Archive for the Category ◊ Engineering ◊

Does Reality Matter Anymore?
Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 | Author:

We are supposed to be living in this golden age of technology where it provides us with great insights — artificial intelligence, machine learning, and business analytics.   These are activities that are all based on dealing with large amounts of fact-based data.

Yet it seems that every day there are journalists and pundits yammering on about light-weight anecdotal observations or even ‘fake news’.  It stimulates the obvious question: Does reality, empiricism, and cold hard facts really matter to anyone anymore?  As an example, here is a recent excerpt on crime statistics disclosed by the US federal government, which is very germane to many of the ‘social scientists’ running around Washington and large US cities:

The FBI released its official crime tally for 2016 today, and the data flies in the face of the rhetoric that professional athletes rehearsed in revived Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.  Nearly 900 additional blacks were killed in 2016 compared with 2015, bringing the black homicide-victim total to 7,881.

Who is killing these black victims? Not whites, and not the police, but other blacks… Contrary to the Black Lives Matter narrative, the police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer. Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only 6 percent of the population. That 18.5 ratio undoubtedly worsened in 2016, in light of the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers—committed vastly and disproportionately by black males. Among all homicide suspects whose race was known, white killers of blacks numbered only 243.

Four studies came out in 2016 alone rebutting the charge that police shootings are racially biased. If there is a bias in police shootings, it works in favor of blacks and against whites. That truth has not stopped the ongoing demonization of the police—including, now, by many of the country’s ignorant professional athletes. The toll will be felt, as always, in the inner city, by the thousands of law-abiding people there who desperately want more police protection.

It makes you wonder if people really want to solve these unfortunate crime problems…  Or perhaps that have another (political) agenda.

 

Flowers in Our Garden
Sunday, August 06th, 2017 | Author:

As a follow-up to the previous posting on our efforts with horticulture (found here), I’ve included photos of the various flowers that we’ve raised in our Ohio summer garden (mostly from seeds):

White Petunia

 

White Coachella

 

Purple Cosmos

 

Yellow Tuberous Begonia

 

Orange Marigold

 

White Hydrangea

 

White Cosmos

 

Pink Begonia

 

Pink Hibiscus

 

Blue Morning Glory

 

Orange Zinnia

 

Yellow Pansy

 

Red Rose

 

Purple Dahlia

 

Pink Geranium

 

Red Tuberous Begonia

 

Pink Impatiens

 

Purple-White Petunia

 

Pink Echinacea

 

Coral Fuchsia

 

Purple Petunia

 

Orange Sunflower

Category: Engineering  | One Comment

In this day and age when hard-copy printed media is disappearing, the Dayton Daily News shares an article about investing $64M for a new downtown library. The story is subtitled “What taxpayers are getting for their money.”  While the facilities are likely very nice, you have to question this amount of investment in brick & mortar to enable ‘book browsing’ (Bear in mind that there was another $100M spent to build other new libraries around the county).  I would be willing to wager that it is not the best expenditure of funds, especially in light of underfunded areas such as pensions for county workers.  How long will we have to wait until they come back to the citizens of Montgomery County for more money?  It’s inevitable.

Because it has four times the public space as the old library, the new building will be able to put all 200,000 of its circulation books and other media on the shelves whereas previously much of it was stored. This means more books to browse…

In 2012, voters approved a $187 million bond issue to pay for library renovations…

The Dayton Metro Library last passed an operating levy in 2009 and has an operating budget of around $30 million. Kambitsch said the library may need to revisit that at some point, but there are currently no plans to go back to the voters.

Source: A sneak peek at Dayton’s $64M downtown library

Garden Panorama
Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 | Author:

At this point you’ve probably discovered that I am an avid horticulturist (fancy word for ‘gardener’).  This year I planted Vinca vines at the top of my lattice panels (which love to grow downwards) and Morning Glory vines at the bottom of the lattice (and they love to grow upwards).  In addition, we have plenty representative members of the squash family and legume family of plants, such as beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, and so on (note: I think I could drop a bean seed on my driveway and it would find a way to germinate).  In addition, I’ve got Marigolds reproducing all summer so they are everywhere (note: Marigolds, Begonias, and Petunias are relatively difficult to grow from seed by the amateur gardener in a greenhouse. However, they’re easy to re-seed outside during the summer growing season).  As a result, our deck and waterfall are flourishing with greenery this year.

I’ve inserted a photo below that gives a nice view of what I get to see from my easy chair…  My wife calls it our ‘Gatsby Garden’.

Click photo to view full scale panorama

Some close-up photos of peppers, raspberries, tomatoes, watermelons, and squash growing in the garden.

 

 

Category: Engineering  | One Comment
New Approach for Growing Pumpkins
Wednesday, July 19th, 2017 | Author:

Update

The experiment has delivered some initial results.  While the plant started to grow a nice sized pumpkin, it appears that the vining plant does not like growing in the vertical direction.  All of the leaves have slowly died off and the plant does not appear to be healthy.

As a controlled comparison, I had a plant that was started from seed at the same time that was grown in the horizontal orientation.  As you can see in the photograph on the right, this plant appears to still be thriving and growing along the ground.

 

june 15, 2007

If you’ve never attempted to grow pumpkins in your own garden, then you likely don’t realize the amount of space the plants require to sustain a single pumpkin.  While pumpkin plants, being in the squash family, are relatively easy to grow from seed, they are a pain to maintain (unless you have acres of land).  As a result, I’m trying a simple experiment this year in growing pumpkins vertically from an irrigated hanging pot at the top of a lattice.  You can see the interim results below with the first photograph showing the plant already 4′ long.  The second photo shows a close-up of a “pregnant flower” becoming a pumpkin.

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Understanding How the Human Brain Works
Sunday, June 04th, 2017 | Author:

This famous Rembrandt painting of a 17th century anatomy lesson (see below) represents to me the equivalent of what science currently knows about the functioning of the human brain.  The painting depicts a bunch of guys looking at the vivisection saying “Holy cow!  What’s that?!”… and that my friends is the equivalent of the 21st century magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain where the medical practitioners sit around looking at the MRI images saying “Holy cow! It looks like the cerebral cortex is lighting-up!”

We still have a lot to learn…

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Earth Day Predictions 1970 
Thursday, April 20th, 2017 | Author:

It is the 47th anniversary of “Earth Day” when all the Gaea-lovers got together to prognosticate the end of the world… How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970?

The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong…

Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years”…

Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

Can You Trust Snopes?
Sunday, March 05th, 2017 | Author:

I used to consider the Snopes web site a reputable source…  it appears that they also have succumbed to a political agenda:

Snopes got the facts wrong despite deploying not one but two fact-checkers to the case.  The first, Kim LaCapria, is a known leftist who has a history of struggling with the facts. The second was David Mikkelson, Snopes’ co-founder.

This is hardly the first time Snopes has struggled with the facts while “fact-checking.”

Last December, Snopes published a fact-check defending John Kerry’s State Department that was riddled with factual errors and omissions.

Source: Snopes Caught Playing Defense For Democrats 

Visit to USAF Museum Bldg 4
Sunday, November 20th, 2016 | Author:

I made a visit to the USAF Museum (more formally known as the ‘National Museum of the United States Air Force‘) this morning to check out the new ‘building 4’ and to get some photos of the turbine engines that are still in use in the Air Force inventory.  The newest building brings to the public the planes that have been hidden in special hangars.  This includes the various early versions of Air Force One (the 707 version that carried JFK’s body back to Washington) as well as many of the experimental aircraft from the 1950s.

Some may say that there’s not much to do in Dayton, Ohio but there are very few museums in the world as highly rated at the Air Force Museum.  Take a look at the Trip Advisor ratings for the museum and you’ll discover that there are very few places that have more than 3,000 reviews and nearly 5.0 rating.

usafoutside

usaf-bldg4

bldg4inside

 

 

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Petunias in November?
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 | Author:

Yep, those are some petunias still flowering in my Ohio garden in early November.

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