Friday, May 30, 2008

Interesting Concept?

Workers shifting to 4-day week to save gasoline

By Andrea HopkinsThu May 29, 4:07 PM ET

When Ohio's Kent State University offered custodial staff the option of working four days a week instead of five to cut commuting costs, most jumped at the chance, part of a U.S. trend aimed at combating soaring gasoline prices.

"We offered it to 94 employees and 78 have taken us up on it," said university spokesman Scott Rainone.

The reason is simple: rising gas prices and a desire to retain good workers. And while so far only the university's custodians are eligible, Rainone hopes the option will be offered to all departments -- including his own.

"In our office, we have people who travel anywhere from five or six miles to a couple who are on the road 45 to 50 minutes," Rainone said. "As the price of gas rises, the level of grumbling rises."

Regular gasoline averages $3.94 a gallon in the United States, up 33 cents in the past month and 88 cents since the beginning of the year, the Energy Information Administration said this week.

The federal government has offered four-day workweeks to eligible employees for years as part of a flexible work program that also includes telecommuting.

But the surge in gasoline prices is pushing more private employers as well as local governments to offer a four-day week as a perk that eliminates two commutes a week.

Staff at Neighborhood Development Services in rural northeastern Ohio were talking about quitting to find work closer to their homes when executive director Dave Vaughan stepped in with offers to compress their work week.

"I didn't want to lose people," Vaughan said of the program, which more than half of his 19 employees began last week. "In rural areas like we are, gas price increases are more challenging because we don't have the mass transit alternative -- we can't jump on a bus or take a train."

Eventually, Vaughan hopes to close the office one day a week, further reducing energy costs.

In America's struggling automaking heartland, the shorter workweek offers employers a way of rewarding employees when the budget does not allow a salary increase, said Oakland County, Michigan, executive L. Brooks Patterson.

"By allowing employees to work four 10-hour days it will save them 20 percent on their commute costs and ease the financial pinch of filling up their cars," said Patterson, who last week proposed the compressed week for county workers.

Gasoline prices have begun altering U.S. commutes in many ways, a survey released on Thursday showed.


Some 44 percent of respondents said they have changed the way they commute -- doing things such as sharing a ride or driving a more fuel-efficient car -- or are working from home or looking for a closer job in order to reduce gasoline costs, according to staffing services company Robert Half International. That's up from 34 percent two years ago.

On New York's Long Island, Suffolk County legislator Wayne Horsley also has proposed employees have the option of working four 10-hour shifts, rather than five eight-hour shifts, saying it would save 461 barrels of oil in a 120-day pilot project.

"This is a gasoline-driven proposition and we're looking to change people's long term philosophies of life," Horsley said.

The program, termed Operation Sunshine, will cut gasoline costs for workers who drive an average round trip of 32 miles to work. It also aims to cut the county's energy bill by having fewer employees in the office at a time, Horsley said.

In Oklahoma, a resolution is pending before the state legislature encouraging state agencies to implement flexible work schedules that would allow the four-day workweek.

"State employees are on fixed budgets and they are not usually the most highly paid in our society," said State Sen. Earl Garrison, a Democrat, who sponsored the measure.

Some schools, including community colleges in rural areas where commutes are long and public transportation is scarce, already have plans to drop a day of classes, usually Fridays.

The school district in Marietta, Georgia, a city north of Atlanta, institutes a four-day week during June and July when schools are out and it is mostly administrative staff who are working, saving on air conditioning and water in addition to commuting costs for employees, said Thomas Algarin, director of communications at Marietta City Schools.

But a four-day workweek brings problems too. The state government in Ohio is bucking the national trend and canceling an 8-year-old policy that allowed a compressed workweek.

"There were just too many vacant seats on Friday," said Ron Sylvester, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

(Additional reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago, Kevin Krolicki in Detroit, Marcy Nicholson in New York, Matthew Bigg in Atlanta and Tom Doggett in Washington; Editing by Bill Trott and David Wiessler)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Biological Crisis.

I hear that they made a new version of The Andromeda Strain, Michael Chriton's classic of bio warfare gone horribly wrong. I don't have cable so I didn't see it, but from the descriptions I have heard, apparently it has lost its luster. Andromeda was the first real technothriller ever written. Filled with facts, written with an authority that only one who is a medical genius can write, the book was a cautionary tale of a biological crisis gone wrong. The tale today still would hold true, but apparently some over eager idiot decided that some embellishment was necessary. Apparently, Chriton has more appreciation for his stock portfolio and his money belt then the integrity of his story.

Another tale of biological crisis is the non-fiction book "The Hot Zone." "The Hot Zone" depicted what was the first real biological crisis to hit the US in since the Spanish Flu in 1918 which ended World War I. (While historians like to say that the nations tired of war and the Germans were exhausted, the Spanish Flu had removed so many soldiers from the front and killed so many that continuing the war was not possible for either side). In full view of the US Capitol dome on the horizon, a group of monkeys at an animal quarntine facility in Reston Virginia, became contaminated with an Ebola-like strain of disease. Hopelessly contaminated, the Army eventually had to come in to contain and dispose of all the infected animals many of whom were still very alive and kicking, biting or scratching. One breach of a suit and the occupant was contaminated and the consequences of that were too horrible to contemplate. The consequences were dramatic and could have been much worse had the animals escaped and gotten into the general population. The strain was eventually given the classification as Ebola Reston, and is an airborne variety which means it can be passed from person to person like the common cold. A grave crisis was averted only through diligent action and a large amount of luck.

Ebola, for the unitiated, is a rare kind of disease caused by a Filovirus, which is essentially a strand of genetic information. Because it is a stand of RNA and not a conventional virus as such, the body has little defence against it. This strand, once introduced into a cell, like many viruses, seeks to copy itself and create as many duplicates of itself as possible. Essentially what eventually happens is that the entire cell turns into virus strands and the contamination continues to each cell in the body. Each cell is consumed and destroyed as the process continues. If unchecked, the body begins to shut down as the organs are slowly consumed. Blood vessels are compromised which leads to the victim literally crying blood from his eyes. Fatality is foughly 50 to 90 percent with most cases dying due to organ failure.

Man, in his quest for riches has ventured into areas of Africa where Man has never touched and has never been. New strains of disease could be there waiting for him like Ebola and so forth. Fortunately, Ebola kills much to readily for it to be a threat. It is relatively easy to recognize. Unfortunately, thanks to the international airline system, a disease which an oil exploration worker could catch in the Congo, could be in Houston tomorrow and from there to the rest of the country in the time it takes to catch a flight.

As far as fear is concerned, I remembered a President of the US long ago who told us that we had nothing to fear but fear itself. Armed with that kind of courage, we faced a depression and a World War with equal resolve. The cowards who rule our land today have no appreciation of that kind of courage. They hide behind their money and power while another great generation of our best and brightest fights and dies on a battlefield far away for another useless cause. For what? So I can have cheap gas, the Gas I had to PAY $3.90 a gallon for this morning? Whatever our boys are dying for, it isn't working. All we have done is to stir a hornets nest and created a whole generation of enemies that will continue to threaten our land for ages to come. Maybe that was the plan all along. Something to keep the military/industrial/political complex busy.

We have compromised our country to its detriment. God only knows what future generations will say of us, allowing a madman to sieze the reins of power. Hopefully we will not have to endure this for much longer as our great system allows only a few more months of this madness. Hopefully, if our election system has not been compromised, we will have new leaders with new ideas who will remove us from our nightmare and bring our tired boys back from the battlefield. Like Vietnam, this war will have exhausted our willingness to face crisis for at least a decade and allow our enemies to wander aimlessly across the world. Threats that we should have dealt with, were not dealt with due to our commitment to the war. The time will come soon where the cards will have to be put on the table. Question is, whose bluff will be called.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Work is fun! NOT!!!!!

Last night at work was not fun. Seems we had a water main break in the interior of the mall and it caused a lot of problems. Hopefully there is no hidden damage, but there was a lot of water in the interior of the mall. The cleaning company the mall employed got most of it and they had to call the Fire Department at the height of the crisis to help out. They got everything under control eventually and cleaned up and looking nice by the time I got in.

Oh, but here comes the best part. Since there was not maintenance personel on duty last night, yours truly had to go and pump sewage out of the pump room every hour on the hour as it was still draining off. I never want to see a pump or water or a dehumidifier again if I can help it. Plus I STILL had to wash the trucks at work. I swear, I really should be looking for another job tomorrow. I need to rest today. If I'm not here most of the day today then I am sure after a night I have had you can understand. I deserve a rest.

Thanks Mary for your kind words...

Thanks Bee for your kind concern... :-)

God bless all...

Till I return...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dreamy Idealist (or Drill Instructor if you were in the Marines)

Got this test from Dorid. Thought I would take it. I looked at some of the answers and I thought I had a mixture of a lot of them. However, they came out interesting.....

Dreamy Idealist (DI)

(Take the free test and determine your personality type!)

The dreamy idealist is very cautious and therefore often appears shy and reserved to others. He shares his rich emotional life and his passionate convictions with very few people. But one would be very much mistaken to judge him to be cool and reserved. He has a pronounced inner system of values and clear, honourable principles for which he is willing to sacrifice a great deal. Johanna von Orleans or Sir Galahad would have been good examples of this personality type. He is always at great pains to improve the world. He can be very considerate towards others and does a lot to support them and stand up for them. He is interested in his fellow beings, attentive and generous towards them. Once his enthusiasm for an issue or person is aroused, he can become a tireless fighter.

For the dreamy idealist, practical things are not really so important. He only busies himself with mundane everyday demands when absolutely necessary. He tends to live according to the motto “the genius controls the chaos” - which is normally the case so that he often has a very successful academic career. He is less interested in details; he prefers to look at something as a whole. This means that he still has a good overview even when things start to become hectic. However, as a result, it can occasionally happen that he overlooks something important. As he is very peace-loving, he tends not to openly show his dissatisfaction or annoyance but to bottle it up. Assertiveness is not one of his strong points; he hates conflicts and competition. He prefers to motivate others with his amicable and enthusiastic nature. Whoever has him as superior will never have to complain about not being given enough praise.

As at work, the dreamy idealist is a helpful and loyal friend and partner, a person of integrity. Obligations are absolutely sacred to him. The feelings of other are important to him and he loves making other people happy. He is satisfied with just a small circle of friends; his need for social contact is not very marked as he also needs a lot of time to himself. Superfluous small talk is not his thing. If one wishes to be friends with him or have a relationship with him, one would have to share his world of thought and be willing to participate in profound discussions. If you manage that you will be rewarded with an exceptionally intensive, rich partnership. Due to his high demands on himself and others, this personality type tends however to sometimes overload the relationship with romantic and idealistic ideas to such an extent that the partner feels overtaxed or inferior. The dreamy idealist does not fall in love head over heels but when he does fall in love he wants his to be a great, eternal love.

Phoenix has landed!

Yesterday was a great day for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. After being plagued by a string of expensive and spactacular failures, the appropiately named Phoenix finally vindicated the rocket scientists at JPL. Phoenix landed on Mars at approximately 06:54 CDT close to the Martian North Pole. The goal of Phoenix will be to look for water and signs of organics in the soil which might indicate life.

Here is one of the first pictures returned:

They say that the surface resembles a "tundra like" terrain, without the plants of course. Looks like the footpads have a good area to rest on and the lander is stable.

Here is a look out to the landscape:

Its a horizon begging to be explored, but the Phoenix is fixed and has no wheels. She will dig around the lander, but we will have to wait till future fiscal years to explore that horizon.

Last night was pretty harry for me. I thought I had a power spike that knocked out my modem. We had some pretty hairy lightning storms last night. Now this was in the middle of the coverage for the Phoenix lander. Since I don't have cable, I have to watch it on the net. so I was talking on the phone with a friend when I heard a loud beep and both the phone and the internet went out. The picture on the net freezed at the Mission Control at JPL, after the landing. I was waiting for pictures to come in and I didn't want to miss them. However, after that, I started a power spike protection protocol and started unhooking everything. I have two UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) units for battery backup and protection for power outages and surges. But the Modem is a different story. After the storm when I hooked everything back up, the internet wouldn't come back up. After trying for a while I figured the modem was knocked out. So I figured I would call AT&T the next day and get a new modem, if I needed one. I would just try to diagnose the problem a little later when I didn't have to go to work.

Well, to make a long story short (TOO LATE!) I got back this morning and booted up the system and checked the cables again. Now I have been trying to get my router to work and those cables were lying around. Simply said, I hooked up a dead router to the computer and that's why I couldn't get on the net. Now I have it hooked back up and everything is great which is why I am writing to you now.

Dear reader, I feel OK now. If one has seen Office Space, there is a scene in that movie where the guy tells his hypnotherapist that every day he experiences is worse than the day before. And each day following is worse and is getting worse. His hypnothearpist tells him, "that's messed up dude," and preceedes to die of a heart attack right in front of him. I feel like that. Some days are diamonds and some days are rain.

Today is a diamond day, with partly cloudy skies.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Xiao Zhao's Rays Paint Mercury's Surface

Xiao Zhao's Rays Paint Mercury's Surface
Release Date: May 19, 2008

Date Acquired: January 14, 2008

Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 108828473

Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)

Resolution: 500 meter/pixel (0.3 miles/pixel)

Scale: Xiao Zhao crater is 23 kilometers (14 miles) in diameter

Spacecraft Altitude: 19,760 kilometers (12,280 miles)

Of Interest: Recently named after the 12th century Chinese artist, Xiao Zhao crater on the central left side of this image is small in comparison with many other craters on Mercury and even with many other craters in this scene. However, Xiao Zhao's long bright rays make it a readily visible feature. The fresh, bright rays, which were created by material ejected outward during the impact event that formed the crater, indicate that Xiao Zhao is a relatively young crater on Mercury's surface.

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.

Mercury MESSENGER: Bright Rays Extending - From a Halo of Darkness - Gaze upon Basho

Bright Rays Extending
From a Halo of Darkness
Gaze upon Basho

Release Date: May 12, 2008
Though Basho crater is only about 80 kilometers (50 miles) in diameter, its bright rays make it an easily identified feature on Mercury's surface. In addition to the long bright rays, photographs from Mariner 10 showed an intriguing dark halo of material around the crater, which can be seen in the lower right portion of this Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) image snapped by MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) on January 14, 2008. The MESSENGER Science Team is using the full color data set obtained with the 11 filters of the Wide Angle Camera (WAC) to investigate the nature and composition of this dark material. Basho crater is visible near Mercury's limb in the southeastern portion of the WAC false color image previously released.

The crater is named for the 17th-century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho, renowned for his many haiku. MESSENGER's images of Mercury's striking landscape have inspired at least one poet; read Stuart Atkinson's poem "MESSENGER's Memories."

Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 108830184

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tennessee Williams

Most people aren't aware that Tennessee Williams is from St. Louis. He grew up as the son of an itenerant shoe salesman in Mississippi who finally settled in St. Louis. Tom Williams (Tennessee was his pen name) was a sickly child who was withdrawn and shy. His sister was his solace and they loved each other dearly as they were the ones who got on well togehter. His father favored his older brother and eventually Tom went on to go to school at the University of Missouri. Failing there, his father then put him to work at the shoe factory downtown. (Its a loft apartment now). His two years of misery was as he eventually put it, "the irritant that caused the pearl to form." Quitting the job at International Show, he enrolled at Washington University. When his play was rejected by the educators there, even though he had a lifetime of writing, he had had enough. Finishing his education in Iowa, he eventually settled in New Orleans and adopted the name Tennessee Williams and in New Orleans, found the home he sought.

The local PBS station has an excellent piece on Williams:

Gray Hairs......

Well I got me a haircut today. Today got me a perspective on what is happening to me as I age. The tufts of hair comming off of my head were grey and brown. It was almost like salt and pepper hair. I think its mostly dark now. The gray is mostly at the tips. I am getting old. Its inevatiable I suppose.

You think you are always young. You will always have a chance to grow up and do what you want to do. Now I am old and its mostly too late to do a lot of those things. Still, you still have a chance at life.

I have a friend. She lives in Texas, in the Dallas area. Stephanie was diagnosed with cancer 7 years ago. I think we can say that together we have fought this for all of that time. I have held her hand, we have cried and laughed all through this ordeal. However, I think the ordeal is almost over with. Her cancer has spread severely. Her kidneys are threatning to shut down. Her life is constant pain. Her children have disowned her and barely tollerate her existence. Her daughter has become the original wild child. Her son barely tollerates her existence and openly argues with her and berates her. Now all she has left is her two cats who love her dearly and she loves them.

My hair is grey. Sometimes I feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have a job which is among the most dangerous in the country. While I have not had anything really happen to me, there is always the potential for something happening. The other day here in the local area, an EMT was injured when his ambulance was shot up. Appparently a group of indivduals had shot someone and wanted to finish the job.

What is happening in this world? I spend most of my time at home and rearely go out and this is one of the reasons why. The world is too dangerous a place. OH, I'll go shopping, and go to some places and do the necessary things. I'll go to the Science Center this weekend to watch the Mars Phoenix Lander do its thing. I'll go to the Shakespere Festival, they are doing Richard the Third this year and we have a good first class calibur of actors that perform. But I don't want to interact in the world because its too dangerous a place.

Is the world too dangerous? I don't know if I want to interact with a dangerous world.

New Horizons - Storm Winds Blow in Jupiter's Little Red Spot

May 20, 2008

Media Contacts:

M. Buckley, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
(240) 228-7536 or (443) 778-7536

Storm Winds Blow in Jupiter’s Little Red Spot

Using data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft and two telescopes at Earth, an international team of scientists has found that one of the solar system’s largest and newest storms – Jupiter’s Little Red Spot – has some of the highest wind speeds ever detected on any planet.

The New Horizons researchers combined observations from their Pluto-bound spacecraft, which flew past Jupiter in February 2007; data from the Hubble Space Telescope orbiting Earth, and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, perched on an Atacama Desert mountain in Chile. This is the first time that high resolution, close–up imaging of the Little Red Spot has been combined with powerful Earth–orbital and ground-based imagery made at ultraviolet through mid–infrared wavelengths.

Jupiter’s "LRS" is an anticyclone, a storm whose winds circulate in the opposite direction to that of a cyclone – counterclockwise, in this case. It is nearly the size of Earth and as red as the similar, but larger and more well known, Great Red Spot (or GRS). The dramatic evolution of the LRS began with the merger of three smaller white storms that had been observed since the 1930s. Two of these storms coalesced in 1998, and the combined pair merged with a third major Jovian storm in 2000. In late 2005 – for reasons still unknown — the combined storm turned red.

The new observations confirm that wind speeds in the LRS have increased substantially over the wind speeds in the precursor storms, which had been observed by NASA’s Voyager and Galileo missions in past decades. Researchers measured the latest wind speeds and directions using two image mosaics from New Horizons' telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), taken 30 minutes apart in order to track the motion of cloud features. New Horizons obtained the images from a distance of approximately 2.4 million kilometers (1.5 million miles) from Jupiter at a resolution of 14.4 kilometers (8.9 miles) per pixel. The LRS' maximum winds speeds of about 384 miles per hour (between 155 – 190 meters per second) far exceed the156 mile-per-hour threshold that would make it a Category 5 storm on Earth.

"This storm is still developing, and some of the changes remain mysterious,” says Dr. Andrew Cheng of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), Laurel, Md., who led the study team. “This unique set of observations is giving us hints about the storm's structure and makeup; from this, we expect to learn much more about how these large atmospheric disturbances form on worlds across the solar system."

Jupiter's venerable Great Red Spot has decreased steadily in size over the past several decades. In addition, a rare "global upheaval" in Jupiter's atmosphere began before New Horizons visited last year. This upheaval involved the disappearance of activity in the South Equatorial Belt (which left the GRS as an isolated storm), the appearance of a south tropical disturbance north of the Little Red Spot, and other spectacular cloud changes.

"This was a rare opportunity to combine observations from a powerful suite of instruments, as Jupiter will not be visited again by a spacecraft until 2016 at the earliest," says Cheng, whose team publishes its work in the June 2008 Astronomical Journal.

Scientists combined LORRI image maps of cloud motions with visible-color images from Hubble, and mid-infrared images from the Very Large Telescope. The latter technique allows scientists to "see" thermal structure and dynamics beneath the visible cloud layers, because thermal infrared wavelengths (indicating heat) can pass through the higher clouds. "The new observations confirm that the thermal structures, wind speeds, and cloud features of the LRS are very similar to those of the GRS," says Dr. Hal Weaver, a member of the study team from APL and the New Horizons project scientist. "Both the LRS and the GRS extend into the stratosphere, to far higher altitudes than for the smaller storms on Jupiter."

The observations offer clues to the mystery of why the GRS, and now also the LRS, may be so red. The wind speeds and overall strength of the LRS increased substantially in the seven years between the Galileo and the New Horizons observations, during which the storm became red. "This supports the idea that a common dynamical mechanism explains the reddening of the two largest anticyclonic systems on Jupiter, one possibility of which is that storm winds dredge up material from below," says Dr. Amy Simon-Miller of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

In their report, the scientists also wonder about the future evolution of Jupiter’s two giant storms. The LRS already rivals the steadily shrinking GRS in size and wind speed. The new thermal and wind field observations hint at an interaction between the south tropical disturbance, the Little Red Spot, and a warm cyclonic region south of the LRS, forming a complex that could dwarf the Great Red Spot.

"The Great Red Spot may not always be the largest and strongest storm on Jupiter,” says Dr. Glenn Orton of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “Continued monitoring of Jupiter's constantly evolving atmosphere will surely yield more surprises."

New Horizons is the first mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program of medium-class spacecraft exploration projects. Dr. Alan Stern leads the mission and science team as principal investigator; APL manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. The mission team also includes Southwest Research Institute, Ball Aerospace Corporation, the Boeing Company, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, KinetX Inc. (navigation team), Lockheed Martin Corporation, University of Colorado, the U.S. Department of Energy, and a number of other firms, NASA centers, and university partners.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Al-9000 update

Well, AL is functioning normally and is doing real good for me. Just wish he could interface with the net. The used router isn't working right for me and I can't get a manual for it because its too old. Apparently my SMC Tigerhub TP6 is just old enough that the website no longer has a manual for it, or software if there is any. I just thought it was straight forward. Plug in the cables and off we go. However, it just doesn't happen. Neither system sees the net, and thus neither system works right. After hooking Joshua back to the net, I had to spend the morning on the phone with AT&T getting things back right. I was sick of getting the upgrade notice and figured that was what was slowing my system down. I have noticed a slight increase in speed. I also have only 256MB of RAM and if I can get me a 512MB RAM card or even a 1 GB RAM card, Joshua will rock I am sure.

Working with AL is still my pride and joy. I can upgrade it at leisure. I have more expansion ability with 5 or 6 expansion card slots and 4 drive bays. Eventually I hope to get a DVD R/W and another internal HD plus a HDTV card and that should be the system of my dreams. Joshua will be upgraded with Memory and then cleaned off to star life anew. I think there is just too much garbage and orphan programs along with a host of spyware and such to just try and salvage it any longer. I have to get enough memory on board to get it able to save my Outlook mail and it can't because of the memory issues.

I also bought a book that will help in my trials:

Now this is not a book about building a computer for dummies. Its supposed to help a dummy build a computer. I'm no dummy, but I need a book to give me confidence so that I don't damage an expensive piece of equipment. I feel more confident now that I have a backup and will not get stranded without a computer. I can't stand not being able to get on the net. My e-mail will back up so much I am sure.

The first results of my new system will follow soon. I have made two new Space Shuttle videos which I have been wanting to do for a while. The music seemed appropriate and I thought they went well together.

Thanks for all the support. My silly life.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bill Gates, Computers and Cars

I have seen this particular item in many forms. I have had it sent to me by well meaning people sympathetic to my computer problems. With Cal's recent computer problems I had to think about this and his problems brought this to mind. I hope you read it with the appropiate spirit.

For myself I only have this to say... Why do I have to learn to drive a car all over again every time some cybergeek in Washington state gets a wild hair up his ass?

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on. At a recent computer expo (COMDEX) Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated,"If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon".

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft; we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive, but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask, "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10.You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mothers Day Procolmation

From the king of copy and paste:

I got this from the following site.

This powerful Proclamation was made by Julia Ward Howe in the advocacy for the need of official celebration of Mother's Day in Boston, United States of America in 1870. Miss Howe was the first person in US to recognize the need for Mother's Day holiday. She was successful in raising awareness amongst the masses and pushing her plead to the upper echelons of power.

Following this very potent Proclamation made in 1870, the Mothers' Peace Day Observance was held on the second Sunday in June, 1872. Such observances began to take place each year thereafter and paved the way for Mothers' Day Holiday in US on the second Sunday of May.

Though Ms Howe could not herself get the day recognized as the official holiday, she is revered for her significant contributions towards the celebration of the day and for bestowing honor on mothers.

Julia Ward Howe is also famous as the writer of the Civil War song, 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic'.

Mothers' Day Proclamation
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: "We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm! Disarm!" The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.

As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his time the sacred impress not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston 1870

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A trip down memory lane

I got several DVD sets in the mail the other day and I have finally gathered enough to almost replicate the Saturday Morning I used to watch.

Ark II, Space Academy, Jason of Star Command, Flash Gordon, The Ant and the Arrdvark were some of my favorites. I also have Land of the Lost, the Star Trek animated series, The Pink Panther, and the Warner Brothers cartoons. Man, its enough to keep me well entertained.

I was so thrilled to find all of these on DVD. Something to be said about the DVD revolution is that you get to see all those TV shows you used to see as a kid.

Sorry to everyone

For my Multiply friends:

I know that just now a whole host of new blogs just entered your space. Feel free to read them or safely ignore them. Just did a massive import from 360 after Mommbear warned that Yahoo was closing down 360 at least someone there she knew lost all her blogs. I just thought I'd save some before they went down. Hopefully I got all of them. I am also going to be copying and pasting comments into the blog entries, so please bear with me the next few days while I get the bar updated.

Thanks for your understanding.

Rants for the day.

Well, as I go through the teething troubles with AL-9000, I find I am learning a lot about computers. Instead of putting my system on a wireless network like most people have done I have chosen a wired network for my systems. Its a little harder to deal with as far as the wires are concerned, but you don't have the security issues involved with wireless networks. I'm probably going to do a spring cleaning soon since I have to get the place cleaned up to really organize the wires and make it easier to access things.

I had a sound issue with the system, and I was going to have to find a driver for the sound chip on the motherboard. Instead I opted for a separate soundcard and I found a SoundBlaster live card at the used computer store I got AL at for $25. I also got my router and a Battery backup for my new system. All this for under $60 which isn't bad.

I'll probably have everything set up once I get the AntiVirus installed. I don't want to access the Internet without protection. There is just too much junk out there to ruin your system by jumping the gun. Besides, my present system is able to access the internet, albeit slowly, for the time being. I would have gotten the AntiVirus sooner but its $70. I want the best, which is Trend Micro. A lot of enterprise systems (i.e. corporate) use it and its rated as among the best in the market. PCcillin is very user friendly, but its a bit of a memory hog like most Windows program. However, with AL's expanded memory, I should be able to do most anything without problems. Eventually I will get me another 1 GB stick and AL will be able to do most anything.

I found out something that was interesting. Windows XP will not recognize any memory more than 2.5 GB. So, even if I put in 3GB of memory, it would do no good because the program would not recognize it. Kinda silly, but that is one of the problems with Windows.

Ok, enough computer talk. Now on to the business of the day. Gas jumped in price around here twenty cents overnight from $3.51 to $3.69 a gallon. Its time to consider getting a smaller car and ditching my gas guzzler. I learned that this isn't a problem elsewhere but it might be soon. The gas prices are getting outrageous. Considering there is a surplus, YES a SURPLUS of gas in the US, the prices are still rising. The Law of Supply and Demand is supposed to be a foundation of economics but its clear that it isn't.

The other thing that is bothering me is that I know when our country ended it reign as a superpower. It happened with Katrina. Now this article is tracing the end of an Oil-Addicted Superpower. Very interesting read.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mercury MESSENGER News - Mercury’s First Fossae

Mercury’s First Fossae
Release Date: May 5, 2008
"The spider” now has an official name: Pantheon Fossae. As first presented at the NASA press conference on January 30, when MESSENGER flew by Mercury on January 14, 2008, the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) snapped images of an intriguing and previously unknown feature on the surface of Mercury. Near the center of the Caloris basin, a set of troughs (called graben by geologists) was observed to radiate outward in a pattern unlike anything ever seen on Mercury. The Science Team nicknamed this unique feature “the spider.” The International Astronomical Union (IAU) recently approved the official name of Pantheon Fossae, as detailed in the MESSENGER press release issued last week.

The word fossa is Latin and means trench. The term is used in planetary geology to name features that are long, narrow, shallow depressions. Fossae, the plural of fossa, have been named on planetary bodies including Mars, Venus, and the Moon, but Pantheon Fossae are the first to be named on Mercury. The name is taken from the Pantheon in Rome, an ancient temple with a classic domed roof. The dome of the Pantheon has a series of sunken panels that radiate from a central circular opening at the top of the dome, and Mercury’s Pantheon Fossae is reminiscent of this pattern. Consequently, the crater near the center of Pantheon Fossae is now named Apollodorus, who is credited by some as being the architect of the Pantheon. Apollodorus, shown in the middle of this Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) image, has a diameter of 41 kilometers (25 miles). MESSENGER scientists are debating whether Apollodorus played a role in the formation of Pantheon Fossae or whether the crater is simply from a later impact that occurred close to the center of the radial pattern.

Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 108828901

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

For information regarding the use of MESSENGER images, see the image use policy.

Sometimes a term gets used WAY TOO much!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Earthquake Update

Another quake rumbled this morning

The U.S. Geological Survey said a 2.7 magnitude quake rumbled this morning. But this time, its epicenter was near Valley Park.

The quake came at 6:25 a.m., centered two miles southeast of Valley Park, according to Jessica Sigala, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center based in Colorado. Its epicenter was somewhere between Valley Park and the Sappington area.

Sigala said this morning's quake was not connected to the 5.2 magnitude quake that struck at 4:37 a.m. on April 18 in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone, some 130 miles east of St. Louis.

When this morning's quake hit, an officer with St. Louis County police in the Affton precinct said he felt the ground shaking for perhaps five seconds and the roof moving, "like someone was moving something around." Police had no reports of damage or injuries.

Timothy M. Kusky, director of the Center for Environmental Sciences at St. Louis University, said today's quake in St. Louis came from "some small faults outside the Wabash and New Madrid zones. They're active every once in awhile." Kusky said he's still studying the readouts from this morning's quake to pinpoint the exact epicenter. But he thinks it was along what's called the Eureka-House Springs fault.

"There are a few faults under Eureka and House Springs that have small quakes every 10 to 20 years," he said. "Generally, they're magnitudes of 2 to 3 or less."

Kusky said the fault had quakes in 1978 and 1998, both of magnitudes between 2 and 3.

Kusky said it's probably just a coincidence that today's came on the heels of the April 18 quake in the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. That one had its epicenter near Mount Carmel, Ill., and rattled homes from Memphis to Cincinnati. About 30 aftershocks have followed -- the largest being a 4.6 magnitude aftershock at 10:14 a.m. on April 18. The most recent aftershock was a 1.4 magnitude that came at 7:34 p.m. Friday near Bellmont, Ill.

After this morning's quake, Kusky said he was worried about shifting sands near levees.

"One thing we have to be kind of worried about is that earthquakes like this have the potential to shake up loose sand .... and some of the levees saturated with water right now might collapse," Kusky said.

Kusky said it's called liquefaction. It happens in saturated soils. Before the quake, the pressure on soil particles is relatively low. But the violent shaking from an earthquake can cause the water pressure to increase to the point where the soil particles, or sand, moves.

Kusky said it could be a concern around the new $49 million levee in Valley Park.

Kusky explains that liquefaction can be responsible for sinking sidewalks, telephone poles and foundations in an earthquake. He cited a famous example in the 1964 Alaskan quake. "Entire neighborhoods slid toward the sea on liquefied sand layers," Kusky wrote in a paper explaining the phenomenon. In 1964 and 1995 quakes in Japan, Kusky said apartment buildings and shipping piers rolled onto their sides.

Kusky added that today's earthquake is "probably too small for catastrophic failure by liquefaction, but if I was in Valley Park, I would want someone, an engineer, to go out and check the levee for signs of seepage, sand boils .... that could indicate a problem."

A spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alan Dooley, said he would be checking with engineers today to see if such an inspection is necessary. Dooley wasn't aware of the earthquake and said a 2.7 magnitude quake would be far too weak to cause any significant damage. He downplayed Kusky's concerns about the levee. I 314-340-8115

I had another Earthquake.....

We had another earthquake this morning. I didn't feel it and neither did my mom, but it was way too small to really feel. I like the AP. They made a big mistake.....

Small earthquake shakes Missouri; no reports of damage

Residents are waking up to an earthquake in St. Louis County, Mo.

There are no reports of damage from the early morning temblor. It struck about 6:25 a.m. in Fenton, which is in the central part of the state.

Last month, a magnitude 5.2 earthquake shook much of the Midwest. Its epicenter was near West Salem, Ill., near the Indiana border. More than two dozen aftershocks followed that quake, some registering 4.0 magnitude and higher.


On the Net:

U.S. Geological Survey:

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Here's the official data from USGS

Magnitude 2.7 - MISSOURI

2008 May 05 11:25:44 UTC

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 2.7
  • Monday, May 05, 2008 at 11:25:44 UTC
  • Monday, May 05, 2008 at 06:25:44 AM at epicenter
Location 38.490°N, 90.420°W
Depth 19.8 km (12.3 miles)
  • 5 km (3 miles) SSE (154°) from Fenton, MO
  • 5 km (3 miles) SSW (196°) from Sunset Hills, MO
  • 6 km (4 miles) E (93°) from Murphy, MO
  • 22 km (14 miles) ESE (117°) from Wildwood, MO
  • 22 km (14 miles) SW (225°) from St. Louis, MO
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 1.6 km (1.0 miles); depth +/- 1.7 km (1.1 miles)
Parameters NST= 9, Nph= 15, Dmin=22.7 km, Rmss=0.34 sec, Gp= 90°,
M-type="Nuttli" surface wave magnitude (MLg), Version=A
Event ID nmhwb0505a

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Well I got my "new" computer. FINALLY got Windows XP to work on it. I had to take it to the shop and it turned out that I put the IDE controller cable on the wrong port. After that, installing Windows was easy. I don't have any sound on it, so that will mean I have to get a new sound card, but I can work with that. I may just need to get a generic driver for the Multimedia sound system. I have to look for that. After I get my next paycheck on the 14th, I'll get the Anti-Virus and then hook it up to the net. Don't want to do that in the inverse order or I might have the same problem I have had before. I think half the problems I have with the system I am on now is that its memory is too small and/or it has a virus.

I've named it AL-9000. I remember that was a running gag through a parody of 2001 on an Animaniacs episode. The finally found Al Gore in the computer. It was a toss up between that and Michigan J. Frog. I might change it to the Frog later. Right now I just want to get the system working.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

About Me

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.