It is no surprise to anyone that when a big storm—like Harvey—hits, the power goes out.
Many people, on the other hand, are surprised that the internet, house phone, and cell phone service goes out.
They all rely on electricity, and even though there are backup batteries, etc., they have a finite life—a very finite life—and that’s if the cell towers don’t get blown down.
If your cell phone worked and you were sitting on your roof, would you call 911? Of course, so how would everyone in a similar situation react?
So, how do the shelters communicate? Who tells the Red Cross who to list on their “alive and well” list?
Amateur (ham) radio.
So next time you see a ham radio antenna in your neighborhood, think of it as your lifeline in case of an emergency.
Today’s eclipse – courtesy NASA
In ancient times, an eclipse was a terrifying event. It was often interpreted as God, god, or gods anger. It was a message for people to repent and change their ways.
Naturally, we’re far too sophisticated to let a predictable passing of the moon between the sun and earth concern us. We understand science and math, physics and astrophysics.
But, then again, if you look at the state of the world today, maybe it would be good to repent and change our ways.
Posted in Culture, History, People, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Space, Technology
Tagged ancient belief, astral, cosmic, eclipse, repent
Football Hall of Fame Re-opens
Newly remodeled Football Hall of Remembrance opens to celebrate Traumatic Brain Injury.
SATIRE AFFILIATED PRESS
CANTON, OHIO 11 September 2035
Although American style football has been banned, the Football Hall of Remembrance—formerly the Football Hall of Fame—is still a popular tourist attraction. It’s remodeling was recently completed and the familiar football roof is now surmounted by an artist’s conception of traumatic brain injury. Over the front door, the entryway features a bronze relief of a player being carted off the field after, as they used to say, “Having his bell rung.”
While the exhibits still include trophies, helmets, jerseys, and other game paraphernalia, it’s the preserved brain tissue and MRI scans that are today’s favorite. Visitors can view the pathology, then try to guess to which famous player the brain once belonged. Pressing a touch screen, the player’s name, teams, scores, and number of concussions is displayed. Original plans included videos of interviews with former players, but many could no longer communicate, being content to babble incoherently, or stop mid-sentence with, “What did you just ask me?”
Taking a page from big tobacco’s playbook, the industry insisted for years that football was not dangerous; eventually there were too many injuries at the high school, university, and professional levels to ignore. Professional teams found that medical insurance costs exceeded revenues—even if the revenue from sale of team products like hats and jerseys are included. With the profits gone, most owners took their investments elsewhere. Unfortunately, this left many cities with substantial debt for stadiums they built. Many are crumbling and have been condemned because of the degree of deterioration; there’s reason to repair them and no money to tear them down. Universities initially expected a huge financial crisis, but found that the sport had actually not been a money maker, in terms of real cash, but a huge annual loss. Without football many universities were able to improve facilities and pay teachers better.
Football, is gone, but not forgotten—except by those who played the game and had their bells rung too many times.
Posted in Business, Celebrity, Communications, Culture, Healthcare, History, Humor, People, Philosophy, Science, Sports
When I was growing up, it seemed that every city had several newspapers—often a morning paper and an evening paper. In Toledo, they were owned by the same company, so there was not a lot of divergence of opinion—the biggest diversity was in the comics.
In the 70s and 80s, many cities began to lose newspapers, only offering one. (I remember reading Sherlock Holmes—written during my grandparents’ lifetimes—in which there were multiple editions of multiple newspapers. Wow!)
Over time, in many places, local reporting waned and most of what they printed came from the news services to cut costs. (Sorry Peter Parker and Clark Kent, we’re not hiring.)
The number of news services dwindled as Associated Press overtook and bought part of United Press International. Today, much of what you read in the morning newspaper you already read online.
Newspapers got smaller, and the cycle continues.
Is it better or worse than when I was young? Probably neither—just different. However, I appreciate a well-written article. After it was written, the author probably re-read it and made some changes. An editor tweaked it—or sent it back to the author for another rewrite. Written news is polished, at least a little. It took a significant event to “Stop the presses!” and change the headline—an expensive operation.
A news video, on the other hand, has no style and certainly no cachet. It’s kind of thrown together, with too many stories labeled as “Breaking News.” To add insult to injury, the talking head’s intro, repartee, and smile, of course, is as much a part of the story as the content.
More’s the pity.
I think I’ll go listen to Don Henley’s “Get Over It.”
Posted in Celebrity, Communications, Culture, Education, History, Media, People, Philosophy, Television, Writing
Tagged breaking news, cable, headline, news, Newspaper
It’s a basic rule of accounting that a penny saved is a penny added to the bottom line, but an additional penny in sales doesn’t mean much. After all, once you deduct costs, depreciation, golden parachutes, advertising, attorney and consulting fees, it’s all gone. So when businesses think they are cutting costs—do they?
Water pressure cut to toilets to save water. Unfortunately, everyone uses five to ten flushes to—you know—so I doubt there’s any savings.
Paper towel dispensers are set to yield six inches of paper towels, so everyone automatically goes for three or more helpings of paper towels.
In an environment in which people have to use the provided plastic flatware, using ever thinner stock, so that everyone takes two or three of every utensil because they know the first one or two will break.
With a little thought, there could be cost savings; with no thought, not so much.
Vladimir Putin, according to reports, is wealthier than the next two richest people combined with a net worth of $200 billion. Pretty good for someone who grew up as Communist with enough commitment to work for the KGB.
His career with the KGB was unremarkable (his highest rank was lieutenant colonel), but once he got into politics, he found his niche. Trained as a lawyer, he adopted the Don Corleone business model (“One lawyer with a briefcase can steal more money than 100 men with guns.”–The Godfather). When the Soviet Union fell, various Russians began to acquire wealth. Putin apparently made many of them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
It might be good to keep that in mind before considering doing business with Putin.
Posted in Business, Culture, Government, History, Management, Media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Wealthy
Tagged Oligarchs, Politicians, Putin, Russia, Soviet Union, USSR
Mother Nature loans us many things, but we need to remember that they’re only a loan.
Norfolk, Virginia has much of its downtown built on filled in waterways and swamps. The area already tends to flood with nor’easters, and tropical storms, but with rising sea levels, flooding is expected to happen more often. Since there are people and businesses already established in the area, government officials are exploring possibilities such as levees, flood walls, and whatever the latest technology offers to prevent loss of life and property.
I understand. Where I live used to have a moderate risk of flooding, but as more of the area was developed the waterflow reversed. Low-lying wooded areas were clear-cut, raised five feet, and houses built so that instead of absorbing the rainwater, it now flows into my neighborhood. Bummer. Maybe if I replace my lawn with rice it will work better.
Mother Nature only loans us geography. I used to live in Louisiana. Mother Nature wants to move the Mississippi River west into the Atchafalaya basin. The United States Army, Corps of Engineers have been tasked with keeping the Mississippi River where it is. They’ve been mostly successful, except for the occasional world-class disaster like Katrina. History has shown that if weather doesn’t satisfy Mother Nature’s requirements, the occasional earthquake will. The New Madrid Fault in the early 19th century caused the Mississippi to flow backward for several days and reroute itself.
These issues are not unique to Norfolk and Louisiana. I grew up in Toledo, Ohio, which is built on what was the Black Swamp. Part of Downtown Chicago is built on the rubble from the great Chicago Fire, which was tossed onto the shore of Lake Michigan. Enough of Florida is built on drained swamps, or the equivalent, and so much groundwater is extracted that sinkholes routinely swallow cars or even houses.
Mother Nature loaned us these areas. I hope she doesn’t want them all back too soon.