Wednesday, January 22, 2014

News flash!!!!!! Mini cars are dangerous in crashes!

Just watching CBS News The government runs a crash test on cars - I forget the name of the agency - and of the 11 mini cars ("smart cars") tested, 10 of them were judged unsafe if in an accident. The steering column gets pushed back into the driver and could skewer him or her.

This is news?

Of course, the problem is that the government, rather than insisting that these teeny tiny boxes be kept off the roads, might instead insist that the larger cars, which would run over them, be rejected... if two smart cars ran into each other they'd probably just bounce right off!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Researchers Return to Queen Anne’s Revenge Site


Many unknown treasures and concretion-encased surprises await researchers on the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), near Beaufort. Part two of this year’s dive season resumed this week, and the plan is to recover artifacts from 60 five-foot by five-foot units by October 31. After nearly 300 years on the sea floor, the artifacts often are locked in a concrete-like crust of sand, shells and marine life that is removed during the conservation process.

This summer’s earlier dive ended in mid-June with the recovery of two eight-foot cannons. To date, 15 cannons have been recovered, and six other cannons that then could not be retrieved now await recovery. Plans to lift them in June were upset by unfavorable wind and weather.

“We still hope to recover the other cannons; one is already in place and ready to go,” said Project Director Billy Ray Morris. “We are seeking a vessel to lift the others since the retirement of the R/V Dan Moore, by Cape Fear Community College. It was a wonderful partner with us for many years.” The team will ask the college about use of its new vessel, R/V Hatteras, for further cannon recoveries.

Work will be concentrated in the area just forward of the main pile, running toward the bow of the ship. More than 280,000 artifacts have been recovered, led by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Underwater Archaeology Branch, which administers the site. Full recovery of artifacts is planned in 2014. Many artifacts are displayed in the Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge, 1718 exhibit at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge ran aground in Beaufort in June 1718. Intersal, Inc., a private research firm, discovered the site believed to be Queen Anne’s Revenge Nov. 21, 1996.

QAR was located near Beaufort Inlet, N.C., by Intersal’s director of operations, Mike Daniel, who used historical research provided by Intersal’s president, Phil Masters. Daniel now heads up Maritime Research Institute, the nonprofit corporation formed to work on the project in cooperation with state archaeologists and historians of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The Underwater Archaeology Branch and the N.C. Maritime Museum, within the Division of State History Museums, are part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Archaeology: ancient shipwrecks found off Turkish coast

From ANSAmed:

ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL, AUGUST 26 - Work has begun to unearth and exhibit ship remains from different eras that were discovered during an underwater excavation in the ancient town of Limantepe (Greek Klazomenai) on Turkey's western coast, as Anadolu Agency reported. It has been 13 years since the underwater excavations started in Limantepe, a site that attracted the interest of researchers when they could not initially identify areas in the sea on aerial photographs of the skele neighborhood in the district of Urla. Twenty underwater archaeologists, under the direction of Professor Hayat Erkanal, are taking part in the excavations in Limantepe, the site of a prehistoric settlement which witnessed humanity's passage from being hunter-gatherers to farmers.

Klazomenai or Clazomenae was an ancient Greek city on the coast of Ionia and a member of the Ionian League. It is thought that an earthquake or other cataclysmic event that took place in the sixth-century B.C. submerged the port. The excavations, coordinated by the Ankara University Underwater Research and Application Center (ANKUSAM), are continuing on the base of the port that dates back to the seventh-century B.C. Erkanal has reported that they discovered many ship remains from different eras and items that came out of these ships, which have been desalinated in a laboratory in preparation for exhibition. The harbour of ancient Klazomenai encompasses a vast region underwater, meaning excavations are likely to continue in the upcoming years, said Erkanal. Of the many ship remains found, a vessel from the seventh-century B.C. and an 18th-century Ottoman warship were taken into complete preservation underwater, according to Erkanal. Another ship was also discovered by fishermen 400 meters from the excavation site at a depth of 17 meters. (ANSAmed).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Navy dolphins find torpedo lost for 130 years

From Clarion Ledger:  Navy dolphins find torpedo lost for 130 years

Navy specialists found a rare torpedo off the San Diego coast, an 11-foot brass gem called the Howell that dates back 130 years or so and was one of the first torpedoes to propel itself. The Navy specialists who found it were trained dolphins, reports the Los Angeles Times.
"Dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man," explains a specialist at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific. "We've never found anything like this," says the head of the Navy's marine mammal program. "Never."
Give credit to dolphins Ten and Spetz for finding the torpedo, stamped "USN No. 24," and then directing human divers to the spot.
The torpedo, rendered inoperable by its long stay in the ocean, is now being cleaned and readied for display at the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington.
"It was the first torpedo that could be released into the ocean and follow a track," says another official at the warfare systems center, and that made it a state-of-the-art weapon in its day.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Take your blood pressure medication!

Spent most of yesterday in the hospital, where my mother was admitted. Her doctor had changed her blood pressure medication a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't doing the job. Unfortunately her doctor was out of town and a home therapist said we should take her to the Emergency Room.

Bad idea, as far as I'm concerned. Put her back on her old medication which was working, just causing her to cough.

Instead we brought her to the emergency room, and since she's old and deaf, this got her more stressed out and scared than ever, because they were all gathered around her shouting questions and wanting to run tests and I'm sure she thought she was dying or something, which sent her blood pressure even higher.

She spent the night there, and is still in today for more tests, which I don't think she needs but I guess since they've got her in there they want to get their money's worth out of our insurance...  she's in a private room which must be costing a fortune....

The reason for my headline... she was about 40 when she was first diagnosed with high blood pressure...took pills for a couple of days but didn't like how they made her she stopped taking them and tried to do the "natural remedy" thing.

Result, 20 years later she had congestive heart failure, and now instead of taking 1 pill a day she has to take 4. And has to go into the hospital periodically on occasions like these.

Moral of the story - go get your blood pressure checked, and if you have high blood pressure make sure you take your meds, otherwise believe me you'll wish you had, when it is too late...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Radioactive scuba diving a potential new Aussie destination sport

From Vancouver Observer:  Radioactive scuba diving a potential new Aussie destination sport

Okay, I am exaggerating, but only slightly, but new anti-regulation laws have recently been passed in Australia that could mean uranium will be shipped out directly over this oceanic masterpiece of nature. 
Ever scuba dived? Or even just put a mask to your face in knee-deep water and looked under the surface at all the brilliant fish and creatures that make a tropical reef their home?
It is brilliant, and one of those moments you never forget.
One place nobody forgets visiting is Australia's Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of the province of Queensland. But some pretty shortminded politicians are positioning to see the Reef become a shipping route for uranium  -- the radioactive substance used for nuclear power and high-powered military weaponry.
Queensland is a a place of seemingly competing economic interests.
On one hand, you have the Barrier Reef that contributes more than $5 billion a year in tourism and employs 54,000 people. On the other hand, you have a series of industrial ports that line the coast of Queensland that are keen to expand and export uranium to overseas markets. For 28 years there has been a ban on uranium mining in Queensland, but that was lifted late last year by  Queenland's Premier Campbell Newman. Now that the ban has been lifted, two mining companies are pushing to ship mined uranium from the coast of Queensland, over the Great Barrier Reef.
"The State Government is not opposed in principle to uranium being shipped from a Queensland port through the Great Barrier Reef," Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps says.
The price tag of the uranium deposits in Queensland, if all extracted and sold is about $10 billion. A pretty big chunk of cash, but worth only a paltry two years of tourism dollars that the Great Barrier Reef brings in. Professor Callum Roberts, a marine expert, told the Australian International Business Times:
"With something as sensitive as the Great Barrier Reef, you have to ask yourself what is it you want in the long term? Do you want those ports or do you want the Great Barrier Reef to continue being great, because you can't have both."
I am not economist, but shipping tons of radioactive material over the Great Barrier Reef seems like a really financially risky idea. As a person concerned about all the degradation we are seeing to natural wonders of the world like the Great Barrier Reef, it is borderline criminal.
To anyone who has looked in wonderment at the fish on a reef, this is not an "Australian issue",  this is an issue that speaks to how we want to leave the world to future generations. Our kids will remember visiting a reef teeming with tropical fish, turtles and fluorescent coral, but what will they remember if it isn't there to be seen? They sure as heck won't remember the quick buck made by uranium mining companies a few decades previous.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Never get involved in a land war in Asia

and never agree to transcribe 20 hours of meetings from an Australian business meeting.

That's what I've been doing for the last 4 days...utter nightmare. Could NOT understand their accents. Making it worse were the bad audio levels and the fact that a lot of the people preesnt insisted on talking over each other from all around the room except in front of the microphone... I will never transcribe ANYTHING every again.

Anyway, so sorry to be MIA from my blogs.