Friday, June 21, 2013

If we flood again this year...

Will you start to believe that the additional kinetic energy in the atmosphere that is a result of global climate change and its increased ability to induce highly variable and even extreme weather is starting to become a problem?

Will you?

Probably not....

Monday, June 17, 2013

I also got my hub motor for the bicycle today...

I have most of it installed, let me tell you the instructions they sent were not just useless, they were fucking useless....  I will post some pictures of the wonderful Chingrish when I get a chance.

But that being said, although the instructions were useless, and some modifications needed to be made as there were a few things that were backwards, unnecessary, too long....  I did get the wheel mounted on the bike, and I got most of the wiring in place, stuck on getting the battery box put together until I can obtain some more electrical connectors, I may eventually try to switch it to running on Lithium batteries, but that would involve obtaining like 120 matched laptop cells, and then building a case for them that can keep itself cool.

There will be a lot of blogs written about this bike adventure....
And let me tell you about genuine Chinese quality, as only the Chinese can do it....

I got me a shiny new rock hammer...

Its a nice big hammer, and very shiny...
It is one dead sexy hammer, expect to see some pictures of me using this bad ride some time soon.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bullshit.... This show is hilarious...

Penn and Teller examine Stranger Danger!

Irony of trying to do the right thing.

As long as you have not been living in a hole in the ground you should be well aware of the anti-sulfide debate and the arguments being used by the clueless hippies against the development of the copper-nickel resources that are present in northern Minnesota.

I have an idea, lets look at the effects that will be caused by not developing these resources.

The first effect is that the region is kept in its economic stasis for another generation.  Although this is great for rich tourists from the Twin City area who want to buy cheap land to build cabins it is not good for the people that actually live here and are attempting to raise families.

But Jeffy, what about all of the tourist dollars that come into the area?

Oh, yeah, the tourist money that comes into the area 3 months out of the year...  What about the other 9 months of the year where we still have to be able to feed ourselves.

The second effect is that if we do not get resources here we have to get them someplace else. 

On the surface of it this does not look that bad, I mean what could possibly be wrong with getting resources from other places?

Let us look at what happens to these other places. 

In the United States we have laws and environmental protections that regulate how a mine is operated, the safety of the workers, and the financial payments and taxes that go to the surrounding area.

In large portions of the rest of the world they have no laws, barely any government, and basically a libertarian paradise.  Which sounds wonderful, right?  Well the end result is that you have warlords in Africa out killing people to control the bribes that they are getting from the mining companies.  This is not that the mining companies are bribing them to try to benefit the mines, they are bribing them to not have their employees murdered and their equipment stolen. 

The government barely benefits as they have no means of control.

The environment is stripped and there are little if any efforts to avoid wholesale pollution on epic and dastardly scales.

In Russia there is so much heavy metal pollution downwind of one of the major smelters for nickel that the topsoil can now be economically mined in its own right.

China has no qualms about strip mining the whole of Africa in an attempt to obtain resources, and they also don't have much in the way of concern about pollution.

So, we would still be able to get the materials that we need but instead of taking the risk that some wild rice could possibly be harmed, although the evidence is rather weak on that subject, and we may displace some summer cabins we are wholesale destroying entire continents.

And this is why I refer to them as clueless hippies.

They fail to see the bigger picture of what they are doing.

And in case your wondering, the above picture is what it takes to make the screen your looking at this on when you have to source the materials from a third world country.

It is time to start advertising beach front property in Minnesota

Seas are gonna rise!  In the past it was a combination of higher temperatures and rapid seafloor spreading that would cause the sea levels world wide to rise, this time we just have the higher temperatures, but it is enough to cause some damage.  The melting of the ice caps is only going to raise global water levels by about 200 feet, but that is all of Florida, entire island nations, billions of people will die as entire continental shelves will be lost under the oceans.

Minnesota will be fine, although it will be a considerably shorter drive to get to the beach, considering it will be in western New York....

The Mississippi river will lose a bit of length and it will have backed up to about Memphis, Tennessee.  

Bangladesh is done.

Pakistan has lost most of its fertile cresent.

Iran is just fine, but most of the flood plains in Iraq are gone.

Netherlands, large portions of England, the Maritimes, those are all gone.

On the positive side the Jersey Shore is long gone.

Oh well, here is the article....

Still looking for a super-model that wants to cuddle.

Ok, the super-model part is flexible....

Really, science geeks are the only ones that should reply.

The reality is that when it comes to communication I am bad at that and it takes some patience, but if you give me some time and some test accommodation I can pull it out.

Sex is fun, don't get me wrong, but so is cuddling, and cuddling is less stressful....

So I am looking for a super model (flexibility presented) that just wants to cuddle.

And talk about science.

Long walks on the beach.

Where we talk about the origins of the sand, and the actual reason why the sky is blue, the biology of the waters, and how to turn magnetite into pig iron economically using a modified microwave oven.

Also possibly some excursions into the radioactive tendencies ever present in any sand that is resultant from a granitic bedrock.

But sun, and walking and conversation!

And dogs like me.

Science fiction television is occasionally very good, thinking mainly Dr. Who and Firefly, but some other series have merit, that and any drama made by the BBC, because the American stuff is often crap, although Law and Order had a good run.

And cuddling.

So back to the detriments of conversation, being bad at it is kind of an understatement, I get nervous, I have autistic communication skills.  Emotionally I am a 15 year old, still stumbling over my words in any such situation and sometimes I need to take some time to fashion a response, I am not ignoring you, or being silent out of spite, I am avoiding mindless babble trying to come up with something on topic.

Yep, its just me, it is a package deal.

But I like to cuddle and watch netflix.

And I am OK with sex, just not my priority.

I like kids, but I have reasons that I personally don't believe I should have any which I am willing to discuss.

So, give me a call, maybe?

Friday, June 14, 2013

They don't make em like they used to....

Talking about trucks.  If you look at a pickup truck today it is so full of stuff I am amazed that the 300 horsepower they put in them is enough to get them down the road....

I miss the old trucks, like the mid-eighties Toyotas....

I do not remember if the Toyota had carpet in it or not, it was the SR5 xtra cab, so it may have.... 

Trucks should not have carpet, it gets dirty.

The truck had two seats.

It had heat.

It had a sliding rear window.

2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine, automatic.

14 inch steel wheels.

It got 26 mpg on the highway and about 22 in town....

Now I have a 1994 Ford Ranger, it is an old mine truck, it literally had no options.

It did not come with a radio....

2.3 liter 4 cylinder, automatic.

24 hwy, 20 in town....

Lets compare that to today....

The smallest truck that Ford makes is the F-150....

It is advertised to get 17-20 mpg, although I doubt those numbers on American cars, they always seem to get less than the estimates.

It has so many buttons on the dash I do not know where to begin.

It is 50% larger than my little Ranger.....

Toyota still makes the Tacoma, and you can get it with almost nothing, although it still has some odd things like heated outside mirriors.  Why?

When you put shit like that on a truck it breaks, and then it is expensive to fix.

Bring back the little pickup trucks, and get all the needless shit out of them as well, then you can make them cheap, and you can make them efficient.


Thoughts on home schooling and repressive religions and resultant cycles of abuse.

I was mowing the lawn, I have a big lawn, it takes a long time to mow.

Mowing is boring, really, really boring.

I get a lot of thinking done.

Suddenly what popped into my head but thinking about home schooling and the cultural effects that it has on the kids.

Now don't get me wrong, not all home schools are bad.  It can be done correctly, sometimes it is more advantageous to the student to be taught in a more nurturing environment.  The home schooling that worries me is when people home school their kids because they don't want them exposed to things like "any idea that may disagree with our strict interpretation of the bible."

These people scare the hell out of me.

One thing is that they are often not mentally or education wise qualified to be teaching anyone.

The next problem is that part of the purpose of public education is to introduce a child to things outside of the cloistered environment that they are currently in.

If I ever had kids (something that is gradually getting less likely), I have thought that I would not mind taking a larger part in their education, but part of this is that I do not think that the public school system does that great of a job when it comes to teaching things like the sciences because it tries to avoid disputes with the above mentioned idiots in the curriculum.  You had better bet your ass that any kid of mine is going to understand things like evolution, that the universe is billions of years old, and that we are all made of star dust.

The thing that popped into my head when I was mowing the lawn was that these children are brought up in a strict religious family, and more so for females, they are brought up to believe that the man is right and powerful, and the job of the woman, just as the bible says, is to serve her man.

That just sounds to me like an abuse potential, and also ingraining a culture of non-reporting.

Now think of the creepy guy driving the van with "free candy" written on the side, they see a fourteen year old girl on the side of the road.

The first example is a girl from a public school (in a blue state).  She sees the "free candy" and thinks, "stranger danger", so picks up her pace of walking and gets away.  The van keeps driving.

He comes soon across another girl wearing a long dress because the bible says so.  He slows down and says hello.

"Hello little girl, how are you today?"
"I am not supposed to talk to strangers..."
"I am Jim, and I think that it is a great day that God has bestowed on us."
"Oh, God, is wonderful."
"Wanna get in the van and talk about God?  I have candy."
"Ohhh, candy!"

Well, girl two is never heard from again....

Or in a less extreme example, girl gets all the way to adulthood, meets a nice looking bible thumper from school, gets married.  He starts knocking her around a little bit but that is OK, because she has prayed for it to stop, and even if it doesn't that is God's will.  And he is her husband so she must be doing something that displeases him.  Of course no one knows about this because she does not leave the house, because a woman's place is in the house and she can start spitting out children, and the abuse continues, until she is not cute enough anymore and then dad moves on to the eldest daughter, which he can get away with because they are home schooling.

The first story is more disgusting, but only slightly.

I don't like people very much, and there is a reason for that....

This is a random picture.

The hippies are getting militant!

Considering some of the general disrespect for the order of law that some of the anti-mining protesters have in general I am not the least bit surprised that they would be the ones to bring it to the next level.  But is this what we have become?  Where if you don't like what a company is doing legally you go and sabotage equipment.

With some of the interactions I have had with some of the people that are involved with some of the groups like Water Legacy I am not in the least surprised, and this is the type of behavior that one would expect when you have protests being run by a bunch of self-important, uninformed, viciously partisan and clueless trustifarians who will always have mommies legal defense fund to bail them out when they get caught.

The things that scares me the most is that they have acolytes who think that they are the most awesome people in the world, like the Ali of protests, when in the end they do more damage to the causes that they are trying to promote than progress.

Oh well, here is the link.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Some cringe-worthy inaccuracies, but interesting...

Oldest water coming out of brine in Soudan mine?

This is an interesting possibility.  Although the 2.7 year old Animake basis that contains the Soudan formation is not the oldest on Earth.  It is not even the oldest in Minnesota by almost a billion years (Minnesota River valley gneisses are ~3.6 ga). 

But the possibility that there is a concentration of the original briny water stuck under the mine makes for some interesting thought experiments.

Like what the fuck is Water Legacy talking about when they speak of aquifers in the nearby Duluth complex, if the water can get stuck down there for 2.7 billion years it is not an aquifer.

Fucking morons.....

Ok, here is the story...

Alicia always brings me the weirdest rocks...

I got a text from Alicia yesterday she had brought me back a rock from Haiti.  It is green, no one there knew what it was.

I guess it is my fault, a long time ago I had asked her to bring me back an interesting heavy rock from one of her vacations and she brought me back this...
Which happens to be manganese ore from Mansa district Zambia that she picked up while taking a tour of a processing facility that she and her friend had gotten by bribing the guard with a pack of cigarettes.

I am curious to see what this mysterious green rock that no one could identify is, although Haiti being on a techtonic margin (that is where the island came from) it could be some very interesting metamorphic, will have to wait and see.

In other Geology news just ordered my new rock hammer, getting ready for my Friend Heidi to come and visit!

Can I be so bold as to stop terrorism?

The point of terrorism is to create fear in a populace, therefore if you are trying to create terror the easiest way to do so is to tell Fox News what you are planning so they can warn the country.  You don't even have to actually try to do something!  Maybe you send some patsies with non-functional devices out now and again, but for the most part you can do your entire terrorism mission without actually blowing anything up.  Because in America it is not the actual threat that creates fear, it is the implied threat and the over response that creates fear.

So what do you do about it?

Step one.  Turn off your TV.

Trust me you do not need to be informed about everything that is going on in the world.  I go online and skim through the bbc now and then, but other than that I am good.  There is no reason to watch 24 hour news, even if something big is going on.

Step two.  Remember some of the idioms of terrorism.

One mans terrorist is another man's freedom fighter....  Shit even Osama was on the CIA payrole back in the day.  No, really, he was part of the force in Afghanistan that was fighting the Russians and using terrorist tactics taught by the CIA to help get the Russians out of Afghanistan.  Is there a little irony that the very people that we trained and armed came back later to fight against us.  Yes.

Step three.  Ignore the government warnings.

Unless if there is something really specific, ie "a guy with a bomb at the corner of Lake and Fifth" terrorism should not be a concern of yours because statistically it will not affect you.  Therefore you have no reason to fear it. 

Step four.  Concern yourself with things that are worth concerning yourself over.

Deer ticks and Lymes disease.

Paying off your debts.

Going back to school.

Getting that new job.

Trying Yoga.

Becoming a vegetarian.

Realizing that Water Legacy is full of crap, but the Monsanto protests make perfect sense.

Ste five.  Relax, you have been freed from the burden of terrorism.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Chess! The musical.

This is one of those things that has always made me both say, hmmm, interesting, and scream "what the fuck were they thinking?"

However, it was done, and the music lives on, even if as of this writing it has not made it to either West End or Broadway again.

It would be hard to remake now though, chess (the game) does not garner the international attention that it did at the height of the cold war, and the barriers that divided the world at that time, barriers that only chess could bring down, are no longer present.

I am sure that the concept could be revived, but they would need to have a new sport, something cerebral, and still nationalized.  Something that is big enough to be news, but not diversified enough that player swap around the planet like poker chips.

I have no idea what that sport would be.

I am fully aware it says Checkers, but this is Chess the Musical...

16 videos...

In case your wondering "One Night in Bangkok" is in video 9....

Apparently the secret of blogging is....

Having a lot of content, varied content, the things where pretty much anyone should be able to find something they enjoy.

Have a twist, a quirk, a segue...

And have a lot of it....

Then push it, push it good....

The wreck of the Henry B. Smith

The Duluth News Tribune has a story today about the wreck of the Henry B. Smith on November 8th or 9th of 1913.  The date of the wreck is somewhat up to question as with the lack of radio communications in the day once you were out of sight of shore you were pretty much on your own.

The Henry B. Smith unknowingly sailed out into one of the most horrendous blows in great lakes history when it left Marquette, Michigan on its last voyage.  It loaded itself with iron ore and then as it seemed the storm that had been battering the lakes for several days was abating sailed out into the lake.  Sadly the storm was not abating, it was just winding up for its second wind.

The Smith was not the only ship to be destroyed out on the lakes during that storm.  On Lake Superior several ship were driven ashore and the Canadian freighter Leafeild with a crew of 18 disappeared without a trace.  On Lake Michigan several freighters were driven ashore including the barge Plymouth with a loss of 7 lives.  Lake Eire claimed the lightship LV 82 with a loss of 6 lives, but by far the worst hit was Lake Huron where 7 ships completely disappeared and one was left floating upside down just north of Port Huron, claiming 199 lives.

The Smith had a crew of 25 when it went to the bottom north of Marquette.  Interestingly a note in a bottle was found the following summer claiming the ship had cracked in half north of Marquette on November 12th.  This is made far more interesting by what comes next.

On the great lakes ships are built far shallower than on the oceans, and loaded far deeper comparatively.  This had changed to some extent with the advent of ships that trade on both the Great Lakes and the oceans, but there are still many Great Lakes ships built along these general parameters.  The Henry B. Smith was 525 feet long, 55 feet wide, and 31 feet in depth of hull.  Great Lakes ships before the advent of loading regulations would be loaded as deep as the harbors would allow, which as of 1913 was generally 23 feet, meaning only 8 feet of the hull would be extending above the waterline.

The 1913 storm was reported to have waves as high as 35 feet in height and winds of above hurricane force, this would result in quite the pounding for a boat out in them.  Great lakes ships flex in the waves much like if you were to hold a pile of spaghetti noodles and twist them.  You can twist the spaghetti a certain amount, but above a certain point it will start to break.  On Great Lakes ships of this vintage the weakest point of the hulls were the riveted joints between plates.

There are many reports of ships making it to port after a particularly strong blow and having to shovel sheared rivets out of the hull.  I have seen some reports of ships having to have thousands of rivets replaced after one of these trips. 

The wreck of the Smith lies in 535 feet of water some 20 miles North of Marquette.  The hull is intact, but broken in the middle.  Apparently the hull has snapped in the storm, dumping out the iron ore cargo.  These hulls did not have the water tight barriers in them that would later become standard on most cargo ships so even lightened of cargo the ship would not be long for this world.  Maybe somebody did have time to scroll a quick note before the ship made its final dive to the bottom.  I am sure there will be further investigation to find out if the story of the note in the bottle could have some legitimacy or not.

Read More!
Henry B. Smith wiki
The Great Storm of 1913 wiki
News Tribune Article

Welcome to Duluth, where winter comes early and summer shows up on time.

Yep, kind of sick of spring showers.  But I should be use to it by now, it has been this way since I was a kid.  It is Duluth.  Where winter comes early, I have seen snow in October, the beginning of October, although apparently it has snowed in September before, I was not up to see it.  I have also seen snow in May.

The Halloween storm was a killer, 36 inches of snow on fucking Halloween, no shit....

But it is Duluth.

Summer shows up in time for Grandma's Marathon every year, and it sticks around long enough for the inline marathon in September.  Then it is done, maybe a little Indian summer, but it is basically done.  Then we have winter again.

For eight months, or at least it feels like 8 months.

The weather has been getting warmer as of late, but that ends up meaning greater variability and more severe weather, the timing of the seasons has not really changed much, just more freakishly warm weather in the middle of winter and freakishly late blizzards.

Like this year when we got four feet of snow in April.

But summer is coming, we will get two and a half months of beach weather, enough time to get the winter coat cleaned and then it will be back to the icebox for winter, although if the last few winters are any guide it wont get seriously cold until November, and it wont really snow until just before Christmas. 

I used to go out on Thanksgiving and my dad would chop a hole in the ice on the bay to see if it was thick enough for ice skating, invariably it was because we had already had a cold snap with below zero temperatures.  This last winter we did not dip below zero until December 11th, and we did not have more than one day dip below until Christmas.  The first real cold snap was towards the end of January.

These are not the winters I remember, the ice was not really solid until half of the winter was over, by then it is too late.

And global climate change is a myth my ass....

Of course we got a later winter winter this year, once winter kicked it it would not let go finishing off with out weekly blizzards of April, and some of those were doozies!

Oh well, I suppose I need to do something productive today, going to see about getting some excel programmed as it is rainy as all hell out today.

On the positive side it isn't snow, and my allergies are appreciating the rain.

According to the weather forecast it is supposed to warm up next week as well, that would be nice, we have been in a cycle of Eastern winds off the lake which has prevented it from getting much warmer than the "just barely above the fucking freezing mark" that the lake is currently at.

All hail summer, I intend on enjoying some of it this year.

Presuming it gets here before fall hits.

Coffee is my life blood....

Mormons don't drink coffee....

It makes me wonder why they are so perky all the fucking time then.

Must be the brainwashing, or maybe they get energy piped into them from secret radio transmitters hidden in some gold tablets buried in Utah.

Or possibly they went to bed at 8pm and have no choice but be perky in the morning because it is their mid-afternoon.

Ironically I am thinking of going to field camp in Utah, should be interesting.

But anyway, for those of you who don't know I ingest a small amount of coffee a day.

Most days, I don't feel like coffee every day, but when I have work or school it comes in handy, keeps me from randomly falling asleep.

So I drink a liter of coffee...  Good coffee...  Like really good coffee, because I know where to get really good coffee...

This is no Folgers crap where they pellatize the coffee chaff and shove it right back in, this is real coffee.  I get it from a LOCAL roaster where I know what goes in my coffee....

I also get paychecks from there, but that is besides the point, they have been great employers, actually the best employers I have had, but the coffee is, bar none, the best I have ever had.

And I have had some damn good coffee....

I have been to Stumptown in Portland, checked it out, it was pretty damn good coffee, at a par with what I drink at home, but I can't say it was better.

I used to hang out at some great coffee shops in Portland, they also had some pretty damn good coffee, at a par, but I can't say it is better, and often it had some notes I did not like.

Of course I am a coffee snob.

I have also been to places that had coffee where I could barely identify it as actually being coffee.

Truck stops are notorious for having coffee that tastes like it was brewed with extract of truck tire.  You would think that someday the truckers would rise up and demand that they get real coffee, apparently it has not happened yet.  But if you had a truck stop with fast and actually drinkable coffee at 1 in the morning along a major through route like I-80 you would get truckers stopping in for fuel and a cup, and screaming across the cb to the other truckers.  You would create a Mecca for coffee junkie truckers, it would be brilliant!

These are just a few of the million dollar ideas I have that I can't afford to do myself, if you do give this a shot and make a ton of money you can send some of it to me.  I am a poor college student, I could use it.

In the meantime click some ads, the money goes to me for those, it helps....

But anyway, I like coffee, I like good coffee...

Ok, I only like really damn good coffee, and I know where to get it.

Now I am going to tell you where to get it, if you are in Duluth go to Cub Foods, or any of the Super Ones, Mount Royal, etc....  Look for the coffee display and find the big one roasted in Duluth, give it a shot, it is really good stuff...

If you just want a cup of coffee, go to Pizza Luce, Beaners, Amazing Grace, Bixby's, (Jitters, although not the coffee I am associated with he is locally owned and independent so I have to give him props), there are more, but I have not done deliveries in a while and can't remember all of them.  But support your local coffee shops, shun the corporate chains like Starbucks.  Local coffee shops employ your friends, think about it.

When I am looking for lousy coffee truck stops are not the only place I can go, there are also chain restaurants.  Perkins, what happened?  McDonalds, you actually advertise this shit?  Hotels, are you fucking kidding me?

There has been a push as of late by some places to get real coffee, and once again the names of the places are escaping me, but there are some restaurants and hotels that are buying real coffee for their customers, and these places need people to frequent them and complement having drinkable coffee in the morning, or good coffee with your meal.

Coffee is good for you.

As long as your not a Mormon getting power from some gold tablet in Utah and going to bed before the sun goes down, it helps you through your morning.

Oh, if you are out of Duluth there are small batch roasters that sell coffee online google "Duluth Coffee Roasters" and find the one that starts with an "Al"....  You can thank me later....

Charlemange, The Omens of Death

Christopher Fucking Lee....

I think that is how I am going to refer to him from now on, because he is proving himself to be made of some seriously bad ass stuff...

Shit, he was the Wickerman...

Count Dooku...




And then we get into his real life....

During WW2 he did, well....

I was attached to the SAS from time to time but we are forbidden – former, present, or future – to discuss any specific operations. Let's just say I was in Special Forces and leave it at that. People can read in to that what they like.

So, in other words,  he did shit that until everyone involved with them is dead we will never find out about, and even after everyone involved with them is dead, we will not find out about.

Sadly it has disappeared, but there was a clip of him explaining to Peter Jackson what it sounds like when someone gets stabbed if that is any hint.

But for his 90th birthday he decided that he was going to skip the prune juice and put out a metal album.


No, really, for his 90th birthday he decided to put out a metal album based on the historically accurate history of Charlemagne, who Christopher Lee apparently is descended....

And the album is arranged by the guitarist from Judas Priest....

No shit...

Is it listenable?  Yes, it is a bit droning at times, but so is history.  I will never forget how many Saxons were killed in that massacre though....

Should you check it out?


Is Christopher Lee the most bad ass 90 year old on the planet?


Although it is not a perfect album, it is special in its own right, I would rank it 3 1/2 beheaded Saxons.  Christopher Lee has a bass voice that does not lend itself well to the fast lyrics of a metal album, but presence is something that he does not lack at all.  Musically it sounds good, but not perfect, and it is something that seriously needs people to take a look at, even if just for the curiosity sake.  It is better than a lot of the music that makes it to press, but not going to make it as one of the top ten metal albums of the year.

Although it is Christopher Fucking Lee....

I hate to admit that this actually gives me a reason to visit New York....

But kyanite schist is kind of cool stuff, in all reality there are similar deposits far closer than New York, specifically in the Penokean Orogenic belt which runs from Thompson to St. Cloud, but high pressure metamorphism is cool.

I intend on trying to do some random exploration this year, with a rock hammer, and a map.

We will see how much progress I make on that front as the year goes on.

Comets are cool

Remember, remember, that this coming November.
A comet will come and we trust...
Its visage will be, something to see....
And taking pictures will be a must....

Comet Ison is coming in November and by some estimates it could be as bright as the full moon (no really, it could be that bright)...

In the meantime here is a report of comet Lovejoy and its dive past the sun...

Just when you thought Jeff would shut up about derby shit.

I do have a couple of gripes about roller derby, once again this is not dealing with any particular league, just general gripes and shit.

Learn the rules.

Read them....

Don't depend on some website to tell you how to interpret them, read them....  If you have a question read them again.

If you want to win bouts don't try to manipulate the rules, skate better.  Do core workouts, skate outside of practice, become faster, quicker, more stable.  Build up your core strength and read the rules.

The easiest way to avoid going to the penalty box is to know the rules and know what you are not supposed to be doing, and then don't do those things.

I hate bench coaches who scream at refs and try to argue every little minutia.  There is a process for that, it is called taking a time out and then asking for an official review. 

This is the same reason when I am running a bout I make the rule that all questions go through the head ref.  It actually makes things a lot easier, you ask the head ref a question and then (assuming I am head reffing the bout) I will go and verify whether what was called was correct or not.  The reason that I have everything go through the head ref is that way I can keep everything under control which makes the bout go faster, and makes it so that all of the zebras are on the same page.

If you are reffing don't be wishy-washy.  This is truly one of my greatest pet peeves.  Be decisive, if you make a call stand behind it.  I will tell you if you were wrong, but if you come up to me with an answer like "well I thought I saw this so I called this" I am not going to stand behind that call.  If you come up to me with "I saw this, the contact was here and with this part of the body, therefore I called this penalty" I am not going to disagree with your interpretation.  That is solid, and hard for someone to argue that it did not occur.

Just because someone fell does not mean there was a penalty.  People fall in derby, it is kind of the nature of the sport.

If you are jam reffing a jammer does not automatically get all of the points on a pass, there is that wonderful thing called "no pass, no penalty" and it happens more frequently that some people think.

When I am reffing I don't call penalties to be mean or spiteful, I call them because they are a necessary evil that we have to deal with.  If there were no rules and no penalties we would also be dealing with broken bones in almost every bout.  I would not want to be part of a sport that supports that kind of behavior.  This is roller derby, not MMA, treat it as such.

Skate better.

Read the rules.

Do core work.

If you are struggling with balance and strength issues try yoga, seriously, yoga is about patience, balance, and strength, these are three things that all derby people could use more of.

And read the damn rules....

Don't trust what refs say as being the bible.  Just because one ref over here says that it is called this way does not mean that they are correct.  The rules are what the rules are.  Good refs read them and adapt their behavior and calling based on the best interpretation that they have, but are willing to see that they may or may not always have the best view on things.  So good refs read the rules.  Then we re-read the rules.  Then we go back over the rules to make sure that our interpretation of the rules is correct.

Seriously, now that I have been back in school I have been slacking on my derby which means that I only spend 1.5 hours a week reffing a scrimmage, and then the following 5 hours going over rules, drinking beer, and playing pool.  Then we spend time on the interwebs and on our personal discussion boards, and or facebook, going over rules.  If I spent this much time doing studying of what I am actually paying to learn I would be rocking this geology stuff!

So read the damn rules.

Stupid trees fucking in my sinuses.... Its rape I tell you!

I basically slept straight through from Friday night through Saturday night.  I was so stuffed up from pollen and whatnot that I have an entire fireplace just full of kleenex.  I sat there last night going back and forth between shivering and sweating  my ass off while lying in my really comfy chair under not one but three blankets.

As it turns out when I get a cold I do not fuck around, and the same goes for cold+allergies.  I was actually dizzy when I was trying to be functional this afternoon, so I went back to sleep.

Tomorrow morning I am going straight to the death hash browns to clean this shit out.

For those of you who are unaware of what I mean by death hash browns I will give you the recipe, as it is amazingly awesome!

Cook bacon in a frying pan, pull out the bacon and set it aside, pour off most of the grease (as you just don't need that much) and using a salad shooter spray in...

One red potato....
1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic

You can also use a garlic press for the garlic, but however it works....

Now you must add the death part of the death hashbrowns....

Salt, pepper, crushed hot red pepper, Frank's red hot sauce, and Tabasco to taste....

Please note, if you have done it right everyone in the house will have their sinuses cleared out by the time you are done cooking, whether they are in the kitchen or not.

I used to live with a couple of roommates and when I would cook something along these lines they would be shoving towels under the doors of their bedrooms and complaining of the burning....

And that was before I started growing my own chili peppers....

I currently have 85+ pepper plants growing, this is going to be an awesome year.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Anthropocene

            We have entered a new era, it is called the Anthropocene, it is defined as the time when humans have started having major ecological effects of the environment, but at what point do you mark its beginning?

            Do you go back to the beginning of the industrial revolution when humans started burning massive amounts of coal and deforesting entire swaths of land.  Started farming on an industrial scale and breaking the back of the grasslands?

            Do you go back as far as the beginning of rice paddy development in Asia and the increase in global methane that came with the beginning of humans and the cultivation of crops?

            Do you jump all the way back to the humans and the extinction of mega-fauna on all of the continents?

            Or do you stay more recent and go with the development of plastics and land-fills.

            Or do you stick with something that is really obvious and has already been shown to have left a major mark and use the dropping of the first atomic bomb as your marker.

            Which ever marker you choose the results of the anthropocene are rather incredible, even if, as humans, we barely see the end results of all of our actions.  But we are already seeing major species loss from destruction of habitat.  We are seeing a rise in global temperatures at a time when the global temperature of the northern hemisphere should actually be falling.  We are seeing pollution on a global scale as a result of our throw-away society.

            The next question is what is next for our planet?  Will the anthropocene mark the end of more species than we anticipated, like possibly our own?

            I hope that humans can eventually figure it out and realize that it is possible to power even our energy dependent society on renewables. 
            No really, it can be done.

            But we have stripped the planet of most of the easily accessible hydrocarbons, and we have now had to start going after the more and more difficult to access resources.

            I would love to say that we at least have some progress to report on becoming a more cleanly world, but I have little to report on that front.  We do have some good things coming like wind farms and solar, but the amount in the United States is still too small to make up for the increase in need that we are developing.

            We should start making progress towards using some cleaner energy sources, even nuclear is far less polluting than just burning more coal.   Although the hippies will never agree to it as part of their NIMBY mentality, the disposal of sealed canisters of nuclear waste in granite batholiths does actually make sense, especially considering that granite batholiths are radioactive anyway.

            In conclusion we have the era that we have brought upon ourselves, and we have to get through this era, or it will be our own species that gets shown to be one of the markers of it.  We need to work together and develop something renewable, clean, and efficient so that the anthropocene becomes a learning experience, and not a terminal marker.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A short random story about squid and cuttlefish

            I have no idea where the giant squid came from.

            But it is definitely there.

            Right there.

            Do you ever have that experience when you wake up from a dream, you eat breakfast, you take a shower, and then you walk outside expecting it to be a nice shining day outside and it starts raining cuttlefish.

            What, this only happens to me?

            Ok, maybe I am still asleep, and the whole waking up thing was part of the dream.  This reality is just in my imagination.  But giant squid do exist, don’t they?  Is there any reason why there shouldn’t be one slapping his tentacles against the bed of my truck as I try to get the windshield wipers to go to the cuttlefish setting.
            This is the exact moment I realize that I had burned out the cuttlefish setting when I drove through a hailstorm of barnacles last week.  Dented the truck pretty badly as well.  Now here I am trying to drive through a drizzle of cuttlefish with the wipers only capable of reaching wiping away things up to, and including shrimp, maybe an odd crab.  But no, today is definitely cuttlefish.

            I pull up to work and the giant squid is still slapping at the back of the truck.  I flick the butt of my cigarette at his eye and it hits with a satisfying sizzle.  Amazing how much giant squid hate that.  He recoils out of the way far enough for me to make it though the cuttlefish writhing on the ground and into work.

            “It just had to be cuttlefish, didn’t it.”

            “It is always cuttlefish when you least expect it, isn’t it?”

            I guess so, but that does not make it any easier.  I will be happy when I realize how inexpensive calamari has gotten in town, but that only lasts a week or so.  The damn things wont keep forever.

            And that smell, could you even imagine the smell of the cuttlefish that the sushi purveyors, and the hungry giant squid miss?

            I did tell you that the giant squid are always out when you have cuttlefish right?  They show up, seemingly out of no where to eat them.  Makes for an interesting sight.

            This is normal right?  This is how the world is for everyone right?

            I am not just imagining this, right?

            Well, I settle in for my day of work and I realize that my pen is empty.  Normally this would be a real inconvenience as the supply of ink is rather tightly controlled since the bathroom graffiti bandits started to be on the loose, but luckily it is a cuttlefish day and there is a giant squid right in the parking lot.  I grab the bucket and walk out, through the drizzle of cuttlefish and I throw a firecracker behind the squid.

            The bang of the firecracker startles the squid and he squirts ink all over the place.  I try to get as much of the ink as I can into the bucket and start back into the office.  There is work to be done.

            My work is pretty much the same as every one else’s work.  We write down random numbers and then hand them to the next person who adds them up.  At the end of the day we try to get all of the totals to add up to a certain number, but since no one knows what that number is we never seem to get it right and have to come back the next day to try it again.  It does get a little monotonous.

            One day I tried to just right down the number 17 for everything.  Another day I just wrote down 42.  Neither one was correct, and sadly I am not even sure in what direction they were wrong.  Now I try to do weird sequences.  Sometimes I think I see patterns within patterns in the sequences.  I could have swore I even had a sequence start looking like it was dancing and a little Irish man jumped right out of the page.  Unfortunately he ran from the office into the outside and was crushed by a falling cuttlefish.

            At the end of the day I go home and I sleep and I have dreams of a strange world where it rains water, and there are no giant squids slapping at my truck.  It seems so boring, and at the same time oddly intriguing.  I wonder what it would be like to live there sometimes while I am writing down numbers at work.

A few "Don'ts" of Derby

            It seems when I go on a roller derby rant everyone perks up and wants to see where I am going with it.  I have to still be a bit careful with these to avoid stepping on toes, but let us see how far I can get without that becoming an issue.

            I am really sick of people that think that the best strategy is to watch nationals and then try to mimic everything that they see there.  Yeah, Gotham has some great strategy, they also have some absolutely amazing athletes that can pull that shit off.  Your team also has some great athletes, but they are not at the skill level of Gotham.  Therefore, the strategy that works for Gotham may or may not work for you.  Chances are it will not.

            What you should try instead is to figure out what your limitations are, and then work within those limitations.  Calculate what the needs are for any given jam, and then be fluid within a structure.

            The “time out at the last second to extend a game” bullshit has got to stop.  Ok, there are times that this should be used.  For instance you are down by 15 and think you can sausage the opposing jammer and get a couple of laps up.  Ok, call a time out, we as refs should almost be expecting it.  However, if you are leading, or even worse you are blowing the other team out of the water let the fucking time expire.  Don’t be a douche and make us have to skate another jam.  We are all tired, we know what the end result of the bout is going to be, and we have beers waiting for us.  Let the fucking bout end.

            Don’t grab your back and scream “back block” and expect me to call it.  If I see it I will call it, if I didn’t see it I can’t call it.  Just because you scream “back block” does not mean I am going to call it for you.  If you don’t like it join team zebra.

            Don’t try to get every fucking penalty overturned just because you disagree.  We called it.  We called it because we saw it.  Deal with it.

            Don’t scream at refs because they called you for a penalty.  If you make this a habit you will discover that we can call additional penalties.  You also make yourself a target, which when your trying to be the skater off the radar when you invariably do something illegal is not very smart.

            Essentially this all falls under the header of “don’t be a douche.”  Think to yourself and turn on that “don’t be a douche” filter before you skate out.  If you still can’t figure out how not to be a douche we have a special place for people who can’t help but be a douche.  If you ask me I can tell you how to get there.

Ok, this is why I am thinking about the astronomy minor.

A cloud of gas heading towards the galactic center!



Detecting tint black holes!

Ok, sign me up....

Yes, I read the bbc news a lot...

Maybe it is time we start copying the Finns some more, the baby box!

Ok, this idea is brilliant, and apparently it works!  Maybe the US should start doing the same kind of thing.  If you have a baby you get a box, full of supplies, and they even have changed with the times and science learning over the years!  Simply brilliant!

Hormones? Why didn't you just say that "boys will be boys" while you were at it.

Hormones is no excuse.  In reality if you can train someone to kill why can't you train them not to rape at the same time.

Global warming? Perhaps?

Ok, it has not been the warmest spring on record here in Duluth, far from it.  But one of the major components of global warming is that the greater quantity of kinetic energy in the atmosphere increases the variability of the weather and the intensity and frequency of severe weather.

So, does that help to explain this?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Because some people get more awesome with age....Christopher Lee

Christopher Lee, you remember him from Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, maybe as a James Bond villain.

But how about heavy metal singer...

No, really, heavy metal...

And the even scarier part, it is actually pretty good.

Ok, pretty damn good.

Pretty fucking awesome!

Check it out!  Because it is awesome!

The first rule of roller derby...

Everyone should no the first rule of Roller Derby.  It is actually very applicable to life in general, you need to remember to not be a douche.

This goes for both your existence on and off the track.

I am not going to be bringing up any specific examples of douchy behavior right now as I am going to be following the first rule of Roller Derby.  But you know who you are, or at least you should know who you are.

So stop being a bunch of douches.

Start behaving yourselves.

And just quit being a bunch of douches.

There were some very not douchey people that I got to work with last night, although I am not going to have time to mention all of them

Otter!  Thanks for coming up, you always make things more interesting.

Zane, loved seeing you again!

Yacob!  Cool to see you again as well.

Dread, fear not, Stripe Force still won the after party.

Bacon, you were on that winning team as well.

Jaime and Bu, thanks for letting Stripe Force win the after party!

The Sun, for lighting my way home on the way back after the party was done.

Adrian and Brye, for putting up with our nonsense, and walking up the hill.

Frost, for just being awesome.

MVM, for having a great bout and not giving in, sorry about all the cuts I called in the second half (but they were really obvious).

 BSOD and Dr. K, for coming and helping out.

Well, that is a good start, maybe I will add more later.

We don't need no stinking badgers...

 I actually made that comment last night during one of the referee meetings, now I see this and apparently we do need the badgers, we just need less cattle.

Maybe we should all go vegetarian.

Well, here is the story, and if all else fails the badger girls are kinda hot.

"Its ok, you can keep the badger head on..."
If we could get the money out of the politics maybe we could get honest politicians in the United States too.


But climate change, it is happening, we need to do something about it as well.  It is also true that our elevated carbon levels are preventing us from dropping into another ice age, but the carbon levels required to do that are considerably lower than what we currently have.

Well, anyway.

Read More!

Goodbye Matt Smith, I will miss your bowtie, but not your forehead.

Matt Smith is stepping down as Doctor Who at the end of this season.  It always takes a few episodes to warm up to a new doctor after they start and he definitely took some warming up to, but he did get the best damn writing to go with his character, I mean entire seasons along the same plot line!  Wow!

Read More:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Large asteroid passes by Earth, and its a binary!

Now this was a cool thing that I hope not a lot of you missed, not only did a huge asteroid fly by the earth.  Huge in the sense that it is big enough to cause a lot of destruction, although not wipe out humanity big.  But as it turns out it was a binary system!

There was never any danger, the rock missed us by a few million miles, but it was decent sized with a 2.7 km primary and a 600 meter wide secondary this was still a pair of very large rocks.  And who knows what effect of the orbital stability of the pair flying past the Earth actually had.

Read more here!

Aurora, you defeat me...

While, not the aurora per say, but the clouds in the way.  I rushed home last night trying to catch a glimpse of the aurora and maybe even get the camera out for a few shots, but of course, there were so many clouds in the way that not a single star was evident, although the green glow of the aurora could be seen through those clouds none of the usual dancing and movement, or the bright colors were there.

I was very disappointed, ever time we get a good cosmic storm for the last year or so the clouds have come in.  I am getting rather sick of it.  I am also thinking I may need to start driving around with my camera more often.

Which could result in some pretty cool pictures on here.

While anyway, I have a derby bout today so I am not going to be around to write interesting snippets all day.  I will see what I can get done in the next ten minutes, but after that your on your own.