Tuesday, November 01, 2005


If faith were all it takes, our puppy would have walked across the goldfish pond. Perhaps there is a problem with the separation of faith and physics. I will admit it was glorious to watch the absolute faith the little guy demonstrated as he confidently stepped out onto the water. After we pulled out the puzzled puppy, dried him off, and put him down again, he went back and looked at the water with much less faith and more understanding. Carefully placing a paw or two on the top of the water, he began to learn about the characteristics of water. Now, the faith is gone (didn't work anyway) and knowledge has taken over. Water is something you drink, watch goldfish swim in, and don't walk on.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Big Oil: Big Sneak

Exxon has just announced profits of nearly 10 billion dollars in a quarter. That's roughly 40 billion dollars in a year if extended to the year. The other big oil companies have also ripped off the public in a similar manner, raising prices on the pretense of natural disaster, not enough refinery ability, rising crude prices, and many more excuses. It's clear that none of these excuses can be considered legitimate.

First, let's consider the problem of not enough refinery ability. You might recall that a few years ago, Exxon was allowed to buy Mobile. The first thing Exxon did with Mobile was to close down the Mobile refineries stating that they were "not profitable" and this wasn't even commented on by news, congress, watchdogs, or much of anyone. If I hadn't been watching, I wouldn't have ever known. Of course, now we can see it as a set up for future price increases and excuses for those increases. Not enough refinery production? Then why close them in advance? Clearly to gain the enormous profit already in the bank.

Crude oil prices? The crude oil prices are not out of line with the normal level of inflation and production costs. Oh, the crude prices are well into enormous profits, yes, that's true. However, since most of the oil of the world just happens to be elsewhere, we might have to pay the price. That doesn't make the actual pump price go up double in a year as we've seen. Just because crude oil costs twice as much to buy as last year, doesn't mean pump prices are doubled. It's not the same as lettuce. Oil is refined and the refining costs are actually a small portion of the final pricing (or were before this latest cost rip off).

Then there are the "highway taxes" in which we pay a dollar or so per gallon to fix our highways. At the cost of a few million per hundred feet of highway, someone is getting very, very rich. Yes, there's a lot to do to get a highway properly built. Talk to any good landscaper and they'll tell you it's essentially a landscaping job. Shape the ground, put in a good base, and the proper top material, dress it up, and open it to the public. Yet, every time I go past a road building job, there are twenty people standing around, two driving something or other, and one using a shovel. Hmmmmm. This needs rethinking.

Not enough oil? And, the Artic will only give us a year of supply even when totally sucked out? None of that is very believable. We have many sources of fossil fuel within the control of the United States of America. Natural gas in great abundance, oil shale, coal, oil sands, actual oil fields, off shore oil, north slope oil, gas, and even methane off shore in such abundance we don't have any idea how much is really there. There's a huge source of energy in the Yellowstone area and other hot underground areas of the west. There's wind, solar, tidal, wave, and so much more energy going to waste.

Nuclear power for all our electrical needs is safe and there needs be no problem with safely keeping the nuclear waste products for future use. Put the nuclear waste in glass and store it in old salt mines. That will give us a few million years to decide if there is some use to that energy we are setting aside in the salt.

Alternative energy patents have been gobbled up by big oil. Now they are just sitting on those patents with the excuse of "the price is still too low for economical use" and they can keep making huge profits from oil sales. It's not so much that there should be a cap on profits as that there should be more competition. We really have a Sun Oil-style lock on prices and production. Did any one see BP (British Petroleum) keeping prices down to attract customers and build loyalty? Or Shell (Dutch company) holding prices down and beating the others with higher sales? Were any of these companies responsible enough to stockpile supplies in case of a natural disaster that might keep refineries from production? Any of these companies care about anything but profit? No wonder they get nationalized. Maybe Mexico has it right.

This is a subject that can be written about for ever and ever, amen. More for later.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Flock: Web Browser delux.

Well, I couldn't resist it. A "WW2" web browser with lots of extras, under development, might not work, might crash your system, definitely an alpha, use at your own risk, and so on. Just had to try it. After a few hours of surfing and rustling through it's features, it really looks good. Flock is a clone of Firefox and is trying not to be a "branch" so that it will remain open source and compatable with Firefox users. But, oh my, the features.

Here's a list of thirteen things you really should try with Flock. We're bragging, of course, but at the end of the list you'll also find a few warnings about things we're still working on.


This blog and the above quote and link were made using Flock. While there's not really a lot of extra features, there are some really unique features and they work. Most of all, it connects with YOUR blog and YOUR del.icio.us accounts, makes remembering where you've been on the net easier, makes favorites and bookmarking a snap (well, actually a click), and keeping up with rss easily is right up front.

All in all, this is one alpha product I'd advise giving a try. Right now I'm using it on a Debian Sarge, Linux-only computer. It is fast and acts like it was designed for my system. Go get it here: http://www.flock.com/developer/

Monday, October 17, 2005

Wind Power Problems.

It seems wind power is actually under attack by environmentalists. Believe it or no, wind power has been shut down in at least one case by environmental concerns. You ask; "How can wind power cause environmental problems?" The blades kill birds. That's it in an egg shell.

At Altamont Pass, east of San Francisco, there are thousands of wind generators. Many of these are older, fast-spinning blade types. These tend to be deadly to birds. Environmentalists have objected and the company has decided to shut down a portion of the field during peak migration and plans to replace the older units with newer, safer to birds units.

Environmental groups have blocked a wind power project in the Mojave Desert, objected to one in Nantucket Sound, and noted the death of bats from blades in the Appalachians and are encouraging increased care in selection of sites and use of bird-safe blades.

While more than a million and a half homes are powered by electricity generated by wind power in the United States, it makes one wonder what environmental concerns will come up as we try to protect the environment by getting off fossil fuel.

Bleach power in your fuel tank!

Hydrogen from sodium chlorate manufacture? Yup. Canada has begun an investment in this byproduct of manufacturing sodium chlorate (link from: Vancouver, B.C.) Here's the salient quote:

"The project will develop and demonstrate clean energy solutions that make use of an existing but untapped source of hydrogen fuel: hydrogen emitted as a byproduct of a sodium chlorate manufacturing plant in the North Vancouver area. Through this project, purified hydrogen could be used to fuel a fleet of up to 20,000 vehicles in the Vancouver area, greatly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the use of fossil fuels."

While there's more, that's the crux of the project. Sodium Chlorate is used in the manufacture of bleach and herbiicides, among much more. By some estimates there could be enough hydrogen generated as a waste byproduct from sodium chlorate manufacture to fuel up to half a million vehicles in North America. That might be a very low estimate. I wonder how many manufacturing processes generate hydrogen as a byproduct or could easily produce hydrogen with a small or easily installed addition to their manufacturing plant. Here's a link to sodium chlorate manufacturer's in North America for comparison.

It's time to wake up and use our resources. I could add so much more to that but what more is there to say? Let's get out and talk about using our resources wisely until the governing powers begin to notice and take appropriate action.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

OK, NOW is Alternative energy in the price range?

Alternative energy wasn't possible at .37 cents a gallon of gas. It wasn't feasable at 78 cents a gallon and just not quite worth doing at $1.47 a gallon of gas. Now, guys. Take a look. Gas is more than $3.00 a gallon. So, bring out the alternate energy sources. Come on. Where are these wonderful, gas-saving, energy-crisis rescue resources? Ooops! We didn't get them going, did we?

That's right folks. We had a chance to get ready for the energy crunch and what did we do? We built SUV's, we advertised SUV's, we made owing an SUV a status symbol, we bought SUV's at an incredible rate. Even Lincoln and Cadillac built SUV's and then there was the Hummer. Instead of getting ready for the energy crunch everyone knew was going to happen, we dived off the deep end of the oil patch and sucked up the energy as though there was no end in sight. Talk about grasshoppers when we should have been ants.

So now there's no alternative. Now there's no refineries converting potatoes or corn to methane. Now there's no natural gas (no matter the amazing abundance of it in the ground and being wasted). Now, there's no alternate energy resource sitting in the closet ready to ease the crunch. Are we really that stupid as a nation? Looks like it.

We could be converting natural gas to methane. Yes, we lose 30 or 40 percent of the energy in doing so but we are getting a useable resource at a needed time. We didn't get any refinery set up for that. Even though we are pushing cubic miles of natural gas back into the ground in the Alaskan North Slope and using a lot of energy to do so, we still won't (didn't) take the foresight to prepare for the actual use of the natural gas. We could use that natural gas to alleviate the heating costs of those in the northern US this winter. Won't happen, we didn't do it.

We could simply open up the strategic resource stockpile of methane (you remember that, it works like gasoline) that we SHOULD have been producing over the last 20 years to make sure we could weather an oil price hike or an Arab boycott without crashing our economy. The farmers would have profited, more jobs would have been produced, and we wouldn't have to fret over the Islamic-governed oil of the Middle East. We don't have the methane, we didn't do it.

We could have spent billions on battery storage capacity to provide battery power for vehicles that actually work and are low cost for any replacement. Nah! Why bother? We have all this gasoline. Let's buy another SUV. It's difficult to believe we can improve computer storage at the expanding rate we are doing but cannot improve battery storage at a similar rate - - - if we wanted to. Well, folks, we didn't want to. We don't have battery power that is cheap and effective. We didn't even try.

Hydrogen powered vehicles? It was mentioned. George the Second actually made a pitch for it. I guess we can quit blaming him for all our ills. We've made our own ills and now we can't stand up for what we've done to ourselves and have to blame someone else. Ok, George II has been blamed for everything else so go ahead. The real problem has been the American People. We didn't get ready. We didn't even try. Now, our whole economy may crash and we'll make George Bush a new Hoover. It wasn't him, it was all of us.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dream teams.

Clinton/McCain and Rice/Powell would get voters out and moving. I've been voting since John F. Kennedy was president (Wow! Talk about OLD!) and have never voted for anyone that actually got elected. As a registered Libertarian, my votes tend to go as protest rather than mainstream. Once, I voted for a main party representative (Hubert Humphrey) again, mostly as a protest against Richard Milhouse Nixon. Egad! What a crook yet what a good foreign representative as a president. A real mix of good and bad was Mr. Nixon.

Clinton has been a "marked" candidate for the Democratic Party since First Lady days. Yes, it's my (not so humble) opinion given here. However, for those that actually paid attention to the second presidential candidacy of (again) President George Bush the second, you would have noticed that Kerry had little or no help from prominent Democrats. It was too soon to put "our Lady" forward and she has had to wait these four years and set up her Senatorial leadership and presence before going in as a presidential candidate. The Democratic Party really wants to be known as the party of the people by bringing the first woman president to the people.

Not a bad idea at all, Ms. Clinton as president. A real shark, that lady. Capable, self-serving, works within the rules, plays the Good Ole Boy network like a Good Ole Boy, and is smart enough to listen to those who wield the power. Not bad qualifications for the supreme leader position. A real question of electability will stand with her choice of running mate. If John McCain ever wants to be president, it's his best chance of getting close to the position. It's hard to conceive of a better set of "tough guys" running for election. Well, maybe not. There's Rice and Powell.

Rice is tough as nails and smarter than a whole bunch of sticks put together. Powell is smart and nice. While Clinton/McCain would be tough/tough and cunning/smart, the Rice/Powell duo would be tough/compassionate and genius/pleasant. A nicer man than Powell would be hard to find. If you were looking for a "man of the people" who still was capable of functioning at higher governing levels, General Powell would be the one to fill that bill. If you wanted the country run by smart, tough, capable, experienced, determined, and the list goes on, then Ms. Rice fills that bill. I only hope the Republican Party has leaders smart enough to put that combination together for the people.

The Democratic Party has shown it's accumen in grooming Ms. Clinton for the presidency. An election combining only women presidential candidates from the two major parties (why not jump in Libertarians?) would assure a woman president. About time, too. Ok, so I'm a male, even an alpha type, and, obviously old. That doesn't equate with stupid (at least not in every case) and it certainly is time for more representation "at the top" and that includes women and minorities (of which minorities I'm now a member, too).

Yes, it's a dream election year I see. One of the presidential candidates will certainly be Ms. Clinton. Please, please, Republicans get Ms. Rice to be the other. The people of America need something better than the same thing over and over. We made it to a great nation by our diversity. Let's keep it going. John McCain, get together with Hillary and "make a deal" and Collin Powell get together with Condoliza and "make a deal" also. I have to tell you that I'd vote for someone that might actually be elected for the first time as might a lot of other discouraged voters.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Changing fuels.

Calculations show there is abundant fossil fuel for the world for many decades or even longer. Calculations also show that the world will run out of fossil fuel and that fossil fuel supplies will become both more difficult to recover and much more expensive to use. In addition, we are damaging our environment by the massive use of these fossil fuels. It's time to change fuels.

There are abundant, even a plethora, of options for alternative fuels. The Governor of Florida recently stated approval for returning to building and using nuclear power plants to generate electricity. He noted that nuclear power generation is the safest, cheapest, most environmentally friendly method of producing electricity known (other than natural hydro-electric, or wind, or solar, or.....). For the massive generation of electricity, nuclear power is, indeed a safe method. Three Mile Island showed the actual safety of these light water plants rather than the danger. A bunch of bozo's doing everything possible wrong still couldn't contaminate the State Capital. Pretty good safety drill.

Electric power generation for homes aside, what about the electric power generation for vehicles? Using hydrogen is nice but it takes electric power to create the hydrogen in the first place. Why the secondary method with all the attendant losses? Iinstead of working on methods to use hydrogen why not work on methods to use electricity directly. Batteries have become smaller, last longer, and have more storage capacity than ever before. Break throughs occur at least weekly on battery storage and usefulness. It seems that would be a much better way to go than to use the electricity to generate hydrogen and lose so much of it on the way.

Then there's home heating methods. Wood stoves are certainly not the answer (no matter that I'm using one) in that they pollute more than you'd believe. Our wood stove smokes and smokes and smokes. I can just imagine every other home in the area smoking away on a cold morning. Talk about pollution! But, wood aside, there are many methods of storing heat and generating heat that avoids using fuel oil or natural gas. All right, that's got me. Natural gas is one of the fossil fuels I do approve of to some extent. There is an abundance of natural gas in our world and the gas only damages our environment and the world when released. Burning natural gas improves it. On the north slope of Alaska, the oil producers are using many large jet engines to pump the abundant natural gas back into the earth to avoid the pollution created if they just let it into the atmosphere. We could use that natural gas either as the gas or as a methane additive to the fossil fuel we are using so prolifically. Why are we paying to pump it back into the earth? Also, under the Escalante Wilderness is cubic miles of natural gas. Now, it can't be gotten because of Wilderness rules. It isn't difficult to get natural gas out of the ground and any damage to the area would be offset by the lives saved with abundant natural gas for heating. Since when does a rock come ahead of a human?

Other methods of producing electric power include wind (kills birds), solar (have to polish them mirrors, costly), tide (but who has an ocean nearby?), and zero-point energy (yeah, sure, "free" energy) among many potential methods.

The point is that there are many methods and opportunities for producing energy to heat/cool homes, generate electricity, motivate our vehicles, and more but we keep moving in "traditional" directions. We don't look carefully or deeply at electric for the vehicles because we want hydrogen to "burn" in our engines so they can rotate and go up and down and "putt putt" as we are used to hearing. Also, we want to have a "0 to 60" single digit second statistic for bragging rights. Time to grow up. As Tom Wolfe said "Look Homeward, Angel" and it's time to look at what we have and make it work.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

People are Pack Animals

We seem to have descended from some sort of pack animal and have genetically increased that tendency greatly. We don't call our groups "packs" any more. We call our packs, neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, and so on. But, it's still a pack. I suppose that's why people are always looking to be lead and begging for a leader. We even take leadership from those we know to be bad leaders and often re-elect that same bad leader to more of our misery. Can you think of an example? Hmmmmm.

Communities are useful. The group stays better fed, better protected (well, I might amend that one), have better communications, indeed, a networking of humans working together to create a supportive environment for survival and better living. Not a bad genetic code to bring along or so it seems.

Now, about that "better protected" thing. That might be so when talking about wild animals or even wild weather such as the cold winters. However, any group of humans instantly seems to be an envious target of opportunity by any other group(s) of humans who will slaughter every man, woman, and child simply to gain better survival opportunity and better living for themselves (until the next group slaughters them for the same reasons). So, this pack thing might have some downer to it. Also, it's not always healthier to be in a pack. The Aztec civilizatons may have had immense problems with disease in such cities as Tikal when overcrowding created unsanitary conditions. Of course, catching the Spanish Zealots disease did the rest of the job as the Conquistador disease robbed the natives of all ability to continue their civilization and they were infected with the "church flu" to their great loss (and ours too).

Being a pack animal, people have extended that to the god level. I am not totally conversant with wolves but I don't think they consciously have created a god. We have. Many times over, and over, and over. I used to wonder why we needed a god to tell us what to do, to pet us and say we're OK, to keep bad things away from us, and to "take us home" when bad things don't stay away. Why so many gods? Why such angry and jealous gods? "Retribution is mine, saith the Lord" and so on. My god is bigger and better than your god and my god will beat your god up and give me everything you own, give me you for a slave to be sold, your wife to be used and sold, and your daughters to be used and kept (that is if the sheep . . . . ).

Pretty strong stuff and unfortunately quite real. For those of us humans who can't quite stomach the idea of one of these privately owned gods destroying others who worship the wrong privately owned gods, there are Aliens. Now Aliens seem a good idea and we can blame it all on them. They genetically altered the pre-human race (but, according to ancient writing, we "screwed" that up and made them mad), they have visited and given advice, they have shown high-tech vehicles and equipment to the locals (now and then, and only to those no one is likely to believe), and are on the way back to do more (when we can be trusted to . . . . well, I don't know what).

And, that's the problem I see with the Aliens as a form of god. If they do exist and are visiting and did alter us genetically, and so on, they are certainly not our friends. No friend would let a friend drive a planet like this. Any "alien" who has the technological skill to visit this planet from nearly 40 light years away (more or less) also has the technological skill to assist in lowering the pack animal lust for killing that currently exists. Certainly, if we were genetically altered by aliens, they did a poor job and should come on back and do the job right. If the aliens are buzzing about, examining how we're doing, it's not to a good purpose. It might be that the aliens are watching to see just how badly their genetic alteration turns out and to "write a learned paper" about why not to do that again or maybe to show that the latest planet cleanser really works (gets queen, eggs, and all). Meanwhile, we sit here in our anger, vindictiveness, in our "my god is better than your god" and kill, kill, kill, in the name of god, country, home, and environmentally protected species (at least). We seem to have been infected with some kind of colony virus that makes us build giant colonies that actually kill us off. Are we just a test zone? I say to the Aliens (if they're there and if they're listening) "bugger off, if you can't fix or help, get our of our space and stay out until you're willing to show yourself and help properly." Take THAT you bug-eyed-monsters.

Friday, September 23, 2005

San Andreas Wriggling

In all the depth of news about hurricanes for the second year in a row, most have missed taking note of the small earthquakes along the San Andreas fault line in southern California. Several in the Central Valley, Salton Sea area and at least one small one noticed in Los Angeles have been recorded lately. Possibly precursors to a "big one."

Would the USGS seismic center be on top of this? Certainly. Would they announce these small (4.5 magnitude and below) earthquakes as possible precursors? Not likely. It is most likely they would document these and plan a "paper" to be presented after the large earthquake. It's touchy business predicting a major disaster when dealing with so much unknown. Not like a hurricane which you can see coming days ahead. Earthquakes can be even more devastating and much less predictable. It still might be precursors to the "big one" and worth keeping watch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Big Bang - - - I wonder.

Musing again, this time about a collapsing universe falling into a dimensionless singularity and exploding into the present universe that we are, at least partially, aware of. I began to envision the collapse, not the "bang." It seems to me the mechanics of the collapse are difficult at best and improbable at least.

What happens as all this matter begins to get close and jostle for room? Well, first off, heat. So much heat that the whole thing stands the risk of never collapsing. There was once an argument put forth that the heat from our sun is created by the collapse of solar matter upon itself. I'm not certain this has been totally disproven. While much of the heat of the sun comes from the fusion process, I wonder if there actually is a portion of the heat formed by collapse and shrinking of the sun. Measurements of the solar disk have been made at Greenwich observatory for a couple of centuries. That is not enough time to determing solar radius changes. It's like trying to determine if a child's temperature is falling by taking their temperature ten seconds after you first determine they have a temperature. Solar events may have a rate that is not very easy to determine in human time spans.

So, the sun may have a portion of it's heat produced by shrinking. Certainly the shrinking universe would and it would be a lot of heat. Heat, as we all know, produces expansion and would delay and even prevent further collapse. Then, assuming we get past the heat of collapse, there is the heat formed by the chemical interaction of this molecular soup being squeezed tighter and tighter. In addition, there would be the heat formed by further fusion reactions from the masses of hydrogen and other light elements, creating one super nova after another and recreating a universe repeatedly, even if smaller than the one we now think we know. I'm sure others may come up with even more "events" on the way to a big bang if such a bang were even possible.

Where did all this matter come from? Dunno. Does it really show that it all comes from a single point? Hmmmm. Tricky. Are there other options? Too many to count and the mind boggles at just trying to think that matter even exists in the first place.

Now, I have doubts about the methodology of the "big bang' and the thinking that goes along with it. I'm not happy with "Divine intervention" either. Or with Aliens. Or with some kind of random event. However, the matter is there and must be explained (if you like to know, and I do). Where ever it all came from and however it was created, I'll be happy to have it not get a second universe created anytime soon or anywhere near where I'm at (that is if it's a Divine or random event). Afterall, if the Divinity could kill off all but a handful of humans simply because that Divinity had "regrets" over creating humans in the first place, perhaps the same Divinity might decide to "have regrets" and start over. If it's random then who knows if it might just break out all over again, pouring super-heated matter all over our poor little solar system and even more importantly, you and I. Maybe we'd better start being nice to each other to avoid Divine intervention, at least.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What did I say?

Remember when I said our electrical system is totally vulnerable and easily disrupted? So, now a single worker accidentally cuts a single wrong line and half of Los Angeles loses power. Can you imagine a dedicated effort? Even by one person? Blackout city!

And, electric is not the only soft spot. Pipelines, communication towers, highway overpasses, water supplies, bridges, you-name-it, and it's all there, wide open. Look around you and THINK.

I certainly don't want to end any of the small list of freedoms we have left, not even those we have not yet realized we've already lost but keep our rose-colored glasses on to avoid knowing. However, there's a rule of life that applies: "The guys with the swords always win." Ok, Ok, I don't want to fight over that. You might have the bigger sword. It's just the way it has always been and still is.

You can sit in your home and ooooHHHHMMMM all you want while a couple of gang members trash your possessions, rape and murder your spouse and children, and, when they turn on you, of course your ohm'ing will protect you. I suggest that if you believe in that kind of fairey tale, you remember that the Bible explicitly states that "Faith without works is dead."

If we don't do something, our joy of an open society (however messed up it might be, it's still better than...), our very joy of being able to cross bridges, have electricity, park openly at a public lot, walk down town, that and more might be not only lost but become both a hazard and a distant memory. We are not prepared for the few hundred dedicated-to-death and misguided religious fanatics willing to do anything to disrupt society. And, it's not just the United States, no country is prepared for such an attack.

Chairman Mao told them and showed them how to take over any country, society, culture, group of people, and so on. We can be thankful that, at present, the fanatics have been more interested in converting their own countries and mostly attack Americans as targets of opportunity. The troops in Iraq are "targets of opportunity" and a chance to practice and train for increased prowess in following the methods outlined by Chairman Mao in his "Little Red Book."

So long as these activist-fanatics are more interested in taking over their own countries and societies, our homeland will be less threatened. What would happen if all of the Islamic countries (and that includes those countries with more than 30 percent Islamic) united under the power of these fanatics? Would the present Islamic move to take over all of Africa increase and the pace quicken? Certainly. Would the move to take over areas with significant Muslim (but less than 30 percent) population quicken. Would force be used to accomplish this? Most definitely. Would WE be victims of increased violence from religious fanatics? Beyond doubt.

As we watch our world continue to move into more and more disarray and polarity, one of the keys to keeping our country safe from such fanatic attacks is to keep them interested in a different target and watching, watching, watching for them to have a safe harbor such as a group of Islamic countries ruled by the fanatics which would be a certain sign of trouble ahead. Is Bush right in pushing for Democratic reforms in Islamic countries? Couldn't be more right. Democratic style reforms will help keep not only us safe but those citizens of the Islamic countries safer and better economically than under fanatics.

Keeping an army in Iraq doesn't suit me at all. BUT!!! There are options. We could let fanatics take over, gain a safe harbor, and become targets in our own homes. I feel for the army targets we have sent to Iraq in order to be safer in our own homes. I especially feel for them because we don't seem to understand what they are doing for us there. Without them (our boys in Iraq) my electric might be a victim of fanatics, my water supply lost, I might not want to go to the store or flea market or football game or, or,or.

The guys we've sent to Iraq are the visible targets for the fanatics to gather and attack. Not the Sears Tower, not the Empire State building, not our electrical, water, communications and more, systems. Nope, we go to our dinner tables without a thought that we might not have any of those without those guys at risk in the front line at Iraq and Afghanistan or elsewhere. So, next time you drive safely to work, have lunch, buy groceries, watch TV, and go to bed in safety, thank those guys who do none of those things safely over there, in the front lines.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Greatest assets

New Orleans greatest assets are it's people. Now they are gone. The quickest way to return the city to any level of "normal" (if that could ever have been said of Carnival Town) is to get those people back.

Remember the scenes from WW2 of the Germans cleaning up totally devastated cities? Even if you're not as old as that, you've seen the pictures. The people who lived there were the asset required to bring those cities back. Did they evacuate the cities and wait to find all the bodies? Or remove the toxins dropped from the sky or the toxins blasted throughout the cities? Nope. Didn't have the resources.

For New Orleans to begin recovery quickly, the Mayor should post a notice in all possible ways of the addresses "cleared" and get those people back. FEMA can support this by paying a bit for the locals to repair and finish the cleaning job. What do you want to bet the people are eager to return and clean up. As soon as the water is down and people won't drown, allow the people back. If you have to have them sign a "release" of liability, fine. Just get the people back quickly.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Tropical Depression

I'm inundated with bad news and can't do anything about it except shut off the outside world and pretend it isn't happening. Talk about depression. New Orleans is all about bad. The city wasn't ready, the people weren't ready, FEMA wasn't ready, nothing was ready, nothing was right, and it's all a depressing disaster.

Now, it's the blame game. Our (soon to be) first Female President wants it all changed and "corrected." Egad, I suppose it will be as "corrected" as her vision of how to fix the health care system was. Everyone else is jumping in too, so it's not fair to stop with the former First Lady. Heads are rolling from top to bottom to get out from under the axe. Probably the sacrifical goat will be the FEMA director, whether or not he did or didn't (fill in a blank or hundred blanks here).

Now, as of this moment of writing, there's Ophelia about 100 miles away from this keyboard. Nothing bad at present, just rain and breezy. Of course we can now predict weather activity with considerable accuracy. The "computer models" are all in agreement or should I say disagreement. In fact, the computer models are all over the map with one sending Ophelia southwest, two of them sending Ophelia generally northwest, and one sending Ophelia north east, 180 degrees away from the first mentioned and 90 degrees away from the other two.

But wait! Don't buy yet! There's more!

Just about everyone in the United States watched Katrina grow in the Gulf of Mexico. I, too, watched and said, "That's perfect storm condition." Then, when Katrina turned into the perfect storm it was clear where it was going. The strike zone might have varied within a few miles and the intensity (if they were lucky---and they were) might drop some, but, for a full 24 hours even I could see the disaster on the way. I'm sure that was the case for virtually everyone in America or anywhere the weather system was available and shown for all to see. Where were the needed agencies at this time of obvious impending disaster? They make the big bucks, let them perform.

We saw with the Great Tsunami that education of the public would have saved many lives. Did we not learn from that? Obviously not. Was there any "real" preparation? Obviously not. The list goes on. You're welcome to add to it.

How smug we in America were with our attitude toward the "backward" countries that allowed a Tsunami to kill hundreds of thousands. WE are above that sort of thing. Oh yeah, sure. Was the lesson long in coming? Less than a year and we are on the list of stupid, backward, third world, disaster areas. How smug do we Americans feel now?

Earlier I thought it would take 30 or 40 billion to repair the mess. Now, it looks like even 100 billion won't do it and we are dealing with a trillian dollar disaster. Perhaps even more when the total economic stress to the system is resolved. Then there is the loss of life, lives in disarray, people who owned much now owning less, people who owned some now with little and people who owned little now with nothing. The disarry has spread from the Katrina strike area outward like ripples in water.

Much as when a rock is dropped in a pool of water, some water immediately splashes all about, even far away. Then, the ripples begin to spread. Such is the case with the Katrina disaster. The immediate splash sent gas prices soaring. The area under the rock has been squashed and made unliveable. Just outside the strike zone, there is damage and repair underway. Further out, the ripples have brought refugees, shortages, and there will be crime reported soon. What else can some of these refugees do? As the looters said, "You gotta stay alive." Well, at least the ones who took food and clothing, not the ones taking out the gocart and other expensive but usless "stuff" that didn't support life.

Now, the vision of the rock drop continues with the water rushing back to the drop zone. We had that immediately with the drowning of New Orleans, the ultimate removal of the refugees, and now the final removal of even the holdouts. An astounding vision of destruction and "tropical depression."

Is there a fix? Certainly. If the people of the United States can afford to spend a few hundred billion here and there (Iraq, Katrina, foreign aid, you name it), then we can afford to stop that sort of idiocy and spend the trillion dollars taking care of OUR citizens, OUR cities, OUR welfare. If a city or area is at risk to a "natural" disaster, flood, wind, earthquake, snow, ice, whatever, then spend the money up front to make it actually ready.

If you lived in Florida last year and you lost your home, roof, or other portion of your house, FEMA "gave" you money to fix it. Why not GIVE that money for needed upgrade so there wouldn't be a lose of home and security? As it was, FEMA handed out money to individuals with little or no control. Where that money went and if it went to home repair is unknown. Get the people, train them, hire the workers and supervise the upgrade so there won't be a need for FEMA to throw money off the back end of a "natural" disaster. Doesn't "preparedness" actually mean something in FEMA?

Thursday, September 01, 2005


New Orleans has an opportunity few cities have ever had in recent times. The city can be rebuilt to future standards and it can become the "future city" of this century. No more above-ground wires, the best waste and waste water removal, citizen facilities modernized and fully available, total broadband access, public transportation that actually functions and keeps the automobile away from the city, and so much that can be done.

Yes, it's a disaster. Yes, it's an opportunity. The bad did it's job well, now let's hope the good does even better. Please take this opportunity to become the finest city in the world and show the world what good can accomplish.

In a city just waiting for a disaster to come to town, there seems to have been little actual preparation for the disaster everyone said would come sooner or later. Is YOUR city safe? Yes, New Orleans is a city living below sea level, in a swamp, surrounded by water higher than the city streets, protected by the work of humans, dependent on the vagaries of nature to "not happen," and they were not ready. Is San Francisco ready for a 1906 level earthquake? Or Memphis if the New Madrid earthquake zone repeats it's 1812 event? Or Charleston, South Carolina if the earthquake of 1876 repeats? Not only do I doubt it, I'm certain they are not. Is any Gulf Coast or East Coast city ready for a category 5 direct hit from a hurricane? The answer here is a resounding NO. Can a city be prepared for such an event? Yes and New Orleans can show us the way.

How much would it have cost to get New Orleans and the other devastated cities and towns ready for a catageory 5 hurricane. Speaking here of minimizing loss of life first, continuation or return of public services second, and property protection third. There's more and you can make a long list of preparation requirements. How much would such "real" preparation have cost? Twenty Billion??? Maybe more? Ok, how much is this lack of preparation costing? Thirty or forty billion??? Certainly is and the actual cost will certainly be much higher in human values such as loss of life, injury, economic stress, you name it.

With that in mind, let's get busy and fix our cities. the benefits are enormous. Jobs, economic development, better living conditions under normal circumstances, protection during extreme conditions, and a use of FEMA money about to be thrown from the stern of the great ship Katrina. Imagine what that money would have done over the last five years if applied to protecting these same areas.

Well; the well that signifies the ending, it seems we never will learn. Perhaps it's cheaper to just throw money from the back end of a "natural" disaster than to prepare to make "natural" not a disaster.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Spinning cores.

Finally earth scientists have announced that the earth's core is spinning at a different rate (faster) than the rest of the earth. That's a "duh." With an intense electromagnetic field that changes polarity and intensity with time, it simply had to have an "engine" and that engine has to be the (partially) liquid, iron core. Intuitively, we know that the magnetic field would be very stable if the core simply rotated at the same rate as the rest of the earth. Another intuitive awareness is that if the core is "liquid" (and we may have to redefine "liquid" for this intense heat and pressure zone), if the core is liquid, it is not "affixed" to the rest of the earth and might spin at the rate the earth once was spinning, or some measure of that spin. In earth science geo-speak, there once was a "big drop" of a lot of the iron in the molten ball now called "earth" and that group of heavy, molten metal (mostly iron), "fell" to the center and has remained molten. Since the geo-speak scientists generally agree the earth was once spinning faster than now, it stands to reason that the engine at the core is spinning faster than the outer shell. As I said, "duh."

It reminds me of the story of moon exploration. In the Kennedy years of "we're number two, Oh My Gawd" the dedicated race to beat the Russians at "something" produced a lot of moon debate. One of the big questions was whether the astronauts would be safe from moonquakes and some sort of moonquake might not knock over the lunar lander, preventing the people from a safe return. A large number of earth and astro scientists were gathered for a conference on this point at great expense to NASA. As learned papers were being delivered and much though given to moonquakes and possible fault zones on the moon, a not well known earth scientist from the back asked a simple question that was also an observation: "If there were fault lines on the moon creating moonquakes, wouldn't we see displacement of the pretty circles caused by meteor impact?" The learned group of scientists went silent for a moment and then began to laugh at the obvious that had been totally overlooked. Afterall, the moon would act similarily to the earth and an earthquake zone is accompanied by a fault line that displaces the surface, in some cases by many hundreds of miles. Any moonquake would also have such a surface feature and we would readily notice any displacement of those circles caused by meteor impact on the moon. It was one of those "duh" moments. Question answered, conference dissolved.

The next big scientific discovery about the earth core spin will be that the spin axis is not the same as the outer earth spin axis. That's another one of those "duh" moments. Of course we already know that. The magnetic pole is not at the spin pole. Gee, guess what that means. It means the object creating the magnetic field (the molten core) has a slightly different axis than the rest of the earth. Also, the fact of the reasonably regular flip flop of polarity would indicate a precession of spin/axis that slowly (in human terms) moves the polarity from north to south and back again.

Another "discovery" will be that the molten core represents a "fossil" energy. The spin is what the earth once was spinning at but our old earth has changed it's rate with time. So has the core, but the core responds slower to rotation changes. That gives us some evidence that the earth was once spinning faster than it is now and had a different spin axis orientation. Interesting. Using the data on core spin and axis, we can backtrack to see conditions relating to earth spin and axis in the past. I wonder how conditions on earth might have been with the faster spin and different axis. This fossil energy might even help us understand ancient events that helped form the earth and moon, even the solar system.

There are so many "scientific discoveries" that we already intuitively know. Many more than these few examples. Think. Don't believe only scientists know these things, you already know more than you pay attention to or realize.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Chairman Mao knew.

Musing a bit over Iraq and other areas of conflict. Sadly most of these are Islam vrs. anyone and the conflicted areas grow apace.

A newscast from Iraq displayed an older woman dressed in severe black (hmmm, isn't it HOT there?) who said the government, actually the government that hasn't quite begun yet, she said that the government wasn't protecting people and so she didn't see any reason to support the new government. Chairman Mao said that this is exactly what the people would believe when a few dedicated people kept "pinpricking" the population and showing that the government could not stop atrocities from the "opposition."

Chairman Mao clearly understood the technique of oppressing a large population with a small group of highly dedicated people. Not just killers. He used teachers, brought food, supplied medical care, aided the very population that had been damaged and deprived by his group with the "other hand" and by this method took over the country with the largest population in the world and kept it under control using harsh and violent methods, applied rapidly and expansively. Hamas has learned this method and applied it with great success.

The technique worked in Viet Nam. The small group of "Charlie" working to unite with North Viet Nam and institute communist-style government were able to "pinprick" the population and force them to support communist unification or suffer and even die. Since the government couldn't (and none can) put a soldier with each family (and even that wouldn't have worked), the population was, and always will be, at risk and readily available to a fringe of dedicated opposition willing to pay the ultimate price to discredit the current government.

Where does that leave the Iraq situation? In a never-ending fight that cannot be won by any conventional means or by any means so far attempted by a government under such "Chairman Mao-style" pressure.

It is not possible to "win the hearts and minds" of the opposition (in this case, radical Islamists). It was not possible to win over and change the idealism of Chairman Mao's dedicated "freedom" fighters. It is not possible to "bring them in" to take part in the existing government any more than it would have been possible to bring the dedicated fighters of "Charley" in Viet Nam into the existing, U.S. supported government of the time. It's just mixing fire and gasoline and expecting no explosion; won't work. It's not possible to incorporate the dedicated, radical, "I'll die first," fighters for radical Islam into any government that has any hint of democracy in it. It's not possible for the population of Iraq to support any democratic government so long as the radical Islamists are able to "pinprick" the population. It's not possible to stop the ability of the radical Islamists to continue to "pinprick" the population.

Basic services to the population of Iraq cannot be made secure or, in some cases, even made available. The actions of the radical Islamists easily break the electrical, water, and communications network at will. This can happen in any country. Our electrical network is readily available and visible. How simple to disrupt such a system. Ours is disrupted several times each year from ordinary thunderstorms or the occasional hurricane. Farther north, the winter storms disrupt the electrical service all too commonly. Imagine what a few dedicated "freedom" fighters could do. In Iraq, it is even easier to get such a job done and the population quickly has learned that no one can keep their needed electric, water, communication, transportation, and so on services going. Only getting the radical Islamists to stop will work.

Under what condidtions will the radical Islamists stop the attacks on the population? The same condidtions outlined by Chairman Mao; total victory. In order for the population to get the attacks to stop, they must support the radical Islamists as the new government. After some time of these attacks and attacks and attacks, supporting the radical Islamists and their restrictive style of Islamic governance will seem the lesser of two evils.

Under what condidtion can the present government and the U.S. gain a level of security against the radical Islamic guerrilla dedicated fighters? Probably cannot be done. It would require some equally radical and dedicated method staffed by equally dedicated, ready to die for the cause, people. Possibly a new "invasion" by about a half a million dedicated "peace" fighters carrying food, water, tools, and the willing spirit to work WITH every Iraqi family and swarm over all the service connections to fix the electric, sanitation, and so on. These peace fighters would need to be ready to die and they would, in great numbers. The world would need to be ready to sacrifice another half million of our burgeoning population for peace and send unarmed and unprotected, dedicated people to their doom over and over until the radical Islamists simply wear down or get old and a bit more mellow. Other than that method, I suppose the radical Islamists could be reduced greatly in numbers by using Chairman Mao's methods of absolute brutality and not worrying about "collateral damage." All of the "inbetween" methods will probably fail. By "inbetween" I mean any method other than total brutal force and total brutal peace. Every other method seems doomed before begun.

Well, it's difficult to sort out the ups and downs of such highly charged political, social, religious, and so on, situations. Only by invoking some historical vision, some realistic appreciation, and looking without rose-colored glasses can we begin to see the truth. How far back in history to you want to go to see truth? How many Mongols did it take to conquer most of Asia and much of Europe? How large was the population these few dedicated Mongols controlled? How many Vandals invaded and conquered Rome? How large was the population of Rome at the time? Keep looking and come to your own conclusions, I did.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Red Light - - Red Light

From personal observation, 100 percent of the people who run red lights get away with it. With many years of driving experience in every condition from metro to off-road, I've observed many, many red light runners. Never have I seen one red light runner cause a law enforcement vehicle alarm or even the slightest activity. Not often, but sometimes even when such law enforcement vehicle was at the light that was violated.

There must be a set of conditions required for someone to get a ticket for running a red light that I'm not aware of and it would be nice to know what they are so I, too, can run red lights with impunity. I have this suspicion, however, that as soon as I begin to run or even squeeze the red lights I'll get to see someone stopped and given a ticket for the first time.

Red light squeezing and outright running seems to be increasing in frequency lately. Especially those in the left turn lane who push the red arrow to the point that green light traffic actually has to wait for the crossing traffic to stop running the red arrow. I suppose a red arrow doesn't have the same power to hold people back as does a full round disk. I've watched people honk, push their cars forward in a threatening manner, yell out the windows, gesture in an obvious angry way, all to try to get the right of way and stop the left turn red light runners. To no avail except in the case of a woman who must have felt threatened enough to stop half way through the red light running process, completely blocking the right of way, green light traffic until someone began to get out of their car (probably to help push her car to the side, thinking it was stalled) when she took off like a shot and disappeared down the road.

I am aware that even law enforcement personell are also aware of this as a problem, a growing problem. Efforts to educate the public, to label this as "aggressive driving" (at least), to put up cameras and send tickets to the license plate owners, and more efforts have and are being made even as I write. It probably is just me. I don't attract law enforcement but do attract law breakers. The cops should follow me around. Traffic laws are broken in plain sight all about me. Yup, it must be me. I bet it doesn't happen to anyone else.????

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The nonviolent terrorist

Now it seems one of the London bombers is "not a violent person" and "only wanted to terrorize" and didn't want to kill. I don't know about you but nonviolence is not going to terrorize me very much. Perhaps he should have simply boycotted the public transportations system, carried a sign denouncing public transportation and advising that this was a terrorist act (carrying a sign) so please be terrorized and run screaming, Thank you.

Not much of a terror impact. Non-functional explosives simply cause delays and annoyances. Kind of like a gawkers block on the freeway caused by terrorists putting nude females out at random. Just angry commuters, not terrorized commuters.

If Islam wants to rule the world for Allah, terror is not the way. Nor is nonviolent terror. It would seem to me best to present a benevolent (not violent), kind, forgiving, teaching, and so on god if you want people to believe in and follow the precepts of the god you are putting forth for consideration. The jealous, "gonna getcha if you don't watch out," punishing god (such as Jehovah is represented in the bible and Allah is represented in the Koran), such an angry god simply will wind up with rebelious followers who will destroy the god and move on to another, less angry god. Come on Islam, show us a loving, kind, forgiving god that treats men and women equally. Bet you can't do it.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Killer Whales and sex offenders

They do it to Orca, why not to sex offenders. Tag them and trace their location the same as wildlife scientists do with wolves, orca, for God's sake, even rattlesnakes. What's the problem here? We can spend untold amounts of money on protecting pup fish in some desert area where they are going extinct naturally but we can't spend a similar amount on protecting these sex offenders from themselves, to say nothing of the prey these predators devour.

If the Catholic Church wants to grovel and show sincere remorse for similar sins, fund a program to get sex offenders traced (start at home, daddy pope) on a permanent basis. I'm sure other concerned churches would want to support and donate to such a desirable project. Sure, you bet.

Hate to be cynical but doing good seems to be a "divine" right and is more of a one-way, do good to my church, feed my god, serve my servants, and so on. Doing good does not mean to impoverish the church for the good of people. Oh no, doing good means to impoverish the people for the good of the church. Bah, humbug.

Get these sex offenders permanently located and it will not only protect our children but the offenders themselves. What's the delay?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Using Linux

The system crashed and the hard drive became totally unstable. After getting some (s-o-m-e) of the data off it, the hard drive erased itself and reformatted. Now, it became an empty computer. A computer that would no longer accept windows operating systems. However, it would work with a Knoppix CD system and the hard drive cooperated. With that as a start, I began to load in Linux operating system, starting with the Knoppix and then moving to the Debian Sarge release that just happened to coincide with the need.

Debian loaded the hard drive and began to function. Not very well at first because using Linux is a learning and growth effort. At first, there was a screen and a bunch of strange names and usages that needed the simple level of doing and then doing some more. So, I messed up the system and then reloaded and messed up the reload and reloaded and messed up the system and reloaded and really, really screwed up the reload and started over and then got a system that lasted longer but had no sound and no internet (among a lot of other no's). Pretty soon, I found the "Synaptic Package Manager" and messed up the system all over again. More reloads, more progress and more screwing up. Meanwhile, seaching the internet from an old '98 computer with all of it's nine lives well used up and lots of Linux help, most of it too "geeky" for use. Don't those guys remember their first attempts??? They write like a professor I had at Chapel Hill who taught "THE" calculus and would write these gawd-awful formulae on the board and simply take shortcuts the students couldn't have any precognition or other awareness of and we would all be totally lost in the fog of "THE" calculus. (Thanks a lot, Newton). Oh, yeah, incase any one remembers, the professor was M.A.Hill and I knew I was in trouble the first day when half the class walked out to "drop/add" when he walked in. Oh well.

Anyway, a few more times of screwing up the system and reloading - - - Oh, did I tell you that the Debian Sarge comes in 14 cd'd and takes about 2 hours to do the basic load??? It does. A few more times of loading and experimenting and searching the internet and the whole Linux thing is beginning to come together. Now, to put in an older external modem. After all, now-a-days a computer is virtually worthless without an internet connection. An Actiontec 56k external and wvdial and "BINGO" it's connected. Whoopie!

Now, the sound. The computer has a Sound Blaster 24 bit sound card. Possibly the worst choice for Linux there could be. It also had a "winmodem" that works only on windows and that's why the external was needed. So, now the sound card won't work. I gave it up. Then, a few days later I thought, "Hey, the motherboard has a built in sound device." Sure enough, a Via 83xx and Linux loves it. Now to make it work. Now, there's no way to get it to a device and satisfy the desire for tunes. Alsa? Oh yeah. Not simple by any means.

There's a technique that can be used but it can be hazardous to the system and there may be a reload in the near future. The technique is called the "shotgun" and involves loading in all the sound "stuff" you can find in the long, long list of "applications" to use a Linuxism. Interestingly enough, the first effort at shotgunning the sound (the Via 83xx) brought in the sound. Now, there's a Linux system with internet connection, tunes, more software than I can believe, and a whole new problem.

FLAVORS (another Linuxism). It turns out Linux is kind of like a box of mixed chocolates. You can't just take one and think you've gotten the best one in the box. You have to go back and get more (Brach's knows this trick quite well and boxes chocolates in just this way). There are many, many different types of Linux (flavors). Now, I've gotten Slackware samples, Knoppix (mentioned earlier), Mandriva (seems to be the heir to Mandrake), Ubuntu, dynebolic, and several more. Even more are on the way, and likely will not be the end of "sampling" the chocolate box of Linux.

So, now I need a computer dedicated to just testing Linux "flavors" and possibly several more, all with known modem and sound card characteristics. You don't need a lot of hard drive to do this, a 20 gig drive is plenty for testing but for your permanent (well, as permanent as the "flavors" will allow) drive you'll want a lot of space. At least 120 gigs and more if you can. As I said, there's a lot of software and more coming every day.

Well, I'm testing a blog entry "app" that I fell across during the shotgunning for the sound. It has actually found my blog and says it will post this without messing about on the blog. If it's a mess, you'll know why. If it works like the rest of my Linux experience, it will be just great after I work out the learning process and get me to work along with the great software.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Losing Domain

In a split decision of 5 to 4, the Supreme Court of the United States of America or rather the Police States of America, took away nearly all your home owner rights. Here's a quote from the news article:

WASHINGTON - Cities may bulldoze people's homes to make way for shopping
malls or other private development, a divided Supreme Court ruled
Thursday, giving local governments broad power to seize private property
to generate tax revenue.

"power to seize private property to generate tax revenue"

If There were ever an "Oh my God" sentence written about the American society, this one has to be it. Local government now has the power to take away your home simply to generate tax revenue. Think of the many ways any local government can generate tax revenue by taking your home. Use it as a rental? Certainly. Yes, I know, there will be "checks and balances" and a "close watch" on such condemnations for increased tax revenue. Or for more jobs. And, the definition relys on "local government" and we're back to "community standards" where everything the local government does is ok so long as it's someone else.

New London, Connecticut shall suffer for this day as will the rest of us. This invasion of personal property and right to the pursuit of happiness must be stopped. The reasonable sanctity of your home simply must be respected. As of today, it (respect for your home) no longer exists. Between "code" and this new right to take away your home simply to increase tax revenue, provide jobs, and whatever the local government wants, you no longer have any rights to or in your home.

If you've read this far, your mind is already filled with the many ramifications of the legal ability for the commonly corrupt local government to take away homes simply for tax revenue. Tax revenue that pays the fat salaries of the local government functionaries who make the decision to increase tax revenue so they can increase their already bloated salaries, benefits, and retirements.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


It's big news if the Koran (Quran) is abused in any manner by any non-Muslim and back page news (now, since we've accepted this amazing situation) if a non-Muslim has their head cut off by a Muslim. It's big news if a few bad eggs in the U.N. peacekeeping troops rape or even have consential sex with the population and back page news of the genocide and rape of whole populations by Islamic groups, Sudan, for example. It's no news at all if Islamic states and countries have laws restricting Christian practice of religion but big news if a country (France for example) writes any law which restricts all religions and thereby restricts any public display of Islam. Such a list of out-of-balance situations could go on and on. Take a look at Africa and the, so-called, insurgents that are causing turmoil in, for example, Ivory Coast or Nigeria. These "rebels" or "insurgents" are Islamic, principally moving in from the north and taking over one country after another. Fifty years ago there were only about 5 African Islamic countries. Now there are nearly 20 all taken over by force and with Islamic, non-democratic (Sharia), law enforced. This has not even been news and where it has, the "insurgents" have rarely been identified as Islamic. What would the "balance" be if a Christian group moved into a predominately Islamic country and used the same techniques of violence and subjucation to first reduce the population to misery and despair and then to overthrow the government and set up a Christian Law country? Would that be supported by world news? Would that go "under the radar" as so much of the Islamic violence is right now? Would the world "wring its hands" in worry and do nothing much as in, for example, the Sudan? Give warnings about "trafficking in humans" as in, for example, Saudi Arabia and do nothing?

Now the real questions. Why is Islam on a collision course with the rest of the world? Why the continued confrontations rather than cooperation? Take a careful look at the laws of Saudi Arabia and do some thinking. What would the response of the Islamic world be if any western country wrote similar laws restricting all religions but Christian or if any African country wrote similar laws restricting all religions but animistic? Why is Islam spreading by violence? Why is Islam holding it's members hostage by violence? Why is Islam holding countries hostage by violence? Where is this going? What is the end result? Why is this allowed, even encouraged by the rest of the world? I don't understand. I can see the imbalance but the why escapes me (oh sure, World Domination. But that's so silly I can't accept it.). I don't understand why so few see the imbalance or if they do see the situation, decide to "not" see. What in the hell is going on?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

accepting the unacceptable


Well, here we are, just about the summer season. No "twin towers" disaster to lead us into the holidays, no new war, no "homeland" disasters or even big threats (as of May 25, 2005, that is). However, reading the news each day, we have gradually begun to accept the horrors the same way we now accept highway mayhem. What's a few more bombings here and there so long as it's Not In My BackYard. You remember the NIMBY attitude? Do what you want, just NIMBY.

Well, the world is now a backyard to everyone. What happens in your backyard is happening in my backyard. It's one world afterall. The NIMBY attitude protested so strongly in the '60's is not supportable. Now, less than ever. Tribalism is nice so long as it accepts other tribes as having equal importance and deserving of equal respect.

We would not accept religious laws instituting a "State" religion yet turn a "blind eye" to countries that do so. I recall the (politically and morally correct) outcry against apartheid in South Africa. Where is the outcry about Saudi Arabia where there are so many laws restricting religions other than Islam? Religious Apartheid is morally correct??? Oh, yes, I know it's politically correct. We do want that oil. So, we accept the unacceptable.

Or the "rebels" in so many of the African countries that are the "blessings" of Islam moving south by force of arms. Killing and enslaving blacks worse than the South African apartheid ever did. Because it's Islam, that makes it acceptable? What if Christians acted in the same manner as Islam? Would that be acceptable? NIMBY!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Purple Salvia about 5 feet high. A good winter and spring plant here in Florida. The heat of the summer will turn it brown. Posted by Hello

Ala and Ken Shin the Hooded Rat. They were close pals until Ken Shin died of old age and now has an honored burial in the garden edge. Posted by Hello

A little more detail. All was from cast-off material. The "pond" itself is from a broken car-top carrier the hurricanes munched. The top still held water so..... the rest is from old sidewalks, broken tile, and so on. A bit of flower power and it looks great. Posted by Hello

The new fountain in the park designed by Ala and built by Dave. Cooperation pays off. Posted by Hello

The last of the black Mulberry. You must get there early or the birds get the black ones. Not so good to eat until they turn black. Red is SOUR! Posted by Hello

Ala with Cinnamon, the ferret. It's either play time or sleep time for ferrets.  Posted by Hello

Shasta Daisy in Florida. A rare sight. Posted by Hello

time for fruit

time for fruit
It's mid-May. The purple plum tree is just about through and has been eaten. The peach trees are now ripening and the first tree is producing wonderful, fresh, tasty peaches about the size of a baseball. What a treat to get up, walk out into the soft Florida morning, pick a peach and revel in it's marvelous flavor. Yesterday we had strawberries, peaches, plums, and eggs from our little (almost an) acre of Florida. Today, the same. Later, there will be nectarines, apples (yes, even the apple tree has fruit this year for the first time), figs (little and green right now), guava (strawberry,tropical, and pineapple), muscadine grapes, pomegranates, and so much more. The black mulberry tree is now about 20 feet high and the birds get them if I don't get out early. The mulberries are about through until next year and only a few are left on the tree.

We had a bag of potatoes that sprouted quite enough so we hesitated to eat them. We planted them and they are growing like weeds. Yes, potatoes are cheap but it seemed silly to waste them when we could plant them, then seed radish and mustard over them. That way we get two crops. Oh, I forgot. We also planted watermelon with them so we really get three crops. Let you know how it turns out.

The early sunflower crop is over and the seed heads are turned up to dry. Some are already out at the feeders being nibbled on by the Cardinal family. We won't plant any more sunflower this summer but will have many volunteers, so many we'll need to weed some of them.

The Confederate Jasmine has been in full bloom for the past 3 weeks. It's like living in an incense shop. Now, the night-blooming Jasmine is full of blossoms and the night is so redolent with the perfume it nearly chokes you when it hits at full strength. During the day, the Tea Olive adds to the mix. I don't know about at night, the night-blooming Jasmine wins the odor battle, hands-down. The lovely little night-blooming Four-O-Clocks have a nice, delicate odor but they are totally submerged in the Jasmine odor.

We have just a small place in central Florida about 35 miles north of Orlando but you sure can get a lot of garden into it here in Florida. We can have citrus and apples at the same time. However, the northern fruit trees don't always do well because it doesn't get cold enough and the citrus sometimes does poorly because it gets too cold. We're right on the edge of both cycles. Makes for hectic and uncertain gardening.

More later (and there really is a lot more on the plants, alone).



Well, it's a new day and the "Pacific" (really not a very peaceful ocean, actually) hurricane has withered to a few rowdy showers in the Caribbean and is no longer a threat. Just a reminder of a summer that awaits.

Was picking up in the back yard area yesterday and found that I was picking up last years hurricane damage every now and then. Still more to go. I might get the previous year damage cleaned up in time for a new year of damage. As "trucker" noted in a comment, there isn't any way to estimate how much it costs in time, money, emotion, and so on to prep for a hurricane, go through a hurricane, and recover from a hurricane. The prep and going through part can be pretty quick but the recover part is long, long, indeed. Actually, the prep can seem very long. As we watched the progress of Ivan last year and felt the threat it represented (after three hurricanes, even a thunderstorm began to feel threatening), we went through long, anxious days until it attacked somewhere else. Then, our joy at being missed was tempered by the awareness of the pain others were suffereing. Are we glad California has earthquakes? No. Are we glad we don't have earthquakes? YES, YES. You get the idea.

Friday, May 20, 2005


It's Florida and it's the start of summer. After the horror of the summer of hurricanes, a hurricane in the Pacific trying to cross into the Caribbean two weeks before the season even begins is ominous indeed. We cannot imagine going through anything like that again.

To be smart about getting ready for a hurricane, we have a list of things to do. It's fairly long and tedious. After the hurricane, the "setting things right" is also long and tedious. Here is a portion of that list:

Double bag all books, papers, and photos.
Double bag all clothing.
Bag computers (everything is double bagged)
Bag all electroic equipment
Bag audio speakers
Bag pillow, cushions, small stuffed toys
Bag all bedding (sheets, blankets)
Plastic sheet covers for bed and furniture.
Fill many, many containers with water.
The list goes on and on.

Pick up and secure anything that can be picked up by a 200 lb man. If you don't the hurricane will.

Hurricane clip privacy (wooden) fence (we have about 700 feet)
Prop from both sides with 2x4 each section of privacy fence.
Tie down things you can't pick up.
Move vehicles to "safe" place (be sure one is in a "getaway" spot).
Tape windows (you'll hate this when it's time to take the tape off)
Get animals secured.
Tie down young fruit trees.
Check neighbor's yard for hazards!!!!
Look for trees or limbs that can reach the house.
The outside is never done well enough.

That's some idea of the effort it takes to prep for a hurricane.
Now, think about doing that 3 or 4 times in a few months.
And, think about putting it all back.

more later