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Friday, September 29, 2017

Thomas Maupin

     Thomas Maupin (born 1938) of Murfreesboro, Tennessee was raised in the small town of Eagleville, Tennessee at a time when community square dances were still common and his family was known for its dancers.
     Maupin himself was an exceptional dancer from an early age and had a special love for the flat-foot steps, but it wasn't until middle age that he gained notoriety for his buck dancing talent when he began entering dance competitions in the 1970s. After he was married and began raising a family, he was employed in an aircraft factory; the result was a 15-year hiatus from dancing. With his children grown and with the emergence of regional old-time music contests, Maupin returned to dancing and became an active competitor. When he began dancing in the mid-1970s, he became a mainstay at music contests and was a favorite among the old-time string bands who worked with him.
     Over the next 30 years, he won over 60 championships throughout Tennessee and the South. More recently he has been concerned with inspiring more appreciation for his dance heritage through exhibition performances, workshops, and teaching, often accompanied by his grandson, banjo player Daniel Rothwell.
     He is a recipient of the Tennessee State Governor's Folklife Heritage Award, Old-Time Herald Heritage Award and the Uncle Dave Macon Days Trailblazer Award and has won over 60 first place titles including the National Championship which he has won 6 times as well as State Championships in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. He has been the subject of the film Let Your Feet Do The Talkin, which has been shown on The Documentary Channel.
     When performing Maupin is most animated from bent knees to shoe soles, his form firmly anchored at his waist as his upper body swivels as he gracefully balances on his toes and heels. Distinguished by his impressive crisscrossing and scissor steps, Maupin is known to dance at times without instruments.
     In the 2000s, Maupin began a musical partnership with his grandson Daniel Rothwell, an award-winning traditional banjo player. Their relationship was portrayed in the 2010 documentary Let Your Feet Do the Talkin’. In 2009 Maupin was given the Trail Blazer Award from the Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival and in 2011 he earned the Tennessee Governor’s Folklife Heritage Award. 
     Maupin has evolved a deceptively simple artistic philosophy: follow the note of the tune, dance the music that you hear, and make your feet say something.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


    David Barish often gets credit for inventing paragliding back in the early 1960s. At the time he was developing a space capsule recovery device for NASA and tested his work personally in 1965 on Hunter Mountain, New York; his term for it was “slope soaring.” His invention's inspiration was the earlier work of Domina Jalbert, an American who helped to advance airfoil technology and subsequently patented the Parafoil in 1963. The Parafoil was a ram-air design incorporating a row of inflatable air pockets into an airfoil shape.
     At about the same time climbers in the French Alps were utilizing similar technology. After reaching the summit they would descend safely and efficiently using small ram-air canopies to float down. By the mid-1980s, the focus was on maximizing the flight potential of rising air, which was found to be the secret in increasing the duration of flights and covering longer distances.
     The wing is usually what is known as a "ram-air airfoil". They consist of two layers of fabric that are connected to internal supporting material that form a row of cells. By leaving most of the cells open only at the leading edge, incoming air keeps the wing inflated, thus maintaining its shape. When inflated, the wing's cross-section has the typical teardrop shape. The pilot is supported by a network of suspension lines and a harness.

     Advances in design in the 1980s that improved performance included: increased wingspan, the introduction of nonporous fabric and modifying the shape and trim of the airfoil. These design changes meant changes in the flight characteristics and new techniques were needed to pilot them. By 1986 the sport was well established in Europe.
     For a long time development and marketing of paragliders in the USA had been restricted to three manufacturers of skydiving equipment, but they lacked the performance of the European designs. Eventually the wings became classified into different groups, according to their usage. There were different canopies designed for student pilots, intermediate (recreational) pilots, and competition pilots.
     As paragliding evolved, the sport eventually separated into two different sports: skydiving and paragliding. Wings are nonporous, elliptical shaped, and have thin-profile airfoils which allow higher speeds, better glide performance, and greater efficiency. These features, which were developed for paragliders, are now being incorporated into skydiving parachutes.
     Paraglider flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometers, though flights of one to two hours and covering some tens of kilometers are more the norm. By skillful exploitation of sources of lift, the pilot may gain height, often climbing to altitudes of a several thousand feet.
     Most pilots use several instruments. A variometer helps a pilot find and stay in a thermal to maximize height gain and to indicate when a pilot is in sinking air and needs to find rising air. Humans can sense the acceleration when they first hit a thermal, but cannot detect the difference between constant rising air and constant sinking air.
     Radio communications are used in training, to communicate with other pilots, and to report where and when they intend to land. Some flight clubs offer automated weather updates and in rare cases pilots can to talk to airport control towers or air traffic controllers. Many also pilots carry a cell phones for emergency use.
     GPS is a necessary accessory when flying competitions where it has to be demonstrated that way-points have been correctly passed. The recorded GPS track of a flight can be used to analyze flying technique or can be shared with other pilots. GPS is also used to determine drift due to the prevailing wind when flying at altitude, providing position information to allow restricted airspace to be avoided and identifying one’s location for retrieval teams after landing out in unfamiliar territory. GPS is sometimes integrated with the variometer.
     Launching and landing are done into wind either by running or being towed or a blowing wind. The pilot is then lifted from the ground and, after a safety period, can sit down into his harness. In low winds the wing is inflated as the pilot runs forward with the wing behind so that the air pressure generated by the forward movement inflates the wing. In higher winds, a reverse launch is used, with the pilot facing the wing to bring it up into a flying position, then turning around under the wing and running to complete the launch. In flatter countryside, pilots can also be launched with a tow which can launch pilots up to 3000 feet altitude.
     Brakes held in each of the pilot’s hands connect to the trailing edge of the left and right sides of the wing and provide the primary and most general means of control. They are used to adjust speed, to steer (in addition to weight shift), and to flare during landing. In addition to manipulating the brakes, a pilot must also lean in order to steer properly.
     A kind of foot control called the "speed bar" attaches to the paragliding harness and connects to the leading edge of the paraglider wing, usually through a system of at least two pulleys. This control is used to increase speed by decreasing the wing's angle of attack. More advanced control can be obtained by manipulating the paraglider's risers or lines directly.
     Landing a paraglider involves some specific techniques and traffic patterns. Pilots normally lose altitude by flying a figure-8 over landing zone until the correct height is achieved, then line up into the wind and give the glider full speed. Once the correct height (about a 3 feet above ground) is achieved the pilot will flare the wing to minimize vertical and/or horizontal speed.
     Since the shape of the wing is formed by the moving air entering and inflating the wing, in turbulent air, part or all of the wing can collapse. On modern recreational wings if this happens, normally recovery without pilot intervention is done. In the event of a severe deflation, correct pilot input will speed recovery from a deflation, but incorrect pilot input may slow the return of the glider to normal flight, so pilot training and practice in correct response is necessary.
     It it is not possible to recover from a deflation most pilots carry a reserve parachute, but should a wing deflation occur at low altitude, recovery may not be possible. A reserve parachute normally requires 200 feet of altitude.

World records:
Straight Distance - 350.6 miles
Highest flight – 26,762 ft
Oldest female paraglider - Peggy McAlpine at the age of 104.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Comment on the Big Protest

     If one is not familiar with what seems to be dominating the news in the U.S., it's professional football players creating a big controversy by kneeling in protest during the playing of the national anthem before the start of the games. And now basketball and baseball players are supporting them. Of course President Trump is speaking out against them and his sometimes bombastic and crude comments have created a controversy in itself. Exactly what the athletes are protesting seems to have gotten lost in the kerfuffle.
    I don't care about the opinions of pro athletes, most of whom sound uneducated and ignorant when they try to communicate and who I view as nothing more than highly paid players of games that entertain. But then I am not a sports fan.
   What I find amusing is all the fans who lambaste the players for disrespecting the national anthem and the flag. Just watch the fans when the anthem is being played. You will see the majority of them eating, drinking beer, talking and texting while it's being played. Is not that just as disrespectful as the players kneeling? Also, and here's my point, those fans are as guilty as the players because U.S. Code, Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A, Chapter 3, 301 defines conduct during the playing of the national anthem.
     The code declares the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem and that during its rendition:

1) when the flag is displayed

     A) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note
     B) members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute in the manner provided for individuals in uniform
     C) all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

     By the way, I learned something from this...as a veteran it would be proper for me to render a military salute. I did not know that was acceptable.

Summertown Bluegrass Festival

     Clogging is a type of folk dance in which the dancer's footwear is used percussively by striking the heel, the toe, or both against a floor or each other to create audible rhythms. As the clogging style has evolved over the years, many localities have added local steps and rhythms to the style. The dance has origins in Wales and England.
     In later periods it was not always called "clogging", being known variously as foot-stomping, buck dancing, clog dancing, jigging, or other local terms. What all these had in common was emphasising the downbeat of the music by enthusiastic footwork. As for the shoes, many old clogging shoes had no taps and some were made of leather and velvet, while the soles of the shoes were either wooden or hard leather.
     Clogging shoes are, in a lot of ways what makes clogging clogging, so choosing the right pair of clogging shoes is very important.  Clogging shoes have special characteristics engineered specifically to suit this style of dance. Unlike single tapped tap shoes, the unique percussion of the clogging dance comes from the double taps on the soles of the shoes. Typically, clogging shoes have two taps on the toe and two on the heel.
     Some shoes come with clogging taps already attached, although many are designed to have separately bought taps attached. Taps are either nailed on or glued in place.  There are a number of different types of clogging taps available, each suiting a different dance style as well as dance floor surface

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

YouTube Downloader

     There are a lot of interesting things on YouTube, but you can't download the videos or save them as audio files, you can with YouTubeDownloader which allows you to download an entire YouTube playlist or channel. You can also download files from Vimeo and several other such sites. Files can be saved to your computer in any of the available formats: MP4, FLV, WebM, DivX / Xvid, MOV, MPEG2 / MPEG4, Apple TV, PSP, iPod, iPad, iPhone PS3, Wii, Xbox360, Zune and others

Simultaneous downloads
Supports Ultra High resolutions like 4K & 8K
Downloads entire playlists and channels
Extracts audio track and saves it as MP3
Supports exporting to iTunes
Works on all modern platforms (macOS, Windows and Ubuntu)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Facial Peels, Mail Fraud and Culpable Homicide

    One of the most successful work-at-home operators was Nels Irwin, who began operating in California in 1953. Irwin sold miniature trees, tropical fish, molding machines for plastic novelties, and other items. Postal inspectors estimated that he made over $3 million before he was prosecuted, convicted, and sent to prison for three years on 16 counts of mail fraud.
     During the early 1950s, deceptive contest promotions were common. Work-at-home schemes like raising mushrooms, breeding chinchillas, or making artificial flowers were popular. The spread of medical quackery affecting both victims’ pocketbooks and their health were also a verdant source of income for fraudsters. One of these was the Italian born Cora Galenti, who ran a “beauty ranch” and promised “new faces for old” to women.
     She advertised the Cora Galenti Method of Facial Rejuvenation using carbolic acid to remove wrinkles, crow’s feet, blemishes and the effects of aging. Her business, the Cora Galenti Facial Peel Treatment, was built up in Hollywood and was supposed to make people look 20 to 40 years younger. Stars such as Marlene Dietrich and Gloria Swanson received treatments. Facial peels weren't anything new. Check out the article on the history of it HERE.
     Her Sunset Boulevard salon was named The Fountain of Youth. There clients went in with sagging and wrinkled faces. After about three weeks of treatment at a cost of $2,500-$3,000 their faces were pink and smooth as a baby's butt.
     Treatment consisted of the application of a 48-percent phenol, or carbolic acid, solution to the patient’s face and neck. This application often resulted in skin discoloration and loss of pigmentation, and even welt-like scars. Phenol can, when applied to skin, travel to the kidneys and bladder where it can wreak havoc.
     The treatment itself was not illegal, but Galenti’s claim that such treatments rejuvenated the face were fraudulent. On January 5, 1962, a federal grand jury indicted her on four counts of mail fraud. In September 1962 she was convicted of two of the counts, fined $2,000 and sentenced to five years in prison, followed by five years of probation. Galenti appealed the verdict and while free on bail continued operating her business after moving to Las Vegas, Nevada.
     After her conviction on the mail fraud charges she beat the rap when she jumped bail before going to prison and fled to Mexico City in 1963. In Mexico she married a Mexican national and obtained citizenship which granted her immunity from extradition. She continued to run her business in Mexico. She died in 1993 at the age of 96.
     This brings us to Joseph Pantuso, grandson of Cora Galenti. He joined his grandmother's business in 1981 and gradually took over her clinic. In April of 2001 Pantuso was found guilty of first-degree murder in Mexico City and sentenced to nearly 24 years in prison. The 59-year old Pantuso was convicted in the December 1997 death of an elderly man whom he was treating with the same cosmetic process that his grandmother made famous in the 1950s. Pantuso's assistant, Fernando Martinez, was also convicted and received the same sentence.
     The victim was 76-year-old Las Vegas producer George Arnold. The prosecutor claimed that the medical evidence showed that Pantuso and his assistant held down and fought with Arnold and forced him to ingest one of the chemicals used in the peeling procedure to sedate him and reduce his resistance. Then they strangled Arnold and broke a vertebra. But the prosecutor did not know the motive.
     Pantuso had argued during the trial that Arnold was a family friend who had been treated by him and his grandmother for 30 years and there was no motive for murder. It was argued that Arnold apparently suffered a heart attack or sudden illness during the treatment and that efforts to revive him failed.
     According to Pantuso, in December 1997 Arnold came to Mexico City for a retouching, or partial treatment, and stayed with Pantuso. On the day after Christmas, Pantuso said he treated Arnold's cheek in his home using a phenol-based chemical to burn off skin layers, followed by the application of thymol iodide to help with healing.
     Arnold was lying in bed and suddenly jumped out and fell into the wall and collapsed. He hit the end table when he fell and when Pantuso lifted him up he noticed some bleeding from his mouth and nose and he was not breathing. Pantuso then used CPR and gave Arnold oxygen with a mask. Arnold seemed to respond and, again, CPR was administered. It was claimed that during the rescue attempt Arnold swallowed some of the thymol iodide that was on his face. Martinez, Pantuso's assistant, was elsewhere in the house when Arnold collapsed and that he ran to Martinez to tell him to summon help. An ambulance crew arrived shortly thereafter, but could find no pulse.
     The ambulance crew noticed the yellow residue on Arnold's face and alerted police. It was the rescue attempt that left blood on Pantuso's shirt. Both Pantuso and his assistant were held for 48 hours for questioning, then released. Over the next six weeks, they were questioned further and their lawyer told them he had been informed that they would not be charged.
     After Arnold's death Pantuso couldn't bear to stay in Mexico City and moved to Guadalajara where, along with Martinez, he set up a new clinic. The business did well, but he claimed his success angered plastic surgeons whose businesses were threatened. Apparently that resulted in his being arrested in February, 2000 and returned to Mexico City.
     At the trial at which testimony continued for almost a year, the defense challenged the autopsy, the basis for much of the case, as unprofessional and filled with errors of procedure and interpretation. The prosecutor's forensic experts appeared to contradict each other. The early evidence alleged that the thymol iodide had caused the death. But the judge brought in an independent forensic specialist and her report said that because the levels of thymol iodide in the body weren't quantified, it couldn't be determined that it was actually the cause of death.
     In July a three-judge Mexico City appeals court panel found the lower court's ruling contradictory and badly reasoned and as a result, substituted the lesser charge of culpable homicide, saying Pantuso did not have available the required medical and first-aid support when he treated Arnold.
     Pantuso was sentenced to two years and four months in prison but took into account the 17 months he had been in custody and released him on parole and a $5,500 bond. He was required report to the court every month for the next two years and could not leave Mexico during that time.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Rant Against Spammers and Scammers

    When it comes to telephone calls, a recent study of 20 countries revealed that citizens of India receive the most number of spam calls, averaging over 22 per month; the US came second with over 20 calls per user each month. The report stated that over half of India's spam calls (54 percent) originated from telecom operators who are seeking to provide special offers for free data or unlimited calls.
     If you have a Blog things aren't much better. About 1 in 5 visits to this blog are from India and blogspam posts that promote commercial services available in India are common; I delete 2-3 every day.
     Unfortunately Blogger does not allow me to block visitors, so such junk is an annoying fact of life. One can't complain too much though because the United States ranks just behind India in excrement appearing in the comment section, but wherever it comes from, it's annoying.
     Here in the US, it seems that once you reach a certain age, robocalls increase. Apparently some people think that if a person is over a certain age they are nearing senility and are easy picking. My answering machine allows me to block 25 telephone numbers, but even that is not enough! As for the National Do Not Call Registry, it only stops legitimate businesses.
    One trick robocallers are now using is that they no longer appear as 1-800 or 1-866 calls. The don't even appear as calls originating from another state...they appear as local calls. I got a couple yesterday that came up on caller ID as calls from my neighborhood. When I went on line to see who called from that number it was a number from a local steel mill. Calling the number back resulted in a recorded phone company message advising that the number was no longer a working number. Clever devils!
     This is a fairly new trick. Scammers pick an area code, a prefix, and a random set of four numbers for the caller ID, then robocall everyone within that area code and prefix. The call looks local, and potential victims will be more likely to pick up thinking someone they know is calling. The next step is that caller ID is going to appear to come from a number you do recognize and you’ll probably pick up.
     If you don't answer these phone calls they will eventually go away as they think it's a bad number ... but if you answer just once they know it's a good number and will call and call and if that doesn't work, they will call some more. 

This post received two Spammer comments this morning. One from sravan rao of India regarding early signs of pregnancy, LIC online payment, airtel DTH and Gujarat Government Jobs. The other Spammer was Tony Quart linking to a site where one can supposedly take court action against Spammers like himself!  Savita Bhabhi post junk about Hollywood pictures.  Bradley Cooper...making plans for Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Diaphote of 1880...the Amazing Precursor to Television

    A diaphote is described as an instrument designed for transmitting pictures by telegraph. On February 10, 1880, an article ran in the Daily Times of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania describing a remarkable invention recently demonstrated by a local inventor, Dr. H.E. Licks, that made it possible to transmit images by telegraph lines. He called it a "diaphote," from the Greek dia meaning "through" and photos meaning "light".
      At a special Saturday meeting of the Monacacy Scientific Club the club listened to a paper presented by Dr. H. E. Licks of Old South Bethlehem on the diaphote which he had invented after nearly three years work and which was, as of the time of the meeting, nearly perfected. Present at the meeting were many scientists of Eastern Pennsylvania, Prof. M. E. Kannich of the polytechnic school at Pittsburg, and Col. A. D. A. Biatic of the Brazilian corps of engineers, who was in the US making purchases of iron and steel.
     When Dr. Licks was introduced he remarked that a few experiments with the diaphote left him convinced that it would ultimately cause it to rank with the telephone, the phonograph and the electric light as one of the most remarkable inventions of the nineteenth century.
      Dr. Licks told of how the idea of the invention was first suggested to his mind about three years ago after reading accounts of some of the early experiments with Bell's telephone and later improvements by Edison. He reasoned that if the human voice could be transmitted thousands of miles away, why couldn't light be transmitted in some similar way in such a way that one could see an image? So, after much work and experimentation, on that evening he was prepared to exhibit to the club an instrument called the diaphote.
      He explained, just as sound waves strike a diaphragm causing it to vibrate and generate electricity which is sent along a wire and causes corresponding vibrations in another distant diaphragm which are heard as sound, in the diaphote waves of light can be transmitted.
      Light waves strike a specially constructed mirror joined by several wires with another mirror and the image of an object in the first modifies electric currents in the wires.  These currents pass to a receiving instrument and there produce a secondary image. The intermediate wire, as in the telephone, may be hundreds of miles long, but his diaphote plates were so delicate and powerful that the second image was almost as distinct as the original. Dr. Licks felt confident that after the removal of a few obstacles of a merely mechanical nature the most complex forms could be reproduced with excellent shades and color.

     The diaphote consisted of essentially four parts: a mirror, transmission wires, a battery and the reproducing “speculum”.
      Dr. Licks gave a detailed account of the experiments he had conducted to determine the proper composition and arrangement of the mirror and speculum, complete with the scientific peculiarities of the various chemical compounds used. He also explained how the mirrors were constructed as well as the construction of the device.
     The instrument worked when waves of light from an object were conducted through an ordinary camera, so that they fell on parts of the mirror when the electric circuit was closed. The light and accompanying heat produced momentary chemical changes in chemicals on the mirror, which in turn modified the electric current. The distant contraption responded in a similar manner, thus reproducing the image which could be observed on a second camera or even projected on a screen.
      At the close of the presentation a demonstration was given. Three people took the mirror of the diaphote to a room in the lower part of the building and connecting wires were laid through the halls and stairways to the speculum on the Dr. Lick's platform. In succession various objects were held before the mirror. They had to be illuminated by the light of a burning magnesium tape because the rays from gas lights were said to be deficient in actinic power (relating to or denoting light able to cause photochemical reactions, as in photography, through having a significant short wavelength or ultraviolet component).
      As the objects were shown, the audience saw them projected on a screen considerably magnified. An apple, a penknife and a silver dollar were the first objects shown. On the silver dollar it was possible to make out the outlines of the goddess of liberty and the date 1878 was plainly legible.
      A watch was held in front of the mirror for five minutes and the audience could plainly perceive the motion of the minute hand on the screen, but not the movement of the second hand. However, a Prof. Kannich looked into the camera thought that it was quite perceptible. An ink bottle, a flower and a part of a theater handbill were also shown and when the head of a kitten appeared on the screen the club let loose a hearty applause.
      After the close of the experiments the scientists extended their congratulations to Dr. Licks, and the president made a few remarks on the probable scientific and industrial applications of the diaphote in the future. It was believed that with the telephone and the diaphote it may yet be possible for people to hear and see each other as if face to face.
      It also had potential for railroad signal men or the central office to see hundreds of miles of railroad track all at once, thus lessening the possibility of an accident. Newspapers in England could be printed in New York a few hours after their appearance in London.
      Dr. Licks claimed he was soon to lecture before the American Society of Arts and would be making definite arrangements for the manufacture as soon as the seven patents he had applied for were issued. Word of Licks' invention soon appeared in other newspapers.
      The whole things was a hoax. But, the question is, how did Dr. H.E. Licks pull off such a remarkable stunt? He didn't. It was the newspaper article itself that was the hoax.
      Mansfield Merriman (March 27, 1848 – June 7, 1925) was an American civil engineer, born at Southington, Connecticut. Merriman graduated from Yale's Sheffield Scientific School in 1871 and was assistant in the United States Corps of Engineers in 1872-73 and instructor in civil engineering at Sheffield from 1875 to 1878. He was professor of civil engineering in Lehigh University from 1878 to 1907 and thereafter a consulting civil and hydraulic engineer. From 1880 to 1885 he was also assistant on the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey. His researches in hydraulics, bridges, strength of materials, and pure mathematics are important. He published many books that were widely used as textbooks. He was also editor in chief of the American Civil Engineers' Pocket Book published in 1911.
      In 1917 he published Recreations in Mathematics in 1917 under the pseudonym H. E. Licks, which included the story "The Diaphote Hoax", a republication of the detailed newspaper report from February 10, 1880. The name "Dr. H. E. Licks" was a play on the word “helix.” Other names appearing in the article were also a play on words: "Prof. M. E. Kannick" (mechanic), "Col. A. D. A. Biatic" (adiabatic) and "Prof. L. M. Niscate" (lemniscate).

Monday, September 11, 2017

No Airplanes in Florida

Flight Tracker
This screen shot of air traffic in Florida shows an unusual situation.  Even though Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a tropical storm, as of 10:00 AM, no aircraft are flying except for one lone helicopter.  There's not much ship traffic either!

Tropical storm Irma
Ship traffic

Sky King

Sky King
     Sky King was an American radio and TV series. Its lead character was Arizona rancher and pilot Schuyler "Sky" King. The series may have been based on a true-life personality of the 1930s, Jack Cones, known as the "Flying Constable" of Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County, California, although this has never been verified.
     The series had strong Western elements. King usually captured criminals and spies and found lost hikers, mostly by flying his airplane, the Songbird. Two twin-engine Cessna airplanes were used by King during the course of the TV series. The first was a Cessna T-50 and in later episodes a Cessna 310B. King and his niece Penny and sometimes her brother Clipper lived on the Flying Crown Ranch, near the fictitious town of Grover, Arizona.
     The series was set in Arizona, but actually filmed in the high desert of California. The ranch house used for exterior shots of the Flying Crown Ranch is an actual home in Apple Valley, California, although it has been extensively remodeled since those days. Other locations were shot in and around Apple Valley, California and the nearby San Bernardino Mountains, George Air Force Base, and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. Interior filming was done in Hollywood.
     It was expensive for a kids' show, but most of the budget (about $9,000 per episode) went into aircraft, vehicles, fuel, and sets. This meant that some standard production methods had to be abandoned, giving the series a more realistic look. For instance, in some shots, pilot Bill Fergusson actually did taxi the 310B rather than simulating movement by towing or dolly shots. Plymouth provided several 1951 woodie station wagons for the series.
     The radio show began in 1946 with several actors playing the part of Sky. "Radio premiums" were offered to listeners. For example, the Sky King Secret Signalscope. Listeners were advised to get their own for only 15 cents and the inner seal from a jar of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, which was produced by the sponsor, Derby Foods. The Signalscope included a glow-in-the-dark signaling device, whistle, magnifying glass, and Sky King's private code. With the Signalscope, one could also see around corners. Other offer included the Sky King Spy-Detecto Writer, which had a cipher disk, magnifying glass, measuring scale, and printing mechanism in a package slightly over two inches long. Another was the Magni-Glo Writing Ring, which had a luminous element, a secret compartment, a magnifier, and a ballpoint pen all in the crown piece of a "fits any finger" ring. The radio show continued until 1954.
     The television version starred Kirby Grant as Sky King and Gloria Winters as Penny. Other regular characters included Sky's nephew Clipper, played by Ron Hagerthy, and Mitch the sheriff, portrayed by Ewing Mitchell, who was a competent and intelligent law enforcement officer that depended on his friend Sky's flying skills to solve the harder cases.
     Grant and his wife Carolyn had three children. In the early 1970s, they moved from California to Florida. After he left show business, he became the public relations director for Sea World in Orlando, Florida. Kirby Grant was killed in a car accident near Titusville, Florida, on October 30, 1985, at the age of 73. He was driving east on Florida State Road 50 to attend the launch of the space shuttle Challenger when he was forced off the road into a canal. Grant was ejected from his vehicle and, according to Florida Highway Patrol he was not wearing a seat belt. Grant had received an invitation from one of the astronauts on that flight and buried in Missoula, Montana.
     Many of the storylines were pot-boilers; Penny would often fall into the hands of spies, bank robbers, and other ne'er-do-wells. Sky never killed the villains, as with most television cowboy heroes of the time. Sky King was primarily a show for children, although it sometimes broadcast in prime time. The show also became an icon in the aviation community. Many pilots, including American astronauts, grew up watching Sky King and named him as an influence.
     Plot lines were often simplistic and villains were usually depicted as intelligent and believable. The writing was generally above the standard for contemporary half-hour programs, although sometimes critics suggested that the acting was not.
     Later episodes of the television show were notable for the dramatic opening with an air-to-air shot of the Songbird banking sharply away from the camera and its engines roaring, while the announcer proclaimed, "Out of the clear blue of the Western sky comes Sky King!" The end title featured a musical theme, with the credits superimposed over an air-to-air shot of the Songbird, cruising at altitude for several moments, then banking away to the left.
T50 Bobcat
    King originally flew a Cessna T-50 Bobcat, a twin-engine wooden-framed airplane some referred to as the "Bamboo Bomber"; it was a World War II surplus. The T-50 was grounded after episode 39 due to rot in the wooden frame. Songbird I is still FAA-registered to a private owner in Missouri.

     The best-known Songbird was a 1956 twin-engine Cessna 310B used in episodes 40 through 72 and was provided by Cessna at no cost to the producers and piloted by Cessna's national sales manager for the 310, Bill Fergusson. Fergusson got the job after the motion picture pilot already selected was deemed unqualified to land the airplane at some of the off-airport sites required.
310B Songbird
    Some months after a library of stock footage had been compiled, additional sequences were filmed using a different airplane. Cockpit sequences were filmed using the static test fuselage, also provided by Cessna. The original 310B was eventually destroyed in a crash at Delano, California, in 1962, which killed its owner-pilot. Eventually, a third 310, “Song Bird III,” was used for publicity photos. It is still flying today, making appearances at airshows. As of early 2012, the Songbird's old tail number N5348A was assigned to a Cessna 320C (a turbocharged 310), owned by a corporation in Jacksonville, Florida. 

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dog Puke

    Dogs puke is a fact all dog owners are well aware of, but why and is it serious? Are there different kinds of dog puke?
    Did you know that dry dog  foods can quickly go rancid if stored in a warm or sunny place and make a dog sick? A dog's dry food should be stored in a cool, dry place. If you have a smaller dog, buy a smaller bag of dry dog food. That way, the oils in the food won't go bad before you get to the bottom of the bag. Store your dog's food in an airtight container.
     Dogs may vomit for a variety of relatively benign reasons: to expel something they shouldn't have eaten, but sometimes vomiting can be a sign of a serious condition of anything from head trauma or toxin exposure to pancreatic cancer or gastrointestinal obstruction.
     First of all, it is important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation. The latter happens with undigested food coming up out of the esophagus with no abdominal effort. Usually, regurgitation is a sign of esophageal disorders. Regurgitation must be differentiated from vomiting because the causes and treatments for the two conditions are different.
     Vomiting is usually preceded by signs of nausea such as drooling, licking lips, and swallowing excessively. Some dogs may eat grass, possibly to protect the esophagus when the dog vomits, because the grass can wrap around and cover sharp objects like bone shards. Vomiting is an active process. It involves obvious contractions of the abdominal wall, also known as heaving.
     Dogs often have a well-deserved reputation for a willingness to eat almost anything. When a dog throws up, it is the body’s way of correcting a mistake. Most owners have witnessed their dogs eating something unsavory, only to see it come back up a few minutes later. Other relatively benign causes of dog vomiting are motion sickness and bilious vomiting syndrome.
     Of course, vomiting is also a symptom of many potentially serious diseases such as gastroenteritis, intestinal obstruction caused by foreign material, tumors, displacement, inflammatory bowel disease, parasites, exposure to toxins, some types of cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, infections and a dozen other problems.
     There are times when a vomiting dog requires immediate treatment. If your dog exhibits frequent vomiting, projectile vomiting, lethargy and depression, severe diarrhea, decreased urination, abdominal pain and/or enlargement, repeated attempts at vomiting but nothing is produced, the presence of red blood or material that looks like coffee grounds in the vomit or the vomit is bright green, a vet should be contacted immediately.
     On the other hand, if your dog has only vomited once or twice and seems to feel pretty good, the following home treatment is a reasonable option:

1.Take away all sources of food and water for six to eight hours.
2.If the dog does not vomit during that time, offer a small amount of water. If your dog can hold that down, gradually reintroduce larger amounts of water.
3.If after 12 hours of being allowed to drink, your dog is still not vomiting, offer a small meal of boiled white meat chicken (no bones and no skin) mixed with white rice. If your dog can eat this without vomiting, increase the size and decrease the frequency of his meals over a day or two and then start mixing in his regular food. This whole process should take around three days. 

     If at any point your dog starts to vomit again, see the veterinarian. The vet will more than likely be able to diagnose the dog's condition by asking questions, performing a physical examination, and running X-rays, bloodwork, fecal analysis, urinalysis, ultrasound imaging, biopsies, and other, specialized diagnostic tests. If you can bring a sample of the dog’s puke and stool with you, it may also help in the diagnostic process.
     Don’t change your dog’s diet suddenly. Always use a gradual approach because sudden dietary changes are a common cause of intestinal upset in dogs. Don’t give your dog toys that can be swallowed or chewed into pieces. Don’t give your dog bones, but if you do give it bones, large, uncooked varieties (such as femurs or knuckles) are less likely to break into sharp shards. Avoid table scraps because some human foods are downright dangerous for dogs (e.g., grapes, raisins, chocolate, xylitol (a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener), onions, garlic, chives, macadamia nuts, and high fat items) but dogs with sensitive stomachs may not even be able to eat safe foods without vomiting. Don’t let your dog scavenge in garbage. It often results in gastroenteritis and increases the risk of foreign-body ingestion and toxin exposure.
     The five most dangerous foods for a dog are:
Chocolate: the amount of chocolate a dog consumes will also determine the toxicity, symptoms of chocolate poisoning to look out for can include vomiting, diarrhea and seizures; the darker the chocolate is, the more serious the poisoning can be.
Xylitol: this is an artificial sweetener found in sugarless gum, candy, and baked goods and it can cause liver damage and a life-threatening drop in blood sugar in dogs. A 10-pound dog would only need to eat a single piece of sugar-free gum to reach a potentially toxic dose. Low blood sugar can develop within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, in addition to vomiting and loss of coordination.
Grapes and raisins: they can cause kidney failure. Vomiting, increased urination and increased thirst are symptoms of poisoning.
Onions and Garlic: eaten in large amounts they can cause the destruction of red blood cells and lead to anemia in dogs.
Alcoholic beverages: alcohol can be found in desserts and even created in a dog’s stomach if they ingest homemade or store bought yeast dough used in making bread, rolls and pizza. Even small amount of alcohol, both ingested through alcoholic beverages and produced in the stomach, can be life threatening.

All About Dog Vomit

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Hurricane Tracking

    With the hurricanes slamming Texas and now the Caribbean and Florida I have been watching their progress on Accuweather's hurricane tracker site. One thing that's interesting is the predicted path and as you can see, the path sometimes vary considerably. This begs the question, which forecast model each of those three or four letter identifiers refers to on the forecast model track the most reliable?
     The best hurricane forecasting models are "global" models that solve the mathematical equations governing the behavior of the atmosphere at every point on the globe. Models that solve these equations are called "dynamical" models. The four best hurricane forecast models (ECMWF, GFDL, GFS, and UKMET) are all global dynamical models. These models take several hours to run on the world's most advanced supercomputers.
     There are also dynamical models that cover just a portion of the globe. These are less useful, unless the hurricane happens to start out inside the domain the model covers and stay there. Hurricanes moving from outside the model domain into the model domain are not well handled. An example of this kind of model is the NAM model covering North America and the surrounding waters, run by the National Weather Service (NWS).
     Another type of hurricane model is a statistical model. These models do not try to solve mathematical equations, but have the advantage that they are fast to run and can provide output in a few minutes. There are also hybrid statistical/dynamical models, and simple trajectory models.
     The National Hurricane Center and other official forecast centers make use of two different forms of dynamical model guidance during the forecast process: "early" and "late" models. Numerical models are typically run four times per day: 0000, 0600, 1200, and 1800 UTC. However, National Hurricane Center official forecasts are generally issued three hours later.
     To alleviate this problem of late forecasts, model forecasts from the previous cycle are shifted forward in time by 6 hours. This results in what is known as an early model. The actual model forecast arriving three hours later is known as a late model forecast.
     Here is one expert's ranking of the forecast models from best to worst based on the accuracy of each individual model over the past 5 hurricane seasons.

TVCN (Consensus of the GFS, HWRF, GFDL, EURO, and several other models) is typically the most accurate model as it includes a combination of several useful models. The National Hurricane Center usually follows this one.
The ECMWF European computer model, which is not free for public viewing, is the 2nd most accurate hurricane forecast model only after the TVCN.
UKX (UKMET aviation tracker). This computer model has a tendency to slightly under-strengthen tropical systems, but it usually is more accurate with forecasting the track. This model is run by the United Kingdom Meteorological Centre.
AVNO (Aviation Ontime, also known as GFS or Global Forecast System). This model is typically one of the more accurate hurricane forecast models. And is usually better at predicting the track of a system compared to its intensity. This model is run by National Centers for Environmental Prediction.
FIM9 (Flow-following finite-volume Icosahedral Model). This is an experimental computer model that is expected to replace the GFS model in a few years. Although new it has proved to be a fairly accurate hurricane forecast model. This model is run by the Earth System Research Laboratory.
AEMN (Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, or GFS Ensemble Mean). This model’s forecast is based on an ensemble forecast, which involves making slight changes to the model’s initial conditions and running the model again. These forecasts are used to help illustrate forecast uncertainty. The closer the ensemble forecasted tracks are, the higher the forecast confidence. This model is run by National Centers for Environmental Prediction.

     A 2-page pdf fact sheet from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on hurricane prediction is available HERE. A web page on predicting hurricanes is also available on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology site HERE.  Yahoo has a good article from Good Morning America which explains just how strong Hurricane Irma's winds are and why they are so strong.  Read ARTICLE.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cross-site Scripting

Have you ever gotten this message when logging on to a site? 
     If so, do you know what it means? I didn't. Cross-site Scripting is a type of attack that can be carried out to compromise users of a website where the attacker uses a website to deliver a potentially malicious JavaScript code to an end user.
     To understand the Cross-site Scripting vulnerability you have to first understand the basic concept of the Same Origin Policy (SOP), one of the most important security principles of every web browser. This SOP forbids websites to retrieve content from pages with another origin. By forbidding access to cross-origin content random websites cannot not read or modify data from your Facebook page or PayPal account, for example, while logged in to them.

An example:
https://example.com/index.html...can access content from

https://attacker.com/index.html...cannot access content from

     Cross-site Scripting (XSS) is a way of bypassing the SOP security so that when HTML code is generated and the user input is not sanitized, an attacker could insert his own HTML code, but the web browser will still show the user's code. The attacker can easily insert Javascript code which would run under the real site.
     What this means is that the attacker would then be able to gain access to users cookies, session IDs, passwords, private messages etc. They can read and access the content of a page for any attacked user and therefore all the information displayed to the user. The attacker may also compromise the content shown to the user.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Scorpions...nasty little things

    Scorpions are predatory arachnids. They have eight legs and are easily recognized by the pair of grasping pedipalps and the narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger. Scorpions range in size from about ¼ inch to 9 inches.
     They have adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions and can now be found on all continents except Antarctica. Scorpions number about 1750 described species. Only about 25 of these species are known to have venom capable of killing a human being.
     Scorpion stings are painful, but are usually harmless to humans. For stings from species found in North America, no treatment is normally needed for healthy adults, although medical care should be sought for children and for the elderly. More harmful stings from species found in South America, Africa, and western Asia may require medical attention.
     First aid for scorpion stings is generally symptomatic and includes strong analgesia or locally applied treatment such as cold compresses. Hypertensive crises are treated with drugs. Antivenom is the specific treatment combined with supportive measures in patients with cardiovascular toxic effects or neuromuscular involvement. Although rare, severe hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis to scorpion antivenin are possible. 
     The deathstalker scorpion possesses one of the most potent venoms of any scorpion on earth. The deathstalker is a species of scorpion that is also known as Israeli or Palestine yellow scorpion, Omdurman scorpion, Naqab desert scorpion and many other colloquial names, which generally originate from the commercial captive trade of the animal. To eliminate confusion, especially important with potentially dangerous species, the scientific name is normally used to refer to them. The name Leiurus quinquestriatus roughly translates into English as "five-striped smooth-tail". Other species are also often referred to as deathstalkers. 
     Certain scorpion toxins are potential immunosuppressants for the treatment of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. A chemical found in the venom of the deathstalker scorpion are under investigation for the treatment and diagnosis of several types of cancer. Venom of other types of scorpians is also under investigation for the development of anti-malarial drugs. Scorpions for use in the pharmaceutical industry are collected from the wild in Pakistan. Farmers are paid about $100 for each 40 gram scorpion and 60 gram specimens are reported to fetch at least $50,000. The trade is reported to be illegal but thriving. 
     Scorpions are found on all major land masses except Antarctica. Scorpions did not occur naturally in Great Britain, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and some of the islands in Oceania, but now have been accidentally introduced in some of these places by human trade and commerce. The greatest diversity of scorpions in the Northern Hemisphere is to be found in regions between the latitudes 23° N and 38° N. Above these latitudes, the diversity decreases, with the northernmost natural occurrence of scorpions being the northern scorpion found in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. Five colonies of scorpions have established themselves in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in the United Kingdom. This small population has been resident since the 1860s, having probably arrived with imported fruit from Africa. This scorpion species is small and completely harmless to humans. At just over 51° N, this marks the northernmost limit where scorpions live in the wild. 

     Today, scorpions are found in virtually every habitat, including high-elevation mountains, caves and intertidal zones, with the exceptions such as the tundra, high-altitude taiga, and the permanently snow-clad tops of some mountains. As regards microhabitats, scorpions may be ground-dwelling, tree-living, rock-loving, or sand-loving. Some species are versatile and found in every type of habitat in Baja California, while others occupy specialized niches.
     Scorpions are also known to glow a vibrant blue-green when exposed to certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light such as that produced by a black light. 
     All known scorpion species possess venom and use it primarily to kill or paralyze their prey so that it can be eaten. In general, it is fast-acting, but as a general rule they will kill their prey with brute force if they can, as opposed to using venom. It is also used as a defense against predators. The venom is a mixture of compounds each not only causing a different effect but possibly also targeting a specific animal. Each compound is made and stored in a pair of glandular sacs and is released in a quantity regulated by the scorpion itself. Of the 1,000+ known species of scorpion, only 25 have venom that is deadly to humans. 
     According to the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health the following steps should be taken to prevent scorpion stings: Wear long sleeves, trousers and leather gloves and shake out clothing and shoes before putting them on. Anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should consider carrying an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen) and should wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and the Ohio River Valley

    Harvey will roll across the Ohio Valley, before racing across the mid-Atlantic states with rain during part of the Labor Day weekend. While Harvey is not expected to bring damage anywhere close to the disaster in Texas, enough rain is likely to fall to bring isolated flash flooding hundreds of miles north of the Gulf of Mexico coast. This is due to its increase in forward speed as it transitions to a tropical rainstorm. Nevertheless, Harvey will remain an efficient producer of rain for several more days, a general 2-4 inches is likely to fall near and just north of its path over the Ohio Valley.
     The Ohio Valley gets a lot of its weather from the Gulf of Mexico during the summer months, but why do these weather patterns race up parallel to the Mississippi River then swing east along the Ohio River?
   Looking at historical tracks of hurricanes shows a connection between hurricanes hitting the Texas Gulf Coast and the Great Lakes region. Hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast in a similar spot to Hurricane Harvey often drift north into Arkansas, Missouri and the Ohio River Valley. The remnants of these hurricanes frequently move into the southern Great Lakes region. The map just below shows all of the tropical systems of any strength to hit the area where Harvey came ashore.
     You can see two common paths of hurricanes making landfall similar to Hurricane Harvey. One path often takes hurricanes westward into west Texas, northern Mexico and New Mexico. There is also a common track that brings remnants into the Ohio Valley and eventually the Great Lakes region. Three former hurricanes took a track through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Centers of former hurricanes tracking into Ohio mean Michigan gets some rain that surrounds the circulation. Notice one tropical system barreled north, right through Michigan.
    Just where is the Ohio Valley? Technically a river valley would just be a few miles wide but we tend to broaden our definition.  As it turns out, that definition is quite broad. The center of the valley is, of course, the Ohio River, but the term encompasses a lot of land north and south of the Ohio and several states, too.
     Loosely defined it includes a good portion of Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, extreme southwestern Pennsylvania, extreme northwestern West Virginia, and down to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The Ohio River stretches nearly a thousand miles from Pittsburgh to its junction with the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. It follows, for the most part, a west-south-westerly course.
     So while the actual river valley may only be a few miles wide, the term encompasses the lower half of the state of Ohio along with much of northern and western Kentucky, southeastern Illinois and southwestern Indiana.
     The Ohio River Valley can affect the weather because weather systems tend to follow the Ohio River Valley. In fact, it seems to be a preferred storm track because it's the path of least resistance and winds can channel into the low area. Moisture associated with the Ohio rRver plays a role in thunderstorms that cross the broad Ohio Valley region.
      Ohio Valley weather is the equivalent of a meteorological Las Vegas with many days a potential crap shoot.  In the Spring there may be three or four days in the 70s and lower 80s interspersed with frost, thunderstorms, flooding, sleet, temperatures in the 30s, more rain, hail, high winds and overnight snow that melts away before noon the next day, and tornadoes.
     In the Ohio Valley, March is always miserable...two fairly pleasant days then the thermometer will start dropping. Then a rain shower that will rapidly deteriorate into a snowstorm, dumping three inches on the area. The following day will feature a wind-chill factor of minus 10. The last week of March features temperatures ranging from 20 to 80. There will be tornado warnings. Some days will be balmy before a cold driving rain sets in.
     In mid-June spring weather will officially arrive in the Ohio Valley and by the end of the month the temperature will hit the 80s or 90s and every day will be hazy, hot, and humid.
     There will be two nice weeks in October sandwiched between lots of rain. November and December will be cold, but usually not too bad. January and February will feature rain, snow, sleet, fog, ice, and an average temperature of 37 degrees, an ideal temperature for spawning 63 different types of viruses. There will be 13 days of sunshine.