Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 312

Earlier this week we sent to the theater to see Star Trek Beyond. My thoughts include the following:

  • Entertaining
  • Interesting story
  • As science fiction, certain events hard to believe
  • Thumbs up to the various tributes to the original stars
  • Loved the animated images at the end

HGTV fans know the Property Brothers are very popular – but I had no idea that Fixer Upper has twice as many viewers as Drew and Jonathan.

The beginning of the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is a few weeks away. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee has a way of demonstrating it is a bunch of egotistical buffoons.

Baseball’s trading deadline is approaching, so I have a trade suggestion for my Cincinnati Reds: trade management and ownership for a dozen fungo bats, 100 new baseballs, 50 used rosin bags, and a box of rocks to be determined later.

Daal @ Happiness Between Tails invited me to do a guest post about ballroom dancing. I invite readers here to visit the post. Daal, thanks for asking. I see the post has been unexpectedly delayed, but I will edit this sentence when I see it.

I have a family obligation this coming week, so I won’t be posting – and I question if I will have any presence elsewhere.

No Explore post this weekend.

I’ve never been a fan of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), so count me in as one in the good-riddance camp. Meanwhile, this incident works against the party nominee.

Hillary Clinton’s selection of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) was a predictable, safe pick. On the other hand, I’m not sure how much it appeases the progressive wing of the Democratic party. He has impressive credentials, but doesn’t strike me as the attack-dog type and he is a bit dull.

This comment makes sense to me: When someone makes a choice based on the lesser of two evils, they still select evil.

I finally got around to watch the CNN Town Hall event with the Libertarian presidential slate: Gary Johnson and Bill Weld … It bored me and I think they missed a golden opportunity to get people’s attention.

I like good political speeches – actually in either party. However, the political climate of recent years has worn thin on my enthusiasm for a good speech … so I didn’t watch the Democratic convention, but I did see several minutes of President Obama’s speech because my wife was watching.

I see conventions as a 4-day infomercial to inspire the partisans – and fortunately is great for the fact checkers because politicians and their parties frequently are inaccurate. Because the partisans are the target, the audience doesn’t care.

With a variety of email scandals currently on the table, it’s interesting that Republicans continue to talk about Russians hacking Clinton’s private servers, whereas the FBI report stated “no evidence” of a successful intrusion since 2009 but that intrusion was “possible”.

Research shows that 92.683% of problems today are directly linked to Presidents Roosevelt (FDR), Clinton, and Obama.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week

  • Russia’s state sponsored doping program for athletes
  • Sen. Ted Cruz not endorsing Donald Trump
  • Donald Trump reaching out to Russian hackers
  • The way people dress at Wal-Mart
  • The dismal season of the Cincinnati Reds

Bonus Coverage of the Democratic Convention by The Onion

  • Supporters Aggravated Bernie Sanders Didn’t Use DNC Speech To Get Voters To Act Against Their Own Self-Interest
  • Convention Crowd Really Hoping Bill Clinton Breaks Tension With Joke About How Terrible He Looks
  • Lone Superdelegate Voting For Martin O’Malley Feels Like Total F*#&ing Idiot
  • Depressed, Butter-Covered Tom Vilsack Enters Sixth Day Of Corn Bender After Losing VP Spot
  • Area Man Responds, “That makes sense” after being told the crowd isn’t chanting “Four more ears.”
  • Cannon Overshoots Tim Kaine Across Wells Fargo Center
  • Clinton Campaign Thanks Volunteers For Killing Millions Of Gnats In Hillary’s Bus
  • Biden Chokes Up While Describing Hardworking Americans Who Can Only Afford Shitty Ditch Weed

To let you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion offers these tips for throwing the perfect bachelorette party.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man Checks To Make Sure No One Home Before Recording Song Into Laptop
Determinist Insurance Company Insists All Conditions Are Preexisting
Aquatic Turtle Discovers Limits Of Tank For 43,000th Time
Ellis Island Visitor Honored To Finally See the Location Where His Grandfather Was Deloused
Man Entirely Different Misogynist Online Than In Real Life

Interesting Reads
Mandatory education for adults
The evolution of turtle shells
History of clear sodas
The effect of full-time work on the brain
Life and quantum physics
(Photos) Soviet relics

To send you into the weekend, here’s a song from 1983. I didn’t high on the charts, but I like it. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 311

Summer is at full throttle in my area as we are in the throws of heat and humidity. Although I realize those to the south have more humidity, I hate this type of weather.

We saw the newest Ghostbusters movie this week.

  • Entertaining
  • Good animations
  • Slow beginning
  • Kate McKinnon is outstanding
  • Love the cameos
  • I enjoyed the 1984 original more

This week I bottled my first-ever batch of basilcello. Initial taste test was good as it is basilly, sweet, and strong.

Even though numerous incidents have heightened racial tensions in the US, today’s situation isn’t remotely close to 1968.

I didn’t know that upon returning from their historic trip to the moon, the Apollo 11 crew completed a Declaration Form at US Customs. Here is a copy of theirs.

This year has been the strangest golf season I’ve had in some time – maybe ever.

No Explore post this weekend.

Sorry – I couldn’t find any reason to watch the Republican convention. Do you think I’ll watch the Democrats next week?

Although I didn’t watch the convention, I noticed these headlines from The Onion’s coverage.

  • Trembling, Pallid RNC Attendees Undergo Second Day Of Firearm Withdrawal
  • RNC Speech: ‘If We Don’t Elect Trump, Our Enemies Will’
  • Chris Christie Emits Loud Sob As Paul Ryan Asks Crowd Whether They Worse Off Now Than They Were 4 Years Ago
  • RNC Attendee Excited To Find Out What He’ll Get To Boo Tonight
  • Trump Accidentally Fires Off ‘Boring Mike Pence’ Tweet During VP Speech Before He Can Stop Himself

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week

  • Lack of riots at the Republican Convention
  • Melania Trump’s plagiarism
  • Texas Voter ID laws violating the Voting Rights Act
  • Phil Mickelson losing the British Open
  • Roger Ailes

Much ado is being made about Melania Trump’s speech. Although I actually heard someone blame Hillary Clinton for the snaffu – no way – as I stated earlier, it’s President Obama’s fault.

In terms of the selection of Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) has a running mate, Mr. Trump was in the same position as previous nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney – play to the base.

To we independents, this election has been loaded with head-shaking moments. Ron Fournier hit a home-run in this article (in The Atlantic) about Mrs. Clinton.

Given next week’s Democratic convention, this is probably the last aFa Power Ranking for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Julian Castro, 4) Chris Murphy, 3) Tom Vilsack, 2) Tim Kane, 1) Thomas Perez

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion explains Pokémon Go.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Humanity hoping it only has to put up with few more millennia of this shit
‘People are inherently good,’ world halfheartedly mutters
Woman who doesn’t use Facebook completely out of touch with friends’ prejudices
FDA declares new drug ‘Qualmex’ safe for treatment of anxiety about drug
Two-hour meeting spent thinking up hashtag absolutely nobody on the planet will use

Interesting Reads
The most emotional cultures
Quantum and the origin of time
The campaigns and elections of Millard Fillmore
Dusk, dawn, and Viagra
Me in the Age of the Selfie
(Interactives) Where US gets its oil
(Photos) The world from above

Earlier in the week I heard a song that took me back to the early ‘70s. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Exploring Twinkles Through a Song

Summer is the annual permission slip to be lazy. To do nothing and have it count for something. To lie in the grass and count the stars. To sit on a branch and study the clouds. (Regina Brett, journalist)
Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. (Stephen Hawking, physicist)
Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations. (Alan Watts, philosopher)
Ye stars! which are the poetry of heaven! (Lord Byron, poet)

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 310

Other than knowing it happened, I don’t know much about the recent incident in Nice, France. What is going on in today’s world? When will the good rise up?

Count me in as a person looking forward to seeing the new version of this movie hit from the past.

My wife and I are actively working on a wall project that I plan to feature in a post sometime in August.

Given the recent cases of violence by police and the Dallas shooting against police, the strongest correlation between the two is obvious – both are President Obama’s fault.

Rev, Martin Luther King, Jr. offers a wide selection of great quotes that are applicable for current times. This one stuck me this week:

We have got to learn to disagree with being violently disagreeable.

This golf season has been one of my strangest seasons yet. Oh well … but I’m still having fun playing. I haven’t played as much as I hoped at the course where I’m working, well … work hours get in the way.

I didn’t know that Presidents Ford and Carter developed a strong friendship during the 1980s – and through that friendship, they agreed to the survivor would speak at the other’s funeral … which Carter did for Ford.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

Politics is a team sport, but governing is about finding solutions – not demanding a particular solution. No wonder government has a difficult time accomplishing anything meaningful.

Numerous polls are supporting the thoughts I’ve had for some time about this election – more people will be casting votes against a candidate rather than for a candidate … and yes, that’s also President Obama’s fault. Nonetheless, I wonder if the strong negatives leads to a one-term presidency.

Count me among those critical of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg criticizing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump (R-NY). Then again, Mr. Trump’s response was predictably pathetic.

Here’s a great line from a local Letter to the Editor – If Donald Trump becomes the next president of the United States, I will be the first in line to buy a ticket for Ken Ham’s Noah’s Ark replica …. Because I am pretty sure that Yahweh will suddenly change his mind about never flooding the world again.

Regarding positions on issues, this recent Doonesbury strip hit the nail on the head (well, for me) … which helps demonstrate that this election isn’t about issues.

Although the official announcement is Friday morning, news is leaking – but that’s subject to change. Nonetheless, I created this aFa Power Rankings earlier this week: 5) Michael Flynn, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Chris Christie, 2) Newt Gingrich, 1) Mike Pence

The aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) James Stavridis, 4) Julian Castro, 3) Chris Murphy, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion discloses the campaign strategy for the two main candidates: Clinton and Trump

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Facebook status update field dreading what area man about to type into it
USA Today announces nation’s fattest city has eaten neighboring city
New Study: Having sick friends may improve your physique
30,000 people drafted to live in Nebraska
Divorce reveals mom always the one who botched Christmas presents
Wrong turns in ventilation duct results in world’s largest bakery robbery

Interesting Reads
Global trends of governments restricting religion
The news sources for Americans: a trend
Europe: Insurgence, referendums, and politics
Is the 2016 election similar to 1968?
A look at couch potatoes
(Photos) Underwater with National Geographic 

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, summer is in full throttle. That spirit leads me to this blast from the past … and how about those chops. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Density

Density is one of those topics that science classes frequently include – especially in the physical sciences. Yes, it’s the ratio of mass to volume – or as I like to think – how much stuff is contained in a given space.

Like any formula as D=M/V, given any two variables, it’s possible to calculate the unknown. Density is more than just working formulas – after all – it is an important concept to understand – but most teachers focus on density as it’s covered in a textbook or as their designated drills to pass a state-mandated test.

To me, it’s the application of density into our everyday world that gives the topic relevance. For instance, wood is more than just wood. Product information for a new fireplace or wood-burning stove may include information about softwood and hardwood.

Given 2 logs of the same size, the hardwood log (oak) will have more mass (think of it as heavier when you pick it up) than the softwood log (pine). There’s more wood substance packed into the given space as the same-sized log of softwood. Bottom line being that the hardwood log will burn longer and release more heat.

When density is applied to populations in biology, Hong Kong is very dense – just like hardwoods – well, more like ebony, one of the most dense hardwoods.

Which is heavier, five pounds (kilos) or one pound (kilo) of water? That’s a no brainer – the oil is heavier, so will five pounds (kilos) float on one pound (kilo) of water? Sure it will because oil is less dense than water (Note: we could include a discussion about solubility, but will stick to density). Yep – that’s why we shake that bottle of Italian dressing before we use it.

Hot air doesn’t rise – (it never has and it never will) – but it is displaced upward by the colder air that is also more dense. (Here’s a past post that addresses that misconception). The same idea can be applied to any fluid (liquid and gases), so now density helps explain currents in the atmosphere and in bodies of water. https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/on-hot-air/

You may remember the story of Archimedes (Greek mathematician, physicist, and inventor) whom the king called upon to determine if the crown was real gold or not. Legend has it that the explanation came to Archimedes while in a bathtub – “Eureka!” Of course, his points about density and displacement eventually led to how boats and ships float.

While at a party, you want a soda – which is found in a large metal tub. All the ice has melted, but the cold water is still keeping the cans cold. You notice some of the cans are floating and others lie on the bottom. The sign says Diet Soda and Regular Soda. You want a Diet soda, and density is telling you which one to pick.

Readers are wondering why I wrote this post – or at least what sparked the idea. After all, long-time readers here know I have reasons for what I do. I like Chex cereals – and earlier this year I bought a box of each of my favorites in the Chex family. (The written number represent ounces and grams.) Personally, I like the more dense one better – and it’s more filling – which should not be a surprise.

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On a Tribute to a Regional Home

For many of the Explore posts I precede the video with reflective quotes that tie to the video – but not this time. Many readers here enjoy The Piano Guys. Although the music is theirs, the video is a tribute to their home.
Besides multiple occasions at the Salt Lake City airport, I’ve never been to Utah. It would seem to national parks like Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef would be quite the journey in itself … but I’m sure there is more to see. So, enjoy the music and visual tribute The Piano Guys give to the region they live and love – southern Utah.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 309

A global economy and nationalism seem to be opposing forces – so here’s a good read from William Galston in the Wall Street Journal.

I live in a part of America that has fireflies – an insect that fascinates those who don’t have them in your area. Here’s an article from National Geographic about what I also call lightning bugs.

Need new wallpaper for your desktop? This fabulous collection of photos from National Geographic Travel Photography Contest is a must-see.

I didn’t realize most minor league baseball players get a very low wage. I wasn’t expecting a gold mine, but more that the meager pittance they receive. Here’s the column where I discovered the disheartening news.

Earlier this week, Answers in Genesis (who operates the nearby Creation Museum) opened Ark Encounter – an exhibit about Noah’s Ark in the view of a 10,000 year old Earth. Being a local event, there have been many Letters to the Editor … many of which encourage me to bang my head against a wall.

Given current time demands and several life adjustments, not only did I not post this week, I’ve been reflecting about my future on these pages – which will probably lead to an open (irregular) posting schedule. Besides, not visiting other blogs bothers me very much.

There will be an Explore post this weekend.

The timing of the FBI report surprised me. At the beginning of this incident I stated that her decision to have private servers was a poor and careless decision – and it seems the investigation more than supports my statement. Meanwhile, the Republican response was more than predictable. I appreciated this comparison by the Washington Post of the Clinton and Petraeus scandals.

Regarding the FBI report and the Clinton email scandal, I enjoyed this comment, “Americans’ trust in public officials and public institutions has fallen abysmally, as we all know. So far as we can now tell, the country in this instance has been well served by a leader and an FBI that has been diligent, hard-working and fair. Embittered partisans will disagree, but for my book, the FBI seems to have gotten this one right.” (David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst in this column)

In terms of the effect on my vote in the election, I consider the Republican offering of an obnoxious bloviating jackass whose depth doesn’t go beyond insults, name-calling, and taglines is much worse than Mrs. Clinton’s poor judgment (in this case) and her distrustful nature.

Columnist George Will is a great writer. Although I haven’t read him much over the past 5 years, I have been noticing his battle with Donald Trump – and love this recent quote: “He (Trump) has an advantage on me. He can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters, and I (Will) can’t.”

Two weeks ago (in OITS 307) I listed an article about US politics in the Interesting Reads. Interestingly, last weekend Meet the Press interviewed the article’s author. Glad to know that NBC followed my lead. Here’s the article.

This week’s aFa Power Rankings for Donald Trump’s running mate: 5) Mary Fallin, 4) Jeff Sessions, 3) Scott Brown, 2) Mike Pence, 1) Newt Gingrich

The first week’s aFa Power Rankings for Hillary Clinton’s running mate: 5) Xavier Beccera, 4) Julian Castro, 3) Chris Murphy, 2) Thomas Perez, 1) Tim Kane

To lead us into the satire portion of this post, The Onion discloses what Vice President Joe Biden is doing this summer.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Swiss guards charge writhing mass of black tentacles devouring Pope Francis
Dad’s eyes welled up at sight of perfectly packed cooler
Synthetic tree removes carbon dioxide from air
Fireworks accident blows off tip of Florida
Rest of the evening spent declaring the asshole not going to ruin the evening
God regrets never creating any two-head snake creatures

Interesting Reads
State of the news media (Pew Research Center)
Georgia O’Keeffe: An American Painting Icon
Football and ALS
Are algorithms biased?
Mating habits of seahorses
(Photos) Dessert landscapes from National Geographic

When searching for a song to send readers into the weekend, this one came to attention. Paul, a friend and great person, pops in my mind from time to time. Although he died several years ago in a senseless murder, I smile when I think of him … and this song from The Piano Guys is what I link to him … plus, it’s a good song to send you into the weekend. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.