Sunday, November 27, 2005

NASA Gallery: Thousands of Images, Videos, Audio from Every Mission

A searchable archive of thousands of images, video, and audio from the Apollo misson to the moon (and earlier), to the newer space shuttle missions and the space station. Includes pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight footage. Fascinating, and in High-Res!

read more | digg story

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving

We had a delightful dinner with friends and neighbors here at Mom and Dad's yesterday. It was really enjoyable and we listened to many funny stories and jokes while enjoying a fantastic turkey dinner. My updates to the blog have been a bit limited since I only have a connection through my cell phone. Next week my dad is getting broadband and I have a wireless router with me that I am going to install after that. That will make the Tranquility Cove Campground, mom and dad's house, a WIFI hotspot. Wow, how cool is that? They have a 5o amp electrical hookup for our motorhome and a sewer connection just like a real campground. Now they will have broadband Wifi. That is more than many campgrounds have. This is a delightful way to spend time with them and to have our home on wheels with us. Barbara and I figure we have spent about six months or more in the motorhome traveling in the two years since we retired. It has been a fantastic way to live and travel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Parked in Yulee

We are on our way to South Carolina for Thanksgiving. As we drove north we gradually got away from the visible impacts of Wilma. Things like bent signposts and blue roofs. We are overnighting at Hance's First in Florida Campground. Everyone else here is going south and we are going north. This is our location:

Monday, November 21, 2005

DAC-ART Building System Small Vacation Home in Gulf Shores Alabama

DAC-ART Building System Small Vacation Home in Gulf Shores Alabama
This is an interesting site describing building techniques that were proven in Hurricane Katrina in Alabama. If you explore this site thoroughly you will find a wealth of information regarding all aspects of construction and more importantly the information is viewed from the standpoint of hurricane protection. Check it out. Plan on spending some time though as this is a very information rich website. Additionally more information regarding this project is available at this DIY network site.

Archive of American Television - Google Video

This archive of video interviews at Archive of American Television - Google Video is quite a collection of knowledge and experience by some well known television and movie personalities. They are somewhat informal and many are very enjoyable to watch. My favorite comedian, Jonathan Winters, is featured in a five part session that is often funny and sometimes dark but always entertaining. This is a great resource. Watch it when you have some time. Here is the link to the Jonanthan Winters sessions, Archive of American Television Interview with Jonathan Winters Part 1 of 5.

Friday, November 18, 2005

FEMA turns us down

You have all followed our Hurricane Wilma adventures. You know we had to relocate due to no power and no phone because the generator in the Mothership started acting up. Granted we had no physical damage but the power was out for ten days so we decided to take the Mothership up to Tampa until things got somewhat back to normal. The FEMA rep met us the minute we returned and finalized our application. I explained why we evacuated and he was very polite and helpful. We thought we might get some small compensation for having to move. Not a dire necessity, especially considering that many are much, much worse off than us. Well, we just got notified that we did not get anything because it was not a mandatory evacuation. I filed an appeal listing our own special extenuating circumstances. Faxed it to them yesterday. I doubt they will do anything but what really bothers me is that my son and his wife stayed the whole time without power, bought a generator which the shipping company fumbled in delivery so it arrived late, and they too were turned down for any money for the generator. Hmmmm, is FEMA running out of money and clamping down on payments? Last year they gave out an almost automatic small amount of money to people around here who applied. In New Orleans they tried giving out some sort of credit cards to people and now for us nothing. Are we part of a large experiment to figure this thing out? You would think that by now they would have standardised the response to provide appropriate relief to people. Maybe my view is just too narrow and they might be doing some good somewhere. Damn you optimistic spirit get back to your room and stay there.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

List of open source software packages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I just saw this Digg come up and it turns out to be the most comprehensive and well organized list of Open Source, free, software I have seen anywhere. What makes this Wikipedia list so nice is that it is so wonderfully organized. Check it out and I think you will be pleased at what you see. This is worth a bookmark for sure.
List of open source software packages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Digg News

I am trying to figure out whether I should include Digg news, see the top of this Blog just under the title. I find the top postings over at http://www.digg.com/ fascinating. It is a kind of data mining of the top stories recommended by thousands of users on Digg.com, Kevin Rose's site. If you don't know Kevin he was the young, smart, guy on the old Screensavers show on the now defunct TechTV. where he was a Contributor (2000-2004, 2004-2005) and Co-host (2004, 2005).


If anyone reads this, which I doubt, let me point out that each posting I make has a link at the bottom for comments. My hope in putting up this blog format many years ago was to inspire discussion of opinionated topics I might post. To this date there have only been a handfull of comments posted. In my own fantasies I had envisioned heated debates going on regarding my own opinions on things. It has been a humbling experience to post things to the world and find that no one really cares. Sometimes our egos make us think our opinions are really important when in reality the only person who cares is the person posting the opinion.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Storm Stories

Storm Stories
The above link goes to one of the forums on our flight simulator web site. We have a couple of thousand users over there and some of them were in Hurricane Wilma's path. The link takes you to a discussion thread over there where some of the reports describe what it was like during and after the storm. Some of our users have quite a talent at describing the events and they give some good insight into what it was like.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

www.fullpassport.com - Diary pages

www.fullpassport.com - Diary pages
Read a headline in my "Jane's Security Briefs" newsletter regarding Transdniestr which they called a "pseudo country." Having never heard that term before I Googled it to find a fascinating diary entry at fullpassport.com. This is a bizarre situation where a country exists within another country, in this case Moldova which does not recognize Transdniestr. Transdniestr has its own border, customs, visas, etc. while Moldova does not have the corresponding elements at the border. Read the linked diary entry at the beginning of this blog entry if you want to know what it is like to visit a "pseudo country."

For some fascinating reading you might also want to visit the home page of fullpassport.com. I love the quote from Mark Twain that they have on their home page:

""Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -- Mark Twain"

Friday, November 11, 2005

CBS News | Robertson: Pa. Voters Rejected God | November 11, 2005?07:30:08

CBS News | Robertson: Pa. Voters Rejected God | November 11, 2005?07:30:08
This guy is starting to sound like our Ayatollah. Surely this comment will invoke some discussion on this blog. I am distressed over this whole "Intelligent Design" thing anyway. The concept of evolution is so beautiful and complex that it can stand on its own. One, if so inclined, could find evidence for a higher power in the evolutionary process alone without having to resort to an "Intellgent Design" fabrication. I have never understood the conservative's fear of science. They should fear what people do with religion more. Religion in itself is a good thing no matter what your belief but what some people do with it is scary. Don't get me wrong. Live your life by the ten commandments and you will be a good person and ascend to whatever rewards there are in the afterlife but this guy Robertson and his ilk really scare me. I call it the Taliban effect. Look at the ultimate evolution, excuse me for using that word, of conservative religion and you only have to remember the Taliban to see where it goes. Beating people with sticks for smiling. Banning the flying of kites. Stoning people to death. That is what happens when the fringe of any system of beliefs attains power.

CBS News | Sunny Days For Solar Panels | November 10, 2005?22:00:03

CBS News | Sunny Days For Solar Panels | November 10, 2005?22:00:03
This seems like a good thing that will become more and more popular in the future. Hey, it alleviates the load on the grid and if you have a battery bank as part of the system it would also provide power if the grid went down. Thinking about what happened after Wilma I think this type of system would have been better than a generator. We had clear cool days right after the storm with lots of sunshine. A system with solar panels would have been able to power at least some of the critical circuits in the house.

As I understand it most of the US production of solar electric generating panels is going to Spain and other countries. The US is making most of the solar panels but we are shipping them to other countries who, being much smarter than us, are using them to generate electricity to free themselves from their dependency on petroleum. When are we going to wise up and start implementing alternate energy generating technologies like this? Does it make sense for us to be making the panels and selling them to other countries?

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground
No, no. Tell me it isn't so. There is an area in the tropics that is looking like a storm trying to form. This will be the season to remember. Or at least I hope it will be rather than an example of what future storm seasons will be like.

I took all of our storm shutters down yesterday. The town has picked up all of the debris such as fence sections and posts that blew down. Most of the landscaping in the neighborhood seems relatively intact but the trees and shrubs still are bare since all of their leaves got blown away. I still have some blown down fence sections piled up on one side of my front yard. I piled them there since they look like they can be used again. All of them belong to the fence on the side of my yard. The tall 8 foot high fence in the back got broken up too badly to be used again. We have no privacy on the back of our house now and it is strange to be looking at our neighbors whom we have not seen for years. I must admit that was intentional since they were very unfriendly when we moved in. The biggest reason for the fence was to wall them off so we would not have to interact with them. The old man is pretty friendly but the old lady is a quite hostile. When the fence guys were here the first time we put the fence up she was following them along every step of the way giving them a hard time. That was a few years ago. She has aged a lot since then and seems to be a bit mellower. At least one time she waved and smiled. Scared me to death when she did that. So sad.

CBS News | Seniors Who Blog Defy Stereotypes | November 10, 2005?14:30:06

CBS News | Seniors Who Blog Defy Stereotypes | November 10, 2005?14:30:06
Makes sense to me. Use those brain cells folks. Start a blog and share your experiences and thoughts. If nothing else it is great fun to look back on what you wrote a few years ago. I guess I must fall into the category of a senior who defies stereotypes.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground

Jeff Masters reports that the tropics are quieting down. Good news for those of us down here in hurricane alley. I used Dr. Master's weather blog on Wunderground.com through the entire hurricane season. He provides insights and details not found on the regular weather reports. I can highly recommend his blog for those who want a little more than the usual TV weather reports offer. Check out the photos on this particular blog.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Google Adsense

Musings has gone commercial. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the blog you will see some small ads from Google. I mainly wanted to see how the ads work and to learn how to implement them on a site. I don't think they are terribly intrusive. It should be interesting to see if any revenue is generated. This site has a fairly low number of hits so I doubt it will make me enough money to pay for my hosting service. It will be an interesting experiment anyway.

Return to Wilmaland

Wilmaland. Yep, we are back home again. Actually home is West Palm Beach. We drove the Mothership here today from Dunedin RV Resort. We left at 10 am and got here about 3 pm. Just as we were leaving this morning we got a call from the FEMA rep and arranged to meet him here this afternoon. He was waiting for us when we pulled up. What timing. He asked a few questions and took our information. We reported no damage to our house but described to him why we evacuated to Tampa. No power, no phone pretty much sums it up. So, we are now in the system and can be expecting some more forms I think.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Remote Storm Reports

We are still in Dunedin in the Mothership. I had some observations about the impact of Wilma that I posted over on our flight simulator scenery web site. Since many of the reports were by our users I don't feel I have the rights to post them again here but you can go to the discussion thread by clicking here and read them yourself. One of our users has a real knack for reporting.

My interface with FEMA was a kind of surreal experience. You can read my post over on the Freeflow site but basically all I was looking for was some reimbursement for relocation expense. We moved the Mothership up here to Dunedin since the power was off in our neighborhood for nine or ten days. I figured I would apply to FEMA just to get some compensation. I will not repeat what I posted over at the Freeflow site but the bottom line is that I got a big packet of stuff in the mail at home that related mostly to small business assistance loans. My neighbor and good friend called me on the phone to tell me that. Nothing in it that seemed to relate to expenses incurred for moving or for buying a generator. I called FEMA again and they told me to just attach all of my receipts to a note with my FEMA registration number and they would be reviewed for payment. What? I started thinking about what it would be like if I were poor and lived in New Orleans or even in South Florida. I would have no power, no phone, no computer and would be just waiting for someone to help. Ok, so maybe I could get to a phone and apply to FEMA. Then I would get a big packet of forms in the mail relating to small business loans? What if my mailbox and house had been destroyed? There has to be a better way. Got to my Freeflow site here and read some of the observations of our users over there. Very interesting.

We are planning on returning the Mothership to her base next Tuesday. Power has been restored in our neighborhood but the infrastructure down there has been hit hard. It will be months or years before things get back to normal. Years? Hurricane season starts up again in 8 months or less. Hmmm. Think, about that and the fact that all of the experts predict that we are moving into ten or twenty years of much more active hurricane seasons than we have been in for the last twenty or thirty years.