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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Leon County, Florida
Member since: Tue Feb 12, 2008, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 17,675

Journal Archives

A Love Affair with Birds - The Life of Thomas Sadler Roberts by Sue Leaf

I've just finished reading this book and thought some of the birders here might want to check it out.

Thomas Sadler Roberts was my husband's great grandfather and a pioneering ornithologist in Minnesota. He wrote the definitive bird book "The Birds of Minnesota" based very much on his own and his network of friends' observations about birds from his youth in Minneapolis in the late 1800s. He also promoted education about the state's wildlife, especially the birds, and conservation of habitat to preserve the birds he loved.

While the book is mostly a biography of Thomas Sadler Roberts, it also gives insight into the changes in attitude towards the birds and conservation over Roberts' lifetime. It also shows how he used his influence with his wealthy patients and friends to create Minneapolis' Bell Museum of Natural History (http://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/).

Without people like Roberts and the students he taught and inspired, we would not have the conservation efforts that have helped preserved the small scrap of the natural world he took for granted as a young man. I'm proud that he is an ancestor of my husband!

A more complete review of the book is at http://www.minnpost.com/books/2013/05/love-affair-birds-chronicles-life-thomas-sadler-roberts

Anybody here make stuffed animals? A question about noses....

I'm making memory bears from my Dad's old shirts. I've got all the bears sewn, most are stuffed (that's my husband's job), I'm having no problem sewing the stuffing holes shut or sewing the buttons on for eyes.

The problem I am having is with noses. The pattern instructions (I'm using Simplicity 5491, out of print pattern) says to cut a felt nose, stitch it on the stuffed bear, then satin stitch over that with pearl cotton. The pattern doesn't say what size pearl cotton to use. I've got black in sizes 5, 8 and 12, but I'm having no success stitching a good looking nose in any of those!

I've done a lot of embroidery and can do a mean satin stitch on taut fabric with everything from pearl cotton to untwisted flat silk but my effort at satin stitching the nose on an already stuffed bear is horrible.

I'm thinking of bailing on the stitched nose and getting some buttons for the noses. The eyes are 1/2" half ball buttons in a shiny black - I'm thinking a flat black button in 3/4 or 1" might look good.

Any suggestions?

Things don't change much - except for style

Other than being a folk song style, this could be performed today and still be true:

Working my way through the loss of my Dad

Dad passed away just before the end of August. He'd been very ill in March and had made his peace, happy that he had turned 90, but he recovered and way doing pretty good until a catastrophic event that ended his awareness a week before he passed.

At the same time I pretty much lost my little sister and her oldest daughter. They acted as though they were the only ones losing our father and were very inconsiderate and at some points extremely cruel to my mother. I may never speak to either of them again, I am that angry with their actions.

We're losing Mom, too. At 92 the loss of her husband of 67+ years is accelerating her previously mild dementia. She's still hanging in there, but I can see the deterioration in just the last few months.

47of74's thread about the memory bear that his/her aunt gave his/her grandma (http://www.democraticunderground.com/1234790) made me think about what I have begun working on. My Mom has a memory bear that was made from clothing of our brother in law after he passed and she treasures that bear.

My older sister gave me eight plaid shirts that were my Dad's and I was supposed to find someone to make memory bears from them. Instead I am making them myself. So far I've done the sewing on two of them, but still need to stuff them, stitch the seams shut, and sew the faces on. I'm carefully cutting the collars from the shirts and will button them on each bear.

I started wondering why I have taken this on - I don't really want a memory bear. I don't give a shit if my little sister or her crazy daughter want them. I'm stitching them for my Mom and will let her select who gets which bear. If I do keep one, it may be made from the leftover scraps. mom wants the bears to each be made completely from a single shirt so she won't even notice if I keep one made from the extra bits. With Mom, my sisters, and the grandchildren, there are nine people who might want memory bears - we don't have enough shirts. Maybe I can get two bears from the scraps and someone else will want a mixed up bear.

Tonight I decided that this is one way I am working out the loss of my Dad. I think the hardest day is yet to come. February 2 would have been Mom & Dad's 68th wedding anniversary. At least Mom will have a memory bear from Dad's shirt to hold that day.

A Mind-Reading Dog Translator That Just Might Work

A Mind-Reading Dog Translator That Just Might Work

Today on Indiegogo, you can preorder a device called the No More Woof for $65. It promises to read your dog’s mind and speak out what he/she is thinking.

At first glance, it’s the epitome of everything wrong with crowdfunding platforms: It’s vaporware, a concept that has no hope of becoming a reality. And so far, the press has met it with skepticism. But after talking to the Swedish creatives behind the device at Studio Total, I, like most of you, will kick myself for not thinking of it first.


Mazetti isn’t exaggerating. The project started as a bit of a joke between him and his brother, when Tomas suggested an Epoc (an off the shelf EEG) could be used to read the mind of their mother’s dog. Then Mazetti ordered one. His studio began trying the Epoc and other EEGs on dogs. And as you might expect, they could discern very basic mental states, just as these EEGs can do in a human.


Hook that EEG up with two other off the shelf components, a cheap Raspberry Pi processor and a portable speaker, and suddenly, you have the extremely basic, $65 No More Woof being offered on Indiegogo today (which makes you wonder if, at that price, the device is selling for a significant loss).

More: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3023686/why-a-mind-reading-dog-translator-isnt-nearly-as-crazy-as-it-sounds

Why does this make me think of this?

Just had a Blue Screen crash on my Win 7 machine

Report gave this info:
Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7601.
Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode: 7a
BCP1: C05C4210
BCP2: C000009C
BCP3: 842348C0
BCP4: B884201C
OS Version: 6_1_7601
Service Pack: 1_0
Product: 768_1

This computer was locally built in July 2009. I don't really need an update, but the blue screen worries me. My last computer was unreliable at the end and I lost data because it wasn't saving stuff to the hard drive even when it said it had.

That computer turned out to have the swollen and leaking capacitor problem both on the motherboard and in the power supply. Now I'm concerned that this computer is developing hardware issues.

I can have my local builder put together a new computer and move my 4 terrabytes of hard drives into it. He'd probably need to upgrade Windows since my version of 7 is 32 bit and I'd like to move to a 64 bit system.

This is NOT in my budget. But I've been wishing for an excuse to upgrade - guess I've got it!

Keeping seniors engaged in life

My Mom is 92 and still pretty sharp mentally and active physically. But since Dad passed away in August she is not as engaged or active as she was. It sort of started when Dad was very ill last spring. Until then, they worked two crossword puzzles and several word games every day. After Dad's illness, he was not as able and Mom was not as interested in doing the puzzles by herself.

Now that Dad is gone, Mom is not reading - she used to read books after the puzzles were finished. While she says she is going to read, it seems that she no longer has the attention span or the ability to concentrate on reading.

She used to do needlework and quilting but her hands are now too arthritic for that kind of work. She spent years editing a local historical newsletter but she's turned that over to others and is no longer active in that group on a daily basis. She also no longer is interested in genealogical research, though she did that for decades.

My sister and I are trying to figure out what we can do to keep Mom engaged and mentally active. While we visit as often as possible, most of the time Mom is alone with caretakers. They are nice people but Mom does not enjoy their company and complains if they hang around her too much. We've tried for years to get her to write her remembrances about her life, the tales she has about growing up in rural Alabama during the Depression, about her time as a Navy Nurse. But typing is hard for her with her arthritis and she won't record her memories when she is alone or just with the caretakers.

When we visit, we talk with her about her memories, photos that she has, family, etc. but that only engages her while one of the family is there to encourage her.

We're worried that her mild forgetfulness will progress and worsen if we can't keep her mentally active.

Does anyone have suggestions on what kinds of activities we might be able to encourage her to do when she is basically on her own?

28 years ago - North Florida's "Thanksgiving" hurricane

I was thinking about this last week with the unusual tornado activity in the MidWest:

28 years ago on Nov. 21, Hurricane Kate hit North Florida, a few days before Thanksgiving. Many people in this area had no Thanksgiving that year. We had no power or water for a week. One friend had no power for a month.

Kate was the first hurricane along the Florida Panhandle since Hurricane Eloise in 1975. In the region, the hurricane dropped heavy rainfall along its path, peaking at 8.32 in (211 mm) in Panama City. While Kate moved ashore, it produced an 11 m (36 ft) storm surge at Cape San Blas, causing beach and dune erosion in Gulf County. Storm surge flooding left 150 houses uninhabitable in Wakulla County. Just two months after Hurricane Elena caused significant damage to the oyster industry, Hurricane Kate destroyed much of what little was left in Apalachicola Bay. Lack of production caused many oystermen to lose their jobs in the area.

Strong winds were reported across the Florida Panhandle and there was one reported tornado, along with several funnel clouds. In Panama City, wind gusts reached 78 mph (126 km/h), which damaged two houses, a motel, and a fishing pier. Sustained winds reached 74 mph (119 km/h) at Cape San Blas, with gusts to 108 mph (174 km/h). Across the area, Kate severely damaged 242 buildings, mostly in Franklin County; in the county, the damage was the heaviest of any other storm in the late 1900s. The storm damaged about 5.4 mi (8.7 km) of roads in the county, and throughout the region many roads were washed out. High winds downed trees across the Florida Panhandle, which damaged several houses. One downed tree struck a car, killing one person and injuring another. The winds also downed power poles and lines.

Many fishermen before and after the storm were suffering due to lack of fish. In addition, severely eroded coastlines lost even more beach from a 10 foot (3 m) storm surge and strong waves.
Rainfall map of Kate in the United States

Along the coastline, there was extensive road damage, with potholes up to 4 feet (1.2 m) in length along U.S. Route 98. Kate's strong winds and rain damaged at least 600 houses and water craft, amounting to $300 million (1985 USD) in damage.

Flooding and power outages across 90% of the city forced a curfew, taking up to two weeks to clean up. A positive aspect of the storm was the economic boost from coastal evacuees. Restaurants, hotels, and stores were full from those taking refuge from the storm.

The National Weather Service has a series of photos of the damage - I never saw any of the video or pictures - we didn't get TV or paper by the time the local media did their specials on the storm's aftermath.

While global warming might be contributing to unusual weather events, it is not new. Hurricane Kate was unusual in hitting the mainland so late in the season and in doing so much damage. But 28 years ago climate change and global warming were not as big a concern as they are now and few brought them up as a cause for this unusual storm - though they could have affected it as much as they could have affected the tornado outbreak last week.

Just musing here....

Found this little parable in my Dad's computer

From INTHEFIELD, Polk County Florida agricultural magazine.
Editor-In-Chief Al Berry’s column “Rocking Chair Chatter”:
First Man and First Woman in the Garden of Eating

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Women would live long and healthy lives even without the vitamins of the Flintstones,

Then using God's great gifts, Satan created rich ice cream with much butter fat which was packaged in small quarts, and also he created doughnuts that were fried in lard and entombed in fine sugar icing. And Satan said, "You want chocolate with that?" And Man said, "Yes!" and Woman said, "and as long as you're at it, add some sprinkles."

And they gained 10 pounds that were not muscular in mass. And Satan smiled.

And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman and Man might keep the shapes they found so fair in one another. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And their shapes began to expand.

So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented Thousand-Island Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts, yea, even their button, following the repast.

And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it "Angel Food Cake," and said. "It is good."

Satan then created chocolate cake and named it "Devil's Food."

God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds.

And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels.

Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition.

And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them.

God then gave lean beef so that Man and Woman might consume fewer calories and still satisfy their appetites.

And then Satan created fast food outlets on every street corner and placed 99-cent double cheeseburgers within them.

And then said, "You want fries with that?" And Man replied, "Yes, and super-size it."

And Satan said, "It is good." And Man went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery!

Then Satan created HMOs.

Internet Archive and Wayback Machine Non-Profit Building Damaged

Internet Archive's S.F. office damaged in fire
Kurtis Alexander
Updated 8:29 pm, Wednesday, November 6, 2013 The office of the nonprofit Internet Archive in San Francisco's Richmond District caught fire early Wednesday, destroying equipment and damaging several apartments next door.

The blaze began about 3:45 a.m. in the single-story Clement Street office, between 12th and Funston avenues, and spread to an adjacent three-story complex, firefighters said.

About eight residents of the next-door building were evacuated, but no injuries were reported. Firefighters had the blaze under control by 5 a.m.

The Internet Archive, which hosts the website https://archive.org, is an online library that provides users free access to a collection of digital books, videos, music and old websites. The site has 3 million daily users.

More: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Internet-Archive-s-S-F-office-damaged-in-fire-4960703.php

Scanning Center Fire — Please Help Rebuild
Posted on November 6, 2013 by brewster
Scanning Center Fire

Scanning Center with Fire Damage to Left of Main Building

This morning at about 3:30 a.m. a fire started at the Internet Archive’s San Francisco scanning center. The good news is that no one was hurt and no data was lost. Our main building was not affected except for damage to one electrical run. This power issue caused us to lose power to some servers for a while.

Some physical materials were in the scanning center because they were being digitized, but most were in a separate locked room or in our physical archive and were not lost. Of those materials we did unfortunately lose, about half had already been digitized. We are working with our library partners now to assess.


What help could we use?

Funding - https://archive.org/donate/ Your donations will help us rebuild the scanning capabilities in books, microfilm, and movies.
Scanning - https://archive.org/scanning The employees affected by the fire will need continued digitization work at our alternate location while we recover.

More: http://blog.archive.org/2013/11/06/scanning-center-fire-please-help-rebuild/

Donate: https://archive.org/donate/

What;s interesting to me is the suggestion the other day that the Wayback Machine would have records of more plagiarism by Rand Paul:
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