Recently ran across this photo of Utah’s Mt. Timpanogos in the snow. You can see how majestic the mountain is dressed in white, and how its glory can bring awe and joy to people in the valley.
Photo found on Wikipedia, from January 2008.
Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM, Department of Interior) great photographer Bob Wick captures a photo that separates the redrock lovers from everybody else.
The road seems to dead end in the mountains ahead. Nobody visible in the land for miles around. It’s either incredibly desolate and lonely, or among the most beautiful, everyday views among rocks of incredible beauty you’ll ever see and remember forever.
Outdoors people in Utah usually know the Henry Mountains. There’s a buffalo herd there, open to hunting. It’s an amazing rock formation in the middle of other amazing rocks, a towering landmark for miles.
Hanksville would have to be invented by a good fiction writer if it didn’t exist, a desert town where everybody stops who passes by, with nothing really to commend it but the fact that it’s there, and populated by people of great character. Who names a town “Hanksville?”
Who wouldn’t like to be on that road?
Back on October 10, 2010, we celebrated “Powers of Ten Day: 10/10/10.”
We’ve only got two tens in the date today, but the work of Charles and Ray Eames deserves remembering at least every October 10.
It’s a classic film, wonderful in its earliest versions in the 1970s, long before CGI. In 2018, I think it stands up very well.
AMNH’s “The Known Universe” is a cool film. Putting up that last post on the film, I looked back and noted that when I had previously written about the brilliant predecessor films from Charles and Ray Eames, “Powers of Ten,” the Eames films were not freely available on line.
That’s been fixed.
I like to use films like this as warmups to a year of history, and as a reminder once we get into studying the history of space exploration, of just how far we’ve come in understanding the universe, and how big this place is.
Of course, that means wer are just small parts.
The Eames’s genius showed the scale of things, from a couple picnicking in a park, to the outer reaches of the universe, and then back, zooming into the innermost reaches of a human down to the sub-atomic level.
There’s a series of these films; this one, published on YouTube by the Eames Office, was done in 1977, one of the later versions.
How can you use this in class, teachers? (I recommend buying it on DVD, as I did; better sound and pictures, generally.)
Uploaded on Aug 26, 2010
Powers of Ten takes us on an adventure in magnitudes. Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out until our own galaxy is visible only a s a speck of light among many others. Returning to Earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward- into the hand of the sleeping picnicker- with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell. POWERS OF TEN © 1977 EAMES OFFICE LLC (Available at http://www.eamesoffice.com)
At the Eames Office Youtube site, you may find the film in with Mandarin Chinese, German, and Japanese translations (no Spanish?). If you’re unfamiliar with the work of this couple — you would recognize much of the stuff they designed, I’m sure — check out a short film on an exhibit on Ray Eames (which has concluded, sadly):
This is stunning, politically hot, and frustrating in that I cannot immediately identify the artworks (I think one is a sculpture photograph), let alone the artists.
But still cool.
Who made it? Where is the legend to identify the art?
Mr. Kuestenmacher found the map on Reddit. Ripred42, who posted it on Reddit, didn’t offer any other details as to who made the map or what the art works are; several comments identify several of the works. I have not yet found a better legend.
This map might make a good exercise for AP Geography or AP Human Geography, or AP History, or IB History. There are some possibilities for good discussion. At Reddit there is a complaint that the Mona Lisa shouldn’t represent Italy, since it was sold to a foreign king and is displayed in a foreign museum. The Gustav Klimt painting shown for Austria was determined to have been stolen from its rightful owners, who took the painting and put it on display in New York City instead (the subject of the movie starring Helen Mirren, “The Woman in Gold.”)
Is Turner really the best representative for England? Can any work be determined for Cypress or Ireland? The discussion on Twitter is better than Reddit, and most informative.
Can you identify the works? I’ll list those I can figure out in comments. Please help identify others if you can.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Simon Kuestenmacher on Twitter.
Millard Fillmore was a self-educated man, an ardent reader, the founder of the White House library.
Millard Fillmore understood the strategic geography of Japan, an opened Japan up to the world.
Has Trump done anything beneficial? Logical? Based on good, accurate information?
We may have a bone to pick with BBC.
BBC’s article, by Jude Sheerin from the Washington bureau, actually is quite well done. The article compares the nativism in Fillmore’s time, to which Fillmore fell victim, with Trump’s nativism — and the comparison is troubling.
In the end, the Whigs refused to nominate Fillmore to run for his own term in 1852 (he had succeeded President Zachary Taylor on Taylor’s death, remember); Fillmore was courted by the American Party, better known to school kids as the Know-Nothings. Fillmore led the Know-Nothings to a crushing defeat in 1852 (they did get Maryland), but the Whigs never recovered either. In 1856, partly in the ashes of the Whigs, rose the Republican Party to run John C. Fremont for President.
And in 1860, the new Republican Party managed to knock a homerun, getting Abraham Lincoln elected to the presidency on the party’s second try.
“What is past is prologue,” the wall of the National Archives tells us, and Santayana warns that those who do not remember history will repeat it. What lessons can we learn from comparing Donald Trump to Millard Fillmore?
Other than the fact that Fillmore was actually quite a bit better looking, that is.
From @BestEarthPix on Twitter:
Can you supply details? The photographer should get credit, I think.
Update: This site, 500px, attributes the photo to Stijn Dijkstra. But Amazon.com/UK leads me to believe this is a sunrise at Yellowstone Lake, with a deer’s profile PhotoShopped in. See “Sunrise at Yellowstone Journal” and this photo.
Further update: It’s a stock photo from Alamy, PhotoShopped.
The Flat Mountain arm of Yellowstone Lake at sunrise, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 2016. Image courtesy Neal Herbert/Yellowstone National Park. Gado Images/Alamy Stock Photo
How disappointing, and maddening, that what looks like a great image turns out to be faked.
Utah.com lists the days in the coming year when entry to National Parks is free. Utah.com is a promotional site for Utah, where several National Parks are big tourist draws — so they have a bias.
It’s a good bias!
Alas, only four days so far:
FREE National Park Entrance Days 2018
January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
April 1: First day of National Parks Week
September 22: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day weekend
Four free days to split among five National Parks in Utah: Arches, Canyonlands, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef. National Monuments are probably included in the free admission days, so you can add Timpanogos Cave, Rainbow Bridge, Dinosaur, Promontory Point and others.
There’s a lot to see in Utah’s mountains and redrock country — and that doesn’t include the Great Salt Lake and the Salt Flats.
Ethnographer? It’s a person who makes a systematic study of a people and its culture, a subdivision of anthropology, sociology, history and geography all at once.
Milan Karanovic, trained as a priest, studied folk and cultural trends of Bosnians, roughly from 1900 to World War II.
And this is his typewriter:
Milan Karanovic was born in 1883 in Great Novljansko Rujiška. In his teens he moved to Sarajevo, graduated high school and attended seminary, graduating by 1909 and assuming duties as a parish priest (Orthodox?) in the Krajina region village of Rujnić. We know he published a study of the “village” of Sarajevo in 1907. On the wrong side of local authorities in World War I, he spent much of the war in prison. His publications resumed by 1925, and proliferated through 1937. He died in 1955.
The typewriter is an Optima Elite. I’m guessing this model was made during or after World War II; Optima used the Olympia name into World War II. After the war, Olympia factories in the zones controlled by the Soviet Union changed to Optima. Judging from photos, this machine may have been built in the 1950s, giving Karanovic only a few years to use it. I’m open to the idea that the Optima name was used earlier — this history of corporations and machines is out of my range. If you have better information, please feel free to contribute in comments.
Spring comes earlier every year in Dallas. Our Mexican plums used to blossom in March and April; for the past three years, we’ve had blossoms well before spring even comes. Last year we had a cold snap that took the young fruit out, after a premature blossoming.
It’s a sign of creeping global warming. Every year I marvel at Al Gore’s powers to convince our Mexican plum to blossom early, part of the “global warming conspiracy” so many fear.
That is, this is a symptom of global warming that cannot be faked, that is from observation, and not from models.
With flowers on fruit trees come hopes of a bountiful harvest. Dreading the underlying meaning of such an early blossom does not change our hopes, nor the birds’ hopes, for a good plum harvest.
I follow Phil Plait to get smart and stay informed about the stars and the universe.
Sometimes it’s just the sheer beauty one finds that wakes you up.
Phil posted this on Twitter, a lunar fogbow:
Plait’s explanations are fun:
It’s not just a beautiful photograph. It’s a rather rare phenomenon beautifully captured by Göran Strand, and wonderfully explained by Plait at his blog at Slate:
And here he is once again: That photo above shows that’s quite uncommon sigh: a fogbow! But this being Strand, even that’s not unusual enough. For him, it had to be even more difficult to track down. That’s not just a fogbow, it’s a lunar fogbow!
Fogbows are similar to rainbows, in that they’re caused by water droplets, but in detail they’re very different. In a rainbow, sunlight is bent and reflected inside a raindrop, and sent off at an angle. The drops are big compared to the wavelength of light, so they act a bit like mirrors. Each color of sunlight, though, bends at a slightly different angle, separating them, creating the multihued rainbow.
Strand has photos to sell in various formats. I see in a lot of offices, “inspirational” posters with good photos and occasionally-pithy-but-often-banal sayings and platitudes, hoped by bosses to spur productivity on the cheap. Order up a sizable print from Strand, get the full description of the photo, and mount it in your office instead. You’re likely to discover than genuine natural beauty from awe-inspiring photos spurs creativity and productivity more than the stock photos and stock sayings.
Those photos are starting points for learning, too, teachers. Real photos, worthy of any history, economics, geography, astronomy, chemistry, physics, geological science or environmental science class.
Try ’em and see.
The great service at the New York Times site, the Learning Network, notes the 1959 Dwight Eisenhower proclamation of Alaska as the 49th state, and the unveiling of the 49-star flag:
On Jan. 3, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Alaska to the Union as the 49th state. The New York Times noted that the signing included the unveiling of the new 49-star American flag.
The land that became Alaska came into U.S. possession in 1867, when William Seward, secretary of state under President Andrew Johnson, negotiated a deal to buy the 586,000-square-mile area from Russia for $7.2 million, less than 2 cents per acre. Seward’s decision was ridiculed in the American press, who saw no potential in the vast, inhospitable and sparsely populated area.
For decades after its purchase, Alaska was derided as “Seward’s folly” or “Seward’s icebox.” This opinion changed in 1896 with the discovery of gold in the neighboring Yukon Territory, which spurred tens of thousands of people to head to Alaska in search of gold. The gold rush also brought about a boom in mining, fishing and trapping.
Though the first statehood bill had been presented to Congress in 1916, there was little desire in either Alaska or Washington for Alaskan statehood until after World War II. During the war, the U.S. established multiple military bases to resist Japan’s attacks on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands and prevent a potential invasion of the mainland. The military activity, along with the completion of a major highway from Montana, led to a large population growth.
In 1946, Alaskans voted in favor of statehood in a referendum and Alaskan delegates began to lobby Congress for statehood. After years of debate, Congress voted in June 1958 to admit Alaska.
Eight months after Alaska’s admission, on Aug. 21, 1957 [should be 1959, no?], Hawaii became the 50th state. The 49-star remained in place until the following July 4, when it was replaced by the now-familiar 50-star flag.
49-star flags were produced only until August 1959, so there are few of them around. I love this photo of the unveiling of the flag with President Eisenhower:
It had been about 47 years since the previous state admission (Arizona); people became aware that no law set what the flag should look like. President Eisenhower issued a directive.
How did the nation survive for 170 years without firm, decisive and conclusive orders on what the U.S. flag should look like? Isn’t it a great story that we went so long without law setting the requirements?
Alaska’s state flag came from the imagination of a 13-year-old Aleut, Benny Benson, winning a contest to design the state’s flag. Alaska’s flag stands out in any display of U.S. state flags.
Ten feet in altitude, 120 feet traveled, 12 seconds long. That was the first flight in a heavier-than-air machine achieved by Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio, at Kittyhawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903.
Few witnesses observed the flight. Though the brothers Wright fully understood the potential of the machine they had created, even they waited before revealing to their supporters, and then the world, what they had accomplished.
Critics complain others achieved flight in a heavier-than-air machine before the Wrights. There are stories of flights in Texas, Connecticut, and France. If anyone achieved flight before the Wrights, the Wrights did a much better job of recording their achievement, and promoting it afterward. In the end, the Wrights left a legacy of flight research conducted in classic science, with careful records, a lot of experiments and observations, and publication of results.
We honor the Wrights.
On the morning of December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright took turns piloting and monitoring their flying machine in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville piloted the first flight that lasted just twelve seconds. On the fourth and final flight of the day, Wilbur traveled 852 feet, remaining airborne for 57 seconds. That morning the brothers became the first people to demonstrate sustained flight of a heavier-than-air machine under the complete control of the pilot.
No lost luggage, no coffee, no tea, no meal in a basket, either. No ATC (Air Traffic Control) delays. Neither brother endured a TSA screening.
Resources on the Wright Brothers’ first flight:
(I almost always forget the big dates until the end of the day. This is mostly an encore post.)
Nice photo, a starry sky showing part of the Milky Way, and a great tree, probably painted with a flashlight.
But, where in the world is it?
Dear Reader, do you know where this photo was taken? Who should get credit?
[It was Nate Cochran. See his note in comments below, and thanks to Ediacaran.]
It’s been 57 years since the youngest state entered the union — the longest stretch in which the U.S. has not added another state.
“On June 14, 1959, Boy Scout Milton Motooka helped get the word out for Hawaii’s statehood plebiscite to be held 13 days later. A new documentary will focus on Hawaii’s statehood.” Hawaiians voted yes in the plebiscite, and statehood was declared two months later. (Whatever became of Scout Motooka?)
June’s plebiscite smoothed the path for statehood, declared two months later.
Hawaii’s official statehood day is August 21, commemorating the day in 1959 when Hawaii was recognized as a member of the union of the United States of America. Hawaiians should fly their flags to day in honor of the date (you may, too).
Hawaii formally celebrates the day on the third Friday in August, this year on the 19th. I hope you joined in the festivities (it’s a holiday in Hawaii) — but under the U.S. Flag Code, you may certainly fly your flags on August 21, regardless which day of the week that is.
After the U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898 (in action separate from the Spanish-American War) attempts at getting Hawaii admitted as a state got rolling. After World War II, with the strategic importance of the islands firmly implanted in Americans’ minds, the project picked up some steam. Still, it was 14 years after the end of the war that agreements were worked out between the people of Hawaii, the Hawaiian royal family, Congress and the executive branch. The deal passed into law had to be ratified by a plebiscite among Hawaiian citizens. The proposition won approval with 94% of votes in favor.
Some native Hawaiian opposition to statehood arose later, and deference to those complaints has muted statehood celebrations in the 21st century.
Other than the tiny handful of loudmouth birthers, most Americans today are happy to have Hawaii as a state, the fifth richest in the U.S. by personal income. The nation has a lot of good and great beaches, but the idea of catching sun and surf in Hawaii on vacation might be considered an idealized part of the American dream.
“Loudmouth birthers?” Yeah, Barack Obama, our 45th President, was born in Hawaii in 1961. Some whiners think that, but for statehood, Obama would not have been a citizen eligible to be president. Hawaii is not good ground for growing sour grapes, though. Birth in a territory would probably be enough to make him eligible. Water under the bridge: Hawaii was a state in 1961. President Obama remains president.