On a Few Bits Before …

Greetings everyone. I’m still present, but just not writing and visiting much. Out of respect to the many good people who visit my little corner of the world, I wanted to check-in.

I know my presence has been (at best) faint, but I continue to struggle with the enthusiasm necessary to post and visit. However, in my tradition, it’s also time for a Fall Break.

PauseBreakKey

The current political climate in the US is pathetic (and that’s being kind). Besides our election process being too damn long and too expensive, I’m sick of it, therefore have to get a few things off my chest.

I like this recent quote from columnist David Brooks that describes American voters.

Politics is catching up to social reality. The crucial social divide today is between those who feel the core trends of the global, information-age economy as tailwinds at their backs and those who feel them as headwinds in their face.

David Axelrod’s comment about Hillary Clinton is right on: “Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?”

Anyone who doubts the existence of a right-wing conspiracy against Mrs. Clinton is either clueless or part of the conspiracy. Nonetheless, why she (and her campaign) make choices that feed the conspiracy is beyond me!

Here’s another thing that causes me to slap my forehead. Why isn’t Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party making issue of the lack of action by the Republican-led Senate regarding the Supreme Court vacancy?

1968 was the first US presidential election that I closely followed … and I have engaged in them ever since. During that time, the current candidates are the 18th and 19th different candidates nominated by the two dominant parties. (Repeats counted once). I would unquestionably vote for any of the previous 17 candidates over Donald Trump. Yep … Nixon, Humphrey, McGovern, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Mondale, Bush (HW), Dukakis, Clinton, Dole, Bush(W), Gore, Kerry, Obama, McCain, and Romney would get my vote before The Bloviator.

Enough said.

To lead us into my upcoming absence, here a song from the greatest band not (for whatever strange reason) in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 313

On August 28, 2008, my first post appeared on these pages. Eight years later,

  • 1,853 posts
  • 266,745 visits
  • 69,786 comments appear, but probably half are mine because I believe hosts should interact with visitors
  • Proudly, I covered a wide-range of topics.

My biggest pride lies in the fact how I reciprocated visits with so many bloggers. I’ve outlasted many bloggers, while others chose to no-longer visit. Stats here have been spiraling downward for some time, but my lack of visiting others in recent months is evident.

Many thanks to all the visitors here, but especially to the long-time visitors who have stuck with me for many years and took time to comment. Although I’m still in the process of change, time will tell what is ahead for these pages. However, I’m not done yet!

My golf league ended with a thud. After leading the first 4 weeks of the third 5-week mini-season of the year, I didn’t get it done on the last week. To make matters worse, a bizarre rule kept me out of the final 4 playoffs for the season. I took the high road by not complaining, but I foresee a rule change in the future that would prevent a situation like this in the future.

In this election, I think the partisans are making a big mistake with the true independents. I’ve noticed many partisans spending more time trying to convince someone not to vote for the other candidate (as opposed to reasons to vote for their candidates). What the partisans don’t realize is that their approach encourages contrarians like me to go in the opposite direction of their desires.

This election is ridiculous in many ways, mainly the lack of discussion about important issues.

Earlier this week I listened to an interview with Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein. Yes, I didn’t make it to the end of the interview.

To me, one thing scarier than Donald Trump is the number of people who cheer when he says something totally stupid. However, I realize that this is not true for all of his supporters.

Because of the toxic political climate with the USA, I will continue to hope that the November election yields divided government – that is, one party does not control the White House and both chambers of Congress.

President Obama’s Five Faults of the Week
Mistakes made by Donald Trump
All events in Rio when the US didn’t win the gold
Approaching hurricane season
Forming ISIS
Ryan Lochte

To let you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion gives the pros and cons of tiny houses.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Gifted, Passionate Student Really Stretching Limits Of School’s Resources
Olympic swimmer admits the Rio pool much wetter than expected
Humanity Hoping It Only Has To Put Up With Few More Millennia Of This Shit
Scientists Confirm First Case Of Zika Transmission From Article To Reader
School Of The Arts Aims To Transform Boys And Girls Into Insufferable Young Men And Women

Interesting Reads
France vs. Jihadist
Unique sperm delivery
How we see colors in nature
Neutrinos and the Big Bang
A short history of solar cells
(Photos) Insight Astronomy contest winners

Although the weekend is already upon us, I still have to end this post with a song. Interestingly, this blog shares a birthday with one of my long-time favorites. Hope all is well with you, and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

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. Here’s the post.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.