Flying over Everest – some amazing video footage

Helicopters (the Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil, specifically the B3 high-altitude version, the first helicopter to land on the summit of Mount Everest in 2005) are used to rescue climbers in difficulty in the Himalayas.  Here’s a montage of footage shot from them during their missions.  Some of it is amazing. I almost got vertigo watching some of the shots in full-screen mode.  I imagine the pilots have to be amongst the best in the world at what they do, to manage a helicopter in the extremely thin air and high winds of those altitudes. Peter

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Nature, red in tooth and claw

Tennyson’s famous phrase was (and still is) very familiar to those growing up in Africa, and I daresay in places like Alaska and other wildernesses too.  It’s the simple fact of life.  Nature is predatory and ruthless, and almost all animals die through being killed and eaten by others, sooner or later.  Those who die from other causes end up being eaten anyway! I was reminded of that by this photograph, found at SNAFU’s place.  Clickit to biggit. The Nile crocodile is endemic in Africa, with uncounted numbers infesting that continent’s rivers and lakes.  (Some idiot’s even released a few into the wild in Florida!) 

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So… how do they navigate?

I found this pair of photographs on Gab yesterday, showing a lighthouse on Lake Michigan near St. Joseph during and after a winter storm.  Clickit to biggit. I’ve seen similar photographs before, of course, as I’m sure have most of my readers.  However, I’d never thought about one obvious question.  If the lighthouse is required by ships on the lake for safe navigation, what happens when it’s shrouded in ice and its light can no longer be seen?  Is waterborne traffic suspended until it defrosts?  Is, there, in fact, any waterborne traffic on the Great Lakes during the winter months, or does everything come

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Not approved by special snowflakes

A bear killed a deer, because it was hungry.  Normal behavior, of course;  that’s what bears do.  The difference, in this case, is that it did so in someone’s back yard – right in the middle of Colorado Springs suburbia. WARNING:  The video is VERY graphic, both visually and audibly.  Don’t play this near small kids or those who are squeamish. What’s astonished me about that video is not the fact that it happened so close to human habitation – it’s the response from the special snowflake brigade.  I’ve seen comments in some quarters about how cruel the bear was,

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An old weed becomes a modern problem

The so-called “Sargasso Sea” in the North Atlantic Ocean is a time-honored name, dating back to well before Christopher Columbus’ day.  It may have been known as early as the sixth century BC, according to one ancient navigator‘s oral history.  The map below is courtesy of Wikipedia. Its name was derived from the sargassum seaweed that proliferates there.  In more recent times, the Sargasso Sea has become the heart of the so-called North Atlantic Garbage Patch. Now it looks as if sargassum is spreading south, into equatorial regions, and posing a new and highly unwelcome threat to the tourist industry in South America, the Caribbean,

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Day 9 on the road: North Carolina to the Mississippi River

Miss D. and I left Brevard, NC on Monday morning, on our way home to Texas.  We made a brief stop at the Bear Tracks Travel Center, which we’d visited on Day 6 of our tour.  The owner (an older lady) had three large amethyst geodes for sale in her shop, which we’d noted on Friday.  They were all tall half-cylinders of various heights.  We were struck by their exceptionally reasonable prices.  We’re used to seeing good-quality, large-size geodes priced at thousands of dollars apiece in retail stores.  These were all listed in the hundreds of dollars, far below what we’d normally have expected (and

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Days 7 and 8 on the road: Brevard, NC and the Pisgah National Forest

Over the weekend, Miss D. and I indulged ourselves in doing touristy things, visiting some very lovely places, and relaxing and unwinding with “us time” – something that’s been hard to schedule at home, with all the demands on our time. On Saturday morning, after a leisurely and very tasty breakfast at our B&B, we walked the streets of Brevard for a few hours.  Our first stop was the local farmers market, which didn’t yield anything we really wanted.  From there we visited several art galleries, looking at what was on display.  I must admit, I was disappointed.  It seemed to me

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