Thursday, December 25, 2014

"100 years ago today"--a lot of articles about one thing I blogged about last year

2014 is, of course, 100 years since the Great War (World War I) and I posted a rather lengthy blog entry about The Great War's Armistice Remembered. I notice that a lot of European countries, plus China and Russia, are bringing a lot of traffic to that post today. I mentioned, last year, an event talked about this year by everyone from Britain's Queen to the local news paper: the Christmas Truce.

It was never really forgotten, though, and in the 1960's, a novelty band called the Royal Guardsmen celebrated World War I in a manner that became quite popular; they tied it in with Charles Schultz'  World War I Great Flying Ace and master of the Sopwith Camel, Snoopy.

The Royal Guardsmen on the Christmas Truce (Snoopy's Christmas)
Curse you, Red Baron!!

{True Confession: I never get tired of watching Chris Nunley, the leftmost guy in front.}


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

My regulars already know that I'm a firm believer in Santa (Saint) Claus (Nicholas), who has been demonized by some religious people originally because he's a prominent Orthodox saint, totally ignoring the fact that he was a major participant in the first Ecumenical Councils that even Protestants recognize as legit.

To the Enid News & Eagle's credit, today's editorial ran a reprint of Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus--but not to their credit, they hide behind a subscription wall which negates them as a resource for periodical research...which is why the link I provided goes to a different entity.

My regulars also know that I turn another year older as New Year's Eve becomes New Year's Day (meh).  But as the late Erma Bombeck pointed out, aging isn't for sissies, and y'all know I'm no sissy.

Have a good one.

Before I turn in to let Santa come visit, I just want to say that I got quite a bit well before this time, and all I wanna do is just offer the milk and cookies.  I'm fine.  Luvz ya, Santa.

Earlier, I took advantage of the low traffic downtown to attempt a video walk-around of the Bike Trail, and will be posting that before long.  The trail head begins in Ward 5 but crosses over into Ward 6 before it enters Ward 5 again on Washington, and along my walk I got quite a chuckle out of Vanhooser signs, regarding "product placement".  His huge signs are in the windows of what I used to call "dead bodies"--empty storefront property.  He must be quite proud of the "dead bodies" in Ward 6.  And one of those "dead bodies" had a deteriorated sidewalk in front of it, too.  Not quite a pothole as such, but all the same, a still of that is so priceless, I'm gonna post that here too, so that y'all can get a chuckle out of it yourselves.  I think I'll caption it thus: "If you like what he didn't do for Ward 6, you'll love what he won't do as mayor."

Here we go--

"COMING FALL 2014" and it's friggin' end of December. Must have taken a long Fall off that step.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Neglected jewel of Ward 5: Emerson Middle School presents holiday cheer.

I've mentioned, in passing, in the previous post, the seasonal band presentations of Emerson Middle School.  I mentioned the packed parking situation but haven't presented any of the performances yet.  People on Google + and Twitter are already looking at two such videos I uploaded to YouTube, and so I'll take this time, in this separate post, to link those here, with the caveat that there are more besides these two.

Note how packed the auditorium was, too.  The +cityofenid spent big bucks with Waller and the high school while the Ward 5 incumbent rolled over and played dead when it came to advocating for improvements at Emerson, from which come the freshmen for that fancy-schmancy high school.  More's the pity because the best kids go there, as you will see shortly, below...

There were two unadvertised open houses today--one at NBC bank and the other at the InterBank, which used to be Roserock.  Both had sparse fare compared to previous years, and it's no wonder they didn't advertise.  NBC is worth mentioning because it's a strong supporter of local artists.  Its upstairs mezzanine used to be an art gallery of sorts, but the walls up there were bare today.  I was told that they do have art work in progress to be hung up there later.

Aren't video cameras wonderful?  Isn't public access wonderful? Some folks in +cityofenid don't think so, clearly, but former exec editor of the Enid News & Eagle weighed in on that...

...and...TA-DA!--I have study session footage.  Stay tuned. If I was on the Council, I wouldn't take exception to a camera. As a bonus I'd probably do a li'l soft-shoe or an impression of Edith Piaf. Ya never know--I'm always full of surprises. {Note to Kyle Dillingham--non, je ne regrette RIEN.}

Speaking of same ole potholes, there's the first Punched Out Judy Show, censored by Steve Kime and denied access to what's supposed to be a public access cable channel.  Kim Jong Un is proud of you, Steve.

Note that the following video was produced at a time when the +cityofenid pulled the plug on recording/producing Enid Chautauqua and all I had to work with were snapshot cameras that could record video, and Microsoft Live Moviemaker by way of software.  I know it's quite clunky as a result, but it got the point across.  I have since acquired one better camera and better production software.

Saturday Mini-UPDATE: The drive-around video at Emerson and the nighttime video of the parking situation will be supplemented by an illuminating daylight walk-around video which will also show the size of the parking lot that was full during the concert.  While the walk-around was in progress, one lady I talked to told me that the street was also bad further to the east and that her mother had moved there, and that the road has been bad for a long, long time.  No matter who was mayor and no matter who held office as a Commissioner, the roads were always bad and nobody did anything about it.  I told her that I was on a mission to change that.  No bought yard signs or bought street signs can beat actually getting out there and talking to people.  Nothing beats it.

The video is being processed at this time, so watch this space.  And the next time a Commissioner or City Manager tries to snooker you into voting for a vast parks overhaul or a ferris wheel or a hiking trail while whining about improving the quality of life in Enid, don't believe one blithering word of it.  Quality of life begins with quality residential roads especially around, to, and from Enid's schools.  Any other plot to improve quality of life isn't just vast--it's half-vast. So, Enid Ward 5...what has your Commissioner done for you in the last 3 years?  I keep looking for it and I can't find it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Enid Public School system still aflush in BRAC cash? Really??

Yeah--I found this out earlier in the week this week, and in today's paper was this:

Vance Air Force Base was saved during the Dubya administration's BRAC closings because Enid passed a tax levy specifically to upgrade our schools, but BRAC is over. Long time ago over, and we haven't sunsetted that levy yet?  I ask the question because I found out earlier this week that it's out of the EPS budget which comes the money paying for "EPS TV", the production operation queued up to take over PEG cable channel 19.  Yeah--Vanhooser keeps bragging that he's saving the city money by taking over the 501(c)3 corporation PEGASYS, putting our government in charge of getting into the broadcasting business, when what he's done was a shell game of putting production costs on the backs of our schools, because hey--after that BRAC tax, they can damn well afford it.

I do NOT think that's why we passed the BRAC tax, buddy.  That's the kind of budgetary shell game Chicago is famous for, and Mr. Vanhooser, I have yet to meet any Oklahoman that thinks turning the City of Enid into Chicago was ever a good idea.  It's bad enough that our government took over a 501(c)3 corporation media outlet and some of us think that sounds more like Moscow--forget Chicago.

So, in order to explore the future, EPS has only to read yesterday's paper:


Enid Public Schools system has no business being in the business of broadcasting anymore than the city does, and if we're going to do stuff with the ongoing BRAC tax, let's pay our teachers first.

Get your priorities straight.

Monday EPS Board Meeting UPDATE: it was mentioned that the ad valorem tax was high in Enid, calculated to be 15% on corporate property...without mentioning that certain corporations get exempted from that according to Oklahoma law.  I can't swear to it, but I was under the impression at least Koch Nitrogen got such an exemption, but I need to re-research that before making a definitive statement in that regard.

What grabbed my attention more than that was the plan for EPSTV to be part of a high school curriculum in broadcasting.  Excuse me, but is EPS supplanting universities now?  That's college level, and the preceding presentation highlighted dips in math and science.  So training highschoolers in a college level arts course brings up the EPS performance in math and science how, exactly?

What was approved tonight was a contract involving airing school sports along with those commercial entities already broadcasting those on radio, and I'm sure they were focused myopically on the sponsors part of the deal, perhaps in view of the inevitable readjustment of the ad valorem tax to approach the 11% level.

Nobody said anything about still collecting the school-improvement BRAC tax, which was a sales tax, if I remember correctly, and that's something else that deserves quality time researching.

Thursday evening Emerson UPDATE: This outstanding middle school, the pride of Ward 5, did their seasonal band show tonight, and here's a vid to show exactly why its decrepit roadways are such a cryin' shame.  Emerson is one of the best shows in the Tristate event, second only to Enid High in my view, and yet even after BRAC tax improvements (supposedly), this is the moonscape they're stuck with.

I will be posting a video sampler of the event in a separate post. Next is a vid of the same scene but in the daylight, followed by an on-foot rendition of the Emerson Drive-Around.

Friday UPDATE: EPS is suing the state for not handing over more money, claiming that the district got shorted...when it was pointed out during the board meeting that the ad valorem tax had been too high (15%) compared to state average (11%). WTF?

Friday UPDATE: I found a setting for my video processor that generated a video that was 80 MB and Blogger still errored out, although it claims a limit of 100 MB ( actually 1 G, of course). Google, FIX THIS. Yesterday.

============okay, I got a WMV file to work, 320 x 240. MAN that sux bilgewater.

Saturday night UPDATE: I finally got to see the movie Interstellar and I gotta say that it's an epic science nerd flick.  Bigtime.  I've heard the criticisms of the science community about it but if you're a scientist and a critic, then you missed one very significant statement made which renders your criticism unqualified.  It was the statement that years and years of going over the same mathematics expecting different results was the result of recursive definitions. That's exactly why you scientists and mathematicians who think you know better have NOT mastered timespace travel yourselves.  You therefore do NOT stand with sufficient authority to criticize what is basically true.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: the zero needs to be reinvented before you can make any progress in that direction. That's the thing that, in the main, is holding you back. You seriously need to know how to define imaginary and irrational numbers as something other than unknowns. You need to successfully redefine what the square root (actually any given even root) of a negative number is and you can't do that without a better concept of what zero is. As long as your number system remains faulty, your mathematics will remain faulty.  No, I did not read Thorne's companion book, but I really didn't have to.  The movie is scientifically solid all the same.

The Guardian's story

Sunday Addenda: I still haven't read every scientific criticism of the movie at this point, but I did want to address the matter of the biology of crops being wiped out globally. The point made in criticism is that it's not a likely scenario even though it's remotely possible.  Sorry, but that's the current criticism of GMO monoculture and what the movie portrays is the future success of Monsanto to establish GMO seed as the only seed available, and Monsanto GMOs its patent protection by designing in sterility for second generation seed.  What does that have to do with the vulnerability of a singe crop to a single form of blight? The crops in question--all grain crops--are of a singular genetic makeup with no diversity, which guarantees a singular susceptibility to a singular form of blight, and blights are typically evolving virii. We're looking at a "superbug" type virus and we're already seeing "superbugs" today.

Something else worthy of pointing out: you don't see anybody from the future although you see the designed wormholes (including the one that goes through the "black hole" Gargantua). Those people existing in a past they're not supposed to exist in would create a fatal temporal paradox, a paradox presumably defeated by the Doctor Who concept of a TARDIS. People who exist in their own proper time cannot properly exist in other times, necessitating the "poltergeist" form of communication. There was an era when Doctor Who was based on sound science, but that was in its earlier days--it's not as true with "NuWho".

Ah, good point by a Whovian. Both the TARDIS and the movie Interstellar feature libraries as central to time navigation.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: Books are always bigger on the inside than on the outside, and in the case of the TARDIS, the library is simply a visual interactive interface with its core database.  And even though the TARDIS was already an outmoded antique Model 40 when the Doctor acquired it, it was uniquely suited to the Doctor because of the type and size of database it had on board.  Nice catch.

Sunday a week later UPDATE: BBC Newsnight presented a segment on quantum computers, presented at Blechley Park, explaining how basic computing works using the Colossus computer, built with vacuum tubes (in Brit: "valves").  It's important to note that the quality of the quantum mechanical computer deals with a "third state" which is neither zero nor one (binary) but both.  In industry, this is not a novelty, however--traditionally, it's been called a "toggle state", and it's been with us for a very long time already, and thusfar, has been context-dependent on interpretation.  In one type of context, it's a Boolean OR; in another, it's a Boolean AND.  In yet another, it's a Boolean NOR, and in still another, a Boolean NOT, and in other contexts, NAND.  It's all very geek-sexy to talk about quantum mechanics in applied computing, but the fact remains that successful computing means successful equivalencies in interpretation, and it's all still very much open to interpretation.  Which brings us back to the importance of avoiding recursive definitions, and the quality of one's number system

The mainstay of any type of mathematics lies within the rules of establishing equivalence--the definition of what is and what is not equivalent.  As long as equivalency definitions contain recursive definitions, this condition will continue to be the main mathematic bugger until your mathematicians successfully sort it all out properly.

Link to D-Wave's link to the story --D-Wave is a quantum computing enterprise mentioned in the story, presented by David Grossman.

Wednesday Science UPDATE: If the very idea of intelligent metal machines give you nightmares, the following two articles should totally shock you outta yer shorts:

Soft robot technology via American Scientist
...via Whitesides Research Group

Maybe it's a good thing that the SyFy Channel pulled the plug on "Caprica" because the deal about the difference between "toasters" and "skin jobs" just got blown outta the water.

My fellow coders out there in cyberspace might hoot & holler, "not so fast, pneumatic plastic is not logical!" but being the mechanic that I am, I hasten to remind everyone of Boolean persuasion that there IS such a thing as pneumatic logic, and it has been in use in mining and any environment in which electronics might cause an explosion should there be a release of volatile gases during operations.  Boolean works with pneumatics, too.

And with that, I can segue into a comment on the Cuba thing, given that a Cuban guy I admire from afar, Arnie Coro, happens to be the consummate junkyard genius.  Luvz ya, Arnie, but if relations between Cuba and America are about to normalize, your baby, Radio Habana, might be headed for the same mission graveyard that Radio/TV Marti is headed.  You had a good run, fella, but I would think that, at your age, you would welcome retirement, eh?

Hey Arnie--you can start by giving up jamming WRMI.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Tis the Enid Season

Last year I blogged about the various open house events in Enid during December, and posted a few videos of these events--but this year, Blogger is being a bitch about directly posting videos in a blog, restricting file size to an unrealistic 100MB.  Blogger errors out even when the vid is iPhone size. I suppose that's for the purpose of "encouraging" people to post vids on YouTube and then link the YouTube vid to the blog, but with all the copyright trolls unfairly targeting Fair Use and Public Domain posters who don't fight back either because they don't know that they can, or that each complaint is just too damn much bother, that remains a big bugger with Blogger but also Google, which desperately needs to fix that problem yesterday but won't.

However, a few YouTube trolls found out the hard way that not only do I fight back, but successfully at that...but Google, good buddy, it's STILL a huge bother that diminishes all the brands affected by this where the public at large is concerned.  Fix it.

As my readers already know, 'tis the season for Enid city politics, and on December 6, the Enid News & Eagle meddled in the running field by publishing this:

What this does is revisit the horror of the City government taking over a corporation and going into the broadcasting business that it has no business getting into.  The write-up is biased in the favor of  Vanhooser, a challenger to Mayor Shewey for his office, as if a big government take-over of a corporation is a good thing. It pretends that the City money from its citizens is better spent on a media vanity project than on the upkeep of city-wide bad residential roads.

What the Eagle didn't know at the time, I'm sure, is that the Republican Women organization has scheduled a candidates' forum for January 9 and that at least one candidate that I know of is going to bring this up as a prime example of big government picking winners and losers among corporations.  Thank you, "liberal media" Enid News & Eagle.

Oh, I haven't abandoned my satiric side, though.  Just to let you know that, in light of yesterday's Saturday Night Live,  I'm also trying to work on a ditty I'll call "Men Make Big Passes At Lasses With Big Asses". Just as it is in politics: it's all about that base. No trouble.

For the next Punched Out Judy, there will be a send-up of Between Two Ferns.  It'll be called "Just Among Fronds".

You heard it here first.

Late Saturday UPDATE: I think I finally figured out how to work around Blogger's inanities regarding video uploads, and I've got a backlog of vids I wanted to post on this particular entry, beginning with the seasonal open house events held around town. Tonight I just got back from a Christmas extravaganza at the Oakwood Church, and tomorrow is the Mennonite feast, so I've been hopping lively these days.  By all means check back in a few.

...and speaking of our talented Enid High School kids...

That was the EHS Big Band.  After that, the EHS Jazz Band performed, kinda proving that not all our kids are brilliant.  Oh, the band was brilliant, but the vids I recorded were visually ruined by some brat in a seat nearby going back and forth between that seat and one further up on the other side of the aisle.  Repeatedly.  Only the sound track is worthwhile on those.  After that came the EHS Symphonic Band.  Different brat in this one, but much younger, smaller, and harder to see in the dark...but definitely there playing Aisle Tag or something...

Oh, happy happy joy joy!  Kyle Dillingham's annual church concert is on the 28th! WOOT!!