Monthly Archives: July 2006

Boss, boss! Dee Plane! Dee Plane!

So I spent the morning paddling canoes today. We raced from East Agaña to Two Lover’s Point and back, finishing in a respectable 1 hour 43 minutes. Not bad for a canoe full of rookies and juniors. We overtook four canoes in the race and we were bearing down on a third. Not bad at all. As we were sitting around under a canopy for the awards presentation, people started shouting “That plane’s gonna crash! That’s plane’s coming down!”

Sure enough, about 1000 yards up the shore a small single engine Cessna was coming down. The pilot did a good job ditching the plane, kept his nose up and dropped it down onto the water. I took off running up the beach with other paddlers as the plane crashed into the water. By the time we ran up there some guys on jet skies for one of the marine sports places had reached the plane and pulled out three people, all apparently uninjured.

Certainly not something you expect to see every day. I figure the engine must have stalled out because the plane made no noise as it came down.

Cuteness Overload

Check out these pictures of an orphaned baby sea otter that was rescued in Alaska and currently being treated at the Shedd Aquarium. It takes a hard man not to be moved by these photos. The critter is so cute I think my head is going to explode.

Baby Otter

Baby Otter

They are feeding him little bits of ice in the second picture because the little fella is teething. Awww…

Reforming Healthcare

Alternet put up an interesting story about fixing the American healthcare system. Go ahead, read it.

While I am thinking about it, the island rumor mill was abuzz with the news that the Seventh Day Adventist were approached by Pete Sgro to develop a private hospital on the island. The Adventists are already on the island, running the SDA Clinic for many years. Pete Sgro has been very active for the last year in developing a second civilian hospital for the island, a quality alternative to the morass that is Guam Memorial Hospital.

And in another bit of local healthcare news, Guam was awarded almost $500,000 in federal money to improve the island’s health care system this week. The money is to strengthen programs against major epidemics and bioterrorism. I guess we will get some money for bird flu prevention now. Maybe we need something to combat the zika virus too.

Some Book Links

Let me get some of these links and interviews regarding books out here:

Lazy Food

A couple days ago I was strolling through the Payless Supermarket in Hagåtña when I stumbled across this in the freezer:

Uncrustables - Laziest Food Ever

These are frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. How lazy does a person have to be to buy pre-made pb & j sandwiches?

Even the crust is removed

Maki And The One-Legged Guy

I’m not a big RevTV watching guy. Hell I don’t watch much television at all these days since MCV dropped that station that played the Simpsons reruns. But I was flipping through the channels on Sunday night I think and I stumbled across RevTV on either KUAM or Channel 11 and I stopped to gawk at the scantily clad girls at some car show or another. And I have to admit, the idiot yapping and mugging at the camera was pretty entertaining. Doing his quips and clips of cars and girls, he stumbled across some import with this great anime girl artwork airbrushed on the hood. She was pretty, and pretty well endowed and the foolio burst out: “Maki! Maki! It’s you! We miss you! Come back to Channel 28, we miss you! Where’s the one-legged guy?”

Biofuel – A False Prophet

Alternet has a pretty good article up about the mistaken allure of biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel. They make a point I believe I’ve stated here before; we use too much energy and simply cannot replace fossil fuels with plant derived alternatives. It can simply not be done.

The United States annually consumes more fossil and nuclear energy than all the energy produced in a year by the country’s plant life, including forests and that used for food and fiber, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Energy and David Pimentel, a Cornell University researcher.

It is pretty obvious that biofuel is a stopgap measure, meant to extend existing supplies of petroleum until other sources can be found. But what is even more obvious is that reducing our voracious appetite for fossil fuels would help stretch the dwindling supplies further. “Improving fuel efficiency in cars by just 1 mile per gallon – a gain possible with proper tire inflation – would cut fuel consumption equal to the total amount of ethanol federally mandated for production in 2012.”

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Syd Barrett passed away a couple days ago. The founding member of Pink Floyd was troubled by mental problems and lived as a recluse for decades, turning his back on fame just as Pink Floyd was taking off. And now he is a Piper at the Gates of Dawn…

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

Asian Rail – High And Low Tech

China opened a 1140 km rail line through Tibet this week, one of the world’s most technically advanced trains. The train operates at altitudes of over 5,000 meters, as high as some jetliners fly. The cars offer UV protection and oxygen supplements for the thin air. The rail bed is also a marvel of high technology. Most of the route is over permafrost, a notoriously unstable foundation for construction. So the Chinese elevated long swaths of the track on bridges above the ground in the most troublesome areas, and installed cooling equipment in others to insure the ground stays frozen in the years ahead.

Of course this new train will bind the Tibetan plateau to the Chinese heartland, opening the region to development and possible assimilation. Tibetans around the world are concerned about the changes the railway will bring to their subjugated homeland, protesting and calling it a second invasion.

And before I forget, let me toss in a link about kayaking down the Yangtze, which sounds like a great adventure. They paddled in Yunnan, well upstream of the area that will be flooded by the recently completed Three Gorges Dam.

Meanwhile, sporadic rail service in the impoverished hinterlands of Cambodia has sparked a decidely low-tech solution; bamboo trains, little more than carts with small engines, are providing much needed transportation between towns in Cambodia’s second city of Battambang.

A Couple Lunar Links

  • Astronomers Capture Meteorite Strike On Moon – This is a cool little story. Scientists are monitoring the moon for meteorite strikes as part of NASA’s plans to return to the moon for a long term exploration. Since the moon lacks a protective atmosphere, even small bits of rock impact the surface. NASA wants to know how often these impacts occur, so the agency is funding a project to monitor the moon with telescopes. Almost from the start, researchers caught this impact on May 2, 2006 in the Sea of Clouds (Mare Nubium). They estimate it was a 25 cm meteoroid travelling at 38 km/s and that it carved out a 14 meter wide, 3 meter deep crater. FYI, 38 km/s is 85,000 mph.
  • Upper Limit For Moons Explained – It’s an interesting conundrum; Jupiter, Saturn and Uranas all have dozens of moons, yet in each case the combined mass of the moons equals 0.01% of the parent planet. Well a new model seeks to explain how these gas giants garnered such an array of moons. Basically any moon larger than this 0.01% limit was drawn too close to the gas giant and absorbed into the planet. The only exception to this rule was Neptune’s moon Triton, which astronomers think is a captured object that did not form with Neptune.

Gigantic Japanese Orgy

I come across some weird links out there on the internet, like this one featuring a 500 person orgy in Japan. Suffice to say, this is not exactly safe for viewing at work. Apparently all 250 couples are synchronized their activities like a Busby Berkeley porno. That’s a lot of naked people doing the nasty in one room.

And just for the hell of it, here’s a slurry of photos featuring Jessica Alba in a bikini. Amen to that.

Slacker For Life

So I was pleasantly surprised to hear that money really doesn’t buy happiness, since it looks like I will never be making the big bucks because I started working during a recession. Poor me, thinking that hard work and honest effort were their own rewards. Guess I’ll always be a Slacker…

Speaking of that seminal movie, Salon has a nice write up about the movie and how well it has withstood the test of time after 15 years. Richard Linklater has gone on to other things, but he still has a soft spot for the disaffected and unemployed. The long delayed A Scanner Darkly opens this week in limited release, and I’m looking forward to it. Of course it is the quintessential type of movie that never plays on Guam. But there’s always video; and Slacker is available on DVD now too. Cool.

It’s A Wet One

We got us a nasty storm today on the island today. A tropical depression is forming into a tropical storm right on top of us, bringing scads of rain, lots of wind and turbulent oceans.

I skipped paddling this morning because I reckoned nobody would be heading out in this mess. Hell, I’m not even going to boonie stomp today; I’ll just try and catch up on some stuff around the house and maybe watch a couple DVD’s instead. If the power stays up that is, it’s gusting pretty hard.

At least I’m not in Okinawa. They’re about to get slammed by typhoon Ewiniar.