Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Hey You! It's Garbage! What Don't You Get? Don't Just Drop Your Cigarette....Butt!

You'll notice I used a little word play there in the headline. That's a funny place to start. Speaking of butts... I taught my kids how to clean up theirs long ago. I should not now have to teach grown people to clean up their butts. 

What is it about smokers that makes them oblivious to the side effects of their habit? This is from a former smoker, just so you know. I smoked for years. In the beginning, I did the same thing. I flipped my used butts on the ground like everyone else. There's something satisfying about flipping that butt in the air, a ritual of satisfaction, of completion. I guess, maybe like farting after eating way too much. Or a loud burp after a bad beer. 

Sure, I get it. Smoking itself is satisfying, like, maybe when you were a very young child, before you learned self control of any shape, form or fashion and you just peed your bed when you felt the urge. Yes, that was satisfying too. Just lie there and let it rip. But then, a little later, you realize you're just wallowing around in piss. Well! See?

That's what smokers do when they drop their shit wherever they want. Except in this case everyone else also has to lie in your piss.

I'm not one of those super anti-tobacco people. In fact, I could see myself possibly smoking a good quality cigar, or a pipe... at times. I would even consider a good quality, hand rolled cigarette. I used to smoke it all. But probably not now.

The fact that I can walk out my front door and divine whether or not my neighbor, who lives at the other end of the block is home, based on whether or not the air stinks, is something that fills me with little desire to ever smoke again. When I walk into the grocery store I absolutely hate getting stuck beside some of those people who obviously ride around in the car with their windows rolled up, puffing away, having the smoke just permeate their entire being and grow stale with it. This isn't everyone, I know. I know people who smoke that somehow manage not to stink. But those are magic people. Because cigarettes are a smelly business.

I will admit, though not philosophically anti tobacco, I have begun to find smoking less attractive in people. Once I see them light up a cigarette it just makes me wonder about their self care. But, in actuality I don't think much about it if people smoke. In fact, I really don't understand some of the smoking law pusher people who want to ban it. That seems a little bit on the fascist side to me. That is, until I walk my favorite hiking trail, looking down at all the cigarette butts of different brands, realizing it's far more than just one person who thumps, then further realizing I might have a dog in that fight after all.

I wish I could get this out to all the smokers in the world. I wish I could ask each and every one of you who just thumps their butt on our ground: For those of you who don't see it as litter...what in the hell do you think it is? And for those who know it's litter, what... in the HELL... is wrong with you?


          

Thursday, September 24, 2015

NASA Developed Technology Aims to Save Commercial Airlines Fuel, Time


The TASAR application can be seen in the far right screen.
Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman

Two passenger airlines soon will test NASA-developed software designed to help air carriers save time and reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

During the next three years, Virgin America and Alaska Airlines will use the Traffic Aware Planner (TAP) application, to make "traffic aware strategic aircrew requests" (TASAR).

"TAP connects directly to the aircraft avionics information hub on the aircraft," said David Wing, TASAR project lead at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. "It reads the current position and altitude of the aircraft, its flight route, and other real-time information that defines the plane's current situation and active flight plan. Then it automatically looks for a variety of route and/or altitude changes that could save fuel or flight time and displays those solutions directly to the flight crew."

TAP also can connect with the plane's Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver and scan the ADS-B signals of nearby air traffic to avoid potential conflicts in any proposed flight path changes, making it easier for air traffic controllers to approve a pilot's route change request.

Aircraft used for TASER testing.
The Piaggio P. 180 Avanti aircraft used for TASAR testing.
Credits: NASA/David Wing
 
For airlines with Internet connectivity in the cockpit, TAP also can access information -- such as real-time weather conditions, wind forecast updates and restricted airspace status -- to further increase flight efficiency. The software is loaded onto a tablet computer, which many airline pilots already use for charts and flight calculations.

Wing and his team already have tested the TASAR software twice aboard a Piaggio P180 Avanti aircraft, a high-performance technology test bed owned and operated by Advanced Aerospace Solutions, LLC of Raleigh, North Carolina. The system worked well on its initial test flight from Virginia to Kentucky, according to its test pilot, former airline captain William Cotton.

"We used it to make a route change request from air traffic control, which they granted," said Cotton. "We got a shortcut that saved four minutes off the flight time."

Even four minutes of flight time shaved off of each leg of a trip made by an airline could result in massive fuel and time savings, according to researchers. The software provided similar results as flight tests continued in the northeast corridor. A second round of flight tests was recently completed to ensure readiness for operational use by partner airlines.

The TASAR flight tests came after a dozen pilots provided feedback on the technology in a simulation at the University of Iowa Operator Performance Laboratory in Iowa City, Iowa. In addition, aerospace systems manufacturer Rockwell Collins of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, analyzed TASAR to make sure it is safe and can be readily certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

"We’re excited to partner with NASA to test this new technology that has the potential to help reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions and save our guests time in the air.” said Virgin America Chief Operating Officer Steve Forte in Burlingame, California.

"Up until now there has been no way to deliver comprehensive wind and congestion data to pilots in near-real time," said Tom Kemp, Alaska Airlines’ vice president of operations in Seattle, Washington. "TASAR is a 'super app' that will give our pilots better visibility to what’s happening now versus three hours earlier when the flight plan was prepared."

Developers say the new technology won't require changes to the roles and responsibilities of pilots or air traffic controllers, which would allow the system to be implemented fast and start producing benefits right away.

"The system is meant to help pilots make better route requests that air traffic controllers can more often approve," said Wing. "This should help pilots and controllers work more effectively together and reduce workload on both sides from un-approvable requests. TASAR takes advantage of NASA's state-of-the-art TAP software, flight information directly from the aircraft and the emerging ADS-B and Internet infrastructure to help pilots get approved to fly the most efficient or time-saving trajectory possible."

NASA researchers expect this and other aviation technologies under development will help revolutionize the national airspace system, reducing delays and environmental impacts and improving passenger comfort and efficiency, even as the demand for air travel continues to grow.

For more information about NASA Aeronautics research, go to:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

THANKS A LOT OBAMA! How the President Destroyed my Eggs with All His "Stupid Things He's Doing We Can Never Undo!"

OBAMA obviously ruining something
All the ways Obama is destroying America are not always immediately evident. Sometimes it's all the little things that make up the one big "destruction." As I'm sure many of you have experienced, Obama gets into EVERYTHING! While he has everyone looking at the big picture, praising him for making stuff "better," there are those of us, well...who actually know better. I don't know if we actually know "Better." But we know better! "Better" is getting hard to pinpoint, what with gas prices falling and people getting jobs and insurance and stuff...Seems like things are getting "Better." BUT, we know better.

The politicians who spend millions of dollars on campaigning to tell us how things are "Worse." Well, they don't seem to be able to explain "Better." So, we can't trust them. No, it's the simple people who can give you the answers.

The politicians and pundits are all trying to stick to some kind of message, a way they can sell you their line of talk. But the simple people, well, they can say what is what, simply. Sometimes very simply.

This, is a simple story. A story about how Obama destroyed my eggs. 

I need to start by explaining how "white" I am. I descend from Scottish, British, Northern European people, complete with pinkish skin, light and reddish hair, light colored eyes and a big ole' nose. Point is, I look like "that." I mean, I guess I look like "that." Because certain types of people have always felt comfortable walking up to me and saying the most incredibly ridiculous, ignorant things.

People assume, I guess, that I think like "that." Because I look like "that." But I think like "this." Which I have trouble broadcasting because people who think like "that" started to dress and look like "this." Certain people have always thought a little "that-sh" but dressed and looked "this-ish." Even people who think they think "this-ish" still, sometimes think "that-ish" without even knowing it. Hell, maybe even me. 


Suffice it to say, I try my best not to be "ignorant." 

So, all this rambling I'm doing is because I'm angry at OBAMA!

I guess I should probably call him President Obama, or at least Mr. Obama, but for some reason I feel I don't have to do that with him.

Anyway, so I go to pick up my eggs from my Egg Lady. I've been getting them from her for a few years now. We always have nice little chats. She really is a sweet lady. Like I was saying though, I drive over to buy a dozen and a half of her farm fresh eggs. I'm very particular about the eggs I buy, since I ingest them raw at times. So I checked out her operation before I ever bought my first egg from her. She runs a really nice operation by the way, free range, no poisons, no toxins, no extra crap in the feed.

So this time I'm driving my wife's car, a car the Egg Lady's never seen before. I'm usually in my Subaru, Outback, which frankly seems more "this-ish" than "that-ish" to me, so I'm not sure why this never came up before. My wife's car is somewhat smaller than mine. The nice Egg Lady mentions how cute the small car is. I agree and state that it gets better gas mileage than my car.
 

Well, given that the current price of gas is actually under $2.00 per gallon, I really have NO IDEA why the conversation goes the way it does. 

I mention something about how I think it would be nice if cars go to all electric because there are fewer moving parts, electricity can be generated from multiple sources, they're faster, quieter etc.

I don't have any idea, as I mentioned earlier, why the conversation takes the turn that it does. But frankly, I don't understand a great many reasons why people who think like "that" think the things they "think." She looks around, looks left, looks right, kind of looks like a drone is maybe flying over us recording our egg transaction,  and then says "I mean he's ruining everything. There's things he's doing that can't ever be undone. And this stuff with Iran..."

It's a really small thing. But it's a really big "thing." 


I do that terrible dance of one taken off guard where I stammer for a second then try to explain how I "don't trust any of them once they get elected." But the truth is, the way she is saying it, I really don't get it. But I know where she is going. She's heading into an Obama bashing moment and I have to redirect, redirect, redirect. 

It is one of those moments we've all experienced. The little sideways looks before she starts talking, looking for the drones, the ears, the "this" people. But I am a "this" people. I've been in these situations too often and I know where she's going. I explain how OPEC has their own agenda, how, really gas prices, even though they are low now, are not something presidents have direct control over. I say these things as I am backing away down her walkway and, as her face changes, either because she has made herself a "that" in my eyes, or I have become a "this" to her.

As I drive away in the car a sad realization overcomes me. It's such a small thing. Such a small moment. I try. I pride myself on not being "ignorant." And I can't be sure what exactly my conclusion is on that... except, I know, regardless of how I try to rise above, I will not ever feel comfortable buying eggs from her again.


It's just another "small this or that thing."

Shit!


Thanks OBAMA!

 
 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

New Festival Promotes Healthy Environment, Body and Community! - @CukoRakko

People who attend Cuko Rakko Music and Arts Festival, one of the Southeast's newest and fastest growing gatherings, have several things in common. 

Of course, everyone wants to hear great music, buy some incredible art, hang out with good people and enjoy the usual festivities. 

But at a festival like Cuko Rakko, held in the pristine Horse Pens 40 park, protecting the environment and the land is just as important as is all the fun. In fact, upon entering the festival you will likely receive detailed instructions on what is and is not allowed with regard to treatment of the property. In fact, if you've met any of the Horse Pens 40 staff, you'll know just how friendly and helpful they are, as well as how much they love Horse Pens 40 and would not support Cuko Rakko if there wasn't such a commitment to the Earth.

It might surprise you how little impact will be left on Horse Pens 40 after so many people come, even after they have so much fun. But good spirit is one of the major components of Cuko Rakko, which leads to what they call that “magic feeling on the mountain."

An entire page of the Cuko Rakko website is devoted to the caring of the grounds. From Cuko Rakko Greening:
 "The CukoRakko Music & Arts Festival is extremely fortunate to be held inside of an established nature park that has a long history of ecology and music.  We humbly request that you use the website of this geological wonder, www.horsepens40.com, to fully understand the parks rich history and rules.  We ask that glass either be left at home or inside of a car.  Please take appropriate action and see that all cigarette butts are not left on the ground and make it to a proper receptacle.
"CukoRakko Greening will include separation of mixed plastic, aluminum and cardboard at each refuse station inside the park. Other ways that we can make a difference is to rideshare with friends as well as the simple stuff, like putting the cap back on an empty water bottle or conserving water and packaging.  Let us leave the ground the way we found it, clean and beautiful!"
Harmony with body and mind is just as important as harmony with the land. 

A person with a healthy, clear mind will connect with others and with their surroundings in a much more vibrant and rewarding way. This is all part of the CukoRakko experience. 
 
The festival feeds the spirit, body and mind. 



Along with the various sounds one will hear, and interesting, thought provoking events such as metalworking by Sons of Vulcan, and glass blowing, there are healthy food options, which also just happen to taste amazing, and are affordable. And there are a number of challenging, heart pumping physical activities, such as rock climbing with First Avenue Rocks, disc golf, numerous children's activities and just lots and lots of hooping with Hoop for Fitness, a cornhole tournament and many, many hiking trails. And when you've pumped your blood through a few good times and you need to center yourself, there are several yoga sessions with Birmingham Yoga.

The organized drum circles taking place several times throughout the festival also offer a trance like quality, which can reset your mind, beating you back into balance. Or if any of these group activities don't appeal to you, there is so much nature around that one can get lost if that's what one needs. Horse Pens 40's famous rock formations allow for hours of tranquil roaming and introspection. 

Another great thing about Cuko Rakko is that this commitment to a community of mindfulness is year round. With partners like Alabama Outdoors and Coosa Riverkeeper, the Cuko Rakko partners list is full of people who care for, and work for the environment year round, hosting events, watching rivers. Cuko Rakko is part of a greater world of really caring what happens, and people who put their money where their mouths are. 

Here is a list of those who are supporting this festival. Scroll down it and go check them out.    

If you have yet to buy your ticket for this year's Cuko Rakko FallFest, follow this link for a discounted pass : "Secrets of Cuko Rakko"      

Friday, September 11, 2015

Acciaccato

(remembering 9/11)
even those lesser beasts
on vibrant wings take flight
unto the upper reaches of the mind
into fine filaments alight


through tiny holes
fluttering
the strings of souls
delicately uttering


each and every human being
should hear the choir once, and sing
and revel in Mozart
Shakespeare
every human ear


kings uncrowned
castles downed
but did we find the spoils we sought?
was it as we thought?


or have we simply eaten our own hearts?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why You Should Spend Just as Much Time on #Google+ as on #Facebook, if Not All/More

Find This Picture on Google+ and You've Made It
First off...I'm a simple American man. I don't like, or dislike change. I just don't want any more hassle than I have to deal with. 

Yes, my life is about first world problems. My complaints are based on first world comparisons. 

My ideas, stem from first world experiences. 

Second...I used to pick on Google+. I created my account early on, determined to get a jump on what I hoped would be the alternative to the Facebook we all love to hate. I tried it for a time...didn't like it. I set up some automated postings and ignored my account for, well, a really long time.

Frustrated with some of the minor elements that irritated me, small issues like the inability to paste text at times, and what seemed to be an overall strategy to direct everything into a very Google-centric world, I dismissed it as a refuge for the socially isolated techies of the world and returned to complaining about Facebook, on Facebook. 

Then, along came Ello. 

I rushed there just as I had to Google+. Surely here was the future rival of Facebook for a replacement face vacuum. But no, there was no suction to speak of, no spark. The interface was too sketchy, too clunky and the search capabilities were too limited, leaving me drifting onto the profiles of users I had absolutely no reason to follow, and no reason to care enough to create a reason. 

I have not checked my Ello account in months. Perhaps that will be my next post. But at the time I last checked it, I couldn't see any direction they could take it that would make it any more functional, without being a remake of some already existing platform.

Trust me, I'll go check soon. But for now, Ello isn't even making me curious. What did peak my interest was hearing of the recent troubles Google+ was having, seeking to diversify, or split up their divisions in order to make each group more palatable, profitable or whatever...Bottom line to me, as a user/consumer...more change. 


Somewhere in the back of my mind I had always hoped Google+ would somehow make some modifications or transition into something I could better relate to. But, to be honest, I think that was actually not exactly the outcome I needed.

I think what I needed was to watch Facebook make modifications and transition into something I could relate to FAR less than I could when it started. It has become so intent on directing and herding people through its monetary "boosting" system, and using algorithms to manipulate what used to be a much more organic reach. 

Facebook has squandered its potential to be a "positive" social platform.

Google+ isn't Jesus. It isn't Vishnu, or any avatar of some savior spirit. Don't get me wrong. But what Google+ is, actually, is simply a far better platform with a much better strategy. Why it has failed to take off to date? ...Facebook was here first. 

I'm only going to briefly mention the elements of Google+ that make it a superior platform, since I know if you haven't used it, you won't get it. And if you have used it, but have given up, it is probably because all the people you know don't use it. But I challenge you, if you currently use Facebook, go create a Google+ account, and spend at least as much time exploring the content and functionality available within the Google network, as you do arguing in Facebook comments, or feeling sick to your stomach over the last meme you saw.

Google+ offers many advantages over Facebook. Not only are you connected to all the other Google platforms, which form the Google network. But the Google+ platform in and of itself offers far more   options for posting, easier photo sharing, videos, seamless connection to Youtube, etc. And the speed and action of commenting, posting, 1-upping, etc is far more reliable and just never as glitchy.


Aside from directly linking to many other Google products you probably already use, it also offers very smooth social networking elements such as "communities" and different levels of association with other users. 

Something in the maturity of the platform, as well as the non-manipulative nature of a non-Facebook-algorithmic hell of sharing, herding, controlling input allows the user to see and share far less vacuous and frustrating posts. The interface is smooth. The resolution is always better. The air always smells a little fresher when I'm not on Facebook. 

Anyway. I implore you to rush over to Google+ as rapidly as you can. The only problem I have with it, is too many people are not there yet.       

Find me at  https://plus.google.com/+LeeWaitesDe-Alabama and I welcome you to add me to your "friends" circle.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Keep Them Guessing

This is a genuine blog post. Sometimes it's hard to tell with me. 

I do things that are designed to sort of circle modern reality. I think it is all terribly funny sometimes, and terribly sad others. But circling it all keep me sane. 

I've always been fascinated by peripheral sub-cultures, ever since I sat in Dr. Christian's Linguistics and Anthropology class, or even earlier than that, as I felt myself isolated in the high school environment in which my mind flourished, but not within what my teachers or peers might have found to be an observable, to them, acceptable way. 

I don't like to be harsh against people. And institutions are definitely made up of people. But Hayden High was, at the time of my experience, not particularly conducive to learning. It did, however, help to place me in somewhat of a peripheral group of intelligent individuals, all of whom shared a somewhat disjointed connection through our common perception of our fellow students as somewhat lost in their superficiality. As I have aged, and seen some of these individuals not of our group grow into fine people, I realize, about many, we could simply not see through their defenses. But, also still, about many others, we were spot on. 

The isolation and lack of connection with the mainstream elements of our small community was, at least for me, excellent training at constructive introspection and long term coping mechanisms for dealing with the superficiality and cruelty of the larger world. 

Finding and holding beauty against the smothering encroachment of society is difficult. And training early on is definitely helpful for all social animals. We see, we experience, we learn. 

Psychologically and creatively the ability to zigzag and dodge the bullets of a rapid fire, take no prisoners, pop culture of consumption world, where the horde is strategically dumbed down for easy herding, is imperative to survival. And the goal of changing the world might forever be out of reach. So learning to map the paths of man and nature's peripheral worlds is paramount to that same task of living. We must run and swerve and hide forever. As soon as you become the ocean, your spirit will drown. 

Our bodies are being connected to the machine. Our nerves are already progressing with the interface of the future. There may be no escape from Hell, no rejection of fate. There might not be a single answer. But, as long as there is some central eating thing, there will be outliers. Success, to me, is not an efficient consumption of the soul into the Brahmin class or a mind numbing view of Manhattan. Nope. The strength to pump tiny wings as far out and away, to avoid predation just long enough to sing another song. That is life.       
          

Heroes

to be
famous?
foolish?


The World rests on the head of a pin
balanced on a lily pad
sitting in a secluded glade


The soft, still pool
holds the reflection
the emerald and ruby eyes
blood fed family


DNA unravels
in a magic dance
my drying bones to bramble turn
splinters
thorns


inside my decaying body
under my old, fuzzy skull cap
cured leather coat skin back
children sit warmly watching
as a million hungry monkeys
feast on your flesh