Monet at 4:53pm

So, this is pretty cool, a team of researchers at Texas State figured out the precise day and time of a Monet painting at the NC Museum of Art:

A researcher holds up a post card depiction of another Monet painting of a famous natural arch called Porte d’Amont on the Normandy coast, while standing at the exact spot it was created. The scientists used the cards to find the precise locations where Monet worked, and in the case of one painting were then able to use the position of the sun depicted to determine the exact minute it showed. COURTESY OF TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY

Some of the details:

The researchers, led by astronomer and physics professor Donald Olson and including a graduate student from UNC-Chapel Hill, traveled to Normandy in 2012. They brought along high-tech and low-tech instruments, including a sextant and a laser rangefinder. They also brought several postcard depictions of a dozen or so paintings that Monet made along the rugged coastline there.

They used the cards to determine the precise location where Monet worked on a whole series of paintings along the Normandy coast. Their main focus was on one painting because, unlike the others, it had a crucial detail: a distinct disc for the sun.

“You see a glow in many, where the sun has set, but you just don’t know where it is,” Olson said.

That allowed the researchers, once they had the location, to determine how high above the horizon the sun was in the painting, and where it was in relation to an arch in the cliff and a rock spire shown in the painting. The arch and spire were several hundred yards apart, so the scientists were able to line them up precisely to help determine Monet’s vantage point.


photo of the day

Just discovered (via this Atlantic article) this awesome twitter account that posts an awesome, eclectic mix of historical photos.  Since I love me some Nirvana, I’ll go with this one.

Kurt Cobain giving Ronald McDonald a cigarette in Singapore, 1992

NC Senate update

Larry Sabato’s crystal ball has moved the NC Senate race into the pure toss-up category.  I think that Kay Hagan was really hurt by the health care roll-out (and a barrage of ads against her from outside groups), but I still think that health care will lack the same potency to hurt Democrats by November.  Anyway, here’s the analysis:

NORTH CAROLINA: Just based on the fundamentals, Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) should be in better shape than her fellow Red-state Senate Democrats running for reelection in 2014. Remember, President Obama won North Carolina in 2008 and only lost it by two points in 2012, which makes the Tar Heel State by far the most Democratic of any of the seven Romney states that feature Democratic Senate incumbents this cycle. However, as the national environment has worsened for Democrats since the botched Obamacare roll-out, Hagan’s status as a slight favorite for reelection has ebbed. HuffPost Pollster has her very narrowly trailing state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) in general election trial heats, even though Tillis only leads GOP primary polling with less than 20% (perhaps an indication of low name ID). Along with an approval rating mired in the low 40s, these are signs that Hagan is vulnerable. Hagan’s weakened position prompts us to move this race from Leans Democratic to TOSS-UP. Republicans should continue to be worried about their potential nominee here, though: Tillis leads the unpopular state legislature, and there are several other lesser-known Republicans in the race who could potentially cause them general election headaches.

I was talking to a friend the other day, though, and suggested that this still depends upon her opponent.  Tillis is no guarantee.  I told my friend there would be much rejoicing in Hagan-land if Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon is nominated.  And if Christine O’Donnell, Richard Murdouck, and Todd Akin can win Senate nominations, so can Brannon.  And speaking of which, here’s a Buzzfeed piece (too much innuendo, but there’s a there there) about his connection to crazy conspiracy theories.

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