A park is a park. Don’t restrict play!

No fun allowed.

No fun allowed.

This sign in the Iwo Jima memorial park in Arlington last week had me shaking my head. There’s this beautiful expanse of lawn behind this memorial and some bureaucrat wants to keep people from enjoying it! Did anyone stop to think that the men who bled during the battle for that Godforsaken island would’ve probably loved to be in that park, playing ball instead? Is there any better way to honor our country’s freedom than, you know, actually giving people freedom?

Before there was such a thing as public parks, society used cemeteries for this purpose. Picnickers would plop down right by the grave of Great-Great Aunt Martha and celebrate life. Somewhere along the line cemeteries and memorials mistakenly became places of “quiet reflection only.”

I can think of no better way to honor those who’ve passed than to celebrate the life we continue to live.

Intel NUC as home server

It's nice when your server fits in your mailbox.

It’s nice when your server fits in your mailbox.

I’ve always liked to have a home server hanging around for things like email, file sharing, and the like. Over the years this has taken the form of a beefy desktop computer, a PowerPC-based MacMini, an embedded Linux-based router, and recently a beat-up old laptop. All had their challenges, power consumption and fan noise being the two main ones, though the PowerPC machine and the router also couldn’t run all the software I needed. I was limping along on my busted laptop for as long as I could but decided it was nearing the end of its useful life. It was time to go shopping for something that would last me a while.

The embedded idea still appealed to me for the two main reasons I mentioned above: power consumption and noise. I wanted something that sips electricity and was quiet yet still provided enough computing power to do what I needed. After reading up on some online reviews, I went with the Intel NUC.

Intel’s NUC (“Next Unit of Computing”) systems are embedded x86_64 machines which are about half the size of a brick. They have plenty of ports: HDMI, USB 3.0, and even a Thunderbolt port. They come with your choice of Intel processors, whether it is an i3, i5, or i7 series. Memory can be boosted to 32 GB and it accepts newer SSD drives. Some models can fit 2.5″ laptop drives as well. The hardest part about making the jump to an Intel NUC was simply deciphering which Intel model had which options. Sometimes having too many choices isn’t a good thing, I suppose.
Contine reading

Two Years of Construction on Glascock Street Could End This Week. Did Bad Communication Only Create More Problems? – Raleigh Agenda

Jane Porter’s story on the seemingly never-ending construction on Glascock Street ran in today’s Raleigh Agenda. It’s a fair piece and properly highlights the frustration neighbors have been feeling.

To give a little context to my remarks, I also told Jane that I’m happy that the City is bringing much-needed investment to East Raleigh (after all, there are still two actual, honest-to-God unpaved dirt roads that connect to Glasdock). I only wish the city had done a better job of setting expectations for how long this project (these projects) would take.

Being that I was East CAC chair at the time (or had just been), I certainly knew that the project was gearing. I was not aware, though (and I don’t think any other neighbors were aware), of the time it would all take.

What I would like to see for future projects is the city not only telling us when a project is expected begin but when it is expected to be completed. Put up a sign at the work site with this information. Include a URL (or QR code) that points people to the project webpage. This would do a lot to keep neighbors comfortable with the process.

A good example of why this is needed is the construction that has temporarily closed Old Louisburg Road. A sign appeared over the weekend of October 8th, which tells drivers that the road would close on the 10th. The sign does not tell drivers when the road will reopen! Because Old Louisburg Road is the main way people in my neighborhood get to downtown Raleigh, it being closed is hugely disruptive.
Contine reading

Instead of answers, more questions

Yesterday, I crafted a long blog post detailing my time as a participant in this Gulf War Illness (GWI) research study but never had a chance to post it. I was about to say it seems I have some answers to my health issues. Sadly, after talking with lead researcher Dr. Baraniuk for several hours last night (yes, several hours. Does your doctor do that?) I’ve realized that there are actually more questions than answers now.

I took a week off of work and away from home and traveled to DC at partially my own expense to be tested by an expert in GWI. Dr. Baraniuk is a brilliant man – an expert in GWI – and I was tested, but I never expected that my medical issues would stump him of all people. My joy of yesterday is well-founded: Dr. Baraniuk has detected a legitimate, abnormal response in my nervous system which makes my body work extra hard and seems to occur in GWI-affected veterans (about 30% of those who served in the Persian Gulf War). This confirmation is a wonderful validation of the way I’ve been feeling for the past 25 years.
Contine reading

Insider reveals true intent of Florida’s proposed solar amendment | Miami Herald

Solar panels

Solar panels

Who’s ready to fire their electric company? A Duke Energy-backed lobbying group is pushing Amendment 1 in Florida, an anti-solar constitutional amendment disguised as a pro-solar one. This makes me wish I had some other choice for electric power than Duke Energy. Thanks to electric monopolies I don’t have that choice.

It’s time to end electric monopolies and open this market to competition. It’s time the Duke Energys in this country stop just pretending to support free markets and actually do it.

The policy director of a think tank hired by Florida’s largest electric utilities admitted at a conference this month what opponents have claimed for months: The industry attempted to deceive voters into supporting restrictions on the expansion of solar by shrouding Amendment 1 as a pro-solar amendment.

Sal Nuzzo, a vice president at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee, detailed the strategy used by the state’s largest utilities to create and finance Amendment 1 at the State Energy/Environment Leadership Summit in Nashville on Oct. 2.

Nuzzo called the amendment, which has received more than $21 million in utility industry financing, “an incredibly savvy maneuver” that “would completely negate anything they (pro-solar interests) would try to do either legislatively or constitutionally down the road,” according to an audio recording of the event supplied to the Herald/Times.

Source: Insider reveals true intent of Florida’s proposed solar amendment | Miami Herald

Mysterious illness that can cause hallucinations hits Coos Bay | OregonLive.com

This is X-Files-worthy.

A mysterious illness that can cause hallucinations has struck Coos Bay.It all started Tuesday afternoon when a caregiver who works with a 78-year-old woman called 911. She reported that seven or eight people were trying to take the roof off her vehicle.

A deputy who showed up found nothing amiss, said Sgt. Patrick Downing, spokesman for the Coos Bay Sheriff’s Office.

The caregiver, 52, called back early Wednesday, reporting the same thing. This time the deputy who responded figured something was wrong and arranged to have another deputy with a more suitable vehicle take the caregiver to Coos Bay Hospital on a mental health hold, Downing said.

Not long after the two deputies reported feeling nauseous, light-headed and euphoric. The elderly woman also came down with symptoms.

Source: Mysterious illness that can cause hallucinations hits Coos Bay | OregonLive.com

Important MT.Net announcement

This is my 7,000th blog post. That is all.