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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Monday, January 28, 2013

Where in the world?

Well, it has been about 3 years since I posted about the various people in other countries that have visited my blog...so I've been meaning to revisit the subject.

So far as I know, the following is a list of all the countries from which people have checked out my little corner of "Da 'Net":

Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Europe, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Holy See (Vatican City State), Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestinian Territory, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, U.S. Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen and Zambia.

Many of them were apparently looking at pictures of the numerous things about which I've written over the years.

I don't know how much I'm going to keep doing this blog because I've been getting less traffic with the passage of time, and if anything the host site has been becoming less "user friendly". My HTML skills weren't the best when I began, and have improved very little in the intervening years.

Time will tell about my continuing this little diversion; less than 3 years remain before I plan to make myself scarce, in any event...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Story of the geese

The Geese (Author Unknown)

There was once a man who didn't believe in God and didn't hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife did believe and raised their children to have faith in God and Jesus.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked her husband to come, but he refused as usual, .. "The Christmas story is nonsense!" he exclaimed. "Why would God lower Himself to come to Earth as a man? That's ridiculous!" She and the children went, and he stayed home.

That night the wind began to blow and the snow turned into a blizzard. As the man looked out the window, all he could see was a blinding snowstorm. He sat down before the fire-place to relax . Suddenly there was a loud thump. Something had hit the window. Then a second thump. He looked out, but couldn't see more than a few feet because of the blinding snow.

When the storm let up a little, he ventured out to see what could have been beating on his window. In the field near the house was a flock of wild geese. Apparently they were flying south when they were caught in the blizzard and couldn't go on.

They were lost and stranded on his farm, without food or shelter. Flapping their wings, they aimlessly flew around the field in low circles. Some had apparently flown into his window.

The man felt concern for the geese and wanted to help them.

The barn would be a great place for them to stay, he thought. It was warm and safe. They would be saved if they spent the night there waiting out the storm.

He opened the barn doors wide. Then he watched and waited, hoping they would notice the open barn and enter. But the geese just fluttered around aimlessly and didn't seem to notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them.

The man tried to get their attention, but that just seemed to scare them and they moved further away. He went into the house and brought out some bread, broke it up, and made a breadcrumb trail leading to the barn. They still didn't catch on.

Now he was getting frustrated. He got behind them and tried to shoo them toward the barn, but they only became frightened and scattered in every direction except toward the barn.

Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where they would be safe. "Why don't they follow me?" he puzzled. "Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive?"

He thought for a moment and realized that they just wouldn't follow a human. "If only I were a goose, then I could save them," he said out loud.

Suddenly he had an idea. He went into the barn, got one of his own geese, and carried it in his arms as he circled around behind the flock of wild geese. When he released his goose, it flew through the flock and straight into the safety of the barn. One by one the other geese followed it to safety.

He stood silently for a moment as the words he had spoken a few minutes earlier replayed in his mind: "If only I were a goose, then I could save them!" Then he thought about what he had said to his wife.

Suddenly it all made sense. That is what God had done. We were like the geese--blind, lost, perishing. God had His Son become like us so He could show us the way and save us. That was the meaning of Christmas, he realized. As the winds and blinding snow died down, his soul became quiet. Suddenly he understood what Christmas was all about, why Christ had come.

Years of doubt and disbelief vanished like the passing storm. He fell to his knees in the snow, and prayed his first real prayer: "Thank You, Lord, for coming in human form to get me out of this world and leading me to a better one. Lead me to the safety of Your Father's arms."

"He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." Hebrews 2:17-18


Monday, November 26, 2012

Florida: not just amusement parks

As the title indicates, there's (much) more to see in Florida than the various amusement parks. Besides the beaches, there's the wildlife, which is basically what this post is about.

Although there's a raptor in the picture of the confluence of Blue Spring and the St. John's River above, the point of including it is to show the pontoon boat on which I took an excursion...and several pictures.

Here's an anhinga drying its wings next to a turtle.

Manatees in Blue Spring.

Had to have a shot of a 'gator.

A snowy egret in flight.

Now back to the "grind"...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

"Oh, my." (Jame T. Kirk's last words)

As usual, the media is doing what they do best: sensationalizing.

Anyway, better safe than sorry...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never forget!!!

In remembrance...of so many:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." -George Santayana

Monday, August 27, 2012

Technically speaking...

I work in the defense industry and have been following the development of various new technologies in addition to those that I work on personally.

Specifically, for the purposes of this post I'm referring to a number of autonomous systems (unmanned, robotics) of interest; a few of them are showcased below.

First are a few items by QinetiQ, from their website.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Zephyr®: a high altitude long endurance UAV that can support payloads for surveillance or communications.

In July 2010 it set the world record for the longest duration unmanned flight by flying for 14 days, reaching an altitude of over 70,000 feet.


Dragon Runner™: a small unmanned ground vehicle, which can be carried in a pack, enables users to see around corners in urban environments and can be customized in the field.

MAARS®: a modular ground robot system capable of providing force escalation options from non-lethal to lethal for a measured response to combat situations.

TALON®: powerful and man-portable, TALON is the fastest robot on the market (easily keeping pace with a running soldier). It can cope with virtually any terrain and has a very high payload capacity for all-weather day/night sensor packages.

The iRobot company is probably best known for the "Roomba" automated vacuum cleaning robot, but they also produce several tactical systems.

110 FirstLook™: a small, light, throwable robot that provides hasty situational awareness, performs persistent observation and investigates confined spaces.

310 SUGV: (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) is a tactical mobile robot that gathers situational awareness in dangerous conditions for warfighters and public safety professionals.

510 Packbot®: a tactical mobile robot that performs multiple missions while keeping warfighters and first responders out of harm’s way.

710 Warrior®: a big and powerful robot that carries heavy payloads.

The best thing about these systems is the fact that if they get destroyed by whatever means, it prevents the loss of life...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

My kind of cool...

I was back in Alaska earlier this month; some changes have been made.

View from my Sunny Cove outhouse

Beginning this year the Alaska Marine Highway system added ferry service to Spruce Island.

New ferry dock in Ouzinkie

Ferry Tustumena, seen from Sunny Cove

It is my understanding that on alternate Fridays one can take a ferry to Kodiak in the morning, do some shopping, and return to Spruce Island in the evening.

Also, the route between Ouzinkie and Sunny Cove is being improved:

I was told that the project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

I'm looking forward to becoming a resident in 2016...

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