Lick Observatory Interior Roof Photograph by Ginger Stein


This is an image of the interior domed ceiling of the historic observatory building. Lick Observatory is the world’s first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory. The observatory, was constructed between 1876 and 1887, from a bequest from James Lick of $700,000 (approximately $22 million in 2014 dollars). Lick, originally a carpenter and piano maker, chose the site atop Mount Hamilton and was buried there in 1887 under the future site of the telescope, with a brass tablet bearing the inscription, “Here lies the body of James Lick”.

Lick additionally requested that Santa Clara County construct a “first-class road” to the summit, completed in 1876. All of the construction materials had to be brought to the site by horse and mule-drawn wagons, which could not negotiate a steep grade. To keep the grade below 6.5%, the road had to take a very winding and sinuous path, which the modern-day road still follows. Tradition maintains that this road has exactly 365 turns. The full story of Lick’s life, the logistics of getting the huge telescope up the mountain side, the many discoveries made by the astronomers who utilized this observatory are fascinating and worth exploring. The site includes several modern observatory buildings where ongoing astronomical research is supported by the University of California system. In August 2020, the entire complex was under major threat from the southern California SCU Lightning Complex Fires..

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Chicago’s Fascinating ‘House on the Roof’ Is a Penthouse Without Parallel

The key feature of this Chicago residence? It’s both a penthouse and a house, a three-bedroom home artfully perched on top of a building from the 1890s.


When you think of a penthouse in Chicago, your mind wanders to a long elevator ride, at least 30 stories up. We’ve found a unit, however, that breaks that mold.

On the market for $850,000, this two-level penthouse is perched on a building with only eight other units.

The listing details aptly describes it as a “house on the roof”: a three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home artfully perched on top of a building dating to the 1890s.

To access the 2,533-square-foot unit, you take a historic elevator to the eighth floor, followed by a jaunt up a flight of steps.

In something of a “secret” building, it’s listed with Bohdan Gorczynski of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago.

“Many people who have lived in the neighborhood for years don’t even realize it’s there,” he says.

“If you go to the next block,” he adds, “you’ll see glass high-rises. The character of the South Loop is changing.”

This is a unique time capsule in the city’s Printers Row neighborhood, an area within the South Loop developed as residential living in the late 1980s, after the demise of the printing industry.

Although the building dates to 1892, this unit was updated in the later part of the last century.

An open floor plan means that moving through the living room, dining room, and kitchen is a breeze, while the upstairs features a loft.

And its key feature? It’s a penthouse and a house.

None of the comparables, Gorczynski says, offer anything like it. One reason are the views—both inside and out.

“Whenever I come back to this unit,” he says, “the first thing I do is look through the windows. It has great light and views of the city—the urban cityscape and the high-rises.”

Exterior of Chicago penthouse

Open layout

Living and dining rooms


Upper-level loft space

Upper-level loft

One of the bedrooms

The seller, whose husband is an architect, bought the property for $875,000 in 2017, when she took a position at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art.

The couple recently returned to California and listed the penthouse. They weren’t able to complete their renovation plans and had never moved in.

The ideal buyer is “a creative spirit” and “someone who will envision this restoration,” Gorczynski says.

Necessary restorations will include installing new windows and gutting all three bathrooms, which were last updated in the late 1980s.

The unit also includes ample storage in the building’s basement and a private terrace.

This is a penthouse with lots of privacy, a bonus during the pandemic. Because there are only nine units in the building, potential buyers have been intrigued by the property.

“This is what appeals

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Jimmy Carter says his son smoked pot with Willie Nelson on White House roof

Willie Nelson looking at the camera: Jimmy Carter says his son smoked pot with Willie Nelson on White House roof

Jimmy Carter says his son smoked pot with Willie Nelson on White House roof

Former President Jimmy Carter reveals in a new documentary that his son James Earl “Chip” Carter sat on the roof of the White House and smoked marijuana with country music legend Willie Nelson.

People magazine reports that Carter made the admission in a new documentary, “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President.” Carter confirmed the anecdote described in Nelson’s autobiography, though Nelson had hid the identity of Carter’s son in the book in which he referred to his companion as a “servant” in the White House.

“When Willie Nelson wrote his autobiography, he confessed that he smoked pot in the White House one night when he was spending the night with me,” Carter says, according to People. “And he says that his companion that shared the pot with him was one of the servants in the White House. That is not exactly true – it actually was one of my sons, which he didn’t want to categorize as a pot-smoker like him.”

Carter famously made political alliances with many well-known musicians during his White House tenure, including Nelson and the Allman Brothers. In the documentary, he reportedly also dismissed criticism of his meetings with musical groups, pointing to the influence such groups had over their fans.

“I was doing what I really believed, and the response I think from the followers of those musicians was much more influential than the people who thought [of] that being inappropriate for a president,” Carter says, according to People.

Nelson is an outspoken advocate for left-leaning causes and in 2018 supported former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) in his Senate bid against Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

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Jimmy Carter is fully aware his son smoked with Willie Nelson on the White House roof

The top of many a Texan’s bucket list: Sharing a smoke with country icon (and profound marijuana fan) Willie Nelson.

Make it happen on the White House roof, and that’s the stuff of legend.

Former president Jimmy Carter talks about the time one of his sons had that exact experience in the new documentary about his presidency, “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President.”

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According to the Los Angeles Time, Carter says in the film that Nelson “says that his companion that shared the pot with him was one of the servants at the White House. That is not exactly true. It actually was one of my sons.”

The documentary explores President Carter’s love of music and his friendship with several musicians during his term.

Country singers Willie Nelson and Charley Pride present a gold record to President Jimmy Carter at the Oval Office. (Photo by Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images) Photo: Wally McNamee/Corbis Via Getty Images

Photo: Wally McNamee/Corbis Via Getty Images

Country singers Willie Nelson and Charley Pride present a gold record to President Jimmy Carter at the Oval Office. (Photo by Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

This isn’t the first time it’s been confirmed that James “Chip” Earl Carter III and Nelson shared “a big fat Austin torpedo” during Nelson’s visit to the White House in 1980. In a 2015 interview with GQ, when asked if it was Chip Carter that Nelson shared that legendary joint with, Nelson says; “Looked a lot like. Could have been, yeah.”

“Well, he told me not to ever tell anybody,” Chip Carter said in the same article.

Thankfully, President Carter doesn’t seem too upset about it, and Chip Carter remembers the episode well. During a break in Nelson’s performance, Chip Carter asked Nelson if he wanted to come upstairs.

“We just kept going up till we got to the roof, where we leaned against the flagpole at the top of the place and lit one up,” Chip Carter told the Los Angeles Times. “If you know Washington, the White House is the hub of the spokes — the way it was designed. Most of the avenues run into the White House. You could sit up and could see all the

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Hope for some, heartbreak for others as house prices go through the roof | Property

UK house prices have hit a record high since the lifting of lockdown, after the fastest monthly growth in property values in August since 2004, fuelled by the release of pent-up demand and the government’s stamp duty cut.

Despite Britain plunging into the deepest recession in modern history in the second quarter, estate agents report a surge in interest from those with the financial security to move, and from those whose priorities have been changed by Covid-19. There are, however, winners and losers in this rapidly moving market, as Covid-19 creates a period of boom and bust.


Young people looking in estate agent window
First-time buyers are losing out under the stamp duty holiday. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA

First-time buyers
First-time buyers have suffered a double whammy after the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, launched a stamp duty holiday until March next year. Fuelling a boom in prices that pushes property values further out of reach for those starting out, the change has also removed an advantage first-timers held over other house hunters. Many young buyers outside London were not paying this tax to get on the property ladder, thanks to stamp duty relief for first-time buyers. Now they face tough competition from movers and second-property buyers aiming to cash in on the stamp duty holiday.

Britain’s high street banks have also stopped offering high loan-to-value mortgages in order to protect themselves against any sharp drop in house prices, and this disproportionately hits first-time buyers, who usually have smaller deposits.

But even if the Covid recession triggers a plunge in prices, there is unlikely to be a silver lining for first-time buyers, according to the Resolution Foundation thinktank.

While prices have boomed in recent months, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the government’s economics forecaster, estimates that property values could fall by 21% by the third quarter of 2021 as the pandemic drives up unemployment and forces people to sell their homes or put off new purchases. But weak earnings growth for young adults as a result of the downturn will prevent them taking advantage of this.

An emty Thomas Cook shop in Middlesbrough
An empty shop unit in Middlesbrough: owners of commercial property are suffering. Photograph: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Commercial property
With city centres still largely empty, owners of commercial property are coming under mounting pressure. Retailers, coffee chains and restaurants are closing hundreds of outlets and cutting thousands of jobs, as high streets adapt to fewer people travelling into city centres to work.

Despite the government encouraging a wider return to offices to protect businesses dependent on city workers, footfall in central London remains more than two-thirds below usual levels as firms delay the return of staff to densely packed office districts.

Early on in the pandemic, the chief executives of Barclays bank and advertising giant WPP predicted an end to crowded city centre offices and rush hours, and flexible working becoming the norm: “I think the notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past,” Barclays’ chief executive, Jes Staley, said at the time.

The consultancy

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