Scratch ANOTHER credit card. Sigh

Kelly was checking her email this morning, expecting to find more birthday greetings. Instead, she turned to me and asked me if I had purchased pizza at Domino’s. Buying pizza at 7 AM is a little … unconventional, so I walked over to see why she would pose such a silly question. Turns out she was reading a “fraud alert” email from our credit card company, showing a purchase at Domino’s sometime today.

Cue the internal cursing and rolling eyes.

A phone call to the credit card company confirmed our fears. Someone had purchased $40 worth of Domino’s pizza in Missouri and used our credit card to do it. Our card was promptly canceled and new ones put in the mail.

It had been less than two weeks that we had those particular cards. Two. Fricking. Weeks (in truth, these new cards had the same number as our old cards but with a different CVV).

Turns out, last night I bought something online just a few hours prior. Rather than buy yet another product from Amazon, I bought it from a mom-and-pop shop. I don’t know for sure but I’m assuming their e-commerce website has been hacked.
Contine reading

Raleigh quietly pulled the plug on Camp Ranoca. Why?

We met Kelly’s family at a Virginia state park for our new “Cabin Thanksgiving” tradition. Standing around the campfire Friday night, we were close to exhausting our measly repertoire of camp songs when Hallie and Travis giddily led the others through several zany camp songs they had picked up from their summers at Raleigh’s Camp Ranoca. Anything that gets both of my kids to happily cooperate gets my attention and it was obvious they both looked back fondly on their Camp Ranoca experiences.

Hallie was greatly looking forward to the chance to be a camp counselor this summer at Camp Ranoca. She is excellent with kids and loves the camp experience. Goofiness runs in the family (if you couldn’t tell). She would’ve been great. I was probably as crushed as she was when we found out at the beginning of the year that Raleigh had quietly discontinued Camp Ranoca.
Contine reading

Need Photos of Raleigh? Mark Turner Says Use His for Free, Please. – Raleigh Agenda

Raleigh Agenda wrote about my public domain photos of Raleigh today.

I first met Mark Turner on the corner of McDowell and Hargett streets for a mysterious “field trip,” as he had called it.

“C’mon, there’s something I want to show you,” he told me, motioning up the street toward DECO. He seemed eager to push past the handshakes and how-do-you-dos, so the adventure could begin. Inside the gift shop, he directed me toward a little basket filled with postcards.

“See that?” he asked, holding up a pack of cards that featured a colorful, sketch-like rendering of the Raleigh skyline. “These are based on the picture of Raleigh that I uploaded to Wikipedia. All the streets line up.”

Sure enough, the skyline sketch—captured from the Western Boulevard overpass, looking northeast in 2008—employed the same angle and details as the picture that accompanies the Raleigh, North Carolina Wikipedia entry. Even a red minivan was echoed on the postcard, eternally stuck in traffic. That’s Turner’s shot, free to anyone who wants to use it.

Source: Need Photos of Raleigh? Mark Turner Says Use His for Free, Please. – Raleigh Agenda

NASA Team Claims ‘Impossible’ Space Engine Works—Get the Facts

A paper describing NASA’s spooky new EMDrive microwave propulsion engine has survived peer review. Scientists are still scratching their heads over how this seemingly impossible engine appears to work. Cool!

After years of speculation, a maverick research team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center has reached a milestone that many experts thought was impossible. This week, the team formally published their experimental evidence for an electromagnetic propulsion system that could power a spacecraft through the void—without using any kind of propellant.

According to the team, the electromagnetic drive, or EmDrive, converts electricity into thrust simply by bouncing around microwaves in a closed cavity. In theory, such a lightweight engine could one day send a spacecraft to Mars in just 70 days.

Source: NASA Team Claims ‘Impossible’ Space Engine Works—Get the Facts

Jon Stewart on President-elect Trump, hypocrisy in America – YouTube

After Jon Stewart left “The Daily Show” last summer, much of the presidential campaign went on without his unique and satirical point of view. Charlie Rose met with Stewart to discuss his new book about the more than 16 years he spent at the Comedy Central program. Stewart was quick to give his post-election analysis.

Autocracy: Rules for Survival | by Masha Gessen | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

However well-intentioned, this talk assumes that Trump is prepared to find common ground with his many opponents, respect the institutions of government, and repudiate almost everything he has stood for during the campaign. In short, it is treating him as a “normal” politician. There has until now been little evidence that he can be one.

More dangerously, Clinton’s and Obama’s very civil passages, which ended in applause lines, seemed to close off alternative responses to his minority victory. (It was hard not to be reminded of Neville Chamberlain’s statement, that “We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will.”) Both Clinton’s and Obama’s phrases about the peaceful transfer of power concealed the omission of a call to action. The protesters who took to the streets of New York, Los Angeles, and other American cities on Wednesday night did so not because of Clinton’s speech but in spite of it. One of the falsehoods in the Clinton speech was the implied equivalency between civil resistance and insurgency. This is an autocrat’s favorite con, the explanation for the violent suppression of peaceful protests the world over.

Source: Autocracy: Rules for Survival | by Masha Gessen | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

The Right Way to Resist Trump – NYTimes.com

Five years ago, I warned about the risk of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Most people laughed. They thought it inconceivable.

I was not particularly prescient; I come from Italy, and I had already seen this movie, starring Silvio Berlusconi, who led the Italian government as prime minister for a total of nine years between 1994 and 2011. I knew how it could unfold.

Now that Mr. Trump has been elected president, the Berlusconi parallel could offer an important lesson in how to avoid transforming a razor-thin victory into a two-decade affair. If you think presidential term limits and Mr. Trump’s age could save the country from that fate, think again. His tenure could easily turn into a Trump dynasty.

Source: The Right Way to Resist Trump – NYTimes.com