Category Archives: News

The SEVENTY2

Just ran across this on INDIEGOGO. Looked interesting. You might agree.

95% of survival situations are resolved in 72 hours. But those first 72 hours are extremely critical. With this in mind, our kits are carefully curated to provide you everything you need, and nothing you don’t to get through those vital 3 days. We aren’t weighing you down with things you will never use, and we don’t sell you things that aren’t going to help. Just the essentials, organized so even the most inexperienced among us will have the tools and instructions to change their situation for the better. https://unchartedsupplyco.com/company/our-story


https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-seventy2-the-world-s-smartest-survival-kit-backpack#/

https://www.unchartedsupplyco.com/

Arrrggghhhh! (Internet)

Maybe it’s the Russians …

First Weggieboy (https://phainopepla95.com/2016/12/28/post-1255-argh-router-issues-this-time/) … now me.

Luckily my iPad has a cellular data connection or I could not post this. After noticing that webpages failed to load, I attempted a speed test. FAIL

So I unplugged my modem/router/wifi box and waited “long enough” then plugged it back in. Still no Internet access via WiFi.

Called my big name cable TV and internet service provider. “There is an outage in your area,” an automated voice announced. “Service is expected to be back … blah blah blah (whenever)”

OK Internet is back up BUT download speed is terrible. Call them back.

Now I am on hold with a human agent as they check my system (7:56 PM CST) …

There still appears to be “partial outage” in the network the will be corrected by 8:45 PM CST.

Now it is 8:49 PM. I unplugged my modem/router/wifi box and waited “long enough” then plugged it back in.

Download speed is about 25% of what it should be. Upload speed is normal.

(not) MARS

It’s always wise to test what you are about to do – in advance. If you want want to live on Mars, isolated, create some kind of HAB module on Earth. Test that in advance. ~ Neil Degrasse Tyson, Mars, Episode 5 / Season 1 (13:20)

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/mars/

 

HI-SEAS (Hawaii)

http://hi-seas.org/

https://youtu.be/ZOyI9EKLnSk

Apply to be a crew member

Media Kit (PDF)

 

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

http://mdrs.marssociety.org/

 https://youtu.be/AcfqeYzetko

 

https://youtu.be/vnZ8T5EnGQA

 

Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS)

http://fmars.marssociety.org/
 

EM2 

Energy Multiplier Module | A Small Modular Reactor

A reactor compact enough that it could be shipped on a truck on the US highway system.

A reactor that could burn for decades without refueling.

We don’t have to reshuffle fuel. Once you put it in there it’ll burn … and it’ll burn uniformly. 

We don’t touch the core. We can seal the core.

You have a fuel that is in a reactor for decades, one core that’s burning for thirty years. In that same amount of time a Light Water Reactor will have changed its core seven times.

The laws of physics tell you what to do, and you know, relying on the laws of physics is a pretty good bet.

 


https://youtu.be/3kOeFHNpqV0

 

http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

Stupidification Part Deux

Not that Congress needs help to be stupid … 

 
Line by line, how the US anti-encryption bill will kill our privacy, security

El Reg takes latest Burr-Feinstein legislation apart

Line by terrible line

Here at Vulture West we’ve gone through the legislation to see what exactly is in the bill. Here, for your delectation, are the worst bits:

All providers of communications services and products (including software) should protect the privacy of United States persons through implementation of appropriate data security and still respect the rule of law and comply with all legal requirements and court orders.

This is the crux of the issue. The senators want to have their cake – by requiring tech companies to protect their customers’ data – and eat it too – by insisting that law enforcement can break the code.
According to the best minds in cryptography this simply can’t be done – it’s not a moral or legislative issue but a mathematical one. Once you introduce a flaw into an encryption system, it’s impossible to stop others finding it, especially since you are mandating it is there by law and the prize is free access to all US data traffic, as evidenced in the Juniper case.

Burr and Feinstein don’t specify how this police backdoor could be managed and still protect data. Instead they have just said: “Here’s what we want – do it.” 

More at:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/04/13/burr_feinstein_antiencryption_bill_is_out/

As for the American public’s reaction, well that’s less certain. The US populace are largely complete pussies when it comes to terrorism and have – time and again – shown themselves willing to abandon hard-fought-for liberties whenever the T word comes up.

Good sense may prevail in the Land of the FreeTM, but don’t bet on it.
  

 

We’re doomed

Stupidification …

YouTube, the Internet, and the Stupidification of Mankind (A Rant)

stupidification 

Noun

1) making one less intelligent

2) filling people’s mind with patently false concepts, ideas, or historical information

3) reducing or eliminating common sense and rational thought in others

stupidify 

Verb (see stupidification)
PRE-RANT

I can’t stand it anymore. If I don’t rant my head will explode.

I am a child of the 60s. I was there when it happened I saw it with my own eyes. I am also a man of rational thought and historical perspective. I understand and follow the scientific method and I have a good grasp of recent and ancient history.

Humankind has made incredible advances in the last 5000 years. We have gone from wandering about foraging for food, living in fear of nature, disease, and the elements to almost totally mastery of our environment. We have greatly improved the life expectancy and quality of life of the majority of people living on this planet. We have identified, studied, and cured numerous diseases. We have dramatically improved the food supply. We have improved sanitation, the quality of the water we drink and the safety of our work environment.

In the past 5000 years our concept of mathematics has gone from one / few / many to calculus and higher forms of mathematics. This has enabled the advancement of the sciences and our understanding of chemistry, physics, and the world around us, below us, and above us. We have gone from walking on foot to spanning the globe by land, sea, air, and space. Our roads and automobiles allow us to travel farther in an hour than ancient people could travel in a day. Modern air transportation can take us nearly anywhere in the world in less than a day. Manned and unmanned spacecraft circle the Earth in 90 minutes.

Our accumulated knowledge of the past 5000 years has allowed us to develop the technology required to build computers, routers, switches, fiber-optic cables, the Internet, online banking, video communication, websites, blogs, YouTube, streaming music, smart phones, tablets, and much much more. Geosynchronous satellites provide weather information and satellite television. Google, Bing, and other search engines provide us instantaneous access to all of mankind’s knowledge. Men and women graduating college today have never known a time without this technology and we all take it for granted.

Eratosthenes first determined that the Earth was a sphere in the first century BC and actually calculated its circumference to within 15% of its currently accepted value. The fields of surveying and geodesy have established to the nth decimal point the shape of the earth as an oblate spheroid and have developed a vast selection of projection systems (aka Coordinate Reference Systems) used by map makers and the global GIS community to map sections of the three dimensional earth to the two dimensional maps used by governments, companies, and individuals. The map applications on our smart phones rely heavily on this body knowledge. The global network of fiber-optic subsea cables that empower the global Internet could not have been laid without this body of knowledge.

Mankind has been a spacefaring nation since the late 1950s with launch of Sputnik by the former Soviet Union. Humanity has had a more or less continuous human presence in low earth orbit since the early 1960s beginning with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. To date Russia / Soviet Union, the United States, and China have launched men and women into space. Each of these countries has had multiple long duration space stations in orbit. A total of 544 people have been in orbit. Twelve Americans walked on the surface of the moon during the Apollo program of the late 1960s – early 1970s. The total time spent by humans in space is in excess of 131.3 man-years. The following countries have some form of manned and/or unmanned space program: America, Canada, China, Europe, Japan, India, and Russia. Unmanned scientific probes have studied every planet in our solar system. India has a robust unmanned space program and it successfully placed the Mangalayaan probe into Martian orbit on its first try in 2014. World Space Flight has documented every manned and unmanned mission to date.

The knowledge mankind has acquired in the past 5000 years is vast and deep. The technologies we have developed with this knowledge are nothing short of magical.

BEGIN RANT

The “straw the broke the camels back” occurred while preparing my previous post on the Falcon 9.  I ran across a YouTube video on “FakeX” whereby the vlogger reviewed footage of the last SpaceX CRS-8 launch and step-by-step pointed out how every aspect of the video was fake. His explanation and reasoning for each of his points indicated how truly clueless, ignorant, and stupid he was … and yet this video had thousands of views and the vlogger had thousands of followers. Most of the comments and commenters agreed with him. I won’t give you the link because I don’t want to give him another view. Across the Internet and YouTube you will find hundreds (thousands?) of videos “proving” how we have been lied to about:

The Earth is really flat and not a sphere – we’ve been lied to

NASA is lying to us – all spaceflight is faked

The Moon landings were all faked

9/11 – the Twin Towers were brought down by controlled demolition, not planes

The holocaust never happened

Pretty much if you can name an established fact, you will find a blog and a host of YouTube videos “proving” that it is obviously not true and that we have been lied to. A vast global conspiracy has lied to us about pretty much everything we have ever been taught in school or college.

Funny you think? Maybe, until you realize that this counter-culture numbers in the hundreds with followers numbering in the thousands or more. Globally. Millions of views. It is not so much a disbelief in reality as it is a readiness to BELIEVE that everything we have been told or taught about [insert topic] is a lie.

How do you teach science to kids when an Internet search is just as likely bring up even more sites and YouTube videos refuting the science. In a world where everyone gets equal time the “NASA lies crowd” get as many hits as the “NASA crowd”. Even worse Google and YouTube give you suggestions based on your viewing history. Months ago I watched some flat Earth videos and faked Moon landing videos. Now most of videos suggested for me by YouTube are exactly these kinds of videos. “There must be some truth to this if there are that many videos.” And … if someone tries to refute the “we’re being lied to video” the vlogger responds with “wow look at how hard they are working to prop up the big lie.”

Think I’m over reacting? Go to YouTube and search on “NASA lies” or “flat earth” or “Moon landing hoax” or “holocaust hoax” or “9/11 hoax” or … or … or … Look at the number of views. Look at the comments. If you personally did not experience it how do you know what is truth? Science? Laws of Physics? All lies.

Lies lies lies everything you have ever been taught about anything is a lie. AND YOU CAN’T PROVE OTHERWISE.

CALMING DOWN

Whew, OK I’m calmer now … but I’m not done yet.

The irony in all of this is that the Internet and YouTube would not even exist were it not for the very technological advances and hard earned knowledge that the conspiracy theorists tell us are all lies. Global subsea cables and communications satellites are the backbone of the Internet. Flat Earth? I don’t think so.

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. – Carl Sagan

So back to the title of this rant … YouTube, the Internet, and the Stupidification of Mankind

YouTube and the Internet give anyone regardless of intellegence, education, or cognitive function equal footing with the brightest and most learned among us. It is the great equalizer … and the great stupidifier … on a global scale … 24×7.

 

 

We’re doomed.

 

 

See also The War on Science

Falcon 9

OMG I am just a little kid in old man’s body. Tears are running down my cheeks as I watch this. It is like being back in the 60s watching the moon launches or 2001 A Space Odyssey. I have always been very emotional about spaceflight (and music).

Less than four years. I have been blogging on SpaceX since the inception of this blog in 2013.

People of SpaceX and Elon Musk … thank you for a great ride!

 

… sticks the landing

And it …

As part of Friday’s CRS-8 successful resupply launch to the International Space Station, SpaceX accomplished its first ever ocean landing of the Falcon 9 on the ASDS (Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship) Of Course I Still Love You. Prior to this SpaceX successfully returned to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral. See The Falcon Has Landed.

Another take on Friday’s landing 

DOUG IS HOME

Excerpt from today’s email:

I got home yesterday afternoon, thanks to [REDACTED]. The boys were happy to see me, as was I to see them. Andy decided my walker is his perch. Dougy rubbed me every way he could to make sure Andy knew Dougy claimed me as his human. 

I’m having to use my laptop because my PC won’t connect to the internet for some reason: MADDENING! I have so much mail and [REDACTED]  have changed so much in my apartment I’m not home or comfortable yet. Things are all stacked and rearranged. 
Didn’t sleep a wink last night in that bigger, more comfortable bed [REDACTED] decided I need to start sleeping in. Of course, as someone who doesn’t have cats, she doesn’t know that you don’t shut doors on cats (or dogs), and the boys wanted to get some quality time with me again…all night! 

Dougy was especially tenacious, walking on me, kneading me, rubbing on me, sticking his face in my face. Andy was content (mostly!) to hop on the window sill behind my headboard and check out the night scene outside the window, though he also perched on the walker, which was by my bed. 

I don’t know how fast I will get back to blogging. I am buried in things that have to be done, and I’m having a hard time getting organized. For one thing, I need to get some groceries if I’m eating anytime soon. 

DOUG IS HOME
 

Note: I redacted the names of the folks Doug mentioned in his email for privacy. I’ll let him mention them in his blog if he wishes to.

Welcome home Doug.

It’s Dougy’s Birthday

It’s Dougy’s birthday, yada yada yada yada ya

OK technically Dougy is the cat. I guess I could have said its weggie’s birthday, but well there ya go.

I called him and wished him Happy Birthday. He is still stranded in Scottsbluff. Still trying to get home to Alliance.

A song for Doug … 

Just substitute “Dougy” for “Johnny”, remembering that is for weggieboy and not Dougy the cat.

Hmm … that could have been better …

 
  

Scooba dooba gone

Alas poor Scooba we barely knew you.

The Kraken is sad.

A trip today to the iRobot website, fails to show the Scooba. iRobot has dumped the Scooba Floor Scrubbing Robot in favor of the Braava Floor Mopping Robot.

  

It was inevitable I suppose. “This town ain’t big enough for both of us.” When iRobot paid $74 million for the company that made the Mint back in 2012, the fate of the Scooba was sealed. 

I was never that impressed with the Mint. To me it seemed like nothing more than a robotic Swiffer. Yet with a price well under half that of the Scooba, the much simpler Mint … now rebranded as the Braava … was destined to fly of merchants shelves.

In related news CatBeard Manor has also recently employed the services of a Roomba 980. Let me just say that this baby … I have named it WALL-E … is pulling out more dirt and cat hair than my Dyson ever did.

Release the Kraken

I have decided to call my new toy tool The Kraken, mostly because I love saying “Release the Kraken.”
 

Below we see the Scooba 450 in action, as filmed by one of my Arlo wireless security cameras. Note the infrared eyes on the front of The Kraken. These are invisible to the naked eye, but detected by the infrared-sensitive Arlo camera.

  
And now with the camera riding The Kraken … yee haw ride ’em Arlo!

  
From more info see:

http://www.irobot.com/For-the-Home/Floor-Scrubbing/Scooba.aspx

http://www.arlo.com/en-us/

Power of gold …

MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015) Gold

I ordered one of the new MacBooks. It arrived on Thursday. 

For many years I have not had a computer at home, just various iPads and iPhones. This was all I needed for my online activities. I had multiple computers at work, I didn’t need one at home.

All of that changed a week ago Friday. It is easier to update one’s resume on a laptop than on an iPad.

Let’s just say that I was as excited as a little girl with a new pony to get it, but don’t take my word for it …

“and a hard drive of five hundred and twelve megs” megs??? I hate it when I do that … Gigs! Not that bad considering it is all solid state.

  

Wish me luck on coming up with a kick-ass resume otherwise I may end up like this guy

 
  

Interview with the umpire

Did I say umpire, I meant vampire, and by vampire I meant Doug.

Doug is sort of like a reverse vampire. Every other day or so his blood is sucked out of him*. As you can imagine, having the blood sucked out of you is exhausting. This is the state I discovered him in yesterday when I finally got a hold of him after several days incommunicado. But we agreed to resume-establish contact today and sure enough Doug called me mid-afternoon.

He was feeling much better today having had a good day’s night’s sleep on the soil of his homeland a nice soft bed. I already knew that he had gotten a hair cut and a shave several days ago – it’s hard to shave when you can’t see yourself in the mirror. Oh and he finally got the correct glasses so he was finally able to see himself in the mirror.

He is still being held in a castle rehab facility in Transylvania Scottsbluff, but everyday he is getting stronger and the goal of getting home to Alliance is getting nearer. For two undead old guys with nothing much to say we sure talked for a long time.

 
BRING DOUG HOME

  

* sucked out our him, filtered, and put back into him. Dialysis.

Buffet’s Math Trumped by Gold

Roy Sebag, CEO of GoldMoney and Founder of BitGold takes Warren Buffet to task on Buffet’s statement in his most recent Annual Letter to stock holders claiming that:

American GDP per capita is now about $56,000. As I mentioned last year that – in real terms – is a staggering six times the amount in 1930, the year I was born, a leap far beyond the wildest dreams of my parents or their contemporaries.
  
Sebag goes on to show that the American GDP per capita is NOT a staggering six times the amount in 1930, but rather is essentially unchanged when compared in an apples to apples comparison in terms of the purchasing power of gold.

 
Read the entire essay on the web or in PDF.

Visit BitGold.com to get started and earn up to a 5% first deposit bonus.

AOS

Acquisition Of Signal

Contacted Doug last night in Scottsbluff. Doug is in good spirits, all things considered. He is still … with good reason … pissed off.

Doug gave me cell the phone number of his friend in Alliance. I contacted friend today. Friend hopes to see Doug on Tuesday, deliver cell phone and clothes. As we need a secure channel, Doug’s cell phone will not be released. You may leave messages for him on this blog, Maggie’s blog, or his blog.

Doug’s sister, Maggie’s mom, Doug’s friend in Alliance, and I are all in contact by email and phone. 

WE WILL

  

Long range scanner report …

One of our remote stations in the Pacific Northwest (Doug’s sister) reports:

Doug is at Golden Living Center (in ScottsBluff). Called this morning but he is in dialysis. He is in room 117, but doesn’t have a phone. They told me that they will take a phone into him when he receives calls. The staff I talked to seemed very nice and helpful.  

Our intelligence wing confirms the existence of

Golden Living Center

111 W. 36th St.

Scottsbluff, NE 69361

308-635-2019

Will attempt an audio uplink later this evening.

  

Dark Side of the Moon

LOS (Loss Of Signal) … a term first popularized during the Apollo lunar missions when the astronauts were behind the Moon and out of line-of-sight radio communication with the Earth. Also refers to loss of signal during re-entry when the ionized atmosphere enveloping a returning spacecraft blocks all radio transmissions.

Dark Side of the Moon … that side of the Moon that always faces away from the Earth and is never seen. The side the Apollo astronauts saw during LOS.

“Doug, this is Houston. Do you read? Over?”

” ”

“Doug, this is Houston. Do you read? Over?”

” ”

“Houston, this is Scottsbluff. Doug is confirmed LOS.”

“Roger that, Scottsbuff. LOS.”

“Houston, this is Alliance. We concur with Scottsbluff. Doug has definitely gone Dark Side of the Moon.”

“Roger that, Alliance.”

  

Doug is pissed off

For someone with kidney failure, Doug (aka weggieboy) is well and truly pissed off. 

As I write this Doug is STILL in Denver. What’s that you say, “Wasn’t he supposed to be home in Alliance?”

Yes, yes he was. But for reasons not yet clear, Doug’s release from Amberwood Court Care Center in Denver was delayed a day. To make matters worse he now has to pay $160 to stay an extra day, because he has exceeded the time limit for 100% Medicare coverage. Even better (and not in a good way) he didn’t even get physical therapy today so he just hung around “like a mushroom”*.

The new plan is for him to leave tomorrow, driven by an old friend from Denver who is going back to see family in Alliance. 

“Well at least he his FINALLY going home to see his kitties,” you say.

Well just hold on there one minute bucko! 

Doug isn’t going home to Alliance. He is going to Scottsbluff – on the way to Alliance. AND … his friend won’t have the time to take Doug to Alliance, then back to Scottsbluff to drop Doug off, then go back to Alliance. 

Doug is pissed off. So am I. So is Maggie’s mom, Liz. You should be too! I would hate to think that Amberwood Court Care Center purposely dragged its heals to get every penny of Doug’s Medicare money (and then some). That never happens. And I would also hate to think that Doug is being sent to Scottsbluff due to some financial accrual to Amberwood, because stuff like that never happens either.

On a positive note – seriously – Doug has been able to contact the people caring for the boys and even heard one of them meow. And another friend in Alliance is going to bring him clothes, keys, wallet, cellphone, and laptop computer.

Still I am thinking of hiring GRAVICKGROUP to pay Doug a visit in Scottsbluff. 

Stay tuned …

* “like a mushroom” – kept in the dark and fed $h1t

Highland Park

Doug is coming home to Highland Park

  
No not THAT Highland Park (although he may need some of that Highland Park after his ordeal)

 
This Highland Park

  

http://www.highlandpark-alliance.com

Doug goes “road trip” on Thursday with a long-time friend from Denver. He will stop by home first to see his kitties, get his reading glasses, wallet, cell phone, and laptop computer before checking in at Highland Park.

I know that in the past Doug has been fond of whisky and even belongs to a whisky tasting club. Sadly I am quite sure that alcohol is off the menu for him now that he is on dialysis otherwise I would send him a bottle to commemorate his return to Alliance.

Coming home

Email from Doug’s sister Kathy

“Good News!! Doug just called me. He finally gets to go home to Alliance on Thursday. He will not be going to the Good Samaritan Care Center, which is about 1/2 block from his apartment, but Highland (I think is the name) Care Center in Alliance. He is just happy that he will be home. He doesn’t know yet if he will have the dialysis in Alliance or Scottsbluff. He will have his glasses, cell phone and lap top, which will be nice for him. He will give us more details as he finds out himself. “

BRING DOUG HOME

Yet Another Update on Doug (AKA weggieboy)

If you have been following this or Maggie’s blog, you know that weggieboy’s blog | surviving retirement with two cats has gone quiet. That’s because Doug is being held prisoner in a rehab center in Denver, forced to do daily physical therapy and every other day dialysis. 

Doug was transported to Denver in the belief that his Wegener’s Granulomatosis had flared up again. The hospital determined that he was NOT having an exacerbation of WG, but had suffered kidney failure as a result of it. He was subsequently discharged to a rehab facility also in Denver. He is stuck there without his reading glasses, wallet, or cell phone and without any support system of friends and family. 

(Sounds like imprisonment to me) 

Anyway, because he is a Nebraskan in Colorado they need to get him back to Nebraska before next Wednesday the 17th or Medicare stops paying 100%. Our fear (that being me, Maggie’s mom Liz, and Doug’s sister in Washington state) is that they will transfer him to another facility in Nebraska, but not home to Alliance. As you can imagine, Doug is worried to death about his kitties. We have it in good word that his neighbor is taking care of them, but it has been a month now and no one has been able to contact him because we don’t have his neighbor’s phone number. Heck Doug’s last blog entry was on January 14th and I wasn’t able to contact him until February 5th … three weeks later. 

There is no reason Doug can’t go home. The Box Butte General Hospital in Aliance has both top notch dialysis and physical therapy facilities. Doug is ambulatory and able to get around with use of a cane. Doug needs to go home.

You can call him directly at (303) 862-3040. Tell him you read about his plight on this or Maggie’s blog (I am sure that she will reblog this). He would love to hear from you. I would say to send him a get well card, but he will be transferred before it would get there.

  

As I said, there is no reason Doug can’t go home.

  

     

  

Doug got the Care Package

Talked to Doug about an hour this evening. He is in good spirits. 

The Care Package arrived this morning but he had not seen it, so I had to contact the nurses and have them go find it for him. Eventually they did locate it and Doug and several of the staff were in enjoying the oranges and tangerines. As Denver is in the dead of winter, they were a big hit for everyone.

One of the common complications of Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG) is kidney failure and the upshot of this episode is that Doug will have to be on dialysis from here on. Fortunately there appears to be dialysis resources in his home town of Alliance Nebraska. Doug will be in Denver most likely though the end of the month. He is without computer or cell phone so his contact with the outside world is limited. I know he would love to hear from you.

Please send him your get-well wishes to

     Doug Thomas

     C/O Amberwood Court Care Center

     4686 E Ashbury Circle

     Denver CO 80222

You can also call him at  (303) 862-3040. This is a direct line to his room. If there is no answer it probably means he is in physical therapy or rehab.