Every few years, I take a sabbatical from posting. One is due, shortly. This notification is made so that my blog friends won't besiege Bogie with questions as to my health. Hunky Husband and I are in great health!
I failed to report that Hunky Husband spied a pair (male/female) of Eastern bluebirds several days ago. They were checking out our nesting box. I didn't get a photo of them, but here (a few days later) are a Harris' sparrow and Spike, "our" female Northern cardinal.
Our generation (as all do) dwindles. Today's newspaper carries the obituaries of two more friends - one was a friend from the 1960s and on, the other a co-worker in the 1990s and early 2000s. They join three other friends whose deaths have occurred in the past three weeks.
The person who will be missed the most, whose funeral I attended Tuesday, was my supervisor in 1980 and 1981. Bill Bloedel was supervisor of loads and stress for the Cessna Single-Engine Division, and I was a group engineer whose group was responsible, structurally, for all taildragger, a few of the current-production models, and out-of-production single-engine aircraft.
Bill was a good and decent person who was kind enough to always let me know what he really thought. From the time he took over the loads and stress organization, without flinching, he let me know that he was not comfortable having a woman in a position of responsibility over a fleet of aircraft - and - that he would be watching me. I went a little bit out of my way to keep Bill informed as to what I had been doing, how I had been handling things (for instance, suggesting that he might like to go through the file of customer inquiries that I had handled during the preceding year), and how I was handling things (for instance, inviting him to accompany me once when I had to fly to a production line that was about 50 miles distant from the main production facilities). At the end of his first six months as my supervisor, Bill invited me into his office and announced, "I told you that I would be watching you - and I have been. I think that you do an excellent job."
When I opted to leave the company, Bill asked if he had caused me to choose to leave. Absolutely not! It was strictly a matter of having been sought by another company that wished to give me a lot more money. Then, drawing a raise slip out of his desk drawer, Bill told me (with a twinkle in his eyes), "Aren't you going to feel silly when I give you a $100 per week raise?" It was annual raise time, but the actual raise fell far short of that number, of course. We both laughed.
Bill lived in rural Derby. We frequently heard Bill speak of the work he did on his small farm. When he had triple by-pass surgery, it was a matter of days before he was back to chopping fire wood. Physically small (I'm guessing 5' 6" tall and, not more than 145#), Bill loved physical work and flying, in equal measure.
Bill was huge in heart. Bill and his wife, Sue, raised (in addition to their own five children) three children who had been produced by one of their daughters. The daughter was emotionally unable to raise the children. Oh! How Bill doted on all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren!
The last time I saw Bill, at a bi-monthly retirees breakfast three weeks before his death, Bill was lamenting that his non-existent white cell count kept him from seeing his great-grandchildren as he would wish to do. As little germ factories, small kids can be deadly to a person who, as Bill was, is dealing with leukemia.
I'll miss that quiet, little-big man with the twinkly blue eyes. Rest in peace, Bill.
When Hunky Husband offered his condolences upon the loss of my friend Bill, I told him, "We've come to an age where it is either our friends who will be dying - or us."
Things have been pretty hectic for me during the past couple of weeks, and will continue in that vein for at least another three weeks; but, that isn't the reason I've fallen behind in visiting Slashdot.org. They are Beta testing a new display that I despise! It is all cutesy-wootsy, but few postings are entirely displayed. One must hit a "more" button to see the whole thing. This is a waste of my time and interest. Fortunately, just now the display that I pulled up was the older version - compact and easily read without hassle. So...I'll catch you up on a few items that they've posted within the past week or two.
Posted by timothyon Saturday February 22, 2014 @11:18AM from the hot-water-on-tap dept.
Lasrick writes "Dawn Stover looks at the incredibly successful Megatons to Megawatts program, which turned dismantled Russian nuclear warheads into lower-grade uranium fuel that can be used to produce electricity. The 1993 agreement between the U.S. and Russia not only eliminated 500 tons of weapons-grade uranium, but generated nearly 10% of U.S. electricity consumption. The Megatons to Megawatts program ended in December, but Stover points out that the U.S. has plenty of surplus nuclear weapons that could keep the program going, without the added risk of shipping it over such huge distances. A domestic Megatons to Megawatts, if you will. This would be very cost effective and have the added benefit of keeping USEC, the only American company in the uranium enrichment field, in business."
Posted by Soulskillon Friday February 21, 2014 @06:11PM from the with-only-the-power-of-love-and-maybe-some-napalm dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After the past year's revelations about NSA spying, it's hard to read any commentary about society without dire warnings of the coming (or already present) surveillance state. Sci-fi author Ramez Naam makes the point that while government surveillance needs to be fought, it's actually not as bad as what we were promised in decades past. 'Aldous Huxley published Brave New World in 1932. And while Brave New World is remembered more for predicting government-controlled biological engineering of the masses, it also features government surveillance, media manipulation, and thought control. This is an old idea. Yet somehow, today, in most of the world, governments have dramatically less control over their people than they did when Huxley and Orwell wrote those words. Indeed, the average person on Earth is more free today, in 2014, than he or she would have been in the actual year 1984. The arc of history has bent towards more freedom.' Naam also explains that the technological advances allowing the bulk collection of personal data also provide us with cheap and easy means to fight government overreach."
Posted by timothyon Friday February 21, 2014 @06:57PM from the go-ahead-ask-your-car-a-question dept.
New submitter robertchin writes "Michael Barr recently testified in the Bookout v. Toyota Motor Corp lawsuit that the likely cause of unintentional acceleration in the Toyota Camry may have been caused by a stack overflow. Due to recursion overwriting critical data past the end of the stack and into the real time operating system memory area, the throttle was left in an open state and the process that controlled the throttle was terminated. How can users protect themselves from sometimes life endangering software bugs?"
Posted by samzenpuson Monday February 24, 2014 @09:31AM from the hoisting-with-his-own-petard dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Exxon Mobile's CEO Rex Tillerson's day job is to do all he can to protect and nurture the process of hydraulic fracturing—aka 'fracking'—so that his company can continue to rake in billions via the production and sale of natural gas. 'This type of dysfunctional regulation is holding back the American economic recovery, growth, and global competitiveness,' said Tillerson in 2012 of attempts to increase oversight of drilling operations. But now Rick Unger reports at Forbes that Tillerson has joined a lawsuit seeking to shut down a fracking project near his Texas ranch. Why? Because the 160 foot water tower being built next to Tillerson's house that will supply the water to the near-by fracking site, means the arrival of loud trucks, an ugly tower next door, and the general unpleasantness that will interfere with the quality of his life and the real estate value of his sizeable ranch. The water tower is being built by Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp., a nonprofit utility that has supplied water to the region for half a century. Cross Timbers says that it is required by state law to build enough capacity to serve growing demand. In 2011, Bartonville denied Cross Timbers a permit to build the water tower, saying the location was reserved for residences. The water company sued, arguing that it is exempt from municipal zoning because of its status as a public utility. In May 2012, a state district court judge agreed with Cross Timbers and compelled the town to issue a permit. The utility resumed construction as the town appealed the decision. Later that year, the Tillersons and their co-plaintiffs sued Cross Timbers, saying that the company had promised them it wouldn't build a tower near their properties. An Exxon spokesman said Tillerson declined to comment. The company 'has no involvement in the legal matter' and its directors weren't told of Mr. Tillerson's participation, the spokesman said."
While on the subject of fracking, below is another posting on the subject - from the same source. (Full disclosure: I have a few shares of Chevron that comprise less than 1% of my holdings. It allows me to get the company reports and, for all the good it does, vote against some of the board members.)
Posted by samzenpuson Wednesday February 19, 2014 @07:07PM from the are-you-mad-now? dept.
Lasrick writes "Chevron hopes that free soda and pizza can extinguish community anger over a fracking well fire in Dunkard Township, Pennsylvania. From the story: 'The flames that billowed out of the Marcellus Shale natural gas well were so hot they caused a nearby propane truck to explode, and first responders were forced to retreat to avoid injury. The fire burned for four days, and Chevron currently has tanks of water standing by in case it reignites. Of the twenty contractors on the well site, one is still missing, and is presumed dead.' The company gave those who live nearby a certificate for a free pizza and some soda."
(I was interested to read about Dunkard Township because some of my father's ancesters were born and died there.)
Early Monday (2/10/2014) morning we received an additional four inches of snow - atop the eight-inch snow that had fallen (and not melted due to temperatures that reached highs of under 10 degrees F most days) on the previous Tuesday and Wednesday (2/4/2014-2/5/2014 - Much-needed moisture arrives).
Below is a photo that was snapped early in the daytime. The ghostly images and strange lights do not come from double-exposure; but, from back-lit reflections on the glass door through which the photo was snapped. BTW: The snow on the table is nearly all freshly fallen. I had used the "old" snow in making snow ice cream during the preceeding days.
This morning I was greatly surprised when I went to the breakfast table. Hunky Husband had this display arranged (below).
Perhaps it is just my poor memory; but, I don't recall ever before having been gifted with balloons - and how HH sneaked them into the house and sequestered them from my finding them is beyond me!
Although the USA is not alone in suffering drought these days, I tend to follow the conditions in the USA more than those for the world. Below is the latest USA drought map.
The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Eastern Time. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
I'm going to let you in on a powerful secret. A secret so big, once you know it, your life will never be the same. Okay, here it is: Buy the problem, buy the solution. Got it? No? Alright, fine, lemme break it down for you. If someone can devise a problem and convince you that it is the cause of all your troubles, then they can sell you a solution. And here's the kicker: If you really believe in the problem, the solution will actually work. For example: If you can be conned into thinking that the reason you're unhappy is because your body is encrusted with evil spirits (the problem), there is an organization that will, for a very reasonable price (considering your dilemma), free you of the pernicious little devils and make you feel like a demigod (the solution). The same holds true with the thorny thicket proposed by another, more established institution: If you can be made to believe that your life is in ruins because you were "born in sin" (the problem), then salvation is just a donation away (the solution). On a secular level, if you can be convinced that the reason you're miserable is because a black guy wants you to get health insurance (the problem), then relief is available through a small campaign contribution (the solution). Got it now? Buy the problem, buy the solution. Here's one created by a pharmaceutical company: She's ready, but he's not (the problem), which forces him to buy a pill to ensure that he's always ready (the solution). This one amuses me because the company assumes it's his problem. But it could just as easily be hers. Why not sell her a pill? Maybe something to make her less ready.
Starting in the wee hours of yesterday morning, light snow began to fall in our area. Off and on, all day, it fell. At dinner time (6:00pm), Hunky Husband went out to measure the amount of snow on the ground - 7". The official snowfall in Wichita, at Midcontinent Airport (about 10 miles NW of us), was 8.7". It continued to snow, fitfully, until about 10:00pm. With all of the snowfall, it stayed warm; but, then the cold air moved in. Today, our high temperature is supposed to be 8 or 9 degrees above zero, Fahrenheit - well above the below-zero temperatures seen elsewhere - with winds of 16G34. I've always said that, I don't mind the cold as long as I get some snow to go with it - snow for ice cream!
And, ice cream I've been having. Interestingly, each time I made a bowl of ice cream, yesterday, the top layer of snow was a different type. For breakfast: powder. For lunch: corn. For dinner: flat, sparkly. Before much snow had accumulated, I snapped some photos, a few of which are posted below.
The weather bureau has announced that our accumulation of snow is equivalent to approximately 0.54" of rain. Better than none!