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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.


Friday, April 28, 2006

making a business call

i called a vendor today, looking for a price quote on a couple of items. they were referred to me by a contractor that used to do stuff for us. since the contractor got out of the business we hired them for, i am now responsible. ok, so i called this supplier. after several attempts to communicate, due to either poor phone etiquette or connection, i was finally able to convey what i wanted to the lady that answered the phone. after getting my name, company, and location, before asking what the hell i called about, she asked "are you calling us because we are a woman owned company?"
now let's examine this at face value.
i am spending public money. i have the responsibility to spend it wisely, getting the best deal possible. it only makes sense. this company is the west coast distributor for the products i wanted.
would i call them simply because it was a female owned company? if all things were exactly equal, such as price, availability, service, and cost of shipping.... maybe, but i doubt it. when i call a company to order something, i could give a rat's ass whether they are minority, gender specific, religious/non-religious, or ethically challenged company.
can they provide the products or services at the lowest price, with the maximum of response/service? if so, why is any of the other junk important? woman owned. she sounded like it was my duty as a public employee to buy from her company regardless simply because of the gender of the owner.
if that is the primary consideration or requirement for public entities to base purchasing decisions on, how much extra does that cost the taxpayer, the ultimate source of the money?
damned social engineering. it smacks of unequal access and quotas to me.

so here's the deal. anyone have a good comeback to the question "are you calling because we are a female owned company?"
i can almost always think of a good one, but it's usually at least 5 minutes too late. i thought of a couple but they were really lame. any help? i'll store them away in the back of my miniscule memory bank for use at the appropriate time.

Monday, April 24, 2006

road trip to dc

see ya all in a couple of days. road trip to our nation's capital.
hmmm. let's see. 12 hours of meetings, 17 hours in airports or airplanes.
yup. this is going to be fun.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

cold induced tourette's syndrome indeed

a serious hat tip to lubber's line for the following link. i laughed my ass off
the video link combines three of my major self described definitions of myself.

this thing is for serious science geeks. what could be more interesting than watching a video of ichthyologist at work?

this thing reminds me of my submarine days. not only the swearing part, but listening to divers swearing on helium. one of these days i'll explain that one. if you are in a hurry to figure out what the hell i'm talking about, read Blind Man's Bluff. we figured prominently in the book.

and thirdly, i'm a certified international open water diver. i've made decompression dives to as deep as 180 feet (won't ever do that one again. sigh). i think it would be a BLAST to do the kind of dives these guys in the video do. but i'd make sure i was a little better prepared for the cold!

this video is hilarious from the beginning. the name of the clip, with the disclaimers at the beginning set the stage for what's coming next.

check out the video. let me know what you think.

A Christmas Chill: An Encounter with Hypothermia-Induced Tourette Syndrome

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

are you a "closet geek"?

i'm not. i've outed myself a long time ago, as a brief skimming of my blog will attest.
but it looks like there are a bunch of "intellectually curious" folks out there. hmmmm. sounds PC for science geek.
anyway, it's becoming noticeable enough that there a bunches of us out there that yahoo news finally figured it out.
Among the intellectually curious group, those who are aware of science-oriented websites tend to visit them frequently. Some 85 percent said they are intrigued by scientific breakthroughs and innovation, compared to 35 percent of those outside the group. And while 72 percent of the intellectually curious say science is relevant to many aspects of their lives, that figure is 26 percent among the rest of the population.

interested in the article? well, just take your geek self here and find out more.

the one thing about this whole thing that really pisses me off is the supposition that most americans are mouth breathing morons happy to sit in front of the idiot box, or surf the web looking for the latest porno sites.
i won't deny there are a lot of folks that fit that characterization, but really, aren't most of the folks you know a lot more than one dimensional cartoons?

Kill us, but you won't enslave us

that is the title of one of the more moving blog posts i've read in a while. it's the latest from Iraq the Model, a blog written by several iraqi brothers.
the determination behind the words posted do not bode well for the crazy homicidal killers of innocents in iraq.

It was the day he was celebrating the opening of a foundation that was going to offer essential services to the poor but the criminals were waiting for him to end his life with their evil bullets and to stab our family deep in the heart.

never has there been any intimation that the "insurgents" want a humane or civilized outcome to their fighting. who do they target? doctors, teachers in the classroom (as reported today ), police, and anyone else trying to improve the country.
i know it's easy to sit back here in the safety of northern california and pontificate about how "they" should do something. i can't imagine what it must be like to know someone was in the area that was intent on tearing down anything good that might be done. the fear of retribution must be great. but fearing repercussions as opposed to living with the consequences of the terrorist's actions, that's hard for me to accept.
sure, it's easy for me to say that i would do my best to turn in any and all of the "bad guys" to the military intelligence folks. but then, i'm not the one living and working in an area where innocent people are killed just to make a point. my family would have to be paramount in my decision to turn in the killers. nobody in their right mind wants to come home to find their children and wife murdered because of taking a stand.
what a hard place to live. turn in those you suspect of nefarious intent, hoping for a better future, possibly resulting in horror, or be quiet and watch the decline of hopes for your country. watch with your family intact.
i'm glad i don't have to make those kinds of decisions. i don't harbor any resentment towards those keeping quiet for their own safety. i hold an unmeasurable amount of respect for those brave enough to stand up and say "No more".

poor willyshakes

i sent a small care package to willyshakes a couple of weeks ago, including two books. he'll be writing a review one of these days, but i thought i'd share a little of his comment about the book, received by email today:
"Hal, you bastard! LOL. I stayed up waaaaaay past my geeky grad student bedtime to finish "Pride Runs Deep"--could not put it down and I plowed through 50+ pages to finish. Great ending--"

hehe. i may no longer be on the boats or working as a yardbird, but i can still f**k up an occifer's sleep patterns.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

road trip

looks like i'll be flying to D.C. next week for a couple of days. more time on the plane to and from than in the meeting probably.
oh well, i get one night in D.C. to play. i want to get pix of a couple of the monuments at night anyway. didn't get a chance to do that last time.

Monday, April 17, 2006

black bean soup with a portuguese kick

i love bean soup. pick a bean, and i can make a soup that is not only edible, but tasty.
so today, i'll talk about black beans. Black turtle beans to be exact.

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds dried black turtle beans. actually, the "generic" black beans in the grocery store are otay for this.
  • 1 to 2 pounds of linguicia sausage, depending on your own taste. now here is where you can take this dish several ways. cajun hot links, kielbasa, hot italian, mild italian, chorizo, either mexican or spanish....hell, this dish is truly international. i like to slice the sausage in half lengthwise, then cut halfmoon disks about 1/8 inch thick. not too thin, or else they won't hold up during the cooking process, but not so thick that that's all you get on the spoon when eating.
  • 1 1/2 quart chicken or veggie stock. NOTE: pay attention to the salt in the stock. if it's not low salt, be very very careful how much salt you toss in while sweating the veggies.
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 or 4 carrots, diced, sliced, chopped, whatever floats your boat. i cut each carrot a different way, which gives a great texture to the soup.
  • 3 or 4 ribs of celery. if the celery is big, use 3. if small, use 4. diced
  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp smoky spanish or hungarian paprika. spanish is best, but even plain jane paprika will work here
  • a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper or a good tbsp or so of you favorite hot sauce. that would be Tabasco around here.
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a couple of serious glugs of olive oil

sort through the beans. look for rocks, dirt, dead looking beans. this is important to do. here's what i found in the bag: 2 rocks, and a couple of nasty looking beans
click for other sizes

rinse beans, and place in a big pot with a couple of quarts of water. let the beans soak for at least 12 hours (overnight) but don't be crazy about it. if you leave these sitting for like 24 hours, they will be really mushy. bleah. i've hear that you can make beans fartless by adding a tablespoon of baking soda to the soaking water. i've tried it. can't give a definitive readout on the efficacy of the method. of course, it's been said i'd fart after a glass of water and a slice of white bread, so i'm not the best judge here. hmmm, too much information?
HINT: don't soak the beans in a white ceramic bowl that has any kind of crack on the interior. on the other hand, if you aren't sure if the bowl has cracks, soaking black beans in it overnight is a good means of determining that fact.
drain and rinse the beans.
i'm not sure why i like this picture so much. it has become one of my favorite foodblog pictures. something about the way the beans are glistening, with that deep indigo color.

in a big soup pot, add enough olive oil to completely cover the bottom of the pot. then give it another glug. i'm not sure there is a way to have too much olive oil when cooking portuguese/spanish/italian foods. heat over medium, and toss in the garlic. saute for a minute or so, then add the rest of the veggies, and all the herbs/spices and saute until the onion starts to get soft. that should take around 5 minutes. don't be in a big hurry. keep the heat down around medium.
you can see what i mean about the different cuts for the carrots. i think it makes the soup a little more interesting. not a requirement.
when the veggies start to turn soft, add the stock and the beans and bring to a boil.
once boiling, drop the heat down to a simmer, and let the beans cook for around an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally to keep from burning the beans onto the bottom of the pot.
check the beans for doneness. pull a couple out and squish them with your fingers. you are there when the beans can be mushed. you don't want them so hard that it's like eating marbles, but you don't want the soup to be smooth, either. texture is a wonderful thing. when you get to that point, pull a cup or two of the beans out, and either buzz them in a food processor or mash them with a fork. add back into the pot. this will help thicken the soup up.
this would be a good time to fry the sausage up in a little olive oil. drain the excess grease off, and add to the pot. continue simmering for about half an hour. this will help the flavors all meld together.

taste and adjust salt, pepper, and hotness (remember the tabasco?) and enjoy. this was a big hit for easter dinner along with all the other goodies we had.
and it's really good the next day too!

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

Friday, April 14, 2006

musings about submarine coffee

i'm getting ready for work, and i've got my favorite coffee in the world, Major Dickason's blend from Peets brewing in the french press.
i love coffee. i've been drinking it since i was a kid, and i've had great coffee, and i've had really really terrible sour nasty make you want to wash your mouth out coffee over the years.

the worst stretch of my life, though, was an underway on the seawolf.
some wizard decided that the boat didn't need coffee grounds. instead, they installed these coffee makers that took a jar of Taster's Choice instant coffee. you stuck your cup in the machine, pushed a button, and it started to whirl, mixing instant coffee with hot water, dispensing it into your cup.
it was horrible. i don't know if they've made any significant changes to the taste in the intervening years since 1976, but i'm here to tell you that what we were drinking was swamp water, septic tank runoff, chrome plating shop holding tank fluid. eeechhh.
fortunately, there were those of us that quietly rebelled. well, quietly would be mis-representing the case. we were vocal as hell. they installed these machines in the crews mess, and in the engineroom during the refit period prior to a spec op. so we had a chance to try out the coffee before getting underway. it was horrible. oh, i think i already said that.
this coffee was so nasty, and when we did garbage disposal unit (GDU) ops, dropping our trash and garbage out the end of a big pipe with weights in the bottom of the mesh bags we used, it was not unusual for sonar to report hearing a jar of this stuff implode as the water pressure increased during descent to the bottom. muffed booms. sonar calling cards. giant "hey you, we're over here" noises that submariners deplore. yet it still happened, even with the skipper threatening torpedo tube ejection while at depth. the crew hated this stuff and were willing to risk anything to get rid of it.
the word was, no grounds. makes too much of a mess, and the containers were too hard to get rid of at sea. never understood that, because we still had to get rid of the damned jars, didn't we? i'll concede that the accumulation of grounds could be problematic, but not undoable.
so, to make a long story even longer, we stole appropriated 10 twenty pound cans of navy coffee, and squirreled them away outboard the main engine reduction gears. you had to be a dedicated sombich to find them, because there were a lot of obstacles between you and the coffee. and at least then, the coffee the navy bought and shipped out to the fleet was pretty good stuff. i.e. not portapotty liquid like the instant swill they were trying to foist off on us.
once we were underway, the 30 cup aluminum coffee pot came out of hiding, and on my watchsection, we always brewed a fresh pot of coffee. it didn't take long for the coners and wardroom to discover the nukes had real coffee. hell, you could smell it forward when we brewed it in the engineroom. all of a sudden, officers were fighting to get on the engineering watchbill, rather than standing officer of the deck. dudes we never saw aft of frame 45 during an underway were showing up in the engineroom to shoot the breeze. always with an empty cup in their hands, by the way.
it got to where the captain, Charlie Mac, would come aft with a cup, and ask if he could have a cup of our coffee.
see, we made a huge deal about our bringing our own personal coffee, stored in our own personal storage spots under our bunks. that was the only way we could get away with it. if the command figured out we had navy coffee, stored in the engineroom and not in our personal storage, taking place of candy, smokes, skivvies or whatever else you might take to sea with you, we would have been stomped flat.
but, make it sound like you were willing to sacrifice your own couple of cubic inches of storage to bring real coffee... hell, now you are a hero.
and since the rest of the crew all bought it that this was coffee bought out of our own paychecks at the grocery store, they didn't abuse our stash.
the whole thing was an elaborate exercise. we didn't have ziplock bags then. so when it was time to replenish the coffee, i would climb outboard the main engine carrying a 12 x 24 green poly bag, open a can, fill the bag, then tape the bag shut.
when people saw the coffee in taped bags that laid relatively flat, they bought the whole "personal space" line.
when we got back from our spec op, the skipper had the shipyard tear out the instant coffee dispensers, and had the supply office turn in the unused instant for credit on real grounds.
we were heroes in the eyes of the crew, willing to give up personal space and a large chunk of our paycheck just to drink real coffee. it was all a sham, but it worked!

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

evidence the world has changed in the last 35 years

for the current generation of web savvy folks, finding news of different countries, including russia, is second nature. so natural that they don't think anything of it. it's just the way it is.
consider geezer's of my generation, those of us that were in the military during the cold war. we were connected in ways that the average citizen didn't even know existed. we heard things. usually back channel, often distorted. but we heard things. it gave us the feeling we knew more than our civilian contemporaries. we needed to know for our jobs.
contrast that to today. eric, over at The Sub Report has posted a couple of articles about a fire onboard a nuke submarine in a russian port. depending on who is talking, it's either a welding fire, or a training evolution with smoke generators.
i'm having a real hard time wrapping my head around this. we are hearing about an upkeep casualty? crap, when i was in the navy, we MIGHT hear about a russian sub sinking, if it did so right in front of the world's press. or if the swedes or norwegians caught a russian playing in their front yard.
but to hear about a refit problem? that was the sort of things the government hired spies for, and then only those in the loop ever heard about it.
yup, the world has changed

Monday, April 10, 2006

it must be time for me to go to bed

i was just checking out my sitemeter, and someone from south korea visited. curious, i surfed over to the referring URL, and all the writing looked like:

??????? ?? ???????? ??? ? ??????????????????? /???????? (d:20.1) ?
???????? ??????? ???????? ?????? ??? ???????? ?????


i couldn't have come up with a better character to display the korean language if i'd had years to think about it.

yup, time to hit the old skid. it's getting a little goofy out there.

conspiracy theories R us

willy sees that dirtbag Cmore hersh as a treasonous bastard.

i'm more inclined to think hersh is an unwitting tool of the government. well, he is a tool, but maybe saying he's a government controlled tool may to a bit much.

anyway, hersh is yelling as loud as he can that george w. is to nuke iran's nuke facilities because george is terrified of the sawed off hitler wannabe running the country.

maybe, just maybe, the dark lord Darth Rove sent a minion out to whisper in hersh's ear. think about it. if i was the prez or one of his cohorts, i'd go find the most despicable and anti american journo writing in the country. one with a following that holds many of the same values as Cmore. now, whisper frightening things in his ear. do you think he'd keep anything THIS damaging from the world? hell no. he has a vested interest in reporting, or should i say, distorting stories that would be inimical to the current administration. he's a poster person for the daily kos.

so here i am in the presidential palace in tehran, sipping my mint tea, and reading the afternoon telegraph. i come across an article by Cmore Hearse, uh, hersh, and read that the president is considering dropping a nuke down my smokestack.

who's he going to believe? a paid bootlicking lackey, say maybe a fox news type? or Cmore hersh, who by all accounts is out for blood, and has demonstrated that he is happy to trade in his citizenship and civic responsibility for for a sharp stick to poke in the president's eye.

do the math.

damn, i could be writing movies, or thrillers, or ... ah hell, i think i'll just stick to blogging. nobody would believe this shit anyway. that's me, one of the great unwashed bloggers, out to cripple credentialed mainstream media types.

it's my mission.

surfing for lunch

and revisited one of my favorite sites on the web at mycathatesyou.com. always funny pictures with even funnier captions.

this one almost killed me. go here to see
the caption

Friday, April 07, 2006

no smoke, one week

here is sit with a belly full of talapia and pinot grigio (only one bottle, i have to work tomorrow. the wife declined, and i just COULD NOT put a partial bottle in the fridge.) nice local white, not too snobby, and reasonably priced. i like a white wine that doesn't taste like either asparagus piss, or soda pop. everything inbetween is ok by me.
been almost a week since my last smoke.
dodge the bullet, learn to not stand in front of the gun

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

reloading the 45 Colt (aka Long Colt) with Trail Boss powder

I've owned and shot a Ruger Vaquero in 45 Colt for about 6 years. in all that time, i've only found one load that shot true point of aim, with any kind of accuracy. and that was a commercial round: winchester's 250 grain lead round nose ammo. but it's expensive, at around $25.00 a box of 50.
so i got the ballistics data from winchester's data page, and set off to find a good dependable load that I can put together.

i've tried 6 or 7 powders, and at least 10 different bullets, over the years.
i've gotten close with 9 grains of unique under a 255 grain lead semi-wadcutter from oregon trails. it was close, but i've never been happy with it. other loads, such as winchester's reloading data using W231 powder didn't cut it because the case sensitivity of the powder made it so that i had to tip the pistol up between each shot just to get consistent results. i've held off finally filing the front site down to bring the point of aim up on one load that does a fairly decent job, because the thought of taking a file to my gun isn't one i relish. not that i can't, or won't do it, but it just seems so final, and means to me that i've given up. i know this gun is capable of point of aim accuracy, because i have done it with factory loads. dammit.

then IMR powder company came out with Trail Boss powder this last year. the frustrating problem with this powder is it's availability. i've scoured the usual suspects ever since i read about the powder in one of the gun mags i get. nobody was carrying it, and when i asked about ordering it, i got a lot of blank stares. when it costs an extra $29.00 just in hazardous materials handling charges from UPS, above the cost of the powder and normal shipping fees, nobody was willing to order me a can and still charge me $13.00. luckily there was a gun show in Vallejo last weekend, and i was able to find a couple of bottles there.

Trail Boss was developed for use in cartridges originally designed for black powder use. that would include the 45 colt and the 30-30 rifle cartridge. the powder looks different. it's shaped like a donut, and it fed through my RCBS powder charger like a champ. it's designed to take up a lot more room. a typical 1 pound powder can holds 9 ounces of Trail Boss. so when you throw a 5.8 grain charge, it takes up over 1/2 the available space. and when you throw a 6.5 grain charge, the case looks close to full, with enough room that the charge isn't compressed when inserting a 200 grain round nose bullet.

just for comparisons, the following picture contains a 45 Colt bullet loaded with a 255 grain Oregon Trails lasercast lead semi-wadcutter next to a 45 ACP loaded with a 200 grain lead semi-wadcutter from Western Nevada bullet company. to the left is a 255 bullet, and to the right is a 200 grain lead round nose bullet, also from Oregon Trails. i used both the 200 grain round nose and 255 semi-wadcutter with the Trail Boss powder.
click for larger images

200 grain lead round nose 45LC bullets from Oregon Trails. load data shows min charge 5.5 gr max charge 6.5 gr.
the 5.8 grain charge showed hitting like a round of buckshot fired from a muzzle loading blunderbuss. not worth a damn

the 6.5 grain load wasn't a whole lot better
but at least it did have a little something going for it. if i wasn't such a freak about accuracy, i could file the front blade to raise the point of aim, and use this load. but i won't. shooting the top and bottom loads with this lack of accuracy shows me i don't need to waste any more time with this specific bullet and this specific powder.

255 grain lead semi-wadcutter, Oregon Trail. load data shows minimum powder charge 4.5 grain to max of 5.8 grain.

i loaded the bottom of the band to 4.5 grains and when i shot it, i held a point of aim at the top of the black
i didn't have to, because you can see the bullet impact is higher. that's one of the things the reloading writers always talk about. if you want to raise your bullet's impact, go with a higher charge, or a heavier bullet. the muzzle flip on recoil will cause the bullet to strike higher.

here's the full image for the 255 grain bullet series. as you look at the targets, you can see that as i raised the powder charge to 5 grains, i started to get coherent groupings. at near the max charge of 5.6 grains, the grouping is still pretty good. remember, i'm firing off hand at 15 yards, in this instance, so tight pretty ransom rest type groups are not in the cards.

conclusion. it looks like i'll be doing a lot more loading with the Trail Boss powder and the 255 grain Oregon Trails semi-wadcutters. i'll go back and try this again, from min to max, only i'll do it in 0.2 or 0.3 grain increments, and i'll let you know which charge did the trick.

i think i'll be using this powder for the caliber from now on.

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the ongoing Carnival of Nothing

i am reposting a cartoon as a Carnival of Nothingtm
entry. there are no rules or guidelines for this carnival, no gmail account to post to, no scheduled appearances on the blog. in fact, there is Nothingtm specific about this carnival.
if you would like to post Nothingtm to this carnival, feel free. you can either not email me, or not steal the idea for yourself and not post a trackback. it's your call.
posted originally here.

where in the world are your visitors?

something a little fun i like to do every once in a while. i pull up the sitemeter, and find out where the last 20 visitors are from. here's the list as of 0645 PDST.

1 France Charvieux, Rhone-Alpes
2 Belgium Brussels, Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest
3 United States Marquette, Michigan
4 United States Tacoma, Washington
5 United States Reston, Virginia
6 France Morangis, Ile-de-France
7 France Paris, Ile-de-France
8 France Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais
9 United States
10 United States Frisco, Texas
11 United States San Francisco, California
12 Belgium Mechelen, Antwerpen
13 United States Lehighton, Pennsylvania
14 France Le Plessis-Trvise, Ile-de-France
15 United States Visalia, California
16 France Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais
17 Austria Vienna, Wien
18 France Arche, Limousin
19 France Arche, Limousin
20 SwitzerlandLausanne, Vaud

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

good load for the 45 acp

Originally uploaded by bothenook.
i think i'll settle for this load for the 45 acp reloads using 200 grain lswc. this is 5.6 grains of unique, and it shoots as well in both the 745 LDA paraordinance and the springfield armory 45acp TRP. this is the culmination of many hours of building different loads, bullet and powder combinations, and trips to the range. the day i shot this target, i had 5 different loadings, with 28 bullets each. i fired offhand at 25 yards, at an outdoor range in a relatively stiff breeze. This is the culmination of the loads i wrote about HERE

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Sunday, April 02, 2006

the environmentalists are going to have to wake up

first of all, here is the link to the article in the sunday sf chronicle that i'll be referring to throughout the following rant.

there is a huge battle brewing in northern california. it centers around several issues
  • indian rights
  • environmental health of a major california river
  • water rights for farmers
  • power generation

the Klamath River supports 3 indian tribes, farmers, and 5 power generating dams that help supply power to the region. the dams are up for review, and may end up being removed. what's at issue is more than just salmon runs. commercial and sport salmon fishing in the entire california coastal areas may either be closed down entirely or seriously curtailed. while southern runs are still relatively healthy, the fish mingle at sea. to protect the klamath run, the fisheries folks may kill this year's season completely.

at the center of the issue is a series of dams and reservoirs that heat the water, making it a prime breeding ground for several vectors dangerous to wildlife.

fish ladders have been bandied about as a means of helping restore salmon levels hindered by the presence of dams. but the real issue is water flow for all. farmers need water, which is supplied from the storage reservoirs provided by the dams. fish need fast cold water to kill off the parasites and provide a healthy environment to live and breed in. consumers need the dams to provide power.

the company managing the dams has removed 3 dams in oregon in the last couple of years, because fish ladders have been found ineffectual.

so where the hell is the power going to come from? the environmental and business issues with water regulations are one facet of the problem that i honestly don't have an answer for. indians that have relied on the fish for generations are now being backed into a corner as the stocks dwindle. farmers need water. without water, farmers can't raise crops. without crops, food supplies availablity lowers, and prices rise, affecting us all, but more the lower end of the economic scale than others. even a small increase in the cost of food represents a large percentage change in buying power.

and power, that is a separate issue entirely. one of the solutions i have in mind would allow removal of most of the dams, yet keep water supply reservoir capacity high enough to support farmers. we simply cannot disregard the effect of removing even small power sources from the grid. california has been teetering on the brink of third world status when it comes to power supply. the last several years have had brownouts, outright power failures, and an almost constant haranguing from the power distributors to cut back cut back.

every time an alternative is presented, whether it is installation of more wind turbines or small "neighborhood" fossil fuel power plants have been met with enviro's and nimby's loud and litigious protests. "the turbines kill birds" and "you only put these plants in low income areas" are common complaints. and damming the rivers is one of the factors driving the current problems

well, i've been reading an increasing number of articles by enviros that are finally seeing the light.

what do we need to do? say screw the fish, and let the indians find another way to support their way of life? tell the farmers to piss off, and learn to farm "dry" crops (which nobody buys in the supermarket, by the way. everyone wants corn, tomatoes and other crops that use a huge amount of water)? erect 50 foot walls around the state, to keep the influx of people at zero, while killing off all children born over a specific numerical limit? this state is growing, and if the latest round of protests are any indication, california will continue to be a destination for cultures where children are born far above the numbers needed to simply maintain a stable population.

what are we going to do? my suggestion: build nuclear power plants. big ones, out in the sticks, with transmission lines feeding the grid. seems pretty simple to me. i dont see it happening though, because most of the folks enamored with the whole "environmental" culture are mono-focused, caring only about the tiny slice of the whole issue that interests them, and to hell with the rest of the world. so what if by preventing logging you establish conditions which would cause total devistation by fire, as happened in the trinity alps in northern california a couple of years ago. so what if the farmers are all driven out of business, as long as the fish get water. so what if the state's infrastructure can't support the burden of uncontrolled population growth: you can't stop the illegal immigrants. it goes on and on. so what if fossil fuels are dirty and place us in the unenviable position of relying on an unstable region for our energy needs.

building nukes won't solve all the problems. it won't solve many of the problems. but what it will do is supply power to a state that needs it desperately. power to toast bread, show movies, energize traffic signals, run factories. power needed to stave off inevitable brownouts, and worst case senario: rotating outages as seen in a lot of the economically depressed/deprived parts of the world. that's not a place i want to live in.

build 'em. we'll use 'em. and maybe, because there is an alternative to dams as power sources, we can actually start to do something positive for our environment, and the people that live in it.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

hard to believe it's been 10 years

One of my favorite jobs on the face of the earth was being a Nuclear Shift Test Engineer (STE) and Chief Test Engineer at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. for 15 years after i got out the the navy, Mare Island kept me employed and challenged.
10 years ago today, Mare Island closed, a victim of the BRAC and overall downsizing of our military and it's assets.

announcing a new blog carnival

i post recipes over at the carnival of recipes, which changes location every week, so i can't give you a url.
i post at the carnival of cordite, which usually appears at gullyborg's site Resistance is Futile.
i've even posted critter pix on the friday ark and the catblog friday carnivals.

with that, i've decided to start my own Carnival
i'm announcing that i will be hosting the Carnival of NothingTM.

and here's the first installment:

pretty neat huh? hope you enjoyed it.
please be respectful, as we all know that "Nothing is Sacred"

on another note: need a little humor? gullyborg killed me with his post Liza Manelli hates sex.