Saturday, April 5, 2014

Found in the attic: 1983 World Trade Center Brochure

I found this in the garage attic earlier today in a box full of folders and notebooks from my freshman year in College back in 1983.  Some friends and I went to Manhattan for Spring Break and during our stay there we made it to the World Trade Center for a tour.  This brochure brings back some good memories but it's also like a punch in the gut.  I just thought I would share it for everyone who might be interested, especially those who weren't lucky enough to have a chance to see the Twin Towers when they stood majestically over South Manhattan.  

1983 World Trade Center Visitor Guide Brochure 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Food fight,

I once started a food fight in a high school cafeteria. All it took was a Hunt's Snack Pack chocolate pudding cup and a plastic spoon. I used the spoon as a catapult to launch a dollop of the pudding toward the general direction of whoever was sitting at the whichever table I aimed the dollop toward.  Then I recall sneaking away as the volleys of counterattacks and counter-counterattacks flew back and forth and lunch ladies intervened and classmates were rounded up for  violations of the student conduct code.

And long after I walk away from this place, I'd like to think maybe I helped start or at least helped fuel some of the conflict between the left and the right and better yet between the right and the even further right.

Only in a heated disagreement do most people say what they really think.  Make that happen on purpose and then listen and learn.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Found in an abandoned storage unit. Japanese War Drum

I happened to come into possession of this thing recently. I believe it is a traditional Japanese War Drum that was customized with the addition of exquisitely detailed dragons and the Samurai symbol.  Out there is someone who would really like to have this. If they give me $1,000,000 for it I will donate it to stopping the disaster at Fukushima from destroying the planet.       

Saturday, June 1, 2013

On the Run

My daughter is one of the dancers in this number. It placed first overall at the VIP Dance Competition in Toledo Ohio in April 2013.  If you are not familiar with amateur dance at the very highest level, this is a great example.

On The Run. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Tale of Two Explosions..

Two stories about bombs, one had the explosive capacity equivalent to Peter Brady's vinegar and baking soda volcano bomb that made a mess in the kitchen on The Brady Bunch. The other bomb packed more power than any non-nuclear bomb in the USA military arsenal.  The small bomb hurt no one and caused no damage.  The large bomb killed fourteen firemen and destroyed a good chunk of an entire city in Texas. One of the bombs led to an arrest of the person responsible.  The other led to shrugs of "Oh well, accidents happen.."  

16-Year Old Florida honour Student Charged With Two Felonies For Doing A Science Experiment

Kiera Wilmot was a typical 16-year-old honour student at Bartow Senior High School. She’s never been in trouble, has a reputation for being nice to everyone, gets straight As, and loves science.
What’s not typical is what went down after one of these “science experiments” went all so slightly wrong on school grounds.
At 7 am on Monday April 30, Wilmot and a yet-to-be-named friend mixed aluminium foil and toilet bowl cleaner in a small water bottle, and after about 30 seconds, the reaction created pressure inside the bottle, blowing the cap off with a pop that according to witnesses sounded like firecrackers going off...
No one was hurt by the “explosion,” but later that day Wilmot was handcuffed, arrested, and expelled from school. According to the police report, she has been charged with two felonies: “possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds” and “discharging a destructive device.”..
She was also expelled for violating the school’s conduct code, which requires immediate expulsion for any “student in possession of a bomb (or) explosive device… while at a school (or) a school-sponsored activity… unless the material or device is being used as part of a legitimate school-related activity or science project conducted under the supervision of an instructor.”

And then this..

Officials: 14 Dead, 200 Injured in West, Texas Explosion

The number of people killed in a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco Texas still remains unknown. Law enforcement continues to search damaged homes and apartments for survivors. 
Waco Police Sergeant William Patrick Swanton spoke for the City of West early Thursday morning. "There was quite a bit of devastation," Swanton said of the blast radius surrounding the fertilizer plant. According to the Waco Police Department, homes are still being evacuated and there are firefighters still unaccounted for.
The explosion was caused by a fire at the plant yesterday evening. It occurred as firefighters were evacuating people from their homes—including some elderly residents at a nursing home. The blast gutted homes, along with a 50-unit apartment complex. The plant’s blast registered a 2.1 magnitude event, according to the U.S. Geological Service, and was felt 15 miles away are heard as far as Waxahatchie (45 miles away).

After West Fertilizer Explosion, Concerns Over Safety, Regulation and Zoning

Owner: Donald Adair has owned the West Fertilizer Co. for around seven years
 It will take time to determine the exact cause of the fire and explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. The disaster has cost at least 14 lives, caused 200 injuries and has destroyed at least 50 homes. The blast was so strong that it blew out windows for miles, and even registered as an earthquake. First responders said the aftermath looked like “a war zone.”
Yet even at this early stage of the investigation, there are signs that not all was right with the plant, like the fact that it had as much as 270 tons of ammonium nitrate (which can be explosive) at the site, but no sprinklers or fire barriers. It’s also brought up questions about regulation in Texas, and whether homes and schools should be so close to industry.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The NRA is sponsoring a NASCAR race in Texas (No firearms allowed)

It seems like a perfect marriage, fast cars and guns. A lot of crossover appeal there, right? Well, some people see it different.  WSJ: Nascar Faces Fallout From NRA Deal  

Nascar is trying to minimize the potential damage resulting from its sponsorship agreement with the National Rifle Association. This weekend’s race in the stock-car racing organizations premier Sprint Cup series at Texas Motor Speedway is called the NRA 500.
To many people the race title may sound like an attempt at a bad joke. It also seems like the timing of the sponsorship deal, in the wake of December’s mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, could not be worse. However, it might be difficult to say whose tone deafness regarding the situation is most severe.
Certainly Nascar should have known that giving the NRA top billing would not sit well with racing enthusiasts who happen to be gun-control advocates or are simply tired of gun violence. Nascar has not yet responded to requests for comment...
A couple insights:

1) The head of the NRA is a guy named Wayne LaPierre and anyone who is a fan of the movie "Talladega Nights" is probably not too keen about intermingling people with French sounding names and stock car racing. jes sayin..

2) Wayne LaPierre has been beating the drum for years that guns make people safer.

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre on Thursday attacked Connecticut’s new gun-control laws, saying they are “making the law books thicker for the law-abiding people.”

“The problem with what Connecticut did, is the criminals, the drug dealers, the people that are going to do horror and terror, they aren’t going to cooperate,” LaPierre told Fox News.

3) Word to all the NASCAR fans who also happen to be NRA members and who plan to travel to the Texas Motor Speedway to attend the NRA 500 this weekend.   Leave your guns at home.  You can't bring them into the Speedway. Rules for Race Fans


Funny how Wayne LaPierre rants and raves about how we need to have guns in schools, churches, bars, businesses, in order to keep people safe by allowing them to protect themselves and their families with their guns, but in an environment with tens of thousands of fans in close quarters, the NRA is spending huge money to sponsor a race where no one is allowed to exercise their beloved 2nd Amendment rights.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Google Search: Pipeline Leak

The Keystone Pipeline aka KXL is intended to be a superhighway to transport oil extracted from tar sands in Canada all the way down to Houston Texas from where it can either be refined and/or loaded directly onto tankers and exported to foreign markets in order to take advantage of higher prices outside of North America.  I am not going to delve into an economic analysis or predict how the pipeline will affect market prices to consumers but I want to point out the tremendous technical difficulty maintaining a leak-proof pipeline thousands of miles long.  It is not a question of will there be leaks, but how disastrous the leaks will be and how often leaks will happen.

Start with the Google search "Pipeline leak"   

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Pegasus crude oil pipeline, which was shut on Friday after a leak was detected in Arkansas, will need to be excavated as the company looks to determine what caused the breach, a spokeswoman said.
“I can’t speculate on when excavation will happen,” Kimberly Brasington, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mail. “Excavation is necessary as part of an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.”
The 20-inch pipeline, which originates in Patoka, Illinois, and carries crude oil to the Texas Gulf Coast, was carrying Wabasca Heavy Crude from Western Canada, she said.
About 12,000 barrels of oil and water have been collected so far near Mayflower, Arkansas, after “a few thousand barrels were observed in the area,” the Mayflower Incident Unified Command Joint Information Center, which includes Exxon, Faulkner County and the city of Mayflower, said in a statement Sunday.
The pipeline ruptured last week at Willard Bay State Park, spilling diesel fuel into marshes. It was Chevron's third pipeline leak in Utah in the last three years.
Another pipeline leak sent crude oil rushing into a Salt Lake City creek in 2010. Months later, the same pipeline ruptured again.
Each pipeline leak involved a spill of 21,000 or more gallons of crude oil or fuel.
Irving-based Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) has been fined $1.7 million by the The U.S. Department of Transportation over pipeline safety violations relating to a 2011 oil spill in the Yellowstone River.
Reuters reported that the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration said Exxon's Silvertip pipeline leaked roughly 1,500 barrels of oil into the river in July 2011 following heavy flooding in the region. The pipeline carries 40,000 barrels per day of crude in Montana.

Crews were working Tuesday to contain and clean up more than 800,000 gallons of oil that poured into a creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan, coating birds and fish.

Authorities in Battle Creek and Emmett Township warned residents about the strong odor from the oil, which leaked Monday from a 30-inch pipeline built in 1969 that carries about 8 million gallons of oil per day from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

Crews waded in oily water as they worked to stop the oil's advance downstream. Oil-covered Canada geese walked along the banks of the Kalamazoo River, and photos showed dead fish floating in the spill. The Kalamazoo River eventually flows into Lake Michigan, but officials didn't expect the oil to reach the lake.

Here is the proposed route of KXL through the American heartland, the breadbasket of the USA and the world.

Keystone Pipeline System - Overall Map

Tar sand oil is a thick substance with viscosity that is much higher than crude oil.  Tar sand oil at room temperature is similar in viscosity to molasses and it has to be mixed with light crude oil to create a mixture that can be pumped at all.  Because of the high viscosity of the material the pipeline will have to operate at higher fluid pressure than would be required for thinner viscosity crude oil.  Or the flow rate will have to be reduced below the production level that was projected to sell the project.

The pressure required to push a fluid through a pipe is a function of  viscosity of the fluid, the length and diameter of the pipe, the smoothness of the pipe interior, and the velocity of the fluid. In the formula pressure is directly proportional to viscosity, so if viscosity doubles, the pressure requirement doubles as well.  In the case of tar sands oil, the viscosity is more than ten times thicker than light crude oil.  This means that the KXL pipeline will have to operate at higher pressure and employ more pumping stations than would be required for light crude oil.
Additionally, the tar sands oil has suspended particles of clay and sand in the mixture and these will continually abrade the interior of the pipe particularly at locations where the pipeline changes direction or slope. As the oil slurry abrades the interior surfaces of the pipe, the frictional losses will increase,  driving higher pump pressures or lower flow rates.  As the pipeline weakens from years of abrasion, more locations will rupture and leak, and because the pipeline will be buried below ground, leaks will not be simple to detect or locate.  The high viscosity and pressure losses will limit the effectiveness of the control systems used to detect minor leaks before they become major leaks.

If completed, this pipeline will become a source of ongoing leaks that will grow in magnitude over time.  Eventually the rising maintenance, cleanup, legal and liability insurance costs will drive the Canadian corporation that owns the pipeline to go bankrupt or simply abandon their responsibilities and leave the US taxpayers with the bills for the leaking pipeline.

The Keystone pipeline is bad for the environment and is a bad business deal for the US government and America consumers as well.  

Update: April 1: 
I came across this report from  that points out how tar sand oil pipeline operators are exempt from paying into the trust fund that covers the costs of cleaning up oil spills. So the corporations profiting by transporting tar sands oil across America don't have to pay to clean up the spills they created.  A perfect example of corporate welfare.  Irrational Exemption, Tar sands pipeline subsidies and why they must end

Neither Congress nor the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) considers tar sands‐derived oil as “crude oil.” In a January 2011 memorandum, the IRS determined that to generate revenues for the oil spill trust fund, Congress only intended to tax conventional crude – not tar sands or other unconventional oils.  This exemption remains even though the United States moves billions of gallons of tar sands oil through its pipeline system every year. The trust fund is liable for tar sands oil spill cleanups without collecting any revenue from tar sands transport. If the fund goes broke,the American taxpayer foots the cleanup bill.