Sunday, March 27, 2011

Have I Missed Anything?

I am on yet another flight to somewhere. Next to me sits a young man glued to his Mac Book Pro watching one of the many popular television series. I think it's Glee.

Seeing this has me thinking. I've never been a big fan of television.

When I say this, I really mean it. I have NEVER watched Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Three and a half men, Lost, Dexter, Weeds, The Sopranos, Oprah, Who wants to be a millionaire, Jersey Shore... You get the idea.

And Just so you really understand, I've maybe seen 10 episodes total of Friends and Siendfeld combined.

If I do watch television it's some type of documentary or 'How To' program. Maybe 3 hours a week?

As I sit here doing some quick math against the national average of watched television, I'm a freak! The average daily intake of television here in the United States is Almost 4 Hours a day! A persons exposure to ads (if they don't posses a DVR) is one and a half hours a day!

-According to the A.C. Nielsen Co. the average American watches 3 hours and 46 minutes of TV each day (that's more than 52 days of nonstop TV-watching per year).

Amazing waste of time.

Location:33,000 feet over Denver

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

After panic buying, Chinese seek refunds on salt

Misguided shoppers cleared stores of the seasoning in the midst of a panic about radiation from Japan, some paying 10 times the normal prices. But few are allowed to return it for refunds.

You Can Now Loan Certain Kindle Books!

Eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a period of 14 days. The borrower does not need to own a Kindle -- Kindle books can also be read using our free Kindle reading applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices. Not all books are lendable -- it is up to the publisher or rights holder to determine which titles are eligible for lending. The lender will not be able to read the book during the loan period.

Click on this article title to learn more.

Deb & Rick: Married 19 Years Today!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

San Francisco Cable Car Market Street 1905

This extraordinary clip, at the cusp of two centuries and of two totally different ways of life, was apparently the first 33mm made. A camera was mounted on the front of a street car in San Francisco just four days before the devastating earthquake there on 18th April 1906. It is fascinating to watch and absorb the details: the chaotic traffic, the car not yet having overtaken completely the horse as a form of transport; the clothes – not a man without a hat, and women bustling in their impractical long dresses; and the strange mingling of the familiar with the utterly alien.

5 Days Later.

How to Ditch Slow Wireless Speeds and Go Completely Wired in Your Home (and Why You Should)

Wi-Fi provides a convenient way to connect the computers in your home without dealing with the hassle of wires, but Wi-Fi is also slow and unreliable compared to a wired connection. Wireless may be the way of the future, but here are some of the best ways to go wired where it counts.

Eight Best Frequent Flyer Programs

You can earn free travel and other benefits when you accumulate all your miles from one frequently flyer program. Like much else in the travel industry, though, these loyalty programs are often changing, and finding the most rewarding program can be difficult.

Out Of Options

For those taking a longer view, however, there is a larger question looming over the disaster: Why was Japan, a nation at high risk for earthquakes and natural disasters, using a type of reactor that needed such active cooling to stay safe? And the answer to that doesn’t lie with Japan, or the way the plant was built. The problem lies deeper, and concerns the entire nuclear industry.

The Assault Continues

Written by a Delta pilot on approach to Tokyo during earthquake

"I'm currently still in one piece, writing from my room in the Narita crew hotel. It's 8am. This is my inaugural trans-pacific trip as a brand new, recently checked out, international 767 Captain and it has been interesting, to say the least, so far. I've crossed the Atlantic three times so far so the ocean crossing procedures were familiar.
By the way, stunning scenery flying over the Aleutian Islands. Everything was going fine until 100 miles out from Tokyo and in the descent for arrival. The first indication of any trouble was that Japan air traffic control started putting everyone into holding patterns. At first we thought it was usual congestion on arrival. Then we got a company data link message advising about the earthquake, followed by another stating Narita airport was temporarily closed for inspection and expected to open shortly (the company is always so positive).
From our perspective things were obviously looking a little different. The Japanese controller's anxiety level seemed quite high and he said expect "indefinite" holding time. No one would commit to a time frame on that so I got my copilot and relief pilot busy looking at divert stations and our fuel situation, which, after an ocean crossing is typically low.
It wasn't long, maybe ten minutes, before the first pilots started requesting diversions to other airports. Air Canada, American, United, etc. all reporting minimal fuel situations. I still had enough fuel for 1.5 to 2.0 hours of holding. Needless to say, the diverts started complicating the situation.
Japan air traffic control then announced Narita was closed indefinitely due to damage. Planes immediately started requesting arrivals into Haneada, near Tokyo, a half dozen JAL and western planes got clearance in that direction but then ATC announced Haenada had just closed. Uh oh! Now instead of just holding, we all had to start looking at more distant alternatives like Osaka, or Nagoya.
One bad thing about a large airliner is that you can't just be-pop into any little airport. We generally need lots of runway. With more planes piling in from both east and west, all needing a place to land and several now fuel critical ATC was getting over-whelmed. In the scramble, and without waiting for my fuel to get critical, I got my flight a clearance to head for Nagoya, fuel situation still okay. So far so good. A few minutes into heading that way, I was"ordered" by ATC to reverse course. Nagoya was saturated with traffic and unable to handle more planes (read- airport full). Ditto for Osaka.
With that statement, my situation went instantly from fuel okay, to fuel minimal considering we might have to divert a much farther distance. Multiply my situation by a dozen other aircraft all in the same boat, all making demands requests and threats to ATC for clearances somewhere. Air Canada and then someone else went to "emergency" fuel situation. Planes started to heading for air force bases. The nearest to Tokyo was Yokoda AFB. I threw my hat in the ring for that initially. The answer - Yokoda closed! no more space.
By now it was a three ring circus in the cockpit, my copilot on the radios, me flying and making decisions and the relief copilot buried in the air charts trying to figure out where to go that was within range while data link messages were flying back and forth between us and company dispatch in Atlanta. I picked Misawa AFB at the north end of Honshu island. We could get there with minimal fuel remaining. ATC was happy to get rid of us so we cleared out of the maelstrom of the Tokyo region. We heard ATC try to send planes toward Sendai, a small regional airport on the coast which was later the one I think that got flooded by a tsunami.
Atlanta dispatch then sent us a message asking if we could continue to Chitose airport on the Island of Hokkaido, north of Honshu. Other Delta planes were heading that way. More scrambling in the cockpit - check weather, check charts, check fuel, okay. We could still make it and not be going into a fuel critical situation ... if we had no other fuel delays. As we approached Misawa we got clearance to continue to Chitose. Critical decision thought process. Let's see - trying to help company - plane overflies perfectly good divert airport for one farther away...wonder how that will look in the safety report, if anything goes wrong.
Suddenly ATC comes up and gives us a vector to a fix well short of Chitose and tells us to standby for holding instructions. Nightmare realized. Situation rapidly deteriorating. After initially holding near Tokyo, starting a divert to Nagoya, reversing course back to Tokyo then to re-diverting north toward Misawa, all that happy fuel reserve that I had was vaporizing fast. My subsequent conversation, paraphrased of course...., went something like this:
"Sapparo Control - Delta XX requesting immediate clearance direct to Chitose, minimum fuel, unable hold."
"Negative Ghost-Rider, the Pattern is full" <<< top gun quote <<<
"Sapparo Control - make that - Delta XX declaring emergency, low fuel, proceeding direct Chitose"
"Roger Delta XX, understood, you are cleared direct to Chitose, contact Chitose approach....etc...."
Enough was enough, I had decided to preempt actually running critically low on fuel while in another indefinite holding pattern, especially after bypassing Misawa, and played my last ace...declaring an emergency. The problem with that is now I have a bit of company paperwork to do but what the heck.
As it was - landed Chitose, safe, with at least 30 minutes of fuel remaining before reaching a "true" fuel emergency situation. That's always a good feeling, being safe. They taxied us off to some remote parking area where we shut down and watched a half dozen or more other airplanes come streaming in. In the end, Delta had two 747s, my 767 and another 767 and a 777 all on the ramp at Chitose. We saw to American airlines planes, a United and two Air Canada as well. Not to mention several extra Al Nippon and Japan Air Lines planes.
Post-script - 9 hours later, Japan air lines finally got around to getting a boarding ladder to the plane where we were able to get off and clear customs. - that however, is another interesting story.
By the way - while writing this - I have felt four additional tremors that shook the hotel slightly - all in 45 minutes.
Cheers, J.D."

Radiation Dosage Chart

The guys over at XKCD created this wonderful chart detailing the amount of radiation you get from just living your daily life and how it compares with the radiation dosages in scary disasters. It's comprehensive, informative and serves as a great reference point given Japan's current situation.

The Definitive Japan Crisis Timeline – Live Updates

It's been seven days in hell. Here is the timeline to the crisis caused by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan—constantly updated. It includes all the news and features ordered chronologically, as well as the latest videos and images.

Tragedy strikes at a nuclear 'playground'

The most famous nuclear event in American history happened on the East Coast in March 1979, when a reactor at Three Mile Island in central Pennsylvania partially melted down and forced the evacuation of 140,000 people. The disaster so rattled America that no nuclear plants were commissioned for decades afterward.

But the worst meltdown by far took place 18 years earlier, outside Idaho Falls, Idaho. In comparison to the gush of radiation from Idaho Falls, Three Mile Island’s radiation was a mere spritz.

Idaho Falls is the only place where anyone has died in a nuclear-reactor incident in the United States.

More Amazing Tsunami Footage

North Korea’s Digital Underground


The Wind Has Been Howling All Day

The Wind Advisory is now in effect for the upper Treasure valley until 6 PM MDT this evening.

* Winds... southeast winds 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph.
* Timing... through this afternoon.
* Impacts... travel problems for high profile vehicles. Minor property damage possible. 

Precautionary/preparedness actions... 

A Wind Advisory means that sustained winds of at least 30 mph... or gusts of at least 45 mph are expected. Winds this strong can make driving difficult... especially for high profile vehicles. Use extra caution.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pyongyang Style

Filming in North Korea is a bit of an iffy task, and you never know when a minder may decide to confiscate your memory cards or camera. That was a risk I didn't want to take, so I decided not to reveal to them the fact that my 5D was capable of shooting video. I taped up the back screen with black electrical tape.

Because I shot with Nikon lenses by way of a simple adapter, I also lost any form of autofocus. Moreover, to be truly covert, it was a good idea to manually focus without looking through the viewfinder anyway.

For a few weeks before my trip, I'd practice every day, shooting with the camera around my neck, manually focussing and composing blindfolded.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Left To Rot

Brunei is an oil-rich nation of only 388,000 people on the north-western coast of the island of Borneo, slightly bigger that Long Island, but less than half the size of L.A. County. A tropical rain forest, Brunei exists mainly because of massive oil and gas reserves. An Islamic Sultanate dating back to the 14th century, Brunei is ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, an absolute monarch who has ruled since 1967. Forbes has ranked the Sultan as the world's wealthiest monarch for decades with an estimated fortune in the range of $22 billion.
While much had been written of the Sultan of Brunei's car collection and there are no lack of spy photos on the internet, (most of which are incorrect), the cache of 2,500 cars are not the Sultan's, but belonged to Prince Jefri, the Sultan's third brother, other Princes-brothers and various nephews. No one really knows which cars belonged to whom as there are no real records.

Spring Is Here!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Guy's Still At It

Are You Prepared For A Disaster?

In a major disaster, it might be several days before vital services are restored.

Japan Earthquake: before and after

Aerial photos taken over Japan have revealed the scale of devastation across dozens of suburbs and tens of thousands of homes and businesses.
Hover over each satellite photo to view the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

Speedier, simpler and safer: Chrome’s basics get even better

Get Chrome

The Unexpected Side Of An Earthquake

I Was In Southern California This Week...

Tsunami sweeps through Kesennuma City in Japan

Japan earthquake: Footage of moment tsunami hit

The iPad 2: Complete Coverage

Here's a summary of our ongoing iPad 2 coverage, from speedtests and graphics battles versus the original iPad to essential apps (and app deals), a possible answer to that most pressing of questions—white or black iPad?—and a quick buying guide.

Con Air

How To Travel For Free.

Short on sleep, the brain optimistically favors long odds

Sleep deprivation can lead to plenty of unwise decisions, which researchers have long tied to flagging attention and short-term memory. But a new study shows how just one night of missed sleep can make people more likely to chase big gains while risking even larger losses—independent of their tapering attention spans. 

Sleeping With Your Pets Can Be Unhealthy, Study Says

Do you let your pet sleep with you? It could be hazardous to your health.

Sound crazy? A new study says a surprising number of people allow their pets to curl up with them, and it could actually be risky. But are the new findings overblown? What dangers could you face from close contact with your pets?

Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation

Along with reliable sources such as the IAEA and WNN updates, there is an incredible amount of misinformation and hyperbole flying around the internet and media right now about the Fukushima nuclear reactor situation. In the BNC post Discussion Thread – Japanese nuclear reactors and the 11 March 2011 earthquake (and in the many comments that attend the top post), a lot of technical detail  is provided, as well as regular updates. But what about a layman’s summary? How do most people get a grasp on what is happening, why, and what the consequences will be?

Dubai on Empty

Its skyline erupting from the desert in just two decades, Dubai is a cautionary tale about what money can’t buy: a culture of its own. After gorging on the Viagra of easy credit, the emirate has the world’s tallest building, the world’s most expensive racetrack, and a financial crisis to match. From the Western mercenaries and Asian drones who maintain the gaudy show to 100-odd families who are impervious to any economic reality, A. A. Gill discovers that no one truly belongs in Dubai, where the legacy of oil has made everything worthless.

How to Follow the Japanese Earthquake on the Web

A guide to news and information resources from across the Internet that will help you stay on top of this developing story.

Apparently I'm Not Going To Live Very Long

Among the most counterintuitive of the findings is that cheerfulness can kill. The authors write: "Cheerful and optimistic children were less likely to live to an old age than their more staid and sober counterparts!"

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Ultimate In-N-Out Secret Menu (and Super Secret Menu!) Survival Guide

How To Care for Your Books: 5 Tips

Forecast the Weather Like Daniel Boone

Technology has brought the world a long way, enabling us to consume more information in a few short minutes on Google Mobile than folks decades ago could locate in a week by plowing through books at the local library. And yet, with all this readily available information and the focus on being able to find information, the need to actually know and retain information has been decidedly diminished. There is still something to be said, however, for retaining the knowledge and skills that the men of yesteryear needed to survive, such as navigating by compass orstarting up a respectable campfire. With that in mind, and with hunting season just around the corner, let’s look to the skies and sharpen up our skills in forecasting the weather.

How to Make a Bed You Can Bounce a Quarter Off Of

It’s a scene familiar to any fan of war movies: old sarge is pacing the new recruits’ barracks, heels clicking on the floor, his eyes bulging as he inspects the soldiers’ bunks.  Tension fills the air; the men break out in a sweat. He checks to make sure each man’s uniform is just right, his boots are shined, and his clothes have been neatly folded in his locker. But the moment of truth comes when the sergeant pulls a quarter from his pocket and bounces it off the bed to see just how tightly it’s made. If it doesn’t bounce, the soldier usually has to make it again and do 50 push-ups as penance.

iOS 4.3 Is Here—Check Out What’s New

Zite for iPad