Saturday, June 30, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007

An Explosive Crazy Delaware Blue Hen Bathing Beauty Roundup

Governor in a bathing suit

Apparently Delaware has no better equipment to determine water quality than to take Governor Minner, put her in a bathing suit and ask her if she can see her sneakers as she wades out into the Rehoboth Bay. The critical measurement is the depth at which the cloudy water obscures the sneakers.

I have provided a chart of the measurement for the past seven years. This year it was 32 inches vs. last year's 54 inches. While I admire her hands-on approach, perhaps there is a more scientific approach to the issue. I can't help but say this - this is bad science and mediocre political theatre. You can't just look at one spot in the bay, it could be affected by the weather, are they the same sneakers, is it the same person looking. I hope these objections go without saying. One thing I can say, Governor Minner has the self-confidence to go splashing around the bays in a bathing suit if that is what it takes to do the job! (via Down with Absolutes)

Clamshell driveways are less clam shell and more artillery shell!

Over the past several years various pieces of ordnance and even a mustard gas shell have been found in clamshell driveways on the Delmarva Peninsula dredged up as part of clamshells used as cheap driveway fill. The mustard shell was found in Delaware -
"EDS mission to Dover Air Force Base a success
In the fall of 2004, the U.S. Army Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project (NSCMP) successfully treated a World War I-era 75 mm projectile at Dover Air Force Base, Del. Recovered July 19 by the Delaware State Police from a clamshell driveway in Bridgeville, Del., the munition containing mustard agent was transported to Dover Air Force Base. NSCMP treated the munition with the Explosive Destruction System, a mobile system specially designed to safely treat recovered chemical warfare materiel."
Apparently tons of World War II and even World War I munitions were dumped off the eastern seaboard for years and now is turning up in clamshell driveways dredged up from the ocean floor. I imagine heavier vehicles are at risk, so a good side effect would be to get rid of all of those gas guzzling SUV's when the stuff goes up when the old ordnance is detonated by a tire rolling over it. The Daily Press has gathered all of their coverage over the years into "The Deadliness Below". The story of the mustard gas injuries caused by the Delaware shell is in this .pdf presentation. (via Slacktivist)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Delaware's #9 ranking in the US for broadband speed is a fair horse in a slow race

Apparently the United States has one of the slowest Internet access rates of the developing nations. The US median is about 2 megabits per second (mbps) compared with 61 mbps for Japan, South Korea at 45 mbps, France 17 mbps and even Canada at 7 mbps.

In the US the median speed ranges from a slow 0.54 mbps in Alaska to a speedy 5 mbps in Rhode Island. A histogram generated from the data shows that most states fall from 1 to 2.5 mbps. Delaware comes in at #9 with around almost 2.7 mbps. But that is still low compared to the rest of the world.

Combining the speed data with population density data (population and area) reveals a weak correlation, but what you would expect, higher population density states states have higher median broadband speeds. This is probably a reflection of higher population density states having cities or better infrastructure, though there are still outliers like Kansas, with a high speed for a low population density state and Rhode Island which is an outlier for speed. I did try to work on finding measurements of state infrastructure such as roads (using median distance to road information from this article), but I failed to find any better correlation.

The data (.pdf report) is from Speed tests results for Sept. 2006 through May 2007; most participants had DSL or cable modem connections Source: CWA Communications. I think that the CWA, Communication Workers of America, is trying to make the point for better higher speed Internet access which gets them more jobs.

(go take the test yourself)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bugs Bunny under my lawn?

Can a garden or pest expert tell me what has just dug a furrow in my lawn? There was nothing there on Thursday when I mowed the lawn and today I noticed these sinuous bare lines dug in the lawn. The grass is completely gone not just dead in a two inch swath that stretches several feet from one flower bed to another. No animals were obviously in the area. I checked under the ground cover in the beds with a stick. I added my size 10 foot in there to provide a metric.

The complete removal of the grass has me wondering if I have a nanotechnology runaway (see grey goo) going on in my lawn, giant acid spitting slugs, or some other science fictiony answer. I have never seen anything like this and neither has my wife with the agriculture degree. Please help out a fellow gardener by commenting or pointing me to somewhere that can help. My Google searches have been fruitless.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What do these things have in common?

As a hook to go to a news story Fark posed the question
"What do a woman wrapped in sausages, a bag full of elephant manure, and a skinned monkey all have in common?"
What do think of first? I assumed that it was some new art exhibit.


It turns out it these are some of the things that Canadian border officials have had to confiscate at Toronto's airport customs!

More interesting is the state of art in our modern culture that the first thought is an art exhibit. This would probably fall under postmodern art.

What did you think of?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What punctuation mark are you?

Since I am a voracious reader I thought I might find out which of those marks is the one I identify with the most.

Your Score: ellipsis

You scored 46% Sociability and 82% Sophistication!

Your life can be difficult because of your insecurities, but you should know that it isn't your fault. YOU didn't ask to be thrown in around thirty times per page in every bodice-ripper on the shelf! Those who overuse you can kiss your . . . you know. You need to learn to hold your head high and glory in your solitude. You really do have excellent, scholarly tastes. You must never forget that your friend, the period, will be there to support you at the end of every sentence where you truly belong, and, if what is left out is as important as what is said, why, then you are as vital as the alphabet!

Find out for yourself which punctuation mark your are.

(via the Exploding Aardvark)

Need help in picking your presidential candidate?

The presidential candidate selector quiz asks the questions and then matches you to your candidate. I have to admit, I had to look up my own number one result. Kent McManigal is a far out write in candidate for radical libertarians. Let me go check those answers again...

My results:

Your Results:

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
2. Kent McManigal (83%)
3. Ron Paul (76%)
4. Dennis Kucinich (72%)
5. Barack Obama (67%)
6. Alan Augustson (60%)
7. Bill Richardson (58%)
8. Christopher Dodd (58%)
9. Mike Gravel (56%)
10. Wesley Clark (56%)
11. Al Gore (55%)
12. Joseph Biden (54%)
13. Hillary Clinton (52%)
14. John Edwards (47%)
15. John McCain (47%)
16. Newt Gingrich (46%)
17. Chuck Hagel (45%)
18. Mitt Romney (40%)
19. Sam Brownback (37%)
20. Fred Thompson (36%)
21. Mike Huckabee (30%)
22. Rudolph Giuliani (30%)
23. Tommy Thompson (29%)
24. Tom Tancredo (28%)
25. Jim Gilmore (22%)
26. Elaine Brown (22%)
27. Duncan Hunter (21%)

You can find the quiz at the 2008 Presidential Candidate Selector.

(via Exploding Aardvark)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Snakes near the Shellpot Creek and in the garden!

I now need to be slightly more careful blundering around the flower beds. This large but seemingly harmless snake was hiding in the shade under some hostas two days ago. I tried to get in and get a better closeup but he slithered away under more cover and I was unable to hold camera and stick at the same time. This snake is considerably large than the garter snakes that we have seen around other parts of the yard, and I think it is larger than the ones we have seen swimming in the creek. I estimate two feet in length and twice as large than a garden hose around.

It was the snakes swimming in the creek that caused me to do some more research into what snakes are native to Delaware. I was particularly interested in any venomous snakes that are in Delaware since it is obvious that I will be encountering snakes as the days go by. Wikipedia has a nice list of snakes of New Jersey, which should be relevant, having the same climate though it is across the river. I think that list was put together with ease because it is based on the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife Online Field Guide for Reptiles and Amphibians . There is no such list for Delaware that I have found in my searching yet. There is a long list of unstartedwikipedia articles for lists of snakes of each state. This caused me to find and buy an old article "List of Snakes of the United States and Canada by States and Provinces", by A.H.Wright and A.A. Wright, The American Midland Naturalist, Vol. 48, No. 3, PP. 574-603, Nov 1952.

I may be inspired to start the list for the Delaware wikipedia article, but I am not done searching for sources yet. As for venomous snakes in Delaware, I recognize Agkistrodon m. mokeson which is a copperhead as the only poisonous snake in Delaware. I will need to do more research to find out what the snake above is. Are there any herpetologists out there who can help?

Update (4-16-2010): Finally wanted to put in here that "Amphibians and Reptiles of Delmarva" by James White and Amy White helped me identify this snake as a Northern Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon sipedon. I probably new this not long after this original post, but I want it here for reference.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Metric system on Wisconson license plate

ONLY 1 CC license plate from Wisconson spotted in Maryland. I have to assume they chose this one because ONLY 1 ML was already taken.

Annapolis Bay Bridge

Today would be a great day to be out on the Chesapeake Bay. Here are some pictures of the Annapolis Bay Bridge to whet your appetite.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Detroit beats Nationals

Detroit brought in Todd Jones for a 1, 2, 3 bottom of the ninth knocking out any chance for a Nationals comeback.

Game over man. Time for the grounds crew.

Detroit 8 Washinton 4.

Another Detroit pitching change and a new 2nd baseman

Rodney comes in to pitch and Polanco to play 2nd.

Dimirti Young (former Tiger) has now hit a fly ball to each of the outfielders.

Still Det 8 Nats 4. Nats have 1 out and 2 men on at the bottom of the 8th.

Detroit 8 Nats 3

That will be the inning to remember. Nationals pitching collapse plus Detroit hitting yields 5 runs for the Tigers.

Still bases loaded in top of 6th

Omar Infante takes 14 pitches and then gets a hit. Still bases loaded Det 5 Nats 3.

Sheffield pinch hitting for pitcher flies out. Are you ever supposed to swing at the first pitch? First Out.

New pitcher + bases loaded = an even newer pitcher

Nationals Rivera comes in and Detroit loads the bases with two walks and a hit. He only threw 2 strikes and a foul off. Now Colome must fix it. No outs top of the 6th. Tied at 3.

Brandon Inge with a hit scores a Detroit run. Detroit 4 Nats 3.

Killer Bald Eagle with T-shirt gun.

Other hazards in the stands are bald eagles and T-shirt guns.

Lincoln wins Presidential Race

Although he started behind Lincoln pulled ahead at the end to win the race. Preserver of the Union and a fast runner.

A bad inning for the Tigers

First Bonderman overthrows first base on an attempted pick off. That put Lopez on third. Then there were some hits to bring him and another home.

Pudge Rodriguez leaves the game looking like he was going to throw up. Rabelo comes in for him, and then bobbles a dropped third strike to let Kearns come home.

Then Detroit finally got out of the inning.

Detroit 3 Washington 3 top of the 5th.

I am going to get beaned with a foul ball!

Our tickets are right down the first base line as you can see. It is a great view but I am waiting to get beaned by a foul ball.

Detroit is already ahead of the Nationals 1 to 0. Top of the 2nd.

Fuzzy Jim Leland at Batting Practice

Treo cam plus my friend's binoculars yields a very fuzzy closeup of Detroit Tigers coach Jim Leland hitting practice balls down the third base line.

I really liked him when he coached the Pirates in Pittsburgh and I still like hime now. It is weird to see him smile and joke around. My memories of him at Pittsburgh are of long faced interviews after they repeatedly lost the National League Championship to those damned Atlanta Braves.

Pudge Rodriguez for president

Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez isn't 35 yet so he has to wait a few years to throw his hat in the ring. Can someone born in Puerto Rico become president? I am sure that Paul knows. I say yes because Puerto Ricans are citizens of the US.

This random fan had a two sided sign so she got two posts.

Tigers Fans out in force in Washington

There seem to be more Detroit Tigers fans than Nationals fans at tonight's game in Washington. Perhaps it is just to attend batting practice and gettin autographs.