France – Brittany : Medieval Abbey of Beauport – Paimpol – 30 photos.

ICI & LA NATURE PICTURES

bretagne abbaye de beauport paimpol

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One of the finest preserved surviving examples of the religious architectural fervour that swept Brittany from the 11th century onwards, the Abbey was constructed in the 13th century overlooking Paimpol bay under the patronage of Count Alain de Goëlo .

He granted the living to the Premonstratensian canons, or White Canons, and for over 500 years their religious order shaped the abbey, grounds and surrounding environment.

The French Revolution saw the dissolution of the abbey and it became in turn, a stable, town hall, residential accomodation school and cider press.

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bretagne abbaye de beauport paimpol

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When Staff Sergeant Ordered Me to Save the Hummingbird

Cpl Kerkman Reference Guide

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“Kerkman, there’s a hummingbird dying, trapped in the courtyard.
You gotta save it.”
“SSgt, why did you come to me to save it?”
“Well, because you’re a hippy, Kerkman.
You’re the only one who knows how.”
It was a hot summer, the bird was dehydrated.
“SSgt, I need sugar and water.”
We headed in to make up the concoction.
My Sergeant asked me what the hell I was doin’,
told me to get back to work.
I said, “Staff Sergeant ordered me to save a hummingbird.”
I went outside.
The hummingbird was scared,
others thought it was going to die.
It couldn’t fly.
I gently put the cup of water up to the little guy
It weakly and eagerly drank
After a couple sips, it found the strength to get outta there.
He got his wings back.
He could fly.

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Friday Reader: Godzilla at 60

The 1954 film "Gojira" introduced Godzilla to the world — and a classic design featuring a guy in a rubber suit.(Photo: Classic Media)

The 1954 film “Gojira” introduced Godzilla to the world — and a classic design featuring a guy in a rubber suit.(Photo: Classic Media)

“When mankind falls into conflict with nature, monsters are born.” The king of monsters returns this week, but before you hit the theaters, see the evolution of Godzilla over the past 60 years.

A generation of monster-movie devotees grew up watching — and loving — a guy in a Godzilla rubber suit.

While that’s the kind of thing you’d expect to see in line next to you at Comic-Con nowadays, that classic low-tech design is still integral to the 350-foot-tall nuclear-powered creature laying waste again to cinematic landscapes 60 years after the first Japanese Godzilla picture.

That original design — a melding of dinosaurs such as Stegosaurus, Iguanodon and the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex — has gone through many changes since 1954, “but there is a somewhat consistent theme throughout that, and it evolved as cinema has evolved,” says Andrew Baker, creature designer for the Godzilla reboot, in theaters today.

When director Ishiro Honda hatched Godzilla for the Toho company’s original Gojirafilm, he decided against the usual stop-motion “claymation” of the time to create his reptilian star. Instead, he put stunt actor Haruo Nakajima in that infamous rubber suit, which allowed audiences to relate to the monster in a critical way, says William Tsutsui, author of Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters.

“It was bottom-heavy, had great big hips and heavy thighs,” he says. “When you heard its footfalls walking through Tokyo, it was really the resonance of this giant creature walking on the earth.”

The monstrous reptile from the new "Godzilla" shows some definitely evolution from icons past, including the addition of gills, improved spiky scales and facial lines straightened for a more aggressive look. (Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

The monstrous reptile from the new “Godzilla” shows some definitely evolution from icons past, including the addition of gills, improved spiky scales and facial lines straightened for a more aggressive look.
(Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Then, it was hard to find a boy’s toy box without a Godzilla action figure. And in the movies of the 1960s and ’70s, when the big lizard battled foes such as King Kong,Mothra, King Ghidorah and Mechagodzilla, large Japanese anime-style eyes and a face that only a mom would love reflected the kid-friendly nature of the movies.

“That Godzilla wasn’t scaring anybody,” Tsutsui says. “In fact, you wanted to take it home as a pet.”

When Toho relaunched the monster in Japan with 1984’sThe Return of Godzilla, he was fiercer and scarier than ever, and in the ’90s, Godzilla’s face “almost looks like a samurai helmet — cold and hard, reflecting the mood of those films,” says Tsutsui, adding that the dinosaur-like creature in Roland Emmerich’s American Godzillaremake left a lot to be desired in 1998. “The less said, the better.”

One of Baker’s favorite Godzilla designs was the fierce giant seen in 2001’s Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. “He was meant to be this formidable god. It was the first one for me that felt really terrifying.”

When new Godzilla director Gareth Edwards unleashed Baker and co-designer Christian Pearce to hatch the next version, he wanted them to imagine it was a real animal that existed 60 years ago and was witnessed by people in Japan who went running and screaming to Toho describing what they saw.

The result would be “the guy in the suit we all know and love,” Edwards says.

Because Godzilla has at times tended toward having a cute face — as seen here in 1969's "Destroy All Monsters" — new "Godzilla" director Gareth Edwards wanted his version to have a more aggressive visage.(Photo: ADV Films)

Because Godzilla has at times tended toward having a cute face — as seen here in 1969’s “Destroy All Monsters” — new “Godzilla” director Gareth Edwards wanted his version to have a more aggressive visage.(Photo: ADV Films)

To make this Godzilla state-of-the-art, designers added extra texture to his gigantic spiky scales so they looked good up close and from afar, and they played with proportions, shrinking his head to make his body seem gigantic.

Plus, they added gills that nodded to his aquatic origins and would explain how he can come out of nowhere from underwater and start breaking civilization. “Justifying that seemed like a good idea,” Baker says, “and one that fans would like.”

And because there was something “potentially cute” about Godzilla’s mug, Edwards adds that his team made the face less rounded and straightened some of the lines “so he felt more aggressive and noble.”

However, staying true to the iconic look from the ’50s was always a driving force to the overall design, says Baker.

“The innovation in film always seems to make such a leap,” he says, “and little did they know at the time they were going to create a whole series of cult movies that would become what we’re working on today.”

Crash

New Meteor Shower Predicted to be a Meteor Storm

Meteors

Coming to a circumpolar constellation near you: An all-new, never-before-seen, awkwardly named meteor shower that just might knock your astronomical socks off.

It’s called the Camelopardalid meteor shower, and unlike annual showers such as the Perseids and Leonids that have been occurring for hundreds or thousands of years, it will occur for the first time the night of May 23 and early morning of May 24.

A meteor shower happens when the Earth passes through debris left in space by a comet (the Perseids, for example, are debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle); the debris, little chunks of rock and other material, burns up in the atmosphere to form what some people call shooting or falling stars.

The Camelopardalids will be debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, a very dim comet that orbits the sun every five years. The comet was discovered in 2004 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research project, a partnership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, NASA and the U.S. Air Force.

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Sky watchers in North America may see a brand new meteor shower the night of May 23 and early morning of May 24. This will be the first time the Earth has passed through debris left by Comet 209P/LINEAR.

But while the Earth has been passing through Swift-Tuttle debris to create the Perseids for thousands of years (the first written account of the shower was in 36 A.D.), this will be the first time the Earth has passed through Comet 209P/LINEAR’s leftovers.

Meteor showers vary in intensity: Some produce more meteors than others, and some years a particular meteor shower is better than other years. It all depends on how much debris the Earth passes through, and some astronomers are predicting that all of Comet 209P/LINEAR’s debris trails from 1803 through 1924 will intersect Earth’s orbit, so the Camelopardalid meteor shower will be a meteor storm producing hundreds of meteors per hour.

So, how good will it be?

“That’s always a good question, more so with this meteor shower because it’s the first time we’re seeing it,” said Rich Talcott, senior editor of Astronomy magazine. “Over the past 15 or 20 years, astronomers have done a very good job at figuring out, ‘OK, here’s where the debris streams will lie.’ I’m thinking the odds are pretty good we’ll get something nice May 24.”

Meteor showers are named for the constellation from which the meteors seem to radiate. That point is known as the radiant, and radiant for the Camelopardalids will be the constellation Camelopardalis (the giraffe).

Camelopardalis is a circumpolar constellation, which means that, rather than moving from east to west across the night sky, it goes around Polaris, the North Star, so it’s up all night. It’s also easy to find because it’s close to the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, two easily recognizable constellations. The meteor shower will be easier to view in the South, says Carol Stewart, astronomer at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Fort Myers, Fla.

“In Southwest Florida, we have an advantage over Northern latitudes because the meteors will come in at us from a lower altitude,” she said. “Those are called ‘Earth-grazers,’ and they’re longer-lasting and run farther across the sky.”

Aside from clouds, a meteor watcher’s worst enemy is a bright moon, which can wash out all but the brightest meteors.

On the night of May 23, however, the moon is not present, and it doesn’t rise until 3:41 a.m. May 24. When it does rise, it will be a waning crescent, so it won’t affect the meteor shower. Astronomers predict peak activity for the shower will be from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. May 24, but Stewart will be looking at a wider window.

“They could start as soon as it gets dark the night of the 23rd,” she said. “I’m going to go out and check every hour. We don’t know because this is the first time, and I don’t want to miss it.”

Crash

The Search for the Santa Maria

Photo of replica ship in 1992 by Eric Risberg, AP

Photo of replica ship in 1992 by Eric Risberg, AP

She was called the Santa Maria but her true name was La Santa María de la Inmaculada Concepción (Spanish for The Holy Mary of the Immaculate Conception), or La Santa María, and she was the largest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first voyage.

What might be one of the world’s greatest archaeological treasures nearly slipped through Barry Clifford’s grasp.

Back in 2003, Clifford, an underwater archaeological explorer, and his crew discovered a tantalizing shipwreck off the coast of Haiti. The wreck sat in exactly the spot where Clifford reckoned Christopher Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria, had sunk on Christmas Day in 1492, less than three months after Columbus reached the New World for the first time.

Archaeologists “eliminated the site as not being what we were looking for,” Clifford told USA TODAY in an interview Tuesday. He went on to make an exhaustive survey of the waters off Haiti, “spending a small fortune … (and) eliminating every other possibility, to the point where I threw my hands up in the air, and I don’t do that very often.”

This week, a few weeks after returning to the wreck, Clifford, who discovered the pirate ship Whydah, says he thinks there’s strong evidence his team has indeed snagged one of the most sought after archaeological sites in the history of human exploration. He says the once-scorned shipwreck is the Santa Maria, the slow, tubby but solidly built rental vessel that carried Columbus and his men on the voyage that revealed the existence of the New World to the Old.

The Santa María was built in Castro-Urdiales, Cantabria, in Spain's northeast region. The Santa María was probably a medium-sized nau (carrack), about 58 ft (17.7 m) long on deck, and according to Juan Escalante de Mendoza in 1575, the Santa Maria was "very little larger than 100 toneladas" (about 100 tons, or tuns) burthen, or burden,[1][2][3] and was used as the flagship for the expedition. The Santa María had a single deck and three masts.

The Santa María was built in Castro-Urdiales, Cantabria, in Spain’s northeast region. The Santa María was probably a medium-sized nau (carrack), about 58 ft (17.7 m) long on deck, and according to Juan Escalante de Mendoza in 1575, the Santa Maria was “very little larger than 100 toneladas” (about 100 tons, or tuns) burthen, or burden, and was used as the flagship for the expedition. The Santa María had a single deck and three masts.

“This shipwreck altered the course of human history,” Clifford said. “We’re very excited.”

The team’s return to what could be the bones of the Santa Maria sprang out of a late-night revelation about nine years after the team located the wreck. Clifford, who’d been studying 15th-century ordnance, bolted awake to the realization that a tube his son had photographed in the wreck in 2003 was a lombard, an open-ended cannon popular during Columbus’ day. That led to the realization that he’d probably found the Santa Maria, only to abandon it.

He and his team returned to the site a few weeks ago, only to find it looted of the lombard, several wheels that would’ve been used to maneuver the cannon and a piece of the rudder mechanism. Other evidence from the site strongly points to the wreck being the Santa Maria, he said.

Columbus wrote that the wreck was 1½ leagues from La Navidad, the fortified encampment he founded in what is now Haiti after the loss of the Santa Maria, Clifford said. The wreck sits the equivalent of 1½ leagues from the site suspected to be La Navidad.

The wreck’s resting place lies near breaking waves, as Columbus reported. It was in a sandy spot, as implied in Columbus’ journal. At the site, the team found a field of stones 40 feet long and 20 feet wide. That corresponds to the likely dimensions of the Santa Maria, which would’ve carried ballast stones in her hold.

“Everything fit the equation,” said Clifford, who added that the team ruled out other wrecks in the same vicinity. He has a Haitian permit to explore the wreck but doesn’t plan to proceed immediately. The top priority, he said, must be the protection of the wreck from looters.

Clifford suspects treasure hunters nabbed the most accessible artifacts, including the lombard. He has only a photograph of it, and he hopes a benefactor will step in to offer a reward for information on the whereabouts of the artifacts. There may be much more to find. There could be wooden remnants of the ship buried in the sediments, Clifford said, and more.

“It’s a big pile of rocks,” he said, “but there’s a lot more to it than that. I’m not going to tell you what it is.”

One outside expert says Clifford may be onto something.

“There is some very compelling evidence from the 2003 photographs of the site and from the recent reconnaissance dives that this wreck may well be the Santa Maria,” Indiana University’s Charles Beeker told The Independent, the British newspaper that first reported the discovery.

Another expert expresses caution.

“If this is a very early Spanish shipwreck, it should be looked at by a number of different people who are experienced in … archaeological sites from that time period,” said Roger Smith, Florida’s state underwater archaeologist, who has long experience studying shipwrecks.

To be sure the ship is the right vintage, experts would have to examine the design of the hull, evidence for how the ship was rigged, the placement of its arms and how it was built, Smith said. When an early shipwreck was discovered off Pensacola, Smith and his colleagues brought in experts on coins, old wood, stones and plant and animal remains to help identify the vessel.

“It’s easy to jump to conclusions when people keep asking, ‘Is this Columbus’s ship?’ ” Smith says. “The ship will tell its own story.”

Crash

Teen Marriage: Marie Antoinette & Louis-Auguste

A R T L▼R K

41TigSB3YNL._On the 16th of May 1770, the wedding of Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste was held at Versailles in the Chapel Royal. Following three centuries of rivalry, France and Austria had finally become allies in 1756, so in order to cement their fresh diplomatic ties, Louis XV and the Empress Maria Theresa arranged the marriage of their respective children: the Duc de Berry, Dauphin of France, aged 15, and Marie-Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria, aged 14. Historian Margaret Hunt pointed out that, until the late 18th century marriage was “the main means of transferring property, occupational status, personal contacts, money, tools, livestock and women across generations and kin groups” (The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender, and the Family in England, 1680-1780, University of California Press., 1996). However, marriage was also often instrumental in laying claim to political power and reinforcing peace treaties, such as was the case of our young royals’ union…

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