Month: March 2013

Let’s play spot the criminal offenses

You have to read this. It has to do with plants in North Carolina where they glue cushions. The glue is causing all sorts of seriously detrimental neurological issues.

Some of the more criminal things I found were:

  • Deliberately turning off ventilation fans
  • Not taking efforts to buy cheap $18 respirators for workers
  • Regularly EXCEEDING limit on the glue imposed by the glue manufacturer by factors of 10 and 100.

Now that’s just what I spotted. In essence the other issue is that OSHA regulatory gumption to enforce the rules with hefty fines. Part of that is because of Congress and we all know what the issue is there. Our congress has been bought and paid for many times over by corporate interests.

When it comes to workplace safety I’m one who believes it should ALWAYS err on the side of protecting the worker, not the company or the profit.

Happy Easter (Or is it Ishtar)

So while we don’t really celebrate the religious aspects of the holiday we do cook a ham, make some southern style potato salad and feast a bit.

But Ishtar (Pronounce it like E-star) was the goddess of fertility, love, sex and war in ancient Assyrian and Babylonian cultures.

Plus there are the pagan symbols inherent in the celebration, the rabbit, the chicks, eggs, etc. All fertility symbols.

So the Catholic church, never one to pass up an opportunity to co-opt ritual, stole it.

Saturday Stealing – I Can’t Wait

Got it from Rejected Reality. That out of the way here we go.

  1. Are you impatient?
    *Generally speaking no. However I find my general tolerance for idiocy rapidly declining as I get older.
  2. Do you believe some people have a gift for predicting the future?
    *Somewhat. Human beings by nature are pattern matching machines. And some of us can spot the pattern better than others. So it’s easier for the latter to predict future events with greater certainty.
  3. The microwave is a great invention for those who “don’t want to wait.” What was the last thing you prepared in yours?
    * Heated up some leftover stewed beef and rice in it.
  4. This was the theme of the TV show Dawson’s Creek. Michelle Williams, a costar on the show, went on to earn multiple Oscar nominations. Name another performer who started out on TV and then became a movie star.
    * Denzel Washington – I recall his turn on St. Elsewhere back in the early 1980’s.
  5. What’s the last bit of advice you received?
    *I can’t recall it at all.
  6. What’s the last advice you gave?
    * That it makes more sense to group systems by type rather than by location.
  7. Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What leaves you feeling refreshed or rejuvenated?
    * A new job! At last.
  8. Easter is also recognized as the start of the spring season. What are you looking forward to this spring?
    * I love the warmer weather, the general sunshine etc. I am definitely more a fan of Spring/Summer than Fall/Winter.
  9. Which would you rather find in your Easter basket: yellow marshmallow chicks (aka Peeps) or a chocolate bunny?
    * Considering the yellow Peeps are nothing but pure sugar, that’s for me. And if it’s chocolate it has to be good chocolate, not that nasty, waxy crap they peddle at the holidays. We’re talking good chocolate.

And so we’ve been upgraded

So I had posted about Cox and how I got a better deal by signing up for the raft versus a la carte on services. It’s still too expensive – but marginally better.

The new cable modem and telecom side has battery backup – for the phone service only. Part of 5-9 reliability for telephone service and E-911 uses, lasts up to 8 hours. Funny enough it’s a 2,600mAh battery – my cell phone also has a 2,600mAh battery in it and lasts about 15 hours between charges.

Net speed is a little zippier. Phone service works fine though I don’t know how to set up voicemail, etc. There’s no guide included. I bet you just dial you own number and it will prompt me to setup. Have to try that.

TV is much more interesting. The box only supports 1080i but if I have to take that I will. Plus it’s feeding the TV via HDMI now. Which means I have component ports open. Hmm. And the new Guide on the Cisco boxes is much nicer than the Rovi guide on the older cable box.

So it works.

Saturday Stealing – In the Wee Little Hours

Got it from Rejected Reality. That out of the way here we go.

  1. Crazy Sam’s (the author of this meme) mom and dad still talk about how exciting it was to see Sinatra in Vegas! What music did/do your parents enjoy?
    *  My mother was a Motown fan, my father likes more soul and funk. And my paternal grandfather was a jazz fan. So what do I like – funk, soul, jazz.
  2. We all know Sinatra sang, and he won an Oscar for his acting. But he also painted and was proud to sell a few canvasses anonymously (signed “Artanis”). Do you have a secret talent?
    * Not one that can be discussed in polite company. Let us just say the bigger, the better!
  3. Those close to Sinatra maintained that every time he sang,”In the Wee Small Hours” (video above) he conjured up how it felt to lose his great love. Have you ever had your heart broken?
    * A couple of times but I’m a resilient bastard, onward and upward.
  4. In 1966, when he was 50, Sinatra married 21 year old Mia Farrow. Their union lasted less than two years. Do you think a wide age gap necessarily dooms a romantic relationship?
    * It can work but they have to set the rules first. For me, it’s +/- 10. Anything younger than that and you run into acculturation issues. And for my advanced age I really don’t want to deal with that.
  5. Offstage Sinatra wore orange sweaters and liked seeing orange throw pillows in his home and dressing room because he believed “orange is the happiest color.” What color raises your spirits?
    * I like a bright green. I’m talking really bright, almost toward yellow.
  6. Frank and his loyal buddies were famously known as “The Rat Pack.” How many people do you consider close friends?
    * Five
  7. Sinatra’s children followed their father into show business. What advice would you give a young person entering your career of choice?
    * Get the I.S./I.T. degree first. Then get into the field. Or get into the field then get the degree. Because honestly the degree doesn’t matter. If you can code, you’re good.
  8. Legend has it that Frank was embarrassed by a scar on his face (received at birth from the forceps used in his delivery) and worked hard to cover it. Do you have a physical characteristic that you try to hide?
    * Not really – other than gray hair. 
  9. In 1964, when he first heard The Beatles, Sinatra was very dismissive. By 1970, he called the Beatles’ “Something” one of the most beautiful ballads ever. Tell us about something you changed your mind about.
    * Jamiroquai – the first time I ever heard them was Return of the Space Cowboy. I was a little put off because I thought it was a rip of Jonzun Crew’s version but it wasn’t.  But by some chance I later heard Cosmic Girl and picked up the disc, and a few more discs, and a few more.

And thanks to WordPress crappy little quick post/New Post button – I didn’t change answers 7 through 9. That has now been rectified.

Radio Astronomy – a younger science

So I’m reading the Committee for Radio Astronomy Frequencies Handbook. It’s a short 171 pages long and I’ll include it here if you want to read it too. CRAFhandbook3

Now radio astronomy is interesting. You can sort of credit Bell Labs with indirectly discovering the field as far back as 1932 when they were working on countering the effects of noise in 10m communications systems. But they didn’t see it as  a science, other than when the experimenter pointed his detector at the center of the Milky Way he noted a spike in activity.

Then in the mid 1960’s Penzias and Wilson discovered the cosmic background radiation.

And now the equipment necessary to do a little radio astronomy of your own is fairly inexpensive.

But you’ll ask the question – why listen to those radio waves? Well, it all depends. Just about everything radiates energy.  For example we humans radiate in the infrared band. We can’t see it, but special cameras can.

Well, in addition to radiating visible light lots of stars including our own sun radiate a whole lot of RF energy. In essence the entire range from 1Hz to the terahertz range is where things really radiate, it’s all light. Even if we can’t see it with our own eyes.

In fact one of the formula for determining the effect of a very large baseline interferometer has a wavelength/300. Now I know from amateur radio to get the wavelength you divide 300 by the frequency. It’s the same formula. One will give you the magnitude, the other the wavelength.



So long Vonage

So yesterday I did it. I cancelled the Vonage service I’d had for eight years. Even the rep I talked to was trying everything to retain me as a customer. Nope. I’ve had it with the fees to be honest. Plus the service is redundant.

They try harping on the E-911 fears but RI has upgraded it’s systems so that there’s little to no different between a cell phone and a landline be it copper or VoIP.

Plus I changed my plan with Cox, particularly since the monthly bill for just tv and net shot up to $165! Now I had Advanced TV and 30mbps net service. With the new plan it’ll be about $20 a month cheaper, I get a new cable box with upgraded guide etc., 45mpbs net service and their phone service. Plus a new cable modem because that’s how they haul the phone service in now. Plus it’s got an 8+ hour backup battery on it.

So the Vonage service became really redundant.

So now Cox decides to get a little competitive?

So I check my mail today and there’s a mail piece from Cox – $89.99 a month for Advanced TV, phone and 18mpbs net. Hmm. Well I like my 30mbps net connection.

So I recently noted my bill for just tv and data went up to $162.99 a month. Ut si!

So here’s what I got when I called:

For about $20 less per month I get phone service which I’ll probably not use anyhow. I also get Advance TV and a new cable box with an upgraded guide service and six months of Starz or some such for free. And the net service – because I opted for the telephone service they’ll replace my ancient SB5100 with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem. My net speed will rise to 45mpbs.

I suppose they got beat enough by Verizon Fios enough that they had to do something. But here in the U.S. we did it all wrong. We should have made the broadband providers such as Cox and now Verizon common carriers. That way everyone could share the coax or fiber, like they do in France. And then we wouldn’t get so screwed.

For example – what I detail above? In France you can get the triple play for $40 a month.

What is Rhode Islanders United for Marriage doing?

So I get email updates from them. Always good to know what they’re up to.

At this point in the game they’re doing everything you’d do if you were running for office including phone banking and canvassing.

But I’m going to make the point that it’s all for naught. That they’re doing it WRONG. At this juncture we already had 72% of the membership of the house vote in the affirmative for marriage equality.

But we have a reluctant and I would say openly hostile Senate. It’s mostly the key membership blocking this, perhaps a half dozen people.

They’ve grown deaf to the calls, emails etc. from their constituents regarding this issue. No amount of close personal contact is going to change it.

Instead we need to now move into a activist phase. Picket the places of business of those Senators, picket their homes if necessary. Let them know we’re going to hold their feet to the fire. Then you’ll get marriage equality in Rhode Island.

But alas, I suspect the way we’ll get it is via the Prop 8 case. We’re one of the eight states

Very Humorous


I recall – cassette tapes. I’m so glad we don’t have to use them anymore. In fact I pretty much abhor magnetic tape in general. It’s very fussy!

I much prefer digital storage. Much better.