Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ansley, at home, Christmas 2013

Happiness = a tight group

If you can keep a tight group, you can always adjust the sights.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Serious Academic Places

I would not believed it if I had not seem it myself.

First, at an all-school meeting, attended by students, faculty, and staff, the head of school praised the young leader of North Korea. "…He's really a cool guy…it's good that Dennis Rodman is keeping communications open…"

Then afterward a science teacher came to me, as a visiting teacher of statistics, to ask for help developing a statistical presentation for his radish experiment. His Ecology class as growing a couple of dozen radishes in trays as a 2-week experiment. His goal was to use the half-month radish-growing experiment to 'prove to the class the existence of Global Warming.

Then an email went around, from a member of the faculty, saying that the following Monday would be a "Day of Silence" for all students who were members of the school's GLAAD chapter; that is, while on campus or in class, these students would be allowed to not particulate in any classroom discussions, or be asked to answer any questions.

That was after it was discovered that the dorms had had water standing in their basements for years, that the dorm electrical work was done my non-licensed 'electricians,' and the septic tanks and sewage treatment plant were overflowing and dysfunctional.

That was before the student-on-student hazing episodes and faculty-on-student abuses were ordered covered up.

These places are dark subcultures indeed. People pay tens of thousands of dollars to send their children to these places. 

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Ed Tufte and Graphics Press 20131005

Third annual open house at Edward Tufte's 234-acre outdoor landscape sculpture park and tree farm, which shows 80 monumental ET artworks. Recent pieces include 30 stone megaliths by ET and Dan Snow, stainless steel Feynman diagrams, and the new Ironstone series. Saturday afternoon, October 5, 11.00 to 5.00 at Hogpen Hill Farms, 100 Weekeepeemee Road, Woodbury, Connecticut 06798. For directions use Google maps or similar. Hogpen Hill Farms is in Litchfield County in northwest Connecticut, 100 minutes from Manhattan. Wear walking shoes. Call Graphics Press at 203 272-9187 if you have questions. Rain date is Sunday October 6.
"Edward Tufte and Triumph of Good Design" nymag Tufte one-day course
"The thinking eye," NPR Science Friday,transcript + recording.
"The Information Sage,"Washington Monthly Tufte presidential appointment
"Sometimes curious misfits turn out to be Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Edward Tufte—or Aaron Swartz," Slate, Phreaks and Geeks 
"Edward Tufte on Aaron Swartz: vigorously, marvelously different," here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

80MPH on Highway 130 near Austin, TX (WIP)


“…Interstate highways have some of the highest posted speed limits and have the most miles traveled of any roadways in the state, but account for the fewest number of fatal wrecks. Spokesman Senior Trooper Phillip “Sparky” Dean said interstates tend to be safer. “Interstates are for the most part pretty straight,” he said. “You’ve got two lanes going the same direction.”

State and U.S. highways were the leading locations of fatal wrecks in Taylor County from 2008-11, accounting for 24 of 68 fatal crashes. Dean said this could be explained by people getting complacent with driving on familiar highways. “People are crashing on a straight piece of roadway,” he said. “A lot of that is the attitude that it’ll never happen to me — This could happen to you. No one is exempt.”
Carol Rawson, TxDOT traffic operations director based in Austin, said interstates are the safest because they’re built the best. “Our interstate highways are built to our highest standards. We have nice lanes, big shoulders. The interstate is your best level of road,” Rawson said.
The speed limit on some interstate, state and U.S. highways was raised from 70 to 75 mph in 2012. U.S. 277 north of Abilene saw the posted speed increase in late 2012. National and state data hasn’t caught up to reflect this change, but Rawson said she doesn’t expect there to be a substantial uptick in fatality numbers because “most people were traveling at that speed anyway.”

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smedley at 90 (90,000 miles) (WIP)

On The Beach


Paul Ray Kornfuehrer
14 November 1944 – 23 January 2005

Founding member, Jones-Kornfuehrer Society

Among other good things, I think he finally forgave me 
for putting his new VW Bug in the student lounge that Sunday. 

Message of October 21, 1958

Ever seen a Buc-ee's?

On highway 290 on the way from Galveston to College Station is the largest gasoline station & convenience store ever. See Wikipedia's description below.'s

Buc-ee's expanded and opened their first travel center in Luling, Texas at the intersection of Interstate 10 & US Highway 90. Buc-ee's travel centers are large stores that typically cover over 60,000 of square footage with large restrooms that contain over 40 urinals and toilets, fueling areas that range from 32-64 pumps, and a full-service deli that features a wide selection of beef jerkypastries, prepared sandwiches, tacos, Dippin' Dots and homemade fudge.

In 2012, Buc-ee's opened its largest store in New Braunfels, Texas on Interstate 35. The New Braunfels travel center is the largest convenience store in the world at 68,000 square feet. The store features 60 fuel pumps, 31 cash registers, 4 Icee machines, 80 soda fountain dispensers, tubing and water gear for the Guadalupe River, and a farmer's market that features Grade 1 fruit and produce.
The New Braunfels, Texas store was named the 2012 "Best Restroom in America" by Cintas

Thursday, September 19, 2013


More on Julia in a minute....(this written 9/19/13 in Galveston, Tx...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Noticed in about 10,000 miles of driving so far this summer:

Major C-store operators are spending large sums of cash sprucing up their stores.

Old small grimy-looking C-stores with 3-4 pumps and minimal canopies are being replaced by big bright 5,000-sq.ft. stores with 16-20 pumps under extra wide canopies that sometimes have "connector" canopies so that customers can walk from the pump area into the store without leaving rain cover.

The old generic food options are becoming, in the more modern C-stores, branded food lines. Pre-packaged coffee makers are being replaced with new brewers that grind the beans as it makes the coffee. The more aggressive operators are also hiring commercial chefs to train C-store employees in Tex-Mex, Chinese, Etc., food preparation.

Managers and owners are investing time and money on "customer-centered" training for employees that used to be hired and put to work with little if any coaching how to deal successfully with customers. In the next round of improvements, we'll probably see drive-thru features in C-stores so that parents with kids strapped into car seats can drive by a window to get stuff inside the store, without  even going in the store.

There is a lot of money being invested in these new stores, sort of like all the capital McDonald's has spent recently sprucing up their thousands of stores.  

Next time your are driving across the country, notice Kum & Go, Circle K, Ideal, BP, Shell.

More later.

Grace Barry practices for learner's permit; Ansley considers

December 2012, Tallahassee

Ansley thinks about Grace being on the road on a Harley.

Isaac's Storm: 1900 Hurricane at Galveston, TX

1:03pm Wed Sept 18, in Galveston, TX (on the way to College Station from Tallahassee)

I stopped here because I recently read Erik Larson's "Isaac's Storm," about the 1900 storm that hit this place. The Gulf beach here is only a block from my hotel, so as soon as I finish this I am headed for the water. The weather is favorable.

"The Hurricane of 1900 made landfall on September 8, 1900, in the city of Galveston, Texas, in the United States.[1] It had estimated winds of 145 miles per hour (233 km/h) at landfall, making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale.[2] It was the deadliest hurricane in US history, and the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history based on the dollar's 2005 value (to compare costs with those of Hurricane Katrina and others).
"The hurricane caused great loss of life with the estimated death toll between 6,000 and 12,000 individuals;[3] the number most cited in official reports is 8,000, giving the storm the third-highest number of deaths or injuries of any Atlantic hurricane, after the Great Hurricane of 1780 and 1998's Hurricane Mitch. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States. By contrast, the second-deadliest storm to strike the United States, the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane, caused more than 2,500 deaths, and the deadliest storm of recent times, Hurricane Katrina, claimed the lives of approximately 1,800 people..."

Deadliest United States hurricanes
4"Cheniere Caminada"18931,100–1,400*
5"Sea Islands"18931,000–2,000†
6"Florida Keys"1919778
9"Labor Day"1935408
10"Last Island"1856400†
†estimated total
Reference: Deadliest US hurricanes
Costliest U.S. Atlantic hurricanes 1900–2005
Total estimated property damage, adjusted for wealth normalization[32]
RankHurricaneSeasonCost (2005 USD)
1"Miami"1926$157 billion
2"Galveston"1900$99.4 billion
3Katrina2005$81.0 billion
4"Galveston"1915$68.0 billion
5Andrew1992$55.8 billion
6"New England"1938$39.2 billion
7"Cuba–Florida"1944$38.7 billion
8"Okeechobee"1928$33.6 billion
9Donna1960$26.8 billion
10Camille1969$21.2 billion
Main article: List of costliest Atlantic hurricanes