December 6, 2013
Icy day here in Dallas, we missed a lot of dates that should have been commemorated.
Let’s catch this one: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was created 53 years ago today in the administration of Dwight Eisenhower, by Interior Secretary Fred A. Seaton.
Photo probably not taken this week: From the US Department of Interior: Happy 53rd birthday to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge! @USFWSHQ @USFWSRefuges #Alaska pic.twitter.com/2popb7EAvz
ANWR finds itself the center of controversy, now, because of the possibility of oil underneath it, and the difficulty of getting that oil without destroying wildlife habitat, or the possibility of destructive oil spills. For an understanding of the issues, visit ANWR’s website and the non-partisan discussion there.
Odd that land so severely beautiful, so far out of the way and so difficult to master, has its fate decided in marble halls in Washington, D.C., 3,172 miles distant. The United States is a big, sprawling nation.
Information on the ANWR:
History and Culture
Refuge Establishment: Legislation and Purposes
The Arctic Refuge was established in 1960 and expanded in 1980.
The Arctic Refuge has been providing for the physical and emotional well-being of humans for many thousands of years. It remains an important resource to help sustain local Eskimo and Indian cultures. The Refuge continues to be valued, even by those who never travel within it’s borders, as a symbol of America’s vast and remote wilderness – a place of inspiration and beauty – a promise for the future for all Americans.
The lands of the Arctic Refuge continue to support the Inupiat Eskimo and Gwich’in Indian peoples who have lived here for centuries.
3,172 miles between the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Washington, D.C.
November 26, 2013
Yes, but it’s upside down, right?
Turns out this was the Astronomy Picture of the Day back in September 2012. NASA said:
Milky Way Over the Bungle Bungles
Image Credit & Copyright: Mike Salway Explanation: Which part of this picture do you find more interesting — the land or the sky? Advocates for the land might cite the beauty of the ancient domes of the Bungle Bungle Range in Western Australia. These picturesque domes appear as huge layered beehives and are made of sandstones and conglomerates deposited over 350 million years ago. Advocates for the sky might laud the beauty of the Milky Way’s central band shown arching from horizon to horizon. The photogenic Milky Way band formed over 10 billion years ago and now includes many well-known nebulae and bright stars. Fortunately, you don’t have to decide and can enjoy both together in this beautiful 8-frame panorama taken from the dark skies of Purnululu National Park about two months ago.
Decide Anyway: Land or Sky
I’d make some remarks about silly names for land formations in Australia — but here we sit with The Grand Tetons, The Gros Ventre, and several dozen “Molly’s Nipples” in our nation.
But really: Bungle-Bungles?
Ain’t geography grand? Ain’t nature grand? Ain’t NASA doing something right?
November 5, 2013
It’s a composite of 11 photographs to get the whole panoramic view — which just demonstrates that in photography it’s great to be lucky, but it usually takes great skill to get that amount of luck.
How much processing was involved, really?
Don’t worry, just check out the photo.
Double Moonbow, lava glow and fading Lunar Halo; 11-picture Panoramic taken on the rim of Kilauea’s Caldera On the Last Super Moon. Sean King, Atmospheric Phenomena
See the Facebook page for Hawaii Stargazing Adventures.
Click thumbnail for a larger image.
November 2, 2013
An Aussie’s attempt to label the state of the U.S. Don’t laugh — how well can you do labeling a map of Australia? From Texas Hill Country’s Facebook feed, and unknown origin past that.
Found this at the Facebook site of Texas Hill Country. A little rough for high school geography, especially if it’s ninth grade geography (surely you can moderate this a bit, teachers), but a good idea for a quiz?
How well can your students do labeling the U.S.? Will they find this person’s obvious anguish and creative non-answers amusing? Can they do better?
Now turn the tables: How well can your students in the U.S. do labeling a map of Australia? Canada? Mexico?
Ask your students: Is it important to know such stuff? Why?
And you, Dear Reader: What do you think?
Here you go, a map of Australia to practice with:
Unlabeled map of Australia to label! Royalty free produce of Bruce Jones Design, Inc., copyright 2010
October 25, 2013
Or any other time of year.
From the Department of Interior Twitter feeds:
US Dept of Interior @Interior 16h Is there any doubt fall is best enjoyed in America’s great outdoors? Here’s great example from Devils Tower NM. pic.twitter.com/YRo1U8DSMQ
What do you think Richard Dreyfus thinks when he sees that? Stephen Spielberg?
“Devils Tower NM” means “National Monument,” not New Mexico. This volcano remnant stands in Wyoming.
Old friend, painter and photographer Nancy Christensen Littlefield offers a more close-up view.
Devil’s Tower on a July morning. Photo by Nancy Christensen LIttlefield.
And looking even closer, you spy Richard Dreyfus never-wanna-bes:
Climbers on Devils Tower. Photographer Nancy Littlefield said: “There were Native American prayer bundles along the trail around the base. It really is awe inspiring. Early morning gives you the best light to photograph it by.”
Devils Tower is the plug of an old volcano. What’s left is the magma that hardened, and what we see is left after the softer cone eroded away.
October 23, 2013
We had to fight to keep this stuff in Texas science books.
Then, out on the street, I see a U-Haul truck.
U-Haul truck features geographic information, and geology information, about Arkansas and its Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Detail: U-Haul truck features a graphic description of the geology and information about Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds State Park.
Well played, U-Haul. Can Texas catch up?
Update, October 24, 2013: Turns out U-Haul has a website that features all of the graphics they use on their trucks. I sense a geography or state history assignment in here, somewhere, social studies teachers. Reminds me of the animals that used to (still do?) grace the tails of Frontier Airlines airplanes, the Native American on the tails of Alaska Airlines, and other specific destination promoting tricks businesses have used over the years. Wish more businesses would do that.
October 18, 2013
Looks like snow to me. From the Department of Interior:
Fall colors have arrived at the Great Sand Dunes National Park. #nature #autumn #colorado pic.twitter.com/34RXSkuBLe
October 17, 2013
Let me state right up front that the only reason I’m posting this is because of the cameo appearance of Mt. Timpanogos in this video.
The sun is setting in the west; Timpanogos is that biggest mountain to the east.
Never heard of this guy before, the pianist William Joseph; found it through a clip in the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.
I understand there’s a platform hiding beneath the water. When my grandfather, Leo Barrett Stewart, Sr., was a child, about ten miles south of where this film was shot, he said one could paddle a boat out to the middle of Utah Lake, and see the bottom, picking the trout one wished to fish for. That was before the invasive carp was introduced.
It would be wonderful to see Utah Lake restored to the point that you could see the platform holding the piano.
Filming and credit details from devinsupertramp below the fold.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 4, 2013
Photograph posted on Facebook by the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association:
Planning a trip to Hawk Mountain this weekend? Arrive early to enjoy great views of low-hanging fog and to see the sun peek out over the valley. It’s a great way to start any day. — with Quelia Paulino at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Association.
October 2, 2013
Way back in 2012 I wrote this:
A group calling itself “Patriotic Moms” claims to quote Thomas Jefferson:
Thomas Jefferson said a lot, and kept careful records of about 15,000 letters — but did he ever say a country without a border is not a country? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“A country with no Border is not a country.”
I can’t find that in Jefferson’s writings. Anybody know if Jefferson said or wrote anything like that? Got a citation?
Is this another fake Jefferson quote?
Here we are, over a year later, and this does not appear in any form that I think we can say Jefferson said it, or wrote it. It’s not in any Jefferson collection I can find.
Perhaps even more telling, our old friend Higginbotham finds a solid attribution to former Congressman Mike Pence (now Governor of Indiana), introducing a bill in Congress in 2005.
The judges rule Jefferson did not say “A country with no border is not a country.” Neither did he say “A nation with no border is not a nation.” In his bogus quote, neither did he add “secure” before the last “country” or “nation.”
It’s a misattributed quote, a bogus quote, a distortion of history, whatever epithet you wish to impale it on. But it’s not from the canon of Thomas Jefferson wisdom. It’s been flying around the internet this past week, and my earlier post has increased activity. Perhaps immigration is about to heat up as an issue? Time to put this canard down.
Here’s one thing that should make you very wary of any quote in any similar circumstance: No one seems to know what the occasion was that Jefferson made the remark, nor the date, nor the format. Jefferson’s writings are extensively indexed, and he kept copies himself of about 15,000 letters, for the sake of history. If you can’ t find it quickly, he probably didn’t say it.
More, in 2013:
September 30, 2013
You can only get this shot on two days each year.
From Astronomy Picture of the Day: Earth at Equinox. From the Russian meteorological satellite Elektro-L
Explanation from NASA:
Image Credit: Roscosmos / NTSOMZ / zelenyikot.livejournal.com
Courtesy: Igor Tirsky, Vitaliy Egorov Explanation: From a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator, Russian meteorological satellite Elektro-L takes high-resolution images our fair planet every 30 minutes. But only twice a year, during an Equinox, can it capture an image like this one, showing an entire hemisphere bathed in sunlight. At an Equinox, the Earth’s axis of rotation is not tilted toward or away from the Sun, so the solar illumination can extend to both the planet’s poles. Of course, this Elektro-L picture was recorded on September 22nd, at the northern hemisphere’s autumnal equinox. For a moment on that date, the Sun was behind the geostationary satellite and a telltale glint of reflected sunlight is seen crossing the equator, at the location on the planet with satellite and sun directly overhead (5MB animated gif).
Wait. Animated .gif? Cool!
The Earth at equinox, 2013; from Russan space program, via NASA.
September 26, 2013
What’s the southernmost unit of the U.S. National Park System? That’s where this photo was taken.
Stunning southern night sky in Ofu Island in the National Park of American Samoa! They get a brighter, richer view of the Milky Way in the Southern Hemisphere due to the location on the globe. This is the only national park found in the Southern Hemisphere. Photo: National Park Service
Many Americans seem unaware of worldwide holdings of the U.S. in territories, thinking the last territory was closed when Oklahoma or Arizona entered the union, or maybe Alaska or Hawaii. U.S. territories today include the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam (from the Spanish American War), Puerto Rico (from the same war), and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as organized territories. American Samoa is an “unorganized territory,” along with series of other islands in the Pacific: Baker Island, Howland Island, Palmyra Atoll, Johnson Atoll, Jarvis Island, Kingman Reef, the Midway Islands, and Wake Island; and in the Caribbean, Bajo Nuevo Bank, Navassa Island (also claimed by Haiti), and Serranilla Bank, also claimed by Colombia.
Most of these islands offer much better star-gazing than is ever possible in Dallas.
September 26, 2013
Caption from Interior’s Tweet: Sometimes there are no words to describe America’s public lands. This photo @EvergladesNPS proves it. #Florida pic.twitter.com/3l7fnrcfsG
Everglades National Park, in Florida, is a great example of wild lands that belong to all Americans, that we almost let slip away.
I’m not sure a painter could do a more stunning version of this view.
Location map: Everglades National Park in red. Wikipedia photo
September 23, 2013
World and U.S. history classes should be long past this point, but the photo just recently surfaced:
From America’s Outdoors: Bering Land Bridge National Preserve – Gone are the shockingly bright pinks, yellows and purples of summer, replaced by deeper and darker reds, yellows, greens and the beginnings of brown, all of equal vibrancy and beauty. And soon, as the 34 degree weather and diminishing daylight would lead us to believe, a blanket of white will fall upon the landscape. Enjoy the change of seasons wherever you may be!
Bering Land Bridge National Preserve? Did you even know there was such a thing? Part of our public lands, your tax dollars at work.
Not a place for a Sunday drive. There are no roads to get to the place. For students, this site offers a lot of photos and interesting stuff for projects in history (human migrations) and geography (land forms, lava flows, migration routes, wilderness).
Tors of Serpentine, in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Alaska – NPS photo