The Late Great Jack Vance
Nov18

The Late Great Jack Vance

In my mid teens, over 50 years ago, I discovered the wonderful world of science fiction.  One of my favorite authors was Jack Vance who was not only a great story teller but a wordsmith extraordinaire. As it turned out I missed much of Vance’s work most of which is now out of print but fortunately his work has been Kindled.   I recently reread the Caldwell trilogy and discovered the  Tschai series.  While I prefer hard science...

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A Monday Picture
Nov17

A Monday Picture

Duck weed on Chicken...

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Fox in Charge of the Hen House?
Nov15

Fox in Charge of the Hen House?

Republican,  Dr Monica Wehby’s campaign for the Senate revolved around opposition to the Affordable Care Act but the day after she lost the election she called the governor to ask about the open position of director of the Oregon Health Authority. A day after losing her bid for U.S. Senate, Monica Wehby picked up the phone and reached Gov. John Kitzhaber on his cell. Wehby, a Republican and fellow doctor, offered her expertise...

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Weekend Picture And Flashback!
Nov08

Weekend Picture And Flashback!

Although I was born in the Pacific Northwest and am now retired in the Pacific Northwest I have lived in Munich, Germany for 4 years and Yokohama, Japan for 2 years.  As you can tell from the picture below my long legs never got used to siting on the floor for...

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RIP Brittany Maynard
Nov02

RIP Brittany Maynard

Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life. Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement over the last few weeks, ended her own life Saturday at her home in Portland, Oregon. She was 29. If you don’t believe in it that’s fine but don’t try to force your mythology on others. I live in the Portland area and am witnessing the standard hysteria of the bible...

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Solar Power
Oct31

Solar Power

Some good news both on the economic and environmental front, Oregon’s SolarWorld is expanding production. SolarWorld Industries America Inc. will add 200 jobs in Hillsboro as it ramps up manufacturing to meet growing U.S. demand, company executives announced Thursday. The company will expand both its cell and module production capacity in early 2015, making $10 million in investments in Hillsboro, said Mukesh Dulani,...

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Peak Water
Oct30

Peak Water

For several years we have been hearing about Peak Oil but a greater threat to the human race is Peak Water.  We have heard about the drought and water shortages in California but that state is not unique. The Central Valley boasts some of the globe’s fastest-depleting aquifers—but by no means the fastest overall. Indeed, it has a rival here in the United States. The below[above] graphic represents depletion rates at some of the...

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Another Weekend Picture
Oct26

Another Weekend Picture

Since I didn’t post a photo last weekend I will give you another on...

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Weekend Photos – Wall Art Edition
Oct25

Weekend Photos – Wall Art Edition

The outside walls of buildings used to serve as billboards.  They were usually  hand painted and nearly always a treat....

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Jack Vance
Oct22

Jack Vance

 I read with great zeal the works of Asimov and Heinlein. But my favorite was always the works of the late great Jack Vance.  I am re-reading the Caldwal trilogy. Science Fiction at it’s best but also literature . [Ed note: A 2009 profile in The New York Times Magazine described Vance as "one of American literature's most distinctive and undervalued voices". He died at his home in Oakland, California on May 26, 2013, aged 96....

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Keep Portland Weird
Oct20

Keep Portland Weird

I grew up in Portland but have not actually lived there for decades. I do still  live a few miles from Portland and I’m proud of it.  Can “Keep Portland Weird” be a winning strategy? Apparently so! From across the country, Portland looms as this place where everything comes in quirkier, locally produced, more artisanal versions of what the rest of us have. And then when you come out here, it turns out that all of...

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What’s Wrong With American Healthcare
Oct17

What’s Wrong With American Healthcare

The recent Ebola cases have demonstrated  major problems of the “best healthcare system in the world”.  It is not so much the government but for profit hospitals. If you  want an example you have to look no further than Florida governor Rick Scott and his former company Hospital Corporation of America. The United States is not ready for Ebola and the Dallas hospital is only one example. Here is an example: My wife is an ER...

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Plunging Oil Prices
Oct14

Plunging Oil Prices

To get the WTI oil price, please enable Javascript. Oil prices have been plunging.  This is bad news for many oil exporting nations. The biggest energy story in the world right now is the collapse of global oil prices. And for major producers like Russia or Iran or even Saudi Arabia, that’s unsettling news. How bad is it? One good place to start is with this excellent chart from The Economist looking at the...

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Oregon Election
Oct13

Oregon Election

It is a given that Oregon is a very blue state.  The Republican will win the Congressional district in the Eastern 2/3 of the state but the Democrats will win the state wide offices and everything else.  As usual Oregon has several ballot measures which is what is really interesting. 86: Amends Oregon Constitution to create fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education; authorizes debt to finance. I will probably vote yes on...

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Another Weekend Photo
Oct12

Another Weekend Photo

This is  Laetiporus sulphureus also known as chicken of the woods because it does indeed taste like chicken.  It must be cooked and don’t harvest it from a eucalyptus tree because at best it will make you very sick and at worst kill...

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Weekend Photo
Oct11

Weekend Photo

Fall and Winter frequently come on fast here in the Pacific Northwest and this year is no exception. Three weeks ago we had our last 90 degree high temperature and the last 80 degree day was less than a week ago.  It rained last night but the real rain is due next week with over a foot of snow expected in the mountains.  That means it’s fungus...

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Book Review – There’s A House In The Land
Oct09

Book Review – There’s A House In The Land

TMV columnist Shaun Mullen has written a great book for those of us who came of age in the 60′s and 70′s – There’s a House in the Land: (Where a Band Can Take a Stand) It was a troubled time  because of the Vietnam war but also a magical one because of the response of people like Shaun and me.   The book is about a house not a commune in 1970s Pennsylvania where a group of eclectic individuals live most of...

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The End Of Lotus 123
Oct06

The End Of Lotus 123

One of my first experiences with PC programs was Lotus 123.  As a scientist and engineer it was a blessing.  Originally I used it on a pre-Windows DOS PC and was often a pain in the you know what but it still made my job much easier.  I can say the same for the pre – Windows word processor WordPerfect.  Well 123 is on it’s way to the software grave yard. So farewell 1-2-3. It may not have been the first computer...

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A little Late But A Weekend Picture
Oct05

A little Late But A Weekend Picture

Here is a Ron Beasley original: ©Ron...

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Mt St Helens
Sep29

Mt St Helens

When I was going to college in the late  60′s the head of the geology department predicted that Mt St Helens would erupt in his life time – he was right.  In may of 1980 a massive eruption occurred which took the life of a dear friend of mine.  The mountain has been quiet for several years but that may be changing. Mount St. Helens shows signs of reawakening And 5 miles below the volcano, there are signs that the magma...

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