I GET ON MY COMPUTER EVERY DAY, AND BING GIVES ME THESE WONDERFUL PHOTOS THAT JUST AMAZE ME. AND OF COURSE THEY HAVE A QUESTION THAT USUALLY GOES WITH THIS PHOTO, SOMETHING ON THE ORDER OF: “WHERE WOULD YOU EVER SEE SUCH AN AMAZING THING LIKE THIS”? AND I LOOK IT UP ALMOST EVERY DAY. DO YOU DO THE SAME THING? SO TODAY FOR THIS BLOG, LET ME SHOW YOU SOME OF THESE AMAZING PHOTOS THAT BING PUTS ME THROUGH, THAT I THINK ARE JUST AMAZING. WHAT AN AMAZING WORLD WE LIVE IN. HERE IS THE ONE THEY HAD ON MY COMPUTER TODAY:
Interstate H-3 on the island of Oahu, Hawaii The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration defines an ‘interstate highway’ as one that can connect states or that can act as a defense-access road. And H-3, sometimes called the John A. Burns Freeway, links Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Oahu’s south shores with Marine Corps Base Hawaii on the island’s east coast. Drive this road of Hawaiian tropical beauty as if sipping a fine wine: H-3 ranks as one of the most expensive US highways ever built, in terms of its cost per mile. The final price tag for construction was $1.3 billion when it was completed in 1997 for a length of 15.32 miles, or approximately $80 million per mile.
Tulip fields in bloom at Mount Vernon, Washington Many of the tulip fields in Mount Vernon, Washington, and the surrounding towns in this northwest farming valley are bustling with tourists during the month of April. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival draws hundreds of thousands of visitors eager to take in the kaleidoscopic burst of color that overtakes the landscape as the bulbs awake from a long winter’s nap with a vengeance, boldly declaring the arrival of spring with rows-upon-rows of vibrant hues.
Model of the James Webb Space Telescope, Austin, Texas You’re looking at a full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope, a marvel of engineering. When it launches in 2019, it will be the largest telescope to enter space. Equipped with a massive, gold-coated mirror to capture infrared light, the Webb will peer deep into space and glimpse the first stars, planets, and galaxies that were formed after the Big Bang over 13.5 billion years ago. It will do this all while orbiting the sun from a position about 940,000 miles from Earth.
Ludwig’s palace Get to southwestern Bavaria, near Germany’s border with Austria, to see this magnificent castle. It was built not as a stronghold against invaders, but as a fancy getaway for Ludwig II, the Bavarian king who commissioned the construction in 1869. Ludwig sunk most of his personal fortune into Neuschwanstein Castle and a couple of other estates, and even borrowed heavily to pay for the castle. Part of his inspiration for Neuschwanstein was the composer Richard Wagner, whose operas appealed to Ludwig’s romantic sensibilities. After Ludwig’s death, the castle was opened to the public for tours, and it continues to be a popular attraction today.
Upper Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan This blast of autumn color comes from the upper falls of Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The cascade has the nickname ‘Root Beer Falls’ due to the reddish-brown tint the water often takes. Cedar swamps upstream put a high concentration of tannins in the water, which cause the discoloration. And when fall turns the leaves on the banks orange and crimson, the falls blend in nicely with the color scheme.
Mountaineers on the Balmhorn, Switzerland It’s mountaineering season in the Alps of Europe. It was on Alpine peaks such as the Balmhorn, seen here, where the modern ideas, practices, and requirements of mountaineering were established during the ‘golden age of alpinism,’ a period in the mid-19th century when numerous climbers and climbing teams began to reach the summits of various mountains in the Alps.
A species no longer at risk This magnificent bird of prey flies over Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The bald eagle is part of a conservation success story, for our national bird was once headed toward extinction. A rapid decline in bald eagle populations was one of the motivating factors in establishing the Endangered Species Act of 1973. The chemical pesticide DDT, previously thought to be safe, was causing high mortality rates for bald eagle chicks, as well as many other birds exposed to the chemical. DDT was banned, and the eagles’ numbers began to rise again. Today, the bald eagle is no longer considered threatened, partly due to the continued impact of the Endangered Species Act in protecting habitat. And the act has broad influence over wildlife management and regulations, beyond what it achieved for eagles and raptors. By classifying the relative health of different species—from endangered to ‘least concern’ status—the Endangered Species Act helps various agencies understand how to respond to the factors that threaten healthy ecosystems.
A bohemian feline This young lynx will grow up to be the third largest predator in Europe. (The brown bear and wolf hold the first and second spots, respectively.) The lynx is a crepuscular creature, meaning it hunts mainly in the hours just before dawn and just after dusk. With an adult male lynx growing taller than 2 feet at the shoulder, and weighing more than 60 pounds, it’s capable of hunting roe deer and sheep. And while the Eurasian lynx is a ‘least concern’ status species, habitat loss is affecting how widely dispersed they are across Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. But protected locations, like the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands in the Czech Republic, where our lynx was photographed, help preserve habitat to keep this vital predator thriving.
A winter’s holiday ends Should you find yourself in Lerwick, Scotland, on the last Tuesday of January, you’ll witness a celebration to mark the end of Yule called Up Helly Aa. Here in the Shetland Islands, off the northern coast of Great Britain, the cultural influence of the Vikings is still felt. And when the Yule season comes to a close, many Shetlanders dress up like Vikings—it’s a tradition called ‘guising,’ short for ‘disguise.’ In their Viking costumes, they march the streets of Lerwick singing songs and delivering short comedic performances. Ultimately, a torchlight procession ends with the marchers setting a fake Viking galley ship ablaze. The name ‘Up Helly Aa’ is roughly translated as Up Holy All, an invitation for all to rise and join in the holiday revelry.
Welcome to the Year of the Pig Today marks the start of Chinese New Year festivities, which begin on the first day of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. The celebration culminates 15 days later with the Spring Lantern Festival. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 is the Year of the Pig. These lanterns were photographed in Xi’an, China, but celebrations will occur throughout the vast nation as well as in neighboring countries. And other parts of the world with significant Asian populations will also see large public celebrations. It’s traditionally a time to reunite with relatives, and the period sparks one of the largest annual human migrations, with millions of people from major cities journeying home to see their families in more rural areas. Happy New Year!
This is the 922nd blog. Should we celebrate when we come to 1000?