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Posts from — March 2012

On A Lighter Note

While the weather is still holding I’m engaged in finishing up a number of projects outside. These are things that no sane person wants to do in the summer heat indexes, so I haven’t been around the ‘Net very often for more than a week.

To fill in your post-sled dog racing depression, check out this catch over at Rook’s place. [Warning: don’t have liquid in your mouth when you click through as it may cause permanent damage to your keyboard.]

Then you can watch Rob Reid explain Copyright Math™ over at TED. You probably didn’t know that ‘Net piracy costs more jobs than actually exist at the media corporations. [Warning: the video autostarts.]

Back to the dirt and sweat before the thunderstorms arrive.

March 22, 2012   Comments Off on On A Lighter Note

Oil

It isn’t just the politicians, I have been hearing people in stores pontificating on what has to be done to lower the price of gasoline – approve the Keystone XL pipeline and drill everywhere. That’s it, that’s all there is to it.

Except –

The Earth Bound Misfit found a Christian Science Monitor story that looked into the project and discovered what the pipeline company is telling the drillers in Canada about the project which can be summerized: The Keystone XL pipeline is designed for export, and will raise prices in the Midwest.

Prices for the refined products are higher in the countries served by the ports in the Gulf of Mexico than in the US, so the products are going to those markets, not the US. Further, there is currently an excess of product going to the Midwest which is keeping that market below the US average, so the XL pipeline will allow that excess to be removed from that market and exported, which will raise prices in the Midwest.

As for drilling, CBS had an AP article that looked at the effect of US oil production and the price of gasoline for decades. The conclusion – there is no connection between US oil production and the price of gasoline. If there was a correlation between the two, when production increased, the price would go down, as predicted by good old supply and demand. Doesn’t happen with a predictable pattern, because oil is a global commodity. The price of oil is set on a global basis, so US production has almost no effect on anything.

If Zero would like the price of gasoline to go down, he could stop threatening Iran. That would have a much larger and more immediate effect on the price of oil, than anything else he can do.

March 21, 2012   Comments Off on Oil

Vernal Equinox

It’s that time of year. Spring arrived at 12:14AM CDT this morning. You could have watched it come at Archæoastronomy.

The air is already filled with pollen and the live oaks are dropping last year’s leaves. The azaleas are fading as the camellias have already done. This is occurring earlier every year.

I would note that locally we have had 12 hours or more of daylight since St. Patrick’s Day, and usually do.

March 20, 2012   Comments Off on Vernal Equinox

Red Lantern 2012

Red Lantern

Jan Steves (40) made it into Nome at 5:57AM CDT this morning, two minutes after Bob Chlupach (49), and took the Red Lantern for the Iditarod XL.

There were 1052 dogs and 66 teams at the start, but only 557 dogs and 53 teams finished. 139 dogs and 13 teams left the race when they scrathed or were withdrawn, meaning 356 dogs were dropped during the race for various reasons. There were no deaths.

Only three of the 13 teams that failed to finish were rookies. There were 4 scratches and a withdrawal at Unalakleet, tied to the wind that came up. Only three teams scratched during the first half of the race.

[Read more →]

March 19, 2012   11 Comments

Iditarod XL Day 15

Iditarod XL MapThe course is down to the 77 miles between White Mountain and Nome. Dan Seavey is heading in, while the Red Lantern is waiting out the 8-hour mandatory rest period at the checkpoint.

The best news is that, barring some unforeseen event, all three will finish and get their buckles, some of the most expensive belt buckles in the world when you look at the time and effort required to move by dogsled across 1000 miles of Alaska. I would hope that Bob lets Jan have the Red Lantern, rather than holding back. If you receive the Red Lantern your name is on the short list for the race, and you get an actual lantern to take home and prove you did it.

Dan Seavey made it in, His Safety to Nome time was faster than any of the first five finishers. His puppies were happy to see the “vacation” end.

At about 11:30PM CDT the Jan & Bob show was 2 miles from Safety, so they have missed the banquet but might make it in around midnight AKDT.

I’ll do a Red Lantern post tomorrow which will finish off my sled dog racing obsession for another year.

Update at 5:30PM CDT

Finished At Nome
46 Travis Cooper(19)R
47 Jaimee Kinzer (30)R
48 Matt Failor (57)R
49 Hank Debruin (48)Q
50 Karen Ramstead (56)
51 Dan Seavey (65)
Beyond White Mountain
52 Jan Steves (40)R
53 Bob Chlupach (49)Φ

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Iditarod, while italics indicates Yukon Quest winners. The numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers. The small “R” indicates a total rookie, while the small “Q” indicates an Iditarod rookie who has completed a Yukon Quest.

These are the official standings. That means they are official, not that they are correct. Things jump around a lot as people decide to update the standings. This problem is especially bad in the back of the pack, as no one bothers to update those standings when the lead is changing.

This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Iditarod can be seen by selecting “Iditarod” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

March 18, 2012   Comments Off on Iditarod XL Day 15

Iditarod XL Day 14

Iditarod XL MapEveryone should be in Nome before the banquet tomorrow. The Red Lantern will probably be decided between Safety and Nome as Bob and Jan are traveling together, not unusual given the trail and weather conditions they have encountered on the coast, and their desire to get the belt buckles.

The end of the race is at Koyuk, putting the wind to side of teams, rather than in their faces, as they parallel the North shore of the Norton Sound.

It is 48 miles to Elim from Koyuk, then 46 miles to White Mountain, 55 to Safety, and 22 to the finish – the final 171 miles.

The ADN blog has a nice, short video with Colleen Robertia and Penny, the tiny [≤ 30 pounds] lead dog who led their team through the wind. This was Penny’s last Iditarod.

Update at 11:30PM CDT

Finished At Nome
41 Art Church Jr (64)
42 William Pinkham (4)
43 Anna Berington (33)R
44 Kristy Berington (31)
45 Justin Savidis (38)
46 Travis Cooper(19)R
47 Jaimee Kinzer (30)R
48 Matt Failor (57)R
49 Hank Debruin (48)Q
50 Karen Ramstead (56)
At White Mountain
51 Dan Seavey (65)
Beyond Elim
52 Jan Steves (40)R
53 Bob Chlupach (49)

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Iditarod, while italics indicates Yukon Quest winners. The numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers. The small “R” indicates a total rookie, while the small “Q” indicates an Iditarod rookie who has completed a Yukon Quest.

These are the official standings. That means they are official, not that they are correct. Things jump around a lot as people decide to update the standings. This problem is especially bad in the back of the pack, as no one bothers to update those standings when the lead is changing.

This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Iditarod can be seen by selecting “Iditarod” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

March 17, 2012   2 Comments

Saint Patrick’s Day

Éireann go Brách!

Irish Flag

 Shamrock

Well everyone agrees that he died on March 17th, but the year is subject to debate. This is his feast day on the Catholic calendar. Enjoy as you are wont.

Wikipedia has more on Saint Patrick’s Day, if you need more.

March 17, 2012   Comments Off on Saint Patrick’s Day

Tropical Cyclone Lua

The ABC is reporting on Tropical Cyclone Lua:

Communities on Western Australia’s north-west coast are being told to expect the strongest cyclone since Yasi devastated the Queensland coast last year.

Cyclone Lua is expected to cross the coast in a sparsely populated area between Port Hedland and Broome early this afternoon, local time.

Cattle stations will bear the brunt of destructive winds that are forecast to be moving at up to 270 kilometres an hour.

This is the Australian Met Bureau’s advisory: Lua.

The US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii is classifying the storm well below what the Australians are reporting, but the Australians have better data, so I would go with their estimates, which make the storm the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane. The 270 kph sustained winds, is 168 mph.

I wish them well.

March 16, 2012   Comments Off on Tropical Cyclone Lua

Iditarod XL Day 13

Iditarod XL MapHalf of the teams that started the race had made it into Nome by yesterday. The teams are all finally on the coast, but the temperatures are dropping again and the wind out of the North is still there for -40° [F/C] wind chills.

Jan Steves and Bob Chlupach are going to have a cold run up the coast. Dan Seavey, the grandfather of the winner, should be into is in Koyuk this morning.

Looking at the times of the finishers, it is obvious that the winds added about 9 hours to everyone after Hugh Neff who was 17th. The Busers were next, and Martin would never have allowed Hugh a 9-hour cushion. Before and after the separations average about an hour or so, but then there is this huge gap.

Update at 11:00PM CDT

Finished At Nome
31 Ryne Olson (46)R
32 Kelly Maixner (12)
33 Jim Lanier (3)
34 Mike Santos (22)R
35 Bruce Linton (36)
36 Karin Hendrickson (43)
37 Trent Herbst (16)
38 Matt Giblin (52)
39 Scott Janssen (37)
40 Curt Perano (61)R
41 Art Church Jr (64)
42 William Pinkham (4)
43 Anna Berington (33)R
44 Kristy Berington (31)
45 Justin Savidis (38)
[Read more →]

March 16, 2012   Comments Off on Iditarod XL Day 13

Friday Cat Blogging

The Hunt

Friday Cat Blogging

Shhhh…

[Editor: Tonto is once again going to discover that grackles aren’t as stupid as doves, and will find the spot empty when she springs. Hope springs eternal, and every Spring Tonto hopes to get a grackle.]

Friday Ark

March 16, 2012   4 Comments

Lovely Day

The Ides of March haven’t been kind to emperors over the years [Julius Caesar 44 BCE / Ferdinand I of Austria-Hungary 1848 / Nicholas II of Russia 1917] but the weather was beautiful today.

It was perfect weather to dig up a water line to fix a leak just beyond the meter. [May whoever decided that ABS plastic pipe was suitable for the main supply line to a house rot in the hell of his/her persuasion.]

March 15, 2012   2 Comments

Iditarod XL Day 12

Iditarod XL MapThe ‘convoy’ is coming in as a group. The group that formed to push up the coast in the winds left White Mountain this morning for a 77-mile sprint race to Nome.

Colleen Robertia’s team of ‘rescues, rejects, and runts’ is still being led by Penny, her 30-pound 7-year-old who makes up for size with spirit and attitude. The Anchorage Daily News did a piece on Penny in 2010. Colleen’s husband has been blogging the race.

The official site is very slow with updates after the first teams are in, while I hang around until the Red Lantern is out. I don’t look at these things as just winning – it’s the finishing that matters, and that’s a lot harder at the back than the front.

Hank Debruin, who runs pedigreed Siberians, spent nearly an entire day on the trail from Shaktoolik to Koyuk, a distance of 48 miles. I assume he lost the trail in the wind blown snow and drifting.

Update at 11:30PM CDT:

Finished At Nome
16 Michelle Phillips (26)
17 Hugh Neff (27)
18 Martin Buser (41)
19 Rohn Buser (62)
20 Gerald Sousa (58)
21 Colleen Robertia (42)
22 Lance Mackey (18)
23 Jodi Bailey (6)
24 Cim Smyth (8)
25 Ed Stielstra (45)
26 Anjanette Steer (32)R
27 Kelley Griffin (20)
28 Braxton Peterson (63)R
29 Nicolas Petit (9)
30 Rick Swenson (60)
31 Ryne Olson (46)R
32 Kelly Maixner (12)
33 Jim Lanier (3)
[Read more →]

March 15, 2012   10 Comments

The Alabama Primary

I’ve seen a lot of blogivating about the results of the Republican primaries in Mississippi and Alabama, and how having them finish Santorum, Gingrinch, and Rmoney, showed how off the wall the GOP is in both states.

Wrong. If you want to know how insane these people are consider who won the Republican primary for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court – Roy Moore! He was the outright, over 50% winner of the vote. The guy who was thrown out of that office in 2003 [a unanimous decision by a judicial panel] for refusing to comply with the order of a Federal judge about removing his Ten Commandments monument from the Supreme Court building, a chunk of rock that he personally had put into place without consulting anyone else. He is now the official Republican candidate for the office.

What amazes me is that there are still some people who say they are liberals/progressives and who believe you can reason with Republicans. Republicans inhabit a separate space-time continuum, and they cannot be reached.

March 15, 2012   7 Comments

Iditarod XL Day 11

Iditarod XL MapThe top 10 are in this morning, but the route between Unalakleet and Koyuk really compressed the field and slowed things down for those who arrived at the coast after the wind picked up.

Kirk Barnum scratched in Kaltag. The puppies weren’t happy and the run up the coast was next. If they didn’t like the wind from the side, they would have hated it in their faces.

Michael Suprenant (13) scratched at Unalakleet after the puppies looked at the Weather Channel and took a vote on a strike action [just kidding, but dogs don’t like the conditions on the coast.]

Update at 10PM CDT

Finished At Nome
1 Dallas Seavey (34)
2 Aliy Zirkle (14)
3 Ramey Smyth (21)
4 Aaron Burmeister (44)
5 Peter Kaiser (28)
6 Ray Redington Jr (2)
7 Mitch Seavey (35)
8 Michael Williams Jr (51)
9 John Baker (11)
10 DeeDee Jonrowe (17)
11 Sigrid Ekran (24)
12 Ken Anderson (39)
13 Brent Sass (50)Q
14 Sonny Lindner (59)
15 Paul Gebhardt (25)
[Read more →]

March 14, 2012   Comments Off on Iditarod XL Day 11