Tag Archives: TECHNOLOGY

Mount Storm – Coal & Wind; Side by Side

We were recently in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, near the Virginia and Maryland borders. Driving along US 48 and other highways we were constantly presented with large numbers of wind turbines along the mountain ridges. Actually, we were kind of lost and didn’t expect this much wind energy generation in the mountains of what has always been “coal” country.

Mount Storm Power Station

Amongst all these towers of turbines, we did come across one old fashioned, genuine, smoke-belching, coal-fired generating plant, the generating station at Mount Storm in Grant County, WV.  Mount Storm actually consists of three generating plants that were built in the mid-’60s and early ’70s,  and from day one were very controversial. The power company, Dominion Resources, failed to tell its employees and nearby residents that its smokestacks were polluting the air with toxic wastes such as asbestos. Lots of people were cursed with lung diseases, including mesothelioma before Dominion cleaned up its act.

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Yes Virginia, There Are Still People Using Dial-Up Internet Access

Several weeks ago a fellow on Facebook was seeking input on what local high-speed Internet ISP services were available, he was still using telephone dial-up. Almost instantly my eyes bugged out and my ears rang with the memories of 56K squealing as they strained to make a connection to AOL (America Online) or some other provider.

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Tanks, Cars, SUVs, Robots, and Steam Drills

I’m sure those who work at the Lima, OH tank factory were happy to see their jobs saved. But economically speaking, everyone needs to remember that jobs building military hardware are in no way as economically valuable in the long-haul as nongovernmental jobs.
Those lost private industry jobs making consumer products at Lordstown, Ohio were far more important than those jobs saved at Lima. Every car made at GM plants affects the economy in every corner of the nation. The same is simply not true about rebuilding a decades-old war machine. And for Trump to put any part of the blame on the closing of Lordstown on union workers is simply assinine.

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The Not So Happy History Of Our Early Home Videos

Brownie 8mm movie camera.

Some of you may recall that at one time the only option we mortals had for home movies was an 8mm silent camera. Other than being the only option, the product sucked. All the neighborhood kids running round in blurry, grainy, flickering black and white globs of motion and dust.

Then came Super 8mm cameras and the quality became… I haven’t a clue. Other than costing more money I can’t say much more without Googling.

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Happy Birthday to the WWW

It was in March of 1989 that some in the world became aware of what is now a part of most people’s world, the World Wide Web. The joining together of millions of computers all over the world to facilitate the exchange of information. Its effects have been enormous ranging from vast social changes to revolutions in how we learn, how we spend our free time, how medicine is practiced,  how business is conducted, and so very much more. Just think, thirty-years ago there wasn’t an app for anything! Today, in this era of omnipresent smartphones, there is hardly a person who doesn’t have the WWW at the swipe or tap of a finger or two.

Eisenhower Told Us But We Didn’t Listen

Back in the 1950s president Eisenhower warned the nation about the dangers of the Military-Industrial Complex; the ever more powerful relationship between those who make the weapons of war and those who buy and use them. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to Ike’s warning and the MIC is more powerful than ever.

I recently heard an economist state that the cost of Medicare for All could be covered if we ever got serious about reigning in our military budget. America currently spends more on its military that of the world’s nations combined.

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Ham Radio is Still on the Air

When I was a very young child a railroad conductor gave my dad a copy of his QSL card to give to me. This is a special postcard that contains all the personal information about a licensed amateur radio operator, better known as a ham. It has his name, address, and most importantly, his call sign.

From the moment dad gave me this man’s QSL I became interested in international communications. The idea of listening to and maybe talking with people around the world fascinated me. The easiest and cheapest way to get started was by making your own crystal radio set out of some telephone wire and an oatmeal tube. The next step was saving your paper route money and buying a shortwave receiver kit from Allied Electronics in Chicago.

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Two Samsung Smartphones for Sale

I’ve got two Samsung smartphones left over from upgrades. Both are in great shape and will provide many years of service.

SAMSUNG EXPRESS 3, Model SM-J120A:

Android 6.0.1. Made to work on AT&T 4G LTE network. It may be unlocked but I can’t remember. Not under contract and in near new condition. I don’t have any of the original paperwork but will provide a wall charger and charging cable. The battery was replaced with last 6 months. Buyer will have to take it to AT&T agent for sims card and activation. Will work on pay to go plans. Asking $60.00 cash only local pickup only. I live near Petersburg, OH. Click HERE for full specifications.

SAMSUNG GALAXY GRAND PRIME, Model SM-G530A

Android 5.1.1. This is leftover from an upgrade and is in great condition. It is a 4G LTE phone and works on AT&T plans, including pay as you go. Comes with owner’s manual, and an unused wall charger and charging cable. Asking $60 cash only and local pickup and my home near Petersburg. Click HERE for complete specifications.

Walls, Drugs, Drones and Folly

Yesterday I did a little Googling about using drones to get up and over border walls and I didn’t have to dig too far to learn that the technology exists to inexpensively smuggle large amounts of drugs into America via an air force of drones.

Drones vary widely in both price and payload. A few thousand dollars on Amazon will buy one a drone capable of carrying a payload of 12 kg. At an average street price of $200 a gram in the US a 12 kg cargo could be valued at as much as $2.4 million. For several thousand more one could buy a drone with a cargo capacity of 660 pounds. You do the math and don’t forget such a drone may be able to smuggle a couple of people over a wall.

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My First Cell Phone

These days just about everyone has a cell phone and almost everyone who has a cell phone has a smartphone. I don’t know when you purchased your first cell phone but I got mine sometime in the mid to late 1980s and it was a “bag phone.” I don’t recall the brand but I had to drive to Dayton to purchase it and it worked on the Cingular network. I did a lot of weekend traveling back then and thought it would make things safer for me. While I never had to use it to get me out of trouble I did have occasions to call 911 for others.

The battery, antenna, and the phone were stored in a bag and to charge it you plugged it into your car’s cigarette plug. Not very portable but you could throw its strap over your shoulder and you were free…until the battery wore down.

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It’s a New World That’s Coming

By the spring of 1969 I had two more classes to take to fulfill my requirements. I needed to take public speaking and a literature elective. Public speaking was required of all students seeking a career in teaching. I was so fearful of it I put it off till the very end. Turned out I feared for not, I loved it.

The literature class I decided on was Science Fiction Literature. Both classes were summer classes and I quickly learned that Catholic nuns went to school in the summer and they were serious about getting all the As. The other lesson was that literature teachers who are serious fans of Sci-Fi also take summer classes.

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Guns and What I Won’t Do

When I was a kid my uncle Homer owned a single shot, bolt-action, J.C. Penny .22 rifle. I would often borrow it and go “plinking” at a trash dump on Wolf Rd. Firing the weapon required opening the chamber with the bolt lever, inserting a cartridge, closing the chamber, and cocking the rifle by pulling back a firing pin mechanism. Very simple, very reliable, very accurate, and very very slow.

Some years ago I traded for a Remington semi-automatic .22 rifle with a tubular magazine that held maybe 10 rounds of long-rifle ammo. The rifle required one trigger pull per round but you could very rapidly empty the magazine. Reloading was pretty slow, nothing like ripping out an empty clip and slamming a full one in.
I’m not sure I ever fired this weapon and later gave it to my grandson along with a .22 nine-round revolving target pistol.

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War is Hell and Weapons Ain’t Cheap

The reigning Commander in Chief just ordered his first military action in which a highly trained Navy Seal was killed along with possibly 20 Yemeni children, one a US citizen. The Trump administration, denying what many military people are saying, is claiming the missions goals were entirely reached and the effort a total success.

For the moment I’ll let people who know better than me to sort it all out. One thing that did catch my attention, however, was the cost of the V-22 Osprey that was lost. Years ago I took my history students to the Air Force Museum in Dayton and noticed that each example of military plane carried a notation about what the government paid for each of those planes. The Wright Flyer was the first and it may have cost $1.98 each. The last plane I recall was the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter which the government paid over $400 million each for the first ones it purchased. Walking through this history of escalating cost provided a number of lessons for my students.

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Wanna Visit Your Favorite DJ Trump Lie?

A couple of years ago I became aware of an organization called the Internet Archive. It is a repository of just about everything that’s been posted to the Internet since www was just a w. It is a favorite research tool for political reporters in their quest to keep the politicians honest.

Yesterday I received a message about the IA making available a growing collection of all the things Donald Trump has said since he rode that escalator to the ground floor of the Trump Tower to announce that most Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers. That certainly wasn’t the first lie Trump told but it’s a good place to begin.

I’ll provide the link to the site but first I just want to say that each statement has been independently fact checked by one of the major fact checking sites that exist today.

Click the button to see Trump’s lies.

NOTE: You may notice at the top of IA’s page they are halfway there to raise $5 million. The purpose is to create a mirror of their servers in Canada out of fear that Trump will attempt to shut their American site down. 

5G

FASTER & FASTER: Most of you own a smartphone and most of you probably are enrolled in a 4G LTE data plan. While 4G is fast 5G will soon be knocking on the door and it’s lightning. I just read that 5G could download the entire collection of Simpson episodes in the time it took to watch a single episode. You’re going to begin hearing about it but don’t expect to have it for a couple more years.