Nice photo, a starry sky showing part of the Milky Way, and a great tree, probably painted with a flashlight.
But, where in the world is it?
Dear Reader, do you know where this photo was taken? Who should get credit?
It’s been 57 years since the youngest state entered the union — the longest stretch in which the U.S. has not added another state.
“On June 14, 1959, Boy Scout Milton Motooka helped get the word out for Hawaii’s statehood plebiscite to be held 13 days later. A new documentary will focus on Hawaii’s statehood.” Hawaiians voted yes in the plebiscite, and statehood was declared two months later. (Whatever became of Scout Motooka?)
June’s plebiscite smoothed the path for statehood, declared two months later.
Hawaii’s official statehood day is August 21, commemorating the day in 1959 when Hawaii was recognized as a member of the union of the United States of America. Hawaiians should fly their flags to day in honor of the date (you may, too).
Hawaii formally celebrates the day on the third Friday in August, this year on the 19th. I hope you joined in the festivities (it’s a holiday in Hawaii) — but under the U.S. Flag Code, you may certainly fly your flags on August 21, regardless which day of the week that is.
After the U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1898 (in action separate from the Spanish-American War) attempts at getting Hawaii admitted as a state got rolling. After World War II, with the strategic importance of the islands firmly implanted in Americans’ minds, the project picked up some steam. Still, it was 14 years after the end of the war that agreements were worked out between the people of Hawaii, the Hawaiian royal family, Congress and the executive branch. The deal passed into law had to be ratified by a plebiscite among Hawaiian citizens. The proposition won approval with 94% of votes in favor.
Some native Hawaiian opposition to statehood arose later, and deference to those complaints has muted statehood celebrations in the 21st century.
Other than the tiny handful of loudmouth birthers, most Americans today are happy to have Hawaii as a state, the fifth richest in the U.S. by personal income. The nation has a lot of good and great beaches, but the idea of catching sun and surf in Hawaii on vacation might be considered an idealized part of the American dream.
“Loudmouth birthers?” Yeah, Barack Obama, our 45th President, was born in Hawaii in 1961. Some whiners think that, but for statehood, Obama would not have been a citizen eligible to be president. Hawaii is not good ground for growing sour grapes, though. Birth in a territory would probably be enough to make him eligible. Water under the bridge: Hawaii was a state in 1961. President Obama remains president.
- Lesson plans under Hawaii social studies standards
- U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, statement on Statehood Day, 2013
- Celebrating Hawaii’s Flag (pacificislandparks.com)
- Of course, there are those who claim Hawaii’s statehood is illegal
- Fly your flags on August 1 in Colorado: Statehood day (timpanogos.wordpress.com)
Another good reason to follow the National Archives on Twitter, Tumblr and other media: Great updates.
Like this one on the explosive arrival of the Atomic Age:
On July 16, 1945 the United States tested a nuclear device, code named “Trinity”, for the first time in White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.
Above: [“Jumbo” atomic device being positioned for “Trinity” test at Alamogordo, New Mexico.], 1945
Below: [“Trinity” explosion], 07/16/1945
It’s astonishing to think anyone could hide the explosion today. Near the end of World War II, after Germany had surrendered to end the war in Europe, no one really knew just what at atomic explosion would look or sound like. The test occurred near dawn in a very desolate part of New Mexico’s southern desert, a then sparsely populated state. A few thousand may have seen the flash; a few hundred may have heard or felt the explosion. No one in government confirmed any report of a weapon.
- Gen. Leslie Grove’s memorandum describing the results of the test, at PBS’s American Experience site, history of President Harry Truman
- Trinity+67 Years: the Explosion of the First Atomic Bomb, Alamogordo, New Mexico, 1945 (longstreet.typepad.com)
- Trinity, July 16, 1945 (sandwalk.blogspot.com)
- July 16, 1945: Trinity Blast Opens Atomic Age (wired.com)
- Dinosaurs of the Atomic Age! (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- James B. Conant on Trinity (1945) (nuclearsecrecy.com)
- Weatherwatch: Mushroom-shaped clouds and their causes (guardian.co.uk)
- Nuclear Explosions – I am become Death [34 Pics] (amazfacts.com)
- History pamphlet given to visitors to the Trinity site
Another great find on Twitter, for geography, biology and physics classes.
How do birds navigate, compared to, say, Columbus? Most U.S. history texts make a big deal of Columbus’s navigation, made possible by invention of the magnetic compass and the sextant.
Birds are more accurate, and they have neither. Well, they don’t have external magnetic compasses. See the cartoon.
Teachers, have someone in the drafting department make this cartoon into a poster for your classroom.
As usual, the truth is more weird and wonderful than fiction writers could hope to invent.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Columbia University’s Twitter managers.
Again from Twitter, a series of photographs of Utah’s Mount Timpanogos.
From top to bottom, it looks like a sunrise on the mountain. But Timpanogos faces west; the sun rises from behind this face. Two possible explanations. The more mundane explanation would be that the series starts with the bottom photo, progressing to the top. Shadows support that explanation.
The slightly more colorful explanation would be, as we often see here in Texas, weather moving from west to east; and in the late afternoon a cover of clouds moves far enough east that the setting sun finally is uncovered, peeking out from underneath the clouds to light the land with that wonderful golden hour sun for a few minutes, before setting.
Timpanogos, like the rock it is, sits majestically either way.
I Tweeted Ms. Adams (I’m presuming her name to be Sofia Augustine Adams) to ask which it is. For those who love Timpanogos, it won’t matter much.
My guess is the photo was taken from south of Orem, Utah, probably near Interstate Highway 15 which transects Utah County.
Update: Ms. Adams informs us (see comments) it is a setting sun, with the bottom photo being the first in the series. Thank you!
National Wildlife Refuges. Four days ago, most people were very fuzzy on what they are, except for members of Ducks Unlimited, and conservationists.
Here are a few Tweets to help the rest along.
Moose at the National Elk Refuge, outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming:
Wisdom is a 64-year old albatross who remarkably returns to the Midway National Wildlife Refuge every year, and has raised chicks most of those years. Midway NWR is northwest of Hawaii:
Sparky the lightning catching bull bison, at the Midwest NWR:
Every Kid in a Park shares a photo of an unnamed wild area (threw it in just for the heck of it):
Yellow-rumped warbler at the Sacramento NWR:
USFWS workers conduct a controlled burn at the Okefenokee NWR in Florida:
Hamden Slough NWR, Minnesota, is 26 years old today, January 5:
Great blue heron at Sacramento NWR:
Pied-billed grebe at Sacramento NWR:
Conservatives keep misattributing a famous quote to Thomas Paine, but it was Ed Abbey who said it. Rumor is you can find Abbey at the Caza Prieta NWR in Arizona:
Buenos Aires NWR, Arizona:
Wichita Mountains NWR, Oklahoma:
Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico (near Las Vegas, New Mexico, home of the first Owl Cafe and the wonderful Owl Burger):
Back to the Midway Atoll NWR:
1908 photo from Oregon’s Malheur NWR:
Working against extinction of monarch butterflies, at St. Marks NWR:
Lake Klamath NWR in Oregon, critical habitat for ducks along the Pacific flyway:
“Conservatives” want to sell these lands off, or drill for oil or gas, or mine for minerals, on many of these lands. Will these places be preserved for your great grandchildren and America’s future?