Auroras at Midnight

Space Weather News for Sept. 14, 2004

Sunspot 798/808 flared twice more yesterday, and at least one of the X-class explosions propelled a coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 70% chance of severe geomagnetic activity when the CME arrives–perhaps tonight, Sept. 14-15. Sky watchers at all latitudes should be alert for auroras.

Observing tips: Although auroras are sometimes bright enough to shine through city lights, you’ll see more from a dark-sky site in the countryside. The best time to look is usually during the hours around local midnight.

Visit for more information and updates.


Long day from hell.
I got up at 5 a.m. after approximately an hour of sleep. Too keyed up. My mail server at work seemed to be hosed (it was, after a fashion) and we’d had the kick-off conference call earlier in the day. I just got into one of those cycles with stuff swirling around my head and could not sleep.

So I got on the road at 6:00, got into work about 7:00, and went straight to the mail server.
It was abended with an error message I’ve never seen. I restarted the server and the same thing happened. Scared the snot out of me, as a reboot will generally fix anything that’s wrong on a GW server, and if it takes much more than that I can count on unplanned down time. Not good, as email is everyone’s favorite must-have killer app.
Anyway, I researched the message, and there wasn’t any useful information in the knowledge base ( figures) and I dug around some more and still couldn’t find anything, then went through the settings to see if something had changed. Nada. So I called Mark, who was already on his way in to go to the GW seminar/sales pitch at the Hyatt that started in 20 minutes, and gave him the scoop. That done, I decided to try restarting the server one more time. Voila! The POA loaded, didn’t have any port conflicts, and all was well in CAHFLand.

The seminar/sales pitch was fairly interesting, at least the GroupWise parts of it. Carl Malone (the red-headed smart-mouthed sales guy from Utah, as opposed to the Big Black Basketball-Playing Carl Malone from Utah) was leading the show. He’s always fun to listen to, thinks fast and keeps us entertained. And he threw me a great T-shirt. It’s the little things, ya know?

Talk Like A Pirate!!

In case you’ve been in a cave for the last few years, I thought I’d let you know …

Next Monday, September 19, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Aaaaaar! Avast, ye scurvy dogs!

Talk like a pirate

From the website:

Thar be only three pirate jokes in the world. The biggest one is the one
that ends with someone usin’ “Arrr” in the punchline. Oh, sure, thar be
plenty o’ these, but they’re all the same damn joke.

“What’s the pirate movie rated? – Arrr!”
“What kind o’ socks does a pirate wear? – Arrrrgyle!”
“What’s the problem with the way a pirate speaks? – Arrrrticulation!”

…and so forth.

The second joke is the one wear the pirate walks into the bar with a ships’
wheel attached to the front o’ his trousers. The bartender asks, “What the
hell is that ships wheel for?” The pirate says, “I don’t know, but it’s
drivin’ me nuts!”

And finally. A little boy is trick or treatin’ on Halloween by himself. He
is dressed as a pirate. At one house, a friendly man asks him, “Where are
your buccaneers?” The little boy responds, “On either side o’ me ‘buccan’

Quote o’ the Day

“The love we have in our youth is superficial compared to the love that an old man has for his old wife.”


Unconscious Mutterings

I say … and you think … ?
Try it! The results could be illuminating.

1. Related::

2. Soothing::

3. Flashback::

4. Turmoil::

5. Immense::

6. Guitar::

7. Nonsense::

8. Blame::

9. Childlike::

10. Duff::


My psycho psyche says:

1. Related:: incest

2. Soothing:: chamomile tea

3. Flashback:: acid

4. Turmoil:: inner

5. Immense:: galactic

6. Guitar:: Eric Clapton

7. Nonsense:: irritation

8. Blame:: innocence

9. Childlike:: young

10. Duff:: Hilary

Don’t Believe Everything You See on TV

HeroicStories #632: 9 September 2005

The Last Boat Out Story Editor:
by Robert LeBlanc Clayton Bennett
Louisiana, USA

On Wednesday, August 31, my friend Jeff Rau and I wove a motorboat
through New Orleans, pulling people out of the water. We ferried people
all day between Carrolton Avenue and the Causeway overpass, about a mile
and a half each way.

Early on, we saw a black man in a boat with no motor. He rescued people
and paddled them a mile and a half to safety — with nothing but a piece
of two by four lumber for a paddle. He then turned around and went back
for more people. He refused our help, saying he didn’t want to slow us
down. At 5 p.m. he headed on another trip, knowing he would finish after

One group of 50 people we rescued that Wednesday afternoon was on the
bridge that crosses over Airline Highway near Carrolton Avenue. Most had
been there with no food, water, or anywhere to go since Monday morning,
with 10 feet of water all around them.

One man had been there since the beginning, helping people reach the
bridge and caring for them afterward. He didn’t leave the bridge until
everyone got off safely, even deferring to people who’d just arrived.
This man waited on the bridge until dusk, leaving on one of the last
boats out that night. He risked not making it at all.

In a really rough neighborhood, we came across five seemingly unsavory
characters, one with gunshot wound scars. We found them at a
recreational center, one of the few two-story buildings around. They
broke into the center, then gathered as many people as possible from the

They stayed outside in the center all day, helping people into rescue
boats. We approached them at 6:30 p.m., obviously one of the last trips
of the day. Yet instead of getting in our boat, they sent us further
into the neighborhood to get more people out of homes and off rooftops.

These five were on the last boat out at sundown. They were incredibly
grateful, repeating “God is going to bless y’all for this”. One even
offered us his Allen Iverson jersey, perhaps the most valuable
possession among them. We declined, but understood the depth of his

The looting and shooting you saw on television tells but a small part of
the story. By showing the worst effects of Hurricane Katrina and the
flooding that followed, news reports discouraged volunteers from
helping. But help was still needed, and will be for a long time.

In case it matters, I’m politically conservative. I was impressed to see
young and seemingly poor black people caring for sickly and seemingly
well-to-do white people. We can sort out political issues later; anyone
with a sense of compassion will agree that New Orleans needs help,
people’s lives need to be saved and families need to be put back
together. They now need all of our help.

I want everyone to know how gracious these people were, despite being
stranded and panicked. This transcends politics. It’s about humanity.

Internet goes to the dogs

# “Chaos to Rule Internet in 2010”
Computerworld Australia (09/02/05); Crawford, Michael

Swinburne University of Technology professor Trevor Barr presented the Smart Internet 2010 report on Sept. 1, which predicted that in five years the Internet will be thrown into anarchy by the unchecked proliferation of malware, spam, and fraudulent email. The report, which came out of interviews and consultations with approximately 35 global IT experts and 28 secondary sources, outlines four issues believed to be of central importance to the Internet: The adaptive user environment, the “smart Internet,” rich media, and chaos rules. Barr said chaos rules dictate that the Internet’s functionality is breaking down due to an excess of applications and problems, and by the absence of trust in online transactions. The adaptive user environment school of thought points to a profound lack of a killer application from vendors or carriers over the last 10 years, demonstrating that technological change is being driven by users. This led to the prediction that successful products will stem from user-centric design in 2010. Barr argued that providing basic Internet service, rather than a smart Internet, should be a priority, as only 700 million people out of 6 billion currently have Net access. “We are really only dealing with questions of access and affordability…rich media is the territory of a lot of technological innovation but the smart designers will keep the users in mind,” reasoned Barr.
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