Thursday, February 27, 2020

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

NYC Alligators rule :)

They're everywhere, particularly in the sewers of NYC, a myth that's kinda true as seen in an amazing and amusing NYTimes piece about these denizens lurking in the darkness. Read on if you dare. :)

It gets better. :)

The seminal New York City sewer-gator event came on Feb. 9, 1935, when some East Harlem teens spied an alligator down a storm drain and then lassoed and hauled it up with a clothesline. After the reptile — roughly eight feet long and 125 pounds — snapped at them, they killed it with their shovels.

“Alligator Found in Uptown Sewer,” read the headline in the The Times. The article speculated that it had escaped from a passing steamer in the East River and had swum into a sewer outflow pipe.

Even better. still :)

Yours truly owned one and got it via snail mail for, you guessed it, $1.50. Albert lived about 6 months and got to be almost 3 ft in length whereupon he died a peaceful death after eating hamburger that disagreed with his delicate digestive tract. :)

And so it goes. K. Vonnegut

Monday, February 24, 2020

Traversing the far side ... of the moon.

Another gem from NASA. This time showing what the endangered Apollo 13 astronauts saw when going around the far side of the moon prior to successfully returning home on a mission fraught with danger due to just how damaged their spacecraft truly was. Amazing ingenuity on the part of everyone involved in getting these guys home safe and sound back in the year of our lord 1970.

This video uses data gathered from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft to recreate some of the stunning views of the Moon that the Apollo 13 astronauts saw on their perilous journey around the farside in 1970. These visualizations, in 4K resolution, depict many different views of the lunar surface, starting with earthset and sunrise and concluding with the time Apollo 13 reestablished radio contact with Mission Control. Also depicted is the path of the free return trajectory around the Moon, and a continuous view of the Moon throughout that path. All views have been sped up for timing purposes — they are not shown in "real-time."

Data Visualization by: Ernie Wright (USRA)
Video Produced & Edited by: David Ladd (USRA)
Music provided by Universal Production Music: "Visions of Grandeur" - Frederick Wiedmann

This video is public domain and along with other supporting visualizations can be downloaded from the Scientific Visualization Studio at:

Stellar to the max. :)

Thursday, February 20, 2020

In Realtime ...

It takes 3 ...

Flying for real ...

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The oldest companies ...

Thru the Looking Glass - Fragile vs. Robust ... A tiny sample :)

Through the Looking Glass - Fragile vs Robust

A tiny sample :)

Nature: Small periodic fires, started by lightning, clears away dead brush to permit new growth. Robust
Man: By trying to prevent fires of any kind insures the build-up of dead brush to biblical proportions, thus generating the distinct possibility of creating fires unable to be controlled. Channel CA in 2019. Fragile  

To assume is to err. Fragile

Monoculture farming vs 3 sisters.
Monoculture farming depletes soil and encourages insect pests. If a virus hits a monoculture garden, catastrophe ensues. Monsanto and its Bt gene fortified corn, designed to ward off the corn borer beetle, has failed as the beetle adapted. What does Monsanto do now besides enforcing patents on an increasingly compromised product? Fragile

The 3 sisters garden 
By the time European settlers arrived in America in the early 1600s, the Iroquois had been growing the “three sisters” for over three centuries. The vegetable trio sustained the Native Americans both physically and spiritually. In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together. As older sisters often do, the corn offers the beans needed support. The beans, the giving sister, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three. As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the sisters close together. The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds. The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons and other pests, which don’t like to step on them. Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a healthy diet. Perfection! Robust

The net, a chaotic, voluntary system based on open standards and redundancy, works. Robust

But there’s a problem. Like a road network, the Internet has its own highways and intersections that consist of cables and routers. The navigation system that manages the flow of data around the network is called the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). When you visit a website, BGP determines the best path through which the site’s data are to be transmitted to your device thanks to the redundancy of the web. It’s the shortest route solution It works well but ... BGP was designed only to be a temporary fix, a “good enough” solution when the Internet was rapidly growing in the late 1980s. If BGP is compromised, the web stops. i.e., Denial Of Services (DOS) Denial of service is typically accomplished by flooding the targeted machine or resource with superfluous requests in an attempt to overload systems and prevent some or all legitimate requests from being fulfilled.[1] Man in the middle (MITM) In cryptography and computer security, a man-in-the-middle attack (MITM) is an attack where the attacker secretly relays and possibly alters the communications between two parties who believe that they are directly communicating with each other. Black holing In networking, black holes refer to places in the network where incoming or outgoing traffic is silently discarded (or “dropped”), without informing the source that the data did not reach its intended recipient. The black holes themselves are invisible, and can only be detected by monitoring the lost traffic.  Fragile

The supply chain driving the inherently complex production and distribution of smartphones must overcome numerous events able to disrupt the system in a myriad of ways including War, revolution, disease, weather, material shortages, manufacturing issues, truck breakdowns, traffic accidents, container ship mishaps, piracy, etc, etc, etc. Fragile.

Scientific experiments are inherently fragile in order to parse out the inner workings of nature. Discovering the constituent colors in light/Newton, The double-slit experiment/Young and Michelson & Morley accurately determining the speed of light. 

Keeping a teeter-totter perfectly balanced is hard as we all know. Fragile 

When a currency never varies, a slight change makes people crazy. Fragile 

Voltaire - Political systems equipped with periodic assassination gives rise to systems that renew themselves. Robust

Think the ossified 2 party system in the US as it’s always the same two parties without term limits. The system is paralyzed in its inability to improve. This ties in with lobbyists, the MIC, HC, Education and the continued subsidies given to big oil and pharma. Dems over-regulate, the Repugs, under-regulate Fragile

The Athenians selected assemblies by lot. Robust

Top-down political systems are also not robust. Think dictators. Heavy-handed control gives rise to possible rebellion as said systems cannot adapt to the vagaries of society or reality in the long term unless you have the occasional assassination.  The French Revolution happened because the royals couldn’t meet the needs of the bourgeois. Fragile

Extreme and needless complexity defines the medical industry. Ditto government bureaucracy. Fragile

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished and ... she always finds a way. Robust

Computer tech, requiring power to run, is incredibly complex and ... its data, stored as magnetic 0s & 1s on hard drives and SSDs (Solid State Memory), digitally decays within 30 years.  If one bit is wrong, the program won’t work. Fragile

Acid-free fine paper, requiring no power to run, lasts over a thousand years. Think illuminated manuscripts.

Religion, a system designed to be obeyed. Fragile Science, a system designed to be disproved. Robust

Forecasting of any kind is a guesstimate at best. Think Microsoft regarding the rise of the net. Fragile

Modern civilization, due to its extreme complexity, is fragile to the max.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Pequot Library Blues

Mark Naftalin & Friends aka Marco Naftalini e amici make the scene at the Pequot Midwinter Library Book Sale playing acoustic blues the right way. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Founding Fathers, Live! :)

American Pie has a new meaning for us all. Thanks Richard for turning me onto this gem. :)