Tricks and Quotes

  • Puzzles of life:
  • Why is it when we put French bread in the toaster we don’t get French toast ?
  • Why does Hawaii have an interstate ?
  • Why do the Flintstones celebrate Christmas ?
  • Why are nickels bigger than dimes ?
  • Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard ?
  • Why do people say tuna fish but don’t say beef mammal or chicken bird ?
  • Why do mirrors reflect sideways but not upside down ?

World citizens understand Celsius

When USA citizens travel, they need to become acquainted with Celsius. All the world except the USA use Celsius (C) as their temperature scale.

To me, it is comfortable outdoors between 23 – 33 Celsius. Above 35 means carry water. Below 19 Celsius probably means jackets required.

”The creative adult is the child that has survived.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

an Interactive Virtual Earth

The EarthByte Group in the School of Geosciences of The University of Sydney is one of the world’s leading research groups for global and regional plate tectonic reconstructions and for studying the interplay between the deep earth and surface processes. They have provided GPlates which enables the interactive manipulation of plate-tectonic reconstructions and the visualization of geodata through geological time, and it facilitates interoperability of plate tectonic data and models with geodynamic computing services for applied and fundamental research purposes.

The 3D visualisations are powered by Cesium, an Open Source library for viewing globes and maps.

What that all means is you can click below and find ways to imagine the world in many different ways, from Pangea forward! If you are interested in geology or plate tectonics, you should take a look at these amazing visualizations.

Many views of earth! Wow! Play with it. It worked on my iPad, but it works better on a computer with a mouse! And some browsers work better than others. Read the side info!

” You will move in the direction of the people you associate with. You really want to associate with the people that are better than yourself.” – Warren Buffet

Prepare for the next Earthquake

Yes, the 7.1 quake in the deserts of California in 2019 made me wonder how long I could last in our house without help from the outside. Perhaps only a couple of days. We gotta get better prepared. Like water, batteries, and some way to cook. The Guardian newspaper had an article with some good ideas from which I have snapped a couple here. I especially like the idea of a solar cellphone charger. The stash of small money is good too. Read on…

States that Discriminate

I love my state — California. We have an Assembly Bill AB 1887 that prohibits state sponsored travel to 8 states that have passed laws discriminating against various classes of people. I think more states should follow suit, to put pressure on these backward, mean state governments.

This list is here to help me remember to not vacation in these states and to minimize travel time if we must travel through them on the way to somewhere else.

• Alabama
• Kansas
• Kentucky
• Mississippi
• North Carolina
• South Dakota
• Tennessee
• Texas

Some day, hopefully, these states will change their laws and support all people.

Some thoughts from October 2016


Random quotes from magazines.

Nature 20 October 2016 World View

It’s worth noting that a conscious superintelligent AI might actually be less dangerous than a non-conscious one, because, at least in humans, one process that puts the brakes on immoral behaviors is ‘affective empathy’: the emotional contagion that makes a person feel what they perceive another to be feeling. Maybe conscious AIs would care about us more than unconscious ones would.

There is a chance that the first superintelligent AI will be the only one we will ever make. This is because once it appears – conscious or not – it can improve itself and start changing the world according to its own values.

Science 21 October 2016 Science Lessons for the Next President

As the world warms, its oceans are swelling by an average of 3.2 millimeters a year; they have risen by nearly the height of a playing card since 1993. Some 40% of this increase stems from the physical expansion of water as it heats. The rest is mostly caused by melting mountain glaciers and retreating ice sheets in Greenland.

Because of regional geology, ocean currents, and shifts in gravitational pull caused by changes on Earth’s surface, such as the melting of massive ice sheets, the ocean does not rise evenly everywhere. Much of the East Coast is sinking as Earth’s mantle continues to adjust in complex ways to the disappearance of weighty ice age glaciers. …. These forces mean East Coast sea levels are rising at double the global rate, and at triple the average in Virginia and many points north.

Just a quote

“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” – Pedro Domingos in his 2015 book The Master Algorithm

Gravitational waves detected just as Einstein predicted

The news was announced today, February 11, 2016. The actual detection happened about 5 months ago. It took this long to verify what happened.

Just over a billion years ago, a pair of black holes collided. They had been circling each other for aeons, gathering speed with each orbit. By the time they were a few hundred miles apart, they were whipping around at nearly the speed of light. Space and time became distorted. In the fraction of a second that it took for the black holes to finally merge, they radiated a hundred times more energy than all the stars in the universe combined. They formed a new black hole, sixty-two times as heavy as our sun and almost as wide across as the state of Maine. Then space and time became silent again.

The waves rippled outward in every direction, weakening as they went. On Earth, dinosaurs arose, evolved, and went extinct. The waves kept going. About fifty thousand years ago, they entered our own Milky Way galaxy, just as Homo sapiens were beginning to replace our Neanderthal cousins as the planet’s dominant species of ape. A hundred years ago, Albert Einstein, one of the more advanced members of the species, predicted the waves’ existence, inspiring decades of speculation and fruitless searching. Twenty-two years ago, construction began on an enormous detector, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Then, on September 14, 2015, at just before eleven in the morning, Central European Time, the waves reached Earth. This morning, in a press conference in Washington, D.C., the LIGO team announced that the signal constitutes the first direct observation
of gravitational waves.

Above text quoted from The New Yorker Magazine. CLICK HERE to read the complete story.

You can see that super simulation of the block hole collision in the following Youtube video. Or CLICK HERE if you are viewing this in the email announcement produced by WordPress.

If you want to read more about this amazing discovery, CLICK HERE and you will be taken to an excellent web site called SXS which stands for Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes.


I posted this here tonight because if this is true, this is one of the biggest “discoveries” of the last few years!  It needs to be remembered that some people really did notice.

My wife asked why it is important.  Well hey, if gravity really is made of waves, then maybe those people who saw flying saucers weren’t crazy after all.  Because of course they  would travel by skimming on the edges of the waves, just like surfers at the beach.  It would be much more efficient, and would not create as much pollution as rocket ships!  All we have to do now is figure how how to build gravity wave skimmers.

We should also be able to build “telescopes” that see gravity waves instead of light waves and then maybe we can see where all the dark matter is at in the universe.  We might even be able to “see” black holes!  Perhaps the edge of the universe would show up too.

The only creepy part about this is that those two black holes crashed into each other so long ago.  Like, what are they doing now?  The only disappointing thing is that the gravitational waves only travel at the speed of light.  This discovery won’t let us travel to Mars any faster.  No short cuts here….

ISS – International Space Station

We all can find links to the various video feeds coming from the Space Station just by calling up Google or Bing. But I wanted to be able to find these quickly, so I decided to drop them here.

Simple Tracker, locate it now:

Live streaming with outside camera

This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During “loss of signal” periods, viewers will see a blue screen. Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black.

Live streaming with outside camera in High Def (experimental)

NASA site: TV section

DSCOVR:EPIC — Deep Space Climate Observatory

earthOn Monday October 19, 2015, NASA told us about a satellite camera that will take pictures of the Earth from 1 million miles away every day and the images will be made available for all of us to see on their new website .

The camera is mounted on the satellite called Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), a partnership between NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force. Its primary mission,
according to NOAA, is to “maintain the nation’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of space weather alerts and forecasts from NOAA.”

The DSCOVR satellite performs important meteorological duties too, but NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), which will snap at least a dozen color images of the earth as it rotates, is stealing the show.  According to NOAA, each daily sequence of images will reveal “the whole globe over the course of a day.” Image sequences from previous days will also be archived on the site and can be searched by date and continent.

The satellite is always located between the Sun and the Earth, so the pictures are always “in the sun”. Of course, it might be cloudy here on Earth, but the pictures will still be good!

Be sure to check out these amazing images at The almost realtime pics even include a changing diagram that shows where the satellite is in relation to the Sun and the Earth.

This NASA/NOAA site is well worth your time.

Plastic Problems

We all know that plastics have become a major problem for the birds in the air and the fishes in the sea.  Plastics never deteriorate and tend to be colorful and attractive.  There are many sites around the planet where you can find lots more information about the negative aspects of plastics.  Following are my personal plastic pet peeves. 4 ps 🙂

A few years ago, I was walking on the Coast Guard Pier in Monterey and I saw a sea gull all tangled in some plastic wrapping, string-like stuff, possibly fishing line or soft-drink container material.  The bird could not get out of the stuff, it was behind a locked fence, and every time I tried to get close, it moved away.  There was nothing I could do, except feel sick.

I vowed to always cut any circles I find in plastics I use, to always pickup any loose fishing line I run into, and to never forget that image.

Time marches on.  One day two of my grand-daughters were visiting and we went out to lunch.  The waiter brought straws.  They had a fit, and said “No straws please”.  They reminded me that we only use straws once and then they get thrown away.  Most straws produced these days are plastic!  The lesson I learned from them is that things we use only one time should not be made of plastic!  And if they are, we should refuse to use them.  Here are a few of those items.

If the straws are made of paper, fine, use them. If made of plastic, speak up and say no.


I love Starbucks coffee. But those damned stoppers are really just a one-time use, live-forever, kind of thing. What is even worse, if you get a coffee at the drive up window and the stopper is already in and you tell them to remove it, they will toss it in the garbage can! Please say “No stopper” when you order.


Milk cartons have two types of opening: all carton, or with a plastic opener. Guess what — the plastic opener has a little pull-tab that has a ring on it. Small birds can get caught in that ring! Cut the thing.


The other day, I bought a jar of relish. I wasn’t paying attention and grabbed the cheapest item on the shelf. When I got home, I realized the jar was made of plastic. Damn. I made a mental note to always buy the glass jars! They might cost a bit more, but so what. The savings just isn’t worth the potential harm the plastic jar will cause.


Save Audio from Youtube

YouTube has been around a long time.  I am just now learning how to grab the audio part of a YouTube video so I can play it on my computer or iPad.  I do not profess to be smart about this subject, but for my own memories sake, and because I like to share, here is what I have found.

There are 2 websites that will grab the sound file for you and then download it to your computer as a MP3 file.  They are Peggo and TheYouMP3.  Both work fine, are free, and do not require registration.  I am not an expert on MP3 files, and so cannot tell if one site is producing higher quality than the other.  But I have opted to use Peggo.

You do not need to install any software.  Simply open both YouTube and the other site, say Peggo.  Find the video you like, copy it’s URL and then paste it into Peggo.  Then click the Download button, and in a few seconds you will have the MP3 file.  Simple stuff.



For memory sake:

In 2013, Amazon bought and then killed the free IOS app book reader called STANZA. If you had installed it before it disappeared, you can still use it. I am on IOS 8.4 and it still works fine. If you have it, be sure to use the catalog called TUEBL.

To add the Tuebl library to Stanza do this:

Open Stanza
Click on Get Books in lower toolbar.
Click the + symbol in the upper right corner or Edit if you already have a catalog.
Click “add a book source”.
Name ==> Tuebl
URL ==>
Make sure OPDS Catalog is highlighted
Click Save and then Click Done

To get a book from Tuebl, click on it, then work your way through the catalog.

Perhaps the Tuebl catalog can be added to other book readers.

I’m using currently iBooks, Kindle, Play Books and Stanza.

And if you just want to see the Tuebl book library without Stanza, go to

Ps. Tuebl stands for The Ultimate EBook Library 🙂