Besides being mentioned in the feature film and political documentary “Wag the Dog” (1997), not much leaks into the mainstream consciousness when it comes to Albania.
In Albania there are 3 levels of the territory: the Republic of Albania, the territory in which the Albanians settle and Greater Albania.
I worked in and around Albania beginning in mid-2007 and found that the area was best known for flourishing organized crime. That’s not to say that ALL Albanians were members of organized crime, in the same way as we say that ALL Mexicans are not members of a drug cartel. However, I do think that there are more (by ratio) Albanian thugs than Mexican thugs. Come to think of it, Albanian thugs featured prominently in the feature film, “Taken” (2008).
A Sign on a Wall
Writing on a wall in Chechnya that awaits the Russian military, reads as “Welcome to Hell”. First Chechen War, 1994-1996
Artificial Sky Brightness Map
Some people call it “light pollution”.
A View or Two (of an elegant universe)
17 meter-diameter MAGIC telescopes reflect this starry night sky from the Roque de los Muchachos European Northern Observatory on the Canary Island of La Palma. MAGIC stands for Major Atmospheric Gamma Imaging Cherenkov and the telescopes can see the brief flashes of optical light produced in particle air showers as high-energy gamma rays impact the Earth’s upper atmosphere. On July 20, two of the three telescopes in view were looking for gamma rays from the center of our Milky Way galaxy. In reflection they show the bright stars of Sagittarius and Scorpius near the galactic center to the southeast. Beyond the segmented-mirror arrays, above the northwest horizon and below the Big Dipper is Comet NEOWISE. NEOWISE stands for Near Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. That’s the Earth-orbiting satellite used to discover the comet designated C/2020 F3.
What is creating the structure in Comet NEOWISE’s tails? Of the two tails evident, the blue ion tail on the left points directly away from the Sun and is pushed out by the flowing and charged solar wind. Structure in the ion tail comes from different rates of expelled blue-glowing ions from the comet’s nucleus, as well as the always complex and continually changing structure of our Sun’s wind. Most unusual for Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), though, is the wavy structure of its dust tail. This dust tail is pushed out by sunlight, but curves as heavier dust particles are better able to resist this light pressure and continue along a solar orbit. Comet NEOWISE‘s impressive dust-tail striations are not fully understood, as yet, but likely related to rotating streams of sun-reflecting grit liberated by ice melting on its 5-kilometer wide nucleus.