As I've written in a previous post, I'm moving SilverMedals.net to a new platform, one that is easier to maintain yet still powerful enough to accommodate all I want to do with this site. For the most part I've got it all set up and designed, but now comes the tedious part of moving content over. From a data perspective, moving the actual content over is pretty easy, however, there are a lot of style and image issues that are cropping up such as picture captions being messed up, sidebar issues, and some general loose ends.
When Alan Bean retired from NASA and decided to become a full-time professional fine-art artist, he had to shed his aeronautical engineering and astronaut self to allow his inner artistic vision come through to the canvas. Not an easy task for the former Apollo 12 astronaut, one of only 12 men to have walked on the surface of the moon, a person who spent his entire adult life in the very un-artistic no-BS world of naval aviation and astronaut training, where attention to detail and doing things "by the book" was essential.
For the past few months, I've been doing less in terms of writing pieces for SilverMedals.net and more stuff on the administrative back end of the site. That is, the boring codey stuff that makes this site operate. Not to get too technical but I'm in the midst of a platform change — well, I can't really say "midst" since I don't have a concrete end date for when this is supposed to happen, so I guess it would be more true to say that I'm about waste deep in a platform change that I realized I should have made about a year ago. More on that later.
It may seem like hyperbole to write that Fred Rogers was one of the finest human beings ever to appear on American television, but he really was a good guy. A musician, a minister, a teacher, a producer, director, actor, and a student of early childhood development, Rogers dedicated the greater part of his personal and professional life toward teaching children and adults that everybody is special and that everyone has value.
The list of weekly items has gotten a bit longer this week as I added some military spending statistics to the mix. I'm always fascinated by those numbers, mostly because of how much more the U.S. spends over everyone else. As things stand according to the latest data, of the top 10 countries in military spending, the U.S. spends more than the next 8. Number-2 China, spends more than the next 3.
Next week we'll try adding some sports ranks to the ever-growing list.
Editor's Note: When I first started thinking about SilverMedals.net, along with feature stories and shorter blog posts about second-ranked superlatives, I envisioned there being a digest of current "second-ranked" events, lists, and stories on the site that would be updated periodically — somewhat of an anti-Harpers Index, which is about as high as I could aspire to in this case. A weekly digest seemed a good thing not only for editorial reasons, but it's also easier to compile on a weekly basis than, say, a daily one.
Second feats and events can come to me from anywhere here at SilverMedals.net, where I've taken the collection of "seconds" in history to new and obsessive levels. This one comes from an interesting book review in the The New Yorker by Adam Gopnik who wrote about composer Andrew Lloyd Weber's new memoir, Unmasked.
Finner, razorback, flathead, common rorqual, herring whale, fin whale — these are all names for the finback whale, an animal that few outside of the marine biology or maritime communities know or care about. But it is a majestic animal with sleek hydrodynamic lines and curves that roams the world's oceans gulping down plankton and fish in astonishing quantities.
The table below lists the silver medal winners for each event from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The bobsleigh events threw a few curveballs this year.
The 2-man bobsleigh competition resulted in a tie for gold between Canada and Germany, therefore there were only two gold medalists, one bronze medalist and no silver medalists, which for we enthusiasts at SilverMedals.net is a result just short of tragedy.
If you're a rich person looking for a place to hide your money from the evil tax-collecting hoards in your home country, or maybe you're a super rich drug dealer who doesn't want your local government asking questions about that Bentley parked in your quarter-mile driveway when on your last return you reported earnings of only $28,000, then look no further than the United States of America, the world's second-largest tax haven, just behind Switzerland and just ahead of the Cayman Islands.
It's February 2 — favorite day for SilverMedals.net enthusiasts! Not only is it the second day of the second month and the anniversary of the launch of SilverMedals.net, it is also Groundhog Day! Yes, it's the day where fancy men in top hats stand outside in the freezing cold staring at the furry little rodents and their shadows. As a reminder for groundhog enthusiasts, if the groundhog "sees" his shadow, it means we're in for 6 more weeks of winter; if he does not, then the warmer weather should blow in sooner.
Last May, SM did a blog post on a team of mountain climbers from Poland who were going to attempt a winter ascent on K2, little did anyone know that those same climbers would end up being heroes.
A celestial event will occur in February 2018. The event may not be as exciting as say, an eclipse, or a comet, or a good meteor shower. In fact, it's not even an event per se, but more an oddity of the calendar. For ease of language we'll just call it an "event". So the event about which I am writing (which seems even more less eventy the more I go on) is that there will be no full moon in February 2018. Exciting right? Okay, maybe not exciting, but it's at least kinda interesting.