Saturday, December 31, 2005
Times are bad for Detroit, but likely will get worse.
"You’ve got to have a cataclysmic event. “I don’t see the UAW supporting this cataclysmic fix. I don’t see a negotiated long-term fix with the UAW’s participation.”
Hold on, says partner McKinley: “You can’t point fingers at the union. [During past negotiations] the union asked, and the industry gave it to them. Who is to blame: The chicken or the egg?”
What we have cannot continue. “The parallel is what we’re looking at in the United States in social security: Active employees pay for retirees,” McKinley says. “That is an unsustain�able model.”
This is not an overnight problem. It has been going on for decades. Guys at the top are playing not to lose rather than to win; a not-on-my-watch philosophy has made executives wary and cautious.
“You can’t compete with antiquated industrial facilities, labor structure and work rules,” Camp-bell says. “Without change, our hometown industry will go away—it will move from the Midwest completely—it will go to lower-cost areas. It will continue its move to southern states as have the transplants, and to other countries like China and India.
“Put this on a napkin, stick it in an envelope and put it under your mattress: Let’s look at this in 36 months. As soon as people can recognize this plague and can cut off the gangrenous appendages, the better off we will be. Will it be painful? Yes, but every day you wait, it gets worse.”"
Likely, companys like Amazon are watching you much more closely than The NSA.
Good or bad ?
Depends on what you are looking for.
Bombs ... maybe bad.
Entertainment, products, services ? Maybe good.
The ablity of merchants to serve up what they think you will pay for can be good.
That said, I'll admit that, most times, I go to buy, not "shop" (as in browse).
If You Have Kinky Tastes - Forbes.com:
"If You Have Kinky Tastes You might find it creepy how much marketers know about you and what you buy. See Helen Coster's 'Consumer Spy'. Get ready for far more intrusiveness as your shopping migrates from printed catalogs to electronic ones. Now L.L. Bean is going to know not just what you bought but how long your eyes lingered on each image.
Jeff P. Bezos has made this kind of data mining into an art form. Go online to check out a particular massage showerhead and Amazon will suggest that you also consider a Nat King Cole CD, reruns of Moonlighting, and TurboTax. The connections are a bit obscure, perhaps. But this computer is very smart. If you are looking for John Wayne movies, it knows not to serve up a recommendation for Midnight Cowboy."
Friday, December 30, 2005
Personally, there is a difference.
Not concerned that "Big Brother" is listening in on my conversations. Nothing of interest being said.
Data mining basically looks for patterns, not specific conversations ... unless such conversations are about threats to "National Security"
Just like blogs ... most are not worth the pixels that display them.
Defense Tech: You can run... Archives
Here's the source: Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report - New York Times
Sunday, December 25, 2005
Ted seems to have his heart in the right place, balance of nature, respect wildlife, give back more than you take.
Orginal was illustated by Glenn Wolff
link is here to Glenn's Studio and the illustration
OUTDOORS; For Tribe Nuge, Christmas Bounty From Mother Earth - The Archive - The New York Times:
The icicles hanging from my mustache and beard were the real McCoy. No fake decorations allowed in my Christmas tree. And my Christmas tree just happened to be a towering white oak atop a majestic forested ridgeline bordering a stunning southern Michigan swamp.
Instead of a handmade angel on top, this frozen guitar player clung for dear life to the crow's nest branches way up high, bow and arrow in hand, waiting for an American whitetail deer to bring our Christmas dinner on by. On the hoof. For I was bow hunting this frigid evening, celebrating the birth of God's son, doing my own little personal shivering prayer for peace and joy across the land.
The wiser members of Tribe Nuge were snug around the home fireplace preparing a hot meal for the old hunter's return, blue spruce tree aglow in the corner of our home with celebratory decorations aglitter. With the wind chill of minus 30 numbing my bones, I could hardly wait for dark to take over the swamp so I could join them for a Nugent American tradition of grand Christmas spirit. Meanwhile, Old Man Winter was doing all he could to blow me clean out of my tree stand. Motor City Madman, indeed.
Suddenly, he arrived, and a powerful inner instinct overwhelmed the frozen wind and any thought of comfort. I could hardly believe my eyes that such a beast was approaching on this brutal night. He was a great stag, and he was coming my way. I pushed and pulled on my frozen muscles in preparation to draw my bow as does and young deer crunched the icy snow below me, luring the old monarch into range. The magnificent buck paused every few steps to test the wind and my patience, and on he came.
As he turned his head to follow an old doe, I initiated my hunter's prayer, my arrow coming back gracefully, like the Zen ballet of life and death that it is. And in an instant, the razor-sharp broadhead had sliced clean through the old boy's vitals, and it was all over except for the jubilation. He died in but seconds before me, tipping over in the pure white snow of the marsh, just 25 yards away. I looked to the heavens and said another prayer, then carefully descended my icy perch and proceeded with the stirring recovery rituals of such a precious gift.
Balance, biodiversity and perfect protein for the table were the win-win-win of the occasion. With the help of my family, we dragged the amazing animal back to the barn, and soon my frozen garments were replaced with a nice, warm cushy robe, slippers and a hot meal. The Santa Claus of fresh meat had landed.
The American dream is truly amazing any way you choose it, but this hands-on outdoor conservation lifestyle of hunting, fishing and trapping keeps one honest to the cause and effect with the good Mother Earth and all her creatures and resources.
The gorgeous spruce we so joyously decorated together was once again harvested from the thousands of various trees we plant each spring. The natural season of planting is as important to us as the natural season of harvest, and it means so much more to us knowing we personally plant thousands of trees for every one we use. Just as the thriving deer populations prove, reasoning predators will always put back more than we take. The Christmas season is surely a time of giving, but the Nugents don't limit such conscientiousness to a single time of year. We just go a little wilder at Christmas.
The mouth-watering, aromatically stimulating spread on our Christmas dinner table is not only scrumptious, but perhaps the healthiest food available to mankind. Given the tender loving care with which we handle this hard-earned sacred flesh -- accompanied by ample amounts of garlic, butter, Michigan morel mushrooms and sweet onions, roasted over our own apple and hickory coals -- this much-appreciated meal fortifies not only the belly but the spirit as well.
Our wild turkey is pure, organic food, the roasted venison haunch and mallards are a testament to the perfection of God's natural, renewable bounty. We do it every year, and will forever.
Watching my children grow up in such a spiritually connected lifestyle has served them well, and their integrity and quality of life are my proudest accomplishments. They are all giving, loving, caring, independent, resourceful, funny, clever, productive American citizens solidly in the asset column of life. Now with grandchildren at the party, the traditional Nugent family fun factor continues off the charts.
Though the gift wrapping and unwrapping can best be described as a consumer orgy, steps toward practicality are being upgraded every year. We try to provide as many gifts to the United States military families as we possibly can, for but by the blood of warriors can any celebration take place at all.We celebrate the gift of life, we celebrate American freedom, and we celebrate the holiday.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Question : is Wikipedia messy because life and the world is messy ?
"Wikipedia for Grownup's"?
Not that the Times has a vested interest in "Authorative Voice" status.
Continuing discussions, with links to discussions:
Insider Editing at Wikipedia - New York Times
"Mr. Sanger left Wikipedia, he said at the time, because it gave too much power to 'difficult people, trolls, and their enablers.' He says his latest endeavor, Digital Universe, will combine the strengths of Wikipedia with those of a traditional reference work. With $10 million in backing, Digital Universe, called 'a Wikipedia for grown-ups' by The Register, a technology news site, will go online next month (digitaluniverse.net). It will allow anyone to contribute and edit entries, but experts vouching for the accuracy of entries will oversee major areas of content, according to ZDNet Asia."
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Over the last couple of years, with our (seemingly) annual fall visits to NYC we found some nice, and some extremely nice places to dine
2004 we tried Le Cirque
At the time it was Le Cirque 2000, located within the "New York Palace"
Very nice, but maybe more on atmosphere than fine food.
And we went to The Four Seasons ... for the setting, not the fare.
But had taken Shirley to Lupa Osteria Romana: Restaurant ... simple setting, great food !!!
Her favorite for the year
This year the highlight was Daniel
Maybe the atmosphere/setting is a bit "over the top" but the fare was superb.
Back home, we're headed to Trattoria Funistrada for simple New Year's dinner.
Not fancy, but good food.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
DenverPost.com - BUSINESS
Indictment of Nacchio likely today
Federal prosecutors are ready to file criminal charges against the former Qwest chief executive, sources say. The government has been focusing on issues of insider trading and securities disclosure.
Why post this?
PCForum story - more here
Note that Blog Blog is just where I collect stuff (generally) particular to blogging...
Monday, December 19, 2005
gizmag Article: For the man with everything - the V8 snowblower
Got the orginal via email from trusted contact ...
And yet further "research" ... They'r Canadian
(where they have even more winter than Michigan)
Welcome to V8 Snowblowers.com
For the man with everything - the V8 snowblower
If you're tired of anaemic, one-lung snowblowers with their slipping drive belts, you might consider Kai Grundt's V8 snow blower which raises the bar on the traditional snow blower in every respect.
With electric start, electric block heater, antifreeze heater and eight cylinders, it has no drive belts to freeze up and you'll never get bored with the job as the 454 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V8 produces 412 horsepower, 430 foot pounds of torque and can throw snow 50 feet at just 3500 rpm. Nor will you get cold as the machine has been ingeniously designed to route the engine coolant through the handle bars, with the rear mounted, enclosed radiator keeping the operator nice and cosy.
The first point to make is that this is not a V8 grafted on a traditional snow blower carriage but a purpose-built unit crafted around a motor of this magnitude. It functions very much like a traditional blower by way of operator input and feedback and offers effortless safe operation.
Manouevering the massive beastie (it has a total wet weight of 912lbs) is a snack thanks to the hydraulic-drive 4WD skid steer on independent walking beams which offers a zero turning radius. It's also as fast as you like, with an infinitely adjustable speed range on the drive wheels via dash mounted flow control. At the opposite end of the scale, it has more than enough torque to pull your car out of the ditch before the hydraulic motors stall!
Adding to the well-balanced feel of the unit, just 15 pounds of down force on the handlebars will lift the auger blade off the ground in order to climb stairs/walkways for ease of snow removal. Safety has and continues to be paramount with spring return to centre "fail safe" type directional controls with emergency stop and tether cords.
Safety is one of the key theme, with a flashing blue light (as required by law in many areas) being the least of the safety features. No-one will fail to hear you with those twin throaty exhausts, which come standard with 92 decibels at the controls, though if the rhumba of a V8 exhaust is music to your ears, you can obviously go much louder. Even at the standard baffling,
hearing protection is strongly suggested.
The powerful yard machine lights and a dashboard with backlit gauges complete the package to ease the burden of this normally reviled task
The custom 42 inch, two stage auger has a Chevrolet 10 bolt truck differential with spool and a centrifugal auger clutch with shear pin protection, further adding to the image of this "automotive theme blower."
As each unit is cutom-built, optional extras for the snowblower are both diverse and outrageous as the base unit - there is unlimited auger choices from single to multi stage designs and various motor combinations to suit the religious preferences of the customer (Chevy, Dodge Hemi, Ford) and such exotica as a V-10 or a diesel engine or remote starting can be accommodated.
And if, after a while, you feel you've outgrown the 400 horses, this particular engine is well catered for in the performance modification area, with Lunati camshaft, Milodon Gear drive, Holley and Edelbrock components to name a few, and there's always the fuel injection option too, if you feel you need to throw the snow out of the county or ensure your seat in the "neighborhood blower blingster hall of fame."
Sunday, December 18, 2005
At least the sentiments are right.
Call it "Rules to Live By"
ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their
conversational skills will be as important as any other.
THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you
FOUR. When you say, "I love you," mean it
FIVE. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.
SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.
EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't
NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only
way to live life completely.
TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives.
TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.
THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile
and ask, "Why do you want to know?"
FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great
FIFTEEN. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson
SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others;
and responsibility for all your actions.
EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to
TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your
TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.
Is Mark Cuban Missing the Big Picture? - New York Times
"In the long historical view, the movie theater was a makeshift response to immature technology not quite ready for the home, the first-choice place to enjoy entertainment. Now, however, advances in digital technology offer in the comfort of one's own family room a visual and aural experience that approaches that of the theater. The transition to digital in the home, unlike that in commercial theaters, will result in a huge difference: the incumbent technology isn't very-high-resolution film but low-resolution analog television."
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
The New York Times Magazine
Some good, some not-so-good, some just plain fun
Such as DUI (Dialing Under the Influence) blocker:
The truest words are spoken not in jest but rather after one too many bourbon sours. Liquid courage can turn a normally taciturn individual into a confrontational blabbermouth, eager to tell co-workers or former lovers exactly how he feels about them. The results aren't usually pretty, as has now been immortalized in the popular culture: Paul Giamatti's wine-addled character succumbs to a bout of "drinking and dialing" in the movie "Sideways."
CommonCensus Map Project
Right now, only about 30K participants, but if they get several hundred thousand, up to a million or so ...
Then, if hte project is ongoing, spotting trends could be interesting.
Could be a powerful marketing tool as well
WSJ.com - Redrawing the Lines
"Web Site Seeks to Find
Where People Fit In
On the Map of the U.S.
By AARON RUTKOFF
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
December 14, 2005
CommonCensus.org's new approach to mapmaking may help uncover the answers to many of America's riddles -- where 'upstate' New York begins, why congressional districts look so wrong and where fans of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays live.
The site was created by Michael Baldwin, an expatriate living in Brazil, and begins with the premise that the boundaries on maps often fail to accurately describe the social and political realities of a region. What would the U.S. map look like if it were redrawn according to peoples' current affiliations, rather than relying on decisions made by generations past?"
Friday, December 09, 2005
Little "ice volcano" on the beach
Breeze from the south/southwest
Temps up to almost 30, but 25-30MPH breeze brings windchill down to about ZERO
Waves have moved all the ice back to shore
Piling up and some "blowholes" where the water is channeled up in little "volcanoes"
Look close ... there is a spray of ice chunks
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Ice slowly accumulating.
Most of the lake is open water.
First signs, early in the morning is when the water seems to move in slow motion near the edge of the ice sheet... like molasses
Further out, there are "normal" waves, but, although not frozen, the waves seem to slow down as they get closer to shore.
Diving ducks still active, but further out...
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
4:30 and we've been getting a bit of ice
Some light "slushy" ice on the shore, stable enough to collect snow.
Very thin "skim" ice forming in the cove (the dull or buff surface contrasted to the gloss of open water).
I wanted to catch a moment with snow obscuring the far side of the lake, yet open over the cove.
It's been snowing on and off all month.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
A little experiment with iPhoto
Not identical positions, but tried to modify to make them as close to identical as possible
First one was 10:15 AM on 10/29
Second was at 3:15 PM on 11/30
First was clear day, morning light, the second was overcast.
Don't know code to get blogger to line them up perfectly
Friday, December 02, 2005
Though I'm not sure if the conditions are the same outside near earth orbit.
I'd want to see more data ... doubt that it was outside the VanAllen belt.
Universe Today - Lichen Can Survive in Space
"Lichen Can Survive in Space
Nov 9, 2005 - One of the main focuses in the search for living organisms on other planets and the possibilities for transfer of life between planets currently centres on bacteria, due to the organisms simplicity and the possibility of it surviving an interplanetary journey exposed to the harsh space environment.
This focus may develop to encompass more advanced organisms following the results of an ESA experiment on the recent Foton-M2 mission where it was discovered that lichens are very adept at surviving in open space."
More here: New Scientist Breaking News - Hardy lichen shown to survive in space
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Woke up with a bit of snow this morning.
Not the first of the season, but nice heavy snow, no wind to blow it off the trees.
Overcast, good color saturation.
Took quite a few shots today.
Culled a few to post up.
Slow time of year.
Seasonal residents long gone, Thankgiving over.
Deer season ends today, but the herd has been thin anyway.
Not enough snow for winter activity.
Pretty much time to get caught up on reading and paperwork.
Catching our breath after a busy few weeks.
Got out and about a bit...
View south towards the dunes of Storm Mountain
Lake Michigan at the town of Empire
No Storm today, just grey.
The Crystal River
Both views from Dunn's Farm Road
Now part of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.
Shot a bit later in the afternoon, around 4:00
Point is that Hybrids are a great marketing tool, maybe not a great real world product.
WSJ.com - Business World
Dear Valued Hybrid Customer...
November 30, 2005; Page A19
We at the Toyota Motor Corporation are writing to address certain misconceptions that have arisen about your Toyota Prius model, which we are proud to note is driven by many celebrities, including Prince Charles and HBO's Larry David.
Our pioneering gasoline-electric hybrid, introduced in 1999, has become an object of adoration to the world's enlightened car buyers. Our competitors, including America's Big Three, are rushing out hybrid vehicles of their own. Unconfirmed media reports say that we at Toyota intend to double our hybrid output to 500,000 vehicles next year. Along with other members of the auto industry, we will be lobbying for tax breaks and HOV privileges for hybrid vehicles.
However, any romance entering its seventh year tends to go stale. Some purchasers have begun to question the practical value of our Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. You may be aware that a survey by Consumer Reports found that our vehicles achieve considerably less mileage (some 26% less) than the sticker rating implies. This has led to some unflattering media stories.
Let us assure you that the Prius remains one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. Toyota applauds your willingness to spend $9,500 over the price of any comparable vehicle for the privilege of saving, at current gasoline prices, approximately $580 a year.
And should the price of gasoline rise to $5, after 10 years and/or 130,000 miles of driving, you might even come close to breaking even on your investment in hybrid technology.
We recognize that our customers have an "emotional" relationship with their vehicles. This transcends even the regrettable truth that driving a fuel-efficient car does not yield any substantial benefits for society if it doesn't save the owner money."
Monday, November 28, 2005
An important read
Saving the Net: How to Keep the Carriers from Flushing the Net Down the Tubes | Linux Journal
I'd skip over much of the comments section
Doc : maybe do some "moderating" of the comments to keep to relevant themes?
Then, From George Dyson on Google (aka Borg)
Edge: TURING'S CATHEDRAL by George Dyson
I use the term Borg in a reference, not to "resistance is futile" but to the ability to absorb nearly anything.
Rumors of Google buying up Dark Fiber and setting up free WiFi may be the "end around" in addressing the Telco/CableCo monopoly moves.
Maybe the fears that Doc speaks of will be less relevant?
George : "My visit to Google? Despite the whimsical furniture and other toys, I felt I was entering a 14th-century cathedral — not in the 14th century but in the 12th century, while it was being built. Everyone was busy carving one stone here and another stone there, with some invisible architect getting everything to fit. The mood was playful, yet there was a palpable reverence in the air. "We are not scanning all those books to be read by people," explained one of my hosts after my talk. "We are scanning them to be read by an AI."
"Whether we're talking about John Cage's idea of "the mind we all share" or H.G. Well's "World Brain", Google has its act together and are at the precipice of astonishing changes in human communication...and ultimately, in our sense of who or what we are. And like nearly all science-driven, technological developments, governments can only play catch-up as no one is going to get to vote for Google's changes, and the current laws, written in a pre-digital age, don't address the new situation."
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Ah those loveable Canadians
Glad they are watching our northern approaches.
"November 24, 2005 -- A former Canadian Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics -- relations with “ETs.”
By “ETs,” Mr. Hellyer and these organizations mean ethical, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations that may now be visiting Earth.
He goes on to claim that Bush wants a "Foward Base" on the moon to take pot-shots at Aliens.
With friends like this ...
Friday, November 25, 2005
Of note : wind gusts of 97MPH clocked on Lake Michigan, with reports of 120MPH on Lake Superior ...
Note that Hurricane Force starts at 74MPH
NOAA on Hurricanes etc.
More on breezes:
Beaufort Wind Scale
Looney Dunes: Blustery Day
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Just pulled this photo from the web as example.
It was snowing pretty well yesterday, but not all that difficult. Just don't make any sudden changes (throttle, brakes, steering) and plan ahead.
Probably saw a good half dozen cars where the drivers had found "unique and interesting" ways to park off road and/or in the woods.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Remarkably good kid, calm, engaged, actually seems to be interested in more than just his fingers, being fed and having his diapers changed.
Of course the good disposition comes from his Grandfather (ahem) as I’ve told that I was also exemplary and so even tempered.
Best that I can recall, his mom was from the same mold.
While Robby was decked out in his Patriot's outfit, I'm not sure that he yet grasps all the nuances of the game (we watched the Pats and the Saints). I this case, I think that fingers, cats, toys, feeding and diapers came ahead of the game.
What a change in just over 4 months!
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Sunday, November 13, 2005
A few trees down, but not all that bad
Cruised around a bit, spotted a freighter "parked" in Good Harbor Bay, riding it out.
Just as the storm broke ( shot below ) the power goes out ... arrgh
Fired up generator, headed to Art's
Only game in town, Tim has a big ol generator, one of two "eating establishments" in the area that does.
Packed - of course. Everybody knows that you can rely on Tim.
Word was that entire county was knocked out.
From Tim's site :
"Art’s proudly remains a “quaint piece of schlock” in an increasingly generic world!!"
Got my "Crusty Whitefish" and before dinner was over, power back on...
Almost standard fare for November up here.
Put the canoes away yesterday ... couple of nice light fiberglass/kevlar solo Sawyer's
They spend the summer on a rack which is just a couple of feet to the right of the base of this tree.
Birdfeeder as a bit of a "wind guage"
Bit of a blow today.
Gusts into the 50's
Time to fire up the chainsaw...
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Yesterday, returned home, 25-35mph breeze as we landed, gusts to 55...
It was 30 years ago today ...
(note that I've set the time stamp as the last communication from the ship)
SS Edmund Fitzgerald - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
From Gordon Lightfoot:
"The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy.
With a load of iron ore - 26,000 tons more
Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty
That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early
The ship was the pride of the American side
Coming back from some mill in Wisconson
As the big freighters go it was bigger than most
With a crew and the Captain well seasoned.
Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
When they left fully loaded for Cleveland
And later that night when the ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they'd been feeling.
The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T'was the witch of November come stealing.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind
When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it's too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it's been good to know ya.
The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay
If they'd fifteen more miles behind her.
They might have split up or they might have capsized
They may have broke deep and took water
And all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings
In the ruins of her ice water mansion
Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams,
The islands and bays are for sportsmen.
And farther below Lake Ontario
Takes in what Lake Erie can send her
And the iron boats go as the mariners all know
With the gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed
In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral
The church bell chimed, 'til it rang 29 times
For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
Superior, they say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early."
Use to spend time in summers on the south shore visiting friends, and back about 75 a circumnavigation of the lake on Motorcycle … most impressive piece of water … most impressive.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Got to pack up for early departure.
Damn ... I was just starting to get accustom to the heat (though maybe not the humidity).
Finally made time for a couple of hours of "beach time" late today.
Of course, that was time for a big cloud to hang over the beach.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Disclosure: we watch "The Apprentice"
But not for knowledge nor education, just for laughs.
This is a made up and make believe show.
Contestents are chosen based on looks and "interesting" personaliities.
Situations are pure fiction, decisions are not "real world" and results are, shall we say "Trumped Up"
"Star of the show" is over the top full of himself, and from this article, full of much else ...
Take a few min to read and get some insight as to what a bill (bull?) of goods the viewing public is being sold.
That said, "The Donald" is a master of self promotion.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
"The circumzenithal arc is the most beautiful of all the halos. The first sighting is always a surprise, an ethereal rainbow fled from its watery origins and wrapped improbably about the zenith. It is often described as an 'upside down rainbow' by first timers. Someone also charmingly likened it to 'a grin in the sky'.
Look straight up near to the zenith when the sun if fairly low and especially if sundogs are visible. The centre of the bow always sunwards and red is on the outside."
Late afternoon, high cirrus clouds, modest "ring" or halo around the sun and then this "reverse rainbow"
Sun is to the lower left in this shot and there is a hint of the halo just to the lower left.
Shot below is closer to the sun (lower left) more of the halo
Then below is example of a piece of the refraction or iridescence or sun dog
I just decided to catch the reflection in the lake
For this shot, sun is headign towards setting off to the right of the frame.
If I can get the images into Canon's photo software, I can stich a few together to pull the images (halo and "reverse rainbow") together.
Shots were around 4:50 on Fri Oct 21st
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Good for him - and he has the "Bully Pulpit"
WSJ.com - Personal Technology
In my view, both sides have a point, but the real issue isn't DRM itself -- it's the manner in which DRM is used by copyright holders. Companies have a right to protect their property, and DRM is one means to do so. But treating all consumers as potential criminals by using DRM to overly limit their activities is just plain wrong.
Let's be clear: The theft of intellectual property on the Internet is a real problem. Millions of copies of songs, TV shows and movies are being distributed over the Internet by people who have no legal right to do so, robbing media companies and artists of rightful compensation for their work.
Even if you think the record labels and movie studios are stupid and greedy, as many do, that doesn't entitle you to steal their products. If your local supermarket were run by people you didn't like, and charged more than you thought was fair, you wouldn't be entitled to shoplift Cheerios from its shelves.
On the other hand, I believe that consumers should have broad leeway to use legally purchased music and video for personal, noncommercial purposes in any way they want -- as long as they don't engage in mass distribution. They should be able to copy it to as many personal digital devices as they own, convert it to any format those devices require, and play it in whatever locations, at whatever times, they choose.
The beauty of digital media is the flexibility, and that flexibility shouldn't be destroyed for honest consumers just because the companies that sell them have a theft problem caused by a minority of people.
Instead of using DRM to stop some individual from copying a song to give to her brother, the industry should be focusing on ways to use DRM to stop the serious pirates -- people who upload massive quantities of music and videos to so-called file-sharing sites, or factories in China that churn out millions of pirate CDs and DVDs.
I believe Congress should rewrite the copyright laws to carve out a broad exemption for personal, noncommercial use by consumers, including sharing small numbers of copies among families.
Until then, I suggest that consumers avoid stealing music and videos, but also boycott products like copy-protected CDs that overly limit usage and treat everyone like a criminal. That would send the industry a message to use DRM more judiciously.• Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Not a great shot, but representative
Mostly gulls in the air, ducks on the water
That time of year
Scores of Merganzers were fishing very clost to shore earlier, joined by gulls.
Later they moved further out.
We now have about 1/2 dozen swans.
Dozens of Canadian Geese.
Geese, Merganzers and gulls will leave soon, Buffleheads and other diving ducks will come in, some will linger till the ice starts.
For now, I'm assuming the risks of "Flu" are low ... and we don't mingle anyway.
Hope this doesn't come to pass.
Don't want to have to pack a mop with travel gear...
Hurricane Wilma Strengthens
To Category 5 Storm
October 19, 2005 5:55 a.m.
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Hurricane Wilma strengthened into a Category 5 monster early Wednesday with 175 mph winds, and forecasters said a key reading of the storm's pressure showed it to be the most powerful of the year.
Wilma was on course to sideswipe Central America and Mexico, and forecasters warned of a "significant threat" to Florida by the weekend.
The storm's power multiplied greatly over the last day. It was only Tuesday morning that Wilma grew from a tropical storm into a weak hurricane with 80 miles per hour winds. (See more information on Wilma at the National Hurricane Center's Web site.)
Forecasters warned that Wilma was likely to rake Honduras and the Cayman Islands before turning toward the narrow Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico's Cancun region -- then move into the storm-weary Gulf of Mexico.
A small fishing boat capsized in a coastal lagoon, but Honduran authorities rescued its occupants.
By 2 a.m. EDT, the hurricane was centered about 170 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman Island and about 400 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. It was moving toward the west-northwest at nearly 8 mph, according to the Hurricane Center.
"It does look like it poses a significant threat to Florida by the weekend. Of course, these are four- and five-day forecasts, so things can change," said Dan Brown, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Although the storm wasn't expected to approach Florida until the weekend, some residents began buying water, canned food and other emergency supplies early. Many said they take every storm seriously now, after witnessing the devastation from a succession of hurricanes that have ravaged the southern U.S.
Wilma's track could take it near Punta Gorda on Florida's southwestern Gulf Coast and other areas in the state hit by Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, in August 2004; forecasters urged Florida residents to closely monitor Wilma.
Tracking : Hurricane WILMA
Monday, October 17, 2005
Power Companies Enter the High-Speed Internet Market - New York Times: "The idea has been around for years. In Spain and elsewhere in Europe, utility companies have long offered high-speed Internet service to consumers over their power lines.
But American utilities are only now beginning to roll out broadband connections on their grid."
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Guy across the isle looked so familiar
Typing away on his Powerbook (Mac)
Suggested who it was to Shirley, but she doubted me.
Then, as we got ready to leave, the purple bag, lepoard spot strap and big "E" on the bag confirmed it for her ...
No one else seemed to recognize
Also very cool
Friday, October 14, 2005
Yet another day of rain.
Caught a cab to the Guggenheim for Russia! with visits to Chagall and Kandinsky Galleries.
Evening at Picholine for another nice dinner...
This is Terrance Brennan's place near Lincoln Center.
Busier, louder, a bit more crowded than Daniel.
Head cold had set in, so it dampened my palette.
Upside is it kept us to the more modest end of the wine list (VBG)
In the Classification Kingdom, Only the Fittest Survive"
Wondering how it patterns to work at the Woods Hole Marine Biology Library
MBLWHOI Library: MBLWHOI Library Information
First off, trudge through the rain and wait in line for
MoMA | The Museum of Modern Art
Followed by early dinner at (Daniel)
Superb food, superb service.
Dropped an "Earthy" business card (Earthy Delights) with comment that they are a customer.
Suspect it generated a couple of the extra courses, quick and small...
It would have been great to spend the evening, but Shirley had managed to get tickets to Spamalot !
Not tears in the eyes laughter, but very fun evening!
Note that it's "Sold Out" through January.
Good work Shirley !
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The Day Kiss Rocked Cadillac
"Retired Cadillac High School teacher Jim Neff leans back in his living room chair each evening after dinner surrounded by his “15 Minutes of Fame.” The plaque on the wall above him reads “Jim Neff Honorary Member of KISS.” The guitar next to him is a Signature Model Paul Stanley given to Neff as a gift by the legendary KISS guitarist. There are photos, lots of memorabilia and news clippings from “Rolling Stone” to “Billboard” and numerous publications inbetween, all with Neff’s name in them.
For the one-time assistant football coach/English teacher seeking out his “15 Minutes” was never the objective. Neff was simply looking for a way to motivate the football team that had named their defense KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). But the results of one special 24-hour period on October 9, 1975 went beyond motivating a football team; it brought students and administrators together and inspired a whole community. It also helped to shape the legacy of one of rock music’s all time greatest bands, KISS."
Thought I don't recall if any of it was steam powered
Sentimental or Not, a Steam-Powered Journey Is Ending - New York Times:
"They're just a little dirty, but there's not much harm in that."
From the workers to the passengers who ride this line, which cuts through vast open expanses of farmland, planted in corn, millet and sunflowers and framed by mountains and narrow roads lined with yellowing poplars, Mr. Gao was one of the few people to express any sentiment at all in the matter.
But international train buffs are already in mourning as they count down the days until the steam whistles are silenced and the old, strangely animate black locomotives with their huge crimson wheels are auctioned off for scrap metal.
'They seem almost like beasts, don't they?' asked Gary Hunter, a rail enthusiast from Tucson who has written about the Jitong line for train magazines and has visited China six times, mostly to experience what has become a rare and disappearing phenomenon. 'You stand close to one on the line, and it gives off heat. The compressors pant."
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
DVR'd the first night
Failed to record second night
Time for the DVR
Shop PBS - American Masters: Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (DVD)
"Martin Scorsese's new two-part documentary recounts five years in the life of popular singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, whose classic songs have endured since the early 1960s. The Minnesota native talks openly and extensively about his early career (1961-66) in this American Masters presentation, featuring never-before seen footage of his performances, interviews with fellow artists and musicians, and archival footage from Newport Folk Festivals."
What's going on ?
We get this in Aug, not Oct ...
Not that I'm complaining ... too much (G)
Got the boats in (good and bad)
Plastic (nice ol 17ft Four Wynns) in this AM
Getting things pretty well packed up
From now on it's back to canoe
Ah well, we'll take what we can
A bit later
Damn nice evening
Ah well ... we know it won't last for long
But we need the change
Saturday, October 01, 2005
On the Beach (1959): "Plot Outline: The residents of Australia after a global nuclear war must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months."
Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner, Fred Astaire, Tony Perkins et al.
About post nuclear war, survivors waiting for the radiation clud to bring an end to everything.
Was quite plausable at the time.
Puts things in perspective
Friday, September 30, 2005
"Innocent' shot of "Chip's Ahoy" on a lift
Problem is that the lift is not where she's suppose to be.
This was after (very late in the season) launch.
Started taking on too much water, got her to the Marina "On the Narrows" where she settled in about 2ft of water.
Much horsing and straining, I got her bow on the lift.
With help from Tom, we pumped enough out to manage to get her fully on the lift.
This was on Sept 6th
Combination of taking on water and leak from the "reverser" box (transmission) led to the emulsification of the oil, later, with the oil filler spout underwater, we got this "grey goo"... filling the bilges.
Drained the water, "bailed" the goo with a puddy knife ... not fun, but avoided getting the mix into the lake.
Floated again, we got her cleaned up and to the shop
Got bottom plank of the transom off for inspection
Structuraly still pretty good (she's all of 58 yrs old), most timbers appear to be OK, but it's obvious that there had been some prior repairs and modifications.
Plan is to be pro-active and both add some reinforcements and a new "bottom" (modern materials and techniques).
Make a hole in the water, line it with wood, throw money at it...
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Not as peaceful as reported on the looting front
Fear Exceeded Crime's Reality in New Orleans - New York Times
Seems that poor knowledge and rumors impeded relief and rescue efforts.
"A full chronicle of the week's crimes, actual and reported, may never be possible because so many basic functions of government ceased early in the week, including most public safety record-keeping. The city's 911 operators left their phones when water began to rise around their building.
To assemble a picture of crime, both real and perceived, The New York Times interviewed dozens of evacuees in four cities, police officers, medical workers and city officials. Though many provided concrete, firsthand accounts, others passed along secondhand information or rumor that after multiple tellings had ossified into what became accepted as fact.
What became clear is that the rumor of crime, as much as the reality of the public disorder, often played a powerful role in the emergency response.
Speaking of "poor knowledge"
""Not one piece of educational material was taken - the best-selling books are all sitting right where they were left," Captain Canatella said. "But every $9 watch in the store is gone.""
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Failure to recognize the flexible, dynamic, multi-faceted and multidimensional nature of the web. The ability to engender two way communication and many-to-many modes.
Seems to be attempts to fit the net into the broadcast mold.
Aggregation vs. addressing audiences.
The heyday of Big Media is past.
WSJ.com - Media Firms Dig Into War Chests For Latest Assault on the Internet:
"Driven by fear of losing advertisers and audience to the Internet, large media conglomerates are spending billions in a spate of acquisitions and aggressive Internet initiatives, and are likely to keep on spending."
"In an industry that measures success by the size of the audience it can deliver to advertisers, the online audiences are already large -- and still growing. The broadcast-TV audiences have been declining for a decade, box-office sales for movies this year are lagging behind previous annual takes, the once-torrid sales of DVDs are leveling off, and circulation is falling at many newspapers and magazines.
And, so far, most of the online audience has been captured by the big Internet players, not the big media companies. In August, Yahoo attracted 122 million unique visitors to its network of Web sites, according to comScore Media Metrix. Last year Yahoo's revenue was $3.6 billion, while Google's was $3.2 billion."
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Solar activity reaches new high (December 2003) - News - PhysicsWeb
"Using modelling techniques, the Finnish team was able to extend data on solar activity back to 850 AD. The researchers found that there has been a sharp increase in the number of sunspots since the beginning of the 20th century. They calculated that the average number was about 30 per year between 850 and 1900, and then increased to 60 between 1900 and 1944, and is now at its highest ever value of 76.
“We need to understand this unprecedented level of activity,” Usoskin told PhysicsWeb. “Is it is a rare event that happens once a millennium - which means that the Sun will return to normal - or is it a new dynamic state that will keep solar activity levels high?” The Finnish-German team also speculates that increased solar activity may be having an effect on the Earth’s climate, but more work is needed to clarify this."
Naw - gotta be "fossil fuels"
But from Nature
"Although climate models differ in their estimation of the Sun’s contribution to recent warming, even those that include spectrally varying changes in solar irradiance conclude that anthropogenic causes are the prime factor.The high probability that this episode will end soon is not likely to cut us much slack in controlling global warming unless we reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But because the solar influence may be more regionally variable than the effects of greenhouse gases, model-based predictions ofregional climate change may be improved by this study.It is at the regional level that climate change will have the greatest impact on society."
Friday, September 23, 2005
Great stuff for CNN (get those ratings back up)
Tragedy in New Orleans, villains, and hero’s, daring do, controversy.
Rita as Redux or sequel
Thousands fleeing the Monster Storm, will they be trapped in their cars by rising waters ?
Get those images on the screen, hold audience attention
Confession - I have CNN on in the morning, check the news, check the weather sites, track the storm(s).
Sense of the scope of this storm
11:33 UT (7:33AM EDT) on Fri Sept 23rd
For updates :
0000_latest.jpg (JPEG Image, 900x750 pixels) - Scaled (60%)
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I will make a rash assumption that any warming on Mars is not due to human intervention (spewing of greenhouse gases)
SPACE.com -- Mars Probe Finds New Gullies, Crater at Red Planet:
"The spacecraft also observed a gradual evaporation of carbon dioxide ice in one of Mars’ polar caps, pointing to a slowly changing Mars climate.
“They way these polar pits are retreating is absolutely astounding,” Mustard said.
But like the rockfalls, researchers were unable to account for the gradual climate change.
“Why is Mars warmer today that it was in the past, we really have no way of knowing why,” Malin said."
Some other observations about hurricanes and "Global Warming"
(note : from a "right wing" source)
Interview with the "Dean" of Hurricane predictions
Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Meteorologist Dr. William Gray by James K. Glassman -- Capitalism Magazine
and then :
Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Dr. James J. O'Brien by James K. Glassman -- Capitalism Magazine
"Glassman: Let me just pursue this as far as Katrina is concerned because we certainly heard lots of reports that the reason that Katrina intensified so much when it got into the Gulf of Mexico was that the Gulf itself was very warm, but is that a consequence of global warming?
O’Brien: No, it’s really funny.
Glassman: You’re laughing.
O’Brien: Yes, I laugh because the entire Gulf of Mexico in the summertime in August is over 90 degrees, OK. In other words, if I take the records from the last 50 years and average it out to get what people think is the normal temperature.
O’Brien: It’s always 90 degrees in the summertime, everywhere. So, it was 90 degrees and its always 90 degrees.
Glassman: So, the real problem here was that Katrina was really timing. I mean Katrina was a storm that, unfortunately, spent time in the Gulf of Mexico during the time when the water was hot.
O’Brien: Yes. I don’t know the steering, but however it got disturbed going over the peninsula of Florida. What surprised everybody was when it came out into the Gulf of Mexico, it did this jog to the south. If you remember, it was going southwest for a while and that allowed it to get so far away from land that it had a long way to go before it was going to come back on shore.
Glassman: Sort of a running start.
O’Brien: So yes, it had a – you know, it’s a long distance. It was going about 10 to 15 miles an hour. So it had a long time to gather up, from long distances, all this moisture from this hot water.
Glassman: Now, are you saying that people who study hurricanes do not feel that the reason that Katrina, or any other recent hurricanes, have been so intense is that the surface temperature of the earth has been increasing?
O’Brien: With regard to people who work on hurricanes or are knowledgeable about the tropics – I don’t know of anybody who would think that global warming is causing Katrina."
And more on the Hurricane "Cycle"
Hurricanes and Global Warming: Interview with Dr. Roy Spencer by James K. Glassman -- Capitalism Magazine
"Glassman: You know, I was looking at the National Hurricane Center’s website and they list the 10 most intense hurricanes by barometric pressure. I know you feel we should take those numbers with a grain of salt; but still, these are clearly very intense hurricanes in American history. Now we add Katrina to that. We’ve got 11. Five of these hurricanes occurred between 1900 and 1935 and only two of them have occurred since 1969. I’m just wondering whether there is any evidence that the intensity of storms is increasing in the United States.
Spencer: Well, that brings up a good point – and that is that there is a known natural cycle in hurricane activity. We have been going through a lull in activity for about the past 20 or 30 years. Hurricane Andrew of 1992 was the early wake-up call that we were heading back into a period of greater hurricane frequency. Indeed, as you mentioned, the 1930’s, ‘40’s, ‘50’s – these were the peak periods that had some very intense hurricanes, but of course, there was very little development along the coasts back then.
We’re not seeing anything that different from what occurred 40 or 50 or 60 years ago – which is we’re back now into a more active part of the natural hurricane cycle."
With Rita moving further north, and manditory evacuation declared for New Orleans ... yet again, she commented that if you choose to ignore this one, you might as well write your Social Security Number on your arm in indeilble ink... to help the coroner ID your body.
Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood - New York Times
I might take a different point of view from the feminist one:
" For many feminists, it may come as a shock to hear how unbothered many young women at the nation's top schools are by the strictures of traditional roles.
"They are still thinking of this as a private issue; they're accepting it," said Laura Wexler, a professor of American studies and women's and gender studies at Yale. "Women have been given full-time working career opportunities and encouragement with no social changes to support it.
"I really believed 25 years ago," Dr. Wexler added, "that this would be solved by now."
Maybe "this" has been solved.
Maybe these young women indeed have a choice.
Choosing motherhood ... choosing.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Rita taking aim at Texas
There will be comparisons and contrasts made by pundits and politicans between the preparedness/relief response in Fla and Texas as opposed to Louisana.
Fla and Texas being "Bush Country"
Superior response and prepardness likely will be contrasted to NOLA debacle.
How will it all play out?
"Nasty" Hurricane Season Seen for U.S. East and Gulf Coasts
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi of the Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather weather-forecasting company thinks the Gulf Coast could really take a beating this summer. "We're in a situation similar to the late 1940s and early 1950s, when we saw several years in a row of high-intensity hurricanes forming," Bastardi said. "It's a nasty-looking situation down there."
And it can't (necessarly though it will be) blamed on "Global Warming"
"Hurricane Boom Could Last Decades
Chris Landsea, a hurricane researcher at NOAA in Miami, said more hurricanes are forming over the Atlantic Ocean because its water is a bit warmer than it was in the early 1990s.
Hurricanes draw their energy from warm ocean water. Since 1995 the temperature of the Atlantic has been, on average, one-half degree to one degree Fahrenheit (0.3 degree to 0.6 degree Celsius) warmer than was in the early 1990s, he said.
Landsen and Gray, the Colorado State University meteorologist, think the increased number of hurricanes is part of a weather cycle that's been going on for a very long time. "It does appear to be a natural cycle," Landsea said. "We see evidence for this over the last several hundred years. It doesn't seem to be related to any possible greenhouse gas forming."
Gray thinks changes in the salinity of the Atlantic are a major factor in the cycles. When the salt content is higher, the ocean is warmer and more storms form. It takes decades for this cycle to complete itself, he said.
"We see these major storms going up and down on a decadal basis," Gray said. "You can't link it to global warming. It's ridiculous to blame [an increase in hurricanes] on human-induced greenhouse gasses coming up into the atmosphere."
Researchers have used weather records to identify hurricane cycles dating back to at least the late 19th century. But new research is revealing possible clues to hurricane cycles thousands of years ago.
Kam-biu Liu, a professor of geology at Louisiana State University, has concluded that there was a "hyperactive" period of hurricanes affecting what is now the Gulf Coast, lasting from about 3,400 years ago to about 1,000 years ago.
"Since about a thousand years ago, it's gone back to a relatively quiet period," Liu said.
The current increase in hurricanes is only a small fluctuation within this longer millennial cycle, according to Liu. Forecasters can't say exactly how long the current cycle will last. During the past century periods of increased activity have lasted 25 to 30 years.
The Atlantic warmed up in 1926 and stayed warm until the late 1960s, according to Gray. There was a corresponding period of active hurricane seasons. The Atlantic was cooler from the late 1960s until 1995, when it warmed again and started spawning more storms.
Gray thinks the current warming trend could last another 10 or 20 years. That could mean trouble, because coastal development and population growth exploded during the calm summers between 1970 and 1995. "
Noting my choices.
Part because of what CD's are here, part my chronological order
And I seem to like the Baker to Jobim / Gilberto
Lambert Hendricks & Ross
On deck : Jobim, Getz-Gilberto, Jim Hall, Jim Evens, Desmond, most all the Evans is north, Wes Montgomery/Jimmy Smith then on to "Classical"
Most rock and blues are north as well as more jazz (mostly the "core collection" as if Baker isn't Core!), Monk, 'Train, Miles ...
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
View from afar
From constant bureacratic re-arrangements to plenty of pork.
Hurricane Katrina | The shaming of America | Economist.com:
"Hurricane Katrina has exposed both personal and structural weaknesses in America's government"
The finger-pointing is already under way, with the federal government blaming local government and local government blaming the feds. But if America is to avoid future catastrophes it needs to do more than bicker. It needs to learn the right lessons from this fortnight's debacle.
Blame for the shame
Natural disasters on this scale inevitably bring chaos and suffering. Katrina wreaked havoc over an area the size of Britain. And even the best-laid hurricane plans cannot deal with the quirks of human nature. People who live in areas prone to hurricanes tend to become blasé about storm warnings. This insouciance is native to New Orleans, where a lethal local cocktail is called The Hurricane. But none of that excuses government's failure.
Local government must shoulder some of the blame. The authorities in Louisiana have a reputation for confusion, inefficiency and worse. Different authorities are responsible for different levees, for example, and several close associates of the former mayor were recently indicted for corruption. Local incompetence exacerbated the disaster: in Orleans Parish, for instance, where 60,000 households do not own a car, hundreds of city buses which might have shipped out stranded people were left to be swamped by the rising waters.
Still, Washington is mostly at fault. The responsibility for mobilising the response to a disaster lies squarely with the federal government. And the responsibility for galvanising the federal government lies squarely with the president.
Mr Bush's personal weakness is shaming; but the structural failures in government that Katrina has revealed are perhaps more worrying. After September 11th Mr Bush poured billions into creating the Department of Homeland Security, but the department has flunked its first big test. It is a bureaucratic monstrosity that includes organisations as different as the Coast Guard and the immigration authorities and spends most of its energies in perpetual reorganisation. The department's focus on fighting terrorism has also distracted attention from coping with natural disasters, reducing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from a cabinet-level agency into a neglected stepchild. The best illustration of this is its boss: Michael Brown spent nine years at the Arabian Horse Association, before finally being eased out and joining FEMA as general counsel, brought in by its previous head, his college room-mate.
The second structural problem is Washington's addiction to pork-barrel spending. The anti-war left is keen to blame the Iraq war for depleting government's resources. The real problem, however, is not a lack of resources—Mr Bush has increased discretionary spending faster than any president since Lyndon Johnson—but the way they are allocated. The funding for New Orleans's levees, which has fallen by nearly half over the past four years, started dropping in 2001—before the Iraq war, but after Bob Livingston, a Louisiana congressman and erstwhile chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, left politics under a cloud. The recent transport bill contains some $24 billion-worth of pure pork—including $231m for a “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska. Although this sort of thing is endemic in Washington, it has got far worse since the Republicans took over both the White House and Congress.
If Mr Bush addresses America's failings with the same vigour that he addressed Islamic terrorism in the wake of September 11th, he has a chance of reinvigorating his presidency and restoring respect in his country; if he doesn't, he will go the way of his father, limping wounded into retirement.
Strong odds of geomagnetic storms next 24-48hrs
Space Weather Warnings Currently in Effect
Northern Hemisphere Enlarged View
DHS works, at least based on the evidence that we haven't had another 9/11.
FEMA doesn't... based on Katrina
INTEL DUMP - -
"FEMA understands disasters, and many of its programs have been in place and effective for years. Since its inception, DHS has been chasing its tail looking under every rock for the next 9/11 while ignoring the nuts and bolts issues that face our countries. Hurricane season comes every year. Long after you and I are dead, and 9/11 is a distant memory that our grandkids re-live on the history channel, Hurricane season will come. People are fleeting, Mother Nature endures."
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
What lies ahead for an irreplaceable city...
The deputy police chief says that New Orleans has “completely been destroyed”. He exaggerates, but not greatly: around 140,000-160,000 houses have been submerged or ruined. The 10,000 or so people who, at mid-week, were still clinging on in their homes were ordered to leave, not least for their health; three people in the region had already died from drinking water seething with viruses and bacteria. If force did not work, money might: at the shelters in Texas and elsewhere, FEMA agents were handing out $2,000 debit cards.
If the city is abandoned, how quickly can it recover? It all depends on how quickly the city's drainage system takes water out, how efficiently the 60m-90m tons of raw sewage are cleaned up, and how soon the power comes back on. And on other, longer-term, calculations.
New Orleans was already losing people before Katrina; its population peaked, at almost 630,000, in 1960. At the last census count, in 2000, 485,000 people lived there. Officials now fear that as many as 250,000 will leave for good, and that dull-but-prosperous Baton Rouge will soon become Louisiana's economic centre. New Orleanians have long disdained their state's capital. But it stands on the first high ground along the Mississippi, and its population of about 230,000 has supposedly doubled in past days. Evacuees are already buying houses in its suburbs.
New Orleans officials are busy discussing how they might lure people back. They intend to set up centres in every area where the refugees have gone, telling them how the clean-up is progressing. They might pay the poor to go back, and offer incentives to the rich. Urgently, they are hunting round for “creative legislation and ideas”.
$50K charther jet to move 80 pets?
$625 per animal.
Even if they could have gotten the 200 they wanted, that would be $250 each.
If you want to be know as a deep thinker (Peak Oil, prices headed higher yet) you should be more careful how you spread your wealth.
CNN.com - New Orleans dogs go west - Sep 11, 2005
"New Orleans dogs go west
First flight of rescued pets to California homes
Monday, September 12, 2005; Posted: 7:08 a.m. EDT (11:08 GMT)
SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- The first major airlift of dogs from the hurricane-battered Gulf Coast left Louisiana on Sunday, carrying about 80 pets to new temporary homes in California.
The Continental Airlines flight from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was chartered for about $50,000 by Texas oil tycoon Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine, in a movement dubbed "Operation Pet Lift."
Monday, September 12, 2005
Per Brooks etc.
Federal response is not swift, but is sure.
Thought experiment - would you rather have a bulldozer or an ATV to work on construction/cleanup.
Bulldozer is slow but powerfull
ATV is light and agile ... but can't move much.
Which do you choose...
7:30AM CNN ... 70K boots on the ground doing cleanup
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Counter to the liberal/progressive demand for more government, in the wake of Katrina.
Much like the old saw that the best-laid battle plans go to hell when the fighting actually starts, the same for natural disasters.
There is a need for leadership, from the squad to the general staff, flexible and adaptive.
The eastern (in the late 20th Century the Soviet) model was successful when you could throw masses of troops at the enemy, the democratic model succeeds when you unleash individual initiative.
The Best-Laid Plan: Too Bad It Flopped - New York Times:
"...the brutal fact is, government tends toward bureaucracy, which means elaborate paper flow but ineffective action. Government depends on planning, but planners can never really anticipate the inevitable complexity of events. And American government is inevitably divided and power is inevitably devolved.
For example, the Army Corps of Engineers had plenty of money (Louisiana received more than any other state), but that spending was carved up into little pork barrel projects. There were ample troops nearby to maintain order, but they were divided between federal and state authorities and constrained by regulations.
This preparedness plan is government as it really is. It reminds us that canning Michael Brown or appointing some tough response czar will not change the endemic failures at the heart of this institutional collapse.
So of course we need limited but energetic government. But liberals who think this disaster is going to set off a progressive revival need to explain how a comprehensive governmental failure is going to restore America's faith in big government."