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Posts from — April 2017

Hexennacht

It’s Hexennacht, but there is no Blocksberg available for dancing down here and it is so soggy that bonfires are out of the question.

Of course the Church grabbed this holiday too and called it Walpurgisnacht in honor of one of their Anglo-Saxon saints, rather than good German witches [Hexen]. The Celts celebrate Beltaine at this time of the year. It is considered the beginning of summer in much of Europe.

Archæoastronomy

April 30, 2017   Comments Off on Hexennacht

Day 100

Only 1361 to go….

The one major accomplishment that Trump has managed to rack up is the number of protests that have taken place since he was selected by the Electoral College. Today it was climate change, but from the Women’s March though today more people have participated in more different protests than any other President in my life time, which goes back to Harry Truman. There were more people involved in the civil rights marches and in the anti Vietnam marches, but those were singular issues. No President that I can think of has annoyed so many people for so many different reasons.

April 29, 2017   45 Comments

The Crew Was Rescued

A Russian intelligence ship sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast after a collision, The trawler collided with a livestock freighter north of Istanbul while sailing in fog. All 78 crewmembers of the Russian vessel were accounted for. The ship, the Liman, was densely packed with a large collection of various types of antennae clearly visible in the picture accompanying the article

April 27, 2017   4 Comments

Oops

United Airlines investigates giant bunny death:

United Airlines is investigating the death of a giant rabbit which was being transported on one of its planes.

The 90cm-long bunny, called Simon, was found dead in the cargo hold when the flight arrived at Chicago’s O’Hare airport from London Heathrow.

Reports in UK media say the 10 month-old giant rabbit was being delivered to a new “celebrity” owner.

United, which has had a torrid few weeks of bad publicity, said it was “saddened” by Simon’s death.

They just settled with Dr Dao, and now United is facing more bad press and costs. Continental Giant Rabbits are a breed, and they are not inexpensive. This rabbit was shipped from Britain to Chicago, and that is not inexpensive. When the owner is described as a celebrity, you know that there will be lawyers.

April 27, 2017   2 Comments

Elsewhere

Crooks & Liars features a faux pas by the British PM: ‘We Want To Lead The World In Preventing Tourism’. Surely Ms May realizes that Britain can never catch up the lead created by Trump in his War on Tourism™

The BBC reports that Russian hackers ‘target’ presidential candidate Macron. These are the same groups that targeted the DNC during the US election. Mr Macron’s opponent has had nice things to say about Russian President Putin, but it cannot be proved beyond any doubt that not praising Putin results in being hacked. 😈

For her part, Le Pen steps aside as National Front leader:

Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has announced that she is stepping aside as leader of her National Front (FN) party.

The move comes just a day after she reached the second round of the French election, where she will face centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Ms Le Pen told French TV she needed to be above partisan considerations.

The voters will accept that by resigning as party leader she won’t be attempting to implement the core policies of the National Front if she wins. [At this point in a Monte Python skit there will be a wink and a nod.]

April 25, 2017   2 Comments

World Penguin Day

Badtux, of course, informed me that today is World Penguin Day.

The Guardian has a nice pictorial while EarthSky.org leans toward facts and text.

April 25, 2017   4 Comments

ANZAC Day

Australia & New Zealand flags

It is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, which is similar to the American Veterans Day, in that it began as a remembrance of World War I, and has become more generalized over the years.

“Anzac Day commemorates the involvement of Australian and New Zealand troops in a World War I campaign on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey.”

The Gallipoli Campaign began as a Winston Churchill [then First Lord of the Admiralty] plan that spun out of control and got a lot of people killed on both sides with nothing much changing, but then, that was quite common in World War I.

Peter Weir made a movie, Gallipoli, which, if nothing else, proves that Sergeant Alvin York, and T.E. Lawrence weren’t the only people who fought in World War I.

[Note: The date is April 25 which April 24 in the US because of the time difference.]

April 24, 2017   5 Comments

Weekend Update

Macron and Le Pen through to run-off:

The centrist Emmanuel Macron will face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a run-off for the French presidency on 7 May, near-final results show.

With 96% of votes counted from Sunday’s first round, Mr Macron has 23.9% with Ms Le Pen on 21.4%.

Macron is a centrist banker who has never run for political office before. Le Pen is “une Trumpette“, a populist, Putin loving, EU hating wingnut. The losing candidates seem to be united in telling their voters to vote for Macron.

In science news: Aurora photographers find new night sky lights and call them “Steve”

Testing showed it appeared to be a hot stream of fast-flowing gas in the higher reaches of the atmosphere.

The European Space Agency (ESA) sent electric field instruments to measure it 300km (190 miles) above the surface of the Earth and found the temperature of the air was 3,000C (5,400F) hotter inside the gas stream than outside it.

Inside, the 25km-wide ribbon of gas was flowing at 6 km/s (13,000mph), 600 times faster than the air on either side.

Feeling that some people would reject plain old “Steve”, one of the people in the Twitter exchange offered “Sudden Thermal Emission from Velocity Enhancement” or STEVE for the purple ribbon of light. [It sounds scientific, right?]

April 23, 2017   2 Comments

Saint George’s Day

Cross of St. George

Saint George is the patron saint of England, Georgia [the country], Bulgaria, Portugal, Catalonia, and the city of Moscow. Orthodox countries tend to celebrate George on November 23rd.

PETA condemns George for his senseless slaughter of dragons. The YWCA condemns the condemnation and wants to know when PETA is going to volunteer to be DragonChow™

It is UNESCO’s International Day of the Book.

It is also the birth and death day of Billy the Bard, who was a great writer in desperate need of a spelling checker.

Master Shakespeare gave all of the best lines to villains supplying low humor to those who have read the Folio, e.g. Arlen Specter quoting Iago, reputedly in support of Clarence Thomas.

April 23, 2017   Comments Off on Saint George’s Day

Whatever You’ve Heard, The Truth is Worse

Ex-Florida senator who used racial slur hired Hooters, Playboy models:

The Miami Herald reports Saturday that state records show that Frank Artiles’ PAC, Veterans for Conservative Principals, had paid former Hooters model Heather Thomas $2,000 and former Playboy model Brittney Singletary $1,500. They were listed as consultants.

This guy is a former Florida state senator because he used the racial slur while talking to two black female Florida state senators. IOW: a standard issue family values Republican politician, like the recently resigned former governor of Alabama, Robert J. Bentley.

April 22, 2017   8 Comments

March for Science

March for Science logo

This Earth Day many people joined a March for Science as a counterweight to the ‘alternate facts’ favored by the Drumpf administration. Willful ignorance is leading the nation on the wrong path.

Crooks & Liars features some of the signs seen at marches.

April 22, 2017   4 Comments

Show A Little Respect

Momma Earth

She’s the only planet we have, if we blow it, we can’t pack up and move.

Wikipedia has an Earth Day entry, with links to other sites.

April 22, 2017   Comments Off on Show A Little Respect

Unintended Humor

From the CBC: WestJet to launch ‘ultra low-cost’ no-frills carrier. So they talk about a relatively low ticket price that keeps getting higher if you want “frills”. Given that almost every airline charges for luggage, and a guaranteed seat, and food and drinks, what exactly makes the new airline “no frills”? Are they going to have military sling seats along the side and cargo on pallets in the center of the aircraft? Will you have to wear a harness that will allow them to suspend you from rails in the cabin until it is crammed full or maximum weight has been reached?

What new indignity can they impose on the traveling public that will result in people willing to pay to avoid it? Come on, all airlines have become ‘no frill’. The only difference is how much they charge you for the abuse you receive when going from point A to point B.

April 20, 2017   9 Comments

This & That

The site was down for a while due to emergency maintenance by my host. They had a server failing and had to shift some stuff. It is very rare and quickly fixed.

Meanwhile the US accuses Iran of ‘alarming provocations’ for not following US policy in the Middle East and supporting Shi’ia Muslims through out the region. Oh, they are abiding by the conditions of their nuclear agreement, but Rex Tillerman doesn’t like that they do things the US doesn’t like.

The Pentagon addresses confusion over the location of the USS Carl Vinson strike group. The aircraft carrier group is heading down to a scheduled exercise with the Australian navy before heading up to intimidate North Korea … or not.

It finally happened: Fox News fires Bill O’Reilly after a pattern of harassment claims. When Fox fired Roger Ailes for his sexual harassment problem, O’Reilly should have seen the writing on the wall. The age when women would put up with this crap are over, and not dealing with it is getting expensive.

Theresa May got her wish: General election campaigning begins as MPs back June poll. Ms May feels that she needs a ‘mandate’ to deal with the Brexit negotiations, and thinks she can win more seats than the Tories currently have. If she is wrong, things are going to get even messier for the UK.

April 19, 2017   3 Comments