Thursday, February 01, 2007

Who is that playing the guitar and singing kumbaya at George and Lauras prayer breakfast?

It's Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project.

Ice Palace - V

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ice Palace - IV

The Ice Palace is going up! Unfortunately, I missed the cutting of the first blocks of ice, but I will get it later. Ice blocks are cut with an ancient gasoline powered saw. A channel is cut and the ice blocks are 'herded' using long poles down this channel where they are loaded onto the scoop of a tractor.

Here a block has just been taken off the tractor, using large ice tongs, and placed into position.

The front of the Ice Palace will have a round tower on either end. You can see large areas of "ice mortar" filling in the gaps of the tower levels.

Here is a crew using ice slush mortar to seal the huge blocks of ice into place. Notice the men are wearing life preservers. They were out on the lake where a large hole had been cut to obtain the ice blocks. Life preservers are a great idea when working in a dangerous area like that.


There are 100 men and women in the US Senate. Is there any member of the US Senate dumber than this guy:

Mr. James Mountain Inhofe

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Bush, Tomcat and Security

The F-14 Tomcat, US Navy air superiority fighter (think movie Top Gun) was retired from the US Navy last September. In fact I think I posted about it. Currently, that leaves the Navy with the multi-role FA-18 to protect the carrier force. Everyone knows the F-18 is not as capable an aircraft as the F-14. Also, the F-14 was built to fire the long range AIM-54 Phoenix missile. We can only hope that Iran does not have any Phoenix missiles that are in working condition. Iran happens to have several operational F-14 Tomcats and many that are probably not operational due to lack of spare parts. Wouldn't it be smart not to sell Iran spare parts for the F-14?

Not in Bush world. Sales of spare F-14 parts was just halted last week.
The decision comes as a Democratic senator moves to cut off all Pentagon sales of surplus F-14 parts, saying the military's marketing of the spares "defies common sense" in light of their importance to Iran.
This could just be the "liberal media" slant on things. Nope. Go here to the "We report, you decide" Fox News and read the same thing. Of course the Fox News story omits the fact that it took two Democrat legislators to take care of this problem.

Publish Paper - Just Don't Editorialize

Linda Bilmes, an expert on economic questions in relation to the Iraq War presented a paper at the Allied Social Sciences Association meeting in Chicago. The paper estimated the long-term costs of healthcare for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars to be $350 billion dollars over their lifetimes. Even more depending on how long the war lasts. This is because the ratio of injury to death is higher than previous wars. She estimates 16:1 vs 2.8:1 in Vietnam and 1.6:1 in WWII.

The Pentagon is pissed over Bilmes estimate of 50,500 injured soldiers. They claim it is half that. Unfortunately for the Pentagon, bilmes got her data from the Department of Veteran Affairs who get their data from the Pentagon. It seems the Pentagon doesn't want to count soldiers who become sick or have accidents while in the combat zones.

All of this might have gone unnoticed, but Bilmes decided to write an op-ed in the LA Times which brought attention to her presentation.

But the Pentagon is always right. To prove this, they simply changed the numbers on the webpages. That should solve the issue.

Adirondacks and Cell Phone Towers

Cell phone coverage in the Adirondacks, almost non-existent is some places, has been a topic of controversy for several years. Last week a man died in a car accident on I-87 in an area with no cell phone coverage. Probably a needless death. There are several reasons for the lack of cell towers in the Adirondacks: economic, aesthetic, environmental, legal, but mostly political. The Adirondack State Park is, after all, forever wild by State Constitutional edict.

Many people don't want to see the towers breaking the skyline in wilderness areas. Even if they are disguised. Here are several pictures of disguised cell phone towers. I've seen many of these while driving through the White Mts. of New Hampshire. They were easy to spot, but mainly because they towered above the other trees on either side. But they looked like trees (unlike the pictures above). We need cell phone coverage in the Adirondacks. Let's not wait for another needless death.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ice Palace - III

Work on the Saranac Lake Ice Palace will start on Wednesday. Some of the equipment is in place. The ice is about 11 inches thick and 12 in. is the minimum needed. With the frigid temperatures we've had lately, I'd think the ice would be 24 in. by now. The design of the Ice Palace is going to be a surprise. The Ice Palace was scheduled to be finished on Feb 2nd. That will be almost impossible. But it will surely be ready for the final weekend of Winter Carnival. The Ice Palace is built completely by volunteers and anyone is welcomed to help out. It is a great opportunity to learn how to build an Ice Palace - a very rare skill I imagine.

BTW, a snowmoble went through the ice on Lake Flower near the state boat launch Saturday night. Just because the ice is 11 inches thick in Pontiac Bay doesn't mean the rest of the lake is safe. Remember, the "lake" is really a river and rivers have currents. The thickness of the ice is probably quite variable.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

St. Lawrence Invitational

A forest of vaulting poles.

Cooling down.

After meet team meeting.

A very young climber.