Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Is it me, or is NASA clueless about muddy tracks?

Seems funny that the scientists at NASA haven't picked up on obvious clues showing that mud is what is causing the wheel problems on one of the Mars rovers. (I don't have a civil engineering degree, but all my experience with similar appearing environments here point to the obvious.) There's a nice muddy dirt clod fouling the wheel. With all that science and engineering, you think they'd have at least one person with a decent understanding of hydrology and/or geomorphology in relation to surface soil behavior. But nope, they're still moping around thinking that Mars is a perfectly bone dry world. Compared to Earth, Mars is indeed dried up (no large surface lakes or oceans) - but by no means bone dry. There are plenty of signs of soil water, puddles of standing water, and water caused erosion. It's a damp red clay permafrost mudball. The next probe they send should have instrumentation needed to fully evaluate soil moisture content.

This is a good sign for anyone interested or advocating the colonization of Mars. If the soil is indeed as sticky with moisture as it appears to be, then there should be enough water in the dirt to support a colony with a decent supply of potable water.

Anyhow, if you don't believe me - take a look at NASA's latest rover images showing tracks and mud stuck to the wheels. Or take a look at xenotech's website, he's been cataloging the stuff in detail. (He's even got a case going that Mars could be considered Earth's twin that ended up stillborn in the precambrian era as its atmosphere faded away.)

Monday, August 28, 2006


Blah blah blah... It's raining outside.

The hunt for work continues. No luck so far. Three or four placement agencies, but no replies. You think someone would be able to help find a job. Even if it's not graphic arts, I can type in excess of 45 wpm, so even data entry would be ok as a stopgap standby. But nope, no call back as of yet. What also sucks is when you see a help wanted somewhere and go to fill out, but they direct you to a corporate website. Then you never hear back again. I wonder how many others are among the uncounted unemployed like myself. I have a feeling that with the apparently slow hiring rate, the 5% unemployment here in the states is half actual unemployment when people who don't qualify for unemployment assistance but are still looking are counted. If unemployment were really low, employers would be willing to take more risks. Guess what? They're not, and it sucks when your trying to change careers and don't have any experience yet.

It's actually cooler outside than indoors for a change. So fall might kick in a little earlier than usual this year. If it were nice out, I'd really consider riding my bike. But it's not, and I'm not exactly in the mood to get drenched and/or plastered with mud from the trails... Bleh...

I guess I could go over to warpaint and practice drawing with the tablet again. Either that or screw off playing Total Annihilation or Battlefield 1942 Desert Combat mod. (Fun, even if not productive.) :p

Friday, August 11, 2006


War against tourism, what's next? Gastroscopy?

Leave it to those crazy muslim "suiciders" to ruin the likelyhood of enjoying any self brought beverages onto aircraft. But there might even be a worse yet situation...

Supposedly drug smugglers have used the technique of using a balloon or a condom to smuggle contraband in their stomachs. Now what exactly is there to keep these insane no-holds-barred fundamentalist extremists from applying this little bit of knowledge to their evil tradecraft? Really, is there anything?

I doubt the traveling public is really willing to go through a gastroscopic inspection before boarding their flight. It's bad enough as it is now. What will people do when it gets to that point?

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Powerhouse Museum and Vestas wind turbine

Some more pics of things along my bicycle ride that don't involve the growing of illegal but otherwise harmless weed. lol... (Probably not any worse than alcohol or tobacco, but that's politics for ya.) I thought it's funny that it's grown openly along a public right of way, yet the big deal in the local papers is about another crop hidden in the middle of boggy and mostly inaccessable wetlands. Anyhow...

First pic is the Powerhouse Museum. Once used as a promotional (or educational, if you believed everything they said) tool for Commonwealth Edison. However it is now closed down. Supposedly this is due to the proximity to the nuclear plant. The official reason it was closed is that it presented a problem to the security perimeter in a post 9/11 world. My unofficial reason (just as likely) is that it didn't do anything for the bottom line of Excelon shareholders, and wasn't all that great of a promotional tool (served too small a community.) Oh well... It was neat when it was up and running though.

The next pic is the Vestas wind turbine adjacent to the Powerhouse Museum. It was a part of a working display that logged the kilowatts produced and put on the grid. Clean energy, and probably didn't kill all that many birds along a migratory flyway. (At least not the ones with any common sense.) Now it's just sitting idly by with the rotor locked and feathered in place, thus not spinning like it once did. From appearances, it wouldn't take much to put the unit back into productive operation. If I won the lotto, I'd try buying it from them and carting it off to my estate or something. It should be plenty able to keep a house or two nicely powered while off-grid.


So-called "Wildflowers" of the McClory Trail...

Just some photos from this evening's bicycle ride along the McClory Trail in Zion/Beach Park, IL.
First there's the Entrance to the trail from 33rd Street.

Next, there's the sign that establishes that the trail right of way belongs to the Lake County Department of Transportation. So maybe the jurisdiction doesn't belong to Zion or Beach Park?

Now this picture illustrates the "wildflower" plantings along the McClory Trail as you head south towards Wadsworth Rd. The areas planted are the circles without the grey-tint.

Here's one of the so-called "wildflower" plantings. At first it seemed to start out as an innocuous mix of prarie tallgrasses and other plants, but over time it seemed that a particular variety of plant has come to dominance as other species appeared to be thinned out.

Here's a picture illustrating the sod-mesh from the "wildflower" planting. These crops are not mowed down, and are apparently maintained by Lake County Dept. of Transportation employees. The easements on the sides of the trail are mowed, but not the planting areas. Also it seems perculiar that a particular variety of "wildflower" is being cultivated beyond all the others. This is done on the Lake County taxpayer dollar.

And here's the Wadsworth Road trail bridge. Well, somebody's definitely getting their wad's worth.

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