ODAAT: 
one day at a time…
Friday, 31 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Nevada Desert Rocks & Mythology
CREDITS: © Erik Gauger/NotesFromTheRoad.com
MAPS: Rachel, and the Valley of Fire, State Park at the VoF, Nevada.
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Elephantine Rocks © Erik GaugerOn the last day of September we asked you to exercise your CSD (Cool Site of the Day) vote in favor of Erik Gauger's NFR (Notes From The Road) web site. Thank you to those of you who did: perhaps you will want to further Erik's success by voting for him as CSM (Cool Site Of The Month). The last time we checked, Erik was leading by a short head. Knowing that complacency is almost as dangerous in the voting procedure as apathy, we ask you to support web excellence with your vote by clicking the CSM link above.

To avoid the 'Florida Syndrome' you will be asked to enter your email address: we have done so on several occasions in the past without receiving spam. Any 'Cool Site' links will obviously become dated very quickly, though you should always find something at those destinations.

Today's picture is from 'Rocks and Mythology in the Nevada Desert' on the Notes From The Road web site. The travelogue starts in Rachel, the nearest town to the mysterious Area 51, and by way of Cathedral Gorge on the Nevada-Utah border finishes in the Valley of Fire, south of Las Vegas. AWEA 51 (that links to an Elmer Fudd cartoon joke, just to keep you grounded) is covered by UFOMind.com, and the AmericanSouthwest.com web site has sections covering Cathedral Gorge (including an image gallery) and the Valley of Fire State Park (also with a gallery).

Thursday, 30 October 2002

Pix Of The Day: Land Of The Long White Cloud
CREDITS: © Tim Exley/PhotoWeb.com The Long White Cloud
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Aotearoa 1 © Tim ExleyAotearoa 1 © Tim ExleyAotearoa 1 © Tim ExleyAotearoa 1 © Tim Exley
'Aotearoa', the Maori word for New Zealand, means 'land of the long white cloud'. British born photographer Tim Exley, a Toyko resident for 12 years, went there for medical treatment in early 2001. An exhibition, at GoodHonestGrub.com in Tokyo, and a web site, at PhotoWeb.com, resulted from a personal reawakening. We think we should feature more art photography here on ODAAT…

We chose four of the most representational picture to make the thumbnail strip. The only reason for doing this was to make a more approachable and recognizable introduction. We suggest that you enter by the home page, or the first image, then follow the artist's progression. However, we do not think you will be spoiling anything if you just drop in by clicking any or all of the thumbnails.


On This Day In 2002: Getting Lucky in Las Vegas - Wed, 30 Oct 2002
CREDITS: (left) © UMC; (right) © Robin DuCrest/Special FX Lighting, Inc.
MAPS: [1] District [2] Location
UMC Las Vegas © University Medical Center of Southern NevadaLas Vegas Collage © Robin DuCrest
This entry does not mark a return of the particular feature, but rather fulfills the promise made a while back in the web log; it was also a personal watershed. The stents were a 'temporary' measure as things turned out, and six months later I had a quintuple cardiac bypass. I hope that lasts a little longer.

Two weeks ago to the day, we went to participate in a trade show in Las Vegas. The following Sunday morning at 6 am I began a heart attack that lasted for four hours, though by that time I was receiving medical care. I was admitted to UMC (University Medical Center of Southern Nevada), which is one of only four hospitals in the USA to have installed an advanced digital imaging catheterization system, as recently as summer 2002, that allowed a surgeon on two successive days to place 'stents' in the blocked arteries of my heart so that the blood started to flow again.

In the city built by losers, I became a winner.

Wednesday, 29 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: All Without Support From Below
CREDITS: © Jacques Mossot/Structurae.de, and © Weslyan University
MAP: Marvejols, and Millau. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

Viaduc Garabit © Jacques Mossot on Structurae.deIn France's Massif Central area, north of the town of Millau featured in yesterday's item, lies the Viaduc Garabit, which spans the Truyère river on the railway line between Marvejols and Neussargues. When Gustave Eiffel built the structure, a copy of his successful Maria Pia or Duro Bridge in Opporto, Portugal, it was at the time the highest bridge in the world. Size was not the main claim to fame of either structure, it was the ingenious method of building without a requirement for support from below, something the builders at Millau have taken to heart. Macindoe & Vanbuskirk have a neat and succinct summary of Eiffel's life and work, and the official Eiffel Tower web site is worth visiting, with an interesting set of document pages available.

The Boutique-Eiffel.com we site, which otherwise offers trendy brand personal items, has another neat biography page plus an historical picture series showing the building of the Tower in progress. Both pages were marred, at least on our computer system, by the clunky popup implementation, but are never the less recommended. The PBS feature Building Big, accords the Viaduc Garabit its historical dues. Five years after the completion of the viaduct, Eiffel was indicted on charges relating to the building of the Panama canal, and his career never really recovered.

On the web site of the Weslyan University we found [1] [2][3] [4] a set of historical images, held on captioned thumbnail pages. Click the thumbnails to go to the source pages for larger versions of the images. There are three pictures of the Viaduc Garabit newly completed or under construction, and a fourth of the Eiffel Tower partially completed. We were unable to acquire the web site context for the photographs, but thought them too interesting to be allowed to pass unrecorded.
Viaduc Garabit 1 © Weslyan UniversityViaduc Garabit 2 © Weslyan UniversityViaduc Garabit 3 © Weslyan UniversityEiffel Tower © Weslyan University

Tuesday, 28 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Close, But No Cigar Just Yet
CREDITS: © Net Resources International (NRI)/RoadTraffic-Technology.com
MAPS: Millau, France. Thumbnail click pops-up source page with larger image.

Millau Viaduct, France © RoadTraffic-Technology.comIn the south of France they are busy building a bridge of mind boggling dimensions. It will soar on pylons across the valley of the River Tarn, from high plateau to high plateau on either side of the river valley. The project began in mid 2002 and the bridge is expected to be open to traffic on 10 January 2005. The work has been estimated to have a final cost of €310,000,000, and is expected to become the second most frequently visited tourist destination in France.

Today's featured picture shows the point from where the bridge decking will be built out from one plateau towards the opposite plateau. RoadTraffic-Technology.com has good web site coverage of the construction, with details of the fabrication of the component parts, and the logistics of putting it all together.

Here is the description from the RoadTraffic-Technology.com web site, With a total height of 343m, taller than the Eiffel tower, the structure is expected to be the highest viaduct in the world and will be the first cable-stayed bridge to be built with seven pylons instead of the usual two or three. 2,460m in length, the crossing is expected to last, by car, around one minute.

The reason the bridge is being featured here, was to establish the highest bridge in the world. The impressive 343m seems to be total pylon height, whereas the clearance above the river is a less convincing 235m (771ft). We think the New River Gorge Bridge may still be the winner at 876ft, at least in our eyes. The search goes on, and we will let you know.

Monday, 27 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: King of Steel Arch Bridges
CREDITS: © Susie Post Rust/NationalGeographic.com MAP: Fayetteville, WV
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New River Gorge Bridge © Susie Post Rust & NationalGeographic.comWe featured the New River Gorge Bridge, West Virginia, at the end of January 2003. When recently we came across another dramatic image of the 'King of Steel Arch Bridges', we thought the opportunity to run another feature was too good to miss: it is the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world; the arch is 1,700 feet wide, and the total deck length of the bridge is 3,030 feet. It is also the second highest bridge in the United States at 876 feet.

For further information and links to web resources, please load the ODAAT entry for 30 Jan 2003. The following day's entry, for 31 Jan 2003, dealt with the highest bridge in the USA, the Royal Gorge Bridge, whose 1,053 feet claim is only weakened because it is restricted to pedestrian traffic. The world's record highest bridge was uncertain when we ran that feature. Tomorrow we resolve the uncertainty.

Sunday, 26 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: "Flight shots are not the easiest…"
CREDITS: © NAME/NigelBlake.co.uk MAP: Welney, Norfolk
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Shingle Street Owl © Nigel BlakeToday's headline is a quotation from Nigel Blake's web site: clearly he is a master of the deadpan understatement as much as he is a master of the long focal length lens. We even have a segue that Kent Brockman, the newscaster on The Simpsons, would give his eye teeth to use: the picture on the left was taken at Shingle Street, the very same area we have featured in our last two daily entries!

You may already have seen some of Nigel's work: he is a special effects model maker whose work has been used in Superman 2, Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, Aliens, a few of the Bond movies, Lost in Space, Batman, Memphis Belle, and recently the Harry Potter film. As you will know, an IMDB.com (Internet Movie Database) entry is almost as avidly sought as an entry here in the ODAAT… pages, even though the latter is generally considered a greater accolade. You will probably agree with this assertion if you go off and look at some of the featured pictures that are the fruits of Nigel's wildlife photography hobby in his spare time between movie projects.

We have a particular weakness for owls, because like Nigel we were inspired at a tender age by the work of Eric Hosking (1909-1991), who lost his left eye in a 1937 owl encounter in Wales, yet still admired these birds more than any other. Hosking had reason to be grateful to that owl: his career as a photographer went into high gear after reports of the incident were widely circulated in the media.
Welney Owl 1 © Nigel BlakeWelney Owl 2 © Nigel BlakeWelney Owl 3 © Nigel BlakeWelney Owl 4 © Nigel Blake
The other shots were taken around Welney in the English county of Norfolk. Visitors who want to know more about these endlessly fascinating birds may enjoy visiting the OwlPages.com web site, where there is a comprehensive species guide with a good proportion of photographed examples. The owls in these pictures are Barn owls and Short Eared owls: if you visit Nigel, he will tell you which is which in his captions: wonderful birding web site, full of visually amazing images.

Today we will be leaving the Suffolk coast, travelling much further than Norfolk even, for tomorrow's feature. Visitors may enjoy, in the company of Carolyn Lee on her fine web site, a final stroll, or even two, along the foreshore, which notwithstanding the successful legal action in 1855-58 by George Harrison, Attorney General for Cornwall, to establish the Duchy of Cornwall as owners of the foreshore in that county, is owned by the Crown. The Crown is not the Monarch, and the Duchy is not strictly speaking owned and operated by Prince Charles, who as the Prince of Wales is also the Duke of Cornwall. Since 1863 the Prince is only chairman of the Prince's Council in this context … no wonder this stuff is impossible to explain to Americans!

Just enjoy walking freely along the tideline: unlike the rest of the UK you are very unlikely to be challenged, except in areas reserved for use by the MoD (Ministry of Defence), which probably has the only people in the country who can legally accost walkers with, "Git off ma land", while brandishing a firearm.

Saturday, 25 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Radar From Suffolk To Tibet
CREDITS: © Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Imaging Radar/NASA
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Southeast Tibet Mountains © NASA Jet Propulsion LaboratoryToday's image shows the mountains of southeast Tibet, acquired by SIR-C/X-SAR (Spaceborne Imaging Radar-C/X-band Synthetic Aperture Radar). The early development of radar (radio detection and ranging) was driven by a British response to the perceived threat of German airborne attacks in the years leading up to World War II. The 'Father of Radar' was Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, and the first operational installations were made at Bawdsey south of Shingle Street, visited in yesterday's feature.

American soldier Gardner L. Friedlander has many memories of the early years of radar, and received training at Bawdsey. The development of the first operational radar defense system, called Chain Home, and its final destruction (strangely undated on that page, but was scheduled for 21 Sept 2000), can be read in depth in a series on Dick Barrett's Radar Pages web site. Visitors who seek historical balance will want to read American authored 'Deflating British Radar Myths Of World War II' by Major Gregory C. Clark (PDF format). One of the spoils of war is that the victors get to write the history, often at the expense of the truth.

Friday, 24 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Wartime Propaganda Or Cover Up?
CREDITS: © Ian Davey/SuffolkCAM.co.uk MAPS: Shingle Street.
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Coastguard Cottages © Ian DaveyThe village of Shingle Street lies on the Sussex coast at the mouth of the River Alde. The featured picture shows the former Coast Guard Cottages, now used as vacation accommodation. Nearby is a Martello Tower, which is a small circular fort, usually on the coast to prevent a hostile landing, named after Cape Mortella in Corsica, where such a tower proved difficult to capture in 1794. The tower is one of seventy four defensive towers, built between 1805 and 1808, during the Napoleonic period, from Folkestone to Seaford.

Several other buildings, which help to tell the story of Shingle Street, may be seen on Ian Davey's SuffolCAM.co.uk (content may change before you visit, but the item will appear in the 2003 archives). Coastal defence, as you may discover, is a long standing tradition in this area, right up to the Cold War. Some say after. This coast faces the European mainland, complete with both the opportunities and dangers implied in that situation. Some say that a German invasion was secretly repelled at Shingle Street. Others say it was wartime propaganda, and recently just a newspaper hack trying to manufacture a story. People don't stoop that low, do they?

Here are the web resources where you may review both sides of the discussion. Firstly a thorough and well executed site from Ronald Ashford that clearly states its agenda. Secondly, available from LTM Publishing who offer historical titles under the CD14 banner, a book by James Hayward, who has written other books on similar subjects. We were unable to find much of the Hayward material on the web, other than offers to purchase the books, but the foreword to 'The Bodies on the Beach', seems to give a good idea of his position. Lastly, The BBC have a couple of items on national and local services, which are both worth reading. We are waiting for the official documents to be released in 2021 before we make our determination.

Thursday, 23 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Hot SF Wheels Action Shots
CREDITS: © Adam Tow/Tow.com
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SF Wheels 1 © Adam TowSF Wheels 2 © Adam TowSF Wheels 3 © Adam TowSF Wheels 4 © Adam Tow
Ian Scott-Parker writes: For several weeks, I have found the task of researching and writing the daily updates to be an ever more onerous task. Regular readers will have noticed that with increasing frequency, update deadlines were not being met, this one being a case in point. Rather than practice blogus interruptus, I decided to continue, but fake it a little. The daily feature will change to a simpler format, like the one you see in the remainder of this update. Thank you for visiting: many of you are unknown to me, but even if you are just a single entry on the server log, your presence is appreciated. I hope you find something to enjoy!

Back to the photoblog: Following yesterday's item on Oz bicycle racing, we went out on to the net to find some good quality bicycling racing action shots, ones with an immediacy and an 'I Know Because I Was There' quality. On 14 September 2003 they ran what was formerly known simply as the 'San Francisco Gran Prix', but under commercial pressures is now known as the T-Mobile International. Shorter we grant you, but does it really have much meaning outside of the already converted? We thought at first it was a trade show for the operators of those hot drink carts we see at the County Fair. We appreciate the commercial sponsors of bicycle racing, but it must be a labor of love, rather than an accountant's cost/benefit analysis.

Adam Tow is an native of San Diego, who moved north to be educated and employed, and seems to have managed admirably on both counts. One of his stocks in trade is professional photography, and he shares lots of his work online. Check out his site: these pictures come from the obviously bicycle oriented gallery near the bottom of his Digital Journal. We presume that at some time the gallery will move into the archive section, and we will update the link if we see that happen.

There are pictures of Adam and many of his friends from all over the world, but we were so amazed at an image of him hand holding a giant lens, that we expect you might be experiencing a little web page shake. Lots to enjoy on this web site: from now on rootling is the order of the day! Just imagine you are a porcine truffle hunter.

Oink. Oink.

Wednesday, 22 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Some Down Under Bicycle History
CREDITS: © Bruce Henderson/WarrnamboolCAM.com
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Warrnambool Bicycle Race © Bruce HendersonWe spent many enjoyable hours earlier this year, watching TV coverage of the three great European bicycle races; the Giro d'Italia; the Tour de France; and the Vuelta A Espagna. The Ozzie riders such as Baden Cook and Robbie McEwen , who battled it out for the Green Jersey right up to the line on the last day, were heroic despite some shoulder charging that passed without much comment. We thought it wryly ironic that both men in the final battle of the Titans came second and third to Jean-Patrick Nazon!

Cycling TV commentator Bob Roll, something of a hero in his own right, often says that bicycle racing is a metaphor for life; the intertwining of glory and failure in a single thrilling event Well perhaps his and yours, but ours is much less heroic: racing for the finishing line is something we try our hardest not to do at this stage of our lives. An earlier generation of Ozzie riders were much more polite than the young bloods of today. Bruce recounts the tragically foreshortened career of acutely short sighted Russell Mockridge: 'In his first race (on a very old bicycle with his glasses held to his face with sticky tape) Mockridge made a remark (which would epitomise his cycling career), when he asked those riding along with him, whether they would object if he went ahead on his own! Whatever you do, do it with style.

Somehow we don't expect Lance Armstrong & Jan Ullrich or top 2003 Vuelta sprinters Eric Zabel & Mario Petacchi [Tasteful nudity at that link - Ed] to start such foppish banter. David Millar? Well, perhaps. Ozzie bicycle racers are doing so well on the world scene that one day OLNTV might extend their much appreciated bicycle racing coverage to include the Tour Down Under.


On This Day In 2002: Denver & Rio Grande Western Trip
CREDITS: © ND Holmes/DRGW.net
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Westbound 0306 Cumbres & Toltec © ND HolmesToday's Google date search for "22 Oct 2003" returned a result on image searches of the kind that many webmasters would give their eye teeth to achieve: first place went to the DRGW.net web site. The DRGW is the Denver & Rio Grande Western railway, and the web site is Dedicated to preserving, organizing, and making available information on the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad.

They make a good job of that: Rocky Mountain railways are something we have been looking at in ODAAT's EPSG (Editorial Policy Steering Group) for some time. DRGW has a POTD (Picture of the Day) feature [These acronyms are getting out of hand again! - Ed.], and although today's was empty, awaiting the update when we visited, there was a large archive going back as far as January 2001.

Our feature picture for today came from the section for 14 Aug 2002 to 7 Jan 2003 (note the unusual US use of a logical date format), where the caption reads 'DRGW 0306 brings up the rear of the last regularly scheduled westbound over the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic this year. After a disastrous season due to the FRA closure and worse, the US Forest Service closure, it's good to see them running again.'

From the same summary page, a picture of Moffat Road, taken on the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad, is stunning: however, you will have to examine it carefully to see why! The caption gives a good clue to look high. Yankee Doodle, yes indeed!

Tuesday, 21 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Robin & Donna Are Married!
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com

 
  

Regular visitors may remember Robin & Donna from a feature we did on them performing as In2It a while back. Last Saturday they were married, and we feel sure you will join us in wishing them a long and happy life together.


On This Day In 2002: Gettysburg Mississippi Monument
CREDITS: © Randy Chadwick/Battle of Gettysburg
The web site will soon be relocating to the BrothersWar.com domain.
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Gettysburg Mississippians © Randy ChadwickWe thought it was time we gave Americans an opportunity to participate, despite their bizarre handling of date formats. We input the date into Google in the "10-21-03" format, and were rewarded with a thorough web site, by Randy Chadwick, about the American Civil War battle at Gettysburg. The date is only significant from the image filename, which we presume indicates the date the picture was taken: the Battle of Gettysburg was fought on 1-3 July 1863.

The picture shows a monument to commemorate the Mississippian contingent of the Confederate army, part of a page about the soldiers who fought in the battle: Late on July 2, 1863, an anxious Mississippi Brigadier General finally heard the words for which he had impatiently waited. Receiving his orders, General William Barksdale road out in front of his men and thundered, "Attention, Mississippians! Battalions forward! Dress to the colors and Forward to the foe! Onward, Brave Mississippians! For Glory!" Leading by as much as 50 yards, Barksdale was mortally wounded as his valiant men surged through the Peach Orchard towards the Union lines.

We leave you to work your way through all the resources offered by the site, but ask you to note that it may soon relocate to a knew home in its own domain, for which the URI address is given in the heading to this item. Our own surfing safari fetched up on the Library of Congress web site for Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. There is only a single known extant photograph of Lincoln taken on 19 November 1863 at the dedication of the Civil War cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. There are five known copies of the Gettysburg Address manuscript; the Library of Congress has two, which may be viewed on their web site, with notes about all five copies.

Monday, 20 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: We Wish We Knew What It Meant
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk MAP: Grasmere
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Grasmere Beeches © Tony RichardsWe came across a poem by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) in the 1898 'Wessex Poems and Other Verses' entitled In a Wood. The opening lines are:

Pale beech and pine-tree blue,
Set in one clay,
Bough to bough cannot you
Bide out your day?

The Bartleby commentary notes, Hardy's verse is spare, unadorned, and unromantic, and its pervasive theme is man's futile struggle against cosmic forces. Though we understood the critical reference to Hardy's oft repeated themes where physical harshness echoes that of an indifferent, if not malevolent, universe, we found that difficult to reconcile with this delightful picture by Tony Richards.

It is difficult to know if Hardy's attitudes were exogenous, the direct result of his own experiences, or endogenous, created from within: he was after all relatively affluent and sheltered from the vicissitudes and troubles of life. As our sensei was fond of telling us, "Some things only exist in your head!"


On This Day In 2002: Disturb Not The Peaceful Dragon
CREDITS: © ThePeacefulDragon.com MAP: Charlotte, North Carolina.
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rand Opening © The Peaceful DragonToday's date generated Google search for "20 Oct 2002'" fetched up on the web shores of The Peaceful Dragon, a cultural center and restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina. We arrived specifically at a page featuring the formal group portrait at the Grand Opening Ceremony. The founders, Eric Sbarge and Hu Wan Chih, had a mission to preserve and pass on the best of Asian culture, which begat the center.

The lineage school offers courses in Chi Kung (Qigong), kungfu, meditation, and other disciplines. We appreciated the reminder that kungfu means 'hard work', and so we took our sensei's advice to walk away with an empty mind, leaving our own dragons untroubled. This is an excellent site just to gain an overview of the often ancient Far Eastern cultural contributions to life in the West.

The vegetarian restaurant features a mouth watering menu under the care of Chef Geoff Bragg, from which we fancied Imperial Phoenix, sautéed shiitake and snow peas in a rich brown sauce, served with steamed brown rice; or perhaps Steamed Dumplings, served with ginger sauce, rice and steamed vegetable salad. Chef Geoff is also something of a TV star on the local cable network. When he is moonlighting in his second job, Chef Geoff is not above rustling up a good old chicken dinner!

Sunday, 19 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Familiar But Never Hackneyed View
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org MAP: Blea Tarn (and detail).
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Blea Tarn © Andrew LeaneyBlea Tarn towards the Landale Pikes must be one of the classic views in the English Lake District. We have featured similar views before, but we thought this to be one of the best we have seen. Andrew Leaney has another view on his web site, taken on a wonderful Autumn day in Lakeland, on a walk round the valley of Little Langdale. Three CAM site pictures have brought us close to experiencing home sickness. Two of those were taken by Andrew


On This Day In 2002: Nobody Is Perfect In Every Way - Sat, 19 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © David J. Farber/DJF home page. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.

David J. Farber © David J. FarberYesterday we made a facetious remark about academics liking to attach long names to things: today, missing an archive entry for the appropriate day, we Googled "19 Oct 2002" then stumbled across David J. Farber, who is The Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Telecommunication Systems in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Business and Public Policy at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Early in 2000, David was appointed Chief Technologist at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), a body renowned for its ability to sense the policy direction in which any current administration wants to go. We hope he gave them a rough ride. He was named as one of the most powerful twenty five people in networking in an issue of Network World magazine. Wired Magazine, issue Sept 1996, said he was the Paul Revere of Cyberspace.

The achievements listed on his web site are extensive, and his resumé clearly defines him as a technologist with clout. We were most impressed firstly with his Apple Macintosh laptop, seen in our feature picture for today. We confess that when we first saw the thumbnail of that picture, we thought David was a TV evangelist: we were only half right as usual. What he evangelizes is more temporal than spiritual.

Secondly his irreverence and disrespect for copyright holders, celebrated here by stealing his picture even though the official publication released one is perhaps more flattering. Our eagle eyed readers will doubtless notice the title of his homepage is macpond (more kudos), and features at the very top a logo for the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation: motto 'Defending Freedom in the Digital World').

Thirdly his invention of the Farberism: surreal garbled sayings that have a meaning despite their confusion. One of his best known sayings, a reflection on the anarchic nature of the movement of information about the Internet, was "Photons have neither morals or visas". Nothing unclear in the thinking or the expression in that sound bite, which he used as an email sig.

David also has the common touch: about 25,000 people receive his personal mailing list Interesting-People.org. In an interview, David said that he would be allowed to maintain his list while working for the FCC. "I couldn't have accepted the job otherwise," he said. At FCC Towers they must have wondered what kind of a square peg they were trying to fit into one of their comfortable round holes.

We also respect the man who spoke as an expert witness in the Microsoft hearings: "In general, designers have a huge amount of flexibility in how to package these files, the same way you have a large amount of flexibility in how you put things in a grocery bag, as long as you don't crush stuff. Software is infinitely malleable." Many saw this as the death blow to Microsoft's assertion that it had to integrate its browser into the operating system desktop. When obfuscation is raised to an art form, genius is needed to articulate what any idiot should know to be the truth.

This item specifically revolved around the date of 10 Oct 2002, and that was the date on which David's web site was last updated. It seems that only people like us, on whose hands time lies heavily, can afford the overhead of keeping web pages updated.

Further research updates David's circumstances: he has resigned posts at the University of Pennsylvania, is no longer the FCC Chief Technologist, but does hold the posts of Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science & Public Policy in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, which is brief to the point of terseness compared with his last title. He holds secondary appointments in the Heinz School of Public Policy and the Engineering Public Policy Group.

Although we hesitate to offer advice to someone in such a lofty position, here goes: Dave, ya gotta do sumptin' about that web page! It is one of the worst we have ever seen. Now you have left UPenn, deletion seems a good option. On the other hand that would leave this page with broken links.

Saturday, 18 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Two Turners Portraying Lakeland
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk MAP: Elterwater
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Grasmere © Peter TurnerAutumn, or Fall if you prefer, is in full swing in our old homeland of the English Lake District. Today as we flicked through the local CAM web sites there were some appealing and reminiscent shots. The ice is beginning to form on the smaller tarns, and the morning fields are rimed with white.

Peter Turner visited Elterwater on a trip north from his Macclesfield base. The tree outside the Britannia at Elterwater nearly always makes an excellent photographic subject: it's rather difficult to do badly unless there are intrusively parked vehicles. Another of Peter's excellent 'walkabout' tours… then we saw the featured picture. We could write several hundred appreciative words about it… but we will just quietly withdraw to allow you to gaze in wonderment on another fine Turner lake scene.


On This Day In 2002: No Faking When Dennis Met IRIS - Fri, 18 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Anglo-Australian Observatory, Epping, New South Wales
MAP: Sydney, NSW. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image on source web site.

Dennis & IRIS2 © Anglo Australian ObservatoryWhen there is no entry available from our archives to prepare this feature, we input the date in our preferred format into Google and take pot luck.

Given our own Google settings, and the bizarre American way of formatting dates, this method does produce a high percentage of hits from Australia. Today was no exception: we had to miss out the 'dayname' to get a suitable return, but eventually the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Epping, a suburb of northwest Sydney, New South Wales hove into view on our monitors. This facility introduces itself like this, "The AAO operates the Anglo-Australian and UK Schmidt telescopes on behalf of the astronomical communities of Australia and the UK. To this end the Observatory is funded equally by the Australian and British Governments. Its function is to provide world-class observing facilities for British and Australian optical astronomers. We wish more web sites gave such a clear statement of purpose.

There is a gateway page leading to thumbnails of images recorded at the Epping observatory, which are also available at a reasonable size. The observatory web site also offers much larger pictures, for sale, and an annual calendar. The observatory is also equipped with an IRIS (Infrared Imager & Spectrograph), which is seen in our picture, and judging from the picture file title [Dennis_IRIS2_medium.jpg] we think perhaps it is operated by someone called Dennis.

Proving that academics love attaching long names to things, the Institute of Astronomy is part of the Faculty of Physics and Chemistry within the School of the Physical Sciences of the University of Cambridge in the UK. Fortunately their web address ast.cam.ac.uk is elegantly brief and to the point.

There the very latest development for the Anglo-Australian Telescope is the construction of AAOmega. This will be the next generation optical spectrograph for the AAT. The instrument will be a multi-purpose fibre fed spectrograph with two main observing modes: multiple-object spectroscopy using the existing 2dF top end; integral field spectroscopy at Cassegrain focus; spectropolarimetry may be available at Auxiliary Cass (yet to be determined).

AAOmega will provide higher spectral resolving power, throughput, and stability than the existing 2dF, RGO, and SPIRAL spectrographs and is intended to replace all three. AAOmega is currently in the Final Design phase, with commissioning currently scheduled for Semester 2005B.

On the mechanical team is one J. Dennis Whittard. Could it be?

When first we looked at the thumbnail in Google, we thought Dennis was some crazed laboratory technician driving an upscale scientific ATV, but when we tracked down the larger image on the source web site we realized that those were gimbals not wheels; that was the IRIS instrument not a steering column; and what we first thought was a steering wheel, looks like it might be part of the tracking mechanism, receiving maintenance attention from Dennis. Whatever the facts, we thought it was a very appealing picture. We feel sure that IRIS will not offer Dennis anything but valid scientific data, never faking anything just to gain attention.

Friday, 17 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Bellagio Burns Sound Of Muzak®
CREDITS: © Robin DuCrest/FXlight.com

Bellagio Hotel © Robin DuCrestOne year ago to the day, we set off to spend a few days in Sin City, Nevada. Our stay was unexpectedly somewhat extended to almost two weeks: that story will reappear here later this month on 30 October. Our only comment today is that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Meanwhile we thought a tasteful picture of Las Vegas might be just the thing to remind us of Robert Burns' lines, 'The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley'. Despite our usual sniffy posture about the delights of Las Vegas ("America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between." We find it hard to believe that Oscar Wilde really did use prepositions to end sentences with!), these mighty spouts dancing animatedly to and fro in front of the Bellagio Hotel really are a compelling sight. We hate web sites with piped music, even worse if the music is in the 'midi' format, but if you must have music, then use short acoustic Vivaldi clips like the Bellagio; but best of all maintain silence, like the Muzac® web site.


On This Day In 2002: Unplanned Interlude - Thu, 17 Oct 2002

We are taking a break. Vermont to see the glorious shades of Autumn? The Rockies, perhaps, to see the golden aspens shimmering in the rich afternoon light? Death Valley in Nevada to experience the uplifting desolation of a real desert, now that the season has cooled the heat of the Summer? Not quite: we are off to Las Vegas for a trade show. We have been assured that even beginners like us can arrive in a $2,500 Chevvy, and leave in a $250,000 Greyhound. The weblog will be back next week with an update at 00:01GMT on Tuesday. Meanwhile, why not have a dig around the archives from the pulldown menu in the sidebar, or visit one of the CAMs or galleries from the other pulldowns?

Thursday, 16 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Aeronautical Inventors Fly Kites
CREDITS: © CTIE/Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Thumbnail click pops-up larger images on original source page.

Hargrave & Bell © CTIE Monash UniversityFollowing a recent item about Alexander Graham Bell and his experiments with kites five years after the Wright brothers first flew, Australian reader Eric Shackle alerted us to the contributions to aviation made by Lawrence Hargrave (1850-1915). One of those 'amateur' scientific gentlemen that England is so good at producing, he was born in Greenwich, London, but was educated at Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale, in the English county of Westmorland, which has since been absorbed into the county of Cumbria. This fact in and of itself is sufficient to explain his genius, but must also have contributed to his generosity of spirit: he never patented any of his inventions, preferring to see them as contributions to the advancement of science and the general good.

At the age of fifteen Hargrave sailed to Australia to join his father, who had moved to New South Wales in 1866 to pursue a legal career. Young Lawrence was not destined to follow in his father's career footsteps, because he failed his matriculation examination, and in 1867 was apprenticed in the engineering workshops of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company. The cause of his failure is usually seen as his decision to circumnavigate Australia as a passenger in the schooner Ellesmere soon after his arrival in the colony, rather than spend time in study.

The circumnavigation seems to have awakened in Hargrave an interest in exploration and scientific discovery because over the next decade he joined several expeditions to New Guinea, beginning with the ill-fated journey of the brig Maria which sank with great loss of life off the coast of Queensland. Our research into this episode casts doubt on Hargrave's presence on board at the time of the disaster.

Later Hargrave joined Macleay aboard the Chevert, leaving it prematurely to join Octavius Stone aboard the Ellengowan. Although regarded as the expedition's engineer Hargrave made detailed notes of his observations of people, their homes, habits, technology, and language. His last expedition to New Guinea was as engineer to the Italian naturalist, Luigi Maria d'Albertis [NB: 'Maclay' in that last article is not the previously mentioned 'Macleay'] aboard the launch Neva. Hargrave mapped the Fly River and collected specimens of scientific interest.

In 1877 he decided to settle down, and was elected a member of the Royal Society of New South Wales. In 1878 he was appointed an assistant astronomical observer at Sydney Observatory, a post that he held until 1883, when he retired to devote the remainder of his life to research work into problems connected with human flight. His son and fellow experimenter, Geoffrey Lewis Hargrave, was killed at Gallipoli in May 1915. Following this tragic news Hargrave became seriously ill with peritonitis, and he died in a hospital on 6 July 1915. He was buried in Waverley Cemetery in Bronte, New South Wales. More biographical details are available on a CTIE Monash University web site devoted to Hargrave. The AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Inc.) has a detailed biographical article on Hargrave written by Ian Debenham, Curator of Transport at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia.

Perhaps Hargrave's most important contribution was the double box kite: this seemingly mundane development allowed the development of the type of machines flown by the Wright brothers. Certainly they knew of Hargrave's work, but possibly because of political and patent considerations, they never acknowledged the debt.

On 12 November 1894, Hargrave linked four of his kites together, added a sling seat, and flew sixteen feet. By demonstrating to a skeptical public that it was possible to build a safe and stable flying machine, Hargrave opened the door to other inventors and pioneers. The Hargrave-designed box kite, with its improved lift-to-drag ratio, provided the crucial theoretical wing model that allowed the pioneering development of configurations for the first generation of airplanes.

The first successful aircraft incorporated three crucial aeronautical concepts studied by Hargrave: the cellular box-kite wing, the curved wing surface, and the thick leading wing edge or aerofoil. Some European pioneers did acknowledge their debt to Hargrave, and in one diagrammatic representation (Shaw, W. Hudson and Ruhen, Olaf, 1977) of the development of the factors and technologies that enabled the Wright Flyer of 1903, Hargrave's name appears eight times.

The Power House Museum in Sydney is often identified as the final repository of Hargrave models, papers [on that page, input 'HARGRAVE' then click the SEARCH button], and effects, but there does not seem to be any easy way for lay people to easily access these resources. On the web, a Google site specific search for "HARGRAVE" returned a disappointingly impoverished selection. Perhaps our searching skills need honing: we will keep trying, and report back if we find anything gripping. Limitations on spending must prevent many institutions from staging exhibitions of the treasures in their collections, but surely the web is an acceptably low cost alternative to allowing dust to gather in neglected archives?

Today's feature picture, taken in 1910, shows Lawrence Hargrave arm in arm with Alexander Graham Bell, from the Monash gallery page. In that year, on 21 May, Wilbur Wright made his last flight as a pilot in the United States, when he flew at Simm's Station in Dayton, Ohio. On 25 May, Orville and Wilbur Wright made a short flight at Huffman Field, Dayton, Ohio. It was the only time the Wright brothers were in the air together. Pioneering history was beginning to change into flight development history. Within sixty years a man walked on the surface of the moon.


On This Day In 2002: Holiday Snaps - Wed, 16 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1] Region [2] District [3] Location

Loch Doon © Tony RichardsPhotographer Tony Richards is having a break too. Rather than visiting the fleshpots of some God forsaken city, Tony opted for the place they call 'God's Ain Country'. Specifically Tony is touring the Galloway Region of Southwest Scotland. This area is just across the Solway Firth (the latter being the Scottish name for an arm of the sea) from Tony's usual stamping grounds in the Lake District of the English county of Cumbria, where he runs LakelandCAM.co.uk

The featured photograph is of 'The Merrick', Southwest Scotland's highest hill, seen across the waters of Loch Doon, which is actually in Ayrshire to the north. Our favorite bit of topography thereabouts is 'The Dead Hand', which is made up from five ridges that descend from one of the hills. Historically the interior of this countryside became known as 'The Wild Recesses of Galloway': Robert the Bruce hid a whole army here while weathering out some difficult times.

Loch Dee, Galloway © Douglas E. WilcoxSome time ago we featured another Galloway picture, on that occasion of Loch Dee. Loch Dee Sunset is very evocative of those haunting landscapes. the original may be viewed as a high-res panorama if you have the resources.

The Scottish Mountain Photo Gallery is maintained by Douglas E. Wilcox and is also home to the Morss Collection of aerial photographs of the mountains and islands of Scotland. Highly recommended if you are interested in any of the Scottish mountains, or just enjoy looking at landscapes. The site has lots of additional material to enjoy - check out the Landstat image of the Cuillin Mountains, Isle of Skye.

Wednesday, 15 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: How To Be Happy For A Lifetime
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
Thumbnail clicks popup larger images.

Chrysanthemums © Charles WinpennyA Chinese philosopher said, "If you would be happy for a lifetime, grow Chrysanthemums." Affectionately known as 'Chrysanths' and 'Mums' in the Occident, their ancient Chinese name was 'Chu'. The flower was exported first to Japan, where it became revered, then in the 17th century to Europe. In 1753 Karl Linnaeus, the Swedish father of botany, combined the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold, with anthemon, meaning flower. Our preference is for 'Mums'.

Chrysanthemums are the largest commercial flower crop in the USA, due to ease of cultivation, capability to bloom on schedule, diversity of bloom forms and colors, and holding quality of the blooms. Though they bring joy to many, in some places such as Belgium, and Austria, Chrysanthemums are generally used as a memorial flower on graves. Well, that never stopped us liking Arum lilies, traditionally a funeral flower in the UK: known as Callum lilies in the USA, they are often carried by brides!

You may read a fuller history of the Chrysanthemum on the web site of the National Chrysanthemum Society USA (NCS-USA), which is hosted in the wonderfully named Internet domain of Mums.org. If you want your life to be not only happy but also long and ahem… rewarding, perhaps the Chrysanthemum Tea With Ginseng that we found online might do the trick. In Chinese mythology, a Chrysanthemum that has been used to wipe one's lips after drinking wine, and then given to a beloved, will ensure undying love and fidelity. We are unable to offer warranties for any of these claims, which we have not yet been able to test in our laboratories.


On This Day In 2002: Buttermere Lakeland Classic - Tue, 15 Oct 2002
CREDIT: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org page for 13 October 2002
MAPS: [1] Region [2] District [3] Location

Fleetwith Pike © Andrew LeaneyA few days ago we featured a Langdale Lakeland Classic. This is a Classic in another valley. If it was possible to wear mountains away by taking photographs of them, then this one would feature among the early losses. The last time we ascended the col on the right hand side of the picture there was some British Royal Wedding or other event in progress. A teenaged girl was sitting by the path with a transistor radio held to her ear, weeping and making all kinds of public fuss and comment to anyone who passed within range.

We joined a solitary walker at the view point to take in the wondrous view down the length of the lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water, which the nearby radio audience was ignoring. After a minute or two of otherwise silent contemplation, we remarked softly beneath the distant sobbing, "Should we throw her over the edge?" After a few moments of further silence, with a jerk of his head, he asked tersely, "Her or the Royal Personage?" Mountain perspectives are so nourishing to the spirit.

Tuesday, 14 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Travelling In Style In A Fowler
CREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAP: Ravenglass. Thumbnail clicks popup larger images.

Fowler Traction Engine © Tony RichardsWe think this may be the same Fowler traction engine spotted by Ann Bowker for a feature we did earlier this month. On that occasion it was seen climbing towards Newlands Hause, but is shown here at Ravenglass, photographed by Tony Richards. Both locations are in the English Lake District, so the conclusion, that they are one and the same, does not seem unreasonable. The operating manual from the manufacturers, John Fowler & Company (Leeds) Limited, includes instruction that might benefit operators of today's internal combustion engine vehicles, 'Before Starting, see that all moving parts are properly lubricated and all oil cups and cylinder lubricator filled. Make a practice while oiling up of inspecting all bolts, nuts, and other parts which may shake loose. The early discovery of faults of this kind saves many breakdowns.'

Fowler steam rollers and steam traction engines were manufactured, along with steam locomotives. Fowler ended steam locomotive construction in 1936. Twelve steam locomotives were built between 1933 and 1936, and eight were supplied to Queensland Sugar Mills in Australia. The Bundaberg Foundry Co Ltd located in Bundaberg, Queensland was an established engineering company to the sugar industry and had repaired steam locomotives. After World War II there was still a demand for steam locomotives despite the availability of petrol locomotives.

Bundaberg Foundry obtained a licence from John Fowler to use their designs to build steam locomotives. The company still offers Fowler replacement parts! Eight Bundy Fowlers were constructed in 1952 and 1953. Europe's oldest working Fowler was to be an Irish owned 1892 'Invincible' after renovation in 2001 by Bartlett Engineering Co. of Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales. The last surviving Fowler Patent Drive, which is prohibited from steaming up by the Queensland boiler code legislation, is located as a static exhibit at the Australian Sugar Industry Museum in Mourilyan, where it first went to work. [NOTE: images did not load when we visited this web site].


On This Day In 2002: Heroes of Mountain Rescue - Mon, 14 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Braemar Mountain Rescue Team.
MAPS: [1] Region [2] District [3] Location. Thumbnail clicks popup larger images.

Winter vertical lowering training © Braemar Mountain Rescue TeamSummer vertical lowering training © Braemar Mountain Rescue TeamIn the UK responsibility for rescuing people in the mountains rests with the local Chief Constable of the police area where the incident occurs. Sea cliff rescue is the responsibility of HM Coastguard. These authorities usually call upon one of the many independent voluntary organisations whose members risk their own lives, motivated by community spirit.

Voluntary groups depend on donations for their continued existence, and the ability to perform this life saving work. The Braemar Team covers one of the wildest areas of Scotland: the road at Cock Bridge (in the top right hand corner of the location map in the link above) is usually the first in Britain to be closed by snow at the onset of winter. The Cairngorm Plateau to the north of Braemar can experience unexpected arctic conditions at almost any time of the year. The pictures featured here are from training exercises: imagine doing this sort of job in a blizzard or a storm to get an idea of the committment that is required.

The teams need support, no matter how small the contribution. You may make a donation to support the work of the Braemar Team through their website. Details of the other teams are available from the MRCS (Mountain Rescue Committe of Scotland) or the MRC (Mountain Rescue Committe), which covers England and Wales.

Monday, 13 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Fickle Finger Of Fate Lighthouse
CREDITS: © Rudy & Alice Rico/RudyAliceLighthouse.net
MAP: Monterey, California. Thumbnails pops-up source page with larger image.

Point Piñnos Lighthouse © Tudy &Alice RicoIan Scott-Parker writes: Saturday's big wedding went off without a hitch: in the dying rays of the sun, on a perfect Fall evening in southern Utah, Robin & Donna made their vows to each other before the assembled guests. Immediately the ceremony was completed, the sun slid gracefully below the horizon of a nearby hill. Robin is a former theatrical director, so although the dramatic thespian timing was happenstance, it was never the less wholly apposite.

I was helping to serve the buffet, and hearing my accent ("tomato" is a dead give away around here), the lady I was serving said, "I know you! What's your name?" It transpired that she was the duty nurse one night shift in May of this year: that was the same night that I was the patient who went into convulsions, accompanied by loud bellowing and violent bed rocking, which triggered the alarms that brought a posse of nurses and doctors rushing into the side room. "You scared me half to death," she said accusingly, "Don't you ever do that again!" I apologized profusely, thanked her for her care in my hour of need, and gave her an additional serving of cauliflower.

Another guest, a regular reader of this web site, was admiring a bird house in the form of a lighthouse. "Why don't you do a piece on lighthouses?" she asked. This was another coincidence, because earlier in the day I had filed away a web reference, thinking that perhaps my own interest in lighthouses might not be shared by many readers. Imagine my surprise when all those present agreed that lighthouses were fascinating places worthy of more frequent coverage on this web site. I tried hard to remember if we had ever covered lighthouses at all: imagine my further surprise when I discovered that in today's 'On This Day In 2002' feature the Fickle Finger Of Fate on the Long Arm Of Coincidence points at Godrevy Lighthouse in Cornwall!

The piece I had filed away was not just about any old lighthouse, rather it detailed the longest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast of the USA. Although historically the third lighthouse to be built, the earlier two fail on the continuous operation criterion. The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History has a short history of the Point Piños Lighthouse, which was visited in 1879 by RL Stevenson, the author of 'Treasure Island' and something of an expert of lighthouses.

The first keeper, Charles Layton, was killed in 1856 while serving as a member of the sheriff's posse chasing the notorious outlaw Anastasio Garcia. The keeper's widow, Charlotte, succeeded him and remained head keeper until 1860, when she married her assistant keeper, George Harris. The most famous keeper was Mrs. Emily Fish, who served from 1893 to 1914. She was called the 'Socialite Keeper' because she frequently entertained guests at the lighthouse.

Rudy & Alice Rico have a fascinating web site with a comprehensive Point Piños page. There are several varied pictures of the exterior of the lighthouse, plus several interior shots, all accompanied by an excellent historical text. The site has sections for lighthouses nationwide: in other parts of California; Lake Ontario; Lake Erie; and Cape Cod. Each lighthouse visited has a neat selection of pictures with accompanying text. The PBS Legendary Lighthouses site is another rich resource, though neither of the two series of TV programs is currently scheduled to be broadcast. These sites are treasure troves for lighthouse lovers, and show the web at its very best.



On This Day In 2002: Cornwall's Hospitable Shores - Sun, 13 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1] Region [2] District [3] Location

St Ives Bay © Charles WinpennyAfter yesterday's visit to the wild coast of Greenland, we return to the usually more hospitable shores of Cornwall, the final English county on the southwest peninsula. This fine seascape by Charles Winpenny shows St. Ives Bay in a color palette that I am sure would have pleased Claude Gellée.

The town of St. Ives is a notable artists' colony, as well as being a tourist venue, and the place where wave surfing first reached the UK. However, the picture does not show the storm clouds, wind swept beaches, or pounding seas that sometimes appear in Charles' always excellent record of Cornwall in all its moods from day to day.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly © Charles WinpennyDespite the evidence of the gentle Small Tortoiseshell butterfly picture from Charle's update for today, the maritime record of this coast has a long list of wrecks from storms, and tradition has it that the locals shone lights out to sea to lure innocent ships onto the rocks for the booty that might be recovered afterwards by the 'wreckers'.

Many of these folklore traditions are doubtless tall tales: we enjoyed the one about attaching a lantern to a donkey's tail for it to be swung to a fro as a lure for shipping!

The local Godrevy Lighthouse was built between January 1858 and March 1859, following the wreck of a passenger steamer named 'The Nile'. The vessel had foundered with the loss of all hands in December 1854 on 'The Stones' reef, which extends one and a half miles offshore. The sea still produces a local bounty from flotsam and jetsam: in modern times valuable timber has been recovered, but there are laws governing how this can be done, and the facts must be reported to the 'Office Of Receiver Of Wrecks' in the port of Southampton. There is a shipwreck museum in Charlestown, which has many historical artifacts collected over the years.

The Crown owns beached whales, though what to do with the Wales has perplexed many a ruling monarch, right down the centuries to the present day.

Sunday 12 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Confidently Ignoring Kitty Hawk
CREDITS: © Gilbert H. Grosvenor /NationalGeographic.com
MAP: Baddeck, Nova Scotia, Canada. Thumbnail click pops-up image source page.

Alexander Graham Bell Kite Flying 1908 © National Geographic Society & Gilbert H. GrosvenorAlthough history now recognizes the Wright brothers 1903 Kitty Hawk flight as the beginning of aviation, it was not always so. Here is a 1908 picture of Alexander Graham Bell flying a kite. The picture is captioned with an excerpt from the issue of the National Geographic Magazine for October 1963, in which it appeared: 'Convinced that man would fly and that he himself might invent the machine, Dr. Bell had been experimenting with kites for many years.'


On This Day In 2002: Erik the Red from Narsarsuaq - Sat, 12 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Dr.Wilfried Steffens/EUDIALYTE and Greenland 2001
MAPS: [1] Region [2] District [3] Location

Narsarsuaq Airport © Dr.Wilfried SteffensNarsarsuaq Fjord © Dr.Wilfried SteffensDr.Wilfried Steffens is a physician with a specialist knowledge of internal medicine, occupational medicine, and environmental medicine, who is currently studying clinical toxicology. He works for a large chemical company in Germany. After seeing mineral crystals during holidays in the Alps he went on to become interested in Scandinavian pegmatites, the Langban-type deposits, and finally the alkaline complex around the Langesundsfjord in Norway. From there his interest for alkaline localities in general grew until he now has more than 10,000 specimens, and about 2,200 other different minerals. Check out the web site for details of the collection. In 2001 Wilfried made a collecting trip to Greenland, landing at Narsarsuaq, seen in the left hand photograph.

This is where it gets interesting for the non geologists among us: Narsarsuaq (or at least what is now called Qassiarsuk on the opposite side of the fjord) was the home of the exiled Icelander Erik the Red, father to Leif Erikson, the discoverer of America. So it seems that when, as we reported in a recent article, Oscar Wilde said, "America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up" he was, as so often, well ahead of the game.

It would be more than half a century after Oscar's death that the Vinland map would be 'rediscovered' when it was purchased for $1million by Yale University in 1957. The map's authenticity is an ongoing debate: to keep up to date with developments, see Tim Spalding's portal site, with succinct summaries and links to all sides of the debate. There is a 2.5Mb image of the map available for viewing.

Saturday, 11 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Franco-Australian Bush Web Tour
CREDITS: © Bruce Henderson/WarrnamboolCAM.com

MAPS: Victoria planner, and Tower Hill crater
When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.

Tower Hill © Bruce HendersonBruce Henderson at WarrnamboolCAM.com has an interesting piece on the neglected French exploration of Australia (content may change by the time you visit). Visit to read about Admiral Antoine de Bougainville, naturalist scientist Nicolas Baudin, cartographers Henri and Louis-Claude Freycinet, and Tower Hill. This is the lookout view from the rim of the crater at Tower Hill, one of several volcanic features in the Western District of Victoria, Australia.

The feature lies west of Melbourne, between Warrnambool and Port Fairy on the map linked in the heading of this piece. There is a cairn commemorating local aviators, including Australia's most celebrated pilot, Charles Kingsford-Smith, who was the first person to fly across the Pacific. Check out Bruce's pictures taken in the local nature reserve with a Koala (not a bear, but a marsupial, as an alert reader has corrected us), a Kangaroo (another marsupial, this one is also a macropod), and an Emu (which is a ratite and like ostriches can be farmed), all of them seen among typical bush country. An interesting virtual web tour for those of us who always imagine an arid, dusty desert when the word 'bush' is used.



On This Day In 2002: Langdale Lakeland Classic - Fri, 11 Oct 2002

Langdale Lakeland Classic © Tony RichardsCREDITS: © Tony Richards/LakelandCAM.co.uk
MAPS: [1] Region [2] District [3] Location

As photographer Tony Richards says, this is one of the classic Lakeland views. A visitor to the web site emailed us to ask about touring Lakeland: what follows is an interesting web site we found. We are in no way connected with Holiday Lakeland Cycling Tours, and this must not be taken as an endorsement, because we have never tried their services.

However, we did find the idea of their 4 days & 9 lakes cycling tour an attractive proposition. Any overseas visitor needing ready made routes and supplied gear would get a good idea of the district from this type of vacation. The four routes start and finish in the town of Keswick, which has many amenities for visitors. The web site has plenty of details, and pictures, of what to expect. Although they say the routes are suitable for visitors of a wide range of ability, common sense says that getting yourself into condition before you go would be a wise choice. There are tours of other areas that appear on this web site: look out for the C2C (Coast to Coast), and the Reiver ride through one of the most bloodily contested lands in history.

Friday, 10 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Columbus Erikson Date Collision
CREDITS: © J. Siebold/Cartographic Images
Thumbnail pops-up enlarged image on the source web site.

Vinland Map © J. SieboldLeif Erikson Day was designated by Act of Congress in a joint resolution approved on 02 September 1964 (Public Law 88-566). This resolution established 09 October each year as Leif Erikson Day. According to Ivar Christensen, President of the Leif Ericson [sic] Society International, 09 October was selected because on that day in 1825 the first Norwegian immigrant ship, the 'Restauration' berthed in New York carrying the first of three major waves of immigration.

We were unable to find President Bush's proclamation for 2003 until the following day (perhaps our Internet service provider's abominable cache server), but of those we did find for various years, this one from Bill Clinton was the prettiest (text here). In 2006 Columbus Day and Leif Erikson Day will fall on the same date when the second Monday in October falls on the ninth day of that month. We hope this collision does not end in fisticuffs between the Icelanders and the Italians, with the Spaniards and the Norwegians joining in on the side. In 2007, of course, Columbus Day will arrive the day before Leif Erikson Day, which is an ironic twist.

The explorer's name has many spellings: Leif, Leifur, Leifr, Leiv are all common spellings. Erikson, Eirikson, Eirckson, Eirickson, Eircksson, Eiricksson are some of the spellings we have seen for his family name. There is a Norwegian saying, 'Kjaert barn har mange navn' (A beloved child has many names).

In 1965, on the day after Leif Erikson Day, Yale University Press published a book 'The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation' asserting the authenticity of the Vinland Map. Clicking the thumbnail will take you to J. Siebold's picture of the map, located in the excellent cartographic section of the Henry-Davis.com web site. For a very close examination there is a 2.4Mb file on the BNL (Brookhaven National Laboratory) web site, which will surely satisfy all but the most demanding mapaholics, even in persnickety Columbia, MO!

This is not the place to go into the debate over the authenticity of this $25million (insurance valuation) artifact. However, enquiring minds may like to check out the articles on the aforementioned BNL site; J. Huston McCulloch at OSU (Ohio State University - Department of Economics); and NPR (National Public Radio). We also discovered the Hurstwic web site for a now disbanded living history society in New England, founded to study and to accurately re-create the life of the people living in northern Europe during the Viking Age. There is a Hurstwic page about L'Anse aux Meadows, located on the northern tip of Newfoundland, Canada, which is the only authenticated Norse site in North America.


On This Day In 2002: Languorous Oscar Memorial - Thu, 10 Oct 2002

Languorous Oscar © Pictures of IrelandCREDITS: © Pictures of Ireland
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

'Pictures of Ireland' is still under construction (suspended when last we checked), so you may experience some clunkiness if you visit. However, on our visit, this picture of the monument to Oscar Fingal O'Flarhertie Wills Wilde appealed to us. It stands in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin.

The languorous sprawl, albeit less tall and slim, was an Oscar stock in trade, judging by some of the pictures of him that were taken, though I think given the choice, he would have opted for silk knee breeches. This is a much better tribute to the dear boy than the ugly and irrelevant Jacob Epstein carving on the tomb in Paris.

No piece on Wilde would be complete without an outrageous quotation or three, so we offer these to our new countrymen, "America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up." Columbus Day is on the second Monday in October, and Leif Erikson Day, by Presidential Proclamation, is on 09 October.

Oscar seems to have been disappointed when he visited the USA, because somewhat uncharacteristically he declared, "I would rather have discovered Mrs. Lily Langtry than have discovered America". His final verdict probably rests in the more apposite quotation, "American women are charming, but American men - alas!"

Pictures of Ireland, when completed, will be a commercial site offering online sales from their photo galleries, and will also offer a service to take requested pictures. There are some pictures in galleries now, and an interesting feature that offers themed photo tours such as James Joyce's Dublin. Two Dublin webcams show the activity in Grafton Street and on the O'Connell Bridge. You may send a free e-card; pictures include the featured picture of Wilde's memorial.

Thursday, 09 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Bringing Joy To All Of Humankind
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk MAP: Dol-de-Bretagne
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House Of Flowers © Peter TurnerIn the past we have associated displays such as this with the tasteless displays of conspicuous consumption practiced by the nouveaux riches. As the advancing years have mellowed us, we are now more inclined to think that it is done just to share the joy of something beautiful and inspiring with the rest of humankind. Peter Turner similarly continues to share the joys of a vacation in Brittany, France, through the lens of MaccCAM and the pictures on his web site.

Although we visited in the expectation of some pictures of La Merveille, the abbey of Le Mont St. Michel, we were only partially fulfilled. True, Peter teased us with a single picture of the Merveille, even that taken at a distance. However, there is plenty to see in this gallery, called Au Gîte, including pictures of the local livestock, vernacular architecture, another wonderful menhir, and crosses in assorted configurations and designs to please every taste. Visit Peter on MaccCAM for any of the four galleries: [1] Departure [2] Roscoff [3] Morlaix; and now [4] Au Gîte, with more to come.


On This Day In 2002: Petit Le Mans Cheerleaders - Wed, 9 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Earl & Gail Cook/Lasersol.com

Go to Cyber Motosports web site for full coverage of the Petit Le Mans.
MAPS: [1] Region [2] District [3] Location and [4] Track

Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders © Earl & Gail CookAt the Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center in Georgia they are starting to kick it up for the 2002 Petit Le Mans. Once again motorsport fans can look forward to some superb action shots from the Cyber Motorsports team, such as the awe inspiring flaming racer featured from last year's event.

The girls from the Atlanta Falcon Cheerleaders will also be on hand to liven things up, with more coverage (or should that be 'less coverage'?) available on their own mini web site. The link to the Cheerleaders swimsuit calendar does not work properly, but our office junior ferreted out the correct link, and also the picture page featuring the girls' bios. Among the 38 strong squad, only Stephanie and Kelly are married, though a few are engaged, but what chance does someone called 'Ferret', who was named for his looks not his abilities, really have? When the racing is over, check back for our favorite action shot from the Cyber 2002 photo galleries.

Wednesday, 08 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Fell Walking For Bracing Changes
CREDITS: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org © Ann Bowker/Mad About Mountains
© Dave Newton/Daves-Lakeland-Mountains.co.uk

MAPS: Blencathra / Crummock Water & Buttermere / Helm Crag
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Blencathra © Andrew LeaneyCrumock Water & Buttermere © Ann BowkerHelm Crag © Dave Newton
An American friend, who enjoys hiking in the Rockies, asked us to describe the fell walking experience, which in the English Lake District is the activity equivalent to hiking. We took this opportunity to feature three recent updates from Andrew Leaney, Ann Bowker, and Dave Newton. These pictures are not necessarily offered to you as fine examples of pictorial landscape photography: rather, they are illustrative of what you might experience if you went walking in those districts.

The photographs you might bring back from a vacation are quite likely to be similar to the first two pictures: the prevailing westerly winds from the Atlantic bring cloudy but very changeable weather, which can be more bracing to experience directly than it is to experience second hand from photographs. However, we have to say that the third photograph is what you will get if you are lucky: a wonderful experience, and a great photograph to remember your vacation!

Each of these three walks has its own distinctive character. The first picture was taken by Andrew at the end of a long walk, which included what might be most diplomatically described as that changeable weather, up the spine of the group of hills known as the Eastern Fells, a classification derived from Alfred Wainwright's incomparable pictorial guides. Andrew's walk description is accompanied by a large, detailed route map of the whole trip. Ann's picture was taken on a short walk in easy territory, and we have often experienced similar weather on this wonderful walk. For detailed maps of this area, try Andrew's entries [1] [2] for these hills from his walks archive.

Ann also has comprehensive picture and panorama archives, which include earlier forays [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] onto this same group of fells, based on the Wainwright hill classification detailed by Andrew. Dave just struck lucky: our own memory is descending from the top of Helm Crag as darkness fell. The stretch from where the open fell ends, on a track that follows the wall, was done in total darkness. Dave's page also includes a detailed map, and notes on his experiences on that day.

To see more images from these three walks, click any of these links [1] [2] [3]. Now you have everything at your fingertips to plan your Lakeland vacation. Just book the airplane ticket, and go. Better yet, book three seats and take us with you!


On This Day In 2002: My Very Special Place - Tue, 8 Oct 2002

Upper Caldew Valley © Andrew LeaneyCREDIT:
© Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org on 06 Oct 2002

MAPS:
[1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

I guess many people have a Very Special Place. This is mine.

Tuesday, 07 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Mirthful Menhir Merits Mention
CREDITS: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk MAP: Morlaix
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Morlaix, Brittany © Peter TurnerAny photo web page containing a picture of a 4,600 year old tumulus gets our attention. If it also contains a picture of a menhir, showing the fingerprints of the giant hand that thrust it into the earth, then that rates an entry here on ODAAT. These delights are from Peter Turner's MaccCAM.co.uk on a continuing French vacation in the Brittany region; and the lovely Nic has been revealed for the first time!

Earlier, we featured a picture of Roscoff from the MaccCAM archives, in an item on the 'Onion Johnnies', and we now recommend a visit to all three available galleries: [1] Departure; [2] Roscoff; and [3] Morlaix. The galleries contain interesting images, selected by the eye of a thoughtful traveller, with special attention to architectural features. Todays picture shows a view of the Morlaix River, taken as the party moved eastwards to relocate near the Mont St. Michel. A continuation gallery is promised, so we expect to feature another picture from this collection in the near future. From our own memories of visits to the 'Marvel of the West', we look forward to seeing which architectural features attracted Peter.


On This Day In 2002: Chandra and the Crab Nebula - Mon, 07 Oct 2002
CREDITS: X-ray & optical images: © NASA/CXC/ASU/J. Hester et al.
NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory Center (CXC) - Crab Nebula page.

Crab Nebula © NASA/HST/ASU/J. Hester et alThis picture is a composite image of the Crab Nebula, showing the X-ray (blue), and optical (red) images superimposed, taken on 6 April 2001. The size of the X-ray image is smaller because the higher energy X-ray emitting electrons radiate away their energy more quickly than the lower energy optically emitting electrons as they move. The inner ring is about one light year across. There is a hi-res version for visitors with larger monitors. For full details on this, and other projects, a CXC site visit is recommended: the navigation is very well done, the images are superb, and everything is clearly explained for lay people. There are excellent project and educator resources.

The Crab Nebula is the remnant of a star that was observed to explode in 1054 A.D. It is located 6,000 light years away in the constellation of Taurus, and is a strong emission source, in wavelengths from radio through to gamma rays. The remnant center of the explosion contains a rapidly rotating neutron star - or pulsar - that is apparently pumping enormous amounts of energy into the nebula in the form of high-energy particles and magnetic fields. Chandra's X-ray image provides significant clues to the workings of this mighty cosmic generator, which is producing energy at the rate of 100,000 suns. The dramatic tilted rings that span the distance of a light year appear to have been flung outward from the pulsar. Perpendicular to the rings, jet-like structures produced by high-energy particles blast away from the pulsar.

A neutron star is formed by the extreme conditions created in a supernova. When a massive star explodes, most of the star is flung into space, but the core of the star is compressed to form a rapidly rotating dense ball of neutrons; 30 revolutions per second, and twelve miles in diameter in the case of the Crab Nebula. The collapse and rapid rotation of the neutron star cause it to become highly magnetized. Such highly magnetized, rapidly rotating neutron stars as the Crab pulsar, can produce electricity at ten quadrillion volts.

Neutron star gravity, which is more than a hundred billion times stronger than gravity on Earth, is overwhelmed by the electric field and particles are pulled off the neutron star and accelerated to speeds near the speed of light. A blizzard of electrons and anti-matter electrons, or positrons, is produced by these particles. The pulsed emission from the Crab Nebula, observed at all wavelengths from radio through gamma rays, is thought to be caused by this process.

As particles stream out from the pulsar and spiral around magnetic field lines, they produce a distinctive kind of radiation known as synchrotron radiation. The Crab Nebula's bell-shape in the X-ray image is due to synchrotron radiation from a huge magnetized bubble of high-energy electrons several light years in diameter.

Monday, 06 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Cloud On A Mountain Without Fire
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
MAPS: National; State; SE Utah Regional; and Signal Peak location.

When clicked, thumbnails popup enlarged versions of the images.
Mountain image available as [medium 900x680 pixels] & [large 1200x900 pixels].

Pine Valley Mountain © Ian Scott ParkerEarlier in the year, Pine Valley Mountain was wreathed in clouds of smoke from burning brush fires. In this picture, taken on the first Saturday in October, the clouds are just welcome moisture for the parched hillsides. Later in the year there will be snow up on those same tops. The perspective here is somewhat deceptive: the peaks of those mountains lie in excess of 10,000 feet above sea level, which is about 7,000 feet higher than where we stood.

A short while before we arrived at the site, a light aircraft flew along the visualized cloud line, but was only seen as a tiny dot because those mountains are twenty miles distant. On the day the picture was taken, southern Utah's St. George Marathon started from a township named Central, which is where the road from Pine Valley, behind the namesake mountain range, joins the road south to St. George. When the conditions are right, Pine Valley Mountain will create its own cap of cloud, even though a sweep of what remains of the 360° horizon will reveal only a vast blueness.

In the North Pennine Mountains of England, such a cloud cap is known as a helm or 'helm bar', meaning a helmet of cloud sitting atop the area of Cross Fell. It indicates a special condition, when specific local conditions create a micro climate wind, known in this instance as a Helm Wind. We can attest to the bitterly chilling effects of these east winds, and to the effects of the forces they apply at ground level. Usually the skies look far more threatening than in this picture taken for the Dufton village web site. In the Northern Fells of the English Lake District the mountain of Skiddaw will sometimes show a helm feature, though because of the dominant flow of prevailing weather from the Atlantic west, no micro climate wind is created.

Similar phenomena around the world are known as katabatic winds, named after the Greek word katabatikos meaning 'going downhill'. In the Arctic such winds have been recorded blowing at speeds of 200mph off the ice cap. In recent times use of this term has been restricted to cold winds, to differentiate them from warm foehn (or föhn) winds. This interesting list, containing the names of many local wind names around the world, is not claimed to be exhaustive. The world record, for speed of change in temperature caused by such winds, occurred on 22 January 1943 in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the United States.



On This Day In 2002: Downtown Houston Looking Up - Sun, 06 Oct 2002
CREDIT: © Allen Matheson / Photohome.com
MAPS: [1:National] [2:Regional] [3:Location]

Downtown Houston © Allen MathesonPhotographer Allen Matheson took this strongly composed shot in downtown Houston, Texas. Counter clockwise, from the top left, the buildings are: El Paso Energy Building; Reliant Energy Plaza; 1100 Louisiana Building; and the Wells Fargo Plaza. The picture was taken at the street level of the Wells Fargo Plaza, and has an equally dizzying companion shot available from the Architecture section.

There are five sections within the Texas gallery, another Houston shot is an aerial view of the business district that gives a good impression of the city. A ground level shot of the business district skyline makes an interesting comparison

Allen has eight themed photo galleries, all of very high quality: we had great difficulty deciding on one to feature they were all so good. There is a remarkably generous personal and non profit use policy, and for commercial use there is licensing available by emailing Allen. Many of the pictures have been featured on the web, and in printed publications. The galleries will continue to grow because more pictures are being added regularly. For your convenience, this excellent site is one of the permanent entries available from our 'Photogallery links' sidebar pulldown menu.

Sunday, 05 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Russian Doll Trucking Inadequacy
CREDITS: © Ian Scott-Parker/PishTush.com
Thumbnails popup enlarged versions. Trucks available at 1200x900 pixels.

Russian Doll Trucks © Ian Scott ParkerWe called at the post office one Saturday morning, when this rig was parked outside. A small crowd had gathered; fathers were holding small boys aloft for a better view; men in check shirts with knowledgeable weather beaten faces were trading stories about the old days. We wandered over, thinking it must be worthy of a picture if people found it so interesting. One of the weather beaten men asked if we knew if there was an auto show down at the mall in the nearby city.

We admitted we did not know, and pressing ahead despite our strange English accent, he said, "She sure is purdy!". Honestly, I swear before the heavens, that is exactly what he said. We admitted that we did not really have the cultural predisposition to appreciate rusty trucks, but added, "Each to his own" by way of reassurance that we did not consider such devotion to be a sign of deviancy.

He looked us up and down, then in the sort of voice one might use to a simpleton he said, "I meant the roadster." It took several minutes before we realized that like a Russian doll, there was a part of an old car inside the body of the truck, which was on top of the slightly newer truck, which was transporting everything to its final destination. Feeling humbled, and totally inadequate, we took a picture and left.


On This Day In 2002: Fancy a Jump? - Sat, 05 Oct 2002
CREDITS: © Gary Small & MIND The Mental Health Charity

Freefall © Gary Small & MINDThe British charity MIND organizes parachute jumps to raise funds to finance their work. If you raise the minimum amount of sponsorship then training and the jump are free for an exhilarating 10,000 ft freefall skydive or a solo parachute jump. There are full details on the web site. One in four people suffers from mental health problems, and MIND works through their 220 local associations in England and Wales to achieve 'a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress' by:

 Advancing the views, needs and ambitions of people with experience of mental distress;  Promoting inclusion by challenging discrimination;  Influencing policy through campaigning and education;  Inspiring the development of quality services, which reflect expressed need and diversity;  Achieving equal civil and legal rights through campaigning and education.

A great cause to support by going and having yourself the experience of a lifetime, especially with a group. To support MIND directly, visit the web site for details.

Saturday, 04 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Last Working Mill On The Thames
CREDITS: © Paul Allen & Janet Humphreys/BerkshireCAM.net
MAPS: Mapledurham (and detail).
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Mapledurham Mill © Paul&nsbp;Allen&nsbp;&&nsbp;Janet&nsbp;HumphreysWe had been unable to connect to BerkshireCAM.net for a while, and had begun to suspect its demise. Today, however, it was back up with a brief acknowledgement of some technical problems, and featuring a CAM visit to Cornwall on vacation. Perhaps the server gremlins struck when there was nobody around to take corrective action. Visit the current weekly gallery for another view of the English southwest peninsula countryside, Charles Winpenny's home ground!

Today's feature is from an earlier entry on BerkshireCAM, which caught our attention because it was captioned as the last working water mill on the River Thames. In both historical and modern times the Thames has been an important river, and having the modern UK capital, London, on its banks only confirms that importance. We did pause to wonder how many water mills the river had fed in the heyday of such technology.

The mill is part of the Mapledurham Estate, which was recorded in the eleventh century Doomsday Book, the record that King William ordered to detail his conquests after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The modern estate is a commercial events center, hosting wedding receptions and offering activities such as golf, shooting, and quad biking. The web site has an interesting history page: check it out for the weird trophy head of the wolf in sheep's clothing!


On This Day In 2002: Mooney Falls - Fri, 04 Oct 2002
MAPS: [1:Region] [2:District]

Mooney Falls © Lorrie SarafinLorrie Sarafin, founder of the Sonoran Spirits Flute Society, visited the Mooney Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, and came back with this splendid shot. We almost passed the picture by until we saw those tiny figures in the pool at the bottom, which give scale to this impressive cascade. This area of the Grand Canyon is much less visited than the North Rim area, which is easier of access and consequently more frequented. If you visit Lorrie's page you will see how the base of the falls can be visited by means of some old miners' tunnels, not a trip for the faint hearted. One account has it that the tunnels were made to recover the body of a miner named Mooney, who fell to his death below the falls. Lorrie has an Arizona photo gallery that is well worth a visit.

The Sonoran Spirits Flute Society, founded in June of 2000, is dedicated to seeking an understanding of indigenous cultures through music, knowledge, and community service. The Society embraces all world flutes, but especially Native American flutes, and membership is open to those who wish to learn more about these instruments and their cultures.

Friday, 03 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Enigmatic Fishing Pier Mystery
CREDITS: © Garth Newton/IlkCAM.com MAPS: Shipley (and detail).
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Shipley Park © Garth NewtonWe have been unable to determine why we find this picture so compelling. After an earlier sampling of the delights of Alton Towers (a gallery from which we also featured a garden picture), Garth Newton and the IlkestonCAM went to the local amusement park to do some comparison shopping. Quickly bypassing the white knuckle rides of the 'American Adventure' (something we never did, and never regretted, hahaha!), they enjoyed the more tranquil purlieus of Shipley Park. There is a lot of history between the lines of text, and pictures, in Garth's feature. You may also visit a tribute gallery Garth has created on ClubPhoto, which features an industrial memorial, created from the mine headstock and winding wheels from the former Woodside Colliery.


On This Day In 2002: Transport of Delight - Thu, 03 Oct 2002

Transport of Delight © Ann BowkerMAPS: [1:Region] [2:District] [3:Location]

Ann Bowker, who is 'Mad About Mountains', spotted this delightful steam traction engine making its way below Rowling End in the English Lake District. The road climbs westward to Newlands Hause, and then descends steeply into the Buttermere valley. We just hope the brakes were in good shape for the downhill section.

You may catch Ann's frequent updates, with pictures from her mountain adventures, by using the link in the sidebar pulldown menu. More information about these wonderful machines is available from the Threshers Bush Steam Club.

Fred Dibnah is probably Britain's most famous traction engine restorer. Fred's two passions in life are knocking down chimneys and restoring steam vehicles. He was featured on a BBC television documentary that showed him bringing down one of the huge old mill chimneys in his home county of Lancashire in the industrial northwest England. The public took an immediate liking to this no nonsense, down to earth character, who is a natural born entertainer.

More TV appearances led to a series when Fred looked at buildings that were worth preserving, rather than buildings he fancied knocking down. In another series the legacies of the Industrial Revolution were examined with characteristic bluff honesty. Fred owns six traction engines, and often attends steam rallies with 'Betsy', who must be almost as famous as Fred.

None of this has gone to Fred's head though, and he still comes across as a worthy recipient of our 'BIG KID: please make sure I get a window seat' T-shirt.

Thursday, 02 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Cornish Fall & Mellow Fruitfulness
CREDITS: © Charles Winpenney/CornwallCAM.co.uk MAP: Redruth
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Carn Brea, Redruth © Charles Winpenny © Charles WinpennyVirginia Creeper © Charles Winpenny © Charles WinpennyBryony © Charles Winpenny © Charles WinpennyBlackberries © Charles Winpenny © Charles Winpenny
Yesterday we featured Autumn mists, and today we feature Autumn fruits: on this occasion the American version of the phrase, Fall fruits, does not jar too harshly on a British English speaker's ear. Charles Winpenny took the pictures: he often shows the hill of Carn Brea, but this time he was on the top looking down on the town of Redruth, which is in the far southwest English county of Cornwall. The Autumn plants are Virginia Creeper, Bryony, and Blackberries. That last name clearly identifies that the fruits are growing in the south of Great Britain, because at some point on the journey north, the locals will start referring to them as Brambles.


On This Day In 2002: Neglected Scottish Gaucho - Wed, 02 Oct 2002

Inchmahome © Martin McCarthyInchmahome © Martin McCarthyMartin McCarthy is the webmaster of the Ancient Scotland web site. These pictures come from Martin's page about Inchmahome Priory, which is on the Scottish island of Inchmahome in the country's only 'lake' ('loch' is the Scottish equivalent name) known as the Lake of Monteith (map), near Stirling, Scotland (map).

The web site, as its name suggests, is a comprehensive guide to all things ancient and Scottish. Inchmahome Priory may be found from the sidebar link to Christian sites.

There is a useful 'search' map that allows you to click on a place to return a list of ancient sites within a user specified radius: a great feature for vacationing explorers. Now there's a fun idea: how about a vacation based on Martin's web site entries?

Martin's pictures show one of the remaining arches of the nave, and an ethereal infrared picture of other parts of the priory ruins. Please click on the images for a full size view. The Mysterious Britain Gazetteer has details of the folklore of the area. The island has received many famous historical visitors, including Robert Bruce, and the 5 year old Mary Queen of Scots. She stayed here for 3 weeks in 1547 on her way to exile in France after the disastrous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. As Martin wryly notes "Where didn't she stay?", this woman who was blown hither and thither by the winds of ill fortune. Less well remembered now is Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham (1852-1936), buried within Inchmahome Priory after his body was returned from his beloved Argentina, where he died in Buenos Aires.

Born Robert Bontine to a family with an aristocratic lineage, his childhood was spent on the family estates in Perthshire, and an education at Harrow. Aged 17 he then went to live on the family estates in Argentina where he was affectionately known as 'Don Roberto'. He was an expert horseman, becoming proficient with lazo and bolas. In a 1917 letter to Theodore Roosevelt he wrote, "God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses.". After the death of his father in 1883 he changed his name to Robert Cunninghame Graham and returned to England with his Chilean poetess wife Gabrielle. The family estates were heavily in debt, and despite Cunninghame Graham's efforts had to be sold off. He was politically active until 1892, co-founded the Scottish Labour party in 1888, and in 1928 became the first president of the Scottish Nationalist Party, and was sometimes humorously called 'Uncrowned King of Scotland'. Ever the rebel, he once said, "He has all the qualifications for a great Liberal Prime Minister. He wears spats and he has a beautiful set of false teeth.", when speaking of Henry Campbell-Bannerman

Cunninghame Graham wrote widely; Amazon lists 27 titles associated with his name, covering subjects in North Americas, South America, North Africa, and Scotland. Most are out of print, Cunninghame Graham himself having trouble obtaining copies in his lifetime, as these wry letters show. Project Guttenberg carries a copy of his 'A Vanished Arcadia: Being Some Account of the Jesuits in Paraguay, 1607 to 1767'. His circle included James Keir Hardie, William Morris, Joseph Conrad, Whistler, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, W.H. Hudson, Ford Madox Ford, Hugh MacDiarmid, and William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody. Frank Harris wrote a portrait of this Renaissance man.

There are three concise biographies [1:Vettese] [2:Crumey] [3:Walker] on the web. I thought this paragraph by Raymond Vettese summed Cunninghame Graham up nicely, 'There have been instances before of neglected artists who, in the fullness of time, return to their own. Perhaps this will be the case with Cunninghame Graham, but perhaps his present lack of wide fame in Scotland would not have disturbed him, would, indeed, have merely been met with a wry smile and a quotation from his story, 'Cruz Alta': "Failure alone is interesting...those who fail after a glorious fashion, Raleigh, Cervantes, Chatterton...and the last unknown deckhand who, diving overboard after a comrade, sinks without saving him: these interest us, at least they interest those who, cursed with imagination, are thereby doomed themselves to the same failure as their heroes were." The theme of a glorious failure surfaces many times in Cunninghame Graham's work and who is to say that he would not count himself satisfied to be considered as such?'

Wednesday, 1 October 2003

Pix Of The Day: Our Usual Hackneyed Autumn Entry
CREDITS: © NAME/LakelandCAM.co.uk MAPS: Windermere, and Alloway
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Windermere Mist © Tony RichardsAt this time of year, at least one of the CAM sites can be relied upon to produce shots for our hackneyed annual 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness' feature. Tony Richards has been coming up with the goods for the mists as he did in 2002 with the leaves, though that entry was in early November. Charles Winpenny is our man with the fruits for 2003, already lined up for tomorrow's entry. The featured picture shows Windermere in the English Lake District on a late September morning. Our headline for today is clearly that very English way of speaking, where what is meant is the opposite of what is said: we never tire of the poet or the scenery. In 2002 we limited ourselves to Keats' first stanza: in 2003 we feel less constrained:
To Autumn by John Keats (1795-1821)

'SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
  And still more, later flowers for the bees,
  Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
  Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
  Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
  Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
  Steady thy laden head across a brook;
  Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
  Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
  And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
  Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
  Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
  The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, today's entry was greatly delayed. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Perhaps a Burns quotation might have been more appropriate under the circumstances, though we solemnly promise that Maggie's tail was in no way involved:
From Tam O'Shanter by Robert Burns (1759-1796)
Nae man can tether time or tide.

On This day In 2002: Fashion Victims - Tue, 1 Oct 2002

Doughnut Wedding Cake © Ian Scott-ParkerSoon after we arrived to live in America, we were invited to Las Vegas for the wedding of a correspondent who had developed into a friend. In keeping with the sophistication of that city, our friend, who is a raconteur and bon viveur of wit, culture and urbanity, assembled a wedding cake made from 'Krispy Kreem' doughnuts. The humor was appreciated by the guests, and we are happy to say that his marriage seems to have survived that risky practical joke.

Later in the month we are all meeting again, to sample another high point in American food culture, the Fatburger (ad tags 'The Last Great Hamburger Stand', and 'Some people think all burgers taste the same... and some people watch Baywatch for the acting.'). Meanwhile the joke seems to have turned into a fashion victim's essential wedding reception accoutrement.

Perhaps we will order our Fatburgers in unsweetened wholemeal rolls, baked without steam so that they have a crust... nah! that will never catch on in this country. I am on occasion inclined to say, in a rather too loud voice, "Great burger, shame about the bun", but I have to admit that in Britain it's, "Lousy burger, lousy bun, what happened to the salad?... let's go someplace else!"

Friday night we went to the Sol Foods restaurant in Springdale, UT to hear IN•2•IT play. The duo had transmogrified into a trio, with the addition of Donna's sister Deanna, with the pair hitting some amazing high notes. We had the best burger I have ever eaten, in a halfway decent bun with chips (the menu called them 'fries') that would put many a Brit chip shop to shame. Excellent Polygamy Porter from the Wasatch brewery (as they say, 'Why have just one?' and 'Take some home for the wives!') accompanied the burgers, and would be relished anywhere that people have good taste in beer. Great night out, and there were even a few clubbable, though well behaved, tomahawk carrying Native Americans in the audience.

This place just goes on getting better. Shame about the bread.

  
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)