Sunday, October 25, 2020

The rear, from all sides


Pictures from an exhibition.

Heather Monique

Hope Beel

Julianne Kissinger (juli.annee)

Catherine Novikova (KillerKatrin)

Yuliya Balandina (yulchikbb)

Too much of Bennu?


Last week, the OSIRIS-REx mission performed its sample collection maneuver on asteroid Bennu.

It worked great.   Really great.

Actually, more than great.  It worked so great that the collector may have collected too much Bennu material.  So now the mission controllers are in the process of figuring out the best way to stow the sample without losing too much of it.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Collects Significant Amount of Asteroid 

The moment of collection

The President is an infection, but we have the cure


In a little more than a week as I write this, the United States can take the necessary step to begin eradicating the Donald Trump infection from the body politic.

It won't be a minute too soon, because in the campaign's final weeks, the President is trying to get as many people infected as he can, apparently.

Trump isn't even trying to slow the virus's spread   (from October 19)

"At almost every rally, Trump tells his supporters that the nation is "rounding the turn" on covid-19. [Note:  he said the same thing in the final debate, too.] Those who say otherwise, Trump told one crowd last week, are "cynics and angry partisans and professional pessimists." 

The numbers disagree. At the end of last week, new U.S. coronavirus infections were being reported at rates of more than 60,000 per day — levels not seen since August. Hospitalizations, which lag behind infections, have also begun to increase sharply; deaths, which trail hospitalizations, are expected to follow the same trajectory."

I'm cautiously optimistic, but I'm pretty apprehensive about what will ensue on November 4th.

But he needs to go.



Still Kelly, still amazing


I haven't posted pictures of the amazing Kelly Brook for awhile.  I'll fix that right now.

I've seen some pictures from her new calendar, and I plan to get to those soon.  She's different, but she's still Kelly, and she's still amazing.

Did I say amazing enough in this post?   Well, I wanted to get the point across.

It's kind of a famous house, and you can live there


The house with the pool from the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High is for sale.  

Fast Times At Ridgemont High house in LA complete with rustic furniture and THAT pool made famous by Phoebe Cates is listed for just under $740,000

This is why the pool is famous.

(Well, not really this, but what happened right after this.)

Lighthouse of the Week, October 18-24, 2020: Rose Island, Rhode Island, USA


It's been a little less than a year since I featured a lighthouse from the great small state of Rhode Island.  And when I checked, I was quite surprised to learn that this week's lighthouse wasn't one of the ones I'd featured from that state before.   It's similar in design to the Pomham Rocks lighthouse, which I featured back in 2014.

Rose Island Lighthouse is on Rose Island, just a bit south of the Claiborne Pell Bridge, which is way into Newport from just about any location west of Rhode Island.  So it's very definitely a major landmark on the gateway route into Newport.

Thus and therefore, it's reasonably well-known, and as might be expected, it has it's own Web site.

Rose Island Lighthouse and Fort Hamilton Trust

Oh, yes, Fort Hamilton is also on Rose Island.

First of all, it's a place where people can stay overnight. But not now, due to COVID-19 considerations.  But probably again in the future.

From the Web site, the history:  the lighthouse was built in response to increased shipping traffic in Narragansett Bay.

"As a result, a request to construct a lighthouse on Rose Island was made and in 1869 construction began to build Rose Island light at a cost reported to be $7,500. The lighthouse was built on the southwest bastion of old Fort Hamilton and its fixed red light was first shone over lower Narragansett Bay on January 20, 1870. A fog bell was added to the lighthouse on August 10, 1885 and then replaced with a fog horn on November 12, 1912."

More history.

Building and lighthouse specs, from the Lighthouse Directory:

"Focal plane 48 ft (14.5 m); white flash every 6 s. 35 ft (10.5 m) octagonal cylindrical wood tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a 2-story Empire-style wood keeper's house. Brick oil house (1912) and brick fog signal building (1912). Building painted white; lantern black."

A 6th-order Fresnel lens was reinstalled in the lighthouse in 2013.

Several pictures below, and of course there's a drone video.

Lighthouse model

The lens

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Not ALL climate-change related (but most of them are)


There's a report out that indicates the number of natural disasters has doubled since the year 2000, mostly due to an increase in climate-change related disasters.

As my title indicates, they aren't all climate-change related.  Catastrophic tsunamis are not climate-change related.  Neither are big, building-flattening earthquakes.  (Of course, those two are related by geology.)  Avalanches happen every year when it snows heavily.  But more avalanches might be climate change-related.

In fact, other than earthquakes and the tsunamis that love them, it's hard to think of any other kind of natural disaster that doesn't have a climate component.

Now, there are some astonishingly adamant climate change skeptics/deniers out there who can deny anything is climate-related, but they are way off base, i.e., they are wrong.

UN:  Climate emergency causes number of natural disasters to double in last 20 years

From the article, there were 7,348 natural disasters between 2000-2019.  6,681 of these were 'climatic' disasters.  That's 91%.

Some people say climate change is primarily a "benign" process.  Won't bother humans much.

They're wrong too.



There may be many ways to end one's existence, but death by spaghetti may not be the most attractive.

Actually, I mean death by spaghettification.  And unless you eat really, really way too much pasta, you're probably safe.

But stars that wander too close to a black hole aren't safe.  For the process of spaghettification describes how a star gets destroyed by the massive gravity of a black hole.

And this has just been observed, and set a record for being the closest to Earth that it has ever been observed.

Witness The Very Last Scream of Light From a Star Devoured by a Black Hole

"Although catching a stellar death-by-black-hole is uncommon, astronomers have observed enough by now to figure out the broad strokes of how it happens. When a star ventures too close, the immense tidal force of the black hole - the product of its gravitational field - first stretches and then pulls the star so hard that it's torn apart. 

 This tidal disruption event (TDE) releases a brilliant flare of light before the debris of the disintegrated star disappears beyond the black hole's event horizon. But that flare of light is often at least partially obscured by a cloud of dust, which makes studying the finer details difficult. 

 The new TDE, first spotted in September of last year [warning:  highly technical!] and named AT2019qiz, is now helping a team led by astronomer Matt Nicholl of the University of Birmingham in the UK shed light on the origin of this dust."

Pretty good animation of spaghettification  (also in the article at the first link): 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

For the discerning collector


Well, if you weren't paying attention, you missed out on the chance to bid and buy a nearly complete (70%) skeleton of an Allosaurus.  

That'd look good next to the Monet, wouldn't it?

As of today, 3 million Euros is about 3.5 million USD.

With Allosaurus skeletons selling so cheap right now, everyone will want one!

Paris auction sees allosaurus skeleton sell for, €3m, twice the asking price

Monday, October 12, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, October 11-17, 2020: Armenistis, Mykonos, Greece


This post features a lighthouse in a great location, on a famous vacation island that attracts the rich and famous (and sometimes gorgeous) to its Grecian shores, and a lighthouse that is in sad shape.

This post features the Armenistis lighthouse on the island of Mykonos in the Aegean Sea.  Mykonos is indeed an island that attracts a topflight and exclusive clientele, as I can ascertain from Instagram.  So one wonders why the lighthouse can't be maintained, as it apparently attracts tourists.

It's located here (I switched things up and used the satellite view, rather than the map view). 

The Lighthouse Directory tells us this:
"1891. Active; focal plane 184 m (604 ft); white flash every 10 s. 19 m (62 ft) octagonal cylindrical stone tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story stone keeper's house. The lighthouse is unpainted; lantern painted white with a green dome. ... Perched spectacularly above the sea with a fine view of Tínos, this lighthouse is a popular tourist attraction. However, local TV has a video documenting sad deterioration inside the building."
Well, it'd be great if somebody would step in and renovate it, as it is a fine lighthouse in a superb place.

A man and his surface


Rafael Nadal has a career Grand Slam.  Meaning he's won at least one of each of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments.   But he has a decided imbalance on clay, where he's now won 13 French Opens.

I haven't written much about tennis for awhile -- I was happy when Caroline Wozniacki finally won a Slam, though she had to defeat Simona Halep in an epic to do it, and I was also pulling for Halep to win one.  Since then, she's won two, the French and Wimbledon, leaving me to hope she can somehow add a U.S. Open.  But there are a lot of good young women players showing up.  So Halep may not ever win another Slam tournament.  Serena Williams, sadly, may also have lost her opportunity for one more.  So now we have Kenin, Swiatek, Barty, all near the beginning of their careers.  

But we never know for sure.

I was also happy that Dominic Thiem, a brave and valiant player, won the U.S. Open this year after Novak Djokovic tossed himself out of the tournament with an errant ball toss.  (And yes, I thought the punishment was excessive.)  Thiem and Zverev ended up in an epic that nobody appeared to want to win, and Thiem gamely hung on to get to the line.

So, back to Nadal.  He didn't make it interesting at this strange fall French.  No epics.  Simple pure dominance on clay;  remarkable to watch and revere even as we wish for more drama.  No problem, he has provided that elsewhere.

So, here's to Nadal. All streaks eventually end.  Maybe next year this one will end, too.


But probably not.  

Highway 41, briefly, gets an important new name


We are back on Highway 41, inside the boundaries of the city of Chicago.  Watch what happens.

This is the Schafer (Clara D.) Park. 


By the way, Highway 41 is now also called ...

LAKE SHORE DRIVE. (South Lake Shore Drive, to be specific.)

Take the curve by Park 566.

Between the buildings, you can glimpse Lake Michigan. The street leads to Rainbow Park Beach, which is located in Rainbow Beach Park.

This little park is the Arthur Ashe Beach Park. For those who don't know their tennis history, Arthur Ashe was one of the first prominent black men to play professional tennis, was a civil rights advocate, and tragically died of HIV contracted from a blood transfusion.

The StreetView views will keep getting more impressive.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The Daily Mail strikes again


As many readers of this blog will determine without much trouble, even though this blog is not troubled by many readers -- I am a huge fan of the Daily Mail tabloid newspaper and even more, their Web site.  They have a lot of interesting articles, plus as any good tabloid should have, they feature 

  • murders and crime; 
  • politics; 
  • political scandals;  
  • celebrity affairs, marriages, pregnancies, babies, and breakups;  
  • sports of all kinds, including strange English sports;  
  • science, environment, and technology;  
  • Demi Rose Mawby;  
  • many other models, starlets, girlfriends, wives, mistresses and less wearing swimwear, lingerie, and less;  
  • and advice and opinion columns from many sources on many subjects.

They print fast, they change articles and headlines fast, and most importantly of all, they make great mistakes.

This article is interesting, because it's about a possible eruption of the subglacial volcano in Iceland, Grímsvötn.   This volcano is somewhat unique, because it's under Iceland's largest ice cap (Iceland has a few, and is also slowly losing the smaller ones).  Sometimes when it erupts the ash and lava and such doesn't even break the ice (ha), and all the results is a big glacial meltwater flood, the astonishingly well-named jökulhlaup.  Stronger eruptions do melt enough ice to break through, and then ashy clouds are visible emanating from the crater, as for all good volcanoes.  (See this picture from the previous eruption in 2011, which caused some airline flight cancellations, and you can search for more.  Picture, not flight cancellations.  We've already had too many of those.)

So, Grímsvötn may be on the cusp of erupting again.  That would be what volcanoes do, and it might generate more impressive pictures.  But this article is not about that, because, you see, according to the Daily Mail, an eruption of the volcano might endanger certain Icelandic reptiles.

If you don't believe me, take a look at the verbatim sidebar I screengrabbed right from the Daily Mail's Web site.  Read all of it, every word, from beginning to end.

See? I told you it was dangerous to Icelandic reptiles.

That being said, there really aren't any Icelandic reptiles.

Including toads.

So maybe they've been wiped out by previous eruptive activity.  After all, the meltwater flood from the volcano can wipe out entire toads.

(Bridges and roads have also been damaged by such events.)

This could be interesting


D.C. United  (or DC United, I'm not sure) just fired their long-time coach and former player, Ben Olsen.  The team had done well at times, but without Wayne Rooney, who went back to jolly old England, and with key injuries, they are not doing well.  Olsen survived some poor seasons before, but this was too much.  They've got a great new stadium, and when people can actually go back and watch games there, I guess the management wants a team with at least a chance to win occasionally.

So they're looking for a coach.  This column suggested getting former U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) coach, Jill Ellis.

"Ellis has never coached a men’s team, but she is open to it. Last year, as her U.S. women’s tenure wound down, she said, “I went to the pro licensing [programs], and what I learned a lot in there was coaches, whether it’s MLS, [lower-division] USL, international, we deal with many of the same things in terms of management and tactics and such.”  "

My guess is that they won't have the bravado and bravery to try this. But it would be intriguing, and would definitely draw some attention.    I'll report back when they do hire a coach.


Lighthouse of the Week, October 4-10, 2020: Mission Point, Michigan


As promised, this week's Lighthouse of the Week is the Mission Point Lighthouse, near Traverse City, Michigan.

It is uniquely situated, on the end of Old Mission Point, without which there would just be Traverse Bay, instead of West Traverse Bay and East Traverse Bay.  View the map here.  Note that it's not too far from Mackinac Island and the Straits of Mackinac.

There's a sad story this year about the lighthouse.  2020 is the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the lighthouse here.  The annual Michigan Lighthouse Festival (remember, Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state in the USA) was supposed to be held here because of that.  However, they had to push it into 2021.  

But hey, we can celebrate here!  Let's get some facts on this lighthouse (from the Lighthouse Directory, of course).

"It was established in 1870. Inactive since 1938 but charted as a landmark. 30 ft (9 m) square cylindrical wood tower mounted schoolhouse-style on a 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house. ... Famous for its location precisely on the 45th parallel, the lighthouse was discontinued because it fails to warn ships away from extensive shoals north of the point. It was transferred first to the state in the 1940s and then to Peninsula Township in 1948. It served for many years as a park manager's residence, but in 2008 it opened to the public. Volunteer keepers are needed (year round) for stays in the rear of the structure."

I bet there's a video, or a few of them, but I'm being lazy.

45th Parallel Sign

by courthouselover

Monday, October 5, 2020

Lighthouses in autumn, part 1


This lighthouse -- Mission Point lighthouse in Michigan -- will be the Lighthouse of the Week this week, but in October (as I have done at least one time before), I will also be featuring pictures of lighthouses depicted with the colors of autumn in their environs.  Mission Point lighthouse provides three of this ilk. 

This is a really good paper


I haven't been heavily engaged on Twitter for several months -- particularly in fruitless yet somewhat entertaining discussions with dedicatedly misinformed climate deniers -- but I got back into it briefly today.   

In the course of that exercise, I found this paper.   It's a good summary article with lots of real bona-fide scientific references.  Well-written too, about a complex subject.

Southern Ocean Warming

Figure 1. Schematic showing temperature trends in different layers of the Southern Ocean. The layers are defined as main water masses of the Southern Ocean: Subtropical Water (TW), Mode Water (MW), Intermediate Water (IW), Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), and Bottom Water (BW). Black arrows show the main overturning pathways in the basin, and the dashed black contours show a vertical slice of the deep-reaching Antarctic Circumpolar Current circulating clockwise around the Antarctic continent. The red arrows and associated numbers represent processes at play in the warming of the Southern Ocean and are discussed in the text: (1) increased surface stratification and shallowing of CDW layer, (2) increased heat uptake in the subpolar basins, (3) increased northward heat transport associated with increased subpolar heat uptake, (4) reduced eddy-​mediated southward heat transport across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, (5) intrusion of CDW onto the continental shelves, and (6) warming of the bottom water ventilating the abyssal ocean.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

One more thing about Trump, COVID-19, and infecting others


OK, did anyone else think of this scene and dialogue from The Hunt for Red October when the news broke about Trump being infected with the coronavirus, and how his activities and irresponsibility probably infected many others?

There's already too much about this already


So ... President Trump caught the Covid.  Boo-hoo waw-waw.  Cry me a river.

I don't want him to die, but admittedly, that would make things a lot simpler going forward.   Given the hijinks, election-wise, that the Republican Party is up to, even if he does die, he would probably carry a lot of Red states.

And if he did actually die and lose the election, the GOP would still accuse the Democrats (baselessly) of somehow manipulating the outcome with mail-in ballots;  even though they're quite safe and perfectly legal.

Oh yeah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin caught it too.  Like I said, I don't really want any opposition politician to die of an infection by this insidious virus ... but I have to grit my teeth to say that about Johnson. 

But still, where are we on this?  Greg Sargent of the Washington Post summarizes it well.

Wish Trump well. Then get right back to work in removing him.

"But really, all this is just one more mark on the ledger of a much broader indictment, in which Trump has just never felt any obligation to treat the virus as something worth caring all that much about, no matter how many people got sick and died of it." 

 As the Atlantic summarizes: 

"Trump’s mishandling of the coronavirus defines his presidency. He downplayed the severity of the disease, misled the country repeatedly about it, tried to pin the blame on local governments, did not “take responsibility at all” for the anemic American response, held massive rallies against scientific advice, hammered on states to reopen before it was safe, rejected easy safety measures, and undermined trust in our public-health institutions. Trump was never going to protect the country from the virus. But ultimately he could not even protect himself."

We'll see if he cares now -- because if he doesn't, and acts like he doesn't, it will be obvious how misguided he is.  That's been obvious for a long time, but maybe now it will be clearly in focus for all to view.


Highway 41 continues, with a minor historical note


This is an interesting little historical item that Highway 41 is passing by.  And very soon, it will be passing by a lot more.

The map shows that Highway 41 goes past the "von Zirngibl gravesite". Click that, it's quite interesting. 

Just past the resting place of von Zirngibl, Highway 41 crosses over the Calumet River. 

Make the turn here. And trust me, it's about to get GOOD.

Be ready for goodness.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

News now, comments to come


I'm just going to get this out and exposed in my blog, and then make extensive comments on how extraordinary and remarkable it is later.

(You can't seriously be thinking what you were just thinking, can you be?)

Mixing of the planet’s ocean waters is slowing down, speeding up global warming, study finds

"The results also suggest a reduced ability of the oceans to act as a massive carbon savings account, otherwise known as a carbon sink. The ocean absorbs huge amounts of carbon dioxide annually, and it is circulated through mixing into the deep ocean, to remain there for decades or longer.

A more divided ocean, with less exchange between layers, means there may be less carbon absorption over longer time periods. This could lead to more carbon dioxide remaining in the atmosphere that will lead to greater and faster global warming."

Now, the article authors may have screwed up the difference between feet and meters, but we've all done that at one time or another, haven't we?

Update on October 4:  I checked, and they didn't screw up.  More later (in another post).


Demi Rose Mawby's demonstration of symmetry


Several posts ago, I lauded a beautiful picture of Jocelyn Binder demonstrating both symmetry and asymmetry in a beautiful glamor shot.

Here, the extraordinary and unique Demi Rose Mawby provides a shot with both a similar viewpoint and a similar theme, but a dissimilar curvature.  (That's OK, every body is delightfully different.)

Tartans -- I don't know why


Without much apparent reason, I recently became interested in Scottish clan tartans (and no, it's not because I'm waiting for the next season of Outlander).

No, I just began wondering what the most famous tartans are.  After some brief research, more on that later.  Whether or not it's included in the most famous tartans, I decided I really like the Clan MacLeod tartans.  Below are the dress, hunting, and weathered MacLeod tartans.