equation that could fundamentally change the way students are taught math

"Loh’s method involves applying a much simpler equation to solve for one of the variables in the quadratic equation without having to go through with the often messy and confusing calculations of the full equation."

Sounds simple -- I'll need to do more research.

Sad music news

I thought Roxette made some of the most listenable and danceable rock/pop music I've ever heard, and a lot of the reason for that was her voice.

Roxette star Marie Fredriksson dies aged 61 after a 17-year battle with brain cancer

Though "It Must Have Been Love" may have been their most famous hit, my favorite was "The Look".

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, December 1-7, 2019: Watch Hill, Rhode Island, USA

The reason I found this lighthouse is that it has a square tower.  That's what I was looking for.  There may be a few more, but this was the first one I found.

It's picturesque enough and famous enough to have its own Web site:

Watch Hill Lighthouse:  Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association

This site even has several videos (one is below), so if you want to see more, click the link.

Watch Hill is in southeastern Rhode Island.  The light shines over Block Island Sound, which is east of the end of Long Island.  Nearby Mystic, Connecticut, might stir memories or geolocations, and also nearby to the north (but not much) is Westerly, where Taylor Swift bought a BIG seaside mansion in 2013.  I don't know if she still owns it.

My purpose is to provide pictures and specifications of the Watch Hill lighthouse.  The history, from the Web site, is pretty interesting:

The Watch Hill Lighthouse in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, has served as a nautical beacon for ships since 1745, when the Rhode Island colonial government erected a watchtower and beacon during the French and Indian War and Revolutionary War. Destroyed in a 1781 storm, plans were discussed to build a new lighthouse to mark the eastern entrance to Fishers Island Sound and to warn mariners of a dangerous reef southwest of Watch Hill.  ​ 
President Thomas Jefferson signed an act to build the lighthouse in 1806 and construction was completed in 1807. The first lighthouse stood 35 feet (11 m) tall. ​
In 1827 a rotating light was installed to differentiate the light from that of the Stonington Harbor Light in Connecticut. Erosion forced the lighthouse to close in 1855 and move further away from the bluff edge.  ​ 
The next lighthouse, opened in 1856, stands 45 feet (14 m) tall. Sixteen years later the steamer Metis crashed off Watch Hill in 1872 killing 130 people. A United States Life-Saving Service station was built next to the lighthouse where it operated until the 1940s and was destroyed in 1963. In 1873 Captain Jared Starr Crandall, keeper of the lighthouse, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for rescue operations involving the Metis. In 1879, Capt. Crandall's widow, Sally Ann (Gavitt) Crandall, became the first woman lighthouse keeper there. ​ 
In 1907, the steamer Larchmont collided with a schooner killing 200 people four miles from the lighthouse. The Hurricane of 1938 caused severe damage to the lighthouse. The Leif Viking ran aground a few hundred feet from the lighthouse in 1962, and although there were no injuries, the ship was stranded for nine days. The lighthouse was automated in 1986 and leased to the Watch Hill Lighthouse Keepers Association.
For more information, go to the Web site!

Here are the video and the pictures:

Wait, what? WHAT?

Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been famously and rabidly defending every action Donald Trump has done, is suddenly on the record saying he doesn't believe Ukraine interfered with the 2016 Presidential election.

Lindsey Graham Breaks Ranks With Trump, Declares Ukraine Conspiracy Theory False
“It was the Russians. I’m 1,000% confident that the hack of the [Democratic National Committee] was by Russian operatives, no one else,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill.

In a subsequent interview with CNN, Graham said he had “no doubt” that it was the Russians who hacked the emails of the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.

“It wasn’t Ukraine. Russia was behind the stolen DNC emails and Podesta and all that good stuff,” the senator said.
This pretty much contradicts what Donald Trump has been saying, even on the phone, to the Ukrainian President.  Donald won't be happy about this.  Now, if Lindsey would just tell his other friends in the Senate (if he still has any), that'd be great.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Breakfast with Demi

Demi Rose Mawby makes us wish for a breakfast view like this, just off the Mediterranean beaches in Cannes, France.

(The view I'm speaking of is looking at her looking like this, not the beach.)

Highway 41 hops near Hopkinsville

Moving north in the section of Highway 41 that's in Kentucky, on the end-to-end Streetview trek along one of America's most famous and historic highways.

Pembroke, Kentucky: Highway 41 and Main Street

The Bar-B-Q Shack on the outskirts of Hopkinsville (next to the water tower).

Dick's Drive-In and BBQ (we find all the good places)

Downtown Hopkinsville, by Whistle Stop Donuts, which happens to be right next to the railroad tracks. Pan around the full 360 here, to see the rest of the street and the cute blue house across the street from the donut shop.

Now, I was going to mention, Hopkinsville is roughly 30 miles from the center of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.   This area is between the big and long TVA lakes named Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.  Camping, boating, fishing, hiking are all available.  Also has an elk & bison prairie and a planetarium!  So even though Hopkinsville and the area around it are mundane (though nice), the fun part is just a few miles to the west.

Here's what the lakes look like from space:

Petra Nemcova has her baby

Supermodel Petra Nemcova, who turned the tragedy of losing her then-boyfriend photographer in the Indonesian tsunami  (plus spending hours in a tree with a broken leg) into a worldwide charity and service organization, recently gave birth to a baby whose father was the man she recently married.

Though the baby was born at 34 weeks, and on November 15 (they delayed announcing it to make sure he was doing well).  It appears that both baby and mommy are healthy. According to her most recent Instagram post, they've named him Bodhi.

Petra Nemcova welcomes son prematurely as she reveals 'he chose to arrive unexpectedly at 34 weeks in the middle of the night in a remote area surrounded by nature'

Below, she poses with the new tyke, and a rainbow.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Lighthouse of the Week, November 24-30, 2019: Cape Finisterre, Spain

As promised, the Lighthouse of the Week this week (even though it's the last day of the week) is the lighthouse on Cape Finisterre, Spain.  This particular cape was commonly referred to as the end of the world, as it was popularly thought to be the westernmost point on the European continent (even though it literally isn't -- the westernmost point of the European mainland is Cabo da Roca, which also has a lighthouse, and I've featured it as LoTW, which you'll see if you click that link).

But Cape Finisterre is famous because it was considered the end of the world, and thus numerous people made pilgrimages there. It doesn't hurt that it's a very striking location as well.   Since it's so famous, there are a few Web pages about it, some of which I'll list below.

Lighthouse Finisterre (Cape Finisterre)

Hiking Spain's Luminous Lighthouse Way

Lighthouse Directory:  Lighthouses of Spain:  Northern Galicia

From the last one, I have extracted the basic information below:

    " 1853. Active; focal plane 143 m (469 ft); white flash every 5 s. 17 m (56 ft) octagonal cylindrical granite tower with lantern and gallery attached to the front of a 2-1/2 story keeper's house. Tower unpainted; lantern is silvery metallic; house painted white with unpainted stone trim.
     This is one of Spain's most famous lighthouses, standing at the end of a narrow, south-pointing promontory with a spectacular view of the Atlantic. Although Cabo Toriñana (see next entry) actually extends a little further west, Cape Finisterre is the traditional "land's end" at the northwestern corner of Spain. (Cabo da Roca in Portugal is about 16.5 km (10.3 mi) further west and is the westernmost point of continental Europe.) Cape Finisterre is the ending point of the Camiño de Santiago (the Way of St. James), a traditional route of pilgrimage that extends 90 km (56 mi) from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The lighthouse is the second most visited tourist destination in Galicia, after the Cathedral. "
And below, four pictures and a video.  Don't forget the other picture in my post two posts back, too.

The great Kate

I don't think Kate Beckinsale has ever not looked great.

But here, in swimwear, she proves she's still a hottie and a great beauty, all at once.

Kate Beckinsale, 46, flaunts her bombshell bikini body as she enjoys idyllic beach getaway

Friday, November 29, 2019

Epson Pano awards 2019

These are stunning.

Fairy-tale islands, enchanting monasteries and fog-shrouded cities: The mesmerising winners of the 2019 panoramic photography awards revealed

I chose the one below because I haven't yet chosen a Lighthouse of the Week for this week, and it will be this one:  Cape Finisterre, Spain.   Tune in for more tomorrow.

Can anything be flatter than ...

Ellie Gonsalves' torso?

You decide:

In case you are not familiar with who Ellie Gonsalves is:



Saturday, November 23, 2019

Highway 41 further north into Kentucky

A couple more sights to see on the Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek, which is in southwest Kentucky, but not extreme southwest Kentucky.  There are some scenic and recreational areas to the west of where Highway 41 goes, but where it is, not so much.  I'll talk briefly about those next time.  Were this an actual trek, National Geographic-style, I'd probably detour over there.  But in the blog mode, we will stick to the main road.

You can get berries and day lilies at the Tin Barn (it says so on the sign).

Downtown Trenton, Kentucky: next to City Hall. It's the building with the flags. On the other side of the street, a lucky guy walking past the fancy street clock got himself on StreetView.

Trenton Presbyterian Church.  Looks like it has been here awhile.

Another Red River crossing.

Illustrated sonnet: "It is a simple thing to ask"

And another for today.

Illustrated sonnet: "the morning practice"

Here's another of my illustrated sonnets, also available on Instagram.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Speaking of Wales ...

My last post was about a lighthouse in Wales.  Totally by coincidence, I must mention here that for some strange reason, I was emotionally involved with whether or not the Wales soccer team would qualify for the Euro 2020 championships automatically.

I have no idea why.  (Actually, I do -- just keep reading.)  There's no way Wales will win Euro 2020;  in fact, they will be lucky to get out of the group stage.  So I'm not going to be heartbroken at ALL if they play 3 games and go home.

Wales is obviously not a big country, and they are nothing like powerful England.  So this is the third time ever (1958 and 2016) that they've qualified for an international championship tournament. The Wales team was not in the most recent World Cup.  (Neither was the USA team, of course.)

So, to get the automatic ticket, they had to beat Hungary.  And they did, 2-0.  Supposed superstar Gareth Bale assisted on the first, a header by Aaron Ramsey, who also scored the second goal.  Bale barely missed a free kick that would have been the third.

But that didn't matter, because Wales is in.

Read about the events of the exciting game here  (from the Guardian)

Lighthouse of the Week, November 17 - 23, 2019: South Stack, Wales, UK

For a place of its size, Wales has a huge population of lighthouses.  That's partly because, on my own rough estimate, about 2/3 of the country's boundary consists of coastline.  (The other 1/3 being the boundary with England.)   A quick look at the Lighthouse Directory Wales page will confirm this.  I'll probably be coming back for more.

I saw this lighthouse in a Web article about five places to visit in north Wales. Given the number of lighthouses in Wales, that makes it pretty special. And it appears to be.  And it's another one that still has its Fresnel lens.

It has a good basic Web site:  South Stack

Here's some basics:
"South Stack Lighthouse was built by Mr Daniel Alexandra (engineer) and Joseph Nelson (builder) in 1808-1809. As the picture shows Captain Hugh Evans accomplished his aim to have the lighthouse constructed, all starting in 1806 when he collected facts and figures on the relevant Holy Island coastline of maritime disasters for the next twelve months, producing them to the decision makers of the time in 1807. On this, 30-meter high summit built the now famous 27.7 meters high South Stack lighthouse."
A little additional info from the Lighthouse Directory:
"The island is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel crossed by a footbridge since 1828; the present bridge, built in 1997, is the third. Visitors cross the footbridge after descending 400 steps from the parking area and they must climb those steps on their return."
That should be plenty of information, so now I'll provide the pictures and a video.