Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Giant Sea Creature

Did you see this picture in the paper a whole back?

People hoist the body of an 18-foot oarfish that was discovered in Toyon Bay at Catalina Island off the California coast.
This monstrous-looking creature is an oarfish and was found near Catalina Island, off the coast of California by a snorkeler, who discovered it lying on the bottom. It seems that it had recently died, probably of natural causes and amazingly, she was able to bring it up and toward shore where others noticed that she needed help and pitched in to land it on the beach.
The oarfish, also called a ribbon fish is a rarely seen creature thanks to its deep-sea habitat (although they tend to come to the surface when sick/dying) Oarfish are bony fish, growing up to 60 ft. long. Here's a video taken of one a few years ago. At just under 10 minutes, this video is far longer than needed to see the beauty of an oarfish, but it's somewhat more interesting after the 8:30 mark, so just fast forward. I found it interesting that since there's nothing near this oarfish, there is no way to judge its size. Also, as we might expect, the fish is so much more beautiful in its ocean habitat than on land.

This 13-foot oarfish washed up in Spain in August:
Images from Ideal.es Ameria/Facebook
And here's a 1996 photo of US servicemen with an oarfish they found:
This 1996 photo shows U.S. servicemen with an oarfish found on the shore of the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California. Oarfish of this size are extremely rare. The one pictured here was 23-feet long and weighed 300 pounds. (Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Goats have a reputation for being somewhat edgy. I met some feral goats on my walk in Scotland that seemed pretty ordinary. Not like these zany goats. Next time I hear a person described as a crazy goat, I'll have a better appreciation of her/his creativity and courage.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Starling Murmuration

Videos of flocks of starlings in flight have gone viral. They feature a stunning example of collective behavior known as a starling murmuration. These aerial spectacles can be seen at dusk, when starlings flock together and seem to move as one. A murmuration can be made up of a few hundred to tens of thousands of birds.

starling picture
What makes them mesmerizing is the strong coherence and extremely synchronized movements of the starlings. Scientists have recently determined that starlings in murmurations coordinate their movements with their seven nearest neighbors.
When one bird changes speed or direction, all the other birds in the vicinity respond in kind, and they do so nearly simultaneously. In this way, information spreads across the flock rapidly.
These graceful ballets are often responses to an approaching predator like a hawk, but also seem to occur spontaneously. Perhaps the starlings find their behavior as beautiful as we do.
The above post is a portion of an article by Mary Bates copied from the National Geographic.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Soar Like An Eagle

Enjoy some vicarious soaring in the French Alps.

I'm a huge fan of eagles - I follow with regularity and have previously posted about the escapades, nestings, eaglets and eagles of Decorah, Iowa.

DECORAH EAGLE'S NEST, Est. 2007, up 80 feet high, then take a right @ 300-500 ft to "yonder" nest tree, Est. 2012 !!! "Air Mail" only ;) c/o Cottonwood Tree @ 2325 SIEWERS SPRING ROAD, DECORAH, IA 52101   
This eagle with the camera on its back is likely a trained raptor. Pretty exciting stuff.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Wax Nostalgic

Great House Sigils of a Game of Thrones carved crayon set
Great House Sigils of A Game of Thrones
These carved crayons are created by HQ Tran of California, who posts them photos of them on Tumblr and sells them in his Etsy Shop (approx. $25 - 30 apiece on average - this set selling for just under $300)
Star Wars Darth Vader carved crayon
Star Wars - Darth Vader
Jake the Dog Adventure Time carved crayon
Jake the Dog Adventure Time
Custom Bride and Groom carved crayon
Bride and Groom
I wonder if Tran started to carve crayons as a young (bored?) student in Kindergarten. He has certainly mastered the art.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Winged Victory

File:Nike di samotracia 00.JPG

If you have been to our house, you've probably seen the small reproduction of Winged Victory in our bathroom. My aunt and uncle were great travellers in the 50's and 60's, a time when going overseas usually meant boarding a ship and taking an extended holiday. When in Paris, they visited the Louvre and fell for the actual Winged Victory, then couldn't resist buying the souvenir to bring home.

I grew up admiring her in their various homes where she usually overlooked the room she was in from a high pedestal stand. Eventually we welcomed her arrival in our own home. She is made of marble, as is the original, and shows the same sense of being in motion, yet standing in serenity, with the same wonderful draping of the fabric. Maybe the bathroom is a strange place for her, but with the marble counter and mirror behind, I can't think of a better place in the house.

Victory was a Greek goddess, known as Nike and her 8-foot sculpture, by an unknown artisan, dates from the second century BC. She has resided at the Louvre since 1884 after being discovered on the Greek island of Samothrace. Her arms and head were unfortunately not recovered with her body, but one of her hands, discovered much later, is displayed in a nearby display case at the Louvre. At the outbreak of WWII, along with many other priceless art objects, she was given a safer temporary abode outside of Paris.

Along with Venus de Milo and Mona Lisa, Nike is one of the three "great ladies" that are favourites of visitors to the Louvre. Over the next 9 months she is to undergo a complete structural and surface restoration to "gird" her for the future and to restore her lustrous marble finish. The project's estimated cost is $5.27 million.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Need a Smile?

Magnus shared this video on Facebook a while back so members of my family may have already seen it. A (ex-Somali) bus driver in Denmark is having a birthday. Little does he know what his friends (note that this man has sooo many friends - he has obviously become important to and respected by many commuters!) have planned. It's very interesting to watch this on You -Tube and read the comments. I love how he goes from worried to happy.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Midway Island

Midway Island is an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, 2000 miles from a continental coastline. There are no human inhabitants but there is a large population of albatrosses and other seabirds. The scene of a battle in June of 1942, Midway still has an out-of service airfield.

The atoll is an unfortunate recipient of debris from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the albatrosses and other birds are attracted by the colourful pieces of plastic, with dire consequences.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Pacific Rim

 These photographs are two of a group of 40 very interesting photos here, a collection of photos to "help make sense of the world". Go and have a look!
 World Map of Vegetation.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sweet Succulents

Anybody who knows me knows how I enjoy succulents - echeverias, sempervivum (hens and chicks), kalanchoe etc. So when I saw this post from Alana Jones Mann, I knew I had to share it.

Are these not delightful? Full instructions on  Alana's blog, www.alanajonesmann.com