"In the end, what really matters? Only kindness. Only making sombody a little happier for your presence." Under the Wide and Starry Sky: a novel by Nancy Horan, Ballantine Books, 2011
As, on occasion, I do, I read a book that is completely outside the genres that I normally read; that is, outside what has passed for normal since 2004. Before my retirement from The Little Airplane Company in 2004, my normal genres were non-fictional.
This book is a historical novel based on "...the letters and papers of Robert Louis Stevenson, Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson, their family members and friends." It made for fascinating reading - even to me! The book uses many passages from those writings mentioned, quite skillfully. Although I found the quote from Horan's book, my research did not definitively show that the words are Horan's. On the other hand, I did not find them attributed to either Stevenson; so, I assume that the quote came from Horan's fertile mind. The research did assure me that I was not the only one who noted the words.
Image from Amazon.com, no endorsement implied.
Pergelator's posting, today, concerned the F/A-18. In doing some fact checking before I made comment to him, I ran into a bunch of interesting US Navy videos on one of their web sites. Two of my favorites are also available via YouTube - fortunately for me! The originals are posted on America's Navy website.
The first video concerns "Big MO".
USS Missouri Celebrates 69th Anniversary of the End of World War II
Published on Sep 3, 2014
All Hands Update September 3, 2014 #2 Service members and civilians celebrated the 69th anniversary of the end of World War II aboard USS Missouri.
Then there is a ship-based drone that resembles a mini B-2.
SUPER ADVANCED US Navy X-47 stealth UAV Aircraft take off and landing
A great idea for the US navy the x-47 uav aircraft will be useful in future conflicts. The Northrop Grumman X-47B is a demonstration unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) designed for carrier-based operations. Developed by the American defense technology company Northrop Grumman, the X-47 project began as part of DARPA's J-UCAS program, and is now part of the United States Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2014, it is undergoing flight and operational integration testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations. Northrop Grumman intends to develop the prototype X-47B into a battlefield-ready aircraft, the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system, which will enter service by 2019. In August, 2014, the US Navy announced that it had integrated the X-47B into carrier operations alongside manned aircraft.
Go to the YouTube posting for the history of the X-47's development. And, no, you are correct. The "wings" of the B-2 don't fold up. It doesn't attempt carrier operations!
As a follow-on to a previous posting, Good, horrid, and great treatment of girls and women & addendum, I post another Slashdot.org article - instigated by the same person (or, at least, by someone using the same screen name) as the Slashdot.org articles in my previous posting. I use Gamer "Culture" because Gamer Culture seems an oxymoron, from the reports I've heard/read.
Our family has hit Chicago pretty heavily during the past week. I flew into Chicago on the 20th, returning the 21st. Hunky Husband, who had driven to Topeka KS several hours before my return on the 21st (he returned on the 24th) flew into Chicago on the 27th, planning to return on the 29th. In either case, we took direct, early morning flights from Wichita to Chicago O'Hare, and returned/will return late in the afternoon/evening on another direct flight. All flights were/will be United Airlines flying Bombardier CRJ 700s.
Days were/will be spent in meetings at the offices of The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago (photo, below).
We each slept/will sleep at the Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River North Hotel (photo, below).
Since HH and I do not "do" the same thing in our volunteer work, our meetings did not coincide. Oh, well...we can compare notes!
Wichi Dude's posting of Helping Out elicited comments--each from within our family. My latest comment grew so long that I took pity on WD and Bogie by posting it here, in my own space.
Yes, Hunky Husband flew as navigator (and was offered a job doing it full time) on B-52s back in the 1960s and early 1970s. However, in a car, he doesn't have an MD-1 Astrotracker or any other of the goodies that he used on the airplane. Yes, you are correct that he uses his GPS. However, I doubt that he has ever lost a car in a parking lot. He is too organized to do that!
Younger Brother also worked with aircraft navigation systems; but, the one time that I asked him to fly along with me (delivering a Cessna 152), it didn't work out so well. The weather was marginal, I needed to sneak through a pass in the mountains in central California during marginal weather, the airplane was anything but "high performance" and it was not well-equipped for instrument flying (what it did have was not compatible with the navigation systems that were on the ground in that area). Since Younger Brother lived, and had been on flights in the area, I thought his familiarity with the pass would be a plus--and it was. We did get through the pass, at which he was quite helpful; but asking him to keep track of our ground track once we exited the pass was a lost cause. Again, he didn't have the equipment that he was accustomed to and didn't really know how to track us on a sectional chart.
Pardon me if the following tale has been posted somewhere, before. I believe that it has, but don't recall where. The worst I ever misplaced a car was at an LAX parking lot (Parking Lot C, for those familiar with LAX). I was working at Edwards AFB and had returned from spending the year-end holidays at home in Albuquerque. Arriving at the parking lot at about Midnight, I went to the place where I remembered having parked. Not only was my car not there, but the slot was marked as no-parking. I went to the security office and called the people who were in charge of towing to see if they had my car. Nope. After a while, a security guard offered to drive me around the (rather large) parking lot. Of course, we eventually found my little Mazda 626--right where I had left it.
Eventually, I recalled what had happened: I realized that the remembered slot was the first slot that I had chosen for parking. But, the first slot was not allowed parking and I had picked out a second slot in a nearby row. For some reason, I had decided not to park in the second slot (or maybe someone beat me to it). The car was parked in a third slot that was some distance from the first two--and I had failed to write down the location as I normally did. After a ten-day absence, it was easy for me to fail to recall the details. It was about 3:00 AM by the time I reached my apartment in Lancaster. Bummer!
Since that was when I was your age, WD, I suspect that age had nothing to do with it! (I'm just absent minded.)
November 25, 2005 at 09:45 AM
...RTFM. (Translation: Read the *%$*ing manual!) I hate manuals – but I refuse to take the rap on this. I had actually looked for a manual and found only a warranty booklet. When did they start making electronic gadgets and not even bothering to write instructions, I wondered?
What is it with manuals?
Why do people hate manuals, anyway? Simple. Most are as incomprehensible as the devices they’re supposed to explain. Why is this? The answer is also simple. They’re not written by me, or by someone like me who knows what people like me – or like you – need to know. They’re written by the product designers, who are so removed from the buying public that they have no idea how to explain their products. Because they’re under 30, the designers can also read the tiny print their manuals come in.
Some people read manuals selectively, usually based on age. My carpenter/handyman who is pushing 60 has no problem reading a manual when he’s assembling a desk or installing a gas stove, but he relies on his kids to explain his cell phone. My friend Denise Terry, who is around my age, says, “I feel like my brain is completely unable to take in what the manuals offer. I do read directions for assembling toys and furniture – but nothing about electronics.”
It’s not that I don’t want to read the manual – I always mean to get around to it – but somehow it never happens. I “play with” the device until I figure it out. Or not.
The "Aging with Attitude" hits me where I live, although I'm not sure how much my attitude has changed over the past 50 or 60 years. My attitude toward computers, since 1959, has been: If you want me to use your damned machine, don't make me become a computer geek.
At that point in my blog post writing, I got far out into the weeds with my history with computers. Let's hold that off for another day, shall we?
For now, I present a list of articles currently available on the website. Perhaps one of them will pique your interest - perhaps not.
Addition of 8/10/2014:
A hat tip to Hattie, of Hattie's Web, for pointing out that I failed to make clear the source of the above comic photo. The photo is from an article, the link for which is immediately above the photo: On the Road: Apps, Sites, Gadgets & Tips.
BTW: I'm impressed that Hattie took the opportunity to drop by, what with the weather that her state (Hawaii) has been enduring. In preparation, the Red Cross had sent a small team of disaster response specialists from the Continental Southwestern states to assist the local leadership team - in case the hurricanes did not downgrade in status before hitting the islands. They flew over before the weather could close the airports. I know this because, Hunky Husband's team (HH leads a team of five from the Continental North Central states) is on alert for the month of August and were notified that they would also be covering the Continental Southwest states while "their" team was in Hawaii. A lot of folks ended up in shelters, and there was a lot of damage; but, the damage was light compared to what was thought to be possible.
BTW: the original of the Google Doodle is, as usual, interactive. One may choose a category of thing and a characteristic. The Venn diagram is then formed to show the intersection thing category ∩ characteristic.
P.S. have a quibble with the illustration of transport ∩ has wings. The Doodle shows only an airplane. Why not a rotor craft? Just because its wings rotate doesn't make them ineligible.
A couple of months ago I posted Privacy at home. In it I told of eschewing the most tech-enriched controller for our new furnace and air conditioning units: Hunky Husband and I chose not to be able to access the controller via internet. Now let's talk about modern cars.
Over the past 20-30 years, cars (and other vehicles) have become more tech-enriched. Since HH drives a 2013 Lincoln MKS and I drive a 2014 Lincoln MKZ, we are up to our ears in tech. (I was told by the car dealer's service manager that my new car contained/used about 20 computers.) One really must take lessons to operate new vehicles; so, I was not surprised to read in a special section of today's newspaper that Wichita State University was offering a non-credit course in "MAXIMIZING THE FEATURES OF YOUR CAR". (You are well ahead of me if you guessed that the offering was actually titled "PHOTOGRAPHY: MAXIMIZING THE FEATURES OF YOUR SLR".)
Our cars will not only parallel park without our controlling the steering wheel, but when using the cruise control, unless I use 11 button pushes to disable the feature, the car calculates the closing rate between me and the vehicle ahead of me. If it doesn't like the answer, it slams on the brakes! (Unfortunately, the car isn't smart enough to realize that a car that is making a turn in front of me will clear the lane in time for me to have sole occupancy, nor does it take into account that the lane to my left is open so that I can make a last-minute lane change if called for. You can understand why I go through the 11 button pushes before engaging the cruise control, for most of my driving.) Our cars also have a stick shaker (well...in a car it shakes the steering wheel) to alert him or me that we are encroaching on the line at either side of our lane.
Of course there is GPS and the entertainment systems that take computer implementation, and the blue tooth synchronization to a cell phone and its contacts listing. (BTW: I turned off the blue tooth in my cell phone to prevent synchronization. The car, crazily, tries and tries and tries to synchronize but can't find my phone.)
Back to my point: I not only do not wish to have our HVAC system available via internet, I don't really want anyone hacking my car.
Slashdot.org led me to an article on Information Week: Dark Reading: Connecting the Information Security Community titled The World's Most Hackable Cars. You've probably seen news items concerning the report. This, excerpted from the article, is unfathomable to me:
The researchers studied in-depth the automated and networked functionality in modern vehicle models, analyzing how an attacker could potentially access a car's Bluetooth, telematics, or on-board phone app, for example, and using that access to then control the car's physical features, such as automated parking, steering, and braking. Some attacks would require the attacker to be within a few meters of the targeted car, but telematics-borne attacks could occur from much farther away, the researchers say.
Not surprisingly, the vehicles with fewer computerized and networked functions were less likely to get attacked by a hacker. "The most hackable cars had the most [computerized] features and were all on the same network and could all talk to each other," says Miller, who is a security engineer at Twitter. "The least hackable ones had [fewer] features, and [the features] were segmented, so the radio couldn't talk to the brakes," for example.
The 2014 Infiniti Q50 would be the easiest of all to hack because its telematics, Bluetooth, and radio functions all run on the same network as the car's engine and braking systems, for instance, making it easier for an attacker to gain control of the car's computerized physical operations.
As many earthquakes as I have experienced in various parts of California, including Loma Prieta and its multitude of aftershockes, it is always a shock when I feel one here in south central Kansas. I reported what I felt to USGS. A few minutes later, USGS posted about the earthquake, as below, with nearly 800 reports having been received concerning this latest earthquake.
I can't seem to get the lower map to display the appropriate heading. The map header should read "Geocoded Map". It shows the positions of the reports received. Note the large number of reports from Wichita (and Derby).
On its website, USGS explains the process they use in evaluating each earthquake. The explanation starts with this introduction:
This web site is intended to tap the abundant information available about earthquakes from the people who actually experience them. By taking advantage of the vast numbers of Internet users, we can get a more complete description of what people experienced, the effects of the earthquake, and the extent of damage, than traditional ways of gathering felt information. And best of all, with your help we can do so almost instantly.
By contributing your experience of the earthquake, either immediately afterward, or whenever it is possible for you to do so, you will have made a contribution to the scientific body of information about this earthquake. You will also ensure that your area has been represented in the compilation of the shaking map. This is a two-way street. Not only will you add valuable information on the extent of ground shaking and damage, but in the process we hope you will learn more about how other communities fared and gain a greater understanding of the effects of earthquakes.