November 30, 2012
“When people go into good buildings there should be serenity and delight.”
Minoru Yamasaki (December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) was an American architect best known for his design of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center who ended up making his home in Michigan.
The Detroit News has a feature titled world-class architect Minoru Yamasaki that gives a good overview of the architect and his somewhat tumultuous life, and you should also read the Seeking Michigan feature on Yamasaki and his Michigan architectural practice. Michigan Modern has a list of Yamasaki designed buildings in Michigan as well.
More architecture on Michigan in Pictures.
November 29, 2012
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced yesterday that three recent trail camera photos of cougars in the Upper Peninsula have been verified by the DNR:
Two of the photos, both of a cougar with a radio collar, were taken in October in Menominee County – one near Cedar River and one near Menominee just north of the Wisconsin border. The third photo was taken in northern Marquette County in November. The cougar in the Marquette County photo is not wearing a radio collar.
The DNR does not place radio collars on cougars; North Dakota and South Dakota are the nearest states where wildlife researchers have placed radio collars on cougars to track their movement. The DNR has not yet been able to determine the origin of the radio-collared cougar that is in Michigan.
…DNR Wildlife Division staff have now verified the presence of cougars in the Upper Peninsula 20 times since 2008.
To date, the DNR has confirmed 11 photos, eight separate sets of tracks, and one trail camera video from 10 Upper Peninsula counties: Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Houghton, Keweenaw, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft.
“The increasing number and frequency of verified cougar sightings in recent years are likely due to three factors in particular: The growing popularity of trail cameras used to monitor wildlife activity in the woods 24 hours a day; additional transient cougars moving east from established populations in western states as they seek new territory; and the cooperation of the public in reporting cougar sightings and sharing their photos with us for official review, which we greatly appreciate,” said Adam Bump, one of four DNR biologists specially trained to investigate cougar reports.
The DNR adds that cougars may travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory – as far as Connecticut from South Dakota.
You can report cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by submitting the sighting on the DNR’s online reporting form at www.michigan.gov/cougars.
More on the Michigan cougar saga on Michigan in Pictures.
November’s moon will be full tonight, November 28th. Known as the Beaver Moon or the Frosty Moon in colonial times, November’s full moon was named the White Moon by Chinese, Dark Moon by the Celts, Snow Moon in Medieval England and the Moon When Horns Are Broken Off by the Sioux.
You’ll want to circle November 28th on your calendar because on November 28, 2013, Comet ISON will have a close encounter with the Sun and potentially be one of the biggest acts to hit the celestial stage in quite a while. The comet is what is known as a sungrazing comet, one that passes extremely close to the surface of the sun. Many sungrazers are incinerated by the passage, but those that don’t can put on a great show. SPACE.com says that although there’s no guarantee, Comet ISON could produce an incredible display:
The most exciting aspect of this new comet concerns its preliminary orbit, which bears a striking resemblance to that of the “Great Comet of 1680.” That comet put on a dazzling show; it was glimpsed in daylight and later, as it moved away from the sun, it threw off a brilliantly long tail that stretched up from the western twilight sky after sunset like a narrow searchlight beam for some 70 degrees of arc. (A person’s clenched fist, held at arm’s length, covers roughly 10 degrees of sky.)
The fact that the orbits are so similar seems to suggest Comet ISON and the Great Comet of 1680 could related or perhaps even the same object.
Comet ISON will be barely visible to the unaided eye when it is in the predawn night sky, positioned against the stars of Leo in October 2013.
On Oct. 16 it will be passing very near both Mars and the bright star Regulus — both can be used as benchmarks to sighting the comet. In November, it could be as bright as third-magnitude when it passes very close to the bright first-magnitude star Spica in Virgo.
The few days surrounding the comet’s closest approach to the sun on Nov. 28, 2013, are likely to be most interesting. It will whirl rapidly around the sun in a hairpin-like curve and perhaps becomes a dazzlingly bright (negative-magnitude) object.
The comet will then whirl north after perihelion and become visible during December both in the evening sky after sunset and in the morning sky before sunrise. Just how bright it will be and how long the tail may get during this time frame is anybody’s guess, but there is hope that it could evolve into a memorable celestial showpiece.
You don’t have to wait until November as comet C/2011 L4 is due to make a close approach to the sun in March of 2013!
More of Michigan’s moon on Michigan in Pictures!
November 27, 2012
Bill writes this of the Langely Covered Bridge over the St. Joseph River, a Michigan Registered Historic Site:
This is the longest of Michigan’s few remaining covered bridges. It is 282 feet long with three, 94-foot spans of the Howe-truss construction. The bridge was built in 1887 by Pierce (?) Bodner of Parkville, using the best quality white pine for the frame timbers. The bridge’s name honors a pioneer Centreville family. When the Sturgis Dam was built in 1910, the Langley Bridge had to be raised eight feet. In 1950-51 extensive repairs and replacement of parts on the bridge were carried out by the St. Joseph County Road Commission to preserve for the future this historic link with a bygone era.
Personal note – the bridge is only one lane wide. Drivers take turns crossing the bridge, but this is a part of Michigan that doesn’t see much traffic anyway, so the wait is seldom long. The speed limit on the bridge is 15 mph.
Wikipedia’s entry on the Langley Covered Bridge adds that it was named for Thomas W. Langley and his family, the first settlers who helped establish the village of Centreville in St. Joseph County in the mid-19th century.
More Michigan bridges on Michigan in Pictures!
November 26, 2012
Recently in Peter Peterson and the Iron River Meteorite on Yooper Steez, Alice Rossignol remembered a day in 1889:
…when a six-year old boy named Peter Peterson (yes, this was actually his name) was helping his father clear rocks from a field near Iron River.
Things were proceeding as usual (I’m assuming) when little Peter noticed that one rock was much heavier than others of the same size. He showed the 3.13-pound whopper to his father who told him to toss it like the others.
But Peter, being a six-year old boy, kept it.
According to Von Del Chamberlain, a former MSU professor who recounts this story here, the rock was later identified as a meteorite, a fact which he later confirmed.
How rare are confirmed meteorites? There have only been 10 verified in Michigan, and this meteorite is currently the only verified meteorite in the Upper Peninsula. Read on for more about this story and some meteorwrongs (mis-identified meteorites) and dig into Prof. Del Chamberlain’s account for the scientific lowdown and how it ended up in Chamberlain’s hands almost 80 years later. You can also read the entirety of Chamberlain’s publication Meteorites of Michigan online.
November 24, 2012
November 23, 2012
Today is Black Friday, and though many of us – your host most definitely included -get worn down by the constant march of “Consumer Christmas”, it’s important to remember that our dollars when spent wisely can build strength in our communities. Below is one great example and I’m sure people can suggest more in the comments! I should add that I’ve had this post saved as a draft for almost a month which is why Richard has a rare back-to-back feature!
This photo is of Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair in Ann Arbor. Stocking common items as well as more esoteric gear like positronic brains, they’re the source for all your robot needs in Southeast Michigan.
The store is also (literally) the front for 826michigan, a nonprofit student writing & tutoring center, and all proceeds go toward their free student programs. 826michigan is dedicated to supporting students aged 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. 826 opened its doors in June of 2005 and believes that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success and that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention.
I for one welcome our new robot overlords and encourage you to watch this great video about Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair and 826Michigan.
More Ann Arbor on Michigan in Pictures.