Monday, February 28, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour LII

The United States' last surviving World War I veteran has died.

Frank Buckles, who turned 110 on February 1st, died Sunday.

Wikipedia reports the list of surviving veterens from The War to End All Wars has now dwindled down to two -- both British, a male and a female.

I always felt like The Great War got short shrift in my high school history classes; and, I guess from a strictly American point of view, it does rank below the Civil War and World War II in terms of national trauma.  However, in terms of the history of human conflict, it really is impossible to overstate its significance.

With that in mind, would you shocked to learn that there is no national monument to honor our Doughboys?  I was.  More Americans died in WWI than in Korea or in Vietnam and yet the only WWI monument in the District of Columbia is one honoring D.C. war dead, specifically.

That is appalling.  Fortunately, there's a way to help right this wrong, and Frank's last gift to us may be his story shining a light on an organization he himself inspired into being:  The World War I Memorial Foundation.  Stop by; learn about it; and see what you can do to help.

Thank you, Frank...and rest in peace.

[Source:  CNN via Boing Boing.]

Friday, February 25, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour LI

I just stumbled across NASA's Earth Observatory.

Very cool.

The following picture of my neighborhood on the planet from last summer in their "Image of the Day" series caught my eye....

Apparently cloudless days over the entire Great Lakes system are rather rare.

The image was captured by NASA's Aqua satellite at 1:30pm CDT on August 28, 2010.

[Source: NASA's Earth Observatory.]

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour L

The end of an era....

I was in grade school when they test-landed a space shuttle, having piggy-backed it up to a high altitude on the back of a commercial jet...some 30+ years ago.

And now Discovery is poised to make the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program.


[Source:  The Atlantic; image:  NASA.]

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XLIX


[Source:  National Geographic's Photo of the Day; photographer:  Dorota Walczak.]

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XLVIII

Check this out:

Swiss artist Corinne Vionnet takes 200 to 300 similar images of a famous monument -- taken by 200 to 300 unique individuals --and layers them one on top of another, creating this ghostly, impressionistic composite.

Very haunting.

Now I'll have to see if I have this same shot of the entrance to the Forbidden City in Beijing in my shoebox at home....

[Source:  Corinne Vionnet, via My Modern Met (which shows 17 others), via Boing Boing.]

Monday, February 21, 2011

Awesomest Image(s) du Jour XLVII

Well, I don't know how awesome these are, but they are fascinating.

May I introduce Sayyid Muhammad bin Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Senussi.  Born in Tripoli in 1962, he is the son of Crown Prince Hasan al-Senussi -- the man whose ascension to the throne was thwarted on 1 September 1969 by then Captain Muammar al-Qaddafi.  The ascension had been planned by his ailing uncle -- King Idris I -- for the very next day.

The deposed king was out of the country when the coup took place.  He died in exile in Cairo in 1983.  His nephew the crown prince, however, lived essentially under house arrest with his family until he was allowed to travel to the UK to seek medical treatment.  He died there in 1992.  Both men are buried at Medina, Saudi Arabia.

The Sanussi dynasty traces itself back to the Prophet Muhammad.  Click here for some history and genealogical information.

And whereas I hardly think that re-establishment of the monarchy is a top concern for anti-Qaddafi protesters, I do think it's interesting that some have chosen to use the flag from that period:

[Sources:  Wikipedia articles on King Idris, Crown Prince Hasan and Crown Prince Muhammad; image of Muhammad and image of pre-Qaddafi flag.]

Friday, February 18, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XLVI


Fear not, though.  You might have more dropped calls than usual, the words of that 1966 hit single by The Cyrkle, Red Rubber Ball:

And I think it's gonna be alright
Yeah, the worst is over now
The mornin' sun is shinin' like a red rubber ball.

Or, in this case, kind of a yellow-orange rubber ball.

[Source:  Getty Images Europe/NASA via]

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Trans-Siberian Express Update

For the tens -- tens! -- of my fans, who have been waiting for my long-promised post on my Trans-Siberian adventure, I have an update:  I've actually scanned the images I want to use.  Tonight. Now, I'll get these images into shape and then begin to intersperse them with the original, journaled text for what I hope will be a fun and interesting (dare I say:  epic) post.

Your waiting has not been in vain!

Awesomest Image du Jour XLV

Daniel P. Huffman, a cartographer and lecturer on cartography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has brilliantly mashed up the mapping of river systems with the visual language of a typical subway map.

Here's the Mississippi river system:

Awesome, right? 

He sells these things, too.

I love maps.  I should have been a cartographer.

[Source: via Boing Boing.]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XLIV

A current picture of Lake Michigan, you ask?

Well, there are similarities...if you squint...and ignore the mountains.  However, this panarama by Ira Goldstein is at the Jökulsárlón glacial lake in Iceland and (get this) was taken on 17th of August (when I can assure you that Lake M looks very different).

I love the colors.

[Source:  Wikimedia Commons' picture of the day for 1 February 2011.]

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XLIII

Happy 46th Birthday, O Flag of Canada!

Easily one of the most recognizable flags on our Planet Earth, it's something of a shock to realize that it's comparatively new.  To be sure, it's a punchy, straightforward design made for an ever-increasingly sped up world, but it lacks the richness and history of its predecessor, the Red Ensign:

Against a field of red (the official color of Canada, along with white) is the United Kingdom's Union Jack, signifying British sovereignty, and the shield, taken from the Arms of Canada.

I love the shield because it pays tribute to the British and French ancestry of the early colonists:  England's golden lions, Scotland's red lion, Ireland's harp and France's fleurs-de-lis, united at the bottom with the stylized maple leaves of Canada.

Cool, right?  So cool, in fact, that this design is used as the Queen's Royal Standard, used when Elizabeth II is either in Canada or representing Canada as the Canadian head of state -- or, in other words, in her role as Queen of Canada.

So, whereas I like the Maple Leaf flag just fine...even a lot, I can't help but mourn the loss the tasty stew of colors and symbols that not so long ago represented our neighbor to the north.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XLII - Part Deux

This post deals with space...waaaay outer space.  Instead of boring into the ice in Antarctica (see next post), throw it into reverse and pan out all the way to the Oort Cloud -- the spherical cloak of space flotsam and jetsam at the gravitation limit of our solar system, which extends as much as 1/4 the way to our stellar next-door neighbor, Proxima Centauri.

Way out there -- long past poor, demoted Pluto -- is a something two scientists think may be recognized as our biggest and farthest-most, new ninth planet, Tyche.

Check it out:

And here's a cool PDF which shows Tyche in scalar relation to the rest of our solar system:  click here.


[Story source:  The Independent, and image source:  NASA Goddard Photo and Video's photostream at Flickr, both via Gizmodo via TPM.]

Awesomest Image du Jour XLII

Ice fishing in space!

Sort of.  It's actually in Antartica, but scientists are fishing for space-y things:  neutrinos.  Neutrinos [neutrini??] are fundamental particles not unlike electrons, but without the electric charge.  This allows them to pass through all sorts of things, including, apparently, tons of ice at the South Pole.


[Source:  National Science Foundation/B. Gudbjartsson via  NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.]

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XLI

It's one thing to protest and cause a revolution; it's quite another thing to stay and clean up after yourselves.

Kudos to every single Egyptian who took part.  You guys are some classy, classy people.

May your example multiply.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XL

Building will always win over destroying.

[Source:  Tara Todras-Whitehill/Associated Press via The New York Times.]

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXIX

Lunch is served.

A happy pelican in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

[Source:  National Geographic.]

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXVIII

Welcome to Stockholm!

Stockholm, Maine, that is.  Maine's largest and northernmost county -- Aroostook -- is playing host to the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup 8.  Known primarily for miles and miles of potato fields, Aroostook is an ideal place for the biathlon's combination of cross-country skiing and shooting.  Extremely popular in Northern Euope, the sport is making inroads into North America.

Because...what's more fun than skiing and shooting things?

[Source:  IBU via Maine Public Radio via NPR.]

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Awesomeest Image du Jour XXXVII

Talk about Lebensraum!

As long as he doesn't invade the Sudetenland....

[Source:  Ads of the World, an outdoor ad for the Zürich Zoo.]

Monday, February 7, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXVI

Sunny Side, Up!

[Source:  Architect Valentina Audrito, via Cribcandy, via Boing Boing.]

Friday, February 4, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXV


[Source:  Boing Boing.]

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXIV

The eye of God!

This is a composite image taken in 2003 in Antartica of total solar eclipse.  I'm thinking I would have messed my pants.

[Source:  Fred Bruenjes via NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day.]

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXIII

Another cool satellite shot of the "Great Groundhog's Day Blizzard of 2011"....

[Source:  WunderBlog.]

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXII - Part Deux


[Source NOAA via HuffPo.]

Awesomest Image du Jour XXXII

Happy Snowpocalypse, Everybody!

[Source:  AP Photo/L.G. Patterson via Chicago Sun-Times.]