Category Archives: 2011

White Doves, Rainbow Family and Esoterica

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

WordPress is being a communist this morning. Or maybe the world came to an end last night sometime but it hasn’t gotten to me yet because I’m so far out in the country.

I was going to regale you this morning with some things I dug up online about building and retrofitting hydrogen generators to internal combustion engines yesterday but on the off chance the world ended last night, I won’t.  The whole thing might be a moot issue.   Talking Our Way Into Oblivion – Hydrogen and Hot Air

I’d also thought I’d share with you a couple of interesting things that appear to occur when the center of mass of a system of orbiting bodies changes, but if the world ended there’s no point getting into that, either.  I suppose I’ll be obliged to break my iron discipline and focus to tell you about a couple of things happened here a while back.

A while back this dove flew in here and spent a few weeks sharing the chicken feed on the ground.

I’d never seen a white dove before.  It’s forty miles to the nearest town of any size, fifteen miles to a village big enough to have a gas station/convenience store.  So I didn’t figure it was a pet.

But when I approached it on the ground it didn’t fly.  At first I thought it was injured or sick.

It had no fear at all.  Nothing seemed to be wrong with it.

A week or two after these pictures were taken it began spending more time higher in the trees and less on the ground.  Then it evidently just decided to move on to whatever was waiting for it somewhere else.

A free spirit.  Sort of reminded me of the Rainbow folk I’ve shared campsites with in remote places and occasionally picked up as hitch hikers.  Didn’t have much in common with the wild doves around here and nothing at all with birds somewhere else in houses with cages.  Marching to her own drum, not letting anything get into the way of doing it.   But not living in fear.

Which behooves me to tell you a bit about the Rainbow Family.

I first attended a Rainbow Gathering as part of a team of New Mexico Emergency Management Planning and Coordination  [EMPAC] personnel assigned to be there with the National Guard during the Taos gathering of the early 1990s.  I’d never heard of the Rainbow group prior to that, had no idea what to expect because neither did anyone else in New Mexico government.

What I observed was Woodstock without the music, a lot of folks who reminded me of my own younger times of long hair, protest, sex, drugs and rock and roll on the family side of things.

On the other side I saw National Guard troops loaded with live ammuntion and no clear instructions and rules of engagement being frequently hassled, treated with condescension alternately with re-enactments of some flower-chile ‘Come Join Us’ pleas from earlier times.  ‘Family’ members running alongside government vehicles engaging in every form of engagement except disengagement.

And  to complicate matters further,  a civilian group of Taos Hispanics who wanted nothing so much as the gathering broken up and out of those mountains they considered their own.

I spent a harrowing week or two up there trying to keep my mind from falling into a state of spacial-time disorientation.  When it was all over we drove back to Santa Fe wiping our brows in relief that nobody’d been shot, beaten to death by locals, no major incidents.   My thoughts at the time were as far from ever wanting to see another Rainbow Family member as they could get and stay on the planet Earth.

I count myself lucky to have encountered many of Family members in other settings during the two decades afterward, picking them up hitch hiking, sharing remote campsites, discovering there’s a side to some part of the Rainbow Family membership I hadn’t noticed in the Taos experience.

Gypsy-like free-spirited, thoughtful and considerate people just doing their own thing, trying their best not to leave any bigger mark where they’ve been than they absolutely must.  Good pleasant folks to spend some time with.

So long, I’d have to add, as a person stays clear of the party-animals and really cool people drawn to the mass gathering.

Old Jules

 

The Tanglefoot of Expecting the Unexpected

You couldn’t make this up.

Yesterday several blogs I subscribed to began with identical words:

A recent Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the FBI wants what it calls “food activists” prosecuted as terrorists, perhaps because nothing could more terrifying than exposing where our so-called food comes from and how it is manufactured.”

I didn’t disbelieve it initially, but it seemed a bit sloppy, though not outside the realms of the possible.  What bothered me about it was the fact nothing was mentioned about who made the FOIA request, why, and the precise wording of the contents of the FBI document. 

So I plugged the sentence, A recent Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the FBI wants what it calls “food activists” into the dogpile dot com search engine.  http://tinyurl.com/7y6cokz

My thought was that it wouldn’t require much search to find an initial post with the core information.  Instead, as of early evening yesterday, there were 20 pages of posts repeating the one I’d recieved.  Earliest I found was December 23, then more a couple of days later, gradually building up to a landslide yesterday.  Blogs all over the web re-posting the same piece of writing, some with variations or addenda of their own.

Not one expressing the slightest doubt the story was true.  Not one questioning where the original claim originated.   Today there’ll be more as the panic spreads, I’m thinking.

The problem is the powers running this country opened a door to a new avenue of the believable.  Indefinite detention Act voids US Constitution, Get a Job! Internment/Resettlement Specialist, US Army, Sunday morning thoughts December 18, 2011, and  The Long Watch referred to the activities of the US Congress a few days back, along with the way some people were responding to it. 

But once that desire to be able to lock US Citizens up without any due process based on being suspected of terrorism was enshrined in Congressional activity, all bets were off.  Suddenly it makes all kinds of sense for the folks charged with law enforcement and pesky people doing all manner of legal things they’d like to lock them up for to want to squeeze them into the meaning of the word terrorist.   They know that, and you and I know they know that.

So out of nowhere comes a claim the FBI’s already doing it.  How much disbelief does the discerning reader need to suspend to accept it as gospel without the acquired skepticism of experience with the huge mass of BS on the web?

Heck.  Maybe it’s even true.  The only evidence it isn’t true is the fact there isn’t a grain of evidence it is.

Expecting the unexpected has some inherent pitfalls.  One being that we see what we expect to see.

Old Jules

2012 – A Pretty Good Year by Hindsight

Good morning readers.  Here’s wishing each of you whatever you consider best for yourself in 2012.

Some years are better viewed by hindsight than during the actual living of them.  1954 was such a year, and I have an idea 2012 might be another.  Long hindsight smooths down the rough spots and helps remove a lot of the detritus keeping us from viewing it in ways we can appreciate the strong points.

Almost everyone in that picture is dead, with the possible exceptions of the blonde kid next to me, cousin wossname, the girl behind me without glasses, and my ownself.  The blonde kid might be dead, or he mightn’t. 

He and I never had much truck after the time that picture was taken.  He lived in Pennsylvania was part of the reason, but the other part was in the fact I accidentally shot him in the lower leg with an arrow and his mom didn’t care to bring him down our way anymore.  Next time I might have improved my marksmanship, she alleged.

Fact was the kid and I were shooting at a target, taking turns.  He was down close to the target waiting for me to shoot so’s to retrieve the arrows and take his turn.  But just as I released, he ran in front of the target and ruined my shot, sank that arrow spang into his calf a goodly distance.

On the ground bleeding and squalling to high heaven, he denied that’s how it happened, and there was an element of belief among the adults present.  Them knowing how much I despised that spoiled little prick.

Anyway, with the softening provided by the passage of all those decades and all the protagonists either dead, or might as well be, 1954 shines out as a middling good year.

Similar to how I think there’s a good chance most people who are online January 1, 2013, will have fonder recollections of 2012 around January 1 2050, than they do recapping it 2013.

Which isn’t to suggest 2012 won’t be a great year.  I fully expect it will.  I won’t be the least surprised if 2012 has more surprises in store than almost any year in living memory.  Tremendous opportunities for growth experiences.  But growth experiences do have a way of needing more hindsight to be appreciated than those years when all we do is sit around watching television.

So, here’s wishing all of you as much potential for personal growth during 2012 as you consider yourself qualified to appreciate as soon afterward as possible.

Old Jules

 

2011 Red Oak Wilt Movement and Behavior

The disease evidently arrived when the powerline went in running north to south at the top of the ridge on the far left side of the pic.  Or possibly when that gravel pit was scooped out just to the right of the earliest attack.  Those earliest trees have been dead at least five years.

In 2010 it moved abruptly downgrade attacking the trees surrounding the cabin and in the vicinity of the chickenhouse.  But I hadn’t noticed until I viewed the sat-image that it’s also moving west beyond the ridgeline [far left].   Beyond that ridge and to the west it’s heavily treed with oaks all the way to the western property line. 

Judging from what’s happening to the west of the ridge there mightn’t be a red oak left on that side of the property within a couple of years.

But downgrade to the east there doesn’t appear to be any infestation at all, yet.

Truly a mystery.

Old Jules

My 2011 posts about this:

Oak Wilt, Firewood and Sawmilling, For Want of a Nail – Something Worth Knowing Chainsaw-wise, A Poem as Lovely as a Tree – An Oak Ponders Oak-Wilt, Outsmarted by a Dead Tree.

Vesta’s 13 Mile-High Mountain et al

About this time in 2009 I could have been rightfully accused of spending a lot of the year tracking the positions of all the larger asteroids including Vesta as part of an ongoing project.  And at that point I could accurately be accused of having learned a lot without having learned anything I could understand.

NASA – Oblique View of Vesta’s South Polar Region .

But one of the big news items of 2011 involves Vesta, or more specifically, the discovery it has a 13 mile high  mountain.

Space Mountain Produces Terrestrial Meteorites

Dec. 30, 2011: When NASA’s Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around giant asteroid Vesta in July, scientists fully expected the probe to reveal some surprising sights. But no one expected a 13-mile high mountain, two and a half times higher than Mount Everest, to be one of them.

The existence of this towering peak could solve a longstanding mystery: How did so many pieces of Vesta end up right here on our own planet?

Space Mountain (side view, 558px)

A side view of Vesta’s great south polar mountain. [more]

For many years, researchers have been collecting Vesta meteorites from “fall sites” around the world. The rocks’ chemical fingerprints leave little doubt that they came from the giant asteroid. Earth has been peppered by so many fragments of Vesta, that people have actually witnessed fireballs caused by the meteoroids tearing through our atmosphere. Recent examples include falls near the African village of Bilanga Yanga in October 1999 and outside Millbillillie, Australia, in October 1960.

“Those meteorites just might be pieces of the basin excavated when Vesta’s giant mountain formed,” says Dawn PI Chris Russell of UCLA.

Curiosity and the Solar Storm (signup)

Russell believes the mountain was created by a ‘big bad impact’ with a smaller body; material displaced in the smashup rebounded and expanded upward to form a towering peak. The same tremendous collision that created the mountain might have hurled splinters of Vesta toward Earth.

“Some of the meteorites in our museums and labs,” he says, “could be fragments of Vesta formed in the impact — pieces of the same stuff the mountain itself is made of.”

To confirm the theory, Dawn’s science team will try to prove that Vesta’s meteorites came from the mountain’s vicinity. It’s a “match game” involving both age and chemistry.

“Vesta formed at the dawn of the solar system,” says Russell. “Billions of years of collisions with other space rocks have given it a densely cratered surface.”

The surface around the mountain, however, is tellingly smooth. Russell believes the impact wiped out the entire history of cratering in the vicinity. By counting craters that have accumulated since then, researchers can estimate the age of the landscape.

Space Mountain (cross sections, 558px)

Cross-section of the south polar mountain on Vesta with the cross sections of Olympus Mons on Mars, the largest mountain in the solar system, and the Big lsland of Hawaii as measured from the floor of the Pacific, the largest mountain on Earth. These latter two mountains are both shield volcanoes.Credit: Russell et. al. (2011), EPSC

“In this way we can figure out the approximate age of the mountain’s surface. Using radioactive dating, we can also tell when the meteorites were ‘liberated’ from Vesta. A match between those dates would be compelling evidence of a meteorite-mountain connection.”

For more proof, the scientists will compare the meteorites’ chemical makeup to that of the mountain area.

“Vesta is intrinsically but subtly colorful. Dawn’s sensors can detect slight color variations in Vesta’s minerals, so we can map regions of chemicals and minerals that have emerged on the surface. Then we’ll compare these colors to those of the meteorites.”

Could an impact on Vesta really fill so many museum display cases on Earth? Stay tuned for answers..
Author: Dauna Coulter | Editor: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

By early-to-mid 2010 the message was plain enough to me that I wasn’t going to find what I was looking for by spending anymore time and effort with asteroids.  But seeing this story at the NASA site was a bit like having an old acquaintance but-not-quite-not-quite-friend stop in for a cup of coffee without any ulterior motives other than to pass the time of day.

Old Jules

Talking Our Way Into Oblivion – Hydrogen and Hot Air

A few years ago my friend Rich asked me if I’d be interested in talking with an older guy in his late 70s who was experimenting with hydrogen generators for retrofitting onto his vehicle.   I wasn’t looking into hydrogen generating, but I’m a curious sort of fellow.  I didn’t require any persuading.  I just told Rich to give Bryce my phone number.  About a week later he called me.

Turned out Bryce had spent his career as chief mechanic for the Ford and General Motors Speed Teams, or Racing Teams, some such thing.  He was part of the group that put together the hydrogen powered vehicle that established a record for the highest speed ever recorded for an internal combustion engine driven automobile.

Using what he learned from all that, Bryce had created a series of hydrogen generators for his own vehicle, trying to maximize efficiency and deal with other shortcomings with the system.  He did it all from salvaged materials.  Heck of an interesting guy the first few times we talked.  I wish I’d taken notes and drawn sketches of what he told me.

At first during our acquaintance Bryce and I had conversations.  Two people brainstorming things he was doing, and I was doing.  But gradually the hydrogen generating conversational possibilities ran down.  Bryce was calling me every day or so, telling me all manner of things I didn’t want to hear, such as what the waitress in the cafe where he took coffee and meals said to him, what he said back, what she said back.  Or what other customers said to him and what he said back.  Or his brother.

Bryce would call, ask how I was, not wait for an answer, and talk non-stop for an hour, two hours.  I could put the phone down, go feed the chickens or make a cup of coffee and come back to the phone without him noticing.  Sometimes I’d tie a bandanna around my head attaching the phone to my ear and read a book waiting for him to wind down.

This went on for months.  I didn’t know what to do about it, except straight-on explaining to him that this wasn’t conversation and wasn’t a source of joy to me.  I mentioned it to Rich, and it turned out Bryce was doing the same thing to him.

Finally, as gently as I could manage, I interrupted one of his monologues and explained the problem, as I viewed it.  I told him I liked him, that I’d enjoy conversations with him, but that I didn’t want to hear the same stories over and over about people at the restaurant, his brother, etc.  That if we were going to continue having communications there’d need to be exchanges and some level of concern as to the amount of interest the other person had in hearing it.

Despite my attempt to soften the words, Bryce got his feelers hurt badly by this.  He never called again, which I preferred to the alternative of things continuing as they were.

Sometime a few months later Rich finally got his fill of it and tried the same tactic on Bryce, with the same result.  He was more reluctant to do it than I’d been, because he felt sorrier for Bryce than I was willing to allow myself to indulge.

Bryce came up in conversation between us a couple of days ago.  Turns out it’s been almost exactly a year since Rich has heard from him, and a few months more than that for me.  We wondered aloud how he was doing.

But neither of us is willing to bite the bullet and call him to find out, on pain of maybe starting the whole mess again.

I began this post figuring on saying some things about hydrogen generators but drifted off into Bryce and his problems.  Maybe some other time, the hydrogen generators.

Old Jules

Possible Mistaken Identity

Morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a visit.

Now that my freezer compartment’s thawed out I was due to make a town run for necessaries.  Yesterday I took Little Red in and took the back road past Habitat for Humanity thinking they’d be open, but they weren’t. 

But there’s a pallet out front where they always put things that didn’t sell for anyone who wants them, free.  Whether they’re open, or closed, there’s often a lot of stuff there a person with the right turn of mind might find a use for.  Around the other side of the building there’s a similar area marked, DONATIONS, clearly separated from this one.

The ‘Free’ sign wasn’t out, but the pallet did have a lot of junk on it, so I pulled in and looked it over.  I figured the store was just closed for the day for some reason.  I picked off three ceiling fan motors and a few other possibly useful items.  I’ve got a number of other ceiling fan motors I picked off that pallet here I haven’t decided what to do with yet, but copper’s got a high pricetag on it, at the very least.

But when I got back and swung by Gale’s to brag about it he shook his head.  “Man, they’ve been closed since before Christmas.  I’m amazed someone hadn’t picked them up.”

“Closed?  Since before Christmas?”  Wrinkled brow, puzzling.  “Sheeze!  I’ll bet somebody dropped those off as donations.  Just left them in the wrong place.”

So maybe I made a haul of some discarded fan motors and maybe I temporarily stole some intended to be donations to Habitat for Humanity.  I’m going to have to contact Linda, the manager, to find out whether I need to haul them back to town.  And if they’re closed until after New Year I reckons I’ll have the use of them until the status is nailed down as to whether they’re stolen property or pre-emptively rescued from some other less deserving scavenger.

Seems life’s never simple.

Old Jules