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Thursday, July 27, 2017


GUEST BLOG / Editors of Southern Living Magazine--Sweet tea is synonymous with Southern culture. When we order tea at a restaurant, we assume that the waiter will bring an ice-cold glass of sweet tea (maybe with lemon) that perfectly complements our meal. We serve tea at every Southern gathering, from funerals to baby showers to church potlucks. A pitcher of Southern sweet tea doesn't last long in the fridge – but with this recipe, you'll be able to replenish the supply in no time.

Making sweet tea isn't difficult at all, but many Southerners argue about how much sugar you should include. When it comes to this Southern staple, we say the sweeter the better! This recipe from our Test Kitchen is one of our highest-rated recipes for good reason. Made with plenty of tea bags for a strong, steeped flavor, a simple syrup brings sweetness to this recipe without having to worry about loose sugar granules. One trick calls for adding a little baking soda to the tea removes any cloudiness and will give you a crystal-clear pitcher.


12 regular-size tea bags
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 qt. distilled or bottled water
1 qt. ice cubes
1 1/4 cups Simple Syrup

How to Make It:
--Place tea bags and baking soda in a large heatproof glass pitcher.
--Bring water just to a rolling boil in a saucepan or kettle, and immediately pour over tea bags, making sure bags are submerged.
--Cover and steep 7 minutes. Remove tea bags without squeezing;
--discard tea bags.
--Add ice, and stir until ice melts. Stir in Simple Syrup, and serve in a glass or mug over ice.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017


The original Orlando Eye Ferris wheel carried its first passenger on April 29, 2015.  Since July 28, 2016 it has been called the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye and currently is the tallest observational wheel on the United States East Coast.
         The 400 ft. tall Ferris wheel is located in Orlando Florida (8401 International Drive #100).  Because the topography around the Greater Orlando area is so very flat views from the capsules include the City of Orlando skyline, vast areas of central Florida and on a very clear day the Atlantic coastline all the way to NASA’s Cape Canaveral (54 miles away).
         Stats show each of the 30 capsules weigh 6,600 pounds, or the average weight of an Indian elephant and weighs approximately three million pounds, that is 1,500 tons or equivalent to 300 school buses.
The Eye is made up of components produced all over the world. The glass covering the capsules was crafted in Turkey
The capsules were assembled in Hungary and shipped to Florida from Northern Germany. Switzerland-based Intamin designed and manufactured the wheel
The Coca Cola Orlando Eye and its sister Coca Cola London Eye are observation wheels.  They differ differs from
Ferris wheels in the following ways:
Observation wheels:
•Feature enclosed passenger capsules designed to remain stable throughout the rotation
•Supported by an A-frame support
•Offers a 360° unobstructed view
Ferris wheels:
•Feature free-swing passenger gondolas or carriages suspended from the rim
•Supported by two towers on each side of the axles
•View can sometimes be obstructed by the wheel itself

 Other Ferris Wheel postings on
July, 20, 2016—Staten Island, New York
August 17, 2016—Las Vegas
September 21, 2016—Japan
October 19, 2016—Nanchang, China
November 9, 2016—Dubai
December 14, 2016—Melbourne
January 11, 2017—London Eye
February 7, 2017—Chicago
March 15, 2017—Singapore
April 4, 2017--Vienna
May—Suzhou, Jiangsu, China
June 14, 2017—Helsinki, Finland
July 26, 2017—Orlando, Florida


Tuesday, July 25, 2017


NASA Invites You to Become a Citizen Scientist
During US Total Solar Eclipse
Learn how you can participate in a NASA experiment

By Rani Gran and Kelsey Wright
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

The public will have an opportunity to participate in a nation-wide science experiment by collecting cloud and temperature data from their phones. NASA’s Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program Observer (NASA GO) is a citizen science project that allows users to record observations with a free app. On Aug. 21, NASA GO will feature a special eclipse experiment.

With the app and a thermometer, citizen scientists can help observe how the eclipse changes atmospheric conditions near them, and contribute to a database used by students and scientists worldwide in order to study the effects of the eclipse on the atmosphere. Observers in areas with a partial eclipse or outside the path of totality are encouraged to participate alongside those within totality.

NASA invites eclipse viewers around the country to participate in a nationwide science experiment by collecting cloud and air temperature data and reporting it via their phones.

The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, or GLOBE, Program is a NASA-supported research and education program that encourages students and citizen scientists to collect and analyze environmental observations. GLOBE Observer is a free, easy-to-use app that guides citizen scientists through data collection.

On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will occur across the entire continental United States. Crossing the country from Oregon to South Carolina over the course of an hour and a half, 14 states will experience night-like darkness for approximately two minutes in the middle of the day. The eclipse enters the U.S. at 10:15 a.m. PDT off the coast of Oregon and leaves U.S. shores at approximately 2:50 p.m. EDT in South Carolina.

All of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse.
“No matter where you are in North America, whether it’s cloudy, clear or rainy, NASA wants as many people as possible to help with this citizen science project,” said Kristen Weaver, deputy coordinator for the project. “We want to inspire a million eclipse viewers to become eclipse scientists.”

In order to participate, first download the GLOBE Observer app and register to become a citizen scientist. The app will instruct you on how to make the observations. Second, you will need to obtain a thermometer to measure air temperature.

Observations will be recorded on an interactive map.

To join in the fun, download the GLOBE Observer app After you log in, the app explains how to make eclipse observations.

To learn more about how NASA researchers will be studying the Earth during the eclipse visit:

Monday, July 24, 2017


Is it just me or has the media in California has stopped writing about the drought?  What drought?  That’s what I thought.

Anyway, thanks to stats from the United States Drought Monitor the following map shows (as of mid-July) how dry or wet the Golden State happens to be.  One good map is worth a 1000 words.

The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

For comparison and conversation we post two images of a marina in Lake Oroville taken by Getty Images—same spot—in 2014 and 2017.



February, 2017
Below is an image of the Oroville Dam and lake taken by NASA showing the spillover from the dam that threatened 100,000 residents in this part of California.  The marina is shown in the right hand side of the NASA photo.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


John Quincy Adams diary page for January 1, 1838. (Massachusetts Historical Society Collections)
John Quincy Adams began keeping a diary in 1779, when he was 12 years old, and faithfully maintained it until his death at 80, when he was serving as a member of Congress. From the American Revolution to the brink of the Civil War, Adams’s diaries vividly capture historical events in which he was both participant and observer, while simultaneously revealing the play of an unusually lively and inquiring mind.

SOURCE: Library of America is now making this extraordinary work available to a general audience in the first new edition in almost a century. Edited by historian David Waldstreicher and published just prior to Adams’s 250th birthday, on July 11, The Diaries of John Quincy Adams 1779–1848 is a two–volume reader’s edition based for the first time on Adams’s original manuscript diaries, including numerous personal passages that were suppressed from previous versions.  Waldstreicher describes what was involved in preparing two volumes of Adams’s diaries for Library of America.

David Waldstreicher.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Waldstreicher is Distinguished Professor of History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and the author of several works on early American history, including Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification (2009); Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution (2004); and In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 1776–1820 (1997).

LOA: The diaries of John Quincy Adams total some 15,000 handwritten pages and span a period of nearly seventy years. What were the challenges in winnowing such a massive work into a manageable two-volume readers’ edition? What were your principles of selection?

Waldstreicher: LOA rightly encouraged me to focus on entries of the greatest literary, biographical, and historical interest. Fortunately, these criteria often overlapped: Adams often wrote to record major events and to reflect upon them.

We had to be especially selective in the later years, when JQA began to write more than a large manuscript page (in the small handwriting that can be seen on the endpapers), and during those weeks and months when he was negotiating a treaty, or when Congress was in session. We had to edit in such a way as to avoid unnecessary repetition while making sure to represent JQA’s many varied concerns, like his commentaries on sermons he heard at church and his observations on mores at court in St. Petersburg.

LOA: Adams held enough positions for several lifetimes: minister to several European capitals, U.S. senator, professor at Harvard College, secretary of state, president, and finally congressman for the last seventeen years of his life. Did you consciously strive for a balance in representing all these phases of his career, or do the diaries favor some at the expense of others?

Waldstreicher: Adams was especially fulsome in the diary as a foreign minister in Russia, as secretary of state, and as a member of Congress, taking down the words of others and his reactions to them, for future use. There is not as much, perhaps surprisingly and perhaps not, during his frustrating presidential years, though it’s clear from the diary that he received many more visitors than he is given credit for as a supposedly “pre-democratic” president. We did strive for balance—and had to make painful cuts—but the high quality of the entries in which he gears himself up for battle with the leading lights of the age, or when he reflects on what he has seen and heard, are certainly well-represented.

1796 portrait (detail) of John Quincy Adams by John Singleton Copley. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Bequest of Charles Francis Adams.)
LOA: The twelve–volume edition of the diaries prepared by Adams’s son, Charles Francis Adams, from 1874 to 1877 suppressed many entries dealing with John Quincy’s private and family life. To achieve a more rounded portrait, you’ve restored some of that material in this edition. What are some of the revelations in these passages?

Waldstreicher: Adams emerges in our edition as more engaged with members of his family, and with people generally, than in past editions that focused solely on political significance. Another revelation that might be less surprising to readers of the Charles Francis Adams edition is just how many of the celebrities of the age Adams interacted with substantially, and how passionate and informed he was about numerous literary genres, from sermons to plays to philosophy to poetry.

And there are nuggets that Charles Francis Adams, with his nineteenth–century eyes, just missed—such as Adams conferring with Prince Saunders, acting as an informant about Haiti, while Secretary of State. He has never been credited as the first president we know of to receive an African American (Reverend Richard Allen) in his office—that credit is usually given to Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt.

LOA: One of the extraordinary features of Adams’s diaries is that in addition to participating in historic events he’s also a great noticer of them—he’s one of those, in Henry James’s phrase, “on whom nothing is lost.” Where did this ability come from? Did he consciously train himself to develop a recording faculty?

Waldstreicher: Part of it was his informal diplomatic training abroad, as his father’s secretary during his teenage years. Diplomats had to report on conversations and keep good records. JQA rapidly advanced in the diplomatic corps under Washington in part on the strength of his dispatches from Europe as well as his anonymously published opinion pieces in newspapers based on what he had seen and heard. John Adams also insisted on the great value of diary keeping, and John Quincy turned out to be even better at it than his father.

LOA: Adams’s views on slavery evolved over the years, to the point where as a congressman from Massachusetts he was the most vocal opponent of the “Slave Power” in the House. How much of that evolution is recorded in the diaries—are there turning points readers should look out for?

Waldstreicher: The diaries are an excellent place to see JQA’s evolution from someone who wanted to keep the slavery issue at bay, and in fact helped the National Republicans (the Madison and Monroe administrations) do just that, to becoming someone who wanted to highlight slavery’s importance in politics and its connection to so many other key issues facing the nation. The Missouri Crisis debates in 1819–21 are a key moment of realization, but we also see in the diary his commitment to avoid taking a public stand. The other key moment of transition comes after he leaves the presidency, when he explored in various writing projects his intensifying realization that the “Slave Power” had stymied not just antislavery but his policy agenda for the nation.

Subsequently, for the next decade and a half, he tried out different strategies and relationships to the changing antislavery movement in his diary, consistently reminding himself to keep a careful distance from immediate abolitionism even while developing a dialogue with key proponents like Benjamin Lundy and Theodore Dwight Weld. He did a great deal of effective work for the movement by discrediting slavery and its influence in national politics—the famous Amistad case is just a chapter in the middle of that story.

LOA: Joseph Ellis, an authority on the founding generation, recently wrote, “John Quincy Adams is easy to admire, but difficult to like, much less love.” Are people reading these diaries likely to come away with that impression as well?

Waldstreicher: Like many pronouncements about the Founders, this is an elegant and amusing half-truth that is more revealing about the genre of founder commentary than it is about John Quincy Adams. Adams was reserved yet a great conversationalist. He had his enemies, great admirers, and many friends. Like most politicians who were also writers, he was liked and loved—and despised—from afar and up close. The same might be said for Franklin, Madison, John Adams, and especially Jefferson—with whom Adams had a revealing love-hate relationship, which the volumes trace over many decades.