Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Something I'm in favor of


I'm in favor of a lot of gun control measures, but one that I think makes a LOT of sense (and apparently there is agreement from both Republicans and Democrats on this, which is mildly astonishing) is better "red flag" laws.

A red-flag law is a law that allows guns to be legally taken away from someone deemed a danger to themselves or others, and also flags them from making gun purchases.  Clearly this wouldn't prevent a lot of gun violence and gun deaths, but it would contribute to a reduction in mass shootings.  Anyone with kids in schools or college, or where people work in groups, or offices, or people that go to concerts, or church, or members of ethnic or racial groups that have been in the news ... well, it covers a lot of situations that people might favor someone NOT having a gun; especially when somebody with a mental illness or illnesses, and anger issues, and judgment issues, and maybe many other kinds of issues, might decide that shooting a bunch of people would help their condition. 

So here's an article about that.

Boulder and Atlanta shootings rekindle debate over red-flag gun laws

"Red-flag laws work by allowing household members or law enforcement officers to seek an “extreme risk protection order” barring a person’s access to guns if they believe that person poses an immediate threat to themselves or others. With a judge’s permission, authorities can seize firearms from someone deemed high risk for up to a year in most places. The orders are modeled after domestic violence protection orders and are civil, not criminal."

And more:

"Research has also showed that red-flag laws can be especially effective in preventing suicides by firearm. One recent study found that firearm suicides dropped in Connecticut and Indiana, two of the earliest states to adopt the laws, by 13.7 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

Those findings have helped buoy red-flag laws, which polls show enjoy wide public support. Experts say the policies are more popular than most other gun-control proposals in part because they target potentially dangerous behavior rather than gun ownership itself — making them less of a lightning rod in Second Amendment debates."

So enough already.  Let's stop talking about it and just do it.


Atmospheric picture of the Iceland volcano eruption


This picture is from Arnar Kristjansson, who takes incredible pictures of Iceland.  (His Website:  Beyond The Lands)

Looking for a place to swim? Try these


I got this article courtesy of Marriott Traveler.

Find your bliss at the world's best hotel pools

I did a little research on one of them, the Westin Maui Resort and Spa on Kaanapali Beach.  The reason I did that is because this is the picture in the article, followed by another picture of the same area I found on a travel page.  I guess if you want to cool your heels, this is the place to go.

Should that be called a pool?  I thought that this was a picture of the bar after a minor tsunami, or Jaws was particularly active. 

This is a picture of the actual pool at the resort, which has lots of features.  I personally would have used a picture from this area.

Lighthouse of the Week, March 28 - April 3, 2021: Punta Corona, Chile


Traveling to the far south for this lighthouse, which I actually searched for using "corona lighthouse".  Not related to coronavirus, for some reason I just had a question pop into my head, which was, "I wonder if there is a Punta Corona?"  And it turns out there is one.

Punta Corona is on Chile's Isla de Chiloe.  It's Chile's largest island and the fourth-largest island in South America.   This is where it is.

This light has been there awhile, 1859 in fact. Google Maps says it's Permanently Closed;  the LD doesn't agree.   Here's what we can learn from the Lighthouse Directory (LD):

"1859 (Enrique Siemen). Active; focal plane 66 m (216 ft); white flash every 10 s. 9 m (30 ft) round cylindrical tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 1-story keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white with a single red band below the gallery; the lantern roof is also red. ...The lighthouse is at the northern end of the Isla Grande de Chiloé, marking the entrance to Ancud. Accessible by road. Site open, and the station crew will sometimes conduct tours of the tower."

 And here are some pictures of it, complete with horse.

Highway 41 trek in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin


OK, so now back to the trek after the short excursion to the source of the Des Plaines River.


Road interchange with Route 20, outside Racine, Wisconsin.


Crossing the Root River.


This is College Avenue near the southern environs of Milwaukee. This is one point where the trek will jump off the interstate and see a couple of sights by the lake. The only college I can find on the avenue is the Milwaukee Area Technical College Oak Creek Campus. College Avenue also goes by the southern border of General Mitchell Airport, but I couldn't find a good view of it.


If you take College Avenue east, you'll cross North Chicago Avenue, which extends all the way down the lakeshore to Illinois Beach State Park, and goes past Carthage College, too. College Avenue makes a 90 degree turn to the north at Grant Park. So here's a view of Lake Michigan from the park.


Grant Park Beach. Panning around will find the South Milwaukee Yacht Club.



More in the Milwaukee theme region shortly.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Time for a pretty girl post


It's been awhile since my occasional "pretty girl" feature.  So here's the next one;  a Tampa-based (I think) fitness model who sometimes is in Washington D.C. (according to the location notes on the pictures).  Her name is Sarah L. Houchens.  I think she's about 26 years old.

Instagram:  sarahlhouchens

A selection of Instagram offerings is below.  She doesn't smile much (usually has this serious look), but I found a couple with teeth, and they're just fine. 

I can breathe easier now


For years I've been slightly concerned about the possibilities of Earth being hit by a large enough asteroid to cause serious problems.  NASA and other space agencies have set up programs to look for dangerous objects, and have catalogued a lot of them.  Still, the one that will probably cause problems is the one we don't see coming.

But one that we could see coming has been ruled out as a problem well past my probably lifespan.

Asteroid Apophis won't impact Earth for at least a century, NASA finds

"A 2068 impact is not in the realm of possibility anymore, and our calculations don't show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years," said Davide Farnocchia, navigation engineer and researcher at NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), in a statement."

So Apophis won't be causing a 2068 apo-calypse.

Well, if they have to give it to somebody


I saw this in the Daily Mail (though I'm sure it was reported elsewhere) that Mitt Romney was selected for the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for being the only Republican in the Senate to vote to convict President Donald Trump in his first impeachment trial.

Mitt Romney receives John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for voting to impeach Donald Trump in first trial

Well, maybe.  But he knew Trump was going to be removed from office.  He knew that he's strong enough in Utah to withstand the political blowback.  He knew he's got five years until re-election.

It would have been much more courageous to vote against the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.  Then Collins of Maine wouldn't have had cover for her sham vote, and Murkowski might have been convinced to vote against it too, on the basis of woman's rights.  But Romney voted for her, and hid behind the excuse that it's OK for the Senate to confirm a candidate during an election year if the President is from the majority party.

Which is bullshit.

So I won't ever think Romney's vote was particularly courageous.  He had better opportunities to be actually courageous. 

If it's bright, you can see it from space


"Seeing something from space" isn't what it used to be, considering there are instruments in space that can see things less than a meter long.  And there are instruments in space that detect anything that emits light: oil flares, fishing boats, street lights, wildfires, etc.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that the bright glow of a volcanic eruption in Iceland, even a small one, can be seen by a satellite instrument in space.

But it is still fun to see.

Volcanic eruption lights up Iceland

I'll have a post about this eruption later, because it is quite fun. Maybe not if you're a local losing sleep because of all the earthquakes that led up to it, but it is definitely a spectator-friendly event.

It's pretty obvious from this image that there aren't a lot of other bright lights in Iceland.

Oumuamua was not an alien probe into the Solar System (probably)


Ever since the strange object Oumuamua was sighted after passing through the Solar System and headed out, there have been several different theories about what it actually was (because it was clear that it was unusual).  The theories covered the range from an interstellar comet to a Rendesvous with Rama-type probe that was sent to check us out from some far distant star system (by intelligent entities). 

A more plausible theory has been put forth;  that it was a chip off a planet like Pluto.

Interstellar object 'Oumuamua is a pancake-shaped chunk of a Pluto-like planet

Oumuamua was like a comet in some respects, but
"However, if 'Oumuamua was a comet, it was unlike any previously seen in the solar system. It lacked any detectable escaping gas, unlike the big tails typically spotted streaming from comets. In addition, its shape — resembling either a cigar or a pancake — was unlike any known comet. Moreover, the rocket-like push seen from 'Oumuamua was stronger than what researchers expected from comets."
So, this is what they think now:
"These new findings suggest 'Oumuamua was shaped more like a pancake than a cigar. It may also be smaller than previously thought — just 147 by 144 by 24 feet (45 by 44 by 7.5 meters) in size when astronomers first detected it. In comparison, prior estimates suggested 'Oumuamua was about 1,300 feet (400 m) long."
So, still unusual, and still interstellar.  But we're probably safe from aliens (for now).

Highway 41 Streetview trek visits a unique place


OK, so we're back on the trek again, with places to go in Wisconsin.   So let's take a look at far southern Wisconsin.

Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets -- a shopping stop. I wonder how outlet malls are faring between COVID-19 and the competition with delivery shopping giants like Amazon.

Here I-94 / Highway 41 again crosses the Des Plaines River, next to the Jean McGraw Memorial Nature Center. Keep this in mind, because I'm going to make a short side trip to a very special place.

To the east is Kenosha, Wisconsin, recently in the news for unfortunate reasons. To the immediate west is the Mars Cheese Castle. I remember telling you THERE WOULD BE CHEESE. (This is not the special place.)

About five miles east are two institutions of higher learning, the University of Wisconsin - Parkside, and Carthage College. Carthage College is mostly located on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. So don't consider this a detour, consider it a scenic stop. Feel free to explore.

But the trek is going to take this exit:

From here, it's about 4 miles to this spot.

That farm field drainage creek is the source of the Des Plaines River. Now, I know it's not as big or famous as the Mississippi River (which gets a sign at Lake Itasca State Park in Minnesota), and I'm not sure how many other rivers get a sign at their source -- though the short but mighty Comal River in Texas does get a sign and a park for the springs from which it rises -- there should at least be a sign.

Instead, just down the road, there's this:

Yes, the Des Plaines River gets started by flowing by the Great Lakes Dragaway.

There still oughta be a sign. At least Google Maps calls it the Des Plaines River where it starts.

Meanwhile, back to the main highway next time.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Lighthouse(s) of the Week, March 21-27, 2021: Cape Ann Light Station, Massachusetts, USA


    I found this interesting pair of lighthouses, considered historic (read for more information) when I searched on the phrase "double lighthouse".   And these aren't just double, they're twins.  

Here's where they are:   Cape Ann, Massachusetts, Light Station

Now, the map doesn't show where they are.  Switching to the satellite view, look closely for the tall shadows.  In fact, these two lighthouse towers are the tallest lighthouse towers in Massachusetts.

I'm going to borrow quite a bit of text from the Lighthouse Directory.  Interesting bit about where one of the Fresnel lenses (1st order) ended up, and I have a picture of it.

They have also been designated National Historic Landmarks.

New England Lighthouses page on the Thacher Island Twin Lights 

Thacher Island Association  

 Thacher Island North

1861 (station established 1771). Reactivated (inactive 1932-1989, now maintained by the Thatcher Island Association); focal plane 166 ft (50.5 m); continuous yellow light. One of a pair of 124 ft (38 m) unpainted round granite towers with lantern and gallery, siblings of Maine's Boon Island Light. 200 mm lens. Restored in 1988-1989 by the International Chimney Corporation.

Thacher Island South

1861 (station established 1771). Active; focal plane 166 ft (50.5 m); red flash every 5 s. One of twin 124 ft (38 m) unpainted round granite towers with lantern and gallery, siblings of Maine's Boon Island Light. Solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon; the original 1st order Fresnel lens was restored and is on display at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester.

Also, apparently, both the principal keeper's house and the assistant keeper's house have been restored.

It's also a wildlife refuge; might be an interesting little boat trip. 


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Best two swims of the Division I women's NCAA championships


First of all, in the team race, Virginia won, marking a decided shift from where the traditional powers of swimming used to be (California, Texas, Florida, Arizona come to mind).   Still, Texas was third, Florida 4th, and Stanford 9th, so they're still around.   Florida has fallen to 17th.  A couple of Big Ten schools were in the Top 10, as was Alabama.  So there's more talent distributed around the country than there used to be.

I've rated my two top swims below.

First of all, Maggie MacNeil of Michigan's 100-yard butterfly, which basically set every record possible to set:  NCAA, American, U.S. Open, Meet, and Pool.  

(For some unfathomable reason, while I could find many official NCAA Championships videos of many of the events at the championships, I couldn't find this one. WTF???  So you can watch the video below, and see the race in the first minute-and-a-half.)

Second was freshman Phoebe Bacon winning the 200-yard backstroke, which was the third-fastest time by a freshman in the NCAA championships in that event.  And she wasn't even in the discussion until about 125 yards into the race.

Sounds and sights from Mars


I heard about a video with Martian sounds (mainly wind), and I wanted to see a video where Perseverance saw its first dust devil.



Did you ever hear of this?


This was the answer to one of those trivia questions that they offer everyday on Bing.com

"Stargazy Pie"

It's a Cornish dish, i.e., it comes from Cornwall, England.

So if you're ever in Falmouth or Truro, make sure you try the pie.

I'm sure it's delicious.

Let's go deep


Noting an article about the current world's best free diver, Alexey Molchanov.  Unfortunately, that's a designation that has been passed on several times, due to the danger of this particular sport.

The Triumph and Tragedy of the World's Best Freediver

"For the casual observer, freediving can seem like an unforgiving sport. It’s not uncommon for divers who push beyond their limits to suffer short blackouts from lack of oxygen, or blood in their lungs from the extreme pressure. In fact, just a couple days earlier, in another discipline that involved diving to more than 90 meters with no fins at all, Alexey blacked out briefly as he surfaced and was struck by a hypoxic fit, or loss of muscle control, known in the sport as “samba.” "

Heading down:

Lighthouse of the Week, March 14-20, 2021: Pelee Island Light, Canada


I checked back in my archives, and I discovered that I had featured three lighthouses on Lake Erie prior to now.  I even saw a lighthouse map of Lake Erie, but it only showed lighthouses on the United States side.  So I wondered if there are lighthouses on Lake Erie on the Canadian side.  

Indeed there are.  Quite a few, actually.  So I think I might have a "theme" here for the next couple of weeks (considering I'm behind a few days with this one, anyway, that makes it easier).   And I'll start off with a historic one, which is also endangered.  And it is located on an island that is the answer to a trivia question, to whit, what is Lake Erie's largest island?

The answer is:  Pelee Island.  And I will use this opportunity to show the location of the lighthouse on Pelee Island, located on the lakeshore on Lighthouse Point Provincial Nature Reserve.

And if you zoom in on that map, you'll see one main reason it's endangered; it is on a very narrow spit of sand north of the island. In fact, the map shows it in the water.  Not good.  I'm also curious what's great about Point Pelee National Park to the northeast.  It looks pretty interesting.

Now, about the lighthouse.  Let's check in with the Lighthouse Directory.

"1833. Inactive since 1909. Approx. 18 m (60 ft) round rubblestone tower with lantern and gallery. The tower is unpainted stone; lantern painted black. ... This historic but long-abandoned lighthouse fell into picturesque ruins, as seen in a 1965 photo from Archives Canada. It was rescued by the Relight the Lighthouse Committee in a restoration in 1999-2000. ... However, the tower is still shored up by timbers and the lighthouse is threatened by wave action; riprap has been piled around the tower to protect it."

Article about preserving the lighthouse:  Pelee Island Lighthouse - Monument to Perserverance and Preservation

And so to the pictures:

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Abbey Clancy returns to the blog


I'd have to check, but I know I haven't posted about model Abbey Clancy for awhile, and that is something I have done with some regularity.  I know that I marveled at her bounce-back beauty after kids, even the semi-unplanned ones (hey, you have to know there's a possibility, right?), and also occasionally on the extreme good fortune of her husband and child procreating male, footballer (soccer player) Peter Crouch.

Well, she posted a topless picture, from the back view, and from this we can ascertain a couple of facts.

1.  She's not wearing a top.  Well, that figures.

2.  Her tush/bottom/derriere is still small, tight, and world-class.

3.  Peter is still very fortunate, even if he doesn't do much work around the house, even while he's stuck at home for an extended period due to COVID-19 lockdown orders.

Abbey Clancy sends temperatures soaring by posing TOPLESS for sizzling snap ahead of her latest fashion shoot

It's been awhile


I haven't posted an "illustrated" sonnet for awhile, as I get back into the rhyme and rhythm, so here's one of my recent ones.  I did in fact see this archetypal sculpture on a trip to Paris, at the Rodin Museum.

And Britain has it's very own meteorite


I just wrote about the identification of a new whale species in the Gulf of Mexico.  Also happening this year was a meteorite fall in Britain, first since 1991.  There was a widely-viewed fireball in the skies on the last day of February, and when the fall zone was delineated, meteorite hunters went looking for chunks.  Some of them weren't hard to find, as a big piece landed smack in a driveway.

Turns out this was a carbonaceous chondrite, very rare and very valued (because of its organic carbon content), much more than the common iron-rich stones from space.  

A lot of the pieces weren't very big.  Note fingernail for scale.  Very nice crust on this one.

Did you know - the United States has its very own whale?


Many astute and scholarly readers of the New York Times probably already saw this story.  And since very few, if any, people regularly or occasionally read my blog, I won't be edifying many more, either.  But still, this blog has commonly been about topics that interest me, even if they don't interest anybody else, or if they are so interesting that most of the world has already heard about them before I comment.

But still ... 

It was interesting to me to find out that there's a small population of whales that have made the northern Gulf of Mexico their home, and have become genetically isolated enough to be a separate species.

The flip side to being their own species is that there are very few of them, and that means that in the crowded Gulf of Mexico (oil drilling, shipping, fishing, etc.), they are also very endangered.

America's New Whale is Now at Extinction's Doorstep

If you want, you can look at the paper about it:

A new species of baleen whale (Balaenoptera) from the Gulf of Mexico, with a review of its geographic distribution

It's been named "Rice's whale". 

It has also been written about by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in Smithsonian Magazine.

Interesting aspect of the second article;  the whale was identified as a new species when a carcass washed up in Florida, and they buried it on the coast near St. Petersburg for a few months before retrieving it and giving it a full examination.

There are several pictures of the dead whale available, the only ones I could be sure were pictures of the new species.  But that seemed kind of sad, so here's a picture from NOAA of a Bryde's whale, which is very similar to Rice's whale, but apparently a bit larger.  That could be due choice of diet and prey availability, I would think.

Lighthouse of the Week, March 7-13, 2021: Point Venus, Tahiti


I'm aware that there are still many more lighthouses around the Great Lakes and Europe that I can feature as Lighthouses of the Week, but I'm still looking around exotic and far-flung locales, too.  And this week (actually last week, but who's paying attention to that, really?), I found a famous and quite handsome lighthouse on the island of Tahiti.  

It's called the Point Venus lighthouse, and I'm going to give full credit to the Lighthouse Directory (Lighthouses of French Polynesia) for this information.

"1868 (restored and extended in 1963). Active; focal plane 31 m (102 ft); white flash every 5 s. 33 m (108 ft) square tower with six stepped stories below the watch room and gallery. Lighthouse painted white with gray trim.
Designed in France on the recommendations of the lighthouse engineer Léonce Reynaud, it resembles several French lighthouses of the early 1860s such as the Pointe de la Grave lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde (see the Aquitaine page). The Fresnel lens, manufactured by Sautter & Cie., arrived in Tahiti in 1865. The tower was built during 1866-67 under the direction of Captain Gustave de la Taille, a French Army officer and civil engineer. It was completed in 1867 but not placed into service until New Years Day 1868. The confusion about this history was created by the author Robert Louis Stevenson, who visited Tahiti and the lighthouse in 1888 before settling in Samoa. In his account of his travels he claimed that the lighthouse was designed by his father, the well-known Scottish lighthouse engineer Thomas Stevenson. There is a plaque on the lighthouse that repeats this claim. No one knows why the younger Stevenson told this story (or whether he believed it himself), but it is completely false.

In more modern times this beautiful lighthouse was refurbished and raised in height by 7 m (23 ft) in 1963."

Below, pictures and a stamp, and below them, a video.

And here is a superb video, including a great view of the Fresnel lens.

Highway 41 goes into Wisconsin


Sorry for my delay ... I am impatient too.  Blogging has been pushed down the priority list due to other events and activities.  It's amazing how quickly the first three days of the work week go.  Seems like all my jobs want to schedule their meetings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  And I try to keep up with current issues and scientific progress.  Also watching Iceland to see if that earthquake swarm (and it's a heck of a swarm, as we watch a dike emplacement in real time).  So much to keep track of.  So it goes, I guess.

This has slowed down the Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek.  My goal this week will be three posts on the trek, counting this one.   This one is rather short, but I have a special feature planned, very soon; maybe even the next installment of the trek.

As best I can tell, this Weigh Station exit is on the Illinois/Wisconsin state line.

On the other side of the highway, going southbound, there's a "Welcome to Illinois" sign. Why isn't there a "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign on the northbound side?

So the first indication of actually being in Wisconsin is the sign for the village of Pleasant Prairie.

There it is! The "Wisconsin Welcomes You" sign! Why did they wait so long? Did they want to know we were committed to entering Wisconsin?

Stay in touch. There will be cheese. SERIOUS cheese.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

World sand shortage - how bad is it?


More on this later.  At least we still have enough helium.

From the Daily Mail:

The world is running out of sand: Shortage could mean there won't be enough to make glass vials for COVID vaccines

A couple more articles to read:

We’re Running Out Of Sand… And Cities Are To Blame

"In recent years, the demand for sand has grown so dramatically, that suppliers have been looking elsewhere – namely, to beaches and the seafloor. The use of marine sand adds another step in the concrete-making process. Its salt must be removed, to avoid any risk of metal corrosion in the final structure. That comes with a cost, but the sand market is so crazy that apparently, it’s still worth it. Speaking to INSIDER in 2018, Beiser claimed that, because of its critical role in construction, “the price of sand has about quintupled in the past 30-40 years.” The makers of documentary film Sand Wars claim that sand is now a US$70 billion industry."

A hidden shortage: why the world is running low on sand

So I guess it's not an exaggeration to say that time is running out on sand.   Seriously.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

A sonnet entitled "two moments become one"


I haven't posted a sonnet on this blog for QUITE awhile, but I have a few that I could.  So, on a slow night, here's one.

two moments become one

It hasn't happened to me once or twice
or quarce — enrapt within the moment un-
like any other, grokking paradise
as it can only be, within the one
with whom I share absorbed totality
of motion and embrace and skin and lace
which leads to base eventuality
and certainty, accepted with the grace
of given trust and welcoming intent
until the quake cannot be quelled — and there
two lips amidst the chaos of ascent,
connected beyond thought or word or prayer
as just one kiss ordains our linkages
in voices without need for languages.

Real infrastructure progress could damage 'Trumpism'


Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, co-writer with Paul Waldman on "The Plum Line", makes the case that passing a badly-needed infrastructure bill, and then implementing it across the country, would be very bad for the Trumpism cause.

I agree, and I've thought that for awhile, and I'll have something else to say about that pretty soon, because now is the time to bring up an idea I had a couple of years ago.  But now is REALLY the time for it.

Biden’s next big move could deliver a crippling blow to Trumpism
"This suggestion [by Florida's idiot governor DeSantis] — that feverish anti-leftist delirium is becoming the central organizing principle for much of the GOP as it remains captive to former president Donald Trump — provides Democrats with a big opening.

The coming debate over a major infrastructure package will show how. If President Biden and the Democratic Congress can pass such a package, it could deal a big blow to Trumpism, aided by the faction’s own continuing descent into hallucinatory anti-leftism."
Or to put it another way, make jobs and fix America's crumbling roads, bridges, sewers, ports, plumbing ... and more ... is how to demonstrate that this administration knows how to run a country.

I second the motion


Just saw this article that actress Eliza Dushku is pregnant again;  I can certainly relate to the motivation for that happy circumstance.

Eliza Dushku announces that she is expecting her second child with husband Peter Palandjian: 'Mama x 2'

Reading the text of the article, it appears certain that her husband is not unfamiliar with the procreative process, having been successful with it more than once previously with his previous spouse.

I guess when you know what you're doing, it just comes easily.

I did not just say that.

Highway 41 end-to-end Streetview trek: the last of Illinois


As we move northward, there is a small portion of northeastern Illinois that might be considered outside of the Chicago area (but not by far).  That's where we are now on the trek.  

Now, Highway 41 is in Gurnee, Illinois. Gurnee's main attraction is a Six Flags amusement park named Six Flags Great America. We'll skip taking a look at that.

This is important, geographically and hydrologically. Highway 41 is crossing the Des Plaines River. As noted, this river was important to the whole reverse-the-flow of the Chicago River from into the lake to out of the lake into, eventually, the Mississippi River. The Des Plaines River is an important connector in that scheme. And we'll see it again.

Even though something got on the camera lens/window (if you pan around to the forward direction), I had to note the Gurnee Truck Stop.

To the right, more of the Chicago area Forest Preserve (much of which has the Des Plaines River in it, all the way down through Chicagoland), here featuring Sterling Lake. Directly ahead, Highway 41 rejoins Interstate 94 -- and this time, they'll be together for awhile.

The sign tells us where we're headed -- Milwaukee!  And Highway 41 gets a fancy red-white-and-blue shield for being part of the interstate system here.


Wisconsin is directly ahead ... and believe it or not, it's the second-to-last state that Highway 41 goes through. 

Lighthouse of the Week, February 28 - March 6, 2021: Mulantou, Hainan Island, China


You would think that there would be numerous pictures of the fifth-tallest lighthouse in the world, but surprisingly, I couldn't find very many.  Maybe that's because it's in China (where it happens to be the tallest lighthouse in the country).  

The Mulantou lighthouse is on the island of Hainan, which is the fairly large essentially tropical island south of mainland China, about 250 miles southwest of Hong Kong.  I zoomed in fairly close to the point where the lighthouse is located here - zoom out if you want to see it in geographical context, zoom in and switch to satellite view if you want to see it from space.  It's on the actual northernmost point of the island.

Pretty simple statistics on it, which this time I garnered from Wikipedia.  It's 237 feet (72 meters) tall, and it flashes two white flashes every 15 seconds.  It was built in 1995.  Apparently it also has an observation room near the top.

So, a couple of pictures, and a stamp, are below.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

This might bug you


Apparently it's mosquito season in Buenos Aires.  

‘Tornado’ sighting that really caused a buzz! Motorists in Buenos Aires are shocked to see twister towering into the sky – but it was actually a giant swarm of MOSQUITOES

You can go to the article to watch the video -- the Daily Mail would appreciate that -- I captured a frame of it for viewing below.  What's really daunting about the video is that as the driver moves in the direction of the big tornado swarm, he's driving past lots of other clouds of mosquitoes.   You can note a couple of them in the picture.

I sure hope his windows are up. 

Oh how the Mitchy has fallen


Mitch McConnell, never my favorite person, actually on my Top 100 list of least favorite people (and near the top, or the bottom depending on perception), has debased himself many times in his pursuit of partisancy over patriotism.   Actually, that's not quite fair -- he's a partisan hack, clever though, who has reached a position of power that he does not deserve and which he constantly misuses.  His sins in office against the country he purports to serve are numerous and repugnant.

So I guess that this should not surprise us at all:

Mitch McConnell says he would 'ABSOLUTELY' support Donald Trump if he wins party nomination in 2024 - despite ex-president calling him 'unsmiling hack'

So, let's finish with these: