Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Oklahoma's Contribution To 'Earth Day'

On Monday, April 21, 2014 , S.B. 1456 passed the Oklahoma state House 83-5 after no debate."Oklahoma residents who produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines on their property will now be charged an additional fee, the result of a new bill passed by the state legislature and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R)."

One of the greatest things about solar energy is it's there when you need it the most. Here in the United States throughout the summer on the hottest days we suffer from brown-outs. This is when our electrical grids are strained to their max. However these are the optimum conditions for pollution free solar panels at which time they perform at their best.

We're becoming the biggest a-holes in the world by allowing fossil fuel interests to hold us back in the steam age while the rest of the world moves forward. Saudi Arabia to invest $109 billion in solar energy-- "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced plans to invest $109 billion to produce 41 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by 2032, almost 30 percent of its total energy requirement." So here you have the second largest oil producer in the world who in less then 18 years expects about 30% of their electric to come from the sun. Even they favor solar over the continuation of burning dirty fossilized crud coming from holes in the ground. They are not alone. The United States ranks 5th in total solar energy output behind Germany, China, Italy and Japan. Three of which are far smaller nations then we.

While other nations are moving forward here we are fighting over a pipeline and (possible earthquake prone) fracking. As if that weren't bad enough here we are attempting to stifle solar technology's progress. This while in the meantime the world's second largest oil producer, the government of Saudi Arabia is pouring $109 billion of it's own money. This will not only extend the life of their oil fields, but also extend other nations' dependency on them further into the future.

It's not just about energy, pollution nor even scientific progress
Why do you think Russia invaded Crimea?
(The answer may not be for the reasons you think)
Atlantic.com-- "The peninsula also sits atop vast underwater gas basins in the Black Sea, estimated to contain between 4 and 13 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. As Ukraine's southernmost territory, the peninsula has the highest solar-energy potential in the country and already featured one of Europe's largest photovoltaic parks. Its mountainous coastline holds strong wind-energy potential, with seven wind plants already built there and more planned before the crisis. But all of that infrastructure and investment now rests in Russian hands."Additionally Ukraine's nuclear power plants supply almost 50% of it's electric that rely almost entirely on Russia for it's supply of uranium to power them.

So what's that to us?
In January 2014 the U.S. imported 287,188,000 barrels of crude oil products. No matter how you slice and dice it when it comes to foreign policy it makes the U.S. dependent to the whims of foreign nations. Nations who can hold us hostage to their demands for our continued military support and set political and economic policies with them.

Currently the United States depends on other nations to supply roughly 30% of our petroleum needs. Unless we plan on fracking and drilling every few miles on both land and sea, we're pretty much in the same boat. I don't know about anyone else but creating earthquakes, polluting our water and air is one hellva' lousy plan for solving our growing energy needs.

If we truly want to be not only energy independent and free from foreign governments dictating our polices we need energies like those that come from solar and wind devices. Making laws that stifle these is not only ignorant policy, but can be dangerous as well.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Humans Making Themselves Extinct?

I realize the following may seem at first like crazy talk. Bear with me for a moment.

As I watched the videos of Honda's 'ASIMO' it made me wonder...

* If one day these robots could begin manufacturing themselves without our intervention. Even going so far as to increase their intellectual software capacities beyond our abilities in the manufacture of them?

* If this were so, could we be wasting our time searching the universe for other of our similar life forms? Imagine for a moment that humans like us living on another planet somehow became extinct via environmental conditions, war or a virus and robots were able to survive. Robots need neither food, water, air and can survive in other extreme conditions that would be impossible for biological species such as ourselves. For them travel through space would be a snap. The time limitations to travel from one place to another in a human's lifespan would not be a factor. Neither would be supplies other then a few spare parts. As far as the needed electrical energy, they could power down till the ship came across a solar source to recharge them no matter how long it took.

What makes humans inferior
They require food, air, a narrow range of temperatures, sanitary facilities, sleep, exercise and a need to occupy their minds constantly to avoid going stare crazy and medicines. In the process we generate huge amounts of trash and pollution in our fish bowl we call Earth. Robots can live outside of the fishbowl. We cannot! Humans are currently at the top of evolution on this planet. Could it just be unwittingly we're inventing our own replacements in the ever evolving universe?

Is what I say a possibility or have I watched too many episodes of 'Battlestar Galactica'?

It can't happen. We'll always have the stop button. Sure about that?
Where I worked we had big red emergency stop buttons located in various areas on each production line. They were supposed to shut every piece of equipment down both inside and outside the production room. One day someone got tangled up and people started hitting the big red emergency buttons. They didn't work.. not any of them!

Seems the ladder logic programmed into the line was faulty. The buttons were unintentionally bypassed by earlier running software excluding them from the circuits that followed. Fortunately for us we were able to run over to the giant fuse panels and pull the big levers disconnecting the power to them. Just suppose a fault in the code would allow robots to continue running. In their case there would be no fuse panels to run to.

CNet Published this on Apr 16, 2014

Here's a longer video published in a article at 'Wire.com'

Sunday, April 20, 2014

LVCI's Version Of Easter Services

Like many, later today we'll have our 'traditional' family Easter dinner. Unlike many, I've been inclined to observe Easter in my own way. Rather then attending traditional religious services I find these videos to be of greater use to me.

After going to church with it's repetitious dogma year after year I personally felt no progress what-so-ever was made to a closer understanding of such things. If it only took a thousand sips of wine and wafers I'd have been good to go already after all these years. These will bring no one closer to understanding. Neither will reading a thousand times the same scripture we've heard time after boring time. If God just wanted a bunch of robots he would have instead preprogrammed our minds, given us batteries, a box of wafers and a few dozen jugs of wine.

The way I see it, God wanted humans to start out from scratch with new ideas and expressions not even God had or has yet to conceive of. God also endowed us the ability to understand our relationship with our creator if we so chose to make the effort. Chasing our own tails around every weekend doing the same thing over and over doesn't accomplish that.

The following two speakers are not questioning the existence of God or promoting a secular belief. Instead they are attempting to motivate listeners into developing a deeper understanding of our true essence. Keeping that in mind, I began my Easter weekend by watching a bunch of Rupert Spira videos which can be found HERE.

Below is one of them I found more interesting then some of the others. It ask the question...

What is Awareness?

The other set I watched was the 23 part series entitled "The Rabbit Hole" by Deepak Chopra.

'The Chopra Well'

Friday, April 18, 2014

Why We Moved To Allentown's West End

Friday, April 18, 2004- Lehigh Valley Live.com-- "Police Capt. Glen Dorney said officers served the arrest warrant at 529 N. New St., between West Allen and Liberty streets, at 9:30 p.m., found evidence of a drug operation and arrested 13 people inside the single family home."

This house is located less then two blocks from where we once lived nearly 25 years ago. At that time you could already see drug houses being boarded up on 11th street in this area. Even the hairdresser I went to moved after she saw what was starting to happen to the neighborhood.

Things weren't always that way when we moved in years before. Most of the neighbors, like we, took down their fences and communed freely out back with one another. The homes were occupied by families like ourselves, but mostly occupied by older retirees. One by one as the retirees either left voluntarily or died, homes started to be occupied by questionable characters.

A woman who's husband was in jail at the time moved in two doors down. She had a daughter who constantly would sneak her minority boyfriend into her bedroom on the second floor. Two or three times a week in the morning this jackass would run along the porch roofs like they were his personal sidewalks past our and other neighbor's bedroom windows. He would shimmy up & down a wrought iron pole at the end of the block to come and go

A fella bought a home across the street from a senior through HUD. Within months he ended up in jail and the home was sold once again through HUD.

Please believe me I have nothing against minorities, but these are not the kind of minorities anyone would want to live around. Cars started being broken into (unlike before). Where once we all helped each other shovel the streets so we could get out in snow storms. These new incoming homeowners didn't lift a finger to even shovel their own walks. You name it. Arson, burglary any other crimes started happening where none occurred before.

We sold and risked our financial well being
There's no way in hell I could afford to move to the West End. On the other hand, there was no way in hell I could afford not to. Here's why.

In less then five years after we left, home prices dropped on that street. About a half a dozen of our former neighbors who waited too long couldn't sell them even at half the price we sold ours for. Most of the oldsters were gone by then. Jack (our wonderful mailman) applied for a different route. No longer was old Harry cleaning the sidewalk & curb in front of his house every morning. Even he & his wife left for the safety a high-rise apartment could provide them.

What remains of our old home are rotted and removed window flower boxes that I built. The canvas porch awning and the second & third floor aluminum window awnings are now gone. The new porch post and rails I put in are now rotted and peeled.

Gone are the days we sat out back with the neighbors enjoying a few beers and listening to the Phillies on the radio. It's now been replaced by the loud thumping of bass coming from blaring speakers intermingled with sirens. Gone is the 'New Street Theatre' with it's loyal patrons who'd walk up to see a movie. Gone is the old bakery on New Street. Gone are the Greeks, Italians and the Irish that once made up the neighborhood. Gone is the pride and investment in improvements that we made to our homes which I can see are now deteriorating when I drive past that block.

Think what you will. I'm not trying to get down on other cultures, but the old neighborhood doesn't speak well for the new residents who now occupy that area. Too bad if the truth hurts.

Blighted Properties In Allentown

Back on April 9, 2012 'Lehigh Valley Business.com' reported,"U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, R-15th District, and other officials gathered in Allentown's Old Fairgrounds Neighborhood today to announce a high-impact project aimed at cleaning up blight and increasing homeownership in center city....

Dent announced details of a $1.175-million plan by Housing Association & Development Corporation (HADC) to rehabilitate seven vacant and blighted houses clustered along three blocks of the N. Sixth Street corridor running through the heart of the Old Fairgrounds Historic District.

The completed houses will be sold to first-time home buyers with household income in the low- to moderate-income range...

The project's addresses are 427, 453, 508, 615 and 616 N. Sixth Street, 533 Liberty Street and 536 Allen Street."
It's been two years since this was announced. Apparently things didn't go as planned.

(Thursday, April 17, 2014)
Bo Koltnow @ WFMZ-TV69 reported--
No work is being done on housing project years after awarding of grant
video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

h/t to Bo Koltnow for his follow up report.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pennsylvania Casinos: Good News/Bad News

According to a report in the 'Philadelphia Inquirer' table games at Pennsylvania casinos brought in $67.93 million last month.

The Good News Is ...
Casino revenues from table games in Pennsylvania last month were a reported $67.93 million dollars. "the highest total since table games began in July 2010"

The Bad News Is...
Gamblers in Pennsylvania last month lost a reported $67.93 million dollars at the table games. "the highest total since table games began in July 2010"

The Good News Is ...
"The state collected $9.8 million in tax revenue from table games.."

The Bad News Is...
"The state collected $9.8 million in tax revenue from table games.." and still raised taxes on gasoline, tolls, fees on vehicle/drivers registrations, etc., etc., etc.

The Good News Is ...
New York State, except for 9 owned by Native Americans, doesn't have any casinos. They only have 9 racetracks.

The Bad News Is...
Albany will soon take applications for four upstate casinos after "voters approved a state constitutional amendment to allow Las Vegas-style casinos beyond Indian land." Two casinos are already "joining forces to pursue a license in New York's Hudson Valley-Catskills region."

Ukee Washington On Sitcom Tonight

The cousin of Denzel Washington, Ukee of KYW (CBS3) Philadelphia will be appearing on 'The Crazy Ones' tonight at 9:00pm. On the show (which stars Robin Williams & Sarah Michelle Gellar) he will portray a reporter interviewing Brad Garrett. Imagine that!

This won't be a stretch for him since he actually did interview Brad Garrett a few times in the past when Brad was on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'.

It's not his first rodeo. Jeesh, talk about typecasting!

55 year old Ulysses Samuel Washington III has previously played newscaster roles for 'As The World Turns' in 2009. Also in two more popularly known films entitled 'The Happening' (2008) and 'The Manchurian Candidate' (2004). He also appeared as a news reporter in 5 episodes of the TV series "Hack' in season two (2003). A series about a Philadelphia cop who got fired and became a vigilante cab driver (2002-2004)

Except if Denzel is competing with cousin Ukee to star in the role of a newscaster, Denzel's movie career should remain intact :-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sick of Internet Comments?

Saturday, April 12, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times and suntimes.com
Sick of Internet comments? Us, too – here’s what we’re doing about it
To our readers,

Starting this weekend, the Chicago Sun-Times and the other titles in the Sun-Times Media group will temporarily cease to run comments with our articles.

The world of Internet commenting offers a marvelous opportunity for discussion and the exchange of ideas. But as anyone who has ever ventured into a comment thread can attest, these forums too often turn into a morass of negativity, racism, hate speech and general trollish behaviors that detract from the content.

In fact, the general tone and demeanor is one of the chief criticisms we hear in regard to the usability and quality of our websites and articles. Not only have we heard your criticisms, but we often find ourselves as frustrated as our readers are with the tone and quality of commentary on our pages.

To that end, we are working on development of a new commenting system we hope will not only allow for free discussion, but encourage increased quality of the commentary and help us better police the worst elements of these threads. We’ll have more in the weeks to come on this development. In the meantime, we encourage you to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to offer your thoughts, feedback and suggestions. This is your site and your voice is an important part of how we work as a community to better serve Chicago.

Again, we are not doing away with comments. But we do want to take some time and work on the qualitative aspect of how they are handled and how we can foster a productive discussion rather than an embarrassing mishmash of fringe ranting and ill-informed, shrill bomb-throwing.

Thank you for your patience – and stay in touch (@suntimes and TheChicagoSunTimes on Facebook).

Craig M. Newman
Managing Editor
Chicago Sun-Times and suntimes.com

I'd much prefer not having a single comment if it... (1) Doesn't stay on the topic. (2) Doesn't add to the topic in some way by providing more information which can be verified by providing a link to a source. (3) Takes a personal off-topic poke or slanders someone. (4) Contains plain old useless trash talking negativity.

Do me a favor. Read over comments left at other websites and blogs. Then see how many of the comments fall under categories 1-4 above. I think you will find nearly all comments fall under one or more of the categories above. Once they are eliminated, there's very little substance left.

That's what I have done. After lamenting in the past over receiving so few comments I now consider it a blessing. The few that do come in are either spam or jibber jabber nonsense that gets taken down before most people read these posts.

Would I still like to hear from readers?
(But not from those like one or more of the four above)

I'm no longer gauging the success of this blog by the number of comments. Rather I've come to realize, by the large number of readers who visit regularly, a lot of intelligent people understand they needn't babble on needlessly about everything they've read. Because of that, I am grateful this blog has attracted a higher caliber of readership. I wish to thank all who visit my little blog. It's my hope you will continue coming back and/or continue your subscriptions.

Much Thanks Again

SWA Flight Attendant Does Stand-Up

Preflight instructions given by Southwest Airlines flight attendant Martha "Marty" Cobb

(Uploaded On YouTube By Her- April 12, 2014)