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The Fordham Report

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Just a quick update today.  A few important pieces have been making some pretty big movements lately.  Anyone who knows the situation with the house knows we need a roof.  Not just any normal sort of need.  You know the kind where people say, “we need to get the roof replaced…” and really mean, “In a few years we’ll think about the replacing the roof.”  No, we need a roof as in, this year, or by next year we won’t have to go out to the lake to go swimming.  Well, the good news is, we settled on a roofer.  The price is high enough to make your breath catch or the stomach churn, but we expected that with the size of the roof.  We’ve even managed to start the process of going against my better judgement and taking a small home equity loan to pay for it.  All things considered it looks like we’ll be safe and dry by summer… just in time for the rains to start in earnest.

On another note… I suck at archery.  Yesterday we went out to Flint and met up with some great people to practice shooting the recurve and longbows.  Well, it was fun.  It was not however impressive, unless you count how good we are at ensuring the arrow doesn’t hit anything; especially the target.  Every now and again we’d screw up and an arrow would stick in the target, but we’d just suck it up and promise we’d miss it entirely the next time.  Archery is good exercise… especially all the walking looking for the arrows that so deftly avoided the target.  In the end, though, it was fun, and we’ll likely do it again… probably next weekend weather permitting.

Otherwise, that’s about it.

Rain, rain, go away come…  no, that’s it… just go away… we’ve had enough for now.

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The World Health Organisation recently released a report entitled, “Antimicrobial resistance: global report on surveillance 2014″ and you can download the complete report HERE.

This is not the kind of morning coffee drinking news you want to read.  It is the largest and most comprehensive study ever conducted on the emerging crisis of antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as the commonly discussed MRSA (meersa) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.  The study which collected data from 114 countries covered the seven most common bacteria that causes harmful infections from blood poisoning to gonorrhoea.

It found that currently there is a very high incidence of resistant bacteria across the majority of reporting countries.  The following table illustrate:

bacteria_chart2

bacteria_chart2

Those are very scary statistics.  Imagine, if this trend was to continue a world where a child could fall and scrap their knee, contract a resistant form of infection and die.  This from a form of bacteria that not 10 years ago was easily treated.  Worse still is the ramifications for modern medical surgery.  Forget something as simple as a hip or knee replacement, let along open heart surgery or even a routine catheter or angioplasty.  Each of these procedures would carry the very real possibility of death from infection.  Say goodbye to the miracle of modern science and hello to Civil War area medicine.

How could we let it get this bad?  Well, simple… money and stupidity.  Big Pharma likes selling antibiotics.  They sell them to you and me, industrial farming operations, animal feed producers, and any one else willing to pay.  Now a guy called Darwin popularised the concept of evolution.  Well, unlike humans or other animals, bacteria can produce multiple generations at an exponential rate.  Meaning, that for them evolution can occur must faster that in a macro organism, like a bird or fish.  Due to the over exposure to antibacterial compounds these bacteria, which like any other living organism have a deep rooted desire to live, have begun to evolve resistances.  At this point, you’re saying, ok… so we just need new antibiotics, right?  Well, you’d be right… if there were any.

Here’s the big news… no new antibiotics have been developed since 1980.  In 34 years, we’ve invented Viagra, the modern Internet, and “cures” for everything from “restless leg syndrome” to every form of anxiety imaginable, but we’ve only pumped out “new” versions of old antibiotics.  The below chart illustrates.

antibiotics_last_100_years

So… don’t take my word on it.  Read the WHO Report, browse the web, and see what you can do to help prevent the crumbling of the foundation of modern medicine.  Also, take a moment and help “your” political representatives know we need to stop throwing money at the “War on Drugs” and start truly funding the War for Drug (Antibiotics).

 

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Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time to plant.  Well, we’ve started the year off strong.

So far we’ve added:

  • 28 Strawberry
  • 2 Raspberry
  • 4 Currants (2 Black & 2 Red)
  • 2 Blueberry
  • 4 Mulberry
  • 1 Peach
  • 1 Tart Cherry

Not bad for only a month in to Spring.  Outside of the garden, we’d like to add a hazelnut tree, but otherwise I think we’re finally getting to stopping point.  Well, other than a privacy hedge type plant running the length of one side of the property.  But, we’ll get to that.

Anyway, here’s some photos for those that care.

Tart Cherry    Three Planters    Peach Tree

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So.. just a quickie today.  Apparently, some VERY nostalgic people decided it would be worth the time and expense to go dig up some old Atari 2600 cartridges of the popularly dubbed, “worst game ever made.”  Goodness only knows why.  Documentary.. historical value.. nerds.. blah, blah.

Well, it appears that after digging through over 30 years of decomposing rubbish in a New Mexico landfill they managed to uncover some of these things.  Umm.. Good for them?

Too bad for all those collectors out there who had this one as the jewel in their collection.  On the good side, we now have many copies to use as a new form of extraordinary rendition.

More money than sense if you ask me.

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Yep… I’m ok with that.  You know how to close the tab, right?

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“Old School” geeks may be about to introduce a leap in energy storage that has the potential to revolutionise how neighbourhoods get their electricity.  Anyone who has built a solar or wind energy system knows that the some of the biggest cost and most limiting elements are the batteries.  Typically the DIYer will build a bank of deep cycle 12v marine batteries, or go budget and collect old 12v automobile batteries.  These systems have numerous points of failure and limited life as the acidic liquids contained in the batteries lose the ability to “hold a charge.”  On a small scale, most people find a way to make it work, but on a large scale… forget it.

Until now, it seems.  Scientists at Imergy Power Systems have been working on a Vanadium Flow Battery for the last few years and are reportedly close to a fully functional model.  The VFB works by pumping pumping positively and negatively charged solutions of vanadium from storage tanks through a separator tank.  These opposing solution passing by a specially designed plate cause a reaction that creates the electricity.  Well, at least, that the simple, ELI5 (Explain Like I’m 5) version of it.  The big breakthrough, because vanadium can be both positively and negatively charged it doesn’t suffer from the same chemical breakdown as other elements.  This means that this type of battery basically lasts, “forever.”  To increase the capacity, you simply increase the capacity of the storage tanks.

So imagine, your entire neighbourhood powered by a battery that fit in a 40′ shipping container that is charged from solar panels or windmills.  No more fossil fuels, no more power company.  Energy independence.

So how long until the big energy lobby finds a reason to outlaw this?  10…9….

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For those that don’t know, directly below my comments is a little box that says, “Source” and next to that is the names of the publications with the full article.  If you click on the name you can view the original article all my hotair is about.

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Ok… here it is: The End of the Beginning.  Why do I say that, well… this website represents “Personal Blog v 2.0″ for all of those who followed me before.  My last site was starting to show its age and had limited functionality.  This new site… well Hoooo Boy Watch Out!  Its got the links, it has the photos, it can do the fancy polls, it even might even slice, dice, and peel onions if asked nicely.  It even has a real shiny new logo to go with it.  In other words, the older site, The Big Guy, will be retired.  So, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see retained let me know… soon.  Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the new content.

On to the updates.

Things are coming along well here, albeit slow.  With the spring thaw (and what a welcome thing that is) the work has begun.  Plants are being planted, berry boxes are in need of being built, and home improvements are well under way.  We’re also finally getting the much needed quotes to have the roof replaced.  It’s a heck of a big, terrible, expensive job, but it must get done this year.  Unfortunately, there’s no putting it off.

The weather has been one heck of a rollercoaster so far.  Highs around 77 degrees one day, then dropping to 50 degrees the next.  You never know if you need sunblock or a parka.  I guess that’s the Michigan way.

For those that know me, the best news is that I’ve been able to bring the old Harley out of dry dock.  The weather has warmed up enough that I’ve been able to ride quite a bit already.  I’d almost forgotten how much something so simple improves my outlook.

Lastly….

My goal with this new site is to try to be more regular with updates.  I admittedly dropped that ball quite a bit with The Big Guy.  In my defence, there just wasn’t much to say.  However, that is no excuse.  In today’s day and age everyone wants inane updates on most unimportant things, so I will endeavour to provide these on a more regular basis.  I also hope to use this site to showcase more of my projects and activities along with photos.

We’ll see together how long these good intentions last.

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It seems almost ironic that today of all days this new and improved soapbox of mine goes live.  Why you might ask?  Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised since most major news organisations are failing to property cover this historic event.  Well, it’s because today is the day we will find out if the FCC will fail in its duties and allow the destruction of the free and open internet we all know.

Wait! You might be yelling.  “Are they going to take away my Faceyspace?”  Well, no. But they are going to make it so either you, The Zuckerberg, or both will have to pay the ISP a premium to access the website efficiently.  The easiest way to explain this is that as of today you can visit ANY website, at ANY time, and expect to receive about the same speed.  Now imagine if your internet connection was like your cable television connection.  You pay for access to a select menu of channels, but if you want to watch say, that new episode of Game of Thrones, you can’t, because you don’t pay extra for HBO.  That is the future of the internet here in America the cable companies want.  That is what the philosophy of “Net Neutrality” is trying to prevent.

So no, you probably won’t lose access to your social media, you or the developer will just likely have to pay more to keep it.

What does that mean for personal websites or those of small business and start-ups?  Well, it means, “too bad for you!”  These sites will be left with little or no priority over the existing infrastructure, mean that if you can access them at all, they will load very slowly compared to premium content (you pay extra for).  It means that without very deep pockets, companies hoping to complete with the likes of Google, Facebook, or whatnot will run up against an enormous barrier to entry.  The days of rampant internet innovation and competition will likely come to a screeching halt.

How could this happen?  Well, like most things in politics it’s simple: greed.  Money rules the day, and the multi-billion dollar cable conglomerates have a lot of it to throw around.  Worse still, one of their shills managed to get appointed to head the one agency with the mandate to prevent just these kinds of abuses.  The current head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, is a former cable industry lobbyist.  That’s right, he would have been the guy fighting against net neutrality legislation for the cable companies just a few years ago.  I wonder where his loyalties lie?

It’s no wonder that with oversight like this the US was branded an “Enemy of the Internet“.

The biggest shame of all is that all of this could have been avoided.  The NN rules put in place in 2010 were deemed unenforceable because the FCC failed to designate ISP as common carriers.  A simple change that would have ensured the American people free and equal access to one of our nation’s most valuable modern commodities.  Instead, we will likely fall even further behind our “industrialised” nation counterparts as they put in place laws meant to foster innovation and freedom, while we suffer under the rule of the American Oligarchs.

So folks, take a read of the original article here.

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