Saturday, December 28, 2013

Snowboarding Crow

Crows and jays are way smart!

Breaking Bad - Cinematography

"Breaking Bad" placed heavy emphasis on point-of-view (POV) shots and stunning time-lapse panoramas, and it's fun to watch them together.

Interactive Property Taxes Map

Full of interesting surprises here.

Nearly Got Side-Swiped On The Freeway Last Night

I was slowly passing a car on the left, and was momentarily in the driver's blind spot, just when the driver decided to make a lane change. We almost collided.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Northern New Mexican Accent

Students from Las Vegas give examples of the accent. The funniest part is the accented disembodied voice who takes the fast food order.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

JP Brought The Final Breaking Bad DVD

Binge-watched it in two sittings. Need to look at the Commentaries too. Lots of information there.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

If Bolivia Has A Satellite In Orbit, Why Don't You?

The Chinese had their recent lunar triumph, and now they help Bolivia into space:
A Chinese Long March 3B rocket on Dec. 21 inaugurated the Bolivian space program by successfully placing Bolivia’s Tupac Katari (TKSat)-1 telecommunications satellite into geostationary transfer orbit, Chinese and Bolivian officials said.

Bolivian President Evo Morales traveled to China to witness the launch, from China’s Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, indicating the project’s political importance in Bolivia.

...The satellite will operate at 87.5 degrees west longitude to provide Internet and telecommunications connectivity to the estimated 3.3 million Bolivians in rural areas that are currently not connected to the telecommunications grid, according to the Bolivian Space Agency (ABE), which was created to manage the TKSat-1 project.

ABE said the entire program cost $295.4 million, of which $251.1 million was financed with a loan from the China Development Bank. ABE said the loan is payable over 15 years, with no principal payments due until the fourth year after an initial payment of 0.75 percent of the loan.

The annual interest payment is the London Interbank Offered Rate plus 2.7 percent.

The remaining $44.3 million in project funding came from Bolivia’s general treasury, ABE said.

ABE said TKSat-1 services will generate sufficient revenue to fully cover the project’s cost, which includes the satellite’s construction and launch, insurance and a satellite ground station in Bolivia that Morales recently inaugurated.

Hari Kari With Kashkari

The very essence of our dilemmas. The manager of TARP (which I reluctantly supported, but which many people, especially the Tea-Partiers, did not). But, hey, if the GOP wants him for Governor, who am I to complain?:
“Oh, give me a break,” said Kashkari, a former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. Treasury Department official. “You’re comparing this to Meg? Give me a break.”

Kashkari, 40, is expected to join a small field of Republicans bidding to unseat Brown next year. ... Kashkari, who ran the $700 billion bank bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program during former President George W. Bush's administration, has not yet said if he will run for governor. But he has been laying the foundation for such an effort for nearly a year. He left his job at Newport Beach-based Pacific Investment Management Co. in January, assembled a team of advisers and started visiting food banks, schools and businesses throughout the state.

Kashkari said these experiences, which he has promoted on Twitter and, most recently, a series of newspaper interviews, have both inspired him and aided his understanding of poverty and education. His emphasis on poverty isn’t typical for a Republican candidate, but he said he wants to make it the focus of his campaign.

“I genuinely want to learn what people are facing,” Kashkari said. “I would want to be the candidate fighting for the poor.”

I Hate It When Arts Projects Suffer Setbacks

(From earlier this month.) I don't want Sacramento Ballet to be thrown under the bus:
The California Musical Theatre notified city officials it would not take part in the Studio for the Performing Arts, leaving 25 percent of the project’s ongoing budget unaccounted for. The theater group did not provide an explanation for its sudden departure from the project.

The City Council has pledged $5 million to help renovate the former Fremont School for Adults on N Street into a space for the California Musical Theatre, the Sacramento Ballet and the Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance, a combination of the Sacramento Opera and Sacramento Philharmonic. The city’s contribution would come from the $2.5 million it generates for maintaining the Cal-EPA building next to City Hall and another $2.5 million in future loan repayments by the Crocker Art Museum.

...Without the California Musical Theatre’s role in the project, city officials are scrambling to find $67,000 in annual operating income to keep the 49,000-square-foot facility going.

...Still, the city and the arts groups are up against a tight timeline to find a replacement. The Sacramento Ballet’s lease at its current space on K Street expires in August. “We need to be open next fall,” Rich said.

...However, Ron Cunningham, the co-artistic director of the Sacramento Ballet, said he was confident his group could make up the difference. He said the new space will provide the ballet with at least two more studios, allowing the group to expand its class facilities and generate thousands of dollars more each year in tuition.

The Drought That Has Seized Central California Scares Me Like No Other

And today is no different - a record high:
Unseasonably warm weather has made this a Christmas for the record books, pushing the temperature at Sacramento Executive Airport to an unprecedented 64 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

That broke the previous Christmas day high-mercury mark of 63 degrees, set in 1965, as a trend of clear and dry weather continued across the state.

The record high for downtown Sacramento on Christmas Day is 64 degrees, reached three times: 1892, 1955 and 1967.

While the weather downtown fell just short of that record on Wednesday, topping out at 63 degrees, that temperature still exceeds the historical average for the day, which is 51.8 degrees based on records dating back to 1877.

Tiny Beads

I use facial products with zillions of these tiny beads. Target has useful, environmentally-friendly substitutes at a tenth the cost, but like many consumers, I tend to get the sexier products that smell better:
Tiny plastic beads used in hundreds of toiletries like facial scrubs and toothpastes are slipping through water treatment plants and turning up by the tens of millions in the Great Lakes. There, fish and other aquatic life eat them along with the pollutants they carry — which scientists fear could be working their way back up the food chain to humans.

Scientists have worried about plastic debris in the oceans for decades, but focused on enormous accumulations of floating junk. More recently, the question of smaller bits has gained attention, because plastics degrade so slowly and become coated with poisons in the water like the cancer-causing chemicals known as PCBs.

“Unfortunately, they look like fish food,” said Marcus Eriksen, executive director of the 5 Gyres organization, speaking of the beads found in the oceans and, now, the lakes. His group works to eliminate plastic pollution.

Legs & Co. 1977 Christmas Special

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"And They Never Did Find The Other Shoe"

If it was December 23rd, it was time to take E. to Arden Fair Mall. Adding to the urgency was a huge waft of skunk: somewhere nearby.

I was so addled from insomnia that the experience was strangely pleasant. Like being on some sort of drug. I had an unusual amount of patience this year, which was useful. Endless meandering through the aisles, as usual.

As she gets older, and poorer, E. gets pickier and pickier about what she likes. She wanted to be at Sunrise Mall, but who has time to drive over there? I didn't. Besides, was Arden Fair so bad? Yet, an entire mall full of ensembles and there didn't seem to be any suitable clothes in the entire place. Find a more appealing selection over at Goodwill, apparently. Finally, she settled on a dress on sale, but then we had to fight with her long-standing desire to never, ever try on clothes in the stores. She insists on trying clothes on at home, and returning them if they are unsuitable, but then the odds of making a correct initial choice are low, of course. Plus, no returns for these dresses. Store policy. Still, we made a purchase.

Then it was time to find appropriate shoes. At Macy's, we found one suitable shoe, but its match was nowhere to be found in the entire store, and so a purchase was not made.

Ate at the Food Court.

All said, I really like malls. Too bad people buy so much on the Internet these days.