Thursday, August 21, 2014

10 Thoughts for August 21, 2014

  1. I have a new theme for encouraging growth in Oregon: "Veni, Vidi, Vivi."  Come, see, live.
  2. Mark Begich.  According to this National Journal story, Republicans privately believe that Sullivan's chances of beating Begich are low.  Then again, CSM says that Begich is, " is fighting for his political life."  The chart shows Begish ahead, and the sole nonpartisan poll shows Begich up double-digits.
  3. Speaking of politics, Mitch McConnell just offered up a warning to Americans who thought that government shutdowns were over: If Republicans win, they'll force more shutdowns to get their way with the President.  Don't count your chickens before they hatch, or in this case, McConnell just delivered the script for the DNC to drive voter participation rates up.
  4. Textbooks are expensive.  Apparently, I got out just as it was growing mercilessly.  One thing that could help: Making it unethical for professors to require their own books to be purchased.  I had three kinds of professors: Those who would require their own textbooks to purchase; others who would assign textbooks that weren't their own; and the best kind were the ones who would offer up a photocopy printed collection of texts that were the cheapest of all.
  5. Hamas finally admits openly, that it was responsible for the kidnapping and killing of those three Israeli teens, in hopes of sparking a Palestinian uprising.  No kidding, they called it a "heroic operation".
  6. Did you know that there were TWO real life Walter Whites who were involved with meth?  The media has mixed up two different Walter Whites: One from Montana and another from Alabama.  What they all share in common: The Law caught up with them.
  7. IDK, I think Rick Perry is trying too hard.  Today, he's called for an overwhelming use of force against ISIS.  But, exactly how do you use overwhelming force, when most of ISIS is in villages?  Do you put boots on the ground or do you bomb both ISIS and civilians?  Which brings me to the issue of having a Republican in the White House: What war wouldn't we have skipped?  Would we have been bombing with boots on the ground in Syria, Libya, again in Iraq, and stuck for forever in Afghanistan?  As unsatisfying as it may be, people really don't appreciate the Obama Pragmatism.  
  8. An argument that never made sense to me: Black on black crimes are bad.  As if black on white or black on brown crime were acceptable?  Are they saying that, if you have to kill, don't kill the brother, kill the white guy?
  9. More about that second Koch Brothers ad airing in Oregon, attacking Jeff Merkley: A PWC study shows that for 2014-2015 period, the average price increase on ACA plans in Oregon is ... wait for it ... it's good ... no really, it's a slap the back of the head funny ... -2.5%.  That's right: Most Oregonians with an ACA plan will see a decrease!  Koch Brothers couldn't have picked a worse state, you see, because Oregon's got the lowest price increase in the country.
  10. This sounds like a good thing: One place to get some food from Rainbows Drive-In, KC Drive-In, Poke Stop and Hoku BBQ Chicken.  You can get your huli huli chicken, pork katsu, waffle dog and ahi poke on, in one order. So ono, broke da mouth, brah.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

10 Thoughts for August 19, 2014

  1. There's a G2 geomagnetic storm going on at this moment.  I sure would have loved to be in Jasper, Canada right now.
  2. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in an op-ed for Wired, explains what I've been saying for several years: "A single fiber-optic strand the diameter of a human hair can carry 101.7 terabits of data per second, enough to support nearly every Netflix subscriber watching content in HD at the same time. And while technology has improved and capacity has increased, costs have continued to decline. A few more shelves of equipment might be needed in the buildings that house interconnection points, but broadband itself is as limitless as its uses."  When I say it -- that capacity is fine and the issue is the ISP looking to improve profit margins -- everyone doubts me; when a CEO says it, hopefully some people will pay attention.
  3. By the way, Google Fiber is not like the other ISPs.  How do I know this?  Because unlike the other ISPs, Google Fiber cohosts content providers such as Netflix, to ensure the fastest delivery possible of Netflix content.
  4. With the SCAA certification of home coffee makers made popular, manufacturers have rushed to design for, and build to, SCAA's requirements.  Coming in a few months is this KitchenAid model.  Dunno about the glass carafe, though -- that seems like a minus, especially if it's priced higher than the upcoming new Bonavita model.
  5. A potentially powerful automated encryption app for Android, that it'll make all of your interactions over open WiFi totally secure from anyone.  That's why you buy into an open source platform, and not a closed one.  Unless, that is, you're an Apple Insider fanboy, and believe the stuff you write.
  6. Have you seen Nike's LED basketball floor?  Crazy expensive, I bet.  But hey, when you've got the money.  Speaking of Nike, I don't know why it is, but their t-shirts are the only ones that fit perfectly.  I was at the Nike Outlet store in Woodburn this weekend and I picked up a pair for $25.  Nice.
  7. Executing a journalist won't stop the US or any other nation from prosecuting its war on ISIS.  It actually does the reverse.  By the way, have you noticed how quiet Republicans have been on the issue of the President's assertion of wide latitude to go after ISIS?  It's because they're afraid of taking a stand in a public vote on whether to authorize a war on ISIS.  On the one hand they don't want to be seen as standing down from overseas responsibilities, but on the other hand they don't want to look like war mongerers.  It's the same reason why bombing of Syria never came to a vote.
  8. I'm guessing that with Ohio State's Braxton Miller out for the season, the Buckeyes are going to be mostly one-dimensional and therefore predictable, even if they have a dual-threat, 4-star redshirt freshman available.
  9. You know who is Monica Wehby's worst enemy?  Monica Wehby. In her interview with softball journalist Laurel Porter, Wehby looks like she's on Prozac and conflates different talking points.  Just two weeks ago, she said that, "our labor force is smaller than it was five years ago," which is untrue: July 2014 = 156M; July 2009 = 155M.  What she meant to say is that the labor force participation rate is lower today than it was 5 years ago: July 2014 = 62.9%; July 2009 = 65.5%.  And why is this so?  Well, one might point to the continued push for trickle-down economics by Republicans who've blocked stimulus programs.  As has been noted often, Republicans in the past used increased federal spending through direct federal employment gains, to stop recessions, but with Democrats at the helm, have demanded shrinking federal employment -- and have gotten their way.
  10. Sprint's Framily has died.  In its wake, a newer, more complicated plan.  Seriously, don't write that comeback story.  Wall Street saw the new plan and bolted for the doors -- S sank 4%.  Well, they might have bolted for the doors because they think that Sprint is about to post red ink as a result of price competition, but if you look at that chart, it's hard to tell just how much money, if any, you'd be saving.  I'm just saying, I don't see anyone leaving their current service for Sprint.

10 Thoughts for August 18, 2014

  1. The other night at Kelley Point Park, I caught a glimpse of a bat flying just a couple of feet overhead.  It's been a while since I've seen a bat in Portland.  You can tell it's a bat, by the way they fly and the way their wings spread.  Don't ask we what kind it was -- it was dark.
  2. So much for German outage at US spying.  It turns out, Germany had been spying on American officials and had arrested a German spy official who had informed the US about it.  Ouch.  Germany says that officials were accidentally recorded while Germany was spying on ... wait for it ... a NATO partner, Turkey.
  3. To get an app through the Windows Store (for Win 8), it must go through a lengthy review process: "certification testers install and review your app to test it for content compliance."  So, how can it be that the store contains so many fake apps, including ones obviously involving copyright infringement?  Oh that's right, they're not concerned about other people's rights, just theirs.  Doesn't that also apply to Google?  Nope.  Google's got an automated scan for malware, but no curated process as the type used by Apple and Microsoft.
  4. Some parts of the web are asking why Loren Thompson, as a Forbes contributing blogger (non-paid), got his critique piece against SpaceX pulled from Forbes, just days from posting it.  I guess I'm wondering why Loren Thompson remains a contributing blogger for Forbes despite the blatantly biased posts that say only good things about his employer's actions while introducing FUD against its competitors.
  5. The Koch Brothers are discovering that their ads are not working in Oregon, so they've gone desperate and now claim that Jeff Merkley is lazy, having written just one bill that has passed.  In reality, that's actually an accomplishment.  It turns out, very few bills are passed (feel free to peruse the list of senators and their failures to pass bills), in particular, this Senate has had a bad record on passing bills.  Why?  Well, part of the problem, of course, is that Senate Republicans have blocked action on most bills, by way of filibuster (failure of cloture on a bill).  So, the guile of the Koch Brothers is exposed: Republicans block action on bills, so that they can complain that Democrats are ineffective.  I suggest attacking the Koch Brothers where it hurts the most, by pointing directly at the cause-effect: "Who blocked votes on judges, even though they supported them?  Republicans.  Who blocked votes on the very bills that they supported?  Republicans.  Who spent most of their time chairing politically-driven committees on issues that have produced nothing?  Republicans.  It's time to tell the Koch Brothers to stop wasting their money on a do-nothing party."
  6. The saddest part of losing Robin Williams, to me, is thinking about the fear he must have felt at the thought of slowly losing his abilities to earn the laughter of people due to a neurological disease.  It's easy for everyone to say that they'd be there for him through it all, but it's another thing to see their smiles displaced by concern.
  7. I'm not concerned with the "militarization" of police forces.  As first responders to mass shooting / existential threats, I believe that they actually do need this sort of equipment.  I'm not someone who wants to wait for the FBI to make an appearance at their discretion, hours later, to respond to an immediate threat.  The way I see it, the police response in Ferguson, was an issue of leadership and tactics.  Rather than deescalate, they chose to escalate with a show and use of force.  There's so much more on Ferguson and the Michael Brown story, but I'm waiting for the story to play out a bit more before offering a full write up of my thoughts.
  8. When I saw the photos of the new, 49er Levi's Stadium, I was underwhelmed.  It looks like a stadium built on a shoestring budget, having realized that it looks like crap, was flooded with "tech" to try to make it better.  This is what the Atlanta Falcons are proposing.  Notice the gap in design.  Heck, CenturyLink in Seattle is still far sexier than Levi's Stadium.  When the Vikings stadium is completed, it'll blow the socks off Levi's...and cost less.
  9. 12: The number of named tropical storms to form in the eastern Pacific.  15: The number of named tropical storms, per season, on average, to form in the eastern Pacific.  With still 3 months left in the hurricane season, if this is not an El Nino season, then you have to wonder what the heck is going on.
  10. Wow, what a wrench in the system: Shin Bet apparently uncovered a Hamas plot to kill Fatah leader / Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.  Why it was just last week I was imploring online to distinguish the West Bank from Gaza, and how Hamas has only Hamas to blame for its current position.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Photos of the Day, August 17, 2014

Today's photos are all taken from a park that is often difficult to find...the main entrance's sign is barely noticeable: Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area.  You could be forgiven for not knowing about it, as it is in the middle of industrial lands, with the never-used Wapato Prison on one side, and a city dump on another.

The most ideal ways to tour the park: kayak and bicycle.  Bicycles are only allowed on the perimeter, so bring a bike lock to hook your bike up to the bike parking.  Also, no dogs allowed within the natural areas.  I've only ever walked parts of the park, but eventually will take my bike the entire route and spend time doing photos with my regular camera, not my phone.  Lots of birds and wildlife.

Finally, the gates close at sunset, there is no charge to visit or park, and there are two unisex pit toilets -- no running water.

Side channel algae blooming
Side channel
Smith Lake from the canoe launch area
Closeup of algae / bacteria in Smith Lake edge

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Photo of the day, August 16, 2014

More of a catch-up from the last couple days.

Spider looking to make an appearance in Grimm?
Kelley Point Park
South Waterfront

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Friday, August 8, 2014

Photos of the day, August 8, 2014

I was headed to the Rose Garden up in Washington Park, but that plan was changed when I saw that there was a massive crowd growing for a free concert.  Instead I headed to the Arboretum.

Today's photos were exclusively taken using my D3200 and a fixed 85mm f1.8 lens with Fotodiox macro extension tubes.

Petals of a magnolia

Orange ladybird beetle in magnolia

I thought I knew what this tree was, but apparently I don't.
Queen Anne's Lace, after most of the tiny white flowers have bloomed