Friday, February 22, 2019

reward middle-schoolers with a Bob Ross painting session!


The link is to an article about this.  The video probably covers most of the same material.

What a great idea!  :-)

There have been multiple Bob Ross painting sessions at the Ann Arbor library.  How cool that someone did it in a middle school to raise the mood and build energy.  :-)


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

wax-figure Warren Harding stars in a movie...........


Oh my.  This is hilarious.  It is full of cuss words, as John Oliver's work usually is.  But it is hilarious.


Sunday, February 10, 2019

January 3, 2019


Hooray for sunny days in the dead of winter!

We've seen this sign before, but not with inflatable penguins.

A closer look at the penguinos.

One more look at the sky.


Saturday, February 09, 2019

January 2, 2019


Want to take a guess as to what this is?

In the prev, we were looking down at the top of a stone wall, with just a light dusting of snow.  The orange rock above is the smallest rock on top of the wall in the next image.


Friday, February 08, 2019

January 1, 2019


Finally back in the correct year, after more than 5 weeks!  Yay.

My better half bought himself a new toy.

The thing that stirs up the dough in this bread machine stays in the bread until you remove it.  This is what the bottom of a loaf looks like, after baking.

Looks like bread, smells like bread, tastes like bread.  Victory is declared!

Here's a public service announcement.  Did you know that the ends of boxes of stuff like aluminum foil, and waxed paper, and plastic wrap, might have perforations for little tab thingies that you push into the box, to keep the rolls from falling out as you pull on the foil/paper/plastic?

I didn't, until someone told me in December 2018.

Some of them do.  Here's an example.  This is aluminum foil..... 

I pushed in that half-circle, which left the half-circle tab inside the box, and inside the roll holding the aluminum foil. 

Who knew.  (See those faint white words at the bottom, telling you about the tab?  I never saw those, until I knew to look for them....)

I pick up trash when I walk.  You can't see most of it, but there was a LOT of styrofoam in this trash.  It seemed that someone had left some largeish styrofoam item where it could be run over.  There were many, many, many bits of whatever it was.  Sigh.

The odd thing in this assortment is the yellow wrapper.  That is a pasta wrapper from Martelli, which makes pasta on top of a hill in Tuscany.  I have been there.  I have watched Martelli making pasta, from inside the place where it's made.  (I hesitate to call it a factory -- there are machines mixing the dough,and pressing it out through the dies, but most of the process is hand done.)

This is really good pasta.  Maybe THE best.  (I'm told that when other pasta manufacturers in Italy are asked "If you couldn't eat your own pasta, whose would you eat?," the answer is "Martelli"....)

Trash from really good products is much less likely to be on the ground than trash from, say, fast-food restaurants.  So I was surprised to find this.  Both because of the rarity, and because of the quality. 

There is almost always more trash on the ground after trash day.  Especially on windy days.  I'm going to guess that a windy trash day is why this was on the ground...............

This, too, was on the ground, just a couple of doors down the hill from our house. 

My eye was caught by the pieces of cable, which I thought (before I picked them up) were pieces of nylon rope.  Nope.  These are metal.  As I picked them up, I noticed the rest of this stuff.  What are the odds this has nothing to do with repairs to whatever was broken when our power went out?

Closeup of the plastic bag -- this looks like heavy-duty electrical stuff to me.


December 31, 2019


Pics taken on Dec 31, 2019.

On December 29, some time after 11:00 pm, we heard a bang and the power went off. I called DTE, unplugged the computers, got the flashlight, and went downstairs to unplug the big tv and turn off the circuit breaker for the fridge.

My coolest plastic dino was on one of the speakers in the living room, by the tv. When the plug for the power strip supplying the living-room electronics came out of the extension cord that connects it to the electricity, my wrist bumped the speaker, and the dino took a dive. 

I thought “no big deal; it’s a plastic dino.” Apparently they don’t make plastic dinos the way they used to. 


The good news is that the power was only out for about three hours, and this is the only damage we sustained.


Thursday, February 07, 2019

December 30, 2018


Sunrise, just after the solstice.  Dec. 30, 2018.

Shifting the (phone) camera just a bit to the left of the above.  This is looking basically straight east.

How long has it been since you've seen one of these? 

Shortly after sunset.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

we will rock you


Not entirely sure how I feel about linking to this source, but if you haven't seen this video of Nancy banging the gavel and clapping, to the tune of "We Will Rock You", you may be glad to see it.


teach-out from the University of Michigan on self-driving cars


After basically omitting online classes from my life last year, I've started looking for some classes that sound interesting.

Back in the day (like, the late 1960s), the University of Michigan had teach-ins, where students and faculty gathered outside the normal academic routine to discuss important ideas of the day.

In the last year or so, the University has decided to expand on that practice.  Teach-in (for students and faculty) has been expanded to teach-out (Massive Online Open Class -- MOOC, open to anyone). 

The teach-outs are like very brief classes, and are available for free to anyone who has internet access.

[Digression:  You may recall that I took a teach-out on gerrymandering last year.  I think that was the only MOOC I took last year.  It was interesting, if horrifying.  The knowledge I gained from the teach-out helped me feel very confident about talking to random strangers about Michigan's Proposal 2 last fall.  Prop 2 was to require a citizen committee to draw districts, rather than letting political parties do that behind closed doors.  Just ask me -- Why *is* letting computers draw the boundaries a bad idea?  I know why....  End of Digression.]

Yesterday I started a teach out on self-driving cars.

The syllabus says the time required is about four hours.  I listened to the first part of the info last night.  So far I'm finding it interesting.

I wonder if they're going to address the possibility of hacking...........  We have the opportunity to ask questions, which will be answered later in the month.  At least -- some of them will be answered.  I'm going to ask if they plan to address hacking.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

One Head, Two Brains: How The Brain's Hemispheres Shape The World We See


Here is a longer podcast, about what it may mean to have two hemispheres.  My brother suggested this one.  (Thanks!)

Apparently our right brain and left brain continuously perceive and analyze the world in completely different ways. 

We need both...........

One Head, Two Brains: How The Brain's Hemispheres Shape The World We See


Monday, February 04, 2019

Saturday, February 02, 2019

today's Good News Roundup


For anyone who would like to read good news about what's going on in US politics these days, I urge you to read the Kos Good News Roundup for February 2, 2019.

The Good News is about Truth *and* Goodness.  The intention is that it all be true, and that it should all be good.  No bothsiderism.  No pretense that the existence of a position means it's as valid as other positions.

I encourage you to have a look (and don't miss the comments, which include a snippet of Monty Python -- "Aside from the aqueduct, the sanitary system, safe streets, medical care (etc, etc), what have the Romans done for us?").


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

December 28, 2018


Puddle on a path along the Huron River on Dec 28, 2018.

Some years ago, they decided to build artificial rapids for kyackers beside a stretch of the river.  This is the place where water is diverted into the rapids.

Here's that water going into the rapids.  You can see a couple of places near the top of the image where rocks go most of the way across the water.  Those are the rapid parts.

I have video of the places in both of the previous two images, but Blogger is declining to speak to me about the possible uploading of videos at present.  Pity.


periodic table



Sunday, January 27, 2019

thanks from Nancy


I have recommended the Kos Good News several times. (you can find it by googling kos good news)

I continue to recommend the Good News for anyone who wants a dose of true good news, from a community that is focused on Truth, and Goodness.

This guy is Kos, who started the Daily Kos.  He suggested to the Kos community that we buy roses for Nancy to congratulate her on her Speakership.  While I am thrilled that Nancy is Speaker, and I think congratulating Nancy is a really good idea, I think buying thousands (and thousands) of roses is not the best way to spend money.  So I sent good wishes to this plan, rather than $.

But.  More than 25,000 roses were purchased.  6000 of them were delivered to Nancy's office (and thence to other offices of Democrats in the House, as Nancy needed some room to work).

And.  Nancy gave a nice interview to Kos, in which she thanked him and the Kos community, several times, for being a positive force for change.

I found out about on the Kos, and have written hundreds of postcards as a result.

So these thanks are partly for me.  A little bitty part for me.  Yay.  Pleased to know that Nancy knows that we worked hard to get her some better colleagues than she had last year.  !!!