#MilitaryMonday

KEY WEST, Fla. (March 21, 2013) Lt. Cmdr. John Hiltz, right wing pilot for the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, flies over the Florida Keys during a practice flight demonstration. The Blue Angels are in the Florida Keys to perform at the Naval Air Station Key West Southernmost Air Spectacular March 23-24. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr)

KEY WEST, Fla. (March 21, 2013) Lt. Cmdr. John Hiltz, right wing pilot for the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, flies over the Florida Keys during a practice flight demonstration. The Blue Angels are in the Florida Keys to perform at the Naval Air Station Key West Southernmost Air Spectacular March 23-24. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Rachel McMarr)

A weekly feature honoring the Armed Forces of the United States and its Allies.

Cmdr. James Harmon Ward

Cmdr. James Harmon Ward

1861, while commanding a gunboat flotilla, Commander James Harmon Ward is mortally wounded by a musket ball while aiming the bow gun of his flagship, USS Thomas Freeborn at Mathias Point, Va. He is the first US naval officer casualty of the ‪‎Civil War‬.

Dr. William M. Wood

Dr. William M. Wood

1869, William M. Wood is appointed as the ‪#US Navy‬‘s first surgeon-general and serves until Oct. 25, 1871. President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him Chief U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery prior to this specific appointment.

3

Rota, Spain (Nov. 20, 2006) – Adm. Miguel Beltran Bengoechea, Chief of Logistics Support, Spanish Navy, observes Sailors, Marines and Airmen
assigned to U.S. Naval Station Rota during a pass in review in front of Spanish Navy Headquarters. The pass in review was part of the Assumption of Command Ceremony of Rear Adm. Jose Maria Pelluz Alcantud, new Admiral in Chief, Rota Naval Base.

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Glen M. Dennis (RELEASED)

1962, U.S. Naval Facility, Cape Hatteras, N.C., makes the first Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) detection of a Soviet diesel submarine.

A Soviet “Zulu” class diesel attack submarine, photographed during the early 1960s. US Navy Photo.

A Soviet “Zulu” class diesel attack submarine, photographed during the early 1960s. US Navy Photo.

A partially submerged Soviet “Zulu” class diesel attack submarine (ss), photographed during July 1962.  US Navy Photo.

A partially submerged Soviet “Zulu” class diesel attack submarine (ss), photographed during July 1962. US Navy Photo.

Map of Cape Hatteras, 1955. Courtesy of the NOAA Historical Chart Division.

Map of Cape Hatteras, 1955. Courtesy of the NOAA Historical Chart Division.

1950, North Korea invades South Korea, beginning the‪ ‎Korean War‬. Two days later, President Harry S. Truman supports the United Nations call and authorizes U.S. naval and air operations south of the 38th Parallel, Korea.

U.S. Marine Corps HRS-1 helicopters from transport squadron HMR-161 launching from the U.S. escort carrier USS Sicily (CVE 118) during Operation Marlex-5 off the west coast of Korea in the Inchon area, on 1 September 1952. This was the first time that Marine Corps landing forces had moved from ship to shore by helicopter. The HRS-1 nearest to the camera is USN BuNo 127798. Sicily´s Sikorsky HO3S plane guard helicopter is visible aft of the carrier (below HRS-1 127798). Photographer Scott Dyben - Official U.S. Navy photograph

U.S. Marine Corps HRS-1 helicopters from transport squadron HMR-161 launching from the U.S. escort carrier USS Sicily (CVE 118) during Operation Marlex-5 off the west coast of Korea in the Inchon area, on 1 September 1952. This was the first time that Marine Corps landing forces had moved from ship to shore by helicopter. The HRS-1 nearest to the camera is USN BuNo 127798. Sicily´s Sikorsky HO3S plane guard helicopter is visible aft of the carrier (below HRS-1 127798).
Photographer Scott Dyben – Official U.S. Navy photograph

A U.S. Navy F4U-4B Corsair of fighter squadron VF-113 Stingers flies over U.S. ships at Inchon, Korea, Sept. 15, 1950. VF-113 was assigned to Carrier Air Group Eleven (CVG-11) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV 47). The battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) is visible below the Corsair.  Official DoD photo

A U.S. Navy F4U-4B Corsair of fighter squadron VF-113 Stingers flies over U.S. ships at Inchon, Korea, Sept. 15, 1950. VF-113 was assigned to Carrier Air Group Eleven (CVG-11) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea (CV 47). The battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) is visible below the Corsair.
Official DoD photo

A 16-inch salvo from the USS Missouri at Chong Jin, Korea, in effort to cut Northern Korean communications. Chong Jin is only 39 miles from the border of China. October 21, 1950. (Navy) NARA FILE #: 080-G-421049 U.S. Army official Korean War image archive.

A 16-inch salvo from the USS Missouri at Chong Jin, Korea, in effort to cut Northern Korean communications. Chong Jin is only 39 miles from the border of China. October 21, 1950. (Navy) NARA FILE #: 080-G-421049 U.S. Army official Korean War image archive.

An F2H-2 Banshee of fighter squadron VF-11 Red Rippers over Wonsan, North Korea, Oct. 20, 1952.  U.S. Navy photo.

An F2H-2 Banshee of fighter squadron VF-11 Red Rippers over Wonsan, North Korea, Oct. 20, 1952.
U.S. Navy photo.

1952, during the Korean War, aircraft from USS Philippine Sea (CV 47), USS Bon Homme Richard (CV 31), USS Princeton (CV 37), and USS Boxer (CV 21) continue attacks on hydroelectric plants in North Korea from the previous day.

USS Boxer (CV 21) deck launch. Visible rings of vapor encircle a Corsair fighter as it turns up prior to being launched from the USS Boxer for a strike against communist targets in Korea. Hovering to the stern of the aircraft carrier, the every-present helicopter plane guard stands by to assist if any emergency arises. Photograph and caption were released in Washington, D.C., on 20 July 1951. Planes are Vought F4U-4s. Helicopter is a Sikorski HO3S.  US Navy Photo.

USS Boxer (CV 21) deck launch. Visible rings of vapor encircle a Corsair fighter as it turns up prior to being launched from the USS Boxer for a strike against communist targets in Korea. Hovering to the stern of the aircraft carrier, the every-present helicopter plane guard stands by to assist if any emergency arises. Photograph and caption were released in Washington, D.C., on 20 July 1951. Planes are Vought F4U-4s. Helicopter is a Sikorski HO3S.
US Navy Photo.

USS Philippine Sea (CV 47). Lt. Zack Taylor gets ready for a reconnaissance flight over enemy territory, while the carrier was operating off Korea in April 1952. His plane is a Grumman F9F-2P photo version of the Panther jet fighter. Note camera window in the plane's nose, and Lt. Taylor's ribbed crash helmet.  US Navy Photo

USS Philippine Sea (CV 47). Lt. Zack Taylor gets ready for a reconnaissance flight over enemy territory, while the carrier was operating off Korea in April 1952. His plane is a Grumman F9F-2P photo version of the Panther jet fighter. Note camera window in the plane’s nose, and Lt. Taylor’s ribbed crash helmet.
US Navy Photo

USS Princeton (CV 37) scoreboard on the carrier's bridge wing, showing the work done by aircraft of Air Group 19 while embarked on Princeton from 5 December 1950 to 29 May 1951. The photograph was released by Commander Naval Forces Far East under the date of 7 June 1951.  US Navy Photo

USS Princeton (CV 37) scoreboard on the carrier’s bridge wing, showing the work done by aircraft of Air Group 19 while embarked on Princeton from 5 December 1950 to 29 May 1951. The photograph was released by Commander Naval Forces Far East under the date of 7 June 1951.
US Navy Photo

USS Bon Homme Richard (CV 31) anchored in New York Harbor, with supply barges alongside, 9 January 1945. Photographed from a Naval Air Station, New York, aircraft, flying at an altitude of 300 feet.  US Navy Photo

USS Bon Homme Richard (CV 31) anchored in New York Harbor, with supply barges alongside, 9 January 1945. Photographed from a Naval Air Station, New York, aircraft, flying at an altitude of 300 feet.
US Navy Photo

Fleet Adm. Ernest J. King dies at Portsmouth Naval Hospital in New Hampshire in 1956.

Fleet Adm. Ernest J. King. Oil on Canvas 40” x 30” by Raymond P.R. Neilson. Signed and dated by artist, 1951. Painting in the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection

Fleet Adm. Ernest J. King. Oil on Canvas 40” x 30” by Raymond P.R. Neilson. Signed and dated by artist, 1951. Painting in the U.S. Naval Academy Museum, Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection

Fleet Adm. Ernest J. King’s casket guarded by personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps at the time of his funeral 29 June 1956. National Archives Photograph

Fleet Adm. Ernest J. King’s casket guarded by personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps at the time of his funeral 29 June 1956. National Archives Photograph

In 1923, as a young submarine commander, Admiral King received the first of his three Distinguished Service Medals for his contribution in directing the salvaging of the USS S-51.

13

(Above) Gold Medal Awarded to Fleet Adm. Ernest J. King by Congress. The award by Congress for his distinguished leadership of the United States Naval forces during World War II. The presentation was made on behalf of the President of the United States by Fleet Adm. William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, where Fleet Admiral King was recuperating from a recent illness.

The Gold Medal, awarded by a special act of Congress dated 22 March 1946 was designed by Miss Brenda Putnam, New York sculptress, who was selected by a jury in competition among eminent artists. The medal, which was struck in the United States Mint, will take its place in the historical series of Mint medals dating from the American Revolution and included the first medal by Congress to a Naval hero – John Paul Jones. Credit: US Navy Photograph Collection

19

(Above) Last week the Submarine Force Library and Museum unveiled their newest exhibit, the NR-1 Submarine. NR-1 was a research vessel that performed underwater search and recovery and oceanographic missions. In 2002, NR-1 was part of the mission to recover and eventually restore parts of the sunken Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor.

(Pictured: Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Joe Courtney, Director of Naval History and Heritage Command, Sam Cox) Submarine Force Museum and USS Nautilus

On the Web: Sub Force Library & Museum – USS Monitor

Crash

Sunday Reader: A Chocolate Bar A Day Keeps The Stroke Away

We've all known that dark chocolate is an anti-oxidant. Now medical science proves what we chocolate-lovers have always known - chocolate in general is pretty good for you too!

We’ve all known that dark chocolate is an anti-oxidant. Now medical science proves what we chocolate-lovers have always known – chocolate in general is pretty good for you too!

It’s the ultimate comfort food which is known to produce the same chemical in the brain as falling in love. Now scientists at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have shown that chocolate need no longer be a guilty pleasure after finding that eating up to two bars a day appears to protect against heart disease and stroke.

Although dark chocolate has long been known to have health benefits, the new study found that milk chocolate may also provide valuable nutrients which lower the chance of heart problems.

It is the latest research to highlight the value of the treat. Previously chocolate have been shown to reduce memory loss, prevent diabetes, reduce stress, protect the skin against sun damage and lower cholesterol.

To find out if it was beneficial for the heart researchers at the University of Aberdeen looked at the snacking habits of 21,000 people over 12 years. They found that eating up to 100g of chocolate every day lowered the risk of dying from heart disease during that time by 25 per cent. The chance of suffering a stroke also fell by 23 per cent.

Professor Phyo Myint, Chair in Old Age Medicine at Aberdeen University, said: “Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.

“This may indicate that not only flavonoids, but also other compounds, possibly related to milk constituents, such as calcium and fatty acids, may provide an explanation for the observed association.”

The researchers also carried out a review of the available published evidence on the links between chocolate and cardiovascular disease, involving almost 158,000 people. In each of the relevant studies they found a significantly lower risk stroke and heart disease associated with regular chocolate consumption.

Curiously, those who ate the most chocolate were slimmer, exercised more often and had lower blood pressure. The researchers suggest that the findings could be partially skewed by mis-reporting of food intake or the fact that people with a higher heart disease risk profile eat less chocolate and foods containing it than those who are healthier.

Commenting on the study Professor Naveed Sattar, of the University of Glasfow said:

“It may be that some folk are, perhaps substantially, under-reporting how much chocolate they eat since they really do not wish to tell the truth because they know they should try to avoid high density calories like chocolate. I would not be rushing out to buy chocolate for a treat – rather, if peckish, a piece or two of fruit is far better, and comes from nature itself. However the authors conclude that the evidence suggests that ‘higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events.”

Health experts said that new study added to growing evidence that chocolate could be beneficial to health but warned against over indulging.

Dr Tim Chico, Reader in Cardiovascular Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Sheffield, said:

“These studies taken together suggest that there might be some health benefits from eating chocolate. However, it is also clear that chocolate has the potential to increase weight, which is unequivocally bad for cardiovascular health. The message I take from this study is that if you are a healthy weight, then eating chocolate (in moderation) does not detectibly increase risk of heart disease and may even have some benefit.”

Prof Aedin Cassidy, Professor of Nutrition at the University of East Anglia (UEA), added: “We need long term trials to further understand the importance of chocolate for heart health.”

Dr Shamim Quadir, Research Communications Manager at the Stroke Association, said: “While this study builds on previous research and suggests a link between a higher intake of chocolate (up to 100g per day) and lower risk of stroke, it is very hard to establish a single dietary component that will have a positive, or negative, effect on the health of an individual.

“We all can reduce our risk of stroke by exercising regularly, consuming a healthy, balanced diet and getting our blood pressure checked.”

The research was published in the June BMJ journal Heart.

Crash

Sacred Sunday: 11th-13th Century Romanesque Christian Stone Carvings

Raising of Lazarus c. 1080 Marble Cathedral, Chichester. The influence of illumination on Romanesque sculpture in England is considerable, which is explained by the importance of royal and episcopal patronage. Among the most compelling works for their dramatic intensity are the fragments of a choir screen at Chichester Cathedral, with scenes from the life of Lazarus.

Raising of Lazarus
c. 1080
Marble
Cathedral, Chichester.
The influence of illumination on Romanesque sculpture in England is considerable, which is explained by the importance of royal and episcopal patronage. Among the most compelling works for their dramatic intensity are the fragments of a choir screen at Chichester Cathedral, with scenes from the life of Lazarus.

Romanesque art and architecture flourished throughout western Europe from about 1050 to about 1200, although its first manifestations occurred before the year 1000, and its influence remained strong in some areas of Europe well into the 13th century. Unlike Carolingian art and architecture and Ottonian art and architecture, from which it drew many forms and elements, Romanesque was a truly pan-European movement.

By the beginning of the 11th century, European civilization had become stable and prosperous under the aegis of the Christian church, through whose network of abbeys the new artistic order was established and spread. An unprecedented building activity stimulated the development of innovative architectural techniques and styles, which in turn demanded new forms of pictorial and sculptural decoration.

Most Romanesque churches retained the basic plan of the Early Christian basilica: a long, three-aisled nave intercepted by a transept and terminating in a semicircular apse crowned by a conch, or half-dome.  Whereas Early Christian structures employed thin, flat walls to support thin roofs and wooden ceilings, however, the masonry structure of Romanesque churches assumed far more complicated configurations, in which heavy piers and arched openings divide the interior into well-defined spatial areas, while large masses of clearly separated geometric forms impart to the exterior an aura of grandeur and power.

The greatest breakthrough of Romanesque architecture, however, occurred in interior vaulting.  Groin vaults had long been used in the lower side-aisles of the nave, but the thin walls of pre-Romanesque churches could support only wooden ceilings and roofs.  By redesigning and reinforcing the walls, Romanesque builders were able to span the wide and often lofty nave with a solid barrel vault and thus create completely vaulted structures.

After the fall (AD 476) of the Roman Empire the practice of decorating buildings with large reliefs ceased for almost 600 years. The revival of monumental relief sculpture as a major form of art is one of the outstanding achievements of the Romanesque period. Often highly stylized and at times verging on the abstract, Romanesque reliefs were used chiefly to embellish the church portals.

Raising of Lazarus (detail) c. 1080 Stone Cathedral, Chichester

Raising of Lazarus (detail)
c. 1080
Stone
Cathedral, Chichester

The dating of the two reliefs at Chichester representing the Raising of Lazarus (above) and Christ in the House of Martha and Mary (below) depends on whether they considered post-Norman-conquest works, or typically Saxon. The approximate date of 1080, suggested by some English historians, has the merit of taking into account the Saxon as well as the French elements in this Norman work. On the other hand, several authorities believe the panels to have been executed as late as the 12th century, while yet others place them as early as the middle Saxon period. The decidedly expressionistic style of the emaciated, angular face suggests an attribution to a Saxon sculptor.

Meeting of Christ, Mary and Martha 1120-25 Stone Cathedral, Chichester. There are two reliefs in Chichester Cathedral in Sussex which originally were part of the rood screen. One of them shows the meeting of Christ, Mary and Martha in front of the gates of Bethany, and the other shows the raising of Lazarus. The choir of Chichester Cathedral was consecrated in 1108. The rood screen and the reliefs were created somewhat later.

Meeting of Christ, Mary and Martha
1120-25
Stone
Cathedral, Chichester.
There are two reliefs in Chichester Cathedral in Sussex which originally were part of the rood screen. One of them shows the meeting of Christ, Mary and Martha in front of the gates of Bethany, and the other shows the raising of Lazarus. The choir of Chichester Cathedral was consecrated in 1108. The rood screen and the reliefs were created somewhat later.

Raising of Lazarus 1120-25 Stone Cathedral, Chichester.

Raising of Lazarus
1120-25
Stone
Cathedral, Chichester.

Console figure c. 1150 Stone Church of St Mary and St David, Kilpeck.

Console figure
c. 1150
Stone
Church of St Mary and St David, Kilpeck.

In Romanesque sculpture, the demonization of sexuality in the depiction of the sexual organs is visually crude to the point of grotesque distortion. One of the most exceptional depictions of a vulva woman is in Kilpeck, England.

The figure is steeply foreshortened and its head is not female as much as demonic; her arms are folded underneath her legs, and she is using her hands to open and display her vulva. This depiction, called a “Sheela-na-gig,” meaning “ugly as sin,” had some counterparts in Romanesque sculpture. These graphic depictions of female genitalia do in fact date back to the Stone Age and can be found in many Asian countries.

Lion Taking a Lamb c. 1140 Stone Monastery Church, Mariental.

Lion Taking a Lamb
c. 1140
Stone
Monastery Church, Mariental.

The picture shows a Romanesque sculpture in the twelth-century monastery church in Mariental near Helmstedt. It depicts a lion as a persecutor of the Good, taking a lamb.

Devil Noting down Man's Sins c. 1210 Limestone Minster of St Martin, Bonn

Devil Noting down Man’s Sins
c. 1210
Limestone
Minster of St Martin, Bonn

Devil appears noting down man’s sins on the stone side wall of a choir stall in the Minster of St Martin, the former collegiate church of St Cassius and St Florentinus in Bonn (North Rhein-Wesphalia). The same choir stall contains an angel noting down man’s good deeds (below).

Angel Noting down Man's Good Deeds c. 1210 Limestone Minster of St Martin, Bonn

Angel Noting down Man’s Good Deeds
c. 1210
Limestone
Minster of St Martin, Bonn

Two Apostles 1210-20 Stone Cathedral, Bamberg

Two Apostles
1210-20
Stone
Cathedral, Bamberg

The choir screen of Bamberg Cathedral is decorated with a series of prophets and apostles in a late Romanesque style, executed before the dedication in 1237. The apostles dispute, two by two, in a succession of niches, the earlier pairs standing under arches that are still semicircular, the later under trefoil arches.

Although Germany has little feeling for monumentality, these apostles carry on the Ottonian traditions inspired by antiquity. The thick-set sturdy bodies are revealed by the curving folds which emphasize the bodily forms. In the broad modelling and the expressive pathos given the faces, the apostles are close to Roman models.

Head of the Prophet Jonah 1210s Stone Cathedral, Bamberg

Head of the Prophet Jonah
1210s
Stone
Cathedral, Bamberg

This image of the prophet Jonah on the choir screen in the Bamberg Cathedral is one of the finest examples of German statuary in the first quarter of the 13th century. The square head with shaven skull, the gathered brows, the intense, haunted glance, and the half-open mouth, forcefully convey the prophet’s tension and dramatic vision.

Compared with Bamberg sculptures from the Gothic workshops that began to operate around 1230, the statues on the choir screen display their Romanesque inspiration in their drapery, and it is clear that when the Gothic style was imported into Bamberg it found there a still-flourishing Romanesque art.

The Apostle Peter 1100 Stone Saint-Pierre, Moissac

The Apostle Peter
1100
Stone
Saint-Pierre, Moissac

In technique and in general iconography the apostles in the Moissac cloister are closely akin to those in the ambulatory of Saint Sernin, but they are stronger and more vigorous in style. The pier is conceived as a stele, and the standing figure, completely incorporated into its support, is confined within the spatial framework of the arched niche. The face seen in profile is more realistic in effect than the frontal visage of the apostle from Saint Sernin; and here the apostle’s attributes are clearly shown.

The Prophet Isaiah 1120-35 Stone relief. height 176 cm Abbey Church of Sainte-Marie, Souillac

The Prophet Isaiah
1120-35
Stone relief. height 176 cm
Abbey Church of Sainte-Marie, Souillac

This relief is on the interior west wall of the former abbey church of Sainte-Marie in Souillac. The figure of the prophet, pulsating with powerful plastic life, embodies a maximum of what Romanesque art was capable of producing in high relief. The direct model of the figure is that of Jeremiah on the south portal of Saint-Pierre at Moissac.

Tribune for the choir 1150s Marble Church of Notre-Dame, Serrabone

Tribune for the choir
1150s
Marble
Church of Notre-Dame, Serrabone

In the tribune of Serrabone we find Corinthian heritage with varied monsters and animals whose bodies are bent around the corners of the capital. The gallery, roofed with groined vaults resting on columns with capitals, displays a façade on which the evangelist symbols are represented.

Interior 1066-90 Stone San Martín, Frómista

Interior
1066-90
Stone
San Martín, Frómista

The church of San Martín in Frómista (Province of Palencia), started in 1066, is one of the important churches with architectural sculpture built by the royal families of Léon, Castile and Aragón in the second half of the eleventh century. These churches display a wide spectrum of self-contained Spanish sculpture.

The picture shows a detail of the interior with half-columns between the nave and the side aisle.

Console figure 1085-90 Stone San Martín, Frómista

Console figure
1085-90
Stone
San Martín, Frómista

In Romanesque sculpture, the demonization of sexuality in the depiction of the sexual organs is visually crude to the point of grotesque distortion. In one site in San Martín in Frómista (Province of Palencia) is a phallus man, whose penis has been drastically extended to the thickness of his arm.

Statues at the springing of the vaults 1150-75 Stone Old Cathedral, Salamanca

Statues at the springing of the vaults
1150-75
Stone
Old Cathedral, Salamanca

The capitals of Old Salamanca cathedral and the statues under the dome are elegant creations, whose Romanesque maturity reflects the considered assimilation of the production of Burgundy, Aquitaine, and Italy, and the whole tradition of regional sculpture.

Crash

Astronomy: The Week Ahead – Sun 28 Jun to Sat 4 Jul

sun

Sunday June 28

Tonight’s waxing gibbous Moon is 11.8 days old and 90% illuminated. It is paired in tonight’s sky with Saturn, just over 2 degrees to its west. Both reside tonight in the constellation Libra. Below is Scorpius, with its brightest star Antares. Antares shines at magnitude 1.03, Saturn at 0.23, and the moon a brilliant magnitude -12.6!

mon

Monday June 29

If you’re quick this morning, you’ll have another view of the planet Mercury, near Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus, just north of the eastern horizon.

There’s another interesting item in the sky to view though. The famous variable star Algol in Perseus is at its brightest, magnitude 2.0. Look at it this morning, then watch it over the next few dawns as it fades to 3rd magnitude, equal in brightness to the dimmer star to its right in this image.

tue

Tuesday June 30

A spectacular conjunction occurs tonight, with the sky’s two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter. They are so close together, the image here can’t show them as separate objects. You’ll be able to split them apart easily though, as they are 20 arcminutes apart. The diameter of the Moon is 30 arcminutes.

Look due west, an hour after sunset to see the pair, just below the sickle of Leo.

wed

Wednesday July 1

If you have a clear western and eastern horizon you can watch Full Moon rising as the sun is setting. Try to do it! The Moon will be full in the constellation Sagittarius, above the asterism called the Teaspoon.

This is the summer’s first Full Moon, and was called the Full Buck Moon by Native Americans, as the bucks begin growing their antlers this month. Some called it the Thunder Moon, due to the frequency of thunderstorms in July.

July will have another full moon, so you’ll be able to see a Blue Moon this month too!

thu

Thursday July 2

Morning skies in the east and southeast are beginning to show some of the water constellations. Cetus the whale. Pisces the fish. Aquarius the water carrier.

fri

Friday July 3

The show continues in the west tonight, as Venus has moved clearly past Jupiter and the planets head toward a rendezvous with Regulus in Leo on the 14th. Have you even tried identifying some of the lesser known constellations around the famous Leo the Lion? Coma Berenices is behind its haunches. Leo Minor just over the mane of the big cat. Above them both, following the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and under the Big Dipper are the hunting dogs, Canes Venatici.

sat

Saturday July 4

Here’s a celestial firework for the 4th of July. M13 is arguably the best globular cluster in the northern sky. It appears in a moderate size telescope much like a burst of star, or a firework. At magnitude 5.8, it is on edge of naked-eye visibility from a dark sky. It is large in apparent size, at 23 arcminutes (remember, the full moon is 30 arcminutes) and resides a full 25,100 light years away from earth, within our Milky Way galaxy, and is about 145 light years in diameter. Hard to imagine, this is a gravitational ball of several hundred thousand stars that are among the oldest (as globular clusters are) in the universe!

Happy viewing!

Crash

#RedFriday: Warrior Games

As continued from this week’s Warrior Wednesday…

red friday

Warrior Games: Sunday Cycling

Team Army tandem cyclists cross the finish line together outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.  Mike Morones

Team Army tandem cyclists cross the finish line together outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Mike Morones

Navy's Javier Rodriguez competes in the handcycle event at the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.  Mike Morones

Navy’s Javier Rodriguez competes in the handcycle event at the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Mike Morones

Team Navy's Adrian Mohammed, left, and Team Army's Anthony Atemon compete in the tandem cycling event during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

Team Navy’s Adrian Mohammed, left, and Team Army’s Anthony Atemon compete in the tandem cycling event during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

4

The British Armed Force’s Danielle Hampson-Carroll takes a spill during cycling at Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 21, 2015 during the 2015 Warrior Games. Jennifer Milbrett

5

Cyclists pass through Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 21, 2015 during the 2015 Warrior Games. Jennifer Milbrett

6

Team Army’s Andy McCaffrey competes in the cycling event during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

7

Team Army’s Matthew Mueller and Team Navy’s Adrian Mohammed, right, compete in the tandem cycling event during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

8

Adm. Michelle J. Howard cheers on Navy cyclists at the finish line at Marine Corps Base Quantico on July 21, 2015 during the 2015 Warrior Games. Jennifer Milbrett

9

Team UK’s Andrew Perrin leads the pack in the upright cycling competition during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

10

National Guard Capt. Steven Bortle celebrates crossing the finish line in the upright cycling event during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

11

Cyclists from Team Marine pass through Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 21, 2015 during the 2015 Warrior Games.

12

British Army veteran Darren Carew competes in the cycling event during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

13

Team SOCOM’s Israel Del Toro cycles the course on Marine Corps Base Quantico on June 21, 2015 during the 2015 Warrior Games. Jennifer Milbrett

14

Athletes compete in the cycling events during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

15

Team Marine recumbent cyclists, from left, Jenae Piper, Gabrielle Graves-Wake and Jauntianne Saleigh cross the finish line together outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

16

Spectators watch the sky as the USSOCOM Parachute Demonstration Team brings in the first set of medals to be awarded following the cycling events during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

17

Chip Bowlin of the USSOCOM Parachute Demonstration Team brings in the first set of medals to be awarded following the cycling events during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

18

Athletes and spectators watch as USSOCOM para commandos drop in with the first set of medals for the cycling events during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

19

Team UK’s Danielle Hampson-Carroll competes in the handcycle event at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

20

Admiral Michelle J. Howard takes the first three medals to be presented during the 2015 Warrior Games from Chip Bowlin of the USSOCOM Parachute Demonstration Team brings prior to the cycling medal ceremony aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

21

Team Air Force sings the Air Force song during the medal ceremony after cycling at the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

22

Retired Marine Cpl. Chuck Sketch celebrates after receiving his medal following the cycling events during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

23

Athletes compete in the cycling events during the 2015 Warrior Games outside Lejeune Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., on Sunday, June 21, 2015.

Crash

Crash Notes: Freaky Friday News

ffn-cover2

Living Small

Apartment buyers in ridiculously expensive Hong Kong are now eagerly paying up to the equivalent of $500,000 (U.S.) for units not much bigger than a U.S. parking space (and typically physically self-measured by the applicant’s wing-span). An agent told The Wall Street Journal in June that, for example, standard furniture does not fit the units and that having guests over requires sitting on the window sill. (The Journal pointed out that a typical such “mosquito” apartment unit in Hong Kong is 180 square feet, way smaller than the 304 of a basketball court’s “lane” subject to a “3-second” violation.) A government lottery for subsidized units rewards barely one of every 100 applicants. [Wall Street Journal, 6-3-2015]

Recurring Themes

— Spouses often disagree politically and vote accordingly, but occasionally one runs for office against the other — as is the case in Bremerton, Washington, where incumbent Councilmember Roy Runyon is being challenged by his wife, Kim Faulkner. Both were mum as to reasons and in fact filed their registration papers together at the same time in May. Said Runyon: “We’re different people. She might have a different approach.” [Kitsap Sun (Kitsap, Wash.), 5-14-2015]

— India’s media reported in April yet another birth defect in which the surviving baby is treated as a representation of Hindu holiness. A four-armed, four-legged child (medical explanation: remains of an underdeveloped conjoined twin) is worshipped as the reincarnation of the multi-limbed Lord Ganesha, and pilgrims journey from all over India to the birthplace, Dumri-Isri in Jharkhand state. (In a nod to modernity, one witness told a reporter that initially he had thought a photograph of the child was “Photoshopped,” but now has seen the baby with his own eyes.) [OneIndia.com (Bangalore), 4-23-2015]

— The law of turkey-baster insemination took a turn in Virginia in April when mother Joyce Bruce was unable to keep sperm-provider Robert Boardwine out of her son’s life. Bruce relied on a state statute that seemed to allow her sole parenthood if the pregnancy was based on assisted-reproduction medical technology. However, the Court of Appeals of Virginia declared that a “kitchen implement” is not “medical technology” and, considering Boardwine’s genuine interest in fatherhood, ruled that he was entitled to joint custody and visitation rights. [CNN, 4-21-2015]

— Another “Human Right”: In April, London’s Daily Mail spotted Anna Broom of Gillingham declaring that despite her various disorders that keep her from working, she nonetheless imagines a first-class wedding with champagne, horse-drawn carriage and Mexico honeymoon — all at government expense — because that would be her “human right.” She told a reporter that a small ceremony at a government office would not boost her confidence, but that her “dream” wedding would be just the thing to get her back on a job search. [Daily Mail, 4-16-2015]

— The most recent exposition of people who tattoo their eyeballs, at the International Tattoo Festival in Caracas, in February, featured the phenomenon’s founder, Mr. Luna Cobra, who said it all started when he tried to create “bright blue” eyes, as in the 1984 film “Dune.” (Pigment is injected, permanently, so that it rests under the eye’s thin top layer, the conjunctiva.) Asked what the process feels like, devotee Kylie Garth told BBC News, “It was mentally intense,” resembling an eye poke, pressure and “a bit of sand” — but “no pain.” Mr. Cobra urged young people to get their jobs before trying eye tats, since “you’re going to look frightening forever to the majority of people you encounter.” [Washington Post, 2-4-2015]

— Once again, in May, lawyers went to court trying to persuade a judge that some rights under the U.S. Constitution be extended to intelligent apes (here, chimpanzees, as “autonomous and self-determining beings” at least as perceptive as, for example, severely mentally ill people, who retain rights while institutionalized). Lawyers are once again asking for a writ of habeas corpus (now available only to humans) to take Hercules and Leo out of a lab and into a sanctuary. (Adding to the discussion, in the week after the court hearing, a Harvard professor and colleagues, writing in the journal Current Anthropology, hypothesized that chimps could cook foods if given the chance. Tests revealed that they resist raw food when they are able to place it into a device that made it taste better — which in theory makes them more intelligent than children who eat cookie dough.) [Associated Press via Toronto Star, 5-27-2015] [New York Times, 6-3-2015]

— Baffling Perversion: Some men are compelled to express unrequited love for women by ejaculating onto them or into their beverages. The Minnesota legislature is working to upgrade its law (since a recent defendant, John Robert Lind, was acquitted of adulterating his co-worker’s coffee on the ground that current law requires actually touching the victim). However, Lind (who admitted a total of six climaxes against the co-worker) is an amateur compared to Tetsuya Fukuda, 40, who was finally apprehended in April, at which time he admitted “more than 100” semen attacks on women on trains near Kinshicho, Japan, dating back to 2011. He told police, “I get excited when in close contact with a woman on a crowded train.” [St. Paul Pioneer-Press, 3-11-2015] [Asahi Shimbun via Gawker.com, 4-10-2015]

Updates on Previous Crash Notes

— Freaky Friday News has remarked on modern, over-the-top versions of the centuries-old tradition in China of making funerals entertaining, to attract mourners and thereby signify that the deceased did not die “faceless.” In the recent past, festive song-and-dance acts were hired, and soon, in the competition for attendees, some families took to hiring strippers to perform — even “obscene” acts, “severely pollut(ing)” the culture, according to a critic. In April, the Ministry of Culture, previously somewhat tolerant because of sensitivity for the families, formally denounced the practice and began detaining the traveling performers. [Wall Street Journal, 4-23-2015]

— Backyard firing ranges are legal in Florida (as FFN reported last year), and in March a Florida House committee voted to keep it that way, shooting down legislation to outlaw them even in urban and residential areas. (Firing on private property is legal except if shooting over a public right-of-way or an occupied dwelling, and “negligent” gunfire, though illegal, is only a misdemeanor.) In 2014, one Florida legislator, originally from Alaska, said even in that liberty-conscious state, residents in urban Anchorage do not have rights that Floridians have. [BayNews9.com (St. Petersburg), 3-25-2015]

— Convicted “satanic cult” day care operators Dan and Fran Keller were finally unconvicted by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in May — 23 years after being found guilty based in part on toddlers’ fantastical testimony (encouraged by counselors) telling impossible tales of molestation. Still, however, the judges could not bring themselves to rule the Kellers “not guilty,” thus preserving children’s narratives of the Kellers videotaping orgies, serving blood-laced Kool-Aid, kidnapping them to Mexico and more — yet somehow releasing them, unscarred, each day to parents at pickup time in Austin. (The Kellers spent 22 years behind bars.) [American-Statesman (Austin), 5-20-2015]

— The South Pacific islanders on the Vanuatu island of Tanna believe that 2016 will be the year that the man they inexplicably worship as a god — Britain’s Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh — will finally visit them. One highly regarded islander told a London Daily Telegraph correspondent in New Zealand that the cult is starved for a visit, since Philip’s only contact since the 1940s has been via gifts (one, the most treasured, an autographed photo). Legendary Vanuatuan “Chief Jack” was convinced that Philip was a descendant of island royalty. [Daily Telegraph, 4-25-2015]

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

In May, Texas health officials shut down the flea market sales of sonogram DVDs at Leticia Trujillo’s stall at San Antonio’s Traders Village. Though the nature of the equipment was not described in news reports, sonograms can be produced only under a doctor’s prescription and by licensed personnel, but pregnant flea market customers underwent a procedure (“just like a doctor’s office,” said Trujillo) that yielded a 12-minute DVD image, along with photos, for $35 — that Trujillo subsequently defended as for “entertainment” purposes only and for those without health insurance. [San Antonio Express-News, 5-22-2015]

Ironies

According to Nathan Hoffman’s lawsuit, he was prepped for eye surgery that day in May 2014 when the clinic employee handed him a small-lettered liability-limitation form to sign. He was told that the surgery at the LASIK Vision Institute in Lake Oswego, Oregon, could not proceed without a signature, and despite hazy vision, he reluctantly relented, but things went badly. The form limits lawsuit damages to a money-back $2,500, but Hoffman demands at least $7,500 (to cover the so-far two additional surgeries elsewhere to correct LVI’s alleged errors). [The Oregonian, 5-15-2015]

War Is Hell

Some jihadists who have traveled to Syria to join ISIS have complained recently (according to a Radio Free Europe dispatch) that they cannot secure work as “martyrs” because of discrimination by incumbent fighters. One “pro-ISIS” cleric, speaking for Chechens, said they “are so fed up with the long waiting lists in Syria” that they head to Iraq, where the lists are shorter. Said one, Saudis controlling suicide rosters in the Syrian theater “won’t let anyone in.” Their “relatives go to the front of the line using (their connections).” [News.com.au (Sydney), 5-22-2015]

The Continuing Crisis

— America (sometimes called a land of “second chances”) gave stockbroker Jerry Cicolani Jr., 69 such chances, before he pleaded guilty in May to selling unregistered securities — setting up his first overt punishment despite a history of 60-some client complaints made to his then-employer, Merrill Lynch, between 1991 and 2010. The stockbrokers’ self-regulating arm (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) has finally revoked his license, but issued a statement acknowledging that it needed to improve its monitoring. [New York Times, 5-19-2015]

— Awkward: Corey Huddleston, 52, apparently having taken a fancy to a teenage girl in Dickson, Tennessee, in May, knocked on her family’s front door, according to police, then pushed his way in, asked for cigarettes and beer, “touched himself” inappropriately, asked about the girl, and then reluctantly departed. However, he merely went to a back window of a darkened bedroom, climbed inside, and fondled a sleeping figure in bed, whom he likely assumed was the girl — but it was the girl’s father, who later confessed that he called the police only after resisting the impulse to kill Huddleston. (Police said Huddleston’s rap sheet shows more than 100 charges.) [WKRN-TV (Nashville), 5-13-2015]

Weird Science

Among caterpillars’ natural defenses against being devoured by birds is their ability to contort themselves into odd shapes for disguise — perhaps most ingeniously (according to researchers writing in the current Animal Behaviour journal) as bird droppings. The authors created artificial dough-based squiggles that were either straight (resembling the caterpillar) or bent (to resemble poop), and found that birds zeroed in on the straight ones about three times as often. [Science, 5-22-2015]

Least Competent Criminals

Notwithstanding the suggestion in movies, stealing a 200-pound floor model safe is a very low-return crime, as the February arrest of three pals in Kingsport, Tennessee, illustrated. After struggling to load the safe into a car’s trunk (accidentally shattering the back window), they drove to one’s apartment, but police were called when neighbors saw the safe being dragged across a parking lot in the middle of the night. (During the trip, it fell onto one perp’s foot.) Police, following gouge marks, visited the apartment and spotted the safe, as yet unopened, in the middle of the kitchen. (Police: Why do you gentlemen have a safe? Perp: We found it in an alley.) Police opened it. It was empty. [Kingsport Times-News, 2-2-2015]

Just Another Day in Court in Florida

It started in 2008, when one of Tampa Bay’s two nastiest radio “shock jocks,” Todd Schnitt, sued the other, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem, for defamation. With depositions underway in 2013, according to reporting by the Tampa Bay Times, Schnitt’s lawyer, Philip Campbell, unwinding in a bar, was hit on by a perky young paralegal who (unknown to him) worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm. After several drinks, she exaggerated inebriation, angling for Campbell to drive her home. According to charges by the Florida Bar Association, the paralegal’s boss called a Tampa cop to trail Campbell — who, sure enough, witnessed the car weaving, and thus arrested Campbell for DUI. (Bonus: Campbell’s work-packed briefcase went missing in the traffic stop.) Bubba himself was not implicated, and the disciplinary charges against the lawyers, pending in June 2015, are creating suspense about which of them might take the fall. [Tampa Bay Times, 5-20-2015]

From the Third-World Press

Kenya’s The Standard reported the May proclamation by prominent Nairobi lawyer Felix Kiprono that he had fallen in love (long distance) with Malia Obama (who is, famously, part-Kenyan) and is prepared to offer President Obama 50 cows, 70 sheep and 30 goats in exchange for her hand. “If my request is granted,” he said, he would not “resort to the cliche of popping champagne” but rather would “surprise (Malia) with mursik, the traditional Kalenjin sour milk,” and affix the “sacred plant,” sinendet, queen-like, around her head. [The Standard, 5-25-2015]

Have a GREAT weekend!

Crash