Another photo illustrating classroom technology in different cultures.
Giant sequoia trees can be found only in the United States, and only in or near the Sierra Mountains in California.
How massive are they? The tree above, with the 6th Cavalry’s F Troop posing on and around it with their horses, is 26 feet in diameter at its base, where it fell, and 285 feet long, Redwood doesn’t rot like other woods. The tree is still there, today, looking much like it did 115 years ago (Comments on Yosemite NP photo).
The Fallen Monarch, in Mariposa Grove, in 1907:
When did the tree fall? Hundreds of years ago, perhaps?
Yosemite NP Nature Notes 11: Big Trees
Making those nice photographs of the Milky Way and stars isn’t so easy as it looks.
I made my most successful efforts on our recent swing through Colorado, New Mexico and West Texas. Here’s a shot I got that almost shows the Milky Way, probably has Polaris in it, and because it was a timed exposure, also captured star movement and an airplane flying overhead. Photo was taken from the Army Corps of Engineers campground at Abiquiu Reservoir, a few miles from Georgia O’Keefe’s home.
Technically a rainbow can form anytime there are water droplets in the air, and sunlight to shine through them. Pragmatically, there’s a better chance of the sunlight getting the right angle in the earlier morning and late afternoon. Since most summer rainstorms happen in the afternoon, most rainbows probably get formed in the afternoon, too.
If the field of droplets is thick enough, a vantage point may get more than one rainbow.
So there’s a good deal of chance in this photo. A good photographer is ready, when the chance presents itself.
Did you notice the colors are reversed in the secondary rainbow?
July 8, 1853: Perry anchors U.S. ships in Edo Bay, the beginning of American Imperialism 161 years agoJuly 7, 2014
History item: On July 8,1853 four black ships led by USS Powhatan and commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry, anchored at Edo (Tokyo) Bay. Never before had the Japanese seen ships steaming with smoke. They thought the ships were “giant dragons puffing smoke.” They did not know that steamboats existed and were shocked by the number and size of the guns on board the ships.
President Millard Fillmore, defying H. L. Mencken’s later, crabby, hoax claim of do-little-government, sent Matthew C. Perry to Japan to open Japan as a refuge for shipwrecked sailors, and as a coaling stop for steamships. For the previous 200 years, Japan had been closed to all but a few Dutch and Chinese traders. On July 8, 1853, Perry’s small fleet sailed boldly into restricted waters of Japan and anchored.
After some contretemps, which included Japan’s telling Perry to go to Nagasaki instead (where a military party was probably waiting) and Perry’s shelling a few buildings on shore, the Emperor accepted the letter from President Fillmore. Perry told the Emperor he would return the following year for an answer. Perry returned on March 8, 1854, and within a month concluded the Convention of Kanagawa, opening Japan to trade from the west. Generally unheralded, this may have been one of the more important pieces of U.S. diplomacy in history, especially considering the dramatic rise of Japan as an economic and military power, on the basis of the trade Commodore Perry demanded Japan engage in.
We should make special note of the chain of events over the following 85 or so years, culminating in World War II in the Pacific. Had Fillmore not sent Perry, had the U.S. not insisted Japan open itself to the world, would there have been an attack on Pearl Harbor, and war in the Pacific? Alternative histories we’ll never see. But see the discussion at Salon, in 2014, about this topic (conveniently leaving out Millard Fillmore’s role), “What sparked Japan’s aggression during World War II?”
- Lesson plans and exercises from the U.S. Navy Museum, “Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan”
- MIT open course (free), Visualizing Cultures, which features a unit on the coming of the Black Ships (Perry’s fleet) to Japan
- “Commodore Perry’s Expedition to Japan” - grifworld
- Essay and documents, from Columbia University’s East Asia Curriculum Project
- A bunch of great images, and discussion, from a maritime perspective at GCaptain
Documents below the fold
In no particular order, leaving many gaps, on the Fourth of July I celebrate America, and these things about America:
- The Apollo Project that put humans on the Moon
- Interstate Highway System
- Yellowstone National Park
- Edward Abbey
- Rainbow Bridge National Monument
- The New York Public Library
- Baltimore, home of the Orioles, and playing field for Johnny Unitas
- Death Valley, the lowest point in North America, and generally the hottest.
- Denali, the highest point in North America, so high it makes its own weather
- New Orleans Jazz
- Grant Wood’s paintings
- Mark Twain
- Dred Scott
- Thurgood Marshall, and Brown v. Topeka Board of Education
- U.S. Highway 101, especially where you can see the Pacific Ocean
- Route 66
- Hot dogs
- Ketchup, or catsup if you prefer
- Salsa in a bottle
- Miles Davis
- Aldo Leopold
- French fries, with ketchup, without ketchup, with mayonnaise, with Big H Sauce
- Grand Canyon National Park
- The Mississippi River
- “Ol’ Man River”
- Meredith Willson, and “The Music Man!”
- Emily Dickinson
- Falling Water
- Pikes Peak
- Bluegrass music
- Philly Cheese Steaks
- Phyllis Wheatley
- Steinway Pianos
- Chicken Fried Steak
- Amish barn raisings
- James Levine
- Sojourner Truth
- Kansas City Jazz
- Onion Rings
- Peanut Butter
- Leo Fender and the electric guitar
- Les Paul and tape loops
- Gibson Guitars
- Chicago Jazz
- Martin Guitars
- Mississippi Delta Blues
- Chicago Electric Blues
- Woody Guthrie
- John Philip Sousa
- Phillip Glass
- Commander Lloyd Bucher and the U.S.S. Pueblo
- Frank Lloyd Wright, and Prairie Architecture
- Mies van der Rohe
- Beale Street in Memphis
- Richard Feynman, and his memoirs
- Broadway in New York
- Bonfires along the Mississippi near Baton Rouge
- Indianapolis 500
- Daytona Speedway
- Fenway Park
- Crabcakes from the Chesapeake
- Golden Gate; and the Golden Gate Bridge
- Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
- Monticello, Virginia
- Cape Hatteras and the lighthouse
- Mount Timpanogos in Utah
- Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia
- Great Houses of Newport, Rhode Island
- Bluebirds at the Yorktown Battlefield Monument
- Colorado River through Grand Canyon
- Bluebell Ice Cream
- Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
- Mt. Rushmore National Monument
- Lake of the Woods
- Pete Seeger
- Walt Whitman
- Robert Service’s poems
- Girls Scouts of America
- Little League Baseball
- Frederick Douglass
- College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska
- Henry David Thoreau
- Niagara Falls
- Adirondack Park, New York
- Sitting on the porch at Mount Vernon, Virginia, watching bald eagles cross the Potomac River
- Condors soaring near Big Sur, California
- Irving Berlin, and “God Bless America”
- Frank Sinatra
- Jonathan Winters
- Hollywood Movies
- Airplane graveyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona
- Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, near Page, Arizona
- The Shiprock, New Mexico
- Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Susan B. Anthony
- Everett Dirksen
- Cade’s Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Red touring “buses” in Glacier National Park
- Fog rolling over the Marin Headlands, Marin County, California
- The Beach Boys
- Skiing and snowboarding, at Solitude, Alta, Hunter Mountain, Park City, Sundance
- The Alpine Loops — both of them, Utah and Colorado
- The Virginian Hotel and Cafe, Medicine Bow, Wyoming
- American Bison, in Yellowstone, at Antelope Island, in the Henry Mountains, in the LBJ Grasslands
- Osprey at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
- Painted Buntings at Colorado Bend State Park, Texas
- Dissident tradition that gives us Edward Snowden
- King of France Tavern, and Treaty of Paris Restaurant, Annapolis, Maryland
- The Triple Crown: Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes
- Jackie Robinson
- Sandy Koufax
- Jerry West
- Lewis and Clark
- U.S. Women’s Soccer Team
- Eugene Debs
- AAA Baseball, and the other minor leagues
- Texas Barbecue
- Louis Armstrong
- Ella Fitzgerald
- Duke Ellington
- Ballet West
- Second City
- The Groundlings
- Harriet Tubman
- Owl Burgers at the Owl Cafe in Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Seattle Opera
- Appalachian Trail
- Linda Rondstadt; Linda singing canciones
- Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris, and Linda Rondstandt singing tight three-part harmonies
- Edward Hopper
- The Marfa Lights
- Sloop Clearwater, and the Hudson River
- Rafting on the Snake River out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming
- Acadia National Park
- The Moffatt Tunnel, and the passenger trains that go through it (R.I.P. old Prospector and California Zephyr; long live the new Prospector and Zephyr)
- Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Hires Drive-in and the Big H Burger, 4th South in Salt Lake City
- Old North Church, Boston
- Any country road in Vermont or New Hampshire, when the autumn leaves are turning
- Virgin River Narrows, Zion Canyon National Park
- Platte River when the big birds are migrating
- The oldest European building in America, the church at Fulton, Missouri
- Harley-Davidson plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin — across the street from the Miller Brewery
- Wisconsin bratwursts
- Harry Houdini
- Harriett Beecher Stowe
- Grits served four ways at a diner in Charleston, South Carolina
- Salmon smoked by Native Americans in Puget Sound
- Varsity Drive In, in Atlanta
- Raspberry milkshakes at Bear Lake, Utah
- Maple syrup from Vermont
- Sam Weller’s Zion Book Store, Salt Lake City
- Old Angler’s Inn, on the C&O Canal
- Central Park, New York City
- Babe Ruth
- Lou Gehrig
- Renée Fleming
- Willie Nelson
- Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and their friendship
- Boeing 707, and the aircraft plants that make them
- Howard Zinn
- Solid state electronics, and the Chip that Jack Kilby Built
- Tennessee Valley Authority
- Noam Chomsky
- A. Phillip Randolph
- Ford, Chrysler and General Motors
- Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones)
- Gold dome of the Colorado Capitol; the copper domes of the Arizona and Utah Capitols
- Things named after many in places you would not expect, as well as quite a number of elementary schools
- Boy Scouts of America
- The United States Marine Corps
- Side Street Cafe, Honolulu
- Buzz Aldrin
- John Glenn
- Greensborough Four
- Freedom Riders
- Freedom Summer
- GI Bill
- Dennis Banks
- Gloria Steinem
- Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Farley Mowat and all the other Canadians who come south of the border to make us think
- Bob Marshall Wilderness Area
- Twin Peaks Wilderness Area
- Bonneville Salt Flats
- Damon Runyon, and “Guys and Dolls”
- Utah Phillips
- Et cetera
- Et cetera
Okay, Dear Reader: What have I left off the list?
(Maybe we should hold on to this list for Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot of people to give thanks to.)
Glacier National Park marks its 104th year in 2014. Glacier offers views this spectacular every day of the year.
A school in Afghanistan — probably the entire school.
Learning can occur almost anywhere. Some children go to great lengths to get an education, to improve their lives where they are, or to improve their chances of finding a better place to live.
I’ll wager this school has no wi-fi, no in-school suspension, few homework problems, and no difficulty with Common Core State Standards.
Afghanistan’s schools all seem to offer amazing hurdles to education, by U.S. standards. Look at these photos.
Those of us who advocate for outdoor classrooms generally have something else in mind than these photographs from Afghanistan show.
As best I’ve determined, the photographer is Prasit Chansareekorn, of Thailand. Obviously an amazing photographer. We might also presume the star over the summit is Polaris.
Fujiyama is the single most-visited tourist spot in Japan. (“Fujiyama” translates to “Mt. Fuji.”) It’s the tallest mountain in Japan, at 3,776 meters (12,380 feet). In Japanese, there is a special word for a sunrise viewed from the mountain: Goraiko. About 200,000 people climb the mountain every year.
It’s an active volcano, though its last eruption was 1707. Vulcanologists discuss the possibility the mountain is overdue for an eruption.
Who would be in the best spot to get a photo of such an eruption? What would van Gogh have made of this view?
Owachomo Bridge? Photographer? I wish Interior would put in all the details with their photos.
Photo after photo, I come increasingly to understand why my oldest brother, Jerry, wanted to spend his life and eternity in the Yellowstone.
Wholly apart from the thermal “features” and geological wonders, the area is just smashingly beautiful day in and day out, in even the mundane areas away from the celebrated features.
Here’s a part of the Madison River, just flowing through its streambed, at sunset.
Interesting points, reasons to like this image:
- No, that’s not the Sun. It’s the Moon.
- Who knew California had natural arches? I mean, it makes sense — but there’s one in Virginia, and a bunch of them at Arches National Park, and . . .
- An arch that should be in Utah, in the Alabama Hills, but not in Alabama, in California.
- Great photograph, obviously a long exposure.
Let’s see if we can find the name of the photographer. Pox on Interior for failing to fit that into the caption. Photographer is Steve Perry, and you should check out his site (and buy some photos!). (Thanks, J. A. Higginbotham, for tracking that down.)
- America’s public lands, showing how they are unexcelled at astonishing us.
- What? Interior called the “Mabius Arch?” No, it’s the Mobius Arch!
- This place was named after the Confederate warship C.S.S. Alabama. Sympathetic miners making claims on minerals, it appears. “The unusual name Alabama Hills came about during the Civil War. In 1864 Southern sympathizers in Lone Pine discovered gold ‘in them thar hills.’ When they heard that a Confederate cruiser named the Alabama had burned, sunk or captured more than 60 Federal ships in less than two years they named their mining claims after the cruiser to celebrate. Before long the name applied to the whole area. Coincidentally, while Southerners were prospecting around Lone Pine, there were Union sympathizers 15 miles north near Independence. And when the Alabama was sunk off the coast of France by the U.S.S. Kearsarge in 1864, the Independence people struck back. They not only named their mining claims ‘Kearsarge’ but a mountain peak, a mountain pass, and a whole town as well.”
- More than 400 movies were shot using Alabama Hills for a backdrop, including How the West Was Won, Gunga Din (standing in for the hills of northern India) and the 1960 Audie Murphy classic, Hell Bent for Leather.
- Geologists will love that this area is a prime example of chemical erosion — rocks made out of the same stuff as the craggy Sierra Nevada Mountains in the distance, but eroded differently.
- Lichens by moonlight! (Or is that just desert varnish?)
- Alabama Hills Recreation Area: “On May 24, 1969, the BLM dedicated nearly 30,000 acres of public land west of Lone Pine, CA, as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. Management plans are being considered that will eventually include a scenic trail system that people may walk and enjoy this geologic phenomena at a leisurely pace.“
- Several more views of the arch, at NaturalBornHikers.com
- A few hundred other shots at Flickr, many of them spectacular
- Everybody knows about Mobius strips, right? Maybe as “Moebius?” Wolfram’s version. Cut the Knot. Wikipedia. Fun found by Jennifer Ouelette. More fun at Phil Plait’s shop (Bad Astronomy) involving rare earth magnets, liquid nitrogen, a superconducting puck, and a Mobius strip.
From space, from the satellites, the route may look shorter.
But on the ground, it may not work.
At the View from Squirrel Ridge, comments suggest that Virginia has several places like this, where the GPS favoring the shortest route may include inclines and turns that trucks cannot make. It’s hell to back up a big truck for several miles of twisty, narrow roads.
- A commenter called our attention to a recent Utah case, which reminded me of this post from long ago: “In the Utah desert, a GPS is no substitute for common sense“