Monday, December 12, 2011

Extreme Makover

Extreme Makeover Home Edition makes a visit to Lincoln County

I have never seen this show, I will probably never watch this show. Somehow watching paint dry isn't my idea of a good time, but a lot of folks are excited to have a TV crew in town.
Last time that I remember was during Hog Happenin' and the Kansas City BBQ contest on the Food Network a few years ago.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Taste Treat

I was feeling a bit hungry so I grabbed a Granny Smith apple from the fridge sliced it and then noticed a bottle of Glenfiddich on the counter. So I figured what the hell? I dipped an apple slice into the shot glass before eating it and it was a winning combination!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

TPBs in Charlotte

Trailer Park Boys: Drunk, High and Unemployed Tour 2011

Had lots of fun in the McGlohon Theater in Charlotte last night, starting at Blue Restaurant where I had a double scotch, and a couple Redhook IPA's. Then walked to McGlohon Theater and talked with those sitting near me about the TPBs and their new projects.  The show was great, with all the mayhem and fun always surrounding the boys. 

Audience members invited on stage to play a game of...

Are you smarter than a 1st grader?

audience member invited onstage to play Cyrus
in a TPB scene re-written by Bubbles

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Alpocalypse

Weird Al Yankovic's 2011 Alpocalypse Tour

Last night I was enjoying the show from VIP seating.  Close enough to get a face full of water during the performance of Smells Like Nirvana when Al tossed a cup full into the audience. The show was fantastic. The band was perfect as usual. 
All the guys are excellent performers and totally dedicated to their art.
There were numerous costume changes. A furry peacock during Perform This Way, Kurt Cobain during Smells Like Nirvana, black suit and sunglasses for Party in the CIA, black suit, hat and beard during Amish Paradise, black and red zebra stripe lounge suit for Wanna Be Your Lover. White&Nerdy hoodie while riding a Segway on stage, while the band were dressed as perfect nerds, with horn rimmed glasses. and pocket protectors, Jim West was miming texting on an invisable device!
The costume changes were covered by use of his multimedia show which included his AL-TV interviews, there were clips from pop-culture TV shows showing his own influence on pop-culture. The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Naked Gun as well as many others throughout the years dropping his name. My favorite has always been The Simpsons when Homer laments “He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life.”  The multimedia show is now becoming an audience participation piece, akin to Rocky Horror, in particular with the audience speaking along with Yoni (Getty Watanabi) during the Wheel Of Fish clip from UHF, ["Weaver, you are so STUPID!"]
The finale was staged beautifully as Al and the band were accompanied by Darth Vader and 4 Imperial Storm Troopers, and was comprised of The Saga Begins followed by Yoda, including the syncopated nonsense now a trademark of the encore performance of that song. Except for that bit the entire audience was singing along to Saga and Yoda.
“He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life.”

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank you, jackass!

  Now some loser jackass is trying to use my hobby as a jihad weapon! 
Just after 9/11/2001 the paranoid Republican controlled government started over regulating model rocket engines of over 62 grams.  I can't even see the logic there. The 9/11 terrorists used commercial aircraft to destroy the World Trade Center, not model rockets or planes.
 Now this brainless loser has come up with a plan to load 5 pounds of C4 explosive into 5 high speed model planes and fly them into the Pentagon, Capital and some bridge(s) over the Potomac River. 
  If he really wanted to damage one of those targets, he should wear the 25 pounds of C4 he bought and blow himself up like all good delusional terrorists.
  It only takes one dummy to ruin something the rest of us enjoy doing safely.
I hope Johnny Jihad's actions don't mean regulations in the sale of r/c planes.
If our idiot lawmakers would regulate C4 more closely, then maybe the rest of us can still enjoy our hobby of flying model aircraft.

A large remote controlled aircraft similar to what the department says
suspect Rezwan Ferdaus plotted to fill with C-4 plastic explosives to
use in an attack of the Pentagon and U.S. Capital.
Here is a good video showing how model aircraft are constructed
and why it would be foolish to even try to use them for harm

* * * U P D A T E * * *

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man accused of plotting to fly remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives into the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol was asked to leave a Boston mosque because of his radical views.

An official with the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center says Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland was suspected of admiring al-Qaida and criticized the mosque's participation in interfaith efforts and politics.

Atif Harden, director of institutional advancement at the mosque, tells The Boston Globe that Ferdaus disapproved of the mosque's policies that allowed men and women to eat together in its cafe and was hostile toward women he thought dressed inappropriately or who talked to men.

Harden called Ferdaus "very disaffected, very disturbed. Just a bitter, angry guy."

The 26-year-old U.S. citizen was arrested Wednesday.
Information from: The Boston Globe,

Why the hell didn't they inform the authorities if they knew he "was suspected of admiring al-Qaida"?? 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lincoln County Apple Festival getting underway.
Vendors are here and setting up their stuff.
EMS, Police, Fire and National Guard ready to assist if needed.
Temperature is 54 and cloudy.  Looks like the start of a good one.

Lincoln County Apple Festival

LincAlerts & LincInfo

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I made the front page

Lincoln Times News

Mike Vance and Judy Hoell use a mobile web device
to learn more about Tuesday afternoon's earthquake
after the Lincoln County tax office was evacuated as
a precaution.   Seth Mabry/LTN Photo
Top Stories

 Quake shakes up region

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake recorded in Virginia Tuesday afternoon forced small tremors to shake populations across eastern United States, including Lincoln County where numerous county employees evacuated downtown office buildings.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.9 Earthquake hits Mineral Virginia

WOW, We really felt that one, my office on the 3rd floor of the old Nations Bank building in Lincolnton was swaying for about 30 seconds, so we decided to head outside for awhile.  Once outside some folks said they smelled gas, the fire department was called they went in and checked the building, and we were back in the office in 30 minutes.  That's the second quake I have felt in my life, both on the east coast. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hi-tech ‘tattoos’ can monitor patients’ health

Researchers at the University of Illinois are developing 'rub-on electronics'
that can be applied like a temporary tattoo and used to monitor vital signs
such as heart rate and brain activity.

The current methods for monitoring patients’ health once they leave hospital following treatment are often rather cumbersome. Current technology is mostly too bulky for the patient to carry around with them, but “rub-on electronics that stick to the skin like a temporary tattoo could revolutionise medical monitoring.”
“They took the silicon and gallium arsenide typically used to build transistors, diodes and resistors, and fashioned it into wires just a few nanometres thick, each bent into the shape of a tiny meandering river. The meanders can stretch and contract to give electronics constructed from them a degree of flexibility which matches that of skin.”
Finally they put the circuits constructed from the wires onto a thin piece of rubber and embedded it inside a protective sheet of plastic. The resulting patch has a thickness of just 0.04mm.
The patch is then put on the skin by simply rubbing it with a wet finger, just as you would with a temporary tattoo.
The patches are already able to monitor the heart, various other muscles and brain activity. According to Ali Javey of the University of California, the patches are “a beautiful example of the novel applications than can be enabled by building electronic systems on non-conventional substrates,” adding: “This is truly exciting work.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Experimental Aircraft

Experimental Aircraft to Go From Zero to 13,000 in Hypersonic Test Launch

DARPA - Falcon HTV-2 is an arrowhead-shaped aircraft that launches in a rocket, separates and then glides at hypersonic speeds of 13,000 mph through the Earth’s atmosphere.
Wednesday’s launch marks the aircraft's second flight. In April 2010, the Falcon flew for nine minutes, including 130 seconds of Mach 22 to Mach 17 flight, according to DARPA, the military's research arm.
That flight ended prematurely when the onboard computer cancelled the flight, and rolled the aircraft into the ocean.
The goal of the second flight is to "validate our assumptions and gain further insight into extremely high Mach regimes that we cannot fully replicate on the ground," Air Force Maj. Chris Schulz said in a DARPA news release.
Engineers adjusted the vehicle’s center of gravity, decreased the angle of attack flown and will use the onboard reaction control system to augment the vehicle flaps to maintain stability during flight operations, DARPA said.
The goal of the project is to eventually enable the U.S. military to strike anywhere in the world in less than an hour.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

WiFi War Flying

Mike Tassey (l) and Rich Perkins (r) describe how they retrofitted
a U.S. Army surplus target drone.

(Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET) LAS VEGAS--Forget Wi-Fi war driving. Now it's war flying.
A pair of security engineers showed up at the Black Hat security conference here to show off a prototype that can eavesdrop on Wi-Fi, phone, and Bluetooth signals: a retrofitted U.S. Army target drone, bristling with electronic gear and an array of antennas.
"Nobody's really looking at this from a threat perspective," said Mike Tassey, a security consultant who works for the U.S. government intelligence community. "There's some pretty evil stuff you can do from the sky."
The term war driving, meaning searching for Wi-Fi networks from a moving vehicle, was coined approximately a decade ago.. But aerial drones can gain access to places that might be off-limits to vehicles--and, in theory, can follow a moving signal surreptitiously from above.
Their prototype Wi-Fi drone, which was brought on stage yesterday but not flown, is made of reinforced foam and can carry 20 pounds. They added landing gear, a 2.5 horsepower motor powered by lithium polymer batteries, a telemetry link, an onboard computer running Ubuntu, and a payload of wireless sniffers and network-cracking tools.
"We can identify a target by his cell phone and follow him home to where enterprise security doesn't reach," Rich Perkins, a security engineer who describes his job as "supporting the U.S. government" and co-created the drone. "We can reverse engineer someone's life."
The drone--which they dubbed WASP, for Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform--can stay aloft for about an hour. While it's an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, in flight, the initial version requires manual operator control for takeoffs and landings. (It cost them between $6,000 and $7,000 to build in a garage, they said, not counting their own time.)
Their ulterior motive, however, is to do more than describe their wireless-sniffing prototype: it was to offer a warning about how terrorists and criminals can use UAVs in ways that traditional military and law enforcement may not be expecting.
"UAVs pose a couple of unique challenges to people who are responsible for protecting things," Tassey said.
Even the modest payload of UAVs could be devastating in biological or radiological attacks. Drug smugglers--or, perhaps, pharmaceutical entrepreneurs--could carry around $400,000 in heroin through one flight across a national border. And the small size of UAVs, and virtually nonexistent presence on radar, make them a challenge to detect and shoot down.
"There's no requirement for good intentions," Perkins said.

I had this same idea about 5 years ago when I started flying helicopters.  I wish I didn't have to work all the time so I could try something like this.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Flying Car is almost here!

Australian creator, Chris Malloy, and his hover bike.

It is literally the seat and the 1,170cc 4-stroke boxer engine of a
BMW motorcycle welded to two massive 80kW rotor blades.
Put a clear Plexiglass dome on it, and I have my Jetson-like flying car!
[read the whole article here]

Friday, July 8, 2011

1st Step to Birth Right lotteries?

Perhaps my favorite book(s) of all.

IVF Lottery Raises Eyebrows in U.K.

By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today

Published: July 07, 2011
Starting next month, couples in the U.K. will be able to slightly raise their odds of having a baby -- by buying into an in-vitro fertilization lottery.

The country's gambling commission recently approved the lotto, run by a U.K. charity called To Hatch. A ticket price of $32 (£20) will hold the promise of about $40,000 (£25,000) in fertility treatments.

[read the entire article here]

Just a bit different from Larry Niven's Birth Right Lotteries, as mentioned in the Ringworld Trilogies.  According to the story in Ringworld, Puppeteers intervened (indirectly) with the birth control laws of Earth five generations previously. The right to reproduce was strictly limited: with some exceptions, everybody was entitled to reproduce exactly once. This did not result in a replacement rate of fertility, so the system also included a Birthright Lottery whereby any person could enter and win the chance to reproduce more often. The Puppeteers set this up specifically as a program of breeding human beings for luck. They believed luck to be a genetic (thus inheritable) psionic ability, and they regarded humans as unusually lucky to begin with. "Your species has been incredibly lucky. Your history reads like a series of hair-breadth escapes", Nessus (a Puppeteer) says to Louis (a Human).

This series is a great read, I suggest you put it on your 'must read' list.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Love My Job

Today I had to modify Yaesu FT60R ham radios for Emergency Management. Now our first responders can transmit on Police, Fire, Marine & amateur bands. This makes inter-agency operations possible in an emergency situation.
I only had to remove this one smt resistor.
I used Kapton tape to protect the circuit board in case my hand slipped, that is the yellow bits in the photo.  NASA has been using Kapton tape since the Apollo missions because of its excellent thermal properties.

To get an idea of the size of the resistor, I photographed it against a metric ruler. The resistor is about 1.0 mm in length and 0.5 mm wide. It is so small I had to use a 10x magnifying lamp while wearing 4x magnifying glasses. This also shows the beauty of digital electronics. Converting an analog radio would be more time consuming, would have required replacing some parts, re-tuning some others & would have required expensive test equipment.

Did I mention, I love my job?   8^)

Friday, June 24, 2011

T-Hawk down!

Honeywell T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle
TOKYO -A small 8.2 kilogram drone aircraft gathering data from heavily damaged areas of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant lost control Friday and landed on the roof of the No. 2 reactor building, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
The vehicle, known as a T-Hawk, is about 50 centimeters in diameter and looks like a small jet pack. It is used primarily by the military for reconnaissance work in dangerous areas. It has been used at Fukushima Daiichi since mid-April to assist in damage assessment.
The company said there didn't appear to be any damage from the impact of the vehicle, with no fire or smoke observed following the accident. It wasn't known if the vehicle was damaged in any way.

So what is a T-Hawk? 
It looks like my kind of toy!! With all the new 3-axis accelerometers and microchips available this should be easy for a hobbyist to build. 

For more info about T-Hawks and their use look at some of these links:

T-Hawk data sheet

T-Hawk Sales Brochure

What the aircraft industry is saying:

Avionics - Aug 2010

Aviation Week & Space Technology - June 14/21 2010

Unmanned Vehicles - Oct/Nov 2009

These links and more info (& video too) can be found at Honeywell T-Hawk

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gamma ray flash still ongoing

This artist's image provided by the
University of Warwick  shows a
star being distorted by its close
passage  to a supermassive
black hole at the  center of a galaxy.
  A monster black hole devoured a Sun-like star, producing a long-lasting gamma ray flash.  The star was likely destroyed because it wandered too close to its galaxy’s central black hole, located in the constellation Draco 4 billion light years away.  Earth just happened to get in the way of this stream of gamma rays produced 4 billon years ago.  That 'flash' lasted for months and is still going on now. Gamma ray bursts usually flare up and end in a matter of seconds or milliseconds.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Alpocalypse is coming

The Alpocalypse is Coming!

Weird Al Yankovics new album is about to drop. 
Tomorrow the latest album from the Master in 5 years!

[here is a sneak peek of the most talked about video of the year]

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Idiot finds life on Mars bad he can't find one on Earth.

Armchair Astronomer David Martines has claimed to have proven
there is a space station on Mars via the use of “Google Mars

71 49' 19.73" N
29 33' 06.53" W

There are all sorts of anomalies that take place in photography.  My father was a photographer and cartographer and he taught me a lot and very well.  I have even exploited some of those things in my own photographic work. Even digital photography is susceptible. The age of digital cameras has killed film and darkrooms and all the fun that went with them.  It is a shame that more people haven't had their hands on real film and photo paper, or in developer, stop bath and fixer solutions. But that is their loss.

"It looks like a linear streak artifact produced by a cosmic ray," said Alfred McEwen, a planetary geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona and the director of the Planetary Imaging Research Laboratory. McEwen is the principal investigator of the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), a powerful telescope currently orbiting Mars. "With space images that are taken outside our magnetosphere, such as those taken by orbiting telescopes, it's very common to see these cosmic ray hits. You see them on optical images and a lot of the infrared images too."

Here is the 'discovery' video on You-Tube -> Bio Station Alpha

Monday, June 6, 2011

antimatter captured for 16 minutes

Artist's conception of an anithydrogen
atom being released from the trap after
1000 seconds.
Scientists have created and captured antimatter for study for 16 minutes.
They created the antihydrogen inside a stainless steel cylinder roughly 5 cm in diameter and 25 cm in length. They created a vacuum inside the bottle and chilled it to minus 269 C. The extreme cold slowed the newly formed antihydrogen, making it hard for it to speed away. And an extremely powerful magnet helped keep the anti-atoms in place.
The Universe is Asymmetrical
After the Big Bang some 13.7 billion years ago there were almost equal amounts of matter and antimatter.  After the matter - antimatter collisions and subsequent annihilation, there was probably slightly more matter left over, that's were the universe comes from.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Hog Happenin'

The Hog Happenin’ is a regional bike fest and Kansas City Barbeque Society Sanctioned North Carolina State Championship Barbeque Cook-off that brings motorcycle owners and Barbeque teams together in downtown Lincolnton. 
This is a unique event that draws visitors from across the Charlotte Region and the Southeast. While there are many hog events throughout North Carolina, Lincolnton was the first to combine the animal with the mechanical.
The 2001 event was the winner of the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s award for Best Downtown Special Event in North Carolina.

visit  Hog Happenin'  website

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Apple vs. Microsoft

 Steve Jobs -  
  • the man that thinks Motorola processors* and one button mice are neat.
  • the man who frivolously sues competitors in order to delay their products release dates.
  • the man who avoided changing the light bulb by redefining darkness as the standard.
*[Jobs eventually had to relent on this one after 2 decades.]

Bill Gates -

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Day Made of Glass

Corning Glass video of a possible future, lots of cool thoughts about how substrated glass technology will permeate our lives, some really nice ideas.
  Mind you I am still waiting for my flying car!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lenovo "Do"

Lenovo Do TV Commercial

Those of you that know me, know I prefer IBM computers, a few years ago, IBM sold off their PC division to Lenovo (China). The PCs still have the same great quality and I would buy nothing else. I was watching TV last night when I saw my first Lenovo commercial, so I include it here...

The interesting thing is they show a JetLev, which I had shared a link to with my office mates some weeks ago.

Small World

Monday, May 23, 2011

Korean dramas on WTVI

The Grand Chef is a culinary Korean drama airing on local DTV
station WTVI channel 42.2!
I can't believe I have Korean dramas on my local stations.
Thank you so very much WTVI!!
It airs every Monday morning at 4:00 am, and the first episode was this morning.
It has english subs so tune it in, you will get hooked just like I am.

Just after that show was the following comedy/drama...

I Love You is a Korean comedy/drama
on local DTV channel WTVI  42.2!
The first episode aired this morning and airs every monday morning at 5:00 am.
I like it!  However I have to get ready for work during that time,
so it's time to hook up the old DTV antenna to the DVR
so I can watch it when I get home.
BTW: it also has english subs

Friday, May 20, 2011

소녀 시대

소녀 시대
(Girls' Generation)

Korean POP band Girls' Generation (Korean: 소녀시대) is a nine-member South Korean girl group formed by SM Entertainment in 2007. The nine members are: Taeyeon, Jessica, Sunny, Tiffany, Yuri, Hyoyeon, Sooyoung, Yoona & Seohyun. The music is bouncy, the tune is dance-able.
I have always liked girl groups, but in America they are few and far between.
Korea has battle-of-the-bands TV shows which generate a lot of these groups, such as:
Girls' Generation [or SNSD],
After School [later to be split up and create Orange Caramel candy culture],
f(x) aka Function X, and
Wonder Girls.
Explore Korean POP music with the links provided or Google it.

watch the > SNSD Gee music video  < here

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Declare 11/11/11 Nigel Tufnel DAY!

Only 177 days left people!! Let's not wait until the 11th hour! Tell all your friends, family, co-workers about this once only event! Call your Senator, email your Congressman, tweet the President!
Get 11/11/11 declared as Nigel Tufnel DAY! And let's all rock to the tunes of Spinal Tap!

These go to eleven!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The internet is angry

This is why I Love Corner Gas... The best TV show ever!  A little gem from Canada written by the always witty Brent Butt, with a cast of terrific talent, I couldn't imagine a better group of performers, each and every one.