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There's gold in them thar hills

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Interesting story about America's other gold rush - from Appalachian Magazine:

200+ Years Ago: The Carolina Gold Rush
When one thinks of an American goldrush, the thoughts of dusty prospectors racing west to the deserts of California or the icy mountains of Alaska typically aren’t far behind.

Though it is true that California’s 49ers took part in America’s most well known gold rush, the truth is a half-century earlier, the newly birthed nation was captivated by the prospect of gold being buried in the foothills of North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains.

The story begins in 1799 when a 12-year-old boy, was shooting fish with a bow and arrow in a stream near what would become Charlotte, North Carolina.

Wonderful story - I had no idea this happened. We had quite the gold rush here in the Cascade mountains - the Appalachian's were just as mineral rich, just a lot older and more eroded. I live about 50 miles from an active gold mine.

Sunken treasure ship found?

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Now this will be interesting. From FOX News:

Anchor from 'most valuable shipwreck in history' found
An anchor from a treasure-laden 17th-century shipwreck has been found off the coast of the U.K.

SWNS reports that the anchor, believed to be from the Merchant Royal, was brought up in a fishing vessel’s net 20 miles off Land's End, Cornwall. The merchant ship sank in 1641 carrying an estimated $1.5 billion of treasure.

Dubbed “the El Dorado of the seas,” the Merchant Royal was carrying 100,000 pounds of gold and 400 bars of Mexican silver, as well as almost 500,000 pieces of eight (Spanish dollars) and other coins when she sank.

300 feet down so we are talking technical (saturation) diving - a very expensive operation. Still...

Ho. Li. Crap. - automobile accident

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Talk about a very lucky driver - from the California Highway Patrol in Modesto:

CHP - Modesto
The driver of this Honda was extremely lucky. They actually limboed between these 2 overturned trailers. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured. Please avoid the area. The Modesto Area CHP and Caltrans, District 10 are doing everything possible to open the roadway to the public.


A very lucky driver... Tip of the hat to Peter Grant for the link.

Not having a good day - bank robber

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Talk about instant karma  - from Central Maine:

Fleeing Waterville bank robber slips, spills money, gun in front of special agent, police say
It was a scene right out of a bank heist movie.

A lone man brandishing a handgun walked into Bangor Savings Bank on Tuesday morning on upper Main Street, robbed the bank and fled; but no one could have predicted what happened next.

He ran across four lanes of traffic on Main Street and into the Ming Lee restaurant parking lot, slipped on the ice and found himself face-to-face with a special agent for the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Task Force who just happened to be parked in the right place at the right time.

“When he fell, the money and the gun he had stashed in his jacket pocket spilled onto the parking lot, and the money was swept across the parking lot by the wind,” police Chief Joseph Massey said later. “Members of the public tried to scoop it up.”

The state police special agent, Glenn Lang, had no idea a bank had just been robbed but was suspicious. He got out of his vehicle, tackled the man and took him into custody just about the time city police responded to the report of a bank robbery.


Autonomous sensory meridian response

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I love inducing ASMR in myself - better than meditation. Here is a video of things that fit together:

They could do without the cheesy music though. Wonder what evolutionary pathway allowed ASMR to be a thing.

From Agence France Presse:

Frenchman sets sail across Atlantic - in a barrel
A 71-year-old Frenchman set sail across the Atlantic on Wednesday in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, hoping to reach the Caribbean within three months thanks to ocean currents alone.

"The weather is great -- I've got a swell of one metre and I'm moving at two or three kilometres an hour," Jean-Jacques Savin told AFP by telephone after setting off from El Hierro in Spain's Canary Islands.

"For the time being my capsule is behaving very, very well and I've got favourable winds forecast until Sunday."

Savin had worked on his vessel for months in the small shipyard of Ares on France's southwest coast.

Measuring three metres (10 feet) long and 2.10 metres across, it is made from resin-coated plywood, heavily reinforced to resist waves and potential attacks by orca whales.

Inside the capsule, which weighs 450 kilograms (990 pounds) when empty, is a six-square-metre living space which includes a kitchen, sleeping bunk and storage.

A porthole in the floor allows Savin to look at passing fish.

A former military parachutist who served in Africa, Savin has also worked as a pilot and a national park ranger.

He has stowed away a block of foie gras and a bottle of Sauternes white wine for New Year's Eve, along with a bottle of red Saint-Emilion for his 72nd birthday on January 14.

Savin hopes currents will carry him naturally to the Caribbean without the need for a sail or oars -- "maybe Barbados, although I'd really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadaloupe," he quipped.

"That would be easier for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back."

Cannot find a website for Mr. Savin's trip - the photo in the AFP article looks like a really solid if tippy craft so he should be just fine. Nice to take a couple of months off from the day to day humdrum...

From Sara Carter:

FBI Violated Policy in Flynn’s Case, Judge Demands All Exculpatory Evidence
A federal judge overseeing the case of Former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn is demanding to see the FBI’s first interviews with the retired three-star general after explosive information contained in a sentencing memo released Tuesday night revealed that senior FBI leadership suggested he not have a lawyer present, nor warn him that his interview was subject to penalties if he failed to provide all the answers, according to the 178 page Defendants memorandum submitted to the court.

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office Wednesday night to turn over all the government’s documents by mid-day Friday. The exculpatory documents requested by Sullivan include any memorandums regarding Flynn’s case because of the extraordinary circumstances of the information, according to Sullivan’s request. Further, Sullivan is also requesting any documentation regarding the first interviews conducted by former anti-Trump agent Peter Strzok and FBI Agent Joe Pientka -known by the FBI as 302s- which were found to be dated more than seven months after the interviews were conducted on Jan. 24, 2017, a violation of FBI policy, say current and former FBI officials familiar with the process. According to information contained in Flynn’s memorandum, the interviews were dated Aug. 22, 2017.

A bit more about the time of filing:

“The bureau policy – the absolute FBI policy – is that the notes must be placed in the system in a 1-A file within five days of the interview,” said Danik, who added that handwritten notes get placed into the FBI Sentinel System, which is the FBI’s main record keeping system. “Anything beyond five business days is a problem, eight months is a disaster.”

And Judge Sullivan - from The Guardian of April 7th, 2009

US judge dismisses former Alaska senator's corruption conviction
A federal judge today exonerated former Alaska senator Ted Stevens, dismissing the corruption conviction that cost the veteran senator his seat and launching an investigation into prosecutorial missteps that plagued one of the most high-profile public corruption trial in recent history.

The ruling comes six days after the US justice department admitted its attorneys had withheld potentially exculpatory evidence from Stevens' attorneys and asked Judge Emmet Sullivan to throw out the conviction.

"In nearly 25 years on the bench, I've never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I've seen in this case," Sullivan said.

A very similar case where the evidence was withheld. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

Workplace hazard - bear spray

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Much stronger than standard tear gas - didn't know that Amazon sold it. From CNN:

Amazon workers taken to hospitals after canister of bear repellent discharges fumes
Two dozen workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in New Jersey were taken to hospitals Wednesday after a machine punctured an aerosol canister of bear repellent, causing it to discharge toxic fumes inside the building, a spokesperson for Robbinsville Township told CNN.

Employees reported experiencing difficulty breathing and burning sensations in their eyes and throat, said John Nalbone, spokesperson for Robbinsville Township, where the fulfillment center is located.

Emergency personnel responded to a morning 911 call that 54 workers at the fulfillment center were experiencing symptoms, Nalbone said. Twenty-four workers were taken to local hospitals, including one in critical condition, he said.

Amazon actually carries a number of brands of Bear Spray - here is a link to a good one.

Get 'em hooked early

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This is disgusting:

The parents are using the phone as a cheap pacifier for their baby and are setting the kid up for significant problems later in life.  Not good at all.

Nice work if you can get it

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From the Federal Government job website:

Preparation and Distribution of Research Drug Products
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), seeks capability statements from qualified Small Business organizations (NAICS code 541715, small business size standard is 1000 employees. For details of Small Business Size Standards, see

This is a SMALL BUSINESS SOURCES SOUGHT NOTICE to determine the availability of ALL small businesses (e.g., 8(a), Veteran-owned small businesses, service-disabled Veteran-owned small businesses, Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) small businesses, Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDB), women-owned small businesses, and other small businesses) to fulfill the needs of NIH and NIDA for this future requirement.

Under the upcoming solicitation, NIDA seeks qualified organizations having capability to analyze and characterize various drugs of abuse including cannabinoids and other research chemicals. Organizations will be able to produce drug dosage forms, such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-9-THC), methadone, morphine, and naltrexone pellets. Furthermore, they will acquire, develop, and produce marijuana and nicotine research cigarettes of varying strengths and specifications and maintain an inventory and supply of various DEA scheduled and unscheduled chemicals and drugs.

Listed in the specifications:

Manufacture standardized marijuana cigarettes within a range of varying concentrations of delta-9-THC and analyze strength and stability of them at various intervals while having the capability to maintain a secure shipping facility and to ship marijuana cigarettes to research investigators.

Heh - get paid by Uncle Sam for rolling joints... No mention of salary or compensation.

FEMA National Preparedness Report

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Looks like some good reading - from the FEMA website:

National Preparedness Report
The National Preparedness Report evaluates progress and challenges that individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government have faced in preparedness. The 2018 National Preparedness Report takes a revised approach that includes an in-depth analysis of five core capabilities that have been identified in past National Preparedness Reports as facing persistent challenges: Operational Coordination, Infrastructure Systems, Housing, Economic Recovery, and Cybersecurity. Refining the report’s scope to focus on these recurring challenges concentrates the discussion on what the whole community needs to accomplish to have the most impact on increasing the Nation’s preparedness.

The 2018 edition also provides an overview of key developments in national preparedness, incorporating findings and lessons learned from past incidents from the 9/11 attacks to the 2017 Hurricane season. Although the response operations in 2017 were among the largest and most complex in history, lessons from these disasters show there is much more to do to help people prepare for disasters. Future incidents will yield additional lessons learned, underscoring the fact that national preparedness is an ongoing effort and requires continuous improvement, innovation, and action to build the capabilities needed to address the Nation’s evolving risks.

Ten meg, 62 page PDF download here: National Preparedness Report

People sometimes ask why I am a prepper - there is so much uncertainty out there that it just makes sense. A small disaster can be dealt with by Police and Fire crews. Eventually though, you reach a point where they are overwhelmed. I feel a lot better knowing that I have a month of food and water plus the ability to communicate through amateur radio. The best definition that I have heard for the word DISASTER is "An event which outstrips your ability to cope"

Remembering our Veterans this day

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From Michael Ramirez:


From Terry Kelly

On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven oclock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terrys anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.

Deferred maintenance in California

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California has serious cash-flow problems. Many of the wealthy taxpayers are leaving the state all the while that CA is providing more and more "social services" to its indigent population. I-5 is a joke.

Looks like the electric utility is showing signs of deferred maintenance too - from Utility Dive:

In a first, PG&E cuts power to 60,000 to prevent wildfires during wind storm

    • Pacific Gas & Electric cut off electricity service to nearly 60,000 people on Sunday in a new attempt to prevent wildfires across Northern California service area during high winds and dry conditions.
    • The National Weather Service on Saturday issued a Red Flag Warning for the region, cautioning of extreme risk of wildfires due to low humidity and winds reaching above 50 miles per hour. High winds can cause power lines to come into contact with vegetation, igniting fires.
    • PG&E lines were found responsible for 16 fires last year and California lawmakers passed wildfire liability protections for utilities this summer after PG&E warned that fire costs could force it into bankruptcy or reorganization.

Geee Mr. Wizard - if PG&E had bothered to maintain these lines - clearing vegetation - they would not have had to do that. Sounds like classic California planning to me. A big problem is that the management has no accountability. If they are caught in flagrante delicto, they are just moved to another position - frequently with a promotion.

Yikes - big oil fire in Canada

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From Yahoo/Agence France Presse:

Explosion and fire at Canada's largest oil refinery
An explosion and fire ripped through Canada's largest refinery Monday, injuring several workers in what its owner called a "major incident."

The blast was believed to be the result of a malfunction in the diesel refining section of the Irving Oil refinery in St John's, New Brunswick, said company executive Kevin Scott.

Officials said all the plant's workers were accounted for after the fire, and four people received hospital treatment for minor injuries.

Images posted on social media networks showed intermittent flames and a column of black smoke rising from the refinery, the country's largest with a production capacity of 300,00 barrels of refined products a day.

Thank God that everyone is accounted for - that could have turned out horrible.

Quite the ride - skiing

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Can't wait for the GoPro footage... From NBC News:

Americans ski down world's 4th-highest mountain
Two American climbers have successfully skied down from the summit of the world's fourth-highest mountain, organizers said Monday.

James Morrison of Tahoe, California, and Hilaree Nelson of Telluride, Colorado, scaled Mount Lhotse's 27,940-foot summit on Sunday with two other climbers and three Nepalese Sherpa guides, said Pemba Sherpa of Xtreme Climbers Treks and Expeditions.

Morrison and Nelson then descended down the mountain on their skis.

Outside Magazine had a nice article on their plans two weeks ago:

Hilaree Nelson's Bold Attempt to Ski the Lhotse Couloir
In August, American ski mountaineers Hilaree Nelson and Jim Morrison flew to Nepal from their homes in Telluride, Colorado, and Tahoe City, California, respectively, to attempt the first ski descent of 27,940-foot Lhotse. Part of the Everest massif, Lhotse is the fourth-highest mountain in the world. From a skier’s perspective, though, Lhotse is first choice. The summit offers a sustained and direct 7,000-vertical-foot ski line that combines a 2,500-foot couloir and an open face. The average pitch is 45 to 50 degrees. For comparison, the steepest in-bounds black diamond runs in the U.S. top out at about 30 degrees.

“It is this iconic, splinter couloir and it just screams ski line to me,” Morrison told me earlier this summer. “It’s this plum line right off the summit, right down the middle onto this huge face that goes way down. And it’s never been done.”

Until this summer, of the five tallest mountains in the world, Mount Everest was the only one to have been skied successfully from the summit. Then, in July, a Polish alpinist named Andrezj Bargiel skied off the summit of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world.

Ho Li Crap - talk about nerves of steel. Again, the video footage will be amazing. Looking forward to seeing it. Congratulations to the whole team!

Well damn - not aliens after all

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From El Paso station KTSM:

Child pornography reason behind Sunspot Observatory closure, according to court documents
A federal search warrant reveals that Sunspot Solar Observatory was shut down as FBI agents conducted computer forensic searches for child pornography.

The source of child pornography was traced to an IP address used at the observatory and a source within the building observed a computer with "not good" images on it, the warrant states.

An investigation by the FBI revealed that a janitor is the main suspect in the search, however he has not been charged with a crime even though his name is on the warrant.

The warrant states the suspect would use the observatory Wifi and a personal laptop to download the child pornography.

That is downright sick. From what I understand, people incarcerated for child pornography do not do very well among the prison population. Even criminals have a sense for what is right and what is wrong.

I have one and use it when necessary. A good idea.

From gCaptain:

Twelve People Injured by Flying Lava Aboard Kilauea Volcano Tour Boat
A dozen people were injured on Monday when the tour boat they were on was struck by flying lava from the Kilauea volcano on Big Island of Hawaii.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it received a report of 12 people injured aboard a lava tour boat off Kapoho Bay, HI, where lava from the erupting Kilauea Volcano has been entering the ocean in recent months.

The Coast Guard reported that at approximately 6 a.m., its Sector Honolulu watchstanders received an initial report from 911 of three crewmembers and three sightseers injured aboard the tour boat Hot Shot near a lava flow in Kapoho Bay.

Hawaii County Fire Department reported initially that a lava bomb had injured 23 aboard the boat. The lava punctured the boat’s roof and it returned to Wailoa Harbor in Hilo, the fire department said.

Upon arrival in Hilo, the number of injured was revised to 12 total injured, three seriously and nine minor, the Coast Guard said. The injuries reportedly ranged in severity with the worst being a broken leg.

That could have been so much worse - glad the people are OK.

Great news from Thailand

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From the New York Post:

At least four boys emerge from cave in Thailand
At least four young members of a Thai soccer team have been rescued from the flooded cave where they were trapped along with eight teammates and their coach for more than two weeks, officials said Sunday.

The other team members and coach still remain in the underground cave awaiting rescue.

Chiang Rai Gov. Narongsak Osotthanakon said at a press conference Sunday that four boys had been pulled out safely from the Tham Luang cave and taken to the hospital.

“This is more successful than I expected, Everyone’s happy,” the governor said

They were in a field trip to explore the cave when flash flood sealed off the entrance.

From Bloomberg comes this horrible tale:

Kentucky Bourbon Warehouse Collapses, Spilling 9,000 Barrels of Whiskey
Thousands of whiskey barrels crashed into a massive heap Friday when a large section of a decades-old storage warehouse collapsed at a distillery in the heart of Kentucky bourbon country.

The damaged warehouse at the Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown held about 18,000 barrels, and it appeared that up to half the barrels inside were affected, the distillery's owner said.

Thank God no injuries - the photo brings a tear to my eye:


Classical allusion in the post title.

What is Bob up to these days

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It seems that Bob Dylan is doing some interesting things these days - I knew that he was into metalwork and welding - and now this.

Check out Heaven's Door

From deadspin:

Writer Picks Up Poker For Book Stunt, Wins So Much Money That The Book Is On Hold
A little more than a year ago, New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova announced that she was diving into the world of professional poker as a new player, all for the purpose of writing a book about her experiences. Yesterday, PokerNews reported that the actual writing of the book is on hold because Konnikova, under the guidance of pro Erik Seidel, got too good at poker.

In January, Konnikova won $86,400 by beating a 240-person field at the PCA National; in her first tournament after deciding to drop blogs for cards, she won $57,000, according to PokerNews:

“PCA was the moment where everything kind of came together,” she said. “I’m learning and it’s sticking and I’m playing well. It’s a really wonderful feeling when you’re studying and working to have that validated.”

Her huge success forced Konnikova to re-evaluate her plans. With an incredible opportunity in what could be a historic poker event on the horizon, Konnikova decided she had to push the book schedule back and go all in on poker for the time being. She built a revised poker schedule, ramped up in terms of both buy-in sizes and quantity of events.

It paid off immediately, as she finished second in an Asia Pacific Poker Tour Macau event for $57,519.

This kind of stunt has a rich tradition among writers and amateur athletes. George Plimpton kicked it off with NFLMLB, and NHL tryouts in the 1960s for a series of books. More recently, Sports Illustrated’s Michael McKnight spent huge amounts of time trying to learn how to dunk and hit a homer; Slate’s Stefan Fatsis wrote books about his attempts to become a kicker for the Denver Broncos and an elite Scrabble player; and Dan McLaughlin, who had never played a full round of golf before, decided to test out the Malcolm Gladwell-popularized 10,000 hour theory and become a professional golfer from the ground up. It didn’t work, exactly, though McLaughlin got very good.

Heh - sometimes life takes you in unexpected directions...


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XKCD nails it - so true:


Borg Vs. McEnroe - the movie

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It was a good day for a movie so T and I went to see Borg Vs. McEnroe

Excellent film and a fun job of interspersing older video clips with new footage. Well worth seeing on the big screen.

Good news - Darwin award

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Glad they took themselves out before potentially killing or injuring anyone else - from the Minneapolis, MN Star-Tribune:

Agents find 'explosives laboratory' at Wisconsin apartment
Court records say a state Department of Justice agent found an "explosives laboratory" and white supremacist literature while investigating a fatal explosion at a Wisconsin apartment building.

State investigator Kevin Heimerl says he found 13 jars of the explosive triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, in the Beaver Dam home, along with bomb-making instructions. WKOW-TV reports Heimerl says containers labeled TATP were also found in an apartment garage.

The explosion last month killed 28-year-old Benjamin Morrow, who lived in the apartment.

Yikes - I consider myself to be a competent chemist and have played with various explosives. I would not touch TATP if you paid me. Very nasty stuff. (P.S. - I still have all ten of my fingers).

A bit more:

TATP can explode if subjected to heat, friction, static electricity or shock. Authorities were forced to burn down the apartment building because the chemicals were too volatile to remove.

I rest my case. The muslim bomb builders love this stuff because it is cheap and can be made from common chemicals. They also call it The Mother of Satan with good reason.

Honey? Where did we park the car?

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From Russia Today:

Avalanche buries cars in parking lot after roaring down Russia’s Mt Elbrus
Footage on social media showed how a massive avalanche roared down the slope of Europe’s highest peak, Russia’s Mount Elbrus, burying over a dozen cars.

The rapid flow of snow hit the parking lot at the foot of Mount Elbrus in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria on Saturday, emergency services said. Peaking at 5,642 meters, Mount Elbrus is in the top ten most prominent mountains in the world, and has some very popular ski resorts.

Numerous videos released on social media show the massive avalanche coming down on the vehicles, possibly damaging them beyond repair. Luckily, the snow stopped before hitting any major infrastructure, and the emergency services said that they haven’t received any reports of people hurt.

Yikes - I bet the ski patrol needed fresh undies - that would be a horrible thing to see unfolding.

Just heard about this group - they are studying a very important subject. Check out The Urban Freight Lab:

Urban Freight Lab
The Urban Freight Lab (UFL) is a living laboratory comprised of:

    • Retailers;
    • Urban truck freight carriers;
    • Technology companies supporting transportation and logistics;
    • Multifamily residential and retail/commercial building developers and operators; and
    • The City of Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Lab members act to improve the management of both public and private operations of urban goods delivery systems by engaging in strategic applied research and identifying priority problems for future research projects.

A bit more:

Final-50-Feet Research Project & Goals
The UFL’s first task is pilot testing promising low-cost and high-value actions to optimize operations of the Final-50-Feet of the urban goods delivery system. The Final 50 Feet is shorthand for the supply chain segment that begins when trucks pull into a parking space and stop moving—in public load/unload spaces at the curb or in an alley, or in a building’s loading dock or internal freight bay. It tracks the delivery process inside buildings, and ends where the customer takes receipt of their goods.

Interesting. Urban planners like to "nudge" people into living in smaller apartments and condos and drive smaller cars. They take away road space and hand it over to bicycle riders and "traffic calming" devices - roundabouts, serpentine streets and extending the sidewalk out into the roadway.

This has the immediate effect of reducing traffic but they overlook the fact that big trucks need to have access so that they can deliver food and materials to the people living there. This lab looks interesting.

Avalanche control to our North on the TransCanada Highway near Revelstoke:

The Winter Olympics

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Record cold and because everyone is hunkering inside, everyone's favorite virus - from the UK Metro:

Norovirus and freezing temperatures causing havoc at Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
The Winter Olympics has been hit by an outbreak of the norovirus, with 54 new cases confirmed in Pyeongchang.

It brings the total suffering with the highly contagious virus to 86 with dozens of security guards at the Games affected. Many have been taken to hospital suffering severe diarrhoea and vomiting following the breakout on Sunday.

Consequently, 1,200 guards have been withdrawn from the Olympic sites and quarantined in their rooms with organisers forced to call in 900 soldiers as cover.

And the cold?

Temperatures during the opening ceremony are expected to be -10C, while the wind chill during rehearsals plummeted to -23C.

Yikes - I used to live in New England and it gets pretty cold there. -10°C is just plain nuts. That is 14°F.

Heh - the development of language

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Comes full circle:


From the Los Angeles Times:

Ventura County wildfire rages over 50,000 acres, destroys more than 150 structures; 27,000 flee
A fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into the city of Ventura early Tuesday, burning 50,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing more than 27,000 people to evacuate.

About 3,000 homes were evacuated, a firefighter was injured and Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura County on Tuesday morning, as some 1,000 personnel continued to battle the Thomas fire.

Gusts up pver 60 MPH

Especially considering that Bill and Melinda have dropped over three Billion dollars on this travesty:

From Next Big Future:

Common core education has been a bigger failure than Microsoft Office Clippy

Usually, I am a day or two late on these but this time I am early.
National Situational Awareness Day is tomorrow, September 26th. From Pretty Loaded:

The First Ever National Situational Awareness Day!
We are excited to announce the first ever National Situational Awareness Day will be September 26th! This day was approved by the registrar of the National Day Calendar and was submitted for acceptance by Pretty Loaded. Situational Awareness is a skill that everyone can use immediately to improve their personal safety.

And a bit more:

What is Situational Awareness?
Situational awareness is really just another way of being mindful of your surroundings. Developing this skill will make you more present in daily activities, which in turn helps you make better decisions in all aspects of life.

The concept of situational awareness was identified during World War I by Oswald Boelke who realized ‘the importance of gaining an awareness of the enemy before the enemy gained a similar awareness, and devised methods for accomplishing this.’

In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even a few seconds early may keep someone safe by giving them time to act instead of react. The lack of or inadequate situational awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.

Although situational awareness skills seem to be lacking in modern society, our ancestors used these skills to survive. It has been extensively taught for decades to law enforcement and the military, but it is not exclusive to them.

Most safety experts agree that situational awareness is the number one skill to learn for the safety of everyone.

Situational Awareness Day highlights the importance of using situational awareness skills in every day life to stay out of harm’s way. Harm may come in the form of walking in front of a moving car or that of an assailant, both of which can happen from any myriad of distractions which cause one to not be aware of the surroundings and situation.

Good stuff to practice - saves lives and you can use these skills to help others. Is that guy sitting down because they are tired or are they having a medical incident? When turning into a lane of traffic, do you look both ways - what if a bicycle rider was heading in the wrong way down the street? The need for situational awareness is - literally - all around you.

Our prayers go out to Mexico

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7.1 Magnitude earthquake close to Mexico City. The quake was deep so some of its strength is mitigated but still, first reports have about 200 dead and about 50 buildings collapsed.

Yikes - wildfires to our South

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From Reuters:

Largest wildfire in Los Angeles history forces hundreds to evacuate
A wildfire on the northern edge of Los Angeles rapidly grew on Saturday into what the mayor called the largest blaze in the city’s history, prompting the evacuation of hundreds of people and the closure of a major highway.

The 5,000-acre (2,023-hectare) La Tuna Fire, named after the canyon area where it erupted on Friday, has led authorities to evacuate more than 700 homes in a north Los Angeles neighborhood and in nearby Burbank and Glendale, officials said.

Authorities warned of erratic winds that could force them to widen the evacuation zone, after the fire destroyed one house in Los Angeles on Saturday.

That close to houses - could be a real probelm if the wind shifts. Dry as a bone down there.

Memo to self - avoid the shrimp

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Abbotsford is a large Canadian city to my northwest - about 15 miles. From the Vancouver Inquirer:

Tainted Buffet At Abbotsford Strip Club Blamed After Severe Diarrhea Incident On Stage
A popular strip club in Abbotsford, BC has been closed until further notice after several dancers contracted diarrhea last Friday night. The cause of the incident, which remains under investigation, has been initially linked to a contaminated buffet at the venue. While the investigation continues, the venue has not been named.

A bit more:

Patrons at the venue who were sitting near the stage were the most directly affected by the incident, which occurred close to 11pm. According to a witness at the venue, three dancers were performing on separate poles when the first sign of trouble emerged.

The article's author was having some fun writing - when the first sign of trouble emerged...

Newsweek - just the facts

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Hard hitting reporting there - from Newsweek:

Donald Trump’s presidency was written in the stars—at least that’s what astrologers are saying. He was born during a lunar eclipse, they point out, which makes him more susceptible to the power of eclipses. And if eclipses are monumental celestial events with real-world consequences, as astrologers believe, then the rare total solar eclipse happening in August could have major implications for Trump, especially given the growing drama around his administration.

“There’s been a lot of conversation about this eclipse in terms of what’s going on with Donald Trump,” says Wade Caves, an astrological consultant who earlier in July published a 29-page analysis of the coming eclipse. “The astrological world has been completely buzzing with this for quite some time, even more so since Donald Trump was inaugurated.”

In other words - oink, flap, oink, flap, oink, flap...


From the Smithsonian:

A Newly Discovered Diary Tells the Harrowing Story of the Deadly Halifax Explosion
We turn out of our hammocks at 6.30am and lash up and stow in the usual way,” a Royal Navy sailor named Frank Baker wrote in his diary on December 6, 1917. “We fall in on the upper deck at 7am and disperse to cleaning stations, busying ourselves scrubbing decks etc. until 8am when we ‘cease fire’ for breakfast.” Baker was pulling wartime duty as a ship inspector in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the lookout for spies, contraband and saboteurs.

But there were no ships to be inspected that day, so after breakfast he and his crewmates aboard HMCS Acadia went back to their cleaning stations. “We...had just drawn soap and powder and the necessary utensils for cleaning paint work,” he wrote, “when the most awful explosion I ever heard or want to hear again occurred.”

What Frank Baker heard was the biggest explosion of the pre-atomic age, a catastrophe of almost biblical proportions. The 918 words he wrote for December 6 make up the only eyewitness account known to be written on the day of what is now called the Halifax Explosion. After World War I, his diary sat unread for decades. Now, it has been included in an exhibit on the explosion’s centennial at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, across the harbor from Halifax. It is published here for the first time.

“The first thud shook the ship from stem to stern and the second one seemed to spin us all around, landing some [crew members] under the gun carriage and others flying in all directions all over the deck,” Baker wrote. Sailors 150 miles out to sea heard the blast. On land, people felt the jolt 300 miles away. The shock wave demolished almost everything within a half-mile. “Our first impression was that we were being attacked by submarines, and we all rushed for the upper deck, where we saw a veritable mountain of smoke of a yellowish hue and huge pieces of iron were flying all around us.”

Unseen by Baker, two ships had collided in the Narrows, a strait linking a wide basin with the harbor proper, which opens into the Atlantic to the southeast. An outbound Belgian relief ship, the Imo, had strayed off course. An inbound French freighter, the Mont-Blanc, couldn’t get out of its way. The Imo speared the Mont-Blanc at an angle near its bow. The freighter carried 2,925 tons of high explosives, including 246 tons of benzol, a highly flammable motor fuel, in drums lashed to its deck. Some of the drums toppled and ruptured. Spilled benzol caught fire. The Mont-Blanc’s crew, unable to contain the flames, abandoned ship.

The ghost vessel burned and drifted for about 15 minutes, coming to rest against a pier along the Halifax shore. Thousands of people on their way to work, already working at harborside jobs, or at home in Halifax and Dartmouth, stopped in their tracks to watch.

Then the Mont-Blanc blew.

Quite the story - more at the site. Another big explosion in Canada was the 1958 intentional demolition of Ripple Rock in British Columbia.

That moke will not be flying for a long long time - from San Jose, CA's The Mercury News:

Exclusive: SFO near miss might have triggered ‘greatest aviation disaster in history’
In what one aviation expert called a near-miss of what could have been the largest aviation disaster ever, an Air Canada pilot on Friday narrowly avoided a tragic mistake: landing on the San Francisco International Airport taxiway instead of the runway.

Sitting on Taxiway C shortly before midnight were four airplanes full of passengers and fuel awaiting permission to take off, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the “rare” incident. An air traffic controller sent the descending Air Canada Airbus 320 on a “go-around” — an unusual event where pilots must pull up and circle around to try again — before the safe landing, according to the federal agency.

FAA investigators are still trying to determine how close the Air Canada aircraft came to landing and potentially crashing into the four aircraft below, but the apparent pilot error already has the aviation industry buzzing.

“If it is true, what happened probably came close to the greatest aviation disaster in history,” said retired United Airlines Capt. Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts. He said he’s been contacted by pilots from across the country about the incident.

“If you could imagine an Airbus colliding with four passenger aircraft wide bodies, full of fuel and passengers, then you can imagine how horrific this could have been,” he said.

Ho. Li. Crap. The Air Canada pilot was coming in for a landing and lined up on the taxiway instead of the runway - completely different markings and lighting. The pilot remarked on seeing some airplane lights on the ground and the controllers sent him on a go-around. Thank God!

Yup - you are screwed

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