Sunday, May 24, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, May 17-23, 2020: Coney Island, NY, USA

Leading up to the Memorial Day Weekend during the strange year of 2020, when Memorial Day will be like no other (did I suddenly channel The Bachelor?), I chose the Coney Island Lighthouse.  Most of the time, people would go to New York's Coney Island for Memorial Day weekend.  This year, not so much.

But the lighthouse is still there.

Let's learn about it.

Well, there's a lot to learn.  Coney Island Lighthouse at Lighthouse Friends

Simply, according to the Lighthouse Directory, the Coney Island Lighthouse is a "Sanibel Class" skeletal tower.  Here are the characteristics of these towers:
"Beginning in 1884, the Lighthouse Board adopted a standard plan for skeletal lighthouses having a square footprint. This plan was used for lighthouses with heights up to about 100 feet. The lighthouses have octagonal watch and lantern rooms, each with a gallery. In taller towers, a distinctive feature of the design is an extra leg running about half way up the side of each face. Shorter towers (65-75 feet) have only three sections and lack these extra legs."
The Coney Island tower is the first of the shorter design.

Below, three pictures and a four-minute trailer from a movie about the lighthouse.

This one is a model, and a good one.

A Bendtner article

For some reason (and you can search this blog for the name "Bendtner" if you doubt me), I've been fascinated by the soccer playing career of Nicklas Bendtner.

So here's an update.

'I lost a lot of money, an unrealistic amount': Nicklas Bendtner reveals he frittered around £5.4m gambling on poker during his early days at Arsenal

I was surprised to find out that he's still been playing -- though with a few exceptions, nobody's playing right now.   He is currently on the team from Copenhagen, his hometown.

One of the most unique spellings ever

While I am sorry that the woman in the story was attacked by a bison -- they are, after all, wild animals, so these things happen -- I had to note the unique spelling skills of the Daily Mail's sub-headline writers.

Old Faithful is a hot spring of water that periodically produces eruptions when the water below the surface boils and forces a column of water into the air.

The general name of this phenomenon is geyser (from the Icelandic geysir).

So where Old Faithful is located is Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin.

I have no idea where the Upper Greyson Basin is located.

I just have to provide this in case it's hard to find

The remarkable two-facedness of Senator Lindsey Graham, illustrated by Lindsey Graham, playing both sides of himself.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

I'm not sure I agree

Paul Waldman wrote in the Washington Post the following:

Republicans have already decided Trump is going to lose

I'm not sure I agree with him, but I sure hope it works out that way.   Still, even if I don't agree, I sure like this quote:
"Republicans are genuinely fearful that people will be too thankful if government helps them too much and that the crisis will make the passage of stronger safety-net programs more likely in the future."
Wouldn't that be just too bad?

Highway 41 gets ready for Rockville

Be prepared for a few rapid posts on the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek.   There are some really great places coming up, and Rockville, Indiana is one of them.   So first, let's get ready.

A wooded zone south of Rockville.  Not all of Indiana is farm fields, as can be seen here and as we will see in the several of the next posts on the trek.

"Stonebraker". On the map, it shows a bed. I have no idea what that is, so I looked it up. It's a Homestay. I have never heard of that before.

And now Highway 41 is crossing Rock Run.

Next, we're going to have to take a look around Rockville, because it's historic, and scenic.

Winslet's in it

I didn't know until I read this article that Kate Winslet, who did a really good job in James Cameron's Titanic both vertically and horizontally, dressed or not, and wet or dry, is in the Avatar sequel.  In addition to that news, the article has a couple of concept art shots that indicate it will still be pretty interesting to see -- and there are other impossible geologic formations floating around.

PICTURED: Behind the scenes of Avatar sequels where Kate Winslet reunites with Titanic director James Cameron trained to 'hold her breath for nearly seven minutes underwater' after cast had to learn to free dive for grueling scenes in 900,000-gallon tank

Here's the sequelish pictures.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Closer than you can get in person

This is wild.  A hyper (high) resolution image of Rembrandt's painting known as "The Night Watch"

Just be careful -- once you zoom in, you can't zoom back out.  Zoomed in, you can see every brushstroke, paint crack, even the twinkle (literally) in their eyes.

"The Night Watch" in hyper-resolution

For more about the painting:  "The Night Watch" explained

Barr IS the current villain, and he's nefarious

From the Washington Post:

‘You reek of ignorance’: Fox News hosts who once hailed Michael Flynn’s judge now say he’s hopelessly biased

"And now what he’s doing is he’s poisoning the 2020 election by trying to make it look like [Attorney General] Bill Barr,” she said. “He’s trying to destroy the whole thing so that Barr looks like the villain here.”
Yet the thing about this is, Barr is the villain.  He's been doing Trump's bidding since he took the office.  The list of the ways he has prostituted himself and debased the Department of Justice is already long and getting longer.  He is not a servant of the people and of truth;  he's a toady and a servant.

We aren't going to let him/them get away with it.

Oh yeah, about Flynn.  He admitted that he lied to Vice President Pence.  Vice President Pence publicly said that Flynn lied to him.   So did Pence lie about Flynn lying to him?
Pence: "What I can tell you is that I knew that he [Flynn] had lied to me -- and I know the president made the right decision with regard to him," the vice president replied.
So someone can admit they broke the law, and can lie to the Vice President about breaking the law, and now the Justice Debasement led by Bill Barr seeks to dismiss the case.

The head spins.

More here: The Secrets Flynn Was Desperate to Conceal

Lighthouse of the Week, May 10-16, 2020: Seguin Island, Maine, USA

The third of my three "Lighthouses in the Fog" lighthouses is in a familiar place -- the coastline of Maine.  This lighthouse is the Seguin Island light, or light station, as it may be referred to.

As for this Web site, the Friends of the Seguin Island Light Station.  The Web site has a nice short video, so to give them a little more traffic I'll let my readers decide to click that link and go there to see the video, or not.

So where is Seguin Island?   It's out there.   But not that far out there; it's offshore a bit from Popham Beach State Park, and just up the coast is Boothbay Harbor -- nice place, not as famous or as crowded as Bar Harbor.

Now let's do a bit of history and statistics.

History:   George Washington approved this lighthouse in 1793, and commissioned it in 1795.  A tower was built that year.   The current 51-foot tower (some sources say 53 feet) was built in 1857.  Read more history!

The current lighthouse has a Fresnel lens.  Read about it right here.

See the pictures below.  Because it has lots of support and visitors (not right now, but usually), there are lots of pictures.

You can see the lens.  It's big.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Promoting an "All Hands and Hearts" event

The All Hands and Hearts aid organization founded by model (and now new mother) Petra Nemcova is having a fundraising event on Sunday, May 17.  I'm helping out in a minor way by posting the message below from her, and I plan to donate.

"I’m soooo excited to announce that @AllHandsandHearts has been selected as the beneficiary charity for an upcoming livestream named ✨Live.Hearts­čĺťLoveStream✨
I will be co-hosting the event with @gregg.braden, a best-selling author, scientist, researcher and expert on resilience.

Join us this Sunday, May 17th at 2 pm EST/ 11 am PST/ 8pm CET live on our All Hands and Hearts Facebook page and enjoy a unique event featuring scientists, legends who will share words of wisdom and uplifting performances by artists.

Two of the goals of this livestream are (1) to bring resilience to the communities we serve through supporting #AllHandsAndHearts and (2) to share wisdom with everyone watching from home to become more resilient during these challenging times.

The intention is for all of us to virtually join our hearts together during the ✨Live.Hearts­čĺť LoveStream✨ to continue to spread love as All Hands and Hearts volunteers, staff, donors, and partners always do.

Share this post and tag the people you would like to invite to our #LiveHearts event."

OK, if you're reading this, you're invited. Here is the Facebook page:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

We've chosen Biden to run. Now we just have to elect him.

An article from the Daily Kos.

Considering the Times, Biden Might Be the Best Candidate We Could Have [Chosen]

Quoting two parts:
"I’m now seeing Biden as the candidate (of all our very good candidates) most able to take over and fix what’s wrong with our nation. He knows how to run our country. He knows how government works, what different agencies can do, and he believes in a government that is truly there to help people. He is surrounded and will be surrounded by smart, competent people.

I look forward to a Biden administration. Sure it won’t be perfect, but, at the very least, it’s likely to be competent. And it won’t be riddled with corruption and always promoting toxic views and policies. Biden’s long history as a senator and then as VP means he can start putting things in order as soon as he takes office."

So let's get out the vote, and vote to get Trump out, and Biden in.

(I'm pretty proud of that last sentence.)

A bit further along on Highway 41

It has been a few days, but I plan (not always successfully) on making a lot more progress in the next couple of weeks.

So let's take a look at where we are now in Indiana on Highway 41.

Passing by Lyford, Indiana.

Visiting the Wabash River (turn left at Indiana 163 to get to this bridge).

Crossing Big Raccoon Creek

Next stop: historic/scenic Rockville.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Straight talk about Jared Kushner

The short version:  just about everything he's put in charge of, he sucks rocks trying to do it.  And he doesn't really care.

The longer version:

I worked for Jared Kushner. Of course he says his covid-19 failure is a success.
"On some level, Trump and Kushner appear to believe that whether they are really doing their jobs is irrelevant. But they have no reason to believe otherwise; they’ve never faced any consequences for not doing what they’re supposed to do except bad press. (Or, in Trump’s case, an impeachment that quickly led to a pro forma acquittal.) As of today, Kushner’s string of failures have not resulted in any kind of demotion or reprimand, much less dismissal. (Whatever happened to the Office of American Innovation? What has it done? Who’s demanded results?) They act like they think they should get credit for any effort at all, for stooping to bother."

That's a pretty serious burn on Jared. But even if his shoes were actually emitting flames, he'd apparently think that was someone else's problem. Because he could always buy another pair of shoes.

There's still a blue bee

As I begin to type this post, I do not know if there is more than one species of blue bee in the world.  I could do the research to find out, but that would take more time and effort.

Sorry.  So what I do know, based on this article, is that the blue bee that lived in Florida is still in existence.  I also know that there aren't very many of them, and that they live in a very small biodiversity hot spot in central Florida (which until I read this article was also something I Did Not Know).

Florida’s rare blue bee rediscovered at Lake Wales Ridge

If you want to see what it looks like, click the link!  And by the way, I discovered that there are quite a few blue bee species in the world. 

This, however, is not one of them. 

However, if you have a team named the Bees with blue and white colors, it would be quite useful.

We probably don't need this right now

In addition to the ongoing catastrophic events related to the worldwide pandemic, the forecast for the Atlantic hurricane season -- the one that commonly sends the storms into the Caribbean Sea, potentially hitting the Greater and Lesser Antilles, the Bahamas (as we must remember), Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hispaniola, etc. -- is that it will be "active". 

I really would have been happy with "nonexistent".  But it will be what it's going to be.

AccuWeather increases number of hurricanes predicted for 'very active' 2020 Atlantic season

Oh, I'm sorry, they said "very active".

"Based on the newest forecasting models, AccuWeather forecasters have extended the upper range of hurricanes predicted for the Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane team, led by Dan Kottlowski, the company’s top hurricane expert, is now predicting 14 to 20 tropical storms, with additions also to the number of storms that become hurricanes: seven to 11 this season.

Kottlowski also increased the number of major hurricanes – Category 3 or higher – that could develop this season to four to six. Kottlowski warned that four to six named tropical systems could make direct impacts on the U.S mainland, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands."
That's the kind of thing that makes severe storm meteorologist experts excited.

Not many other people, though.

Lighthouse of the Week, May 3-9, 2020: Great Point, Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA

When it comes to lighthouses, they don't come much simpler than the Great Point Lighthouse on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts (also known as Nantucket Light, for fairly obvious reasons).  It's a plain white conical tower all alone on a sandy spit of land -- if you want to see where, click here. I included the southern side of Cape Cod and also Martha's Vineyard to make it easier to visualize.

So, yes, it's quite simple.  But I don't know when it was built or how tall it is, so let's find that out.

Here's the New England Lighthouses page on it:  Great Point Lighthouse

Intriguingly, it was destroyed in 1984 and rebuilt in 1986.  I'll see if there's a story to that.
Established: 1784
Automated: 1950s
Destroyed: 1984, rebuilt 1986
Construction materials: Concrete and plastic Tower height: 60 feet
Height of focal plane: 71 feet
Earlier optic: Third-order Fresnel lens
Present optic: VRB-25, solar powered
OK, over to the Lighthouse Directory, and there IS a story to the destruction.  The keeper's house burned down in 1966, but a nor'easter destroyed the lighthouse in 1984. It was rebuilt in 1986.   According to the Directory:
"The original lighthouse, a wood tower, burned under somewhat suspicious circumstances in 1816. The 1818 lighthouse was destroyed by a nor'easter in March 1984; it was rebuilt at a cost of more than $2 million appropriated by Congress. The late Senator Edward Kennedy raised the flag at the dedication of the new lighthouse in September 1986. Stone from the original lighthouse was used in the facing for the new tower."
Also noted here, the original Fresnel lens is now at the Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum.  There's a picture of it here, in a page on the history of the Great Point Lighthouse (also from New England Lighthouses).

So, there are lots of pictures.  I selected a few, and also a video.  The panorama is by Katherine Gendreau.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Random search word 2

I also searched on this word:   spidela.

Not as interesting as rimula, but I did find a mirror from Scandinavian Design by that name.

Here's the mirror, not on the wall (yet).

And this picture was unexpected and quite interesting, too. 

Spidela Queen, by Charlote Petrova

There's also a village of Spidele, in Buz─âu County, Romania - not quite what I was searching for, but close enough to deserve a mention.

Random search word 1

I typed the following into the Google Search Box:   Rimula

And here's what I learned about it.

One:  it's a brand of engine oil from Shell.

Two:  it's a genus of fungi.  Couldn't find a picture that I was sure of, but I found a lot of pictures of Rimularia.

Three:  it's a gastropod.

Rimula aequisculpta

Four:  it means "a minute (meaning small) slit or fissure".

I never expected all of that when I typed it into the search box.

Bruce McGill's amazing career

Do you know actor Bruce McGill?  Well, you might remember him as D-Day from Animal House;  or Jean Claude Van Damme's boss in Timecop;   more recently as Vince Korsak on Rizzoli and Isles;  possibly as golf legend Walter Hagen in The Legend of Bagger Vance;  as a recurring character on Macgyver (the original); and he even appeared on three episodes of Suits.

But did you notice he played Edwin Stanton in Lincoln?  And he played a President -- Calvin Coolidge. 

He has done a TON of guest star roles as well.  He's just one of Hollywood's classic character actors, not a leading man, but not hurting for work either (well, except for right now, when nobody's working).

Here's his impressive IMDb profile:   Bruce McGill

And a couple of pictures of him to jog your memory:

Animal House



Saturday, May 2, 2020

What is the Benedict Arnold Memorial in Washington DC?

After watching Part II of the Washington bio-series on The History Channel, I wondered a bit more about Benedict Arnold.  The series dramatized the Arnold situation quite well, I thought, particularly doing a good job of describing what drove Arnold to his act of treason.

I also wondered if the monument to Arnold's leg at the Battle of Saratoga National Military Park could be seen with StreetView.  It can get close, but you can't see it.   While I was looking for that, I discovered that the city of Washington has a "Benedict Arnold Memorial", at least according to Google Maps.  (See here for the location.)

Here's the thing -- I cannot find any other info about it.  StreetView just shows a rather plain white house a short distance from Dupont Circle.  So, someday, I may have to go by there and figure out what's in it.

If anyone knows more, tell me all about it.

ICESat-2 measures ice -- and surprise, it's melting

It's been awhile since I posted anything about climate change, and I took a break from Twitter debates, too.   But this article was so important (and definitive) that I had to note it.

First results from NASA's ICESat-2 mission map 16 years of melting ice sheets

It's easy to summarize what's happening, to whit:  the Earth is getting warmer, the ice sheets are melting, and the increased melting is raising sea levels.

See?  Easy! Well, technologically speaking, it took a superior satellite and a fabulous laser.
"In a new study published in the journal Science on April 30, scientists found the net loss of ice from Antarctica, along with Greenland's shrinking ice sheet, has been responsible for 0.55 inches (14 millimeters) of sea level rise to the global ocean since 2003. In Antarctica, sea level rise is being driven by the loss of the floating ice shelves melting in a warming ocean. The ice shelves help hold back the flow of land-based ice into the ocean.

The findings come from the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2), which was launched into orbit in fall 2018 and began taking detailed global elevation measurements, including over Earth's frozen regions."
To summarize the article, Greenland accounts for about 2/3 of the rise, Antarctica about 1/3.  That's not good, considering the warming of the Arctic and the sensitivity of Greenland.

Also, the thickness of the ice sheet in the middle of Antarctica is increasing (more snow, due to warmer ocean waters around the continent providing more humidity) but the losses due to melting on the edges and the Antarctic Peninsula are larger.

The paper: Ben Smith, Helen A. Fricker, Alex S. Gardner, Brooke Medley, Johan Nilsson, Fernando S. Paolo. "Pervasive ice sheet mass loss reflects competing ocean and atmosphere processes". Science, 2020 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz5845