July 15, 2014
“Where there are people, there are UFOs.”
~ William Konkolesky, Director, Michigan MUFON
The Mt. Pleasant Morning-Sun had a feature this weekend on the Michigan chapter of the Mutual Unidentified Flying Object Network aka MUFON. In the article, Michigan Mutual UFO group watches the skies, MUFON Director William Konkolesky talks about his experiences and then details what a MUFON investigator does:
“We can take soil samples, we have labs that can identify anomalous readings in the soil. One of the things we would be looking for is unusual chemicals in the soil,” he said.
Konkolesky said that although the reported UFOs are often things like “airplanes and Chinese lanterns,” some investigations aren’t that simple. “More than 80 percent of the reports we get a year (turn out to be) identifiable objects and the rest are things that you can’t easily explain,”
Konkolesky said those interested in being MUFON investigators have to apply online, buy the training materials necessary to become an investigator, and pass a certification test. “Some of the things (investigators are taught) are basic things like how to identify an airplane, data collection, and how to interview a witness, just to name a few,” Konkolesky said.
Konkolesky said he understands why some may be skeptical about the existence of fully-functional life on other planets. “If you haven’t encountered the UFO phenomenon yourself, it obviously takes a lot for somebody to feel the need to take it to heart,” Konkolesky said.
July 5, 2014
So far this summer we’ve gotten some free fireworks show such as the storm that swept through last weekend. Shawn wrote:
It was fireworks over the lake last night, my dog was not pleased, however I was ecstatic. Lightning was going off a couple times a second and it did not let up, but stayed mostly in the clouds. I watched this for over an hour, and it just drifted by, stars overhead the entire time – go big screen to see the stars right top of frame.
Have a great weekend everyone!
July 3, 2014
June 27, 2014
Every year in mid-June Grand Marais holds their annual Splash-in where seaplanes/float planes come from the US and Canada for a weekend of fun. Gary was there two weeks ago and got some cool shots!
June 4, 2014
One of the things I love about Spring and early Summer is how calm the water can be.
Jason shot this at 6 AM on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City. View his photo background bigtacular, see more in his Landscapes VII slideshow and purchase it if you wish at his photography website.
May 20, 2014
May 13, 2014
Yesterday saw strong storms in southeast Michigan including some tornado sightings (click that link for photos).
More wild & wonderful weather on Michigan in Pictures.
May 7, 2014
On his excellent Historic Detroit site, Dan Austin’s excellent & comprehensive article on the Albert Kahn designed Fisher Building says:
The late 1920s were a time of unprecedented growth in Detroit, especially when it came to skyscrapers. From the Penobscot Building to the Fox Theatre, 1928 saw landmark after landmark rise in the Motor City.
The 29-story Fisher is one of three National Historic Landmarks in Detroit, along with the Fox and the Guardian Building.
“The gold-capped tower has taken its proper place in Detroit’s ever-changing skyline,” the Detroit News wrote of the Fisher in October 1928, when the finishing touches were being put on the building. “This will be the most beautiful building of its kind ever created. … It is an outstanding example of the new American school of architecture, which has arisen to typify the spirit of modern progress. No expense, Mr. Kahn said, has been spared to make the Fisher building the very epitome of things beautiful.”
To achieve this feat, the Fisher was built — with only slight exceptions — entirely out of granite and marble, including on the exterior. More than 40 kinds of marble from all over the world were used. From the base of the building to 50 feet up — the first three floors — the exterior is finished in polished Minnesota pink marble and Oriental granite. Above that is Beaver Dam marvilla marble (named such because it was harvested from the Beaver Dam Quarry at Cockeysville, Md.) on the street fronts and Carthage marble on the courts. The marble was cut and positioned to give varying textures across the exterior. “The sun (plays) on differences of saw markings and grain on each block that identify the individual pieces from their neighbors,” the Michigan Manufacturer and Financial Record wrote in October 1928.
More architecture on Michigan in Pictures.
May 5, 2014
Terry Pepper writes that the first Presque Isle Light was established in 1840 to serve as a guide to mariners seeking the harbor on Presque Isle, the spit of land protruding from the eastern shore of Lake Huron French trappers named “almost an island.” By 1866, the dwelling was judged to be a tear-down candidate and in March of 1967, Congress appropriated $28,000 for construction of the New Presque Isle Light according to the plan of District Engineer Orlando M Poe:
Poe’s classic design for the new tower was atypically elegant for such a utilitarian structure, and was so successful that it would be duplicated at a number of stations throughout the district, including Outer Island and Au Sable Point on Lake Superior, and at Little Sable, Big Sable and Grosse Point on Lake Michigan. Erected on a limestone foundation that extended almost ten feet below grade, the red brick tower stood 113 feet in height. 19 feet 3 inches in exterior diameter at the base, the structure tapered gracefully to a diameter of 12 feet beneath the gallery. Constructed with a double wall system, the outer walls stood 5 feet three inches in thickness at the base and the inner wall one 1 foot thick with a 2 foot three inch air space between. The inner walls did not reflect the taper of the exterior, but were erected as a pure cylinder, encasing a spiral cast iron stairway consisting of 138 steps and incorporating five landings and a watch room with four windows immediately below the gallery. Each of these windows featured a graceful arched top section, typical of Poe’s groundbreaking design.
Supported by a series of ornate cast iron corbels, the gallery provided a convenient location from which the keepers could observe vessels out on the lake during fair weather, and created a natural location from which to suspend a boatswain’s chair to conduct maintenance on the gallery supports and the masonry of the tower walls. Centered on the gallery, a prefabricated cast iron apparatus room was erected with a smaller encircling gallery. Centered within this secondary gallery, a cast iron lantern with vertical astragals was equipped with hand-holds to provide the keepers with an extra measure of safety while standing on the narrow upper gallery when cleaning or scraping ice from the plate glass lantern panes. A large cast iron pedestal to support for the lens was erected in the mechanical room below the lantern, and the massive Third Order Fresnel lens, which had been ordered from Henry LePaute Cie. of Paris assembled at its upper flare. Consisting of a brass support structure standing 8 feet in diameter, ten prismatic panels, each six feet in height and 2 feet 6 inches wide were carefully assembled within the frame to create the “crystal beehive” look typical of such lenses.
Read on for more about this lighthouse including some old pics.
Many more Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!
April 14, 2014
There’s an eclipse of the full moon tonight! It begins at 2 AM Eastern time with the total eclipse lasting 78 minutes and starting about 3 AM. While the forecast is not great, it looks like there’s a chance that those brave souls who trade sleep for a shot at viewing the eclipse won’t be disappointed.
Eastern Daylight Time (April 15, 2014)
Partial umbral eclipse begins: 1:58 a.m. EDT on April 15
Total eclipse begins: 3:07 a.m. EDT
Greatest eclipse: 3:46 a.m. EDT
Total eclipse ends: 4:25 a.m. EDT
Partial eclipse ends: 5:33 a.m. EDT
If you’re up in the Sleeping Bear Dunes area, they are having a star party tonight. If anyone knows of other viewing gatherings, post them in the comments! If the eclipse ends up getting clouded out locally, you can always take to the net and watch via the live stream from the Griffith Observatory. As I wrote about last week, this eclipse is the first of four total eclipses without a partial in between known as a Lunar Tetrad.
This photo is of the ghost forest on Sleeping Bear Point created when sand of the world’s largest shifting sand dune covered living trees.