More Junkmail from Bob!June, 19, 2003
I had a computer problem. Yeah, I know, it's a common malady. But if you tried to subscribe or unsubscribe from Junkmail in the past 10 days or so, there's a good chanced your request is stuck in cyberspace geosynchronous orbit and I'll never see it. Try it again -- I think I got rid of the wormholes.
Lewis and Clark by Air
One year and one day ago, my brother Mike and I flew our Aircam...
...into the Claremore Airport. As usual, Mike was cold. A couple of weeks before, we had taken off from Claremore for St. Louis. We followed the Lewis and Clark trail from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean. We took a few thousand pictures.
In a Junkmail last summer I mentioned the trip, and even mentioned the possibility of a book. We got a round tuit, and we've officially written a book called "Lewis and Clark by Air." It has about 600 pictures of the trail as it is today, together with descriptions of those same places that Lewis and Clark wrote almost 200 years ago.
I listed to the book Krakatoa on CD the other day. That was a really impressive volcano that erupted in 1883. The book is pretty interesting. Here's Krakatoa (or Krakatau) today:
There have been a couple of other volcanoes in the past 200 years that were bigger. Tambora erupted in April 1815, and as a result of the sulfur and ash in the upper atmosphere, it reduced the global temperature so much that they called 1816 the "year without a summer."
Here's a satellite photo of Tambora today:
Novarupta, now in Katmai National Park, Alaska, blew its top in 1912. This site has a Novarupta picture and description from 1915 and 1916.
Mr. Griggs, who led that expedition, named the area the "Valley of 10,000 Smokes," because of all the steam vents after the eruption.
There are a lot of volcanoes along the Aleutians.
Indonesia has a similar line of volcanoes where the tectonic plates fight with each other.
Today there's quite a bit of ash in Indonesia, but from fires rather than volcanoes. This satellite picture of Indonesia was taken about 10 days ago. You can see the gray smoke under the clouds. The red dots have been placed where there are fires.
This spring the Chikurachki Volcano was erupted in the Kuril Islands, a little south of Kamchatka, Russia. If the Kurils sound familiar, it's probably because Russia and Japan have been arguing over ownership of the islands for most of the past 150 years. Russia has owned the islands since World War II, unless you ask Japan, in which case Russia is illegally occupying the Japanese islands.
Here are a couple of satellite pictures of Chikurachki. I left them at higher resolution so you can see the details.
The NASA Natural Hazards site has some really interesting stuff. Here's a giant dust storm in Western China last April.
Here's some information on the satellites used for looking down to earth. At least the ones used for scientific purposes. I think France, Russia, and the U.S. have some pretty good earth-viewing satellites for military use.
Kill the Komputers!
U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch is interested in destroying anybody's computer who illegally downloads and uses copyrighted material, after two warnings. Some computer people are getting all riled up over this.
My first thought, when I read this, was how idiotic it was. But then I considered the source -- a politician -- and it seemed par for the course. Then I got to thinking that it might be fun. I've always been afraid to hack into anybody's computer, because "they" would likely make an example out of me and throw me in jail since I have a couple of computer science degrees and I'm allegedly old enough to know better.
But Orrin's law would turn me loose! I could write a program, release it for download (http://download.com.com/3000-2191-10201134.html, for example), then hack into anybody's computer I thought might be violating the license. Orrin's law could be a lot of fun!
One thing is pretty funny about all this. Orrin Hatch himself is guilty of copyright violation on his web site. Or at least he was yesterday. I guess he probably hurried out and bought a license for the illegal menu system from Milonic Systems that is used throughout his web site. Does this mean I can hack into and destroy Orrin's computer?
I suspect Orrin Hatch is more guilty of ignorance than copyright violation, but he wants my computer destroyed whether I'm ignorant or malicious. I think he should set an example for us all:
A couple of weeks ago, Verizon was forced to release the identity of two musical file swappers.
It has not been determined whether the two evil computerists will be tried as terrorists, held as enemy combatants in Guantanamo Bay (http://www.gtmo.net/), or merely have their computers destroyed.
Actually, the RIAA is just writing them nasty letters.
Then they'll smash the computers.
Read the Directions!
Last January a plane crashed in South Carolina, killing 21 people. The NTSB decided the plane crashed because the elevator control cable was set wrong, the plane was overweight, and the center of gravity was too far aft.
Two days before the crash, a new mechanic was adjusting the cable tension on the elevator and skipped a few steps that he thought unnecessary. As a result, the elevator wouldn't move far enough forward to keep the plane under control in the out-of-balance situation during takeoff.
The NTSB also decided that people are 21 lbs. heavier today than they were 8 years ago, and they carry heavier bags. The airlines are going to have to use new figures when they calculate weight and balance.
Safe and Secure
Earlier this month a security screener at the Portland, Oregon airport was looking through a lady's purse and managed to sneak $1,300 from her purse. Airport security cameras didn't cover it. Luckily, the lady's husband caught it with his camcorder. I feel safer now.
Fund Raising in NYC
New York City has a budget deficit. New York City cannot print money and it's hard for them to raise $3,800,000,000 to cover their bills, so they got the police to give out more tickets. Since a lot of New Yorkers don't drive, the police have to get a little creative sometimes. For example, they've been giving tickets for unlawfully feeding pigeons and unauthorized use of milk crates.
The police union even came out with an ad campaign saying all the tickets are due to city hall and not the policemen.
They have a long way to go. It will take more than 23 million $161 milk carton tickets to close the city budget deficit. I predict New York City will be asking for more federal anti-terrorism dollars to make up the difference.
RFIDs -- Coming to a Store Near You
Both Walmart and Microsoft are backing RFIDs to track merchandise, making it a safe bet that we'll see the new tracking devices before long. Or we won't see them, since they're about the size of a large grain of sand.
Microsoft has been criticized for years for writing software with security flaws that provide computer viruses the means to communicate, propagate, and desecrate. The Bugbear virus is a good example:
Wired Magazine even published source code from the Slammer virus. I couldn't find it online, but Information Week was complaining about it.
Rather than fixing the security problems, Microsoft plans to come out with anti-virus software!
Actually, Microsoft probably plans to fix whatever security problems it can AND sell the antivirus software.
Even More Spam
Microsoft is getting into the anti-spam business. It makes sense. If massive amounts of people stop using computers because they get massive amounts of rude spam, then Microsoft could lose massive amounts of potential profits.
Microsoft sued 13 spammers in the U.S., and 2 in the U.K. Orrin Hatch asked Bill Gates if he could take a pickaxe to the spammers' computers.
Here's the official Microsoft party line:
The U.S. Senate is getting closer to anti-spam laws:
The penalties so far don't include computer demolition.
Need a fast car? Start with an F104 Starfighter.
Netscape has stopped this practice and say they have done nothing wrong, but they are paying the State of New York $100,000 anyway. Maybe it's for feeding squirrels without a license.
Pictures of Today!
There are a lot of pictures today. First, the Grand Canyon:
A Grand Canyon flower.
A Grand Canyon cicada. These are smaller than normal Oklahoma cicada's, and they click rather than buzz. There were a lot of them around the south rim 2-3 weeks ago.
One of them stowed away in the plane. I expect we'll have millions of them in Oklahoma now.
This is California Condor number 32. It was raised in captivity, and wasn't afraid of people. A mule had fallen off the edge a few days before, and the condors were capitalizing on the free food.
Here's what William Clark said about the California Condor in October, 1805.
"This day we saw some of the large buzzard. Captain Lewis shot at one. Those buzzards are much larger than any other of their species or the largest eagle. They are white under part of their wings."
The Grand Canyon is made up of red sandstone. Some nefarious geologists apparently sneaked in and put some quartz into the sandstone here:
More Grand Canyon:
A June Snowstorm headed into Colorado:
The next morning:
At the top of Quandary Peak, Colorado:
Up the South Fork Lake Creek, Colorado. That is a really strange name for a creek.
The top of Mount Guyot, near Breckenridge. I went about half way up this part before I chickened out. Someone else was braver than me. (And the snow was more solid when they went up.)
And finally, a rainbow last week near Breckenridge:
(e) 1815, no rights deserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of this fine piece of junk, whether digital, analog, or paper, will probably not result in Orrin Hatch destroying your computer.
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