Friday, December 30, 2016

Happy 2017 Everybody!

Wow, 2016 was a strange year for a lot of reasons.  Consumerist has an interesting site that catches a lot of the year "by the numbers."  An interesting point of view.

Guinness had a few new additions...

Eggheads, geeks, and boffins, oh my- science types had a good year...

Kryptos Part 4 remains unsolved... at least as far as we know...

 Our knowledge about Space and what we know about it expanded a bit...

We learned a bit more about the sea...

The top dog of 2016...

The Cadillac ELR got the axe in '16, what a shame too! 

I hope for a better 2017 and  I believe that if we all do just a little - by way of our thoughtfulness and actions, 2017 will be a better year than the last.  So here's to 2017... let us help each other just a little bit more and make it a great year!  My wish, as has been since a child, is for peace.  So Peace it is again this year!  May you all be blessed with peace, health and prosperity.

The last chore we had to do in 2016 was to move the horses to the winter pasture - and so we did this chilly 10F morning. They seemed to like the extra space and the chance to hang out with a bunch of horses from the neighborhood... 

Getting Sophia and Jet ready for the move to the winter pasture...  I think you can see a look in her face that "something's up!"
I always have a few licorice treats in my pocket and whenever Sophia saw my arm move just a little, she turned and waited for that treat all the way down to the winter pasture! 

Happiness is running around in a big new field with a few horse buddies to hang out with...

 Bella and Hazel are getting along just fine! Bella is teaching her the ways of the hound... yikes.
Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

The annual prognostication post

Ok, first things first... how did I do last year?

1. The presidential race in the US.  This is the oddest election I have ever seen.  My prediction is that a Republican is almost a certainty - after two terms of Democratic leadership, the choice of the people will be a republican candidate for a lot of reasons... but whom you may ask?  After much deep pondering on this, a figure emerged from the haze and I saw the outline of an HP calculator with a giant B on the screen.  Either some kind of stack overflow or -  a Bush / Fiorina win.  Although a Trump / Clinton presidency would be far more interesting / entertaining - and probably what people would vote for if given the chance because it would turn the evening news into the highest rated sitcom TV has ever seen... alas, an impossibility. But I do think - marketing gold for a new show based around that theme.

OK, so I got the Republican part right! Even commentated on the Trump presidency being FAR more interesting – so I’m claiming a DING on this one.

2. The coordinates of Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra may remain a mystery but I think search teams will finally locate MH370. Hopefully the new aircraft satellite tracking system will prevent this sort of tragedy in the future. Why didn't we have that already?

BIG BONK. I think this one goes into the quagmire bin...

3. Time for a seismic breakthrough in social media inter-connectivity.  Something like, but bigger than a Fitbit, that allows you to find people to jog with by tapping on a map and spinning a virtual date and time wheel, or virtual reality headsets that plug into a virtual world communities so throngs of people could debate or make speeches - huge numbers could attend and then vote on something...  So... new concepts of significant social import will emerge as a result of clever app writers connecting dots in new ways.  Yup, that's what I predict.

YUP, this IS happening – The Samsung S3 is the tip of the iceberg… who needs a GPS display in your car if your watch can give you verbal directions, tell time, make a call, beep a warning for your next meeting and tell you how many steps you’ve climbed today? Inter-connectivity will continue to meld in good and probably bad ways too, we will soon see more social connections… DING.

4. Sea trains.  Yup, this is one that's been rolling around the old bean for a decade now... If we can send an unmanned re-supply rocket ship to the International Space Station... Convoys of container ships afloat as a sort of "sea train" delivering cargo to ports with only a single pilot ship being manned and 5 or 6 unmanned motorized hulls in a convoy. The cargo ships would have an engine room a small crews quarters for emergency manual operation, but no pilot house and an entire hull designed around ISO containers. Move over Hugo Gernsback (my inspiration for this one)

I have to say, this surprised me. DING.

5. El Niño is bringing wacky weather to North America again. As a consequence, me thinks we will see a hurricane of Katrina proportions in 2016 make landfall in the South East US.

Thankfully a great big BONK. By the way - who can predict the weather a year in advance anyway - hmmmm?  I did see that the North Pole warm temps are correlated with last years
El Niño.  Which makes me wonder about predictor corrector algorithms and non-linear equations which are the basis of the whole weather simulation model effort...

6.  The FCC will move to drastically limit the allowable transmitter power for drones.  Making powerful long distance or high altitude operation legal for only those trained and approved by a licensing scheme similar FAA pilot requirements. A test flight with a drone driver's ed inspector and of course.... a large fee and a neat plastic card to put in your wallet, possibly with a drone hologram on it. A clamp down on drones in 2016.

This was easy to foresee, but it was the FAA not the FCC who did the clamping. DING - close enough!

7. The Akatsuki probe team will announce a cool discovery about Venus.  Maybe we'll finally get an answer to: Why does Venus spin backwards? Don't we all want to know that?! What a feat this team has already pulled off in getting this probe into orbit!  The dawn of a new science day for Venus.


8. I'm going to carry over the electric car range prediction again... I'm thinking we'll see a 350 mile range on an affordable plug-in electric.  I call this the "EV tipping point..." and I think we'll see it in 2016.  It will be the start of a huge electric hybrid proliferation in many automobile models that will push fuel economy numbers through the roof.  AND - it's about time, if I do say so.

Bonk Bonk Bonk. Hybrids are doing great on range, PHEV’s are all following Tesla which is at 294 mi with the range extender battery's! It is only a matter of time… not if - but when! I don't know why some inventor type hasn't come up with a tow behind bike-rack-cargo extender-trailer called the "power wagon," that extends PHEV range to 500 miles - just like that!  Seems like it would be do-able TODAY!  Hmmmm maybe THAT will happen in 2017!

9. Pet glasses.  Want to see what your dog, cat or horse sees?  Just buy a pair of these spectral filtered glasses at your nearest pet store and you can view the world as your favorite pet sees it. I think this would be big on the Home Shopping Network...There must be an app for this already...

BONK Close - but no cigar... I thought this was a sure thing! Who wouldn’t want to don a pair of glasses and see the world like your horse, dog or cat does? The hound thought it was a good idea too! Well at least there's an app for that...  Well I do expect eyeglasses to be disrupted by cheap camera-display screen technology. So much more info to be visualized, like IR, and software manipulated corrections for difficult vision impairment. It's gonna happen, just not next year...

10. Dieselgate will expand to other manufacturers as the emissions regulators start to look for defeat algorithms in engine controls behavior.  I think we'll see that the diesel debacle and the as yet undiscovered software tricks out there for spark ignited and diesels will end up having a net positive influence on the advance of e-vehicles and the pull ahead launch of transformative technology. Glass is always half full!

DING! Too easy

An amazing 60% last year!  


Get ready for some serious prognosticat’n…

I have consulted with the hound of mysterious knowledge… err behavior, and noted many ‘signs.’ 

The Hound of Mysterious Knowledge sitting upon her settee.

So here are the prognostications for 2017:

1. A disruption in the 135 year old electrical power generation model – look out Wall Street and all the Beaver Cleaver investors – the times, they are a changing! The economic viability of independent off grid electrical power has been missing only one thing to become a very disruptive reality. Affordable storage. Breakthroughs in several cheap energy storage systems will emerge which will drive a renaissance in the economics or energy. Utility requirements of large consumers like factories will still need high power density generation sources of the traditional smokestack type, but residential needs will start to move towards energy independent combinations of wind, solar and geothermal models all tied to the key piece – an efficient and affordable storage system. And it comes with a low carbon footprint – if that really matters...

2. Breakthrough with LHCb at CERN.

3. Containment at Fukushima It's hard to figure out what the clean up costs will be when you don't know what you're cleaning up! Or if the clean up will include the remediation of the Pacific Ocean...  oopsie

4. Wild discovery about weather found on Saturn – open system thermodynamics and the giant hexagon cloud system yields stunning realization on how to model open non-linear systems! 

5. An even  wilder discovery is made about the earth’s molten iron flow. It has tripled it's velocity in the last 15 years.  I'm predicting centrifugal forces, are causing the river of molten iron to reach higher into the mantle and induce changes in magnetic fields that influence gamma ray deflection and create new subsurface hot spots... This is science fiction gold for a B movie!  Gold I'm tell'in ya...

6. Gene therapy replaces pharma – in a landmark critical care application.  - Huge shift in medicine... why dose when you can re-program and fix the issue on a cellular level?! 

7. High speed rail system will be unveiled for the entire US with sea terminal and airport links.  The new rail corridor amenities will bring travelers back to the future with a modern version of Route 66 only this time with wifi and a comfy seat.  A few decades behind, but - yup, 2017 is the year!

8. Discoveries in Cutaneous Perception will shed light on the human condition and could be the breakthrough AI computer scientists are looking for to leap frog rule based logic by analyzing analog signals radiated from a living human being...  Another great B movie topic if I do say so.

9. Solar flare to rival the storm of '59... Now what would we all do without our phones, GPS or even power for a few months? 

10. Near real-time language translators in an earbud – AI applied + speech + language processor on a fast voice chip that fits behind an ear.  You can select the language by voice command and then hear the translation of your conversation in your ear bud, and transmit your verbal response in the correct language via a listeners blue tooth earbud or through a speaker. It will run on Linux of course... and give linguists a lot of research funding! Of course a slower cloud version will exist so that big data can parse through ever utterance and gaffe and sell it to the marketing folks.  By 2018 the earbuds will be playing ads in your ear between spoken words unless you buy the pro version of the xlater....

Well these are my prognostications for 2017.  Stay well my friends!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to all my friends in the West!

So I did a quick look at my visitor stats... it amazes me to see how so many people from all over the world stop by to see what's new on this little corner of the web.  Thank you all!

Tonight is Christmas Eve in Western traditions of Christianity.  A special time for family and remembering what this day is about.  If you are a Christian, it's not about the twinkling lights or the gifts beneath the tree.  It is about the celebration of the birth of the Word of God, and the path to your very salvation.  If you are not of this belief it's a time of bright colors, exchanging gifts and just about everybody has a few days off of work!  So how can that not make everyone just a little happier?

My friends who worship in the Eastern Orthodox traditions will formally celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January.  It's a calendar thing! 

I want to wish all good health and happiness and encourage all to take a moment to think about the people in their lives and the importance of love over material things.

All my love Nick, and Johanna, I hope you both are well. 

Miss you dearly!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I love a snowy Christams...

There have been a few times when I experienced Christmas in a warmer climate and I've ALWAYS missed the snow!  This year we will have a white Christmas, and speaking of a white Christmas...

The tree is decorated! Complete with hound dog...

And so are all of the towns and parks...

This is the Ordway Theater a couple of nights ago.

Yup... we got to see Irving Berlin's "White Christmas."  It was amazing.  The special effects included snow in the audience!

Just outside the theater the plaza was decorated so beautifully!
AND... the big event this Christmas is...

Our new puppy.  An English Setter that loves to run jump and play.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Global warming....

Nope, I don't debate climate change.  Lots of stuff happens geophysically, celestially and gamma ray-lee not to mention plate tectonics and the gap the size of Tasmania in the Pacific rim...

Nope, don't debate "change." But I think the CO2 folks are a bit off the trail.

Courtesy of The Weather Channel - actuals this AM
Just put some grain down in the pasture for the horses and shoveled a little snow in the "warm" -17F. The horses all think grain on a cold day is a darned good thing!

By the way temperature instability is a characteristic of a cooling planet not a warming one. So say the geologists who study the proxy temperature stuff.  Maybe the 6 thermometers in Antarctica tell a different story?

Stay warm my US friends! 


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Stuff I've seen from the side of a road during 2016...

Well here's some of the more interesting pics that I took while driving from here to there.  Some are in the US, others in Italy, Germany or Portugal.  I always try to stop and explore these because they say something about the creative nature of all of us.  Some are formal, some are funny and some defy explanation.  So without further comment, I present - the roadside oddities of 2016.

This was in a city that is named after  the game of Lacrosse.

An unusually blunt warning - this was actually a trail side oddity.  The fence in the picture quickly ends and the path then follows a ravine along a 30M shear cliff. I think not only children may want to hold hands, but many adults too!

Sculpture from Italy...

I took this sunset of the lone sailboat and calm harbor because I thought it was beautiful... serenity, peaceful, bella

There are variations of this design. I look at this and am amazed at how far materials science and analysis have come in the last 20 years to produce such a thin bridge deck with no vortex shedding vibration issues.  We've come a long way since the Tacoma Narrows! Or have we?

The most awesome griffin ever! 
This is a plane at some airport... it was a mistake, but it looked cool, so here it is!

This little town has paid artists to paint murals on buildings that capture some of this villages history.  Here we see an artists view of an old airplane hanger that existed in this town around 1918.  Communities have many talented people, and seeing this art as an expression of history is amazing.

OK... giant loon anybody?

How about a giant eagle?

From my drive way, this year we had this mob of wild turkeys that drove our hound dog absolutely crazy.
A giant duck on Lake Superior...

This reminded me of another statue on the opposite side of this ocean - the "Lost at Sea"

It isn't every day you see a mermaid couple in a fountain!

Sort of a giant "pi" as in 3.141592... this is indeed a sculpture with an artists broken chain. Or how about this... $\textstyle \prod_{n=1}^5\frac{n}{n-1}$

Back-seater in a tuk tuk... whoa- is that a "floating" cube?

Sort of cool, unusual and local street art in Lisbon.

I have no idea who this is, but I like the moustache!
Portuguese National Republican Guard on duty.

I've driven by this guy MANY times!

Not too sure about the history of this, but it evokes wonderment. Art should provoke thought and conversation... I think this does LOL

Street art in Lisbon

On the way out the door at the Poggio.... I love the Poggio Manente!
Bronze statue of local guy reading a paper.

Say it ain't so Joe...

Among the more brief and to the point restaurant signs.  I ate lunch here too.  The food was good!

This was out front of a little store on the side of a highway.  People have stopped here over the years from all of the states on the plant boxes out front.  Their specialty is delicious jams (spreads made out of peaches) and sweet juices made from locally grown fruits.

Yup, mermaid on a stick...
Kind of an unusual sign for a restaurant.  I am sure a buzzard would like the food.

Cartoon characters Lucy and Schroeder in a park by the road...

OK, here we have Rocky Taconite...  I think Rocky is REALLY this guy...

Not too often you find wood carvings of dogs on a leash!
OK, not a roadside pic... but it didn't take long for advertising at this company to "cook-up" a new addition to their spicy hot-sauce... Strangely familiar hair on the gator...

Almost the last entry for 2016.  A pizza delivery of the most unusual sort.

This is the last roadside oddity for 2016!
I missed the round bales of hay stacked and painted to look like something out of Disney movie,  the airplane going through a billboard and the sculpture of a cowboy riding a bull in a farmer's field.  BUT, I did get this really cool pic of a small regional airport main gate. 

Just a few snapshots of the cool stuff out there.  I have to say, many more have gone unphotographed because they popped up too fast, or I didn't have my camera or cell phone on me.  We shall see what new adventures in 2017 bring us!  Stay tuned!

Stay warm NLO and JRO and Merry Christmas to you, all my love!


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Winter has arrived!

Just a short post this weekend.  Next week it is going to be properly cold here!
No need to rent expensive cold chambers to test your vehicles here!  -30F ambient with winds gusting to 25 MPH.  Good grief!

I've been working on the road side oddity post for 2016.  Some cool stuff in there!  After looking over all my pics from 2016 I was pleased to find so many. 

Stay warm NLO and JRO!


Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Christmas Cantata

I have to say I do miss hearing  JRO and the choir sing Christmas Carols.  This year we went to the 28th annual Christmas Cantata.  The choir is composed of the folks who live around here and by day do a multitude of different jobs.  By night though... they sing.  AND wonderfully.

The choir sang the Nativity of Christ by narrating biblical references into a segue of song with momentary narration. It is a tradition in this little town and was performed wonderfully.

Fresh from the forest...