Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Curling in Cheney 2

February 14, 2020

Another day, another fun time at the curlings. This time it was the men’s teams that were playing.

We noted that some people carried the old-fashioned broom sweepers, but they only used them for support when throwing a stone. Everyone else used the standard brooms, except for one guy, who used something that looked like a construction stapler

MJ will be off doing dog stuff over the weekend, but I might walk up and see what the finals look like.

UPDATE Saturday: Did not go. Too windy. Too cold. Too precipitous.

Team Peterson won the Women’s, and the Men’s was still going on when I went to bed.

Question. If they play with the same equipment on the same ice with the same objectives, why are the teams separated by gender?

Curling in Cheney

February 10, 2020

This week Eastern Washington University is hosting the USA National Curling Championships. Turnout, so far, is good.

We went last night, and had a thrilling time, watching the flash of broomsticks on the hogline, as stones were thrown down the sheets and the skips swept the opponents out of the house.

The contest goes on from 9AM to 11PM all this week. Finals are this weekend

It’s snowing in Spokane

February 4, 2020

Looks like everyone decided to leave work early.

Comparative Burn

January 5, 2020

Here’s a map off of Twitter, showing Australia and the fires, overlaid on a map of the US at the same scale.

Unrolling the map a little, it’s like the entire East Coast, and Gulf Coast were aflame.

Note: a number of people are saying that no fires have been reported in northern Australia. On the one hand, here is a BBC article with a timeline map showing fire dots across the north. On the other hand, here is the latest weather report from Darwin, showing good AQI and rain. No idea what the reason for the discrepancy is. Possibly how the satellite is responding to non-fire phenomena.

Happy New Year

December 31, 2019

…to one and all.  Here’s hoping we do better this year than last.

It’s 8pm here, which means midnight in New Brunswick, Canada, which isn’t that far off from Brunswick, Georgia, where my sister-in-law lives, so that’s close enough.

We each had a small cup of instant amazake, wished each other a Happy New Year, and will be in bed before the fireworks start in St. Louis.

Retirement 360

December 30, 2019

I could have said Retirement 365, but that sounds too much like a Microsoft product, and since this is more of a tour dhorizon than a detailed diary, I think that 360 is better.

It’s been one year since I retired from almost twenty years of teaching at Eastern Washington University. Combine that with my retirement from the USAF after over twenty years of service, and it looks like I am really retired, not just mostly retired. So what have I been doing this year just past?

Gaining weight. I ended my teaching career at 220lbs. Last month I brushed 250lbs, so I’ve gained right around two and a half pounds a month. This, obviously, can’t continue. For one thing, my talking scale has started to say things like One of you will have to get off.

Maintaining health. So, there’s the whole myeloma thing, which seems to be in abeyance right now (next check is in January). My blood pressure is under control, except that the meds I’m taking have resulted in a certain amount of edema, and the ever-popular nocturia, so were playing with dosages and things. What I’ve found over the years is that meds that are effective have adverse side effects, while meds with no side effects are not very effective.

Watching anime. At last, something fun. I’ve watched more anime titles this year (86, at the time of this writing) than in any two previous. Of course, watching that many anime means that I’m diving deeper into the barrel, and you can see this because my average score for 2019 was 66, as opposed to my career average of 70. Interestingly, the number of hours that I watched was 241, or enough for only 48 full programs (assuming 300min/season). Obviously, the difference between the number watched (85 programs, or 25500 minutes ) and time spent (13980 minutes, or 46 programs) was due to the fact that I tried a lot more anime this year, and dropped most of them after only one or two episodes. In fact, I only watched 19 shows to completion this year.

Working in my garden. Given that Spokane has a growing season of 152 days, at best, I spend a lot of time planning. However, I managed to grow 67kg of produce, including almost 550 tomatoes of various kinds this year, which is an all time record. Pretty good, considering that it didn’t include any monster field pumpkins.

Writing in the blog. I managed 144 posts this year (of which roughly 40 were about anime), which is pretty close to previous years, but not near 2017’s 160. I’ve had just over 4,000 visitors, which is half what I had in 2015. Maybe I need to write more posts about oatmeal, or High School of the Dead.

Worrying about things I haven’t accomplished. Like getting back my admittedly rudimentary Japanese skills — I’ve been in the Japanese in 90 Days program for ten years now. Like getting back my programming skills — not one line of Python the whole year. Like digitizing my 35mm slides, home VHS, and cassette tapes. Like doing the home maintenance chores MJ wants me to do (but ya know, if a man says he’ll do something, he’ll do it, and it don’t do no good you go reminding him every six months).

Summary. I am pretty much content with my lot. I do miss the teaching and interacting with students — MJ has already heard all my jokes — but not so much that I’d come back. Yes, I’m willing to help out in an emergency, but nothing full time, or in the winter, or at night in downtown Spokane.

Don’t try to engage my enthusiasm, because I haven’t got one.

I don’t feel empty of purpose, the way many retirees reportedly do, because I am my own purpose, and I am pretty much self-motivated (and -centered and -ish).

Forecast. See: things I haven’t accomplished. Full court press on Japanese and Python. Maybe another cruise — we like cruises. I’d like to do another trip to Japan, but 2020 is an Olympics year, and Akira spoiled it for the tourists. So, maybe a trip down memory lane, to see if Brexit has knocked the UK back to their charming post WWII poverty.

Pre-Thanksgiving Pileup on I-90

November 26, 2019

So, early this afternoon we had a brief but intense snow cell pass over the area. They are comparing it to a thunderstorm cell, only with less lightning. In twenty minutes it dumped half an inch of snow on I-90, near the still-under-construction Amazon warehouse, and caused a couple minutes of zero visibility. The result was a 60+ car pileup.

That was at 2:30 or so. It’s now 6:30, and here’s a still from the trafficam:

Been like this all day

The Amazon warehouse is in the upper right.

I wondered why traffic was so bad in downtown Cheney this afternoon, a two-stoplight, one Starbucks town that rarely sees heavy traffic except on Game Days. Everybody was trying to skirt around the pileup.

Re-set your clocks tonight

November 2, 2019

And remember, we set them back in the Fall, not forward.

Courtesy of http://www.gilescartoons.co.uk

Yes, we are rural

October 19, 2019

Our long autumnal rains have just started, here in the NENW, and the urban quail are not liking it.

About 20 quail sheltering under my car (click to embiggen).

I didn’t want to scare them off, so this is a zoom shot from 30ft away.

Autumn Storm 2

October 9, 2019

Remember last week’s snowstorm? First September snow since 1926. Well, now we have the first time there’s been more than a trace on October 8th in, like, forever.

Our back yard got about two inches. Fortunately, all the limbs that were going to come down, did so in the last storm. All we had this time was a power outage. UPDATE: And a couple of big branches that fell into a neighbors yard, so they don’t count.

Meanwhile, across the street, a major branch peeled off our neighbor’s tree, and two other big branches are broken and hanging. I’ve decided not to do any yard work today. Maybe just stay inside and watch anime.

Autumn Storm

September 30, 2019

As in snow-storm. Last Monday it was 70F. On Sunday, we had 2″ of heavy, wet snow. This Monday, the low is scheduled for 27F.

It’s the first time it has snowed in September since 1926, and that was part of the runup to the Great Depression.

Of course the leaves were still on the trees, and they captured the heavy, wet snow, and limbs came down all over. Three big ones came down in our yard, along with a bunch of smaller ones. If we hadn’t savagely trimmed our tree last year it would have been far, far worse.

By next Monday it will be 62F again.

Not so fast, cowboy

September 17, 2019

So, it turns out I dodged another one. The guy who replaced me at my job who tried it out and decided to go on to another job isn’t going to that other job, just yet, and so I don’t have to do my old job again and by the time he leaves for that other job they’ll have had time to do a proper job search and hired a real replacement, rather than just a gap-filler.

I was prepared to take one for the Gipper, but it’s probably better this way. It was fun, thinking about striding back into the classroom like Moses parting the bullrushes, but the world has moved on and there’s no need for us old folks to hang around. I’m not sure I can spell MIS any more.

Besides, Fall is shaping up to be a good season for anime.

Back in the saddle again

September 9, 2019

There’s a Hollywood trope about the old gunslinger who tries to retire but circumstances force them back into the business. A good example is Shane, a 1953 movie that couldn’t be made today, first because sensibilities have changed, and second, because that part of the Jackson Hole landscape has been covered by the McMansions of the 1%.

I retired last January, after almost 20 years of teaching. At the time, I was fighting cancer and not sure what my future abilities would be. Also, I was only a year short of 75, which was my original retirement target. So I retired, took a couple of cruises, worked on my garden, turned 75, and managed to suppress, for now, the cancer.

I got a phone call. The guy that replaced me got a better job at a university in Texas, and would I come back and teach my Systems Analysis class one more time, in the Fall. Oh, and maybe the Systems Project class in the Winter.

I really don’t want to do this. I’m enjoying retirement, my cabbages are doing well, and I hate the idea of writing and correcting tests. But the University has fallen on hard times (thank you GOP), and my department can’t find anyone qualified in the two weeks available.

So here I am, strapping on my guns again and riding forth against the forces of ignorance and poor systems design. I am not happy, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

Steve! Come back, Steve!*

*The house has been upgraded since then.

How the Internet killed cars, and everything else

August 31, 2019

I’m sure others have written on this, and better, but I’ma gonna throw out some ideas for you, well, me, to think about later.

Technology changes society. Not just jobs going away, like buggy-whip manufacturing, but the way society thinks about stuff. Back in the day, one of the early German auto manufacturers estimated that demand for cars would peak in the low 10-thousands, because there were only so many people available to be trained as chauffeurs. Of course what happened was, cars became so cheap that everyone, even those too poor to hire a chauffeur, could afford one. Before that, women’s magazines had advice on the role of the housewife as a manager of the household, including how to deal with servants. Along came appliances and away went servants, and the perceived role of women in the household changed.

After the war (WWII, the big one), discretionary leisure time expanded. Television helped fill it, but after you watched Dave Garroway, and Rawhide, there was still a lot of time to fill. Enter the autocar.

I know, let’s drive downtown and go window shopping on Main Street.

It’s Friday night, let’s go cruise the drag.

Let’s go see the USA in our Henry J.

America became a car culture because there wasn’t anything better to do at home. Well, there was sex, but the development of modern medicine meant that all the side effects stayed around as additional costs, and so that fell out of favor once alternatives were available.  One effect of the car culture was the growth of destinations — everything from drive-in movies to drive-in churches, and the peak of the drive-in or drive-to destination experience was the mega mall.

Stretching the concept of metaphor a little, think of the car as a browser, the destinations as websites, and the road network as the Internet — call it the autonet. People want to get out of their homes, to link up, to experience things that aren’t just another day at the office. The autonet let them do this. Just as today, people in the 50’s and 60’s argued about which browser was better, complained about slow connections, and spent a lot of time online. The 1950’s version of surfing the web was the Sunday drive, a more or less aimless wandering along the autonet. The modern shopping mall is like a web portal, or concentrator site — you drive to the home page, park, and follow the links to the affiliate pages.

As with the dinosaurs, all these destinations became gigantic, right before conditions changed they went extinct.

In this case, it was the Internet that changed the conditions. Shopping? Use Amazon. Hang out with your friends? Use MySpace/Facebook/Instagram/Skype/Line (depending on which year and country we’re talking about). See the USA? I can do a virtual drive down the Kufurstendam in Berlin with Google Earth, and soon there will be real surround-sight VR flight to the space station, for those who can afford the headset. Nobody needs cars any more. The oldsters are still stuck in their Oldsmobiles, but the Millennials, and Gen-X and the upcoming post-alphabet generation have no loyalty to the car. They’d rather take public transport, where they can enjoy the latest free-to-play. This is why Uber and Lyft are so popular. Or they’d rather stay home and enjoy a virtual shopping experience.

People talk about America’s love affair with the automobile. What it really was was a love affair with the autonet.The automobile was really just a device for transporting us somewhere else. Once a shoebox-sized device could do the same thing using the Internet, it spelled the end of the car, the autonet, and everything that depended on it. What we are learning now, is just how much stuff that is — freeways, malls, big box stores, libraries, factories, you name it. If it has a parking lot associated with it, you can assume its days are numbered.

Alaska trip

August 20, 2019

If the blog has been a little quiet, it’s because we’ve been off on a Holland America cruise to Alaska. The full story of our Second Trip to Alaska is over on the right-hand margin.

Yes, we are rural

August 18, 2019

Middle of the residential area of Cheney

A quiet Sunday evening

Fire Season 2019

July 19, 2019

We’re seeing an interesting pattern develop in wildfires in Washington State.

The first biggish fire of the season was the 243 Command Fire (who names these things, anyway?) in Grant County, just east of Beverly, on the north slope of the Saddle Mountains.

243 Command Fire

Six weeks later and five miles to the south, we had the Powerline Fire, just over the Saddle Mountains, and northeast of Mattawa.

Powerline fire

Now, we have the Cold Creek fire, fifteen miles south of Powerline, and over the border into Benton County. Burning along historic Rattlesnake Mountain, towards my in-laws old home in  Richland.

Beverly, Mattawa, and Cold Creek

If I lived in Prosser, I might be a little worried.

It’s heading south!

UPDATE: Guess what?

MH370 Final Report, and this time I mean it.

June 17, 2019

Atlantic magazine has a wrap-up article on the Malaysian Airways jet that disappeared over the Indian Ocean five years ago. It comes to the same conclusion that I did, but does it with more evidentiary support. My conclusion was that it had to have been one of the flight crew. William Langewiesche presents convincing evidence that it was the Captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

The article states that Zaharie wasn’t the stable professional that we were given to believe. He was a lonely man who was separated from his wife, who spent his time wandering through an empty house, waiting for the next flight. That information was never released by the Malaysian government because it might reflect badly on a corrupt administration. This is all laid out in Section 6 of the article, after a long discussion of various recoveries of the aircraft debris.

I’ve been following the MH370 story since the beginning, summarizing the evidence and evaluating the various theories.  My original conclusion was somewhat Sherlockian — once you have removed the impossible, what remains, however implausible, is the cause. The Atlantic article puts an evidentiary cap on it, and is likely the last original essay we’ll see on the topic until someone invents a nuclear powered deep ocean search drone.

If you want to read all my articles on the topic, click the MH370 tag, below.

 

Fire Season 2019

June 4, 2019

Washington state’s first biggish fire of the season is in progress on the north slope of the Saddle Mountains, near Beverly. Five thousand acres so far.

MODIS fire hotspots

It’s about a hundred miles from there to Spokane

First and only fire so far

The smoke trail is visible on satellite.

An otherwise clear view

The skies are already hazy, the AQI is up to 100, and the smell of smoke makes it uncomfortable to sit out on the back deck.

Fires to the West

Last year it was British Columbia. This year it is all home grown, and it will only get worse as summer progresses.

UPDATE 19/06/05/17:20: 19,000 acres, 25% contained.

The Long Then

May 4, 2019

Over on Edge is an interview with Alexander Rose (the Executive Director of the Long Now organization) on how to create an institution that lasts 10,000 years. Actually, it’s a bit of a cheat. The 10K.org discussion makes up only about 25% of the article, and much of that is repeats of the idea that most of today’s 500-1000 year old organizations are hotels or breweries or are large scale organizations, like universities or The Church. Then he wanders off into an interesting, but off point, discussion of the Long Now organization and the Big Clock they are building.

So let’s take our own look at what might be required of a long-lasting organization. Here are some on my thoughts:

First, it has to fill a continuing need. Think of it in terms of Maslow’s hierarchy. At large scale, governments, universities, and the church provide elements such as safety. Some modern governments have lasted for hundreds of years (Iceland being the best example), but most succumb to invasion or revolution. The country might remain, but the way the inhabitants organize themselves has changed. The oldest universities are going on for 1000 years old, while the Catholic Church is almost 2000. In Asia, religions such as Buddhism are older than Christianity, but they are religions, not religious governing organizations. Having said that, individual monasteries are organizations that have the potential to last for thousands of years.

At smaller scales, the oldest survivors are fulfilling a local need, close to the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy — Hotels provide shelter and sleep, restaurants provide food and water. As an aside, the key here seems to be the continuing existence of family ownership, which then makes the business possible. Theoretically, a corporation is immortal, but recent experience shows that a corporation is at risk of being bought up by some other entity.

Second, the organization should be involved in an activity that is minimally impacted by technological change, and in the case of technology, whatever it uses has to be cheap to implement. The church, for example, hasn’t needed any technology more complex than jumbotrons (yes, telephones, yes, PCs, but those are part of the general advance of civilization; no-one would put jumbotrons in that list). On the other hand, automobile and aircraft manufacturers have had to go through multiple generations of new technology, and that new technology (catalytic converters, electric cars) has been expensive to implement.

At the lower level, hotels today are not that much different from hotels of the past — a place to sleep out of the rain. Two hundred years ago you might be in one bed with three strangers, but the concept is the same and the basic technology hasn’t changed. Restaurants provide food prepared on the premises. The preparation method has changed over time — wood fired brick ovens to coal fired stoves to gas stoves to wood fired brick ovens — but the amount of new, expensive technology used is minimal.  Similarly, sake brewers pride themselves on using the same equipment and techniques that were used by their founders.

By the way, what was the world’s oldest business was a 1400 year old construction firm, Kongo Gumi. It specialized in Buddhist temple construction and repair, using traditional materials and techniques. What took it down was a combination of declining Buddhist membership in a country that is losing population, accompanied by an attempt to move into other construction fields right before an economic turndown. It was acquired in 2006. Meanwhile, most of the world’s oldest companies are also Japanese, like this 1000 year old tea shop in Kyoto.

Having said all that, I’m not sure I can imagine anything that could last 10,000 years. 10,000 years ago we had just barely started the domestication of plants and food animals. Agriculture started about 11,000 years ago, with animal husbandry coming a thousand years later. Other than those two general concepts, there is nothing cultural that remains. There is no organization, no nation, no civilization that we can point to and say that we have an unbroken (or even fragmented) line of succession from then to the present day.

Now, try to imagine the world of 12,000AD. Even if the Singularity never happens and we remain stuck at our present rate of change of knowledge — doubling every two years — the world of 12K will be unrecognizable.

The optimistic view is that by 12,000AD, science will have answered all of the big questions of today’s science, and scientists working at old, prestigious universities will have come up with new questions to answer. Meanwhile, engineering will have turned the answers to the original questions into new products. We’re talking terraforming Mars, mining the Oort, interstellar travel (possibly at FTL-equivalent speeds), effective immortality, wireless earphones that actually produce high fidelity music.

The pessimistic view is that, between asteroid strikes, runaway global warming, and the release of synthetic plagues, there won’t be anyone left to operate an organization.

So there you are. If you want your legacy to last 10,000 years join a monastery, or build a hotel or restaurant next to one. Or get tenure.

 

How long has this been going on?

April 1, 2019

All professors complain about students slacking off in class. Most students don’t. Many do. There’s even a electrophoretic distribution across the seating chart. The Hermione Grangers all sit up front. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, they pay attention, take notes and ask good questions. Back in the back are those don’t care, don’t want to be there, and aren’t real sure why their parents are making them go. They all have their laptops open (I’m following your lecture slides, prof, and I need to sit back here because that’s where the power plugs are.) Those are the ones who look at their screens and laugh when I haven’t made a joke. In the middle are the ones who are texting on their phones. I know who they are because they are staring at their crotches and smiling.

There’s a body of opinion that we are seeing the results of the electrification of our lives. Everybody lives for their instagram, pinterest, and facebook fix. It’s a 21st Century phenomenon. Maybe not.

Here’s a 14th Century drawing of an academic lecture. Note the distribution of attention: eager students in front, disinterested students in back. Student at the end of the second row consulting their Kindle.

Picture taken from a tweet posted by Stuart Wrigley 

Retirement at 90, Part 1

March 29, 2019

No, not waiting until 90 to retire, waiting for 90 days to blog about what retirement is like. Does that title count as clickbait?

This is not an early retirement as some folks would have it. I’ve been eligible for Social Security for years. But it is earlier than I planned*.

And it’s not at all what my previous lifestyle transitions were like. When I left the military, I already had a job lined up in industry. When I left industry, I was already enrolled in a PhD program. Before I finished my dissertation, I had been hired at EWU. This is the first time I have left one career field without having a firm idea of what I’ll be doing next. Fortunately, throughout my many careers I’ve been selfish and lazy enough that transitioning to a life of selfish laziness should not be a problem.

Herewith, a breakout of what it felt like each month after retirement

The first month feels like any other vacation. Final wrapup of duties. Maybe a vacation trip — in this case, a ten day cruise. My weight goes up because, hey, a cruise. So far, it’s just another Christmas Break.

The second month is when the cognitive dissonance sets in. I have this feeling that I have to be doing something — prepping lectures, rewriting syllabi, correcting homework, something — but of course I don’t have anything like that. It’s not a case of feeling useless, as many retirees reportedly do, it’s a case of not yet having figured out how to restructure my time.**

http://www.sheldoncomics.com/archive/020427.html

Unstructured time

Now and again I get an email from a student — We miss you! The other profs are mean to us! I refrain from getting involved. I’m going to stop by the office at some point, but I’ll hold off for a while. Student sobbing should trail off as the current generation graduates and the new ones never heard of me. Kindof like sticking one’s hand in a bucket of water.

I spend way more time on the computer than I ever did when I was teaching MIS, hitting reload on my 200 345 RSS feeds, reading lots of things I would never have wasted my time on earlier (Air Canada pilot orders 23 pizzas to Halifax-bound plane stranded on tarmac). The tendinitis in my mouse hand is back, so to get away from the computer I start binge-watching One Piece and Sailor Moon on Crunchyroll, and re-reading classic novels like That Time I Was Reincarnated as a Slime. My weight goes up because I’m not spending two hours a day walking back and forth in front of a class, waving my arms, and because, hey, all that food is just sitting there in the fridge. I can’t go jogging (OK, walking) because Spokane is still shivering from a six-week-long cold snap where the windchills are in the minuses and everything that isn’t buried in snow is covered with ice.

What I really want to do is get back to my research (and learning Python, and learning Japanese), but to do that I have to be able to get to my desk and my desk is piled high with books and papers. I’d put them away but to do that I’d have to be able to get to the various bookcases, which are blocked by stacks of coats and backpacks that I need to find space for in the closets, boxes of books from my office and old computer gear that I need to find space for … somewhere else … and papers that I need to put on my desk so I can organize them.

Meanwhile, various tasks cut into my time: patching the hole in the bathroom ceiling where the leak came through last summer, doing my taxes (This year I’m going to be early, dammnit!), upgrading my wife’s computer from Ubuntu 14 to 18, and all the rest of the twenty years’ worth of deferred housework. Since I’m not really a household chores sort of guy it takes an effort, and a strong will, to motivate myself to do these things and hey, they just released the latest episode of The Magnificent KOTOBUKI.

Actually, I’m not getting a lot of that stuff done, either. Mostly, I seem to be frittering away my time. By the time I’m done with surfing, reading, napping, kitchen, and anime, the day is over, and where did it go? I seem to be caught in a basin of attraction, one that’s not really sustainable.

By the end of the third month, things have begun to settle down. I no longer feel I have to spend an hour on the computer the very first thing, so that I get the latest MIS news for my students (I don’t have any students, remember?). So I can make breakfast, and do my various neck and back exercises (see ailments) before I stroll into my office. I’ve got a timer on the computer that tells me to stop and stretch every 20 minutes, and to go take an exercise break every hour. It turns out that I have a couple of neck exercises that take three minutes to run through — just the right length of time to steep a cup of tea.

Outside, the days are noticeably longer (but not yet long) and the weather is definitely warmer (but not yet warm). This gives me a chance to start walking again.

Inside, I’ve set up a table in the Sun Room for seedlings, preparing them for hardening-off in the cabinet-sized greenhouse on the deck. I’m also attacking the various household chores during those 20 minute breaks. It’s a slow job, but things are getting done.***

I still haven’t made any progress on my research and learning.

Since I do have all this time, and since MJ is still busy six days a week with dog training and dog judging and music directing, I get to do most of the cooking. So my weight is going up. Since retirement it’s been going up by about a pound a week.

Next time, we’ll look at the future, and the past.


*I retired because of my health. Not that I’m unhealthy on a day to day basis, but because I can’t be sure what it will be like, day to day. Quite apart from the whole multiple myeloma thing, I find that entropy is beginning to become a factor: high blood pressure, bad back, bad neck, bad hips (bursitis), bad knees; various eye issues (including early indicators of age-related macular degeneration, so I’ve got something to look forward to); gout. Gout? I don’t own a big enough home to have gout.

Of course, the big problem isn’t the ailments, it’s how to pay for them. Retirement has shuffled my health insurance and reduced my options. Plus, the new MyChart system at the local hospital doesn’t seem to be able to bill the insurers properly, and they don’t seem to have figured out what my new status is.  I am paying more now, and getting more things rejected. Part of my now-copious spare time looks like it will be spent fighting MyChart and Medicare and Tricare. So far, every visit has required that I work my way down the chain, again.

Looks like one of the constraints on my overseas trips and dakimakura purchases will be how much of my discretionary income gets siphoned off to pay bonuses to the stockholders of Celgene.

**I sent this comic to a recently retired friend, ex-Army, hard charger type. He said he showed it to his wife, and he thought he’d have to call 911, she was laughing so hard.

*** If a man says he’s gonna do something, he’s gonna do it, and it don’t do no good you go reminding him of it every six months.

Wildlife in Cheney

March 11, 2019

You know the weather’s been inclement when the deer come into town to forage. Right at sundown yesterday we had eight does and one buck eating the grass under the trees at the end of our block.

As long as one walked quietly and didn’t pay attention to them, they didn’t spook. Finally, a dog started barking, and they strolled off down the street.

Of course, some people take this as a bad omen.

MH370 Timeline

March 9, 2019

On the 5th anniversary of the loss of MH370 over the Indian Ocean, Aviation Week has released a slideshow-style summary timeline.

We have good IFF and radar tracking of the initial stages of the flight

And we have limited, but telling, automated communications data of the rest of it.

What we don’t have is a good idea of exactly where the aircraft went down, but debris drift simulations agree with the general area shown by the communications analysis.

One thing we do have is enough debris pieces with serial numbers to rebut any claims that MH370 went down anywhere else (e.g. Cambodia).

Given the remoteness of the location and the difficulty of searching the depths of a rugged seafloor, it’s likely that we won’t have any further developments, and MH370 will go down as another one of aviation’s mysteries.

10th Anniversary of the Blog

March 5, 2019

The Found on Web blog is ten years old today. In that time I’ve published almost 1,300 articles (just over 10 per month), which pulled in just over 67,000 views (about 50 views per article). They generated over 87,000 comments, of which 500 were real, and the rest were spam.

The most views were on August 10th, 2015, at 106, mostly from people reading my various Girls und Panzer essays. As for individual essays, High School of the Dead (1865) maintained its position atop the leaderboard, followed closely by Garden Gantt (1855) and Anime Worth Watching for Winter, 2015 (1492). Two others topped 1,000 views: Nisemonogatari (1107) and Picture Stories From Earth: Seawater Farms (1104).

HSOTD was described as a fan service train wreck, but I liked it. I suspect most people didn’t come for the well-handled storyline. Garden Gantt is a garden scheduling spreadsheet. Anime Worth Watching includes the ever popular Shirobako, and Nisemonogatari has the infamous little-sister-and-toothbrush scene. I suspect that Seawater Farms is a popular student paper topic.

As for the future, I hope to be writing more, and better. We’ll see.

 

 

Trip to Panama

January 18, 2019

Just posted a page (see right hand column) on our recent trip to Panama.

Death and improvements

January 2, 2019

538 has an article up on death rates in America. The accompanying chart shows the strong link between location and death. Sixteen of the top twenty counties are in the coal country of Kentucky and West Virginia, or the native American reservations of the Dakotas, and this has pretty much held true for almost thirty years.

But what I find interesting, and encouraging, is the overall improvement in American health. Except, of course, for those same high death rate counties.

If you trace the interactive map back to the beginning, in 1988, the overall US death rate was 1,113 per 100k. Thirty years later, it was 786. Unfortunately, progress is scattered (the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed). Oglala-Lakota county, in ND, had a death rate of 2,000 per 100k in 1988, and 1,600 in 2014. The equivalent numbers for Logan county WV, were 1,321   and 1,286. So both of these counties in 2014 are worse than the overall US was in 1988.

Still, an overall drop of 30% in 30 years is a Good Thing. What’s even better is that we’ve demonstrated that it can be done. All we have to do now is do it all over.

And so, she’s gone

December 17, 2018

Not a good Christmas week. Song didn’t make it.

She was OK through Saturday, bright, cheerful, wanting to stand, wagging her tail. On Sunday, she was depressed and lethargic, and bad enough we took her to the emergency vet.

On Monday, she died on the operating table. Essentially, the seal on her intestine failed. So did her pancreas. And her spleen.

She was only nine, and was a bright, energetic golden retriever. She loved to train, whatever the weather.

Indoors, she liked nothing more than to lie around with the other dogs.

Good night, Song.

 We will miss you.

Not with a bang

December 15, 2018

So ends my last academic week as a professor. I thought it would be a bittersweet going-around to offices, final correcting of finals, final assignment of grades, and so forth, before finally riding off into the sunset. Not so fast, Chips.

On my last day of finals I got hit with some sort of viral infection. Bad enough for me to see the doctor. As usual with these things, she gave me a bunch of symptom-suppressors and told me to go home to bed.

But those finals!

So, I’d correct for a couple of hours, then sleep for a couple of hours, and so-on. Finished late on Sunday, instead of mid-day on Thursday, as is my wont. Got the grades in on Monday. Cancelled my dental and eye appointments, and went back to bed.

Meanwhile Song, our senior golden retriever, ate a washcloth, as goldens are wont to do. It disappeared, didn’t show up on X-rays, festered, impacted, other horrible stuff, and sent her to the hospital. They found it, inside two feet of rotting bowel. She came home on an IV, which we had to watch constantly for 24hrs lest she pull it out.

She’s survived the initial crisis and no longer needs a constant hand on her head. Next issue is, was the operation successful? Can she take fluids without vomiting (yes, so far, 4 tablespoons at a time). Solid food comes soon.

Meanwhile, it’s MJ’s busiest time of the year, with the Christmas Cantata tomorrow. When she hasn’t been worrying about me, or keeping a hand on Song, she’s been working program notes an rehearsing the choir. She is somewhat stressed, but hides it well.

It’s not just politics that will make us happy that 2018 has ended.

What reading does for you

December 7, 2018

Not everything is about Pearl Harbor. On this day eighty years ago, as it turns out, excessive reading was found to be an acceptable cause for divorce.

My silly dog

September 14, 2018
We took one of the dogs, Music, in to be spayed the other day. She came home that night with a lovely Elizabethan collar to keep her from licking the incision. Now, most dogs are a little petrified when they first get the collar, and they have trouble realizing they can walk, and even lie down. After an hour or so they figure things out. Not Music.
She was convinced she couldn’t do anything in the collar, and just stood there. After a while we showed her she could walk, and she managed a few steps, when suitably encouraged. But she had trouble with this whole ‘lie down in a collar’ thing. So she stood. And she stood. We showed her how to lie down, but she didn’t believe us, so she got back up and stood some more. MJ, who is fighting a cold and needed to sit up anyway, sat in the family room with her all night, watching the Hurricane Channel. As far as we can tell, Music stood for fifteen hours, before fatigue set in and she finally laid down, and slept all morning. Today she is happy and active and trotting around and jumping into chairs with her new fashion accessory on and don’t you other dogs wish you had something like this? Silly dog.

Our Old Trees

August 24, 2018

Our house was built in the 1960’s, and presumably that’s when our trees were put in. So they are on the order of half a century old. In addition, I have been somewhat neglectful of them, the tree in the back, in particular. In these hot, drought months we haven’t been watering the lawn, which means we haven’t been watering the trees. To make matters worse, when our groundskeepers (OK, lawn guys) trimmed the trees last Fall, they cut the weeping cherry out front way back. Which, I find, is not something you are supposed to do with old old trees.

As a result, the tree out back has lots of dead wood, and the tree out front is just dying.

So, earlier this week we had a man in to pull out the old weeping cherry out front, and trim the big whateveritis in the back.

Before, Front

After, Front

Before, Back

After, Back

That should do it.

Now, we need to decide what to replace the front tree with. The house faces West, and gets direct afternoon sun, so we want something for shade. Right now I’m torn between Metasequoia glyptostroboides, and Phyllostachys aureosulcata. We are going to run down to our local tree nursery and see what they have.

MH370 Final Report

August 4, 2018

So the Malaysian government have issued their final report on the loss of MH370. At 495 pages, plus appendices, it’s quite a bit longer than their original effort. Unfortunately, as anyone could have predicted, it doesn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know, and it finds it impossible to come to a conclusion as to the reason for the loss.

What we do know, is that shortly after contacting Ho Chi Min ACC, the various communications systems were shut down, and the Kuala Lumpur – Beijing flight made a roughly 120° left turn to the SW, flew back across Malaysia, turned NW, flew past the north end of the island of Sumatra, turned S towards the Southern Ocean, and flew until it ran out of fuel.

Some of the report deals with procedural errors by the various air traffic control authorities, but none of those would have altered the outcome.

There were a couple of points made that it’s useful to report, because they deal with events that are the basis for various theories about what happened.

1.The changes in aircraft heading required human input. This means that someone was alive and in the cockpit from 1720UTC to 1822UTC. This leaves out the various decompression/oxygen malfunction scenarios.

2. The altitude track, based on radar skin tracking, not transponder data, is admitted to be wrong. At one point, the track shows the aircraft climbing from 36,700ft to 58,200ft in six minutes. That’s a 3,500fpm climb to 15,000ft higher than the service ceiling. It then is shown descending to 4,800ft (53,000ft drop) in about a minute. Simulations have shown that such actions are beyond the capability of the aircraft. This lets out the theories that the pilot manipulated the altitude to suffocate the passengers.

UPDATE: A more recent article in The Atlantic says that “circumstances suggest” the aircraft depressurized and climbed to near 40,000ft, close to the rated ceiling. This just requires that the radar track be slightly wrong, rather than totally wrong. My report on the article is here.

3. Damage to the right outboard flap and flaperon indicate the flap was retracted and the flaperon was in neutral — an in-flight configuration — at the time of the crash. This contradicts earlier reports that the flaps had been extended, which would require aircrew intervention.

So, we are left where we were a year or so ago. Someone, crew or intruder, diverted the flight across Malaysia, around Sumatra, and into the Southern Ocean. My guess is that it was one of the pilots. The aircraft maneuvers required a trained pilot. There was no indication of any intrusion into the cockpit, despite current tools that allow the crew to indicate that kind of an emergency to ATC. Besides, a cockpit intrusion implies terrorists, and terrorists want publicity. Nobody has claimed responsibility. That leaves the aircrew. There’s no hard data to support this, but we are in a Sherlockian situation where all the other possibilities have been exhausted.

WordPress Math

July 19, 2018

A quick check on my stats, early this morning, shows:

That is, two views by one visitor. Both the views were of my home page, and the visitor came from … the US and the UK?  Is this a case of dual citizenship?

Happy Tanabata

July 7, 2018

Clear here tonight, so the lovers can meet.

 

from 2017

Stonekettle on Nazis

June 29, 2018

Here’s my second-ever un-commented link to someone else’s work.

Stonekettle’s tweet stream on how the Nazis come to power.

The last beginning

June 16, 2018

Commencement: The first existence of anything; act or fact of commencing
Synonyms: rise, origin, beginning, start, dawn

Today was Commencement at EWU. The graduating class was so big that they all couldn’t fit into the Spokane Arena at the same time, so we had to do it in shifts.

Since I am retiring at the end of the Fall Quarter of 2018 (exactly six months from now), this marks the last Commencement I will be attending as EWU faculty, and the last time I get to wear my official PhD robes.

Only the coolest people get the coolest hats.

They are coming for your drones

May 6, 2018

Last week at an industry conference, the FBI spun a fairy tale, one that was reported uncritically by the press, about criminal use of drones. Go read it (and note that two of the first three comments called shenanigans, so it’s not just me). Here’s my breakdown.

It seems this “criminal gang” got itself involved in a hostage situation, as criminal gangs are wont to do. Now, this is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing. Usually, it’s some lone idiot whose plans have gone horribly wrong.

The FBI was called in, and set up an “elevated OP” to monitor the situation. This OP evidently was not hidden well enough that the bad guys weren’t aware of it. Maybe it was the FBI flag that gave it away.

The bad guys then launched a swarm of drones, from an unspecified location, to fly around the observers’ heads, kindof like nesting starlings, distracting them and making them lose “situational awareness”.  The drones, by the way, had been “backpacked” in, in anticipation of the FBI arrival.

Finally, the drone video was uploaded to YouTube, so that all members of the gang could see what a distracted FBI agent looked like.

No further details are available, because the incident remains “law enforcement-sensitive”. Of course, the criminal gang knows when and where it happened, and it has YouTube videos of FBI agents swatting at drones, but the FBI can’t tell us citizens any more (like, just for e.g., why the FBI didn’t use its own drones).

One has to wonder what the true FBI motive is behind this story. My guess is that they want more control over civilian drones, and this fake news is just the start of a flood of reports about drones harassing law enforcement, disrupting cattle drives, and carrying off small children.

 

 

The archaeology of the Trump dynasty

April 1, 2018

“Discovered in 2084 beneath the ruins of the American Democracy, the “Altar of Trumpism” seen here. was considered the jewel of the Trump Building Program. Originally designed as the spot at which Republicans would sacrifice true conservatism, adherence to the law, and personal decency in exchange for short-term political gain, it came to be used for the ritual slaughter of legislators….”

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Sorry, Barnes & Noble, you’re too hard to deal with

February 3, 2018

In order to keep up a certain amount of competition with Amazon, I’m willing to put up with a certain amount of inconvenience from places like B&N. A certain amount.

I had this vague notion that I could use B&N for downloadable e-books, and Amazon Prime for movement of molecules. That worked OK for a while, and then it all went pear-shaped.

If I am looking at an e-book and click on the picture, it sends me to a page that will order the paperback, meanwhile claiming that I’m reviewing the e-book. I have to click on the book title to get to the version I want.

Then, their site navigation doesn’t seem to pass information from one part to another. When I click on that book to order it, it sends me to a popup that wants me to establish an account. Meanwhile, it has my name in the header bar.

Meanwhile, my credit card expired. So I went to Manage Accounts to update the date. That worked OK, except the popup can’t tell the difference between N and North on my address (it’s worked fine for the last year, B&N, did you get a new DB admin?). Am I done? No. It needs a phone number. It pre-filled in everything else, but it doesn’t have my phone? Yeah, yeah, here it is. Click OK, and get a note that I’ve already updated my address.

Security email saying my account has changed. Glad you noticed.

Ready to order. Order. Popup. Something along the lines of, “We can’t fill your order because we don’t have an account for you, and your address isn’t in our DB, and your credit card is out of date…”

Is it any wonder that Amazon is eating their lunch?

 

 

Nuking Hawaii

January 13, 2018

I guess since everyone is weighing in on the Hawaii fiasco, I guess I should also, since I was peripherally involved with that sort of thing.

Civilian attack warning started out as CONELRAD (those funny triangles on your old radio dial). That was replaced by EBS, which was replaced by EAS, the Emergency Alert System. Under this, the states get messages from the federal government (FEMA), which gets the original message from the military, and take whatever action they deem necessary. Unlike CONELRAD, EAS is designed for multiple threats, including natural disasters, like tornadoes and wildfires, and so gets inputs from NWS and other federal agencies. For a nuclear attack, there’s often a canned message. If there’s a canned message, there’s always the chance it will get released in error.

In the case of the Hawaii alert, the system was apparently being tested during a shift change, and the wrong selection was made off a menu. Then it was confirmed. Easily done. Could happen to anybody. In fact, it should have been expected, since the system was just reactivated following a post-Cold War stint in mothballs.

This is not the only time such errors have been made. On at least one occasion, many years ago, a CONELRAD test sent out a message that caused a number of US radio stations to shift to the emergency frequency. More often, errors at the state level have caused local disruptions. The US military has people trained and dedicated to this sort of thing 24/7. The states have, essentially, whoever is on duty in their public safety center, watching for wildfires and riots.

And therein lies the problem. As with the See Something, Say Something approach to countering terrorist activity, if you depend on amateurs for warning, you get amateur warning. If it had been a real missile attack, how many of those people we saw running around would have been saved by the warning? Would being over there, instead of over here have protected them?

Aren’t you glad we had a warning?

Retirement

December 15, 2017

365 days from now. Second time.
22 years military.
19 years academic.

What? He’s still around?

How to find my blog

October 9, 2017

Evidently, the query pholich sex video amrican works pretty well. Since I don’t do sex videos, it must be the pholich, or maybe the amrican. I’ll have to include more of those.

WordPress Issues

September 18, 2017

So, WP has decided to do something to my formatting. I think it may have something to do with them sticking two ads in at the end of my last Japan post. Now, the top half of the previous gardening post is double-columned with the Japan post, and the bottom half is below the ads. And everything below that has lost formatting, but only on the first page. Not sure what’s going on here. I managed to fix things by combining my last two garden reports and deleting Day 05 and the last garden report, then reloading Day 05. No idea what caused it. As NSA says “Regret Inconvenience”

MH370 and trash in the ocean 2

August 16, 2017

The search that just won’t die. Just over three years ago I talked about using satellite imagery to search for debris from the MH-370 crash site. Now, a reanalysis of all imagery available has shown more debris, including some items big enough to be from the aircraft.

Four spots, north of the search area, and well north of the previous debris field

The imagery was obtained two weeks after the crash, and so had been moving at the whim of the wind and the currents. Detailed drift analysis gives some idea of where the debris could have ended up.

Consistent with a crash in the center of the white line, at 35.6°S, 92.8°E

The map doesn’t show tracks, it shows calculated possible final locations, with error bars, from a starting point on the white line, just outside the search area. You will note a dense cluster of them in the vicinity of PH-04, the upper right square. The problem is, of course, that the imagery isn’t good enough to tell what the floating objects are.

Pleiades Area 4. Mostly clouds and shadows

Even with Principal Component Analysis image enhancement.

Pleiades Area 4 Item 3. Red box in center is the original image. Left is true color blowup. Right is false color enhancement

The imagery analysis report can be found here (pdf), and the full file of ATSB reports here.

This new evidence might not be enough to re-start an already expensive search, but it will certainly prompt an intense scrutiny of the sonar recordings from that edge of the search box.

Smoke gets in your eyes

August 4, 2017

I am always amazed at how far smoke can travel. Lots of fires up in British Columbia, lots of BC smoke in the Spokane area. Right now our AQI is 193. In Beijing, it’s 45.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judging from the map, it will only get worse here. Out on our back deck, it takes the form of a light haze. You can smell the smoke, and your eyes water. I guess we keep the house closed up tonight.

UPDATE: Was still too smoky to open up, even at 11PM. 3/4 moon was a nice bright orange. I’d write a haiku, but I can’t think of a rhyme.

Cultural Appropriation

June 29, 2017

Lauren Orsini, the always-interesting Otaku Journalist, recently raised the issue of cultural appropriation, and pointed to an article by Jarune Uwujaren at Everyday Feminist. I’ve read both articles multiple times, and still have trouble wrapping my head around some applications of the definition, and not just because I’m a fat old Euro male. I think they are overlooking a fundamental difference between what goes on inside a country, and what goes on outside of it.

Uwujaren makes a strong case for cultural appropriation as part of an ongoing power imbalance within a country/society, specifically, the US. The dominant white culture (mine), demands conformance to its ideas of dress and behavior, on pain of not being thought serious, or worthy, of dealing with. This, by the way is true within the culture, as well as without. Bill Gates famously went out and bought a business suit so he could convince IBM he was a serious businessman when he met to sell them DOS. It rejects the elements of the other cultures (African-American, Native American, Hispanic, etc) as having no place in a white-dominated world.

Cultural Appropriation, as I understand their discussion, is when that dominant culture then turns around and adopts elements of the rejected subcultures in ways that are not respectful of their origins. The frat-boy type wearing the Native American head-dress in the Uwujaren article. Portrayals of traditional Hispanic dress (sombreros, decorated jackets) in commercials. The majority culture appropriates elements of a subculture for humor or commercial gain. This is all understandable when you are talking about the actions of the majority culture inside a country. It is a blatant flaunting of the unequal power relationship.

Between countries is a totally different thing.

My position is that there can be no Uwujaren-style appropriation between countries because there is no cultural coercion. The dominant culture in a country is dominant, and it doesn’t care what you think. If you go into a bank in the US wearing Arab robes, you will be stared at, if not strip searched. That goes double for an airport. If, on the other hand, you are in Riyadh, then everyone of importance wears robes, and you are the semi-despised foreigner, sweating in your business suit. Your cultural dominance in the US doesn’t matter. If you then change to robes, you are seen as a still-despised foreigner, aping your betters.

As a way of thinking about this, let’s turn our concerns about cultural appropriation 180 degrees, and look at other countries’ appropriation of American culture.

Consider Japan, which worries Orsini so. If you live in Japan, and have Japanese friends, and own a dark suit, then you might be called upon to officiate at a faux-Christian wedding ceremony in a building like the one below.

Not really a church

That’s not a church. It’s a commercial establishment that is rented out for couples who want to be “married” in a “church”. Is that cultural appropriation, or simple adoption? In America, there are several dominant religions that would be insulted. In Japan, with a Christian population of less than 3%, it’s looked on as kindof trendy.

Then there’s anime, the wellspring of all things otaku. Neon Genesis Evangelion is considered a seminal anime from twenty years ago, which totally rewrote the rules on how one portrays giant robots and parenting. The title can be translated from the Classical Greek as Gospel of a New Century.  In it, the robots battle Angels, using weapons like the Spear of Longinus (now suffering from additional exploitation), to prevent the destruction of New Tokyo, as foretold in the Prophecies of the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is far more than appropriation — it borders on looting and pillaging.  Actually, it’s director Anno grabbing whatever sounded good to him and sticking it in.

Or consider the Spring 2017 anime season just ending. There’s an anime titled The Seven Mortal Sins, that trivializes Christian and Jewish concepts of sin by re-casting them in the bodies of buxom babes. Exploitation? Certainly. Cultural appropriation in the Uwujaren definition? I’m not so sure.

Yet another example is Christmas, that most sacred of Western holy days (even though the commercial aspects sometimes overshadow the sacred). The Japanese have appropriated it and turned it into a totally commercial holiday. Unlike New Year’s, probably Japan’s most culturally significant holiday, Christmas in Japan is more like Valentine’s day in the US. Decorations may go up early, but they come down the day after.

So, I think what’s going on here is the application of one phrase to describe two different things: cultural appropriation inside a country as opposed to appropriation across country borders. Part of this may be the confusion of the word exchange as a business deal, as opposed to exchange as an intellectual process. The labelling of a cultural exchange as a material transaction. A cultural exchange is an exchange of ideas, not of material things. “This is how we fry flour and eggs and cabbage, and we call it Okonomiyaki“.  Which might or might not be followed by “Oh, that’s interesting. This is how we fry flour and eggs, but no cabbage, and we call it “Hot cakes“. It’s an exchange of ideas, not a material transaction. As Thomas Jefferson said, “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.” There’s really no way to pay another culture for the use of their ideas, even if we didn’t explain to them about hot cakes. All we can do is expose them to our way of doing things, and let them pick and choose and adapt as they see fit. And if the way they see fit to adopt and adapt something of ours is totally outside of our vision, well, that’s not something we can control. That’s not something we can do anything about.

In fact, that’s not something that’s any of our business.

And since the reverse is true, you can go on practicing yoga, or eating Salisbury Steak on Baps with Red Sauce without feeling guilty.

 

The Battle of Midway, 75 years ago

June 4, 2017

The Battle of Midway, 75 years ago today, marked the end of a remarkable six-month string of victories by the Japanese fast carrier fleet (Japanese name Kido Butai) across one third of the circumference of the globe, from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to Colombo, Ceylon.

After striking at Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, the carrier force returned to Japan, before deploying to Truk and then to Palau, in support of the invasion of the northern Solomons. In February, they sortied for a raid on Darwin, Australia — the largest attack ever carried out against that country. Much of March was spent operating out of Staring Bay, Celebes, covering the Japanese Army operations across the Java Sea.

Early April, 1942, saw the fast carrier force in the Indian Ocean, where they conducted strikes on Colombo and Trincomalee, Ceylon, sinking the British carrier Hermes. By midmonth they were back in the South China Sea, bound for a replenishment stop in Taiwan.

The carriers redeployed to Truk in early May, to support the invasion of Port Moresby, New Guinea. On 7-8 May they participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea, suffering their first carrier loss (CL Shoho). It was a tactical victory but strategic defeat, because the Japanese had to call off the invasion.

Finally, in early June, the carriers assembled north of Midway Island, seeking to draw out US forces to protect the island. Unfortunately for them, the US had broken their codes and knew exactly what their plans were and where the carriers were located. This was not as easy as it sounds, by the way. For example, the carriers were operating under radio silence, but their support ships, including destroyers known to be used as their escorts, were not. We had to infer the location of the carriers.

The results of the battle are well known — four Kido Butai carriers sunk, with the loss of not just their decks, but their experienced crews and planes and pilots. Up until Midway, the average IJN pilot had about 700 flying hours under his belt. Midway started a decline to 70 flying hours by war’s end.

 

月の花見

May 8, 2017

Tsuki no hanami — moon flower viewing

Moon not quite full

Sakura past their peak

Overwhelming city lights

My bed calls

 

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

April 1, 2017

Probing into one of the most inaccessible parts of Antarctica, in an un-named part of the continent described only as being “beyond the Mountains of Madness”, a privately-funded expedition from Miskatonic University has discovered what the explorers describe as the remnants of an early civilization, one that appears to be related to ancient Egypt. The region is shrouded in perpetual cloud and fog, and most of the complex is encased in thousands of feet of snow and ice, but one structure, a pyramid ten times larger than the Great Pyramid of Kufu, was accessible through a great stone passage near the top.

Did ancient Egyptians reach Antarctica? Or was Egypt colonised from there?

The pyramids of Antarctica

There has long been a controversy over whether the civilization of ancient Egypt was able to colonise locations as far away as Mexico and Ceylon, or if civilization was imposed on Egypt and elsewhere by a more advanced race, originating in an unknown location. This new find may cast light on that controversy.

Passions have run high on the topic, and there have already been attempts to undermine the Miskatonic work by labelling the pictures a hoax, not taken in Antarctica.

Before contact with the expedition was lost, the leader said they had opened the passage, and inside found “wonderful things”.