24 March 2019

Spring!

It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.  ~W. Earl Hall

19 March 2019

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day at 17°80°


This is a really unusual way to celebrate a birthday!  Way back in 1780 Jameson Irish Whiskey was established and the rest, as they say, is history.  However, this year the celebrations took an unusual twist.  A group of people were taken to the co-ordinates as the year that the brand was first established.

Is 17°80° in the middle of a beautiful tropical island?  Is it at the heart of a cosmopolitan city with nightlife and culture oozing from every corner? No, it’s at Svalbard in Norway – just 1000km from the North Pole!

This didn’t stop the group from having a huge amount of fun, as you can see in the video above.  The point?  That in order to have a great craic on Paddy’s Day you don’t necessarily have to be in one of the Irish diaspora’s hotspots.  All you truly need is great company and a nip of a wonderful whiskey to mark the date.

Jameson scoured the globe to find four groups of friends who have one thing in common – they all celebrate St Patrick’s Day.  When the search was over and the right people located, they were then packed off on an expedition to the most northerly inhabited area on the globe, Svalbard, Norway

After a number of adventures, they arrived at 17° (longitude) 80° (latitude), and the friends from Ireland, India and Argentina then raised a toast to Saint Patrick – and no doubt to Jameson too.

If you would like to see more details of this St Patrick’s expedition, please visit the Jameson Whiskey Instagram page.



17 March 2019

The Prandtl–Glauert Singularity – Amazing Jet Plane Shock Collar

It’s an amazing site – a cone of vapor appearing around an aircraft which is travelling at transonic speed.  Known as the Prandtl–Glauert Singularity this astonishing effect simultaneously widens the eyes and drops the jaw. Yet how does it occur?

10 March 2019

Sansiantai: Dragon Bridge to the Island of the Three Immortals

The eastern coastline of Taiwan is renowned for its natural beauty.  Unspoiled beaches stretch for miles and at one point, Sansiantai, there is a wonderful surprise.    A beautiful arched bridge, meant to resemble a dragon of Chinese legend, stretches from the mainland across to a group of small islands.

Sansiantai is, as you might imagine, saturated in folklore. The three enormous rocks making up the island's most conspicuous feature long ago gave rise to a native myth that three of China's Eight Immortals once chose the island for a place to rest.  Even the name of the island translates to the Terrace of the Three Immortals.

4 March 2019

Awesome Things to do in Chiclana And Cadiz


Andalucía in southern Spain is blessed with miles of coastline and hilly countryside. Two of the best regions are Chiclana and Cadiz. They have coastal regions featuring golden beaches and places to see and things to do. Let’s take a look at the best places to go and why you should visit this region of Spain.

La Barrosa

Just outside of Chiclana is the beautiful and enigmatic beach town of La Barrosa. It has a laid-back vibe and is hugely popular. The beach stretches for 5 miles and the sand is fine and white. The Azure waters are perfect to partake in water sports of every type.

The beach feels like two beaches in one. The first boats beachfront bars, restaurants, and walkways. This morphs into a more natural environment and you will soon find yourself walking among dunes and woodland.

One of the great things is that there is plenty of choice for accommodation, such as Iberostar Andalucía Playa hotel in Chiclana which offers travellers everything they could wish for.

Playa La Caleta

This beach has plenty of significance to Cadiz. It has a natural harbour that was used by several empires throughout the centuries including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Romans.  Locals like to gather on the west side and socialise and every large rock has a name. The names date back centuries and are that of an animal or everyday object. Nobody quite knows why.

Again, water sports can be found on the north side of the oceanfront, but here the beach is for meeting friends and soaking up the sun.

There are plenty of great accommodation choices from budget to other hotels in Cadiz aimed at the high-end market.

Ermita de Santa Ana

This 18th-century chapel is of a beautiful design and overlooks the whole city of Chiclana. This is thanks to its construction on top of the highest point. Architecturally, it is stunning and features a semi-spherical vault on a small drum. The architects constructed four holes in the vault to better illuminate the hermitage.

Inside the chapel, a small altar can be found bearing the image of Santa Ana.

San Sebastián Castle

If you follow the Paseo Fernando Quiñones that runs along the edge of the northwestern edge of the city you will come to the fortress of San Sebastian Castle. The views back towards the city are stunning and you can dangle your legs over the Atlantic Ocean when you fill the need.

The fortress was constructed in 1706 but the lighthouse is far older and was built by the Moors.

The castle is often used for exhibitions, film sets, and concerts. Prior to this, it was used as a prison. Well worth a visit.

La Torre del Reloj – Chiclana

One of the most prestigious buildings in Chiclana is the La Torre del Reloj a clock tower.  It was constructed in the 18th century and was once part of the old Town Hall. Later, it was used by the Church of San Juan Bautista as the bell towers were never completed.

When visiting the tower sometimes known as Arquillo del Reloj, you can see the clock mechanism thanks to a cut arch in the tower itself. The tower is situated next to the Church of San Juan Bautista and gives both historical and cultural insights.

Gran Teatro Falla

The Gran Teatro Falla is a 19th-century concert hall constructed in the neo-mudéjar style, harking back to medieval times and is a highly popular destination in Cadiz among visitors and locals.

From the moment you enter the large Moorish inspired alternating voussoirs (red and white archway stones), you get the feeling something exciting is about to happen and often there is. If you want to get to know the Cadiz mindset visit in February and March and experience the Comparsas competition.

Here, musical ensembles dress in matching outrageous outfits and sing satirical songs about politics and culture.

Other times of the year are just as exciting and feature musicians, bands, and artists performing different musical styles.

Islote de Sancti Petri

The Islote de Sancti Petri is an island reachable from El Pueblo de Sancti Petri. After your 15 minute journey, you will find yourself on a barren island that was once controlled by the military.

These days, the island is controlled by the Spanish Environment Ministry. One structure you can’t fail to notice is the Castle of Sancti Petri. Now mostly ruins the tower has been rebuilt and is a fully working lighthouse.  You can learn about the history of the island and the castle which is rich and deep.

No visit to either Chiclana or Cadiz is complete without a visit to this island.

Andalucía is an amazing part of Spain with golden beaches and rich historical delights. It is a must visit destination that you will want to come back to time and again.

3 March 2019

The Depression Era Photography of Dorothea Lange

A look at the work of Dorothea Lange who captured the Great Depression through her lens and created some of the iconographic images of that era.

At a time when women had had the vote for less than twenty years, Dorothea Lange was a pioneer. A professional woman who took photographs for a living. The Great Depression of the 1930s is best remembered, photographically, by the work of the FSA, for which she worked. She travelled the USA recording the deprivations caused by the failure of the economy as well as taking many uplifting images that showed that, despite the hard times, life and love went on.

It is probably best to start with an image of the photographer herself. Unlike some, Lange did not interpolate herself actively in her photographs – those that we have of her show her usually on her own in very much a framed composition. This shot from 1937 shows her in the field with one of her cameras, rather coquettishly positioned atop of her car. Short dark hair and a feminine yet somehow boyish dress sense, the beauty of this shot lies in the baseball boots she is wearing. Her job was not, after all, one that required heels on any sort so why bow to the fashion dictates of the time?
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