Thanksgiving at sea

November 26th, 2015

It was Thanksgiving in 1991, a time near the end of my tour aboard the USS Elliot (DD-967). We were nearing the end of our three-month Persian Gulf deployment, bored nearly shitless with endless tacking around the warm bathtub known as the Persian Gulf. I was on the far side of the world from my home, sick of looking at skies that were either hazy with desert heat and sand or blackened with the smoke from still-burning fires in Iraq’s oil fields. It seemed the end of my enlistment couldn’t get here fast enough.

In spite of my homesickness, in spite of the boredom of the Gulf, in spite of all the griping I could have been doing that day, I knew down on the mess decks awaited a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, ham, stuffing, and the works. I was healthy and fit and (like my shipmates) took great cooks, air conditioning and my bed with me everywhere I deployed.
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Judge rules against Hallie in climate change petition case

November 26th, 2015

We got word yesterday from Hallie’s legal team that Judge Michael Morgan has ruled against her request to have her petition heard by the Environmental Management Commission. While this is disappointing, it is by no means the end of her environmental activism. We do not have all of the details yet as the ruling has yet to be completed but we expect to have more details after the first week of December.

A Bold Future that Wasn’t: the NS Savannah

November 26th, 2015

NS Savannah

NS Savannah (Photo by Maritime Park Association)

Behold the future.

The NS Savannah was the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship. She steamed for over 400,000 miles from 1962 to 1970 as the flagship of President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” initiative, but her operational costs, meager cargo capacity, and the extensive training required of the crews doomed her. She now resides at Pier 13 in Baltimore awaiting the removal of her reactor and can be toured upon request.

This site gives you a virtual-reality look at this forgotten engineering and design masterpiece. It’s a walk back in time to the more hopeful, futuristic outlook of the late 1950s. I’d love to see it in person (and it can be done by following the instructions in this FAQ list).

Welcome to the Nuclear Ship Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship.

Savannah was a signature element of President Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program. She was constructed as a joint project of the former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Maritime Administration. She operated from 1962 to 1965 in experimental service, at which time the AEC issued her commercial operating license number NS-1. Savannah continued in demonstration service as a cargo ship until 1970 when she ended her active career. She was defueled in 1971 and her reactor made permanently inoperable in 1975-76. About 95% of the power plant is intact and remains onboard ship. Savannah is still licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC is the successor to the AEC), and will remain so until nuclear decommissioning.

Source: NS Savannah – Virtual Tour

Hallie’s activism brings out the haters

November 15th, 2015

Our 13-year-old daughter Hallie has always been concerned about the environment and wanted to do something to help. As parents, Kelly and I have been supportive her pursuit of what she believes in. Her suit against the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission is but one action of a long list of activism she has participated in. As a family we have always worked to make the world a better place and Hallie’s taking up that mantle makes Kelly and me very, very proud.

Predictably and sadly, many who choose to ignore the overwhelming evidence that humans are affecting our climate have also chosen to attack Hallie (and by extension, Kelly and me), rather than refute the evidence or argument. I know the climate-change deniers are out there – they are a small but vocal minority – but I am still shocked at the level of meanness and rage that our kind and loving daughter seems to have stirred in them. This is just over the top.

A sample of comments:

ProudlyUnaffiliated, Independent Weekly comment:
“Whoever is behind getting this bright, energetic girl to do this ought to burn in hell. The shame of co-opting children to push this fraudulent, collectivist ideology has never been greater. This is child abuse, which should be punished severely.”

Paul Louis Hinz, News and Observer comment:
“Libtard logic= no logic at all! Well on the way to being a terrific little commie! Just like your mom and dad!”
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Hallie sues NC to hear her climate change petition

November 14th, 2015
N&O photo by Harry Lynch

N&O photo by Harry Lynch

Update 26 Nov: Judge Morgan has ruled against Hallie. Details in a few weeks.

It’s been an interesting few days here. For the past two years, Hallie has been involved with an effort to bring about some state regulations on climate-change pollution. With the help of an Oregon-based nonprofit called Our Childrens’ Trust, Hallie filed a petition with the state Environmental Management Commission, urging it to regulate greenhouse gases. In spite of the petition meeting all the requirements to be heard by the full commission, Hallie’s petition was rejected outright by the chair without due consideration, thus the lawsuit.

Yesterday was her day in court, appearing before Superior Court judge Michael Morgan. Hallie has a great team of attorneys (Gayle Tuch, Ryke Longest, and Shannon Arata) working pro-bono to move this case forward and they vigorously pressed her case before Judge Morgan. Our whole family was in attendance as well as Hallie’s maternal grandparents, who drove down from Virginia to surprise her.
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Digital Connectors 2015

November 11th, 2015

Me with the Raleigh Digital Connectors, Nov 2015.

Me with the Raleigh Digital Connectors, Nov 2015.

I was invited to give another talk to the Raleigh Digital Connectors yesterday on the topic of blogging. Once again I was inspired by these young men and women who are making a difference in the community. I am always honored to speak to them on the topic of blogging as it’s so important that they know they have this amazing resource known as the Internet with which to express themselves.

Blogging certainly has been a worthwhile endeavor for me. I don’t always get time to write as much as I’d like to but I enjoy the time that I can find.

Take a look at these young people in this photograph. These folks are changing the world.

One big reason REI can decide to skip Black Friday – The Washington Post

October 29th, 2015

Am I the only one sad that a retailer chooses NOT to make it’s employees work over Thanksgiving is newsworthy? Is this how far we’ve fallen? Does America really worship the almighty dollar this zealously?

Outdoor retailer REI made an announcement Monday that may have sounded like sacrilege to retail industry veterans. It will be closed this year on Black Friday, shutting its doors on retail’s holiest of days and paying its employees for a day off. Some hailed it as an unprecedented move, especially at a time when many other retailers have turned even Thanksgiving itself into a day of holiday shopping.

Source: One big reason REI can decide to skip Black Friday – The Washington Post

Curiouser and curiouser

October 18th, 2015

You know the saying, “be careful what you wish for?” Well, it’s really true. I had been pondering lately some of the bigger questions in life and lo and behold I was presented with an opportunity to explore these questions. I won’t go into details but I can say that the world doesn’t look quite the same to me as it did just a few weeks ago. Mind blown.

Bouldered over

October 18th, 2015

As I mentioned earlier, I took a new job recently. Last week I visited the company headquarters in Boulder for the company’s new employee orientation. Though I dreaded the thought of days of mind-numbing meetings it turned out to be a lot of fun. I was particularly impressed that my new colleagues and I took an afternoon out to volunteer for a local charity. That, and everyone was incredibly enthusiastic and helpful during the event. Obviously the company hires the right people – these are people anyone would want to work with.

I stuck around a few extra days to get in some work with my department, too, which was spent in a few team-building exercises and overviews of the product I’ll be supporting. It was a big jump-start to my daily responsibilities.
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October 18th, 2015

Noticed today that someone I thought was my friend unfriended me on Facebook. What’s odd is that we still have dozens of friends in common. I’ll give it a few minutes of thought and then I’ll promptly move on, because I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t particularly care to sugarcoat my thoughts for anyone’s benefit.

I am who I am. I respect you for who you are (the Hindi concept of namaste resonates strongly with me). If you cannot accept me for who I am I am not going to change for you.

Peace out. Namaste. Good luck to you. Just don’t expect me to slow down for you.