On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Posts from — September 2009

Guiberson Fire [Ventura County] 9/26

FireThe fire has burned 17,500 acres of mostly grassland and is 95% contained. The high temperatures and low humidity weather conditions continue, but the winds are dying down. One outbuilding has been destroyed.

In addition to farms and ranches, the fire threatened oil production fields, five 220-kilovolt power lines, and a 36-foot above-ground gas line. All evacuations have been canceled.

The fire started at approximately 10:33 AM PDT on 22 September south of Guiberson Road in Ventura County. Probable cause is suspected spontaneous combustion of mulch at a ranch.

There have been 9 reported injuries among firefighters.

Currently the resources are being reduced to 100 engines, 50 hand crews, 12 bulldozers, 23 water tenders, 2 helicopters, 2 air tankers, and 1,428 personnel assigned to the fire. To date cost $7.7 million. Full containment is anticipated on 9/27.

Links: Cal Fire Guiberson Fire page, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, the LA Times Wildfires Page, and their Guiberson Fire Map.

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

September 26, 2009   Comments Off on Guiberson Fire [Ventura County] 9/26

Tropical Depression 8

Tropical Depression GracePosition: 17.4 N 32.3 W [10 PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Northwest [310°] near 14 mph [22 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph [55 kph].
Wind Gusts: 45 mph [70 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1008 mb.

It is 560 miles [900 km] West of the Cape Verde Islands.

This may become Tropical Storm Grace, but it is on track to be a fish botherer.

Here’s the link for NOAA’s latest satellite images.

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

September 25, 2009   Comments Off on Tropical Depression 8

Guiberson Fire [Ventura County] 9-25

FireThe fire has burned 17,500 acres of mostly grassland and is 75% contained. The high temperatures and low humidity weather conditions continue, but the winds are dying down. One outbuilding has been destroyed.

In additional to farms and ranches, the fire threatened oil production fields, five 220-kilovolt power lines, and a 36-foot above-ground gas line.

The fire started at approximately 10:33 AM PDT on 22 September south of Guiberson Road in Ventura County. Probable cause is suspected spontaneous combustion of mulch at a ranch.

There have been 9 reported injuries among firefighters.

Currently the resources are being reduced to 200 engines, 54 hand crews, 21 bulldozers, 23 water tenders, 10 helicopters, 2 air tankers, and 2,000 personnel assigned to the fire. To date cost $6.0 million. Containment is anticipated this weekend.

Links: Cal Fire Guiberson Fire page, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, the LA Times Wildfires Page, and their Guiberson Fire Map.

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

September 25, 2009   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Get To Work!

Friday Cat Blogging

Surely you jest

[Editor: Spot doing what he does best – nothing, but with a lot of class.]

Friday Ark

September 25, 2009   13 Comments

Supply And Demand Don’t Work

Via Nat Turner at the Agonist, an article in The Dallas Morning News, Dallas sees no relief in health care expenses as competition drives up costs

Medical care in Dallas is delivered in a broken market where doctors, hospitals and other providers shower patients with services of diminishing value but staggering cost.

The spending is rooted in the city’s proud entrepreneurial culture. Dallas is home to many competing hospital systems and physician practices. But this competition raises costs rather than lowering them, because it rewards those who do more procedures and tests and offers no incentive to spend less.

Scott & White Healthcare in Temple, by contrast, dominates medical delivery in Central Texas yet provides care for far less money. “Logically, the more competition, the lower the price. It doesn’t work that way in health care,” said Scott & White president and CEO Alfred Knight. “Competition increases the price.”

This is the great disconnect that you have to understand when you are looking at health care and its cost: the standard rules of supply and demand don’t work as people presume from other markets. A lot of health care professionals attempt to cover up the extra procedures they are performing by calling them “defensive medicine”, but the same thing happens in states, like Texas, that have tort reform on the books. The extra procedures are to generate revenue – it’s that simple.

Until people are willing to accept that doctors, as well as insurance companies, are motivated by profits, you can’t make reasoned decisions about the health care system.

September 24, 2009   4 Comments

Guiberson Fire [Ventura County] 9-24

FireThe fire has burned 17,400 acres of mostly grassland and is 65% contained. The windy, high temperature, low humidity weather conditions continue.  One outbuilding has been destroyed.

The nearest town, Moorpark, has been through this before.

Campus Canyon Elementary, Walnut Canyon Elementary and Moorpark College have reopened.

In additional to farms and ranches, the fire is threatening oil production fields, five 220-kilovolt power lines, and a 36-foot above-ground gas line.

The fire started at approximately 10:33 AM PDT on 22 September south of Guiberson Road in Ventura County. Probable cause is suspected to be the spontaneous combustion of manure mulch at a ranch.

There have been 9 reported injuries among firefighters.

Currently there are 266 engines, 63 hand crews, 32 bulldozers, 23 water tenders, 21 helicopters, 8 air tankers, and 2,750 personnel assigned to the fire. To date cost $5.0 million.

Links: Cal Fire Guiberson Fire page, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, the LA Times Wildfires Page, and their Guiberson Fire Map.

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

September 24, 2009   6 Comments

Alas, Alack, It’s On Its Back

My trusty HP Deskjet K80 died tonight. I think it’s a motor because nothing moves It was a real pain getting the postcard sized photo paper out of the innards as all of the driver rollers have seized up.

It was a reliable beast [printer, scanner, copier, fax] for about 5 years, but I think the salt air and lousy voltage did it in. It was protected against surges, but it wasn’t on the UPS, so it was subjected to the low voltage that has been a problem for a while.

I have replaced it with a HP Deskjet J4540, which is smaller, lighter, faster, and about 80% cheaper, but it is still change, and who wants change. They asked if I wanted some sort of extended warranty, and I told them to forget it. It has gotten to point that it is almost cheaper to buy a new printer than ink cartridges for an old one, when you can find ink cartridges for an older printer.

September 23, 2009   9 Comments

Guiberson Fire [Ventura County] 9-23

FireThe fire has burned 16,100 acres of mostly grassland and is 40% contained. The windy, high temperature, low humidity weather conditions continue.

Campus Canyon Elementary, Walnut Canyon Elementary and Moorpark College are closed because of poor air quality from the smoke.

In additional to farms and ranches, the fire is threatening oil production fields, five 220-kilovolt power lines, and a 36-foot above-ground gas line.

The fire started at approximately 10:33 AM PDT on 22 September south of Guiberson Road in Ventura County. Probable cause is suspected spontaneous combustion of manure at a ranch.

There have been 4 reported injuries among firefighters.

Currently there are 84 engines, 18 hand crews, 9 bulldozers, 4 water tenders, 12 helicopters, 8 air tankers, and 864 personnel assigned to the fire. To date cost $1.1 million.

Links: Cal Fire Guiberson Fire page, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, the LA Times Wildfires Page, and their Guiberson Fire Map.

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

September 23, 2009   2 Comments

NSF Or Uncollected?

The Miami Herald notes that a Bounced check disqualifies Miami Beach candidate Joshua LaRose

LaRose submitted the $1,360 check to the city on Sept. 10, one day before the qualifying deadline. But the city learned Sept. 18 that SunTrust Bank had returned the check because the 28-year-old candidate did not have sufficient funds in his account.

LaRose says he opened the account with $500 in cash and then deposited $2000 in checks, but the bank put a hold on the checks. That means the check came back “uncollected funds”, not “not sufficient funds”.

The banks charge both sides for returned checks, so it is in their interest to increase the frequency of this happening. Putting a hold on deposited checks is one way of doing it, but they have made other changes.

Two decades ago, when I was involved with banking software, the reconciliation code added deposits to accounts first, and then deducted checks. These days the jobs are reversed. That means if you deposit your paycheck in the morning, and your landlord deposits your rent check in the afternoon, the rent check is deducted before the paycheck is credited.

The other thing that happens is that more and more businesses are using checks like debit cards and electronically withdrawing funds from your account immediately, while your direct deposits will credited at some time during the day.

Every bank has their own strategy, and you had better know what it is, or you will end up paying fees that you really shouldn’t have to pay, just like Mr. LaRose. Oh, these incidents also affect your credit rating.

September 23, 2009   2 Comments

What A Surprise

The Pensacola News Journal is carrying a report on our former Senator, Mel Martinez. I know you are going to be shocked, but he has managed to get a job with DLA Piper as a lobbyist. Two weeks from the Senate to a lobbyist, that was so unsuspected… 😈

Meanwhile, his replacement, George LeMieux, has been given assignments to the Armed Services Committee, the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee, and the Special Committee on Aging.

Given that he has no actual expertise in any of those areas, I’m sure the helpful people at DLA Piper will be more that happy to give him some guidance.

Those committees are important to Florida, which is why it would be nice to send someone to the Senate who actually knows something about the subject matter.

September 23, 2009   Comments Off on What A Surprise

Oh, Yeah, That Will Work

The Washington Post reports on The Deadly Silence of the Electric Car

After years of trying to make cars sound as if they were riding on air, engineers are considering how they might bring back some noise. They’re trying to make some of them — those silent hybrids — more audible.

But how?

Apparently Japanese auto makers are looking at chimes, ringtones, and the whirring noise made by vehicles in Blade Runner.

So, they think they are going to be alerting blind people that a car is coming when it sounds like a cellphone or a berserk hair dryer.

I already covered this, and my solution was to make cars – sound like cars. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it.

September 23, 2009   6 Comments

Guiberson Fire [Ventura County]

FireLA Times reports on the latest wildfire in the area, it started this morning:

A Ventura County wildfire fueled by powerful winds and extreme heat has burned more than 6,000 acres and was bearing down on populated areas in Moorpark and surrounding communities.

More than 400 residents have been evacuated and that number is expected to rise as the fire continues to move south toward the 118 Freeway. Pets and livestock are being moved to the Ventura County fairgrounds.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Department said the fire started through “manure spontaneous combustion from a local ranch.”

The fire start at approximately 10:33 AM PDT South of Guiberson Road in Ventura County. There are more than 500 firefighters currently on the lines, but additional personnel, and equipment, including aerial resources have been requested. Two firefighters have had minor injuries.

The weather is a major factor and there were temperatures over 100° and single digit humidity with 50 mph wind gusts. Santa Ana winds are expected tonight.

Currently there are 84 engines, 18 crews, 8 dozers, 4 water tenders, 12 helicopters, 8 air tankers, and 540 personnel assigned to the fire.

Links: Cal Fire Guiberson Fire page, the Enplan Wildfire Viewer, the LA Times Wildfires Page, and their Guiberson Fire Map.

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

September 22, 2009   2 Comments

Whither The Weather?

The US Southeast is bailing out from what looks like a 100-year flooding event in Northern Alabama and Georgia. Dr. Masters has the accumulated precipitation radar image showing more that 15 inches of rain around Atlanta.

This takes the pressure off Alabama, Florida, and Georgia to come to an agreement over water use in the Chattahoochee/Apalachicola river system.

Fallenmonk is high and mostly dry, but his garden is probably drowned.

On this first day of Spring in Australia, they are dealing with: 2 minor earthquakes near Melbourne, 10 major bushfires in Queensland, hail in New South Wales, and a major dust storm across South Australia. Many of these problems can be traced to the current El Niño event in the Pacific, which is reducing the Atlantic hurricane season while pushing sea surface temperatures into record territories.

September 22, 2009   11 Comments

Autumnal Equinox

You can watch the arrival of the equinox at Archæoastronomy. It takes place at 4:18 PM CDT this afternoon.

It’s time to man the rakes in northern climes.

September 22, 2009   2 Comments