Recently in Other... Category

Ho. Li. Crap - meet Eli Bouchard

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The guy is nine years old:

From National Public Radio:

Iconic Sequoia 'Tunnel Tree' Brought Down By California Storm
A powerful winter storm in California has brought down an ancient tree, carved into a living tunnel more than a century ago.

The "Pioneer Cabin Tree," a sequoia in Calaveras Big Trees State Park, saw horses and cars pass through it over the years. More recently, only hikers were allowed to walk through the massive tree.

Over the weekend, a powerful winter storm slammed into California and Nevada, prompting flooding and mudslides in some regions. The Associated Press reports it might be the biggest storm to hit the region in more than a decade.

On Sunday, a volunteer at the state park reported that Pioneer Cabin had not survived.

"The storm was just too much for it," the Calaveras Big Tree Association wrote on Facebook.

There are still some privatly owned tunnel trees but this was the grandaddy of them all. Nothing lasts forever...

What a maroon

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Talk about stupid criminal - from the San Diego, CA Union Tribune:

San Diego bank robber reveals identity by using ATM card during heist
If only all crimes were so easy to solve.

Alvin Lee Neal robbed a downtown San Diego bank, but before he did he inserted his ATM debit card at the teller window — revealing his name and other personal information.

Neal, 56, was sentenced in San Diego federal court Tuesday to three years and 10 months in prison for the robbery, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Title? From Bugs Bunny

2016 the movie

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Here is the trailer - don't want to see the full movie. Once is enough.

Earthquake education

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Great set of cartoons for earthquake preparation from Amrai Pari and animated by Ross Bollinger - from The BEEB:

Using cartoons to help save lives
Bangladesh is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. In addition to frequent cyclones and drought, large areas of the country are at risk of earthquakes. With densely populated cities, even a relatively small earthquake could have catastrophic consequences. Amrai Pari (Together We Can Do It) is harnessing the power of media to help people be better prepared.

To help, Amrai Pari enlisted Ross Bollinger, an animation artist famous for his tongue-in-cheek Pencilmation cartoons. I caught up with him to tell us a little more about his hopes for the project.

Brilliant idea - here is the first of the series. More at the BBC website

And how was your thanksgiving?

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From Seattle station KING:

Woman breaks fingers, delivers a baby, and puts Thanksgiving dinner on the table
A Tacoma woman has quite a story to tell after her unexpectedly hectic Thanksgiving. It started with a triathlon, took her to a hospital, and ended at the dinner table with baby pictures.

Rhonda DiCostanzo was up before sunrise on Thanksgiving morning. She kneaded some dough for the dinner rolls and headed out to participate in a YMCA triathlon.

As she was crossing the finish line, she tripped, fell, and broke two of her fingers. DiCostanzo works as a midwife at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. She hurried over to the ER, where she knows some nurses, to get her hand fixed up.

“And I heard this lady come in, and she was obviously in very active labor and was obviously going to deliver very quickly. You could just hear it,” DiCostanzo said.

Jessica Morales could not wait a minute longer. The hospital delivery staff were still on their way. So DiCostanzo rushed over, with her hand still injured, and single-handedly delivered Morales's baby boy.

“Afterward I showed her my hospital band and said, ‘you know I'm a patient here, too,’ and she said, ‘WHAT?’” DiConstanzo recalled.

DiCostanzo wasn't finished. She returned home and still managed to serve Thanksgiving dinner to 16 guests.

“What a great day, what a wonderful life I lead. Triathlon, deliver baby, cook dinner, have time with family and friends, life is good,” she said while relaxing at home, Friday.

That will be in the family story-line for a long long time...

Our prayers go out to New Zealand

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Woke up to find multiple earthquake notices in my email. South Island of New Zealand has been hit with some big ones and there is a tsunami watch out.

Radio New Zealand has some photos: Earthquake: In pictures

as well as streaming updates: LIVE: 7.5 quake near Hanmer rocks whole country

From the US Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Kidde Recalls Combination Smoke/CO Alarms Due to Alarm Failure
Name of product:
Kidde NightHawk combination smoke/carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
The alarm can fail to continue to chirp when it reaches its seven year end of life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it is still working. This poses a risk of consumers not being alerted to a fire or CO incident in their home.

There is a link to the Kidde website to get a free replacement. Also, for those living in my area, Fire District 14 will install a free smoke alarm in your house - contact them for more information.

Hurricane Matthew - post mortem

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FEMA has put up a website with lots of data and pictures/video on the responses to Hurricane Matthew.

A lot of this will serve well for materials for future drills and training.  Events like this are a constant OODA loop of training, learning and advancement - Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act.

There is still a lot of work to be done but here are some numbers so far from the FEMA daily digest:

FEMA has provided so far:

    • Florida: More than 71,000 meals; 341,000 liters of water;
    • Georgia: More than 535,000 meals, 617,000 liters of water; 17,000 blankets;
    • North Carolina: More than 570,000 meals; 26,000 blankets; and,
    • South Carolina: More than 250,000 meals; 4,500 blankets.

And a couple of interesting programs out there:

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) is operating its SafeStor program on the M/V Cape Decision in Charleston, South Carolina, as shelter for local emergency vehicles in the region. A total of seven agencies, including the Charleston Sheriff's Department, have a total of 53 emergency service vehicles loaded on the Cape Decision’s massive cargo hold to weather out the passage of Hurricane Mathew. MARAD’s SafeStor program provides safe shelter for emergency equipment and personnel and allows affected areas to be up and running as soon as possible in order.

The American Red Cross is supporting a massive shelter operation in the affected areas. More than 18,000 people stayed the night in 183 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The Red Cross has more than 2,200 trained disaster workers on the ground in addition to 95 pre-positioned response vehicles and 94 trailer loads filled water, ready-to-eat meals, shelter and kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more.

They need blood and platelets too - go to to find out where to donate - literally the gift of life.

The U.S. Department of Interior’s United States Geological Survey (USGS) is preparing to collect the 393 surge sensors and gages deployed in advance of Hurricane Matthew along the East Coast to provide data that will assist water managers in determining the peak and duration of storm surge. This includes Storm Surge Sensors (190), Wave Sensors (79), Barometric Pressure Sensors (92), and Rapid Deployment Gage's (32). The information supports disaster recovery efforts and critical weather forecasts for the National Weather Service and FEMA. The information collected will be distributed live on the USGS website to help federal and state officials gauge the extent and the storm's damage as it passes through each area. This is the largest deployment of surge sensors by the USGS and surpasses the total deployments for Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

And this caught my eye - from

Florida emergency concealed carry law may see first use in Hurricane Matthew
As extremely dangerous Hurricane Matthew barrels down on the Florida coast, some in the state may be able to temporarily carry concealed handguns without a permit under a new law.

The National Hurricane Center as of Thursday morning places the eye of the tropical cyclone about 180 miles Southeast of West Palm Beach Florida moving at 14 mph to the Northwest. Packing Category 4 hurricane strength winds of 140 mph, the storm is expected to move close to or over the east coast of the Florida peninsula through Friday night.

With more than 1.5 million Floridians in evacuation zones, attention by some gun owners concerned with safety is falling on a law signed last year by Gov. Rick Scott to allow law-abiding citizens without concealed carry licenses to bear arms during declared mandatory evacuations.

The measure, which passed as HB209/SB296, creates an exception to Florida’s prohibition against concealed carry of a weapon without a permit by allowing adults not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm to temporally do so while evacuating. The law allows for a 48-hour window that this would be allowed after the evacuation has been ordered. However, the governor can authorize an extension as needed.

Further, existing state law does not authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed in an emergency, unless a person is engaged in a criminal act.

Wonderful idea - Lulu, her son and I have talked about getting Concealed Carry permits but the application is a long process and only open two times/week for a short time. I tried a couple times but was always too late or the line was too long. Where I live is very safe but if I was still living in some areas of Seattle and had to evacuate, I would feel a lot better if I had a bit of backup in my pocket.

Quote of the month

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What with Hurricane Matthew and our own earthquake preparedness drill this is apropos:

"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail."
--Benjamin Franklin

Our tax dollars at work

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Surprisingly, some branches of our Federal Government are run pretty well. Just got this update email from FEMA:

FEMA is staffing Incident Support Bases in Albany, Georgia and Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to pre-position resources closer to potentially affected areas, should affected states request them. Today there are more than 444,000 liters of water and more than 513,000 meals, as well as thousands of cots and blankets on site. Additionally, FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center has been activated to support response and recovery efforts on the ground.

According to the National Weather Service, hurricane conditions (winds 74 MPH or greater) are expected to first reach the east coast of Florida from Golden Beach to Fernandina Beach by Thursday evening, and will spread northward along the Florida coast overnight into Friday. Hurricane force winds are expected to develop this evening along the east coast of Florida and will continue to spread northward into Friday.

“This is a serious storm that is not to be underestimated,” said FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate. “There is very real potential for deadly storm surge, high winds and extended power outages. Listen to your state, local and tribal officials, and heed their directions. If you have been asked to evacuate, do it now. Do not wait for the next forecast.”

Well supplied, poised and ready. Good to know. There is even an app you can download to your phone of tablet:

Download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters.

Running as it should

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With Hurricane Matthew making USA landfall sometime today, all of the disaster services are performing perfectly. In my morning email, I received notices from FEMA, the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League - our craft guild over 100 years old) and the Federal AlertSense site.

FEMA advised basic preparedness and evacuation information as well as the fact that the governors for Florida, Georgia and both Carolina's declared an Emergency so FEMA is lining up support to go in when the hurricane passes.

The ARRL established specific frequencies for emergency communications and asked all other hams to stay off those frequencies until the emergency has passed - this way, emergency traffic is not hindered.

There is always room for improvement but our emergency services are working pretty damn well and coordinating with each other. This is what all the practice and drills are for.

So true

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Found on facebook:


An expensive load of pipe

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From somewhere in Russia:

Time to watch Young Frankenstein again

From Variety:

Gene Wilder, ‘Willy Wonka’ Star and Comedic Icon, Dies at 83
Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.

His nephew said in a statement, “We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him “there’s Willy Wonka,” would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.

He was an amazing actor - one of a kind and he will be missed. 2016 is being a real jerk taking all these people away from us.

Great godfather

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I want to find out where to get a set - this is downright cute!


Enough kids being born out here - a set of these knucks would be a treasured gift to the right partents.

Outside of that, how was your day?

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Russian septic tank pump truck blows a gasket:

Tip of the hat to Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man.

PDF Quads

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Something to get excited about. From National Geographic:

FREE!! Printable USGS PDF Quads
National Geographic has built an easy to use web interface that allows anyone to quickly find any quad in the country for downloading and printing. Each quad has been pre-processed to print on a standard home, letter size printer. These are the same quads that were printed by USGS for decades on giant bus-sized pressed but are now available in multi-page PDFs that can be printed just about anywhere. They are pre-packaged using the standard 7.5 minute, 1:24,000 base but with some twists:

    • Page 1 is an overview map showing the Quad in context
    • Pages 2 through 5 are the standard USGS Quads cut in quarters to fit on standard printers
    • Hillshading has been added to each page of the PDF to help visualize the topography

Quads are maps made by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and are the go-to resource for hiking and backpacking. What the National Geographic is doing is wonderful!

Diamonds are forever

Talk about an entrenched old-boy's network - the story of someone who tried to break its hold on the diamond market. From Vanity Fair:

The assassination of William Lamb began at 6:45 P.M. on a soft June night. Spectators packed the killing ground, a sales room on the second floor of Sotheby’s, in London. The victim wore the raiment of his caste, a crisp tuxedo. A few yards in front of where he sat, blazing in its spotlight on a plinth beside the auctioneer, was a 1,109-carat top-color white diamond called Lesedi La Rona, the vessel of Lamb’s hopes for a bold new way to sell rough diamonds. His wife had bought him new shoes for the occasion, the toe caps spattered with faux gems. He wore socks patterned with jaunty slashes of color.

The Lesedi diamond opened at $50 million and struggled from the start. Fifty-one million dollars, someone offered, and too long after that, $52 million. This was not the scenario that Lamb had imagined in his dreams. In that version, a forest of bidding paddles would have shot up in the room as eager buyers drove the price north of $100 million. Just the month before, Lucara Diamond Corp., the company Lamb runs and the owner of the diamond, had sold an 813-carat stone for $63.1 million—the highest price ever paid for a rough diamond. Now here was this even greater jewel, the second-biggest diamond ever found, and where were the clamoring suitors? Just that morning at breakfast, Lamb’s boss, Lukas Lundin, a Swedish oil and mining tycoon whose family is Lucara’s largest shareholder, had explained to me that the company’s commission arrangement with Sotheby’s meant the stone would have to reach $150 million for the auctioneer to make decent money. “Up to $100 million,” he said, “they make almost nothing.”

And the outcome:

Nine hours later he sure found out, sitting in front of Lamb while the auctioneer tried to drag up the price in increments of $500,000. At $61 million, still short of the reserve, the price would not budge. The gavel came down and brought the failed auction to a close.

Ashen-faced, Lamb got to his feet. A pack of diamond dealers closed around him. I thought of Julius Caesar at the Senate on the Ides of March. Those surrounding Lamb represented the old diamond order, whose grip Lamb had just tried to loosen. By selling the great diamond at auction, Lamb had attempted to replace the story some of these men tell the world with another story, and the daggers bristling from his back had been planted there by those who did not like the switch.

A fascinating long read - looking into a very private and arcane industry. And no, diamonds are not really worth that much. Zero resale on mounted jewelry stones and there are other stones (silicon carbide) with a higher index of refraction so they glitter even more.

The Rio Olympics - a three-fer

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First two are from Gizmodo:

Reasons to Cancel the Olympics, Ranked
Just before every Olympics, looming doubt starts to surface. Are the cities ready? Has the host country accepted its geopolitical consequences? Will people come?

And 25 reasons - here are two:

26. Poop suits aren’t enough
The special antimicrobial racing suits being designed for rowers to compete in shit-filled water? Probably won’t work.

25. Human body parts on the beach
Yep, right next to where athletes will play volleyball.

Next, the reason - also from Gizmodo:

This Might Be the Reason Why Rio Can't Clean Its Shitty Water for the Olympics
It sounded too good to be true. Thanks to the Olympics, Rio’s trash-ringed, sewage-contaminated Guanabara Bay would transform into a pristine watershed as the premiere venue for rowing and sailing. But the cleanup effort never materialized in earnest, and earlier this year, the city said it would actually take 20 more years. A new investigation offers a very simple hypothesis for why the water stayed dirty: Someone stole the money.

Finally, this mobid event from BlueRock Public Radio:

Canadian Sailing Team Dissolves in Rio Waters After Boat Tips Over
Reports out of Rio de Janeiro indicate that the Canadian sailing team has dissolved after falling into the heavily polluted waters of Guanabara Bay.

At around 2:30pm local time on Thursday, the Canadian athletes lost control during a practice run after encountering unusually turbulent waters. Witnesses say the boat capsized and the sailing duo was thrown overboard, where pieces of their bodies immediately began to disintegrate upon contact with the putrid lagoon.

“We deeply regret the pair of Canadian sailors getting liquified,” said Brazil’s sports minister Ricardo Leyser, noting that on the plus side, neither came back to life as a radioactive monster. “We had no way of knowing that would happen, aside from all the indications that it would.”

A bit more:

The Brazilian Olympic committee also reported positive news, noting that there are now two fewer confirmed victims of the Zika virus.

Needless to say, BlueRock Public Radio is a satire site. Gizmodo is factual.

She is sporting quite the smiley-face:

Congratulations Luke Aikins

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Personally, I do not find the idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane attractive but people have their own comfort zone. Godspeed!

There is a Canadian auction company - Ritchie Brothers. I like them just as much as I like James G. Murphy. They run a clean auction with no shilling and they usually are selling interesting stuff.

Check out this listing:

One of the biggest-ever items in Ritchie Bros.' inventory: a 1,200-person work camp
In Ritchie Bros.' 55+ years in business, we've sold a lot of seriously big heavy equipment items, trucks, and more – everything from massive bucket wheel excavators, front shovels, rock trucks, and other massive mining equipment to ships, barges, and huge cranes.

But nothing really comes close in sheer physical size to this unique asset we're selling by private treaty: a 1,200-person workforce accommodation camp located approximately 50km north east of Peace River, AB, Canada.

A camp with all the bells and whistles.
Imagine a camp the size of a small town, but with all the modern conveniences of the big city: full-service dining, medical clinic, modern living suites, bar/lounge and recreation suites, and wireless internet.

This work camp has a fully-equipped gym complex complete with indoor running track, squash courts, weights and aerobic equipment. The camp even has its own power and utilities system. Take a virtual tour in the video below.

And the kicker is that you are not buying the property - from the listing:

Note: Buyer's responsibility includes dismantling entirety of workforce accommodation. Buyer assumes full responsibility for load out, any scrapping of workforce accommodation equipment or materials and transportation for scrapping and/or relocation to final destination for the workforce accommodation. Note: pile foundations are not included with the workforce accommodation, however, may be purchased separately.

The buyer has to move the entire facility. I cannot imagine the loss the original owners must be taking on this - they probably have loan payments on the construction costs otherwise, they could hold onto it until the oil prices inevitably rise again.

Peace River is about 200 miles Northwest of Edmonton which is itself about 200 miles due North of the border with the USA. It is about the same Latitude as Ketchikan, Alaska.

Meet Fedor:


Here he is in the cabin of his balloon which just broke the worlds record for a flight around the world -- a bit over 11 days. Previous record-holder was Steve Fossett with 13 and a half days.

Mr. Konyukhov has a few other accomplishments in his life - from his Wikipedia entry:

In December 2010, he was ordained as an Eastern Orthodox priest in the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

In 1983, Fedor Konyukhov was admitted to the Union of Artists of the USSR (he was the youngest member at that moment). Since 1996 he has been a member of the Moscow Union of Artists, Graphic Arts section; since 2001,a member of the Sculpture section as well.

He is a winner of the Gold Medal of the Russian Arts Academy, an Honorary Academician of the Russian Arts Academy and the creator of more than 3,000 paintings. He has participated in a number of Russian and international exhibitions.

Konyukhov is the only person to have reached such extreme points of the planet as the North Pole (three times), the South Pole, the Pole of Inaccessibility in the Arctic Ocean and the top of Mount Everest (twice) and also sailed around the world via Cape Horn 4 times. 2007 - 2008 first person to sail “Antarctica Cup”. Non-stop, solo circumnavigation around the Antarctica. The route: Albany, Western Australia – Cape Horn – Cape of Good Hope – Cape Leeuwin, Albany. It took Fedor 102 days to round Antarctica.

Konyukhov has set world records, notably crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a row-boat URALAZ in 46 days, the best 24-hour distance in the same boat (110 miles).

From December 22, 2013 to May 31, 2014 Fyodor Konyukhov crossed the Pacific ocean starting in the Chilean port of Concon and finishing in Australian town of Mooloolaba (Sunshine Coast) without entering ports and without any external help or assistance. He covered the distance of more than 17,408 km (9400 nautical miles) on the Turgoyak (K9) rowboat in just 160 days.

There are more travel accomplishments - you get the general idea. And then there is also this:

Fedor is the first Russian mountaineer to complete the 7 Summits challenge for which a person must climb the highest mountains of each of the seven major continents, also he is the first Russian traveller and third person in the world, who completed The Explorers Grand Slam: he also visited both the North Pole and the South Pole.

1992 (26 of February) — Elbrus (Europe/Russia)
1992 (14 of May) — Everest (Asia) — (in the AvtoVAZ team)
1996 (19 of January) — Winson Massif (Antarctica)
1996 (09 of March) — Aconcagua (South America)
1997 (18 of February) — Kilimanjaro (Africa)
1997 (17 of April) — Mt. Kosciusko (Australia)
1997 (26 of May) — Mt. McKinley (North America) — (in the team)

Ho Li Crap - talk about a life lived to its fullest.

Dumb-ass of the day

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Some people take gullibility to a new level - from the London Daily Mail:

Man sues escort agency after claiming he was stood up after paying millions for 'sexual services' with actresses and supermodels like Megan Fox and Candice Swanepoel
A Chinese businessman claims he paid an escort agency $3.7 million to have sex with supermodels and A-list actresses.

Yu 'Martin' Xu alleges he paid Sydney-based agency Royal Court Escort for 'sexual services' from Hollywood actress Megan Fox, Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel and Independence Day actress Angelababy but was stood up.

Mr Xu said an agent told him that the agency would provide 'female escorts of international standing for the provision of sexual services', according to documents filed in the NSW Supreme Court.

He said the company agreed to facilitate the meeting anywhere in the world if he paid $3.7 million, as well as the costs of transport and accommodation.  

What is that line about a fool and his money?

From Michigan Live:

Muskegon River tubing trip turns into overnight nightmare for three women
They left for what they thought would be an easy float down Muskegon River Tuesday afternoon – but ended up spending the night on the river bank, scared and yelling for help.

The trio of young women were rescued 20 hours later after a fisherman eventually heard their cries, said Muskegon Township Deputy Fire Chief Bob Grabinski.

The women, all in their 20s, had never been tubing before and decided it would be a fun thing to do, Grabinski said. So they bought some tubes and headed to the popular launch site at the Maple Island Road bridge, Grabinski said.

"They were informed by somebody at the bridge that the river goes in a circle and if they put in there they would come back to their car," he said. "Not knowing anything, they set off on their little adventure."

Talk about gullible. Glad they are OK but sheesh...

I have always been fascinated by the sea and have spent a lot of time on and under her.

Just ran into this blog - Shipwreckology

Some great stories.

From United Press International:

Man in go kart flees police pursuit on California highway
A go kart driver was filmed by a witness fleeing from a police vehicle on a stretch of highway in California.

The video, which was captured by a Snapchat user and uploaded to Twitter by user @Tonka_Boy_Dre, shows a man in a go kart speeding away from an unmarked police vehicle with its red and blue lights flashing.

A crowd of onlookers cheers the man on as he speeds down the highway without stopping.

It was unclear whether the man was eventually stopped by police or if he got away.

An interesting story - a duel

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In 1892.

Between two women.

Who dueled topless.

Go here and read: Famous Topless Female Duel of 1892

Photos and illustrations of course...

How to move a city - Kiruna, Sweden

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Sweden's most Northern city - it was founded because of a large deposit of high grade iron ore. Mining has caused the surface to settle, the ore is such a high grade that it would be stupid to close the mine so they are moving the entire city a couple miles.

I would love to visit there and hang out for a few weeks. I have always been attracted to polar regions.

Do not return to where you spent them... From the Detroit Free Press:

Police: Michigan man made fake money, used for lap dances
A Michigan man is facing charges after a stripper was paid with a counterfeit $100 bill following a lap dance.

Stephen Gidcumb is charged with intentionally passing counterfeit notes. Police tell the Detroit News that fake bills were mixed in with real $100 bills. reports the 32-year-old was arrested May 13 after returning to the strip club in Kochville Township, near Saginaw, later that day. Chief Assistant Saginaw County prosecutor Christopher Boyd says club workers were "on the lookout" for Gidcumb.

Wonder if the ink ran from the sweat... Talk about stupid.

Happy Mother's Day

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A tip of the hat to Bayou Renaissance Man who swiped it from It Ain't Holy Water

From The Counterfeit Report:

Duracell: Coppertop AA / AAA Batteries
Duracell AA and AAA batteries are often counterfeited and sold all over the world.

Duracell carefully guards the reputation of their products and consistent quality of the millions of batteries they supply annually. Richard K. Willard, Senior Vice President & General Counsel for Gillette advised of the seizure of more than one million counterfeit Duracell batteries; "Consider for a moment the consequences should the counterfeit batteries wind up in firefighters' flashlights and fail during a major rescue operation? The counterfeiter, a criminal, is the only one who stands to gain."

Authentic Duracell Coppertop batteries are available in several visually different versions and models -- with and without the "DURaLOCK" silver band. Don't be fooled by a fake, buy authentic Duracell batteries from authorized Duracell retailers.

Tips to identify authentic Duracell Batteries:

Something to check, especially if you use these batteries in your emergency radio, flashlight or smoke detector.

There are some hellacious forest fires in Canada right now - whole communities being destroyed.

One company is standing up - Labatt Brewery. From the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

Labatt Breweries produces water for forest fire evacuees
Labatt has switched from producing its best known product to help out Saskatchewan communities.

The brewing company is sending 48,000 cans of emergency drinking water to CFB Cold Lake. The water will be distributed to evacuation centres and fire lines in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

"When we learn of a need like this one, we're ready to deliver emergency drinking water instead of beer," said Labatt Vice-President Charlie Angelakos in a news release. "Labatt and its employees are pleased to be able to help out during this very challenging time for everyone affected by the wild fires."

Since 2012, the company closes down its brewery in London, Ontario for one day each year to produce emergency drinking water to be placed in storage. In past years, the company has sent water to flooding victims in southern Alberta and Manitoba.

The company will be producing more emergency water tomorrow to replace its stores. The company will ship out more water if it's needed.

There are some other news reports putting the number of cans at a higher value - these are the cans that had already been stockpiled for use in other parts of Canada

Today's holiday

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Celebrating victory over France:


But... We need to do SOMETHING!

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Part of learning emergency communications is learning how to deal with disasters and what is actually needed. An excellent article on what is not needed from CBS News:

When disaster relief brings anything but relief
When Nature grows savage and angry, Americans get generous and kind. That's admirable. It might also be a problem.

"Generally after a disaster, people with loving intentions donate things that cannot be used in a disaster response, and in fact may actually be harmful," said Juanita Rilling, director of the Center for International Disaster Information in Washington, D.C. "And they have no idea that they're doing it."

Rilling has spent more than a decade trying to tell well-meaning people to think before they give.

In 1998 Hurricane Mitch struck Honduras. More than 11,000 people died. More than a million and a half were left homeless.

And Rilling got a wake-up call: "Got a call from one of our logistics experts who said that a plane full of supplies could not land, because there was clothing on the runway. It's in boxes and bales. It takes up yards of space. It can't be moved.' 'Whose clothing is it?' He said, 'Well, I don't know whose it is, but there's a high-heeled shoe, just one, and a bale of winter coats.' And I thought, winter coats? It's summer in Honduras."

Humanitarian workers call the crush of useless, often incomprehensible contributions "the second disaster."

In 2004, following the Indian Ocean tsunami, a beach in Indonesia was piled with used clothing.

There was no time for disaster workers to sort and clean old clothes. So the contributions just sat and rotted.

"This very quickly went toxic and had to be destroyed," said Rilling. "And local officials poured gasoline on it and set it on fire. And then it was out to sea."

People's hearts are in the right place but they simply do not know what is needed and how their efforts could be better spent. A perfect example:

You may not think that sending bottles of water to devastated people seems crazy. But Rilling points out, "This water, it's about 100,000 liters, will provide drinking water for 40,000 people for one day. This amount of water to send from the United States, say, to West Africa -- and people did this -- costs about $300,000. But relief organizations with portable water purification units can produce the same amount, a 100,000 liters of water, for about $300."

Exactly. That $300,000 could provide so much more relief than just a day's worth of water for a bunch of people.

I was thinking about this earlier today - I was in Bellingham and there are a lot of people panhandling on street corners. I could give one of them $5 and it would provide a balanced 2,000 calorie meal for that one person. The same money given to a shelter or food bank would provide a similar balanced meal for three or four people. Sometimes people act with their feelings and not with the reality of the situation.

Not evil, just terribly wasteful and not thought through.

I really like these people - Team Rubicon

King County (South of here - home to the People's Socialist Republic of Seattle) just replaced the old bridge across Lake Washington. The new span is the worlds longest floating bridge.

From the WA Department of Transportation:

Public celebrates grand opening of new floating bridge
The world’s newest and longest floating bridge opened its arms to the public Saturday morning, April 2, as Gov. Jay Inslee cut an orange ribbon to commemorate the completion of the new State Route 520 floating bridge across Lake Washington.

The official ribbon-cutting at the bridge’s midspan was just one of many Grand Opening activities during a daylong celebration expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors onto the 1.5-mile-long structure.

A bit more:

During this morning’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Michael Empric, a representative of Guinness World Records, presented Millar with a certificate designating the new floating bridge – at 7,708.494 feet, end to end – as the world’s longest. The ceremony opened with a tribal blessing of the bridge by Muckleshoot Tribe member Warren KingGeorge, and closed with a tribal song by the Muckleshoot Language Group.

Earlier in the day, more than 12,000 people participated in a 10K run/walk from Husky Stadium, across the bridge, and back to the stadium. On Sunday, April 3, 7,000 bicyclists will close the celebration with a 20-mile “Emerald City Bike Ride” across the bridge and through car-free downtown Seattle streets. More than 50 corporations and organizations, including Delta Air Lines and Microsoft, helped sponsor the weekend celebration.

From his first day in office, Inslee worked to secure full funding for the SR 520 corridor, and last July he signed into law the project’s final installment of $1.6 billion, which will complete the highway’s Seattle improvements from Lake Washington to I-5. This funding was part of a balanced and multimodal transportation investment package that fixes hundreds of bridges, funds thousands of miles of roadway, and authorizes Sound Transit to expand light rail north to Everett, south to Tacoma, east to Redmond, and within Seattle between Ballard and West Seattle.

The “Connecting Washington” package will increase safety, create 200,000 jobs and provide traffic relief. All told, it is the largest and greenest transportation investment in state history.

When I worked at MSFT for five years, I drove across the old bridge every day - always a nice part of the day as I would get up early before the traffic got bad. Made a point to get in right at the time my boss did - or a little before.

Happy to see the highway infrastructure getting repaired but sad to see so much light rail going in - Seattle is not big enough to support a full rail system. I can see between SeaTac airport and Downtown, that makes sense for business travelers but the rest of it? Buses work much better and when the demographics of an area change, it is easy to change the bus routes - not so much with light rail. Plus, the costs are so great that it would be cheaper to buy every regular rider a Prius and the operations and maintenance costs are so high that each Prius owner could get $10,000 cash each year to pay for gas.

And a happy Easter to everyone!

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Image stolen from The Lonely Libertarian

What a headline

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This guy must have lived an interesting (if short) life - from the London Daily Mail:

Man, 27, who was arrested for having sex with a stranger on a Las Vegas Ferris wheel is murdered in a carjacking while driving his stripper fiancée home from work

Can not get more bizarre than that...

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