April 30, 2008
And Now The Paving Begins
3rd Street got a layer of asphalt today. 1st Street got partially paved, too. It looks like the whole project includes a little widening and curbing on Cactus between 1st and 3rd (a little beyond 3rd, actually) which will be fabulous. I remember my very first night in Desert Hot Springs (it was magical!) and I tried walking down Cactus Drive in the dark. I thought it was nearly impossible, dodging potholes, not tripping on curbs that suddenly moved left or right (like it was Boston, or sump'n), and wondering about the dogs. Now I can negotiate it in the dark quite easily, but I have a good spatial memory. Still, a straightline curb would be nice.
Cut-Rate Marmol Radziner
Marmol Radziner will be launching a new line of prefab homes that will be 20% to 25% less expensive than current models. I never knew the Marmol Radziner was in famed Vernon, California, the industrial city. The linked article has several photos from the factory.
Warning Signs For Parents
Fortunately the parents of 18-year old Ryan Schallenberger had kept themselves fully informed on how to tell when your child may be about to go off the tracks. So, when they picked up the 20 pounds of ammonium nitrate young Ryan had mail ordered they thought it would be a good idea to search his room. That's where they found the cassette tape that he had identified as to be played after his death.
Once law enforcement became involved even more stuff was uncovered and Ryan was arrested. The basic outline of his plan was this:
- Blow up his high school.
- Go to heaven.
- Kill Jesus.
One can readily see that his religious beliefs don't quite match up with any mainstream organized religions.
State Fair Food
I know the food at carnivals and fairs can be bad for you, but even I was shocked at most of the items on this list. Every single one requires deep-frying, of course, except the Kool-Aid Dill Pickles which are probably fat-free. Also, the "Cool Dog" is not deep-fried, and doesn't sound too bad.
A cool dog will quench your hunger for salty and sweet. It's a hot dog that replaces the bun with sponge cake and replaces the weenie with ice cream. The condiments are replaced with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Sounds pretty cool-dog-a-licious.
You probably know that tea is good for you, but we all know that making tea has two gigantic drawbacks:
- You've got to be aware of how long you've kept it steeping, and
- You have to lift the tea (the teabag, whatever) out of the hot water.
Oh, groan, my mind and back are already aching just thinking about all that effort.
TeaCube to the rescue! You attach your tea bag to the plastic clip and stick it all into your hot water. In 3 minutes the TeaCube automatically drags your teabag out of the water. I'm sure that future versions will allow you to customize the steeping time.
Of course, some will thank that sticking a piece of plastic into hot water will not help the flavor at all; and that dragging the teabag up and out of your cup is going to leave a mess.
No word on where to buy this or for how much.
New SunLine Bus Bench
Dodge Brothers -Detroit-U-S-A-
Photo by shadowplay. Click on the photo to read comments discussing what appears to be a Star of David.
Fire in the San Jacinto Mountains
Photo by bossco. This is the view last night from Desert Hot Springs. This morning the Desert Sun is still saying "near Idyllwild" and only 7 acres. I suppose it depends on your definition of "near."
This morning I can see only smoke and can hear the drone of fire fighting aircraft.
April 29, 2008
Ricoh has announced the G600, a water and dust resistant camera in a shock resistant case. You can even take it underwater as far as 1 meter and it will still work. It's got 10 megapixels with a 5x zoom which is equivalent to 28-140 mm. The lens zooms within the body of the camera, so it never sticks out. It's got a "skew correction" mode to correct for parallax, something I've done a few times in Photoshop. It'd be nice to see how well this works in a camera. Price and availability are not stated.
LAPD Packed Solid With The Most Pure-Hearted Race-Blind Humans On This Earth
Honest to gosh, after a thorough, complete and in-depth investigation of every single one of 320 complaints of racial profiling by Los Angeles police in 2007, each complaint has been dismissed, maintaining a perfect record for its sixth year! These fine, super-human officers who must have been the unfortunate victims of 320 instances of misunderstanding, are being wasted by being all concentrated in the LAPD. They should be farmed out to jobs in education, legislative positions and social work so that we can rapidly advance our nation to a glorious future of racial harmony.
1969 Plane Crash Uncovered
Last autumn's Santiago fire uncovered remains from the 1969 crash of a Lockheed SP2E Neptune that had flown out of El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. The bodies of all seven seamen aboard were recovered at the time of the crash, but pieces of the plane have lain under the forest cover until now.
Big Fire on Mt. San Jacinto
I've got no info other than what my own eyes bring me, but there's a big fire on Mt. San Jacinto. It may be above Tahquitz Canyon, but it's almost impossible to say in the dark. I went outside to see why we have a low-flying helicopter hovering in the neighborhood and saw the fire on the mountain. The Desert Sun says this fire started near Idyllwild and had burned only 1.5 acres! Something's not correct in that info, since the fire would have had to travel many miles from Idyllwild to be visible where it is from Desert Hot Springs, so lots more than 1.5 acres have burned. (Google map showing Idyllwild here.)
Oklahoma Passes Law Requiring Women Who Seek Abortions To Be Raped
Overriding the governor's veto, the Oklahoma legislature has passed Senate Bill 1878 which requires that ALL women who request an abortion must first submit to either abdominal or vaginal ultrasound. The woman cannot refuse. The doctor is not allowed to determine which type of ultrasound to use. Only the great state of Oklahoma possesses the omnipotent knowledge to decide.
I have two suggestions, choose either: (1) all fertile women should leave the state of Oklahoma, or (2) abort all the Senators and Representatives who voted to override the governor's veto. Here is the official list of which Representatives voted how on the veto override. And here's how the Senators voted [PDF].
One Key To Unlock Them All
Microsoft has developed a plug-in device that law enforcement can use to override all security in a computer in order to extract forensic data. No longer will police have to turn off a computer, disconnect it and cart it away.
The COFEE, which stands for Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor, is a USB "thumb drive" that was quietly distributed to a handful of law-enforcement agencies last June. Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith described its use to the 350 law-enforcement experts attending a company conference Monday.
The device contains 150 commands that can dramatically cut the time it takes to gather digital evidence, which is becoming more important in real-world crime, as well as cybercrime. It can decrypt passwords and analyze a computer's Internet activity, as well as data stored in the computer.
"More than 2,000 officers in 15 countries, including Poland, the Philippines, Germany, New Zealand and the United States, are using the device, which Microsoft provides free."
The linked article portrays this as an example of public-private partnership to fight crime and enhance internet security. The article says nothing about what, if any, measures have been taken to assure that none of these devices fall into the wrong hands. Yes, so long as all the keys are in the hands of law enforcement personnel we can be sure that they will respect the 4th and 5th amendments, and seek proper court orders as necessary. Ah, but that would be in the United States, wouldn't it? How are these powerful devices being used in Poland or the Philippines? Have the devices been made available to the Chinese?
Another point the article fails to address, is that this device must work only on Windows computers, unless Microsoft has truly godlike powers. This may increase the popularity of Linux and OS X among the criminal/terrorist underworld.
Some of the new sidewalk construction in Desert Hot Springs:
Seen In The Desert
Seven Hours In Fenway Park
Time lapse video using a camera mounted in a corner of Fenway Park. It begins in the afternoon before the game. The camera pans through 90 degrees and an entire ball game before the short film ends after 1 minute and 27 seconds.
Gary Dourdan Busted in Palm Springs
Gary Dourdan (filmography), star of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, was found by Palm Springs police sleeping in a car parked on the wrong side of Sunny Dunes near Gene Autry Trail (i.e., close to Lowe's) at 5:20 AM on Monday. Actually, the linked Desert Sun article says it was on Sunday morning, but every other news source on Earth says it was Monday morning, so we can be pretty sure it was Monday, and I hereby announce yet another charitable fund for the benefit of the Desert Sun. This is the "Buy The Desert Sun A Calendar Or A Watch Or Reading Specs Or Whatever They Need To Know The Day Of The Week." (My other funds are to buy them a compass and a spellchecker).
But back to Mr. Dourdan (or "Durdin," as his driver's license says).
"The officer described Durdin as disoriented and possibly under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs," [Palm Springs police Sergeant] Spike said. "(He) subsequently located suspected cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, miscellaneous prescription drugs and paraphernalia (in the car)."
The Desert Sun says it is not known if Mr. Dourdan was here to enjoy the Coachella music festival. As long as they're naming things they don't know, we could just as easily say we don't know if he was here for the White Party and was so intoxicated he couldn't find his way out of town for two weeks.