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Posts from — February 2020

Iditarod 2020 Trail

Iditarod map even yearsThe trail and distances between checkpoints:

Willow – Start
Yentna Station – 52 miles [84 km]
Skwentna – 34 miles [55 km]
Finger Lake – 45 miles [72 km]
Rainy Pass – 30 miles [48 km]
Rohn – 48 miles [77 km]
Nikolai – 75 miles [121 km]
McGrath – 54 miles [87 km] [Spirit of Alaska]
Takotna – 18 miles [29 km]
Ophir – 25 miles [40 km]
Cripple – 59 miles [95 km] [Halfway]
Ruby – 112 miles [180 km] [First to the Yukon]
Galena – 52 miles [84 km]
Nulato – 52 miles [84 km]
Kaltag – 42 miles [68 km]
Unalakleet – 90 miles [145 km] [Gold Coast]
Shaktoolik – 42 miles [68 km]
Koyuk – 48 miles [77 km]
Elim – 48 miles [77 km]
Golovin – 28 miles [45 km]
White Mountain – 18 miles [29 km]
Safety – 55 miles [88 km]
Nome – 22 miles [35 km]

The items in italics after checkpoints are awards for being first to those points. The distance is from the previous checkpoint. Some teams in the early going will travel at 12 mph [20kph] or better with all 16 dogs eager to go. There are reasons not to do this.

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February 27, 2020   No Comments

Oh, Great

Trump has decided that he will blame his VP, Mike Pence, for the disaster that is coming. Nothing like putting someone who thinks the Second Coming and and Apocalypse are good ideas in charge of a potential pandemic. I’m hearing echoes of “Deus vult!” ringing in the halls of Blair House.

Of course Elizabeth Warren “has a Plan” for an infectious disease outbreak, but Trump has made everything more difficult. As I noted back on February 1st Trump destroyed the US infrastructure for responding to pandemics because it was an Obama idea.

Laurie Garrett, the reporter who authored the article “Trump Has Sabotaged America’s Coronavirus Response” in Foreign Policy was just on Rachel Maddow’s show. You should watch, unless you are depressed.

February 26, 2020   4 Comments

Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras

The last day before the beginning of Lent on the Gulf Coast that once belonged to France, it is Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”: Laissez les bon temps rouler!

It was first celebrated in Mobile, Alabama, but the big show these days is in New Orleans, and it is a holiday in the state of Louisiana, because people wouldn’t show up for work anyway, so why fight it.

The tradition is to serve King cake, which is a circle of cinnamon bun dough with a white frosting on top sprinkled with sugar colored purple, gold, and green. If that weren’t bad enough, they put the figurine of a baby in the dough, and whoever finds it in their piece is supposed to be lucky. Actually if you find it and don’t choke on it, I guess you are lucky. You should use a small ceramic figurine, as some of the cheap plastic versions melt in the oven [yummy].

In Britain, Ireland, and many of the Commonwealth countries Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day.

February 25, 2020   Comments Off on Shrove Tuesday

Agitprop

Russia backs Trump because he causes chaos and Putin can control him to a certain extent. That’s essentially what Putin said in the Helsinki conference.

The Soviet/Russian doctrine was to cause chaos in order to disrupt any united effort to contain their actions. They would support groups that hated them and their politics if the GRU/KGB felt the groups would never get powerful enough to gain any real power, but would be capable of causing dissension in ruling circles.

Some of the “Bernie Bros” on social media will be using their second language, English, to be really obnoxious. Not all of them, as Bernie has some real jerks among his fans, but there will be a marked increase in that number who cannot vote in US elections. That creates chaos and will suppress the vote if Bernie is the candidate.

Trump believes that Bernie is the Democrat that will be the easiest for him to beat, so the Russians will push for Bernie in the primaries.

February 24, 2020   51 Comments

RIP Katherine Johnson 1918-2020

Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician And An Inspiration For Hidden Figures, Dies

Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who was one of NASA’s human “computers” and an unsung hero of the space agency’s early days, died Monday. She calculated the flight path for America’s first crewed space mission and moon landing, and she was among the women profiled in the book and movie Hidden Figures. She was 101.

Back in the days when computers filled up rooms, Katherine Johnson calculated the flight paths by hand. Even with computers calculating flight paths is not a trivial exercise. She calculated Alan Shepard’s first manned flight in the US program, and at John Glenn’s insistence verified the solution reached by the computers that were coming into use for his first orbital flight. She also worked on the flight path of Apollo 11’s moon landing. From Mercury to the Space Shuttle, Katherine Johnson’s calculations were there. She was a vital part of the NASA manned flight program.

February 24, 2020   Comments Off on RIP Katherine Johnson 1918-2020

Stuff

NPR is covering the Nevada Caucuses. You need 1991 delegates to secure the nomination on the first ballot. So far 64 delegates were on offer in Iowa and New Hampshire. There are 36 delegates up for grabs in Nevada.

Bloomberg really knows how to troll Trump. He rented billboards on the Vega Strip saying “Donald Trump lost the popular vote”, “Donald Trump declared bankruptcy 6 times”, “Donald Trump cheats at golf”, “Donald Trump went broke running a casino”, “Donald Trump’s wall fell over” … 😈

Via the Register UK: FCC forced by court to ask the public (again) if they think tearing up net neutrality was a really good idea or not. The only Democrat on the FCC has posted a document on the issue: Rosenworcel on FCC seeking Public Comment on Net Neutrality Remand. You have until the end of March to tell the FCC how badly they screwed up.

February 22, 2020   2 Comments

Some Headline News

After Trump derided the South Korean film ‘Parasite’ winning the Oscar, Neon films (the distributor of the film) offered their pithy response as to why: “He can’t read.” The actors speak Korean with English subtitles, so Trump has no idea what it is about.

Trump is angry that US intel is following the law and briefing Congress on threats to the US, because that means that Democrats are being informed that the Russians are attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. He has fired the Director of National Intelligence and put the Twitter troll who he appointed the ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, to take over. If Grenell leaves Germany I’m not sure Angela Merkel will allow him back as she has already asked to have him replaced. Grenell has been promoting the extreme Right-wing nationalist political parties in Europe which make the German government very uneasy. The current Germans have a real dislike for fascists having experienced the end result of those policies.

February 21, 2020   Comments Off on Some Headline News

Plumbing

So, this week I was planning all out war on some German cockroaches that just couldn’t take a hint. I had a gas attack (foggers), land mines (diatomaceous earth around the perimeter of the building), and then booby traps (roach motels) all over the terrain. Alas, the war had to be postponed to switch out an antique electric water heater.

The big box stores only carry the fastest selling version of anything in stock, so there was no way they had a 30 gallon ‘lowboy’ electric heater. I had to get a 40 gallon which presented some interesting gyrations getting the new one into the bathroom. That 33% increase in size barely made it through the door and we had to lay it down to get beyond the sink. (Truman was the President when these apartments were built. We are talking 400 square feet. Sinks hung on the wall, not vanities.)

The roaches got a temporary respite, but the fight continues.

February 18, 2020   4 Comments

Trail Weather

February 16, 2020   Comments Off on Trail Weather

ICHC Hits

What is the difference between US versus Canadian scandals.

Things a middle-schooler should not know.

Thought for today.

[See, I haven’t been spending all my time tracking puppies in the snow…]

February 15, 2020   Comments Off on ICHC Hits

Yukon Quest 2020 – Day 15

Yukon Quest map even years

Sled DogRob is about 5 miles from the finish this morning while Olivia is almost 65 miles from Whitehorse.

Olivia arrived and the Red Lantern was extinguished at approximately 10:00PM CST. I can’t give an exact time because the satellite tracker has been saying that she was 365 feet from the finish for a quarter of an hour and she was moving at a speed that would have move her that distance in less than a minute.

Update: the official time is 9:58PM CST.

The Current Standings at 10:00PM CST ( 8:00PM PST):

Finished At Whitehorse
1 Brent Sass (15)
2 Michelle Phillips (11)
3 Cody Strathe (2)
4 Allen Moore (4)
5 Torsten Kohnert (9)
6 Ryne Olson (8)
7 Nora Själin (6)R
8 Richie Beattie (1)
9 Pat Noddin (13)R
10 Rob Cooke (12)
11 Olivia Webster (7)RΦ

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.

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, and the small “R” indicates a rookie.

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

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by clicking on the sled dog or selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

February 15, 2020   Comments Off on Yukon Quest 2020 – Day 15

VD

HeartWhy are you being hustled by street vendors to buy sad and drooping former roses, vegetative matter that missed the cut for bouquets, or were too late to the hospital?

Blame Esther A. Howland (1828 – 1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts. Her guilt is writ large by the Greeting Card Association’s Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary. She imported the concept to the US from Britain to bolster her father’s stationery store in 1847.

Of course, it wasn’t long before the stationers had infiltrated school boards and imposed the now mandatory exchange in the classroom to push the low end product of Asian children and prisoners.
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February 14, 2020   Comments Off on VD

Yukon Quest 2020 – Day 14

Yukon Quest map even years

Sled DogRob and Pat are about 75 miles from the finish this morning while Olivia is almost 25 miles from Braeburn.

The Red Lantern & Olivia are at Braeburn. She can leave at 11:15PM CST.

At 9:45PM CST Rob and Pat are about 40 miles from Whitehorse with Pat in the lead. Rob still has his entire 14 puppy team in harness.

The Current Standings at 9:45PM CST ( 7:45PM PST):

Finished At Whitehorse
1 Brent Sass (15)
2 Michelle Phillips (11)
3 Cody Strathe (2)
4 Allen Moore (4)
5 Torsten Kohnert (9)
6 Ryne Olson (8)
7 Nora Själin (6)R
8 Richie Beattie (1)
Beyond Braeburn
9 Rob Cooke (12)
10 Pat Noddin (13)R
At Braeburn
11 Olivia Webster (7)RΦ

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.

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, and the small “R” indicates a rookie.

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

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by clicking on the sled dog or selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

February 14, 2020   Comments Off on Yukon Quest 2020 – Day 14

Yukon Quest 2020 – Day 13

Yukon Quest map even years

Sled DogOlivia made it to Carmacks early this morning and is resting. Rob and Pat are about 10 miles from Braeburn with Rob still running all 14 puppies. Nora is about 45 miles from taking the first rookie honors at Whitehorse.

The Current Standings at 5:00PM CST ( 3:00PM PST):

Finished At Whitehorse
1 Brent Sass (15)
2 Michelle Phillips (11)
3 Cody Strathe (2)
4 Allen Moore (4)
5 Torsten Kohnert (9)
6 Ryne Olson (8)
Beyond Braeburn
7 Nora Själin (6)R
8 Richie Beattie (1)
At Braeburn
9 Rob Cooke (12)
10 Pat Noddin (13)R
Beyond Carmacks
11 Olivia Webster (7)RΦ

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.

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, and the small “R” indicates a rookie.

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

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by clicking on the sled dog or selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.

February 13, 2020   Comments Off on Yukon Quest 2020 – Day 13