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2012 June — Why Now?
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Posts from — June 2012

Neat Stuff

Some researchers at Rice University have developed ‘Paint-on’ batteries according to the BBC.

If they can get this into production, the weight of the batteries in an electric vehicle could be distributed evenly just like the paint. OTOH, there are no hard numbers on how long the ‘batteries’ will last, as well as a lot of other factors involved in making the process viable.

It is nice to know that people are working on one of the biggest problems of renewable energy production – filling the gap when the sun isn’t shining, the wind isn’t blowing, etc. Energy storage is vital to the process.

June 30, 2012   3 Comments

The ACA Decision

Everyone is talking about it, Badtux has his opinion, Hugh at Corrente has a different view, but the only one I can wholeheartedly endorse is Charlie Pierce’s.

Roberts has always been a corporate lawyer, and this law was written by and for the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. Roberts has never ruled against a corporation, and he wasn’t about to in this case.

The so-called ‘tax’ is clearly identified in the law as a penalty that would be collected by the IRS, not a tax, but that was the only thing that Roberts could find to justify what he was going to do. As Chief Justice he gets to select who writes the majority opinion, and he knew he was going to have to write it, because no one else would have bought his logic. The other four votes were based on their belief that the law was allowed under the Commerce Clause, or the Necessary and Proper Clause, and Roberts didn’t want either of those portrayed positively in the precedent setting majority opinion. He specifically rejected them in his opinion.

Roberts is the voice of corporations on the Supreme Court, and will do whatever it takes, including siding with the four centrists [there are no liberals on the Court].

None of this would have been necessary if there had been a real ‘public option’ in the law, but the corporations didn’t want that, and when not on the campaign trail Zero is almost as much of a corporate pawn as Roberts.

June 30, 2012   4 Comments

Le Tour 2012

The race starts on 30 June with a Prologue in Liege, Belgium and will finish on 22 July in Paris, so I thought I should explain some of what I’ll be ranting about.

Tour jerseys

The cartoon characters from my header are wearing the various colored jerseys that indicate the leader in the different classifications in the race.

The Maillot Jaune, Yellow Jersey is worn by the rider with the lowest time overall in the race. The eventual winner of the race may never have come in first in any stage, but was near the lead throughout the race and achieved the lowest time over the entire course of the event. The winner is normally an “all-arounder”, someone is very good at the sprints and the hill climbing, even if they aren’t the best. Lance Armstrong, Alberto Contador, and Fabian Cancellara are “all-arouders”, showing up on the lists of the sprinters and the climbers, while staying in the top ten for overall time. Cadel Evans of Australia is last year’s winner. He started racing mountain bikes, so he has the all-around talents.

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June 29, 2012   2 Comments

Friday Cat Blogging

Free At Last

Friday Cat Blogging

What do you want?

[Editor: Ms Underhouse is finally getting some ‘me’ time having weaned the kittens and discouraged them from visiting. The paving stones in the shade is a good place to dissipate heat.]

Friday Ark

June 29, 2012   4 Comments

What I’ve Been Doing


Everything is installed and wired. The monitor should be here tomorrow so I can find out if everything works. I could have used another monitor, but I want to know if the hardware works as it should before I start loading software.

That single cable running across the motherboard is for 12 volt power and it isn’t long enough to route any other way, which is annoying because I have routed everything else out of the space. I get a feeling that the power supply manufacturer expected the connection to be located next to the main power connection which is at the bottom of picture.

At least there are no ribbon cables to block airflow.

I’m seeing how things go with the heat sink that came with the processor. If it doesn’t take care of the heat, I have another one that definitely will with copper heat risers and a 120mm fan.

June 28, 2012   6 Comments

Hot Enough For You?

Posting at Dr Master’s place Angela Fritz notes More record-setting heat; Waldo Canyon Fire consumes 15,000 acres

Tuesday’s heat toppled many records in the Central U.S., particularly in Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas. On Monday and Tuesday combined, 11 locations tied or broke their all-time record high temperature, 78 locations broke their all-time record high for the month of June, and 382 daily high records fell. Some notable Tuesday records from our Weather Historian:

115° in McCook, Nebraska is the all-time record for any month. The old records for site are 114° 7/20/1932 and for June 112° 6/5/1933—both set in the heat waves of the 1930s. Yesterday’s 115° at Mc Cook also broke the all-time Nebraska state June record of 114° which was set in Franklin in 1936.

105° in Denver, Colorado, ties Monday’s all-time record, and ties the 5-day record for number of days above 100°.

101° in Colorado Springs, Colorado is the all-time undisputed record high for any month.

111° in Miles City, Montana is the all-time high for any month.

111° in Lamar, Colorado tied that all-time heat record in any month.

115° in Hill City, Kansas is the new June record, but fell short of all-time 117° reading, and one degree short of Kansas state June record.

110° in Dodge City, Kansas ties the all-time high for any month, which was just set last June.

These fires aren’t happening in a vacuum. Climate change has allowed the pine beetle to thrive and kill Western forests. It is responsible for the droughts. It is causing these fierce temperatures. This is what happens when the temperature goes up a couple of degrees for an extended period and nothing is done to address the problem. People die in these fires, and will die in the cities that have to endure these temperatures. The problems won’t go away if we ignore them.

June 28, 2012   3 Comments

Post-Tropical Cyclone Debby – Day 5

Post-Tropical Cyclone DebbyPosition: 29.5N 78.3W [ 4PM CDT 2100 UTC].
Movement: East [090°] near 13 mph [20 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 40 mph [ 65 kph].
Wind Gusts: 50 mph [ 80 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1003 mb ↑.

Currently about 180 miles [295 km] East of St Augustine, Florida.

Debby transited the Florida peninsula last night and is headed out while still plagued by wind shear and dry air. The GFS model which has been most correct about Debby says it will dissipate today. None of the models is showing intensification this morning.

As GFS predicted, Debby has lost its tropical characteristics and has become post-tropical. This is the final NHC advisory.

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.]

June 27, 2012   2 Comments

Tropical Depression Debby – Day 4

Tropical Depression DebbyPosition: 29.0N 82.8W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Southeast [125°] near 7 mph [11 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 35 mph [ 55 kph].
Wind Gusts: 50 mph [ 80 kph].
Minimum central pressure: 1000 mb ↑.

Currently about 110 miles [175 km] West of Daytona Beach, Florida.

At 7PM CDT Debby was downgraded to a Tropical Depression which cancels all Watches and Warnings. It should go ashore near Cedar Key tonight. It will probably not dissipate, but enter the Atlantic and then regenerate in a couple of days.

The 10AM CDT update shows the storm weakening slightly, which is hardly surprising given the wind shear, dry air, and land interaction. It’s best chance to rebuild doesn’t occur until it gets to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, but it is still dropping massive amounts of rain on the Florida peninsula. Northeast Florida was in a drought, so it was able to absorb a lot of the water, but it didn’t need all of the rain at once.

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.]

June 26, 2012   2 Comments

Weird Stuff

If you just had a Flash upgrade in Firefox or Chrome, you may need to download again to get version 11.3.300.262 which came out on June 21st. If Flash keeps crashing on you, the -.262 fix seems to take care of it.

This evening the venerable Site Meter has begun to act strange, with a pop-up box asking for authentication. Just close it and ignore it. This occurs at random intervals when you open any site that has the Site Meter counter. Hopefully they will fix the problem shortly.

June 25, 2012   9 Comments

Tropical Storm Debby – Day 3

Tropical Storm DebbyPosition: 29.2N 85.1W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Northeast [040°] near 2 mph [ 4 kph].
Maximum sustained winds: 45 mph [ 75 kph].
Wind Gusts: 60 mph [ 95 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 240 miles [390 km].
Minimum central pressure: 992 mb.

Currently about 35 miles [ 55 km] South of Apalachicola, Florida.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the coast of Florida from Mexico Beach to Englewood.

The 10AM CDT update moved the western limit of the Warning area to 5 miles East of me, which is good because I have other things to do.

The storm is still creeping along and it has entered the cooler water near the coast. It had already pulled a lot of dry air into its core and has been battered by moderate wind shear, so intensification is extremely unlikely. Meanwhile, it has been dumping swimming pools of rain on the peninsula and spawning tornadoes. Slow moving storms produce major flooding regardless of their status on the wind scale. Tropical storm force winds generate surge that will push water into bays and bayous that acts like a dam, preventing rain run-off from draining. There are a lot of people in Tampa and other areas of the peninsula looking for their flood insurance policies this morning.

At 10PM they moved the Warning area further east to Mexico Beach, Florida. Meanwhile, Apalachicola has been enduring tropical storm conditions for a full day and it isn’t going to get better anytime soon.

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.]

June 25, 2012   2 Comments

A Possible Win

The BBC had this item in its Technology section: European trade committee votes to reject piracy treaty

MEPs on a key European parliamentary committee have voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (Acta) by 19 votes to 12.

Many regard it as the deathblow for the controversial treaty because the trade committee formally recommends how to vote to the wider parliament.

ACTA was another government gift to media conglomerates under the guise of protecting ‘intellectual property’. If it is ratified the media cons would be closer to their goal of controlling the ‘Net and eliminating all of the small content providers, while extracting even more money from people.

The entire reason for enacting intellectual property laws is to foster creativity. It has unfortunately been degraded into scheme that only rewards multinational corporations, not those that are actually creative, i.e. marketing has become more important that actual creation.

ACTA was just the latest in the campaign that included the SOPA and PIPA laws that the media cons are trying to get enacted in the US.

June 24, 2012   Comments Off on A Possible Win

Tropical Storm Debby – Day 2

Tropical Storm DebbyPosition: 28.3N 85.9W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Nearly Stationary.
Maximum sustained winds: 60 mph [ 95 kph].
Wind Gusts: 70 mph [110 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 200 miles [325 km].
Minimum central pressure: 991 mb ↑.

Currently about 110 miles [ 180 km] South-Southwest of Apalachicola, Florida.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the coast from the Mississippi-Alabama border East to the Suwannee River, Florida.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the coast from South of the Suwannee River to Englewood, Florida.

The forecast track has changed. It has moved from the central Texas coast to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Instead of going North, it is drifting Northeast and is currently almost due South of my location. The forecasters discussion admits that the trough might be strong enough to pull the storm to the East, rather than the ridge pushing it to the West.

In conclusion, it might hit the mouth of the Mississippi, or it might hit the ‘armpit’ of Florida, but they can’t sure. Just as long as it doesn’t pull an Elena and spend a couple of days wandering back and forth in the northern Gulf, unsure of where it wanted to go.

The 4PM update shows a totally new track forecast with Apalachicola as the new target. The Warning for Louisiana has been discontinued. From the local wind I knew that the storm was to the East of my location, but it is moving slowly, indicating weak steering, so anything is still possible. The slow movement also impedes strengthening as cooler water is pulled to the surface which reduces available energy.

Oh, great, since 7PM CDT it has just been sitting there going nowhere and dumping rain on the part of Florida in the Eastern time zone. The good news is that the Everglades needed more water flow and is getting it.

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.]

June 24, 2012   4 Comments

Been Busy

I finally got all of the stuff I needed to build a new box and have been assembling it. I wanted to buy things locally and have someone locally put it together, but no one stocks anything that isn’t ‘vanilla’, and acceptable to the masses.

I’ll throw in links to the major pieces at Newegg.com, but I didn’t buy everything there, as they weren’t carrying some things when I decided to buy them, but are now.

I am using this power supply and case because they had a good price when purchased together.

Then I went with this ASRock motherboard because it had SATA III, USB 3.0, and support for an AMD APU processor. The APU has both a CPU and GPU on the chip which means I didn’t need to buy a graphics card. Then I added 8 Gigs of RAM to support the quad core processor.

I added two WD 1 Terabyte hard drives and a Blu-ray DVD drive/burner.

I broke down and bought a new Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse for this box because once you discover the joy of not having to deal with the tethers, especially on the mouse, you will never go back.

The most difficult thing to locate was the monitor. I went all over locally trying to find one, but no one had one with an HDMI interface and built in speakers. I don’t want to give up desk space to separate speakers. I even looked for a 22-inch HDTV, but at that size they are all 720P screens, and I wanted the 1080P, and they don’t have an HDMI interface.

I have everything in the case and just have to adjust some cable placements before ‘smoke testing’, i.e. add power and see if it burns up. This is the fun part where you find out if the cables were properly labeled and if the switches work.

The guys who designed the manual for the motherboard need a new printer because the font on the connections diagram is so large I can almost read it without a magnifying glass. I feel certain they can find a smaller font to really make it a challenge.

All of the advertising for these parts is targeted towards gamers and over-clocking. I’m just looking for the most current technology, so I don’t have to buy anything for years, and can still use common peripherals.

I’m planning on putting Win 7 Pro on one drive and Linux on the other, but that can change.

June 23, 2012   11 Comments

Tropical Storm Debby

Tropical Storm DebbyPosition: 26.3N 87.5W [10PM CDT 0300 UTC].
Movement: Nearly Stationary.
Maximum sustained winds: 50 mph [ 85 kph].
Wind Gusts: 60 mph [ 95 kph].
Tropical Storm Wind Radius: 175 miles [280 km].
Minimum central pressure: 998 mb ↓.

Currently about 215 miles [ 350 km] South-Southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the coast of Louisiana from the mouth of the Pearl River West to Morgan City.

I’ve been watching this for a while and it was officially declared after a Hurricane Hunter mission into the storm. Most of the wind is to the East of the storm.

The forecast has the storm turning West and heading for the Texas coast due to a high pressure ridge pushing down from the North.

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.]

June 23, 2012   2 Comments