Thursday, December 31, 2020

The iceberg and the clouds


I've been watching iceberg A38a just about every day, and if you haven't been following along, the berg hit the shallows south of South Georgia Island and -- rather than wreaking ecological havoc -- capitulated to the power of the benthos and broke.   Since then, it has broken more, and drifted well south of the island, so the imminent dangers to seals and penguins appears to have diverted.

Here's a review of the highlights.

Nearing closest approach on December 15.

Busted on December 18.

Bad breakup on December 23.

The fragmented flock on December 29.

Whilst I was appraising this view of the iceberg and following fragments, I noticed that the South Sandwich Islands to the east were generating some amazing cloud patterns on this same date.  So here's the bonus round.   (I did a really quick search and found this NASA article from 2004, showing similar cloud patterns, but the ones below are better.  South Sandwich Island Cloud Wakes )

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

To get away from almost all of it


Sometimes vacations say something like "go here and get away from it all".  

Well, this feature from NASA is about a place that's pretty far from anywhere, and maybe you can't get away from it all (who can?), but here, you're pretty far away from just about everything.

And there are hotel rooms, too!

A lagoon in the desert

It's about an oasis, literally the only oasis in all of the vast and dry Peruvian desert, named Huacachina.  Go to the link to see the view from space courtesy of Landsat 8;   here's a view from dune level.

Who was that mystery girl?


At the end of November, I had a "mystery girl" post, about a lovely picture that was the invitation to click bait. She's not click bait, she's just a very pretty young woman/model named Nicola Cavanis with an Instagram account named "nicolaca_".  

In the account you can see she does lots of different kinds of modeling, including lingerie, but not very much glamour photography.   I'll provide a cross-sectional selection here;  enjoy the process of looking for more, if that's an attractive pastime for you.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Highway 41 StreetView trek, sights near Lake Shore Drive


Realize that on this StreetView trek, I am staying mainly on Highway 41, with just a few short side trips. Obviously if it was a real bike or auto tour, and the trekkters had arrived in Chicago, there would be much more to see. Feel free to jump off and explore with the maps! I'll stick to the highway, mostly, but there are a couple of things that we must go off-road again to see.

First, a statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Next, the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago. Note the lions. Across Michigan Avenue is where Route 66 begins.

Finally, "the Bean", officially known as "Cloud Gate". Couldn't find a view from Michigan Avenue, so have to walk up closer.

Back on Lake Shore Drive. Through the trees, some of the boats in the Chicago Yacht Club can be seen. Looking the other way, a lot of tall buildings.

There are still plenty of things to view, so hang on and enjoy the trek.

Lighthouse of the Week, December 27, 2020 - January 2, 2021: Round Island, Mississippi, USA


As we finish the checkered year of 2020, I am heading south for this lighthouse.  Even though the Gulf of Mexico coastline of Mississippi is only about 70 miles long, there's a least one lighthouse on it, as I found this one, on Round Island near Pascagoula.  Here's where it is.

At least, that's where it used to be.  Because of the Civil War, erosion, and hurricanes (note the plural), the Round Island lighthouse isn't on Round Island anymore.   What was left of it was relocated to Pascagoula (after Round Island was incorporated into Pascagoula), and restored as a landmark in the city.

Lighthouse Friends has a long and detailed history.

Here are some highlights from the history:

Monies first appropriated in 1831 for a lighthouse, finished in 1833.

1849, occupation by a group with the intention to liberate Cuba from Spain, which didn't work.

1854, first lighthouse is getting way too close to the eroding shore, so a new one is funded in 1856 and finished in 1859.

Next year, 1860, a hurricane destroys all the auxiliary buildings, including the keeper's house.

Another hurricane in 1906, lots of damage but at least the keeper's house survived.  The assistant keeper's house didn't.

Assistant keeper drowns in 1911 trying to swim out to his daughter, adrift in a skiff.  No mention of what happened to the daughter.

Decommissioned in 1944, maintained by CG through 1954.

1986, Pascagoula gets Round Island.  The lighthouse gets closer and closer to the water.

1998, Hurricane Georges undermines the foundation and the tower falls over.

Lighthouse down

The plan by the Preservation Society was to rebuild the tower, but Hurricane Katrina in 2005 wrecked that plan.

2010, what was left of the tower was relocated to Pascagoula.  Restoration continues for five years, and the restored lighthouse is lit on November 13, 2015, with a replica Fresnel lens.

That's quite a story.

Video of the lens and restored tower, accompanied by Hans Zimmer music:

A couple more pictures of the restored lighthouse:

Split revels


In glamour photography, there is one particular pose I find quite arresting/arousing/intriguing/interesting.  It isn't one that every model can do, as it requires very good flexibility.

(Note that there are examples of this pose in pornography, much more explicit, but I'm not going there.)

So, herewith, are several attractive samples of this particular pose (with source or model, if known).

Heather Monique (aka hmoni)

Ekaterina Zueva (aka zuueva, featured in a previous post)

Khloe Terae  (twice)

Figure skater Sasha Cohen (featured in a post from years ago)

From lionsmag, model unknown, but quite likable:

Anonymous and artistic (more or less):

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Snow moose


Well, there are snow geese and snow leopards, and snowshoe hares, and snowy owls, so why not a snow moose?  

It's not an albino, it's just a low-pigment version.

I'm dreaming of a white Christ-MOOSE: Woodland beast with no pigment in its fur due to a rare genetic condition is spotted in Sweden

There have been some recent articles about indignation and outrage when hunters shot one of these -- I empathize, such rarity and beauty should be protected.  But if they aren't protected, hunters will do what they do.

Highway 41, the fountain, and the route


A few more views in Chicago as Highway 41 / Lake Shore Drive gets into the Magnificent Mile section of Chicago's lakefront.  

Now directly in front of Buckingham Fountain (if you're facing away from the lake). I'll add a closer panorama with the water on.

As promised, the fountain fountaining.

I wasn't going to have another view here, but the colors of autumn couldn't be passed up.

I've been waiting a while to get to this point. This is where Highway 41 / Lake Shore Drive meets East Jackson Drive. Just about 600 meters due west (toward the black and tall Willis, formerly Sears, Tower) where East Jackson Drive intersects Michigan Avenue, is the end of Route 66 (subject of this previous post). So these two fabled and famous roadways do not actually intersect, but it's only a short walk or bike ride between one and the other. (Note that the start of Route 66 is where Adams/Wabash Avenue meets Michigan Avenue, a block north.)

Friday, December 25, 2020

Pieces of Ryugu


This is what it looked like in space (approximately), a bit more than two years ago, when Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft collected a sample of asteroid Ryugu.

After the collection, the satellite sent the sample back toward Earth, and a couple of weeks ago it successfully flamed through Earth's atmosphere and landed in Australia.  Just a couple of days ago, scientists opened up the sample canister, and found that they had a lot of asteroid chunks.

They wanted about a tenth of a gram.  They got more than 5 grams.

That's a success.

Here's what asteroid material looks like:

I just found out that the satellite is going to go and visit two more asteroids, from the article that I got the first picture from:

"The work is not over for Hayabusa2, which will now begin an extended mission targeting two new asteroids. It will complete a series of orbits around the sun for around six years before approaching the first of the asteroids, named 2001 CC21, in July 2026. The probe will not get as close as it did to Ryugu, but scientists hope it will be able to photograph CC21 and that the fly-by will help develop knowledge about how to protect Earth against asteroid impact.

Hayabusa2 will then head towards its main target, 1998 KY26, a ball-shaped asteroid with a diameter of just 30 metres. When the probe arrives at the asteroid in July 2031, it will be approximately 300 million kilometres from Earth. It will observe and photograph the asteroid, no easy task given that it is spinning rapidly, rotating on its axis about every 10 minutes."

Meanwhile, back on Earth, now we can find out what exactly asteroid chunks are made of.


New blues


According to this recent article, scientists identified a new group of blue whales because ...

get this ...

they sing differently.

New Blue Whale Population Discovered After Scientists Hear Unknown Song
"In a study published in the journal Endangered Species Research last week, scientists analyzed underwater recordings from the Arabian Sea, extending from the coast of Oman as far south as Madagascar. The team of researchers came across an unfamiliar kind of whale song that had never before been documented in 2017, sparking an international effort to discover the new singer."
and further down:
"As the group analyzed the novel tune, it became clear that it was sung by a previously undiscovered population of blue whales in the western Indian Ocean. As they continued to amass data, they found that the new population likely spends most of its time in the northwestern Indian Ocean."
Here's a link to the actual study paper:

A new blue whale song-type described for the Arabian Sea and Western Indian Ocean

So, the new singers mean that there are more blue whales in the ocean.  And that gets a check mark in the "good" column.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Traitors to the planet and the world community


When I first read it, I found this article hard to believe.

Then, when I realized who was involved, I found it all to easy to believe.

Senator Lindsey Graham seeks to betray the world by trying to block the ability of President Biden to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord.  And Senator Ted Cruz seeks to betray the world community by trying to block the ability of President Biden to attempt to establish (or reestablish) a nuclear agreement with Iran.  Unlike the Paris Climate Acccord, some of the Iranians are trying to block it too.  But nobody is standing in the way of rejoining the accord except some obstinate American Republicans.

Senior Republicans Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz seek to sabotage Biden plan to rejoin Paris and Iran agreements, report says

Simply put, and as we've known for quite awhile, they're scum.  And they keep demonstrating the truth of that identity.
"In a letter obtained by RealClearPolitics, Mr Cruz, from Texas, urged Mr Trump and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo to submit the accords to the Senate before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on 20 January."

Link to the letter

"South Carolina senator Mr Graham added: “The Senate should go on the record about whether it would support or oppose this decision. “Also believe Senate should be on record in support or opposition to any decision to reenter Paris climate accord.” "

The problem with that is that by reclassifying these agreements as treaties, it goes beyond the Senate just going on the record as to whether they support or oppose the decision.  They can do that anytime.  But actually blocking a President from taking action by changing the rules of the game -- that's dirty. 

I mean, that's Republican. 

Got something in my corona during the eclipse


An amateur astronomer spotted a sun-plunging comet in solar observatory photographs taken a couple of days before the recent total solar eclipse.   And he thought it would be visible in pictures taken during the eclipse.

Turns out he was right.  The doomed space chunklet was indeed seen in pictures of the eclipse, which were pretty much spectacular.

Article first:

SOHO Observatory Spots Newly-Discovered Sungrazer Comet

And even though this picture is in a lot of articles, it's worth repeating.

Though it was destined to be destroyed in a Icarusian demise, it was going 450,000 miles an hour.  Like they say in The Martian, "Are you kidding me?" 

A pretty girl from Germany


Time for another pretty girl post;  since it was just recently Ludwig van Beethoven's 250th birthday anniversary, I decided to feature Germany's Alisia Ludwig.  Here's her Instagram page, from where these pictures were acquired.  It says she was both Miss Elite Germany and Miss Frankfurt.

The sights of Lake Shore Drive on the Highway 41 end-to-end StreetView trek


For the next several posts, the Highway 41 StreetView trek, which I hope to push forward at speed, will feature the many sights on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive.   Isn't it remarkable that the southern highway celebrated by the Allman Brothers in Georgia is also the main lakefront roadway in the Windy City?  

It's hard to believe that my last Highway 41 post was December 1st, and now it's December 22.  During the holiday week, I plan to have several posts, and try to get to Wisconsin in January.  (Which in the real world is cold!)

Passing by Chicago's Field Museum. A couple of off-road views to follow.

Looking back on South Lake Shore Drive, it's possible to get a glimpse of the Shedd Aquarium.

Let's get a closer look.

Beyond the Shedd Aquarium is the Adler Planetarium, and also a classic view of downtown Chicago.

First, the Planetarium. The statue of Copernicus is in front.

Next, the view. There are a lot of panoramas available; it's hard to choose just one. This one is pretty good. Don't forget to look behind you.

Across from Grant Park. Looking back south, directly drives to the main facade entrance of the Field Museum.

Next stop, Buckingham Fountain.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

What's up with Princess Charlene?


I've been watching the relationship, and then the strange wedding, then the marriage, then the child-making, bearing, and rearing, of the former Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert of Monaco.  Now, if you'll remember, Albert has two illegitimate love children, and some news of this may have disturbed Charlene enough to get a world-class case of cold feet before the wedding, but she came back, and had a teary-eyed ceremony.   

Then, after awhile, came the twins, and she has made many appearances as a mother and wife and princess, occasionally with some striking style.  I've noted this in a few posts;  search the blog for "Charlene".

Well, something happened.  It turns out that there may be rumors of a third love child, and this might be bothering the less-than-serene Princess.  So much so that she may have just gotten a statement haircut.

That's kind of sad/strange, because she's a very lovely woman.  

Watch this space.

Is Princess Charlene's new haircut a sign of her 'liberation'? Royal's half-shaved style signals she 'isn't waiting for permission anymore' after years of 'loneliness' and rumours of husband Prince Albert's infidelity, experts say

We can't get the full effect with the face mask on.  But we can get an idea.

Pictures at an eruption


I'm surprised that I never used that title for a post before.

Mount Etna had a bit of an increase in activity last week, with a modest lava fountain (300+ feet is modest when it has had much bigger and taller fountains, including one event with a fountain about a kilometer tall) but it generated some good pictures.   No danger to surrounding communities, which did get a sprinkling of ash.

Daily Mail contributes:

Moment Mount Etna eruption sends a violent stream of lava and smoke more than 300 feet into the air over Sicily

Here's a view of the fountain:

Short two-minute video (and it's more informative if you can translate spoken Italian):

And if there's action, you can watch it here:  Skyline Webcams - Sicily

Lighthouse of the Week, December 19-26, 2020: Lighthouses with Christmas Wreaths


For Christmas week this week in the Lighthouse of the Week post, rather than feature lighthouses with Christmas lights (primarily), I'm featuring lighthouses with Christmas wreaths.  

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Christmas Snow Wreath Maine

Brant Point Lighthouse, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Ocracoke Island Lighthouse, North Carolina

Sandy Neck Lighthouse, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Lighthouse of the Week, December 13-19, 2020: Michipicoten Island East End Lighthouse, Ontario, Canada


It's December, it's cold, it's wintry, and so this week's lighthouse is on one of the the cold and snowy (hopefully by now) northern islands of Lake Superior.   It's quite striking with notable architecture.

The lighthouse is the Michipicoten Island East End lighthouse, which as one might suspect is on Michipicoten Island.  Zoom in on the east end and see if you can spot it.  It's not easy.

I'll start off with a link, to the Lighthouse Friends page on this light, with historical details. Getting there was a lot of fun, it appears.

Michipicoten Island East End, ON

Here's the basics from the Lighthouse Directory.  And note that the only way to get there is STILL by boat.

"1912. Active; focal plane 25.5 m (84 ft); white flash every 10 s. 21.5 m (71 ft) hexagonal concrete tower with six flying buttresses, lantern and gallery. Lighthouse painted white; lantern, gallery, and watch room are red. The original 3rd order Fresnel lens is displayed at the Coast Guard Base in Parry Sound."

Below are three pictures and the Fresnel lens that formerly occupied the top of the tower.  I looked for pictures of this lighthouse in winter, but I don't think anyone wants to BE here in winter.


Do you know where the Kerch Strait is?


OK, it's geography quiz time.   Do you know where the Kerch Strait is?

Actually, I expect a lot of you do.  But even if you know where it is, you may not know that "Kerch Strait" is the name of it.

I thought of this because of my most recent Lighthouse of the Week, Anapa Light.  So if you read that, you know what and where the Kerch Strait is.

To halt the suspense -- it's the channel that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov.  The Sea of Azov is the small, nearly enclosed body of water north of the Black Sea (and of course you remember that the Black Sea would be entirely enclosed were it not for the existence of the Bosporus).

It varies from about 2 to 9 miles wide, and it's about 24 miles from inlet to outlet. It's also crossed by a bridge, the Crimean Bridge, which surprised me.

Now that you know, don't forget;  it could be useful in New Year's Eve online trivia games.

Top Ten, all wet


Smithsonian Magazine picked its "Top Ten" ocean stories for 2020, and frankly, I had forgotten some of them, and never heard of a couple.  In fact, my favorite of the ten is one of the ones I hadn't heard of.

The Top 10 Ocean Stories of 2020

Despite the importance and interest of all these stories, this is what impressed me the most:

(drum roll) 

It's the sturddlefish, a cross between a sturgeon and a paddlefish.  And the reason it is my favorite is that it was an accident.   A scientific mistake.   So if this can happen, so can Spider-Man!   (Well, one can hope.)

Smithsonian Magazine explains:

"Scientists can coax sturgeon eggs to spontaneously grow without the aid of insemination by mixing the eggs with another species’ sperm. To spur sturgeon growth, researchers in Hungary used paddlefish sperm because they thought it would be unable to fuse with the sturgeon eggs. While both fish live their adult lives in coastal waters, paddlefish breed in fresh water in North America and sturgeon breed in fresh water in Russia. The species’ closest common relative existed 184 million years ago. The scientists were wrong. Hundreds of hybrids were born and at least 100 survived for several months. The nicknamed “sturddlefish” has physical characteristics of both the sturgeon and the paddlefish. They are likely sterile and the researchers don’t plan to breed any more, leaving these captive fish as truly one of a kind."

Sunday, December 13, 2020

THAT Cody Simpson?


Cody Simpson, former paramour of Miley Cyrus, pop singer, Disney show guest star, is also a swimmer.

And he's a decent swimmer, in the speed sense.   He won't catch Caeleb Dressel in this event, but he's pretty good at it.

Cody Simpson announces he's on the path to Tokyo after qualifying for the Olympic swim trials in 100m butterfly - after splitting from Miley Cyrus

He qualified for the Australian swim trials -- which is still good, because Australia has many good-to-great swimmers.    I doubt Cody will beat Australians's top 100 flyers, but just making the trials is plenty of accomplishment.

The world's greatest spellcheck evading homophonic typo


I wrote about this at the beginning of 2019.

Sorry, but this bothers me

I will note that I mistakenly called this happenstance a homonym, when it's really a homophone (see the title of this posting).  And make sure you spell that right.

I don't think it's going to stop happening anytime soon.  I get so bothered that I sometimes have a fit of pique about this -- but it passes.