On a National Park

Named after the French-Canadian fur traders that settled the area, Voyageurs National Park is a US National Park in northern Minnesota near the US-Canada border. The park is known for its vast lakes, abundant wildlife, and old geology. This Explore video, a relatively new release from National Geographic, offers a time-lapse look of this park – especially the skies.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 309

A global economy and nationalism seem to be opposing forces – so here’s a good read from William Galston in the Wall Street Journal.

I live in a part of America that has fireflies – an insect that fascinates those who don’t have them in your area. Here’s an article from National Geographic about what I also call lightning bugs.

Need new wallpaper for your desktop? This fabulous collection of photos from National Geographic Travel Photography Contest is a must-see.

I didn’t realize most minor league baseball players get a very low wage. I wasn’t expecting a gold mine, but more that the meager pittance they receive. Here’s the column where I discovered the disheartening news.

Earlier this week, Answers in Genesis (who operates the nearby Creation Museum) opened Ark Encounter – an exhibit about Noah’s Ark in the view of a 10,000 year old Earth. Being a local event, there have been many Letters to the Editor … many of which encourage me to bang my head against a wall.

Given current time demands and several life adjustments, not only did I not post this week, I’ve been reflecting about my future on these pages – which will probably lead to an open (irregular) posting schedule. Besides, not visiting other blogs bothers me very much.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

The timing of the FBI report surprised me. At the beginning of this incident I stated that her decision to have private servers was a poor and careless decision – and it seems the investigation more than supports my statement. Meanwhile, the Republican response was more than predictable. I appreciated this comparison by the Washington Post of the Clinton and Petraeus scandals.

Regarding the FBI report and the Clinton email scandal, I enjoyed this comment, “Americans’ trust in public officials and public institutions has fallen abysmally, as we all know. So far as we can now tell, the country in this instance has been well served by a leader and an FBI that has been diligent, hard-working and fair. Embittered partisans will disagree, but for my book, the FBI seems to have gotten this one right.” (David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst in this column)

In terms of the effect on my vote in the election, I consider the Republican offering of an obnoxious bloviating jackass whose depth doesn’t go beyond insults, name-calling, and taglines is much worse than Mrs. Clinton’s poor judgment (in this case) and her distrustful nature.

Columnist George Will is a great writer. Although I haven’t read him much over the past 5 years, I have been noticing his battle with Donald Trump – and love this recent quote: “He (Trump) has an advantage on me. He can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters, and I (Will) can’t.”

Two weeks ago (in OITS 307) I listed an article about US politics in the Interesting Reads. Interestingly, last weekend Meet the Press interviewed the article’s author. Glad to know that NBC followed my lead. Here’s the article.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mary Fallin, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Scott Brown, 2) Mike Pence, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Beccera, 4) Julian Castro, 3) Chris Murphy, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion discloses what Vice President Joe Biden is doing this summer.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Swiss guards charge writhing mass of black tentacles devouring Pope Francis
Dad’s eyes welled up at sight of perfectly packed cooler
Synthetic tree removes carbon dioxide from air
Fireworks accident blows off tip of Florida
Rest of the evening spent declaring the asshole not going to ruin the evening
God regrets never creating any two-head snake creatures

Interesting Reads
State of the news media (Pew Research Center)
Georgia O’Keeffe: An American Painting Icon
Football and ALS
Are algorithms biased?
Mating habits of seahorses
(Photos) Dessert landscapes from National Geographic

When searching for a song to send readers into the weekend, this one came to attention. Paul, a friend and great person, pops in my mind from time to time. Although he died several years ago in a senseless murder, I smile when I think of him … and this song from The Piano Guys is what I link to him … plus, it’s a good song to send you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Time Lapse Across America

This is the last of this installment of Exploring as I hope to return toward my normal routine with the next Monday Morning Entertainment.

I love time-lapse photography, especially ones involving the sky as it moves over the stillness of land. Please share the thoughts that this video stimulates in your mind.

Enjoy this trip across America from National Geographic. For those desiring a guide, below is your itinerary.

00:00 – Badlands National Park, South Dakota
00:16 – Yosemite National Park, California
00:26 – Zion National Park, Utah
00:37 – Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
00:44 – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
01:06 – Monument Valley National Park, Arizona
01:20 – Marysville, Ohio
01:31 – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
01:58 – Central Florida
02:03 – Flagstaff, Arizona
02:09 – Bruneau Dunes State Park, Idaho
02:13 – Holbrook, Arizona
02:21 – Marysville, Ohio
02:25 – Monument Valley, Arizona
02:29 – Texas
02:32 – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
02:36 – Bandon Beach, Oregon
02:39 – White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
02:43 – Big Sur, California
02:46 – Santa Barbara, California
02:53 – Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
03:26 – Bruneau Dunes State Park, Oregon
03:51 – Zion National Park, Utah
04:03 – Yosemite National Park, California
04:19 – Zion National Park, Utah
04:34 – Monument Valley National Park, Arizona
04:46 – Yosemite National Park, California

On Exploring a Northern Island

Like many, I first learned about Iceland when studying the Vikings in elementary school. As an island nation in the North Atlantic Ocean, today I don’t think of the Vikings, but genetics is my prime thought. Although there is some disagreement on the matter, some consider Icelandic genes to be more homogeneous (less diverse) than other lands. Given the mobility of humans today and because isolation is one important aspect of evolution, the thought is intriguing.

Being that we enjoy cruising, cruise ships do go to Iceland … and my wife has mentioned an interest in visiting the mountainous place with hot springs.

Enjoy this National Geographic video about Iceland.