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Posts from — June 2012

Friday Cat Blogging

Am I Blue?

Friday Cat Blogging

Go away!

[Editor: The blue [all gray] kitten catches some rays on the edge of an old screen leaning against a tree. The kittens are becoming juveniles … like they are being stretched, as their roly poly bodies become more like the adults.]

Friday Ark

June 15, 2012   5 Comments

Magna Carta

Arms of King John

John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou in the meadow which is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June, 1215, signed the Great Charter in the presence of assorted heavily armed peers of the realm, who assured him it was the right thing to do.

The British Library has pictures of the Magna Carta available, and Wikipedia has a nice discussion of the document.

The Magna Carta of 1297 is permanently residing in the US National Archives.

The Avalon Project’s translation of the 1215 version with an index and definitions.

John abided by the charter for several months, before he returned to business as normal, but the principle was established – no one is above the law.

June 15, 2012   11 Comments

Osprey Down

The Local Puppy Trainer reports that a CV-22 Osprey crashes near Navarre, airmen injured

HURLBURT FIELD — An Air Force CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing crashed Wednesday evening.

All five airmen aboard were injured, said Master Sgt. Kristina Newton, a spokeswoman for Hurlburt Field. Three of the airmen were flown to local hospitals and two were taken by ambulance, Newton said.

That’s $70 million we won’t see again, enough to cover the costs of the wildfires in New Mexico and Colorado.

As the crew didn’t bail out, I have to assume it was flying below the minimum altitude for a safe deployment of a parachute, which is normal for Spec Ops missions, as was flying in the late evening to just before dawn. There is a major range north of Navarre which is about 20 miles west of me.

They should have stayed with the Blackhawk variant/AC-130 combination that has worked well for decades. I get nervous when I hear the Ospreys fly over my house at night on their way to the range at Eglin. After decades of development and tens of billions in cost, they just don’t want to stay in the air.

Update from the Local Puppy Trainer 6/15:

The Osprey assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing crashed during a routine training mission about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday. The aircraft was found upside down and on fire just off Eglin Air Force Base’s A-78 gunnery range about seven miles northwest of Hurlburt Field.

Sounds like they were flying too low or lost power and flipped when the props hit the dirt.

June 14, 2012   2 Comments

Sounds Right

The BBC reports on a solution to a web designer problem:
World’s first ‘tax’ on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7

The Australian online retailer Kogan.com has introduced the world’s first “tax” on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) browser.

Customers who use IE7 will have to pay an extra surcharge on online purchases made through the firm’s site.

Chief executive Ruslan Kogan told the BBC he wanted to recoup the time and costs involved in “rendering the website into a antique browser”.

The charge is set to 6.8% – 0.1% for every month since the IE7 launch.

Mr Kogan said that even though only 3% of his customers used the old version of the browser, his IT team had become pre-occupied with making adaptations to make pages display properly on IE 7.

“I was constantly on the line to my web team. The amount of work and effort involved in making our website look normal on IE7 equalled the combined time of designing for Chrome, Safari and Firefox.”

If you look at the source code for any fairly complex site you will see all sorts of references to IE7 because it was and is a known violator of multiple standards. People need to move on, to Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or even IE9. Even Micro$oft occasionally upgrades products because the existing version really Zucks.

June 14, 2012   4 Comments

FYI

Should you receive a phone call telling you that you have been awarded a ‘government grant’ of thousands of dollars, you might want to hang up if:

The person on the other end of the line sounds like they are calling from Asia;

The caller ID begins +75;

And, most importantly, you haven’t applied for a grant.

Most people probably don’t know that +7 is the country code for Russia, and fewer know that there is no Russian area code that begins with 5, so the number is bogus.

I didn’t hang around for the whole spiel, but I assume I would have been asked for bank codes and my Social Security number to ‘expedite processing’ [i.e. their removing all of my money from the bank.]

Having dealt with the grant process, I can tell you that you have to apply, and everything is on paper, or it doesn’t exist. [It may not exist even if it is on paper, but that’s another story.]

June 14, 2012   4 Comments

Flag Day

US Flag

Adopted as the flag of the United States of America by the Flag Resolution of 1777 enacted on 14 June, 1777.

The flag was first flown from Fort Stanwix, on the site of the present city of Rome, New York, on August 3, 1777. It was first under fire three days later in the Battle of Oriskany, August 6, 1777.

An official flag has a rise to run ratio of 1 to 1.9 [the flag should be 1.9 times as long as it is high] with the canton [the dark blue part] that rises over the top seven stripes with a run of 40% of the flag’s run.

The only time you will see a “correct” US Flag is if you see the official colors of a military unit. Most flags are 3’X5′ or 4’X6′ instead of 3’X5.7′ or 4’X7.6′.

Frances Bellamy, the Baptist minister and socialist who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance was from Rome, New York.

June 14, 2012   Comments Off on Flag Day

Fire Update

The High Park Fire has burned 46,820 acres [73.2 miles² 189.5 km²] but is only 10% contained. The weather has been bad for fires, but they are finally beginning to build up personnel to the point where they can begin to make an impact. It is thought that approximately 100 structures of various types have been burned, but the first assessment teams can’t begin work until tomorrow.

It is now the third largest fire in Colorado history, but it will hopefully not surpass the Hayman Fire that burned 138,114 acres in 2002.

Dr Masters looks at the outlook for Western wildfires based on the new weather patterns that are developing.

Among the things he covers are much worse infestations of pine beetles that are ravaging woodlands. The beetles were controlled by hard winter freezes, -40° F/C, that simply are not occurring any more. Not only are they not being killed by the freezes, they can now complete two gestation periods, instead of just one.

I would note that the fire has been burning three times as much private and state land than Federal land [77% vs 23%], but the Federal government has been picking up the cost and providing most of the firefighters, contrary to what some politicians [named Romney] would have you believe. Given the reduced budgets of the agencies involved, this can’t continue, as there is only a finite amount of money available for those agencies unless Congress acts, which isn’t likely.

June 13, 2012   Comments Off on Fire Update

Dr Masters Is Annoyed

Dr Jeff Masters is offended: North Carolina ignores science in sea level planning

An interesting political battle is underway in North Carolina on how to plan for 21st century sea level rise, newsobserver.com reports.Sea level rise scientists commonly cite one meter (3.3 feet) as the expected global sea level rise by 2100, and more than a dozen science panels from coastal states, including a state-appointed science panel in North Carolina, agree. However, a coastal economic development group called NC-20, named for the 20 coastal counties in North Carolina, attacked the report, saying the science was flawed. NC-20 says the state should rely only on historical trends of sea level rise, and not plan for a future where sea level rise might accelerate. North Carolina should plan for only 8 inches of rise by 2100, based on the historical trend in Wilmington, NC, the group says. Republican state legislators introduced a bill that follows this logic, requiring the North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission to make development plans assuming sea level rise will not accelerate. On Thursday, a state senate committee signed off on the bill, sending it to the full Senate. NC-20 also successfully made an “intense push” to get the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, which is using a $5 million federal grant to analyze the impact of rising water, to lower its worst-case sea level rise scenario from 1 meter (39 inches) to 15 inches by 2100.

The man puts up all of the requisite graphs to show why what the legislature is doing is brain-dead, but doesn’t grasp that none of that will change the minds of people whose political survival is dependent on being ignorant.

The best hope for avoiding total disaster is that the people who buy in these developments raise hell after they discover that they can’t get flood insurance. The flood insurance program is for people who “might” be flooded, not for those who will certainly be under water.

June 12, 2012   3 Comments

Reduce The Caffeine

The Fraudster-in-Chief doesn’t give up once he gets a bad idea. The problem with ‘running government like a business’ is that you end up with a CEO like Ken Lay for a governor.

The Miami Herald documents the atrocity:

Gov. Rick Scott and the Obama administration traded legal barbs and counteraccusations Monday as each side announced it would sue the other over Florida’s controversial noncitizen voter purge.

Scott’s chief elections official sued first, filing a federal lawsuit in Washington that accused the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of unlawfully refusing Florida access to a federal database that could help the state spot and remove noncitizens from the voter rolls.

Moments after the state filed suit, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas E. Perez roared back in a sharply worded five-page letter from the U.S. Department of Justice, which ordered the state two weeks ago to stop the purge because it could violate two federal voting laws.

The state’s program is too “faulty” ” and comes too close to election time to not endanger the voting rights of thousands of lawful U.S. citizens, Perez wrote. He said Florida has repeatedly ignored Homeland Security’s warning that the department’s database, known as SAVE, isn’t designed for the noncitizen hunt on which Florida embarked.

“The significant problems you are encountering in administering this new program are of your own creation,” Perez wrote.

While the reporter is attempting to be ‘fair and balanced’, the reality is that there is no ‘silver bullet’ for purging a voters list. There are 67 counties in the state, and each of them is headed by an elected Supervisor of Elections, who has great latitude in how they run the system in their county. There is no one, uniform model for voter lists which aren’t even on computers in the less populated counties.

The state doesn’t seem to understand that the DHS data base was not designed for the purpose that the state wants it to perform, and DHS certainly isn’t going to put any effort into a ‘special request’ unless it is accompanied by the money to pay for it.

More taxpayer money wasted on lawyers.

June 12, 2012   6 Comments

High Park Fire Doubles in Size

High Park Fire

Information from the current High Park Fire InciWeb Page

  • Date Started: 6/9/12 about 5:54AM
  • Location: about 15 miles west of Fort Collins
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Size: 41,140 acres [64.3 miles² 166.5 km²] based on infrared data
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 400
  • Equipment: 15 engines
  • Aircraft: 5 heavy air tankers, 5 SEATs (single engine air tankers), 2 Type 1 heavy helitankers and 1 Blackhawk helicopter
  • Incident Commander: Bill Hahnenberg
  • Percent Contained: 0%
  • Fuels Involved: dry fuel, beetle-killed trees.
  • Confirmed Dead to Date: 1

The northwest portion of the fire is active and Type 1 helitankers are working in that area. Fire movement toward the northwest portion of Horsetooth Reservoir has subsided, however fire activity can increase in the afternoon. Today the fire is expected to be fuels driven and winds will be a factor. Flame lengths have been 300 feet and as been moving at 20-40 feet per minute at times.

As the Whitewater-Baldy Complex comes under control, firefighters and equipment are being released for other fires.  The weather conditions at the Little Bear Fire in New Mexico have been better, so that fire isn’t growing as quickly as the High Park Fire.

[Note: the Inciweb site has been acting flaky. The information is there, but you may have to access the site multiple times to get to it.]

[For the latest information click on the Fire symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]

June 11, 2012   Comments Off on High Park Fire Doubles in Size

The Western Wildfires

While on the Gulf Coast we had an official site reporting over 21 inches of rain in West Pensacola yesterday, they have been getting dry lightning in New Mexico and Colorado which is setting off fires in the bone dry timber and brush.

CBS has an overview of two of the biggest new fires – the Little Bear Fire in central New Mexico and the High Park Fire in northern Colorado.

From the Federal Incident site:

Little Bear Fire

Start Time/Date Monday, June 4, 2012
Location: Smokey Bear Ranger District, Lincoln NF, including White Mountain Wilderness
Cause: Lightning
Fuels: Mixed conifer, ponderosa pine
Size: approx. 26,000 acres (change due to more accurate mapping, not fire growth)
Containment: 0 %

Resources Committed: Personnel 144, crews: 2 Type 1, 1 Type 2; 20 engines; helicopters: 6 Type 1, 2 Type 2, 2 Type 3; 2 dozers

Today’s Weather: 82 degrees, relative humidity 6%, winds west 20 mph

Structures/threats: 36 (an accurate damage assessment has not been made yet)
[Read more →]

June 10, 2012   6 Comments

Rain, Rain Go Away

Angela Fritz writing at Dr Masters’s blog: Torrential rain causes widespread flooding in Florida panhandle

Torrential rainfall led to widespread flooding along the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday, and Pensacola came about 2 inches shy of matching its all-time rainfall record for a calendar day: 15.29 inches. On Saturday, Pensacola airport received 13.13 inches of rain. The previous record was set on October 5, 1934, as Tropical Storm 9 of that year was making landfall. The record for any 24 hour period is 17.1 inches, spanning October 4-5 in 1934, according to Wunderground weather historian Christopher C. Burt.

We have a stalled front right along the coast that is pumping the Gulf on top of us. This isn’t a problem for me because there is still a lot of natural sand in my area which will let the water drain. but people with those ‘wonderful manicured lawns’ are flooding. The major roads are a mess here, and we didn’t get anywhere near that much rain.

They have some pictures of the flooding in Pensacola at the blog and at the Pensacola News Journal.

Everyone think dry thoughts for Hipparchia and her kitties because she lives over there.

June 9, 2012   3 Comments

Just The Facts

Dr Masters confirms what I suspected: Spring 2012: Most extreme season in US history.

Look at the data for the lower 48. Only Oregon and Washington had normal Spring temperatures, every other state was above normal, the majority in the East well above normal. This is all time record stuff, but people still claim nothing is happening.

The North Carolina legislature is attempting to limit the rise in sea level with a law, so developers can sell ocean-front property without worrying about being charged with fraud when it sinks below the waves.

June 8, 2012   6 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Pop Goes The Weasel

Friday Cat Blogging

Gotcha!

[Editor: As one of the tabbie kittens relaxes on the cement, the sibling prepares to attack. (I was hampered by lighting, so the depth of field didn’t allow both kittens to be in focus. Slowing the shutter speed is not an option with kittens.)]

Friday Ark

June 8, 2012   3 Comments