April 11, 2017
The 14th Factory
This is their trademark (I guess) which I read as "nine gamma," but that makes no sense, not even in context, so I don't know its significance.
To Report Graffiti In Joshua Tree National Park: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joshua Tree National Park as well as many other parks across the country, has experienced a notable increase in visitation in recent years. With that increase also means an increase of graffiti and acts of intentional vandalism within the park. Superintendent David Smith says, “99% of visitors are respectful and truly appreciate the pristine scenery the park has to offer. Unfortunately there are visitors who feel it necessary to damage what Mother Nature has produced."
The park, in its efforts to more closely monitor and mitigate graffiti, is asking for the public’s help and providing some easy ways for visitors to aid in the process. Park officials ask visitors to report incidents of graffiti that they encounter to a new email address, email@example.com. In addition, new graffiti reporting forms will be available at park visitor centers and entrance stations. Keep in mind, when reporting graffiti; to provide a good, detailed description of the location. Photos and GPS coordinates are also very helpful in order to insure a quick response.
Joshua Tree National Park is a magical and unique landscape. Your vigilance and taking a few moments to report graffiti that you happen upon will insure that the park stays that way.
April 5, 2017
The 14th Factory Videos
April 4, 2017
Burning Man Census 2016
The Black Rock City census for 2016 has been released. I suspect the results are not accurate because completion of a census form is entirely voluntary and, I imagine, birgins are more likely to fill one out than veterans. But the BRC census people insist they know their statistics and can correct for the sampling bias. Maybe they are right. Anyway, I want to point out just a few of the interesting bits in the census that I noticed.
- 39.3% of the Burners in 2016 were birgins, which is consistent with prior years. 4.2% had been to Burning Man 8 to 10 times...that includes me.
- Only 1.3% of Burners were under age 20.
- 72.5% of Burners had attended college.
- 3.4% had an income above $300,000.
- The median household income (back in the default world) was $94,200.
- 56.8% male, 41.4% female, 1.8% fluid/both/neither.
- 8.8% said they were sexually attracted to either mostly or exclusively the same sex. 7.8% identify as gay or lesbian. (I thought it would be higher).
- 35.9% were not in a committed personal relationship (i.e., married or something like that).
- 1.1% of Burners identified themselves as black. 4.3% as Hispanic/Latino. (I thought it would be higher).
- 6.7% reside in Canada; 5.5% in Europe.
- In the U.S. 48.5% of Burners resided in California. New York was the second most popular state of residence at 8.1%. Nevada was 5.7%, in 4th place behind Washington.
- Only 2.8% named Spanish as their primary language, while 3.7% claimed French! 2.2% Russian.
- 46.5% "spiritual, not religious." 24.8% atheist (hoo boy!). 14.7% agnostic. 6.1% "religious." (I had no idea!)
- Breaking it down by religious denomination shows Burners were 7% Catholic, 2.6% Protestant, 6.4% Jewish, 4.6% other Christian, Buddhist 1.9%.
- 89.6% arrived at the gate by motor vehicle. 1.1% flew into the landing strip.
- 18.8% came in an RV (I thought it would be higher). 47.3% arrived by car, pickup truck or SUV. 0.8% came in a semi with trailer.
- Most popular reason to come to Burning Man? Survey says "To see/experience the art" at 62.5%! 3.7% said it was to consume intoxicants. "Bucket list" was 10.2%. "To grow or connect spiritually" was 21.6%
- 91.8% said they enjoyed Burning Man either "extremely" or "a lot." 0.1% said "not at all."
- 94.4% absolutely or probably intend to come back. 0.4% said they would absolutely not be back.
- 81.6% sort their trash at Burning Man.
- Power sources include batteries (54.1%), a camp generator (46%), solar (40.1%). 4.3% get it from the Black Rock City grid. Burning Man, using diesel generators, supplies electricity via buried cables to a few select camps and installations...how did you think they got the lights on the Man to work?
- 64.3% were in a placed (i.e. theme) camp.
- 52.6% of those not in placed camps said they chose their location based just on where they could find space.
- 34.7% were in camps with a population of 50 to 199.
- 32.6% came with at least one family member.
- 28.4% stayed in an RV or camper-trailer. I guess it just seems like there are more RVs than that because each one takes up so much more space than a tent.
- 66.7% spent $1000 to $5000 on Burning Man, exclusive of ticket price.
- On average, each Burner spent $635 in Nevada, mostly on food and lodging. 0.9% spent more than $5000 in Nevada.
- 39.4% got a ticket in an open sale from Burning Man. 3.1% got their ticket from a stranger.
- 2.5% paid more than face value for a ticket. 1.7% paid less than face value and 7.8% received theirs as a gift.
March 31, 2017
Mountain View Mausoleum
In early March I went on a tour of Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena. This is part of Mountain View Cemetery, but separated from it by a road.
A Spanish-American war veteran.
June 4, 1898, [Dr. Schuyler C. Graves] was appointed, by President McKinley, as major and brigade surgeon, to serve, during the recent war with Spain, in the First brigade, Third division, Fourth army corps, on the staff of Brig-Gen. Jacob Kline, and did duty at Tampa and Fernandina, Fla., and at Huntsville, Ala., and then, hostilities having come to a lull, was granted a leave of absence, after which he was honorably discharged from service.
March 29, 2017
Good Nude Bowl Video
March 15, 2017
All Of MST3k
Here are reviews and a ranking of all 176 episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Here's the #1 episode:
1. Ep. 910, The Final Sacrifice, 1990
Movie pain meter: Low
Best riff: Troy, to grizzled old prospector: “You knew my father?” Servo: “KNOW him? He was delicious!”
We’re finally here: The #1 episode of MST3k of all time. If you’ve actually been reading this piece from start to finish, the quality of the light outside has almost certainly changed since you begun. Perhaps you started before lunch, and the sky is now purpling with a beautiful sunset: The kind of sunset that Zap Rowsdower would stare into pensively, while thinking “I wonder if there’s beer on the sun.” Yes, that’s the name of our Canadian hero: Zap Rowsdower. The dumbest, and thereby most unforgettable name in cinema history. He teams up with a young, snarling-faced kid named Troy to take on an evil cult that wants to revive an ancient, powerful Canadian lost civilization that “ruled this one acre for a week; nobody knew.” The dynamic between the Larry Csonka-worshiping, irritating Troy, who is searching for the cause of his father’s death, and the beer-swilling drifter Rowsdower is the stuff of MST3k legend. Every minute of screen time is packed to the gills with more memorable moments than you can possibly summarize, from eye-rolling “Canadian villain Garth Vader” to grizzled old prospector Mike Pipper, whose tortured voice is a source of constant riffing. It showcases the incredibly obscure, geeky sense of humor that is at the heart of this show, such as Servo’s comparison of Pipper to Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. I mean honestly—what show has both the knowledge and the faith in its audience to make jokes about Ethiopian history? What show on TV, before or since, has had such depth and breadth to its sense of humor, and drawn on so many different influences? What other show can make you laugh so hard, but simultaneously teach you so much, and give you a greater appreciation for cinema itself?
That’s why MST3k is the greatest TV comedy of all time. And by extension, I suppose that makes The Final Sacrifice the greatest TV comedy episode of all time. Long may it reign.
March 13, 2017
Joshua Tree Moonrise
I shot this in Joshua Tree National Park this past Saturday. When you buy (and register) a GoPro camera, you get access to GoPro's library of royalty-free music, including the over-wrought stuff you hear in a lot of GoPro videos. So I thought it might be fun to waste some of that here.
March 9, 2017
The End Of Medbox
Faithful readers will surely recall my earlier posting about the marijuana vending machine by Medbox. Now it seems it was all a stock scam. They settled with the SEC for $12 million. Now the litigants are in line for their take.
March 8, 2017
The IKEA $500 Bicycle
The author, who doesn't sound real handy, finished assembly in only 67 minutes. One presumes he did this without yelling at his kids or kicking the dog.
- 33 pounds
- Has a kickstand
- Disc brake on the front!!
- Coaster brake on the rear!!
- Belt drive
- Two speeds, but that doesn't matter because it shifts automatically and the rider has no control over it
- Rear rack is $25 extra
- Front basket (partly made with bamboo) is $35
- All the prices are lower if you have an IKEA Family card, which you can get from a vending machine near the entrance. Bike $399, rear rack $20, front basket $25
- They will also sell you a pannier (one) for $30 ($20) in either brilliant yellow, black or purple.
Looks like it should be a good Burner bike.
Tesloop - Palm Springs to Las Vegas
March 7, 2017
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
The recent weekend that I was camping at Tecopa with Great Outdoors, some of us took a trip to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, which is in Nevada, not far from Death Valley Junction, California. My goal was to see the (somewhat) famous Devil's Hole. While the refuge is managed by US Fish and Wildlife Service, Devil's Hole, which was protected well before the refuge was created, is managed by the National Park Service. Devil's Hole is the only place to find Devil's Hole pupfish. There are less than 200 of them living there. There are other isolated bodies of water in the refuge that also host their own unique varieties of pupfish.
No one has found the bottom of Devil's Hole, if there is one. Divers have disappeared down there. The natives believed that Devil's Hole created earthquakes all around the world. Today's science has shown that in reality Devil's Hole is super-sensitive to earthquakes around the world. A well known instance of this was demonstrated in 2012 when there was an earthquake in Oaxaca, 1900 miles away, on March 20. Here's a video of what happened at Devil's hole 13 minutes after the quake (the shockwave had to travel at 8,770 MPH - the speed of sound in air is only 767 MPH):
Devil's Hole was most recently in the news due to a few people trespassing and vandalizing it in April 2016. Here's the security video. According to our docent at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, the men attempted to disable all the security cameras, but obviously missed some. Once the reward for information was increased to $25,000 a friend of the men came forward to identify them. DNA left by the men in their vomit, on their beer cans and discarded underwear(!) cinched identification. Besides all their damage to the habitat, they did kill at least one pupfish which is a federal felony. One of the men was an ex-felon, so he could also be charged for possessing a firearm. I haven't been able to find any information on what they were finally convicted of and the sentences given, so maybe the case is still not completely settled.
To my complete surprise, rather than being isolated on a barren desert, Ash Meadows NWR is a wet and almost lush landscape where the Devil's Hole is located. I never heard the word "endemic" used so often with this meaning: "restricted or peculiar to a locality or region endemic diseases an endemic species." From Wikipedia:
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge was established to provide and protect habitat for at least twenty-six endemic plants and animals, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. Four fish and one plant are currently listed as endangered species.
The concentration of locally exclusive flora and fauna distinguishes Ash Meadows is the greatest concentration of endemic biota in any local area within the United States. It has the second greatest local endemism concentration in all of North America.
A new city that was proposed for development in what is now Ash Meadows NWR. The predicted population of the city would have drained the aquifer there, destroying all of the springs and killing most of those endemic species, including pupfish.
A video of one of several streams that flow continuously in the Ash Meadows NWR. Water from the refuge drains to the Amargosa River which drains into Death Valley, where it goes no further, of course.
March 6, 2017
P-45: The Studly Mountain Lion King of Malibu
Here's a really interesting New Yorker article about the mountain lions of the Santa Monica Mountains which run from Malibu to Griffith Park. The highways have isolated this area, in terms of mountain lions traveling. P-45, however, was able to cross a highway to get into this genetic island and sow his genes. The article describes the isolation of the mountain lions which may result in their extinction (in the Santa Monica Mountains) within 50 years...which is why a land bridge is going to be built in Agoura Hills.
On this map you can see the underpass at Liberty Canyon that they believe P-45 may have used to get across the 101 and into the Santa Monica Mountains. You can see there are gaps in the residential developments there that would allow a mountain lion to pass through without having to deal directly with humans. This is where the land bridge will be built.
February 28, 2017
Amargosa Opera House & Death Valley Junction
I was camping with Great Outdoors at Tecopa Hot Springs this past weekend. One day we took a little drive up to Death Valley Junction to see the Amargosa Opera House. My first visit there. Read all about the opera house and hotel here. Marta Becket died January 30, 2017, at age 92.
February 19, 2017
OMG! OMG! OMG!
The Broad Museum
The Nazis by Piotr Uklański
These are photographs of actors who played Nazi officers.
The Broad Museum Lobby. The stack of giant plates is simply No Title by Robert Therrien. I think I could come up with a name easily.
The Broad provides two windows through which you can view their storage area. I've never heard of something like this before. This is the first time I've seen museum storage. I overbrightened this photo to bring out details in the shadows.
February 16, 2017
Can You Find The SpaceX Building?
Put on your spectacles!
February 6, 2017
Carjacked 1,200 Pounds Of Marijuana
In Pomona! They were caught when they were spotted from the police helicopter unloading the weed in the "700 block of Washington." So I went to Google maps to look at the aerial view to see if possibly there were other indications.
Planning Commission - January 31, 2017
This was a special meeting of the Planning Commission to deal with the heavy marijuana workload. There are currently only four Planning Commissioners. Those two statements aren't directly connected. It's city staff that has a heavy marijuana workload and, coincidentally, there are only four commissioners for now.
Basement Cultivation at Green Leaf Wellness
This item was the agenda for the January 10 Planning Commission meeting, but was continued because the owner of the dispensary didn't show up. Now, on January 31, the owner was present.
Commissioner De La Torre asked if the cultivation area in the basement extended under any neighboring business, such as the nail salon. City staff said it did not. Aw, too bad, because when I first saw these plans I could tell that it would extend under the nail salon. When the owner came to the podium he explained that the basement did, in fact, go under the nail spa. The point of that question was to determine whether an additional fire alarm should be installed in the nail salon, in case of a fire in the basement. The owner went on to list security measures he was putting in place, such as hardening the exit doors and installing card readers so he can track every employee who goes into a cultivation room.
Commissioner Cirner asked about ADA compliance. The plans show only two ways to access the basement and both of them are stairways. Rather than answer that question, the owner described more security measures he was putting in place. Mr. Cirner seemed to accept that as an answer. At the end of the meeting I asked Community Development Director Rangel about ADA requirements. His answer was, basically, that full ADA access in this space would be cost prohibitive. Yes, of course, but I didn't know you could compromise on ADA improvements solely because of their cost.
Someone (I could neither see nor hear who) moved to approve with the addition of an alarm in the nail salon connected to the fire detection system in the basement, Mr. Cirner seconded. Approved 4-0.
Tentative Parcel Map by DHS Properties, LLC
This is an empty 14.9 acre lot on Little Morongo Road north of Two Bunch Palms Trail. This tentative parcel map is for condominium purposes for marijuana cultivation. The agenda packet showed the applicant to be DHS Properties, LLC, but staff said the applicant was David Snyder.
The CUP for this parcel was approved in November 2015.
With no discussion or public comments, Commissioner Romero moved for approval, Mr. Cirner seconded, approved 4-0.
Four Parcels on Cabot Road
These four parcels are all adjacent and all will be used for cultivation. But there are two owners and some differences between each parcel, so this item includes FOUR CUPs, two development agreements and one mitigated negative declaration. (No partridges.) The two owners are Cabot Building Partners and DHS Therapeutics. It's on the east side of Cabot Road, a couple of empty lots south of Two Bunch Palms Trail. 6.29 empty acres.
Commissioner Cirner moved for approval with the addition of two lights on poles, seconded by Commissioner De La Torre, approved 4-0.
The entire meeting wrapped up in only 35 minutes.
February 3, 2017
Finnish Motorcycle Chase
Here’s a rare video. It's a police chase (ho hum) but it's motorcycle chasing motorcycle in Finland! With no cuts, this video is almost 34 minutes long, but the first 8 minutes and 15 seconds is nothing but what the cop happened to be doing for the 8 minutes and 15 seconds before he leaped into action. I assume it was a radio call that got him going. I can't see any motorcyclist breaking any obvious traffic rules that would have triggered him. So this video starts at the 8:15 point.
I wish I knew why this guy was being chased. The chase pushes him to make a lot of dangerous maneuvers and the chasing cop copies him in almost every move. Obviously, other people on the road were endangered. But there doesn't seem to be the sort of congestion I'm used to seeing in an American city - neither people nor traffic.
In the video you won't hear the cop relaying his location and direction to dispatch, as you would in America. I don't know of any maneuvers that can be performed by a chasing motorcycle cop to force the other one to stop. Can't do a pit maneuver. So it would seem his only hopes of catching this guy were either he'd run out of gasoline, or he'd make a mistake and crash, or the chased would simply give up, or other police would get ahead of the chase to try to block him off. But help never arrives. At least three times a police van appears ahead of him, sitting in the road. Once it looks like that cop is there only to control traffic while the chase goes through. In the other two appearances, the cops with the vans appear to be doing nothing, but if the chased man wanted to surrender and get a nice ride back to jail, they were there to serve.
Notice the one surprising scene where our cop gets well ahead of the chased, who had stopped in order to avoid an accident. The chased hurriedly gets back into his usual position, even though he had the opportunity there to turn right and go the wrong way on the entrance ramp. That might have given him enough head start to get away.
This is the cop who did the chasing. We don't see him until seconds before the video ends.
I don't want to spoil the ending, but I'll tell you I was surprised at how fast the chased person could run on two legs! He did way better than Americans who try to run from the cops.