Thursday, February 26, 2009

For the Empty Z Frog

Parents find out interesting things when they have sons, like:

1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a house to a depth of 4 inches.

2. If you spray hair spray on dust balls & run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3. A 3-year old boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 4-year old boy wearing Batman underwear & a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 12 x 12 foot room.

5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on.

6. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit.

7. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

8. The glass in windows (even double-glazed) doesn't stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.

9. When you hear the toilet flush and the words 'uh oh', it's already too late.

10. Brake fluid mixed with bleach makes smoke. Lots of it.

11. A 6-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says can only be done in the movies.

12. Certain LEGO products will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.

13. Play dough & microwave should not be used in the same sentence.

14. Super glue is forever.

15. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.

16. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

17. VCRs do not eject PB&J sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.

18. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

19. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

20. You probably do not want to know what that smell is.

21. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.

22. The fire department has a 5-minute response time.

23. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.

24. It will, however, make cats dizzy.

25. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

26. 80% of women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.

27. 80% of men who read this will try mixing the bleach & brake fluid.

Friday, February 20, 2009

God bless the Hams in Australia


In the Australian state of Victoria, Amateur Radio operators have been
activated to provide communications links into towns that have had their
normal communications destroyed by the bushfires that have decimated the
state. Members of the Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network in
Victoria (WICEN (Vic)) <> -- Australia's
version of ARES -- were activated on February 8, with members being
deployed to areas with loss of power and other facilities.

According to the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA)
<> -- that country's IARU Member-Society --
authorities and resources in Victoria have been "stretched to the
limit." WICEN has been on high alert since the fires started on January
28. On February 11, WICEN (Vic) Secretary Mark Dods, VK3XMU, said, "It
now appears that WICEN's role in this emergency is going to be a long
hard marathon over an extended period."

The fires -- some of which are believed to have been deliberately set,
while at least one fire began due to a lightning strike -- have so far
claimed 201 lives, including one firefighter; local police say they do
not expect the death toll to go much higher. Covering more than 1100
square miles, the fires have destroyed more than 1800 homes; officials
estimate at least 7500 people are now homeless due to the fires.
Victoria Premier John Brumby, in speaking about the bushfires, said,
"Out there, it is hell on earth"

On February 12, Dods said that "WICEN was given the task of establishing
a link between Narbethong and the Municipal Emergency Coordination
Centre in Alexandra. Initially, the Narbethong-Alexandra link will be on
HF. The two WICEN operators that were on standby for deployment to
Buxton have been dispatched to Alexandra to join a column that will be
moving down the Maroondah Highway to Narbethong this afternoon. An extra
WICEN operator is being deployed to the Alexandra MECC to assist the
operator already there with expected extra traffic from Narbethong Three
WICEN operators are now working 8 hour shifts at the Alexandra Incident
Command Centre (ICC), operating CFA/DSE radios. We will be providing
operators for this task until further notice."

Dods said hams would make "temporary repairs" to VK3RTN, the 6 meter
repeater on Mt Gordon that suffered damage during the fire, making it
usable until they can get and install a new repeater. The Mt Gordon
repeater is being used as a link between Alexandra and Narbethong. The
WICEN station in Narbethong closed Saturday, February 14. "The Alexandra
WICEN station will continue to operate after the closure of Narbethong,"
Dods said. "Their role includes guiding relief operators into the town,
maintaining an HF link to Melbourne and a listening watch. Operators in
the Alexandra ICC have reported increased radio traffic overnight and
emphasised the need for concise, prompt and accurate handling of the
traffic despite the sometimes tense environment."

Dods recounted that there was what he called a "flurry of activity" on
the evening of February 14: "WICEN received a request from DSE
[Department of Sustainability and Environment] to provide operators at
Woori Yallock ICC. We were asked to cover the night shift last night and
the next four nights. Being a Saturday night, it was difficult to
contact operators with many being not at home, and others having their
mobile phones diverted to voice mail. Two operators agreed to be
deployed at short notice, however. They travelled to Woori Yallock only
to find that there had been an administrative foul-up and that they were
not required. Those operators have returned home with my thanks and
apologies. This false start at Woori Yallock does give us a 'heads up'
that DSE and CFA [Country Fire Authority] resources may be beginning to
stretch thin, and lead to more ICC deployments."

On February 17, Dods said that two WICEN operators will be going to
"McAdam's Hill, east of Lake Mountain, to provide health and welfare
communications for the firefighters at a Base Camp being set up there.
Initially, the primary operating frequency will be 3.6 MHz, so there may
well be a need for stations monitoring that frequency to relay traffic.
Deployment of a portable 2m repeater to support the McAdam's Hill
station is under consideration."

The WICEN HF Net continues to operate on 3.6 MHz at 1000 and 2130 hours
(UTC + 11) daily. "As well as keeping a check on the welfare of
operators in the field, the Net is being used to pass updated activation
information, and also for amateurs in remote areas of the state to check
their communications," Dods said. "It is reassuring to hear stations
from all over the state and interstate on the Net, demonstrating that we
can, if necessary, establish communications independent of hilltop
infrastructure. It has been very handy to have other amateurs monitoring
3.6 MHz when they can to relay when fading occurs. Many thanks to those
operators who have relayed traffic so far."

Dennis Dura, K2DCD, ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager
said: "The work the Australian hams have been doing and the issues WICEN
have been facing are not unlike what ARES personnel encounter here. The
long hours and duration of the disaster response and the dwindling
availability of amateur volunteers take a toll. Yet Amateur Radio still
is able to complete the mission. The flexibility we bring is key to
meeting the emergency communications needs of those the amateur
community serves. Our hearts go out to all those that have lost loved
ones and whose lives have been forever changed by these fires. Our
colleagues in WICEN make the Amateur Radio community proud in the work
they are performing in these very difficult conditions."

MAN SHOOTS TV - Guess the Digital transition is too much for some.

Globe/Garry Jeffries Authorities take a Webb City man into custody late Wednesday afternoon after he surrendered in the wake of a standoff. The man was charged with unlawful use of a weapon.

Man shoots TV set; standoff ensues

February 18, 2009 11:48 pm

By Jeff Lehr

WEBB CITY, Mo. — A man who was angry about the shut-off of his cable-television service shot his television set Wednesday afternoon and then prompted a two-hour standoff with police before leaving his house and surrendering.

The standoff began about 3:30 p.m. at a house on the southwest corner of Ball and Daugherty streets in Webb City.

Police Chief Carl Francis said the wife of Walter Hoover, 70, walked to the police station a couple of blocks away and reported that her husband had been drinking, was angry with a shut-off of his cable service, and had gotten his guns out.

“He actually fired two rounds before she left the residence,” Francis said.

Both rounds apparently were directed at and struck the couple’s television set, he said. He said he did not know why the couple’s cable service had been shut off.

A police officer responding to the woman’s report spotted Hoover at the front door of the residence with a handgun. The officer called for assistance rather than approaching the home, and other Webb City police, state patrol officers, Jasper County deputies, and officers from the Duenweg, Duquesne, Carterville and JasCo Metro police departments all responded.

Francis said Hoover went back inside the house and returned to the front door a short time later with what officers recognized as a high-powered hunting rifle.

The police chief said Hoover’s possession of such a powerful weapon, coupled with information obtained from his wife that he had been in a similar standoff with police on a previous occasion in another Missouri town, led to a decision to call for help from the Joplin Police Department’s special weapons and tactics team, which happened to be assembled for a training day and available on short notice.

Francis said officers were not certain at that point if anyone else was in the house with Hoover. His wife told them that a neighbor might be there.

A perimeter was set up about a block to a block and a half in each direction, and the SWAT team began evacuating residents of the area from their homes. Francis said police were concerned that rounds from a high-powered rifle could penetrate the walls of nearby homes, and kill or injure someone.

Efforts were made to call the house by telephone and talk to Hoover, he said. But officers soon learned from the telephone company that he had either taken his phone off the hook or had ripped the phone line from the wall.

About 5:30 p.m., the SWAT team took up a position immediately south of the barricaded man’s home and began urging him by megaphone to come out unarmed and surrender.

Around 6 p.m., Hoover did just that, and he was taken into custody without any shots being fired.

SWAT team members then entered the home, where American and Confederate flags flew from poles on opposite sides of the front door, and cleared the area of any remaining danger before allowing residents of the vicinity back into their homes.

Francis said it turned out that no one had been in the house with Hoover. He was taken to the police station and booked on a felony count of unlawful use of a weapon. Francis said any other charges would depend on what investigators learn about events preceding his wife’s departure and whether she had been harmed or threatened in any manner.

“She felt threatened,” Francis said. “But I don’t know that he directly threatened her.”

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Does anyone really want this job?

Was it as good for you?

Nuclear submarines collide in Atlantic

Damaged British and French vessels return to base after crash deep below ocean's surface

  •, Monday 16 February 2009 10.42 GMT
HMS Vanguard

HMS Vanguard before it suffered 'scrapes' in a collision with a French submarine. Photograph: Chris Bacon/PA

A Royal Navy nuclear submarine and a French vessel have been damaged in a collision deep below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.

HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant, which were carrying nuclear missiles on routine patrols, are reported to have collided while submerged on 3 or 4 February. Between them they had about 250 sailors on board.

The Ministry of Defence initially refused to confirm the incident, saying it was not policy to comment on submarine operations. This afternoon the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, issued a statement saying the two vessels hit each other while travelling at very low speeds and no one was injured.

"We can confirm that the capability remained unaffected and there has been no compromise to nuclear safety," he said. The MoD said the Vanguard returned to its base in Faslane, Scotland, with only "scrapes".

Defence officials told the two submarines collided in what they said was an extraordinary accident. "They can't see each other in the water," one official said, raising questions about the submarines' sonar and why they did not detect one another.

Opposition parties asked how the accident was possible. The SNP's Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, said: "The UK Ministry of Defence needs to explain how it is possible for a submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction to collide with another submarine carrying weapons of mass destruction in the middle of the world's second-largest ocean.

"In contrast to MoD secrecy, the French military authorities publicised details of the incident on a website. The MoD cannot hide behind operational secrecy and must make a statement on this as a priority."

The shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox, called the incident "extremely worrying".

The Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, Nick Harvey, said: "While the British nuclear fleet has a good safety record, if there were ever to be a bang it would be a mighty big one. The public entrust this equipment to the government confident that all possible precautions are being taken. Now that this incident is public knowledge, the people of Britain, France and the rest of the world need to be reassured this can never happen again and that lessons are being learned."

France's defence ministry said in a brief statement on 6 February that the Triomphant had struck "a submerged object (probably a container)" during a return journey from a patrol, damaging the sonar dome on the front of the submarine.

It said no crew members were injured and the nuclear security of the submarine had not been compromised.

Today the ministry confirmed that another sub was involved, saying: "They briefly came into contact at a very low speed while submerged."

After the accident, the French submarine returned to its base on L'Ile Longue, near Brest, under its own power and escorted by a frigate.

Vanguard, one of Britain's four V-class submarines that make up the Trident nuclear deterrent, each of which is capable of carrying up to 16 missiles, was said to have visible dents on its hull as it was towed home at the weekend. Inquiries are under way on both sides of the Channel.

Kate Hudson, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament chairwoman, described the incident as "a nuclear ­nightmare of the highest order".

"The collision of two submarines, both with nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons on board, could have released vast amounts of radiation and scattered scores of nuclear warheads across the seabed," she said. "The dents reportedly visible on the British sub show the boats were no more than a couple of seconds away from total catastrophe."

Hudson said it was the first time since the cold war that two nuclear-armed submarines were known to have collided.

"These dangers are inherent whilst the British government maintains its 1960s policy of having at least one nuclear ­weapons submarine sailing round the Atlantic 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," she said. "HMS Vanguard is likely to be confined to port for months with a multimillion-pound repair bill. Gordon Brown should seize this opportunity to end continuous patrols."

Le Triomphant, which entered service in 1997, carries 16 nuclear missiles and is one of four nuclear-armed submarines in the French fleet.

Stephane Lhomme, a spokesman for the French anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire, said its network of activists was on alert for any signs of radioactive leaks near French shores.

"This reminds us that we could have a new catastrophe with a nuclear submarine at any moment. It is a risk that exists during missions but also in port," he said. "These are mobile nuclear reactors."

Steve Bell: Two subs, dozens of nuclear warheads, one huge ocean - and a stroke of bad luck

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Poetic Justice

Wash. burglary victim drives off in thieves' van


BELLEVUE, Wash. -A man in Washington state made sure a pair of burglars didn't get away with his three flat-screen televisions — he moved their getaway car.

Patrick Rosario was in the basement of his Bellevue home on Tuesday when he heard the burglars upstairs.

The Seattle Times says the 32-year-old Rosario, who had been laid off from his job as a Washington Mutual manager, called 911 while he sneaked out of the house.

He saw a white van sitting in front of his house with the motor running and the keys in the ignition, and he got in and drove it to a friend's house.

Police say the burglars left the televisions, a laptop computer and a jewelry box by the door and took off on foot.

The sheriff's office said no arrests had been made.

Information from:
The Seattle Times,
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2009-02-14 16:09:50

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today is a day of greatness

Today is a day of greatness celebrated. Two individuals were born on this date on different parts of the world and their effect on history in both cases was most profound.

Abraham Lincoln, born to backwoods farmers in the Kentucky wilderness. From this impoverished beginning, he rose to be the president of the United States in its most desperate hour. Largely self-educated, he taught himself law. He was know as a good wrestler and a good man with an ax, earning the nickname "Rail Splitter." He did not hunt or fish, since he disliked killing animals for either sport or even for food. He was in every respects what exemplifies an American, a self-made man, who in spite of hardship and obstacles, rises above them to succeed.

In his law practice, Lincoln represented many persons and entities. He won a case for a railroad concerning its failure to pay property taxes only to have to sue them for failing to pay their legal fees to him. His most famous criminal case was when he defended William Armstrong pro bono in a murder case. He was able to acquit his client by pointing out that the only eyewitness was lying when he stated he saw Armstrong commit the murder by the full moon. Lincoln presented an almanac which proved that the moon had already set by the time the witness claimed the murder had occurred. His client was freed and his reputation was sealed. In his time on the Illinois Circuit, he tried over 5000 cases and was an able and competent lawyer. His friends on that circuit convinced him to run for the presidency and he defeated his nemesis Stephen Douglas to gain that post in 1860.

His time of trial in that war that split our nation was compounded by his wife, who in all likelihood suffered from what is called now Bi-polar syndrome, the deaths of his children from disease especially Willie who died in his time in the White House. He was reviled in many respects by a large segment of the country because of his efforts in the war which was not universally popular as one would think in this day when we can look so dispassionately on the events of the era. His assassination turned him into a political martyr, the first American President to be killed while in office by an itinerant actor who had sympathized with the cause of the opposition the Union had vanquished.

In this day and age, he is now revered as a great statesman and lawgiver. An orator unparalleled beyond measure in spite of the fact that some sources suggest he had a rather strange voice. His opposition to the Mexican War cost him his seat in the US House early in his career. His opposition to slavery was on the grounds that slaves were people and deserved an honest days wages for an honest days work. Slavery was against what America had fought against in the Revolution, that all men were created equal and that the Declaration of Independence defined what America was.

A great man, who brought his country together in its darkest time, today we celebrate his birthday.

The other man, whose life began on the exact same day 200 years ago as our esteemed President. Charles Darwin is known for his writings on Evolution and the Origin of the Species. His family was one of wealth and his father was a doctor. His religion was Unitarian, although his family did participate in the Anglican church and he was baptized into that church. He didn't want to become a doctor, neglecting his studies to the point that his father sent him to college to become an Anglican Parson. After graduating from this, he was fascinated by the natural world and continued to study and collect. He signed on to an expedition which was to be his claim to fame.

In December of 1831, the HMS Beagle left England on a scheduled two year expedition to map the coast of South America the two year voyage stretched into a five year one, and Darwin collected many observations and specimens. Journeying about not only South America, but Africa, India, New Zealand and Australia, he spent the years at sea giving thought to how things came to be. After returning home, his book "Voyage of the Beagle," gave him wide renown as a writer. His observations, geologic and biologic, led to his conclusion that animals and plants evolved from more primitive forms and led to his writing of the Origin of the Species.

Darwin's views were accepted by the educated in his time eventually, but have proved controversial of late. Science is there. Its interpretation may change over the years, as new discoveries and the genius of man enable us to break the secrets of nature. However, many still deny the existence of gradual change over the years as the origin life in the present day on Earth.

We are causing evolution even as some are denying its existence. There is a certain species of bacteria in Japan that has evolved to eat Rayon, an artificial fiber created by man in the 20th century. Is this God, or is it part of His plan? Who can say. God doesn't tell me what He is planning as much as the next man. Except maybe those eccentrics who are wandering the streets claiming to hear God. There is a fundamental difference between people like this. A preacher can claim to have heard God speak, yet he is not put into an institution. A mass murderer or a "cult" leader can claim to hear God and that person is put on trial or condemned. Whats the difference?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Crying a bucket of boredom tears

Not been an eventful couple of weeks. To show you the level of boredom I am experincing at the moment, I am watching Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda. He like to hang around MIT a lot and check out the inventions that are going on there. This is where the useless gadgets of tomorrow are coming from. For the blogger who has to chronicle his life, there is a guy who wears a computer on his back with a camera on the front and one on the backpack. The computer can store 20 hours worth of visual information, after which he has to upload to a server which has 500 GB of storage. The guy has finally proven how boring life really is by chronicling his own life. However, the life of a science geek might BE boring so its not necessarially the case that everybody's life is filled with boredom. Soon this and many other inventions will be circulating around in the world.

Lately with me is the fact that I want to get a new computer. I have always desired a laptop and I have found what they are now calling Netbooks. The difference between a Netbook and a standard laptop is that it has no CD ROM. It is equipped instead with flash drive ports and usually has an on-board flash type drive. They generally cost less than a laptop. The one I am looking at costs $250 refurbished. Another advantage is that they don't have Vista. They generally have wither Windows XP, Linux, or Unbutu.

Even with this, the one I am looking at still is more capable than my computer! The Compaq I have can only be expanded to 512 MB of memory, so its reached its limit in my mind. XP won't recognize more than I think 1.5 GB of memory which was one of its limitations. Vista requires a minimum of 1024 to really work properly I believe. It has a better processor than my desktop so I will in the end be getting a better computer than I have now.

Other than that, nothing much will happen with me for the next few days. I hope its better for you all out there in blogland.

About Me

My photo
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.