Saturday, November 12, 2011

Armistice Day. Afghanistan. Meteor Shower. Ellis Island. FaceBook. National Parks Chat. New Cell Phone.

Some news items, old and new:

Remembrance Day: Britain pauses to remember its fallen war heroes

"Britain’s fallen war heroes have been remembered with a two-minutes’ silence to mark Armistice Day.

Two minutes silence observed in Wootton Bassett (Pic: DM)

Two minutes silence observed in Wootton Bassett:

"Across the UK, shopping centres, offices, schools and high streets fell silent at 11 o’clock in memory of those who have lost their lives while serving their country.

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks the end of World War I when Germany and Allied troops reached a peace agreement in 1918."

Read more:



Afghanistan, October 2011











An Afghan child lies on the ground next to a woman begging for money in a street in Kabul on October 23, 2011. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP) #

"With a per capita GDP of $900, Afghanistan ranks as one of the world's ten poorest countries. By any measure, challenges are numerous. Aid agencies observe an erosion of women's rights as foreign troops prepare to leave, the infant mortality rate is among the world's highest, and despite eradication efforts, 90 percent of the world's opium is still produced by Afghan farmers.

Meanwhile, military fatalities approach 2800 since the war began in 2001. Civilians are afforded no such precision for their casualties, with varying estimates in the tens of thousands being the only accounting.

Gathered here are images from the country made in October of the lives of women and children, daily life, and consequences of the conflict in Afghanistan and in the United States." -- Lane Turner (37 photos total)



Nov 12, 1799:

First meteor shower on record

"Andrew Ellicott Douglass, an early American astronomer born in Vermont, witnesses the Leonids meteor shower from a ship off the Florida Keys. Douglass, who later became an assistant to the famous astronomer Percival Lowell, wrote in his journal that the "whole heaven appeared as if illuminated with sky rockets, flying in an infinity of directions, and I was in constant expectation of some of them falling on the vessel. They continued until put out by the light of the sun after day break." Douglass' journal entry is the first known record of a meteor shower in North America.

The Leonids meteor shower is an annual event that is greatly enhanced every 33 years or so by the appearance of the comet Tempel-Tuttle. When the comet returns, the Leonids can produce rates of up to several thousand meteors per hour that can light up the sky on a clear night. Douglass witnessed one such manifestation of the Leonids shower, and the subsequent return of the comet Tempel-Tuttle in 1833 is credited as inspiring the first organized study of meteor astronomy."



Nov 12, 1954:

Ellis Island closes

On this day in 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s.



Facebook, FTC Near Privacy Settlement: Report


A Facebook page is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010. REUTERS/Thierry Roge "Facebook is nearing a settlement with federal regulators that would require the world's most popular online hangout to obtain approval from its users before making changes that expose their profiles and activities to a wider audience, according to a report published Thursday.


Citing people familiar with the situation that it did not name, The Wall Street Journal said Facebook has agreed to make the changes to resolve a nearly 2-year-old investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.


If the settlement is approved by FTC's commissioners, it would require Facebook to get explicit consent from its 800 million users before changing its privacy settings, according to the Journal.


Seeking a user's prior consent is known as an "opt in." Facebook sometimes makes changes that it believes will improve its social network and then leaves it to users to reset the things that they don't like – a process known as "opting out."


Companies introducing a feature or service generally prefer an "opt out" system because fewer people take the steps required to get out of the changes.


Facebook, the world's No. 1 Internet social network with more than 800 million users, has often been criticized for its privacy practices.

The FTC complaints against Facebook were brought by a group of privacy advocacy organizations after the social network introduced new privacy settings in 2009.

The changes required that certain personal profile information, such as a person's gender and the city they reside in, be viewable to everyone. Previously, Facebook users could limit the people to which that information was visible."

More at:     



Discuss NPCA's new park funding report join us for a live chat about it on Facebook this coming Tuesday, November 15, at noon EST.

Learn more about the report

Request a live chat email reminder

"Dear Friend,
NPCA has just released a new report on the long-term impact of additional funding cuts on many our most treasured national parks. I hope you will learn more about this important new report and also join us for a live chat about it on Facebook this coming Tuesday, November 15, at noon EST.

Made in America: Investing in National Parks for Our Heritage and Our Economy examines our most challenged national parks at a time when Washington policymakers seek to reduce our national debt.

For the second year in a row, America's national parks face the likely erosion of funding. This will mean fewer rangers to greet us, help us plan our visits, and respond to emergencies. It also means that parks won't be adequately maintained, resources will suffer damage, wildlife will be more vulnerable to poachers, and development threats may increase.

For example, in Everglades National Park, staff is needed to fight exotic wildlife like pythons, fish and the Nile monitor, which eat native species. Further cuts could worsen the situation.

And in Olympic National Park, funding for basic maintenance projects is in short supply and the park must rely heavily on entrance fees to repair trails, replace aging pit toilets, install new picnic tables, and install bear-proof food lockers.

Made in America shows that our national parks are critical to supporting the livelihood of businesses and communities across the country. In fact, they support $13.3 billion in local, private-sector economic activity and 267,000 jobs annually.

Our national parks are economic engines, civic necessities, and sources of American pride and inspiration. During a time of economic hardship, we need to adequately fund the places that protect our American heritage and draw tourists from throughout the world.

You can find out more about Made in America and download a copy from NPCA's web site.

If you can, I hope you will join John Garder, NPCA Budget and Appropriations Legislative Representative, for a live Facebook chat this coming Tuesday, November 15, at noon EST. John lives and breathes funding and our national parks. He is also an avid park enthusiast. I know you’ll enjoy hearing what he has to say about funding and our national parks.

Sign-up now to receive a reminder email about the chat on our Facebook page.

tk_photo_100.jpgThank you for everything you do to protect the parks."

Sincerely,  Thomas C. Kiernan.   President Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter




Nothing exciting happened.

In the morning, I was in the back yard with Misty, when I heard my front gate open and close.  It was Ray wanting to work.  So we discussed what Ray could do while Jay and I went to Conroe, AGAIN, as Jay needed a better cell phone plan, and I still hadn't bought the few grocery items that I needed.

Sink Drain


After I had picked up Jay, we stopped here to see if I already had the parts to make the drain for the cargo trailer's sink, so we could make a list if I didn't.   We found this already made up in my plumbing parts.  Must have come off another plant sink at some time. There is a reason for doing it this way, which will become apparent as we continue with the plumbing.


I could have bought the groceries in our little town, but I had read this on Rick's blog:  

"The only real task I had all day was to take a run over to Wal-Mart in the morning to pick up a few things.  First, I bought one of those prepaid Tracfone’s for Paulette so she at least has something to call with when she’s out in the truck driving around by herself.  What a deal!  I got a little LG420G flip phone, with a camera, for $14.  Another $10 bought us 60 minutes of airtime with a 60 day expiry.  This is mostly an emergency phone so that should be lots."


Jay's present stupid cell phone has to be renewed for $20 by credit card online, every 30 days, and if he didn't do it on time, it was ½-¾ of an hour on the phone, with someone who is barely understandable, to get it reinstated.  Really a nuisance, as he got me involved, because it was always done on my computer, using my debit card, so I had to make the call.  

But our Walmart had a different deal from Rick's, which works out to the same thing.  The phone cost $14.88, but the minutes were 120 for $19.88 for 120 days.  Now, Jay can buy minutes if, and when, he needs them that won't expire in 30 days, plus I won't be involved anymore. 

I thought about getting one, too, but my $20 a month contract plan has 500 minutes for nights and weekends, and even though I don't use up the allowed 50 minutes on weekdays, it works for me.  Plus, mine has emergency road service, and a camera, which his doesn't.  I hope I don't need the road service, and I rarely use that camera, but it's there if I need it. I would probably use the camera in case of an accident, but I would be so befuddled that I would forget how to use it.  


So after Walmarting, and Petsmarting, we came home.  Not even any thrift shopping.


Still no more rain, but after a low of 30 deg. it went up to a sunny 68, so it was a lovely day.

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