Alien or Ice?

Photo care of foxnews.com

Have you heard about the enormous revolving circle of ice that mysteriously appeared in the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine? Turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for this winter wonder. I found this Jan. 15 article by Karen Zraick in The New York Times informative and oh-so-funny!

A giant ice disk churning in a river that runs through the small city of Westbrook, Me., set off fevered speculation on Tuesday.

Was it an icy landing zone for aliens? A sign of impending doom? A carousel for ducks? (A handful were, in fact, enjoying the ride.)

The Boston Globe wrote that it was “like some type of arctic buzzsaw,” and residents hurried to the edges of the Presumpscot River to catch a glimpse.

Scientists say that ice disks are an unusual — but entirely natural — phenomenon that occurs when a pile of slush freezes in an eddy or a piece of ice breaks off from another and begins to rotate. As it turns, hitting rocks and water, the sides are shaved down.

Steven Daly, an expert in river ice hydraulics at the Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., said his agency generally got just one or two reports of rotating ice disks in the United States each year.

They’re not usually this big, though.

Kenneth G. Libbrecht, a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., who has studied ice physics, said that most ice disks he had seen were in the 20- to 30-foot range. Local officials estimated that the Westbrook ice disk was about 300 feet across.

“It might be a world-record size, if anybody were keeping track,” Dr. Libbrecht said.

Tina Radel, the marketing and communications manager for the city, filmed a drone video after Rob Mitchell, a local business owner, alerted her to the remarkable sight on Monday. After posting it, she spent Tuesday fielding calls from reporters around the country.

It’s been an overwhelming reaction,” she said. “People are loving it.”

In fact, The Portland Press Herald noted the ice disk had Westbrook buzzing “almost as much as when city police spotted a giant snake eating a beaver in roughly the same location in June 2016.”

 TIME OUT!!  A what was doing what?! 

You can’t just go on with the article and leave this small detail hanging. I’m so distracted by the image of a giant snake eating a beaver, I’ve momentarily forgotten about the ice disk. I have so many questions: there are giant snakes in Maine? Just how giant is giant? Do snakes usually eat beavers? Were there no mice, chipmunks, take-out? Did the beaver’s family react? Did the beaver’s family continue building their dam or did they evacuate pronto? Has anyone seen the giant snake since? Were people worried for their small children and pets? Did the snake get a Twitter handle like the Short Hills Bear? (a young, male black bear eluded attempts to catch him, making him into a local celeb) Did the snake become a meme? I obviously need to more info!

Ok, I’m taking a breath…back to the ice disk…

Mr. Mitchell, who owns an air-conditioning business and another property on the riverfront, said that he, too, had never seen anything like the ice disk in 25 years in Westbrook.

He added that its size was changing — while it was bigger in the morning, it had shrunk by Tuesday afternoon, when the sun was strong and temperatures hovered in the mid-30s. (The forecast called for lower temperatures and snow later in the week.)

One constant: The ice disk kept moving, counterclockwise, at the pace of a brisk walk.

“It’s perfectly regular and uniform,” Mr. Mitchell said. “I don’t think you could engineer a machine to move it as smoothly.”

Update: Another landing spot for UFO’s/resting spot for ducks is forming. Check it out here: Giant Maine ice disk stops moving as another one forms

Courage in Kids Literature

IMG_9012 I always root for a main character who shows courage. Don’t you?

This week, World Read Aloud Day’s theme is courage. 

Please indulge me as I share one my favorite passages in kidlit. In this excerpt from The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, one little girl courageously enters a new world with curiosity and wonder. Hmm, maybe my own journey into the world of kidlit is like stepping into Narnia.

“‘This must be a simply enormous wardrobe!’ thought Lucy, going still further in and pushing the soft folds of the coats aside to make room for her. Then she noticed that there was something crunching under her feet. ‘I wonder  is that more moth-balls?’ she thought, stooping down to feel it with her hand. But instead of feeling the hard, smooth wood of the floor of the wardrobe, she felt something soft and powdery and extremely cold. “This is very queer,’ she said, and went on a step of two further.

Next moment she found that what was rubbing against her face and hands was no longer soft fur but something hard and rough and even prickly. ‘Why, it is the branches of trees!’ exclaimed Lucy. And then she saw that there was a light ahead of her; not a few inches away where the back of the wardrobe ought to have been, but a long way off. Something cold and soft was falling on her. A moment later she found that she was standing in the middle of a wood at night-time with snow under her feet and snowflakes falling through the air.

Lucy felt a little frightened, but she felt very inquisitive and excited as well. She looked back over her shoulder and there, between the dark tree-trunks, she could see the open doorway of the wardrobe…She began to walk forward, crunch-crunch over the snow and through the wood. In about ten minutes she reached it and found it was a lamp-post. As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming toward her. And soon after that a very strange person stepped out from among the trees into the light of the lamp-post.”

  

Hon, do you think I was courageous or crazy to rappel and rock climb on cliffs abutting the Atlantic Ocean? 

Rappeling down Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rappelling down Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rock climbing at Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Rock climbing Otter Cliffs, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Peacock, Puppy and Boy

Peacock stutting his stuff.
Peacock strutting his stuff.

To top off my Series of Blue, I’m leaving  you with a Shel Silverstein poem,  perfect for kidlit lovers…and kids.

Put Something In

Draw a crazy picture,

Write a nutty poem.

Sing a mumble-gumble song,

Whistle through your comb.

Do a loony-goony dance

‘Cross the kitchen floor,

Put something silly in the world

That ain’t been there before.

Hot dog in a cool pool. Lucy loves the baby pool.
Hot dog in a cool pool. Isn’t Lucy adorable?
Boy with Kite, Acadia National Park, Maine.
Boy with Kite, Acadia National Park, Maine.

Aqua Lustre

Chesapeake Hyatt Infinity Pool and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
Chesapeake Hyatt Infinity Pool and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

Water is in the news.

I planned on posting photographs of water before predictions that Hurricane Joaquin was headed our way. Luckily, it didn’t reach our town and we avoided another Hurricane Sandy situation.

Along with patterns created by the juxtaposition of sky and man-made objects, I love taking pictures of water. Its’ color, translucency or opaqueness, movement and mystery are eternally fascinating.

Aqua water is especially alluring, which is why I love the Aqua Lustre Raku glaze offered at my summer Raku class.

There’s more to come in this Series of Blue (Serene Sky and Metal and Blues).

Hon, thanks for visiting Bmore Energy.

Ceramic plates I glazed with Aqua Lustre.
Raku ceramic plates I glazed with Aqua Lustre.
Ceramic vase and tea box.
Raku ceramic vase and tea box I glazed with Aqua Lustre.
Grotto in Israel
Grotto, Israel
Sandpiper Bay Infinity Pool, Florida
Sandpiper Bay Infinity Pool, Florida
Bar Harbor, Maine
Bar Harbor, Maine.  Check out the hammock.  WHO was planning on sleeping there?