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Category Archives: General

ANything and everything. Observations on life in general and pet peeves

Look Out USPS! Not Only Delivering Your Amazon Packages, But Mowing Your Lawn!

Only in a non-capitalist country does the state owned mail system solve it’s own problems by not asking for more taxpayer money.

Why Finland’s Mail Carriers Are Mowing People’s Lawns

Posti, the country’s mail service, will start offering the service next month in an effort to raise money.

These days, the snail-mail business is, gently put, not very lucrative. In a world of email and text messaging, and an enormous array of mobile-communication apps, national mail providers have had to get creative to make money as mail volume shrinks and commercial delivery companies beat them to the front door.

For Finland, one new strategy involves delivering something other than mail. Starting next month, Posti, the country’s postal service, will start mowing their customers’ lawns.

“We believe many customers will be happy to outsource lawn mowing when we make it convenient for them to do so,” said Anu Punola, the director at Posti, in a statement announcing the pilot program last week.

Postal workers will mow Finns’ lawns on Tuesdays “due to the lower volume of advertisements and publications distributed on that day” between mid-May and August this year. Customers can order the service online and must provide their own lawnmower. Thirty-minute lawn-mowing sessions cost 65 euros, or about $74, per month, and 60-minute sessions are 130 euros, or about $147, per month. The icing on the cake: It’s tax-deductible.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2016 in General

 

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Deep Sea Human Robot

Currently human deep sea divers can work under the sea at depths of 450′. A few, very specialized dives can work as deep as 750′ for very short periods.

This technology is revolutionary as it lets a remote human operator, with electronic feedback that lets them actually feel objects the submersible robot is holding and see the ocean around them as if they were there. The prototype is capable of operating at 300 Meters, or close to 1,000 ft deep, and undoubtedly as the technology is further developed it will likely go much deeper. This is the very leading edge of robotic, Artificial Intelligence, and Virtual Reality Technology – and fundamentally changes the game in terms of underwater exploration, and eventual undersea habitation.

 

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2016 in General

 

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Even Conservatives Call Trump a “Nazi”

Here is Charles Koch, one of the infamous Koch Brothers. Not sure what happened but over the last year the brothers have tried to distance themselves from the very wild-eyed reactionaries they helped create in the Tea Party, and have begun to work at least a bit on Social Justice platforms. Perhaps part of it is that they recognized the Koch name was being dragged through the mud. In this interview, Charles Koch damns not only the two Republican front runners, but leaves the door open to supporting Hillary!

 

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Belief in MSM Down The Toilet

Whether it is “liberal Rags” or conservative propaganda outlets, the MSM has taken a beating recently in public trust…

No wonder, when there is so much bad reporting, a series of untrustworthy sources, and an overriding focus on the political Carnival instead of good solid reporting. It Ain’t Journalism anymore, it’s just a PT Barnum Side Show.

When your trust is below that of the Republican led Congress…That is lower than dirt.

Hardly Anyone Trusts The Media Anymore

People value accuracy, timeliness and clarity above all else.

Only 6 percent of people say they have a great deal of confidence in the press, about the same level of trust Americans have in Congress, according to a new survey released on Sunday.

The study mirrors past reports that found the public’s trust in mass media has reached historic lows, according to data gathered by the Media Insight Project, a partnership between The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute. The report found faith in the press was just slightly higher than the 4 percent of people who said they trusted Congress.

Alongside the dire findings, the report found respondents valued accuracy above all else, with 85 percent of people saying it was extremely important to avoid errors in coverage. Timeliness and clarity followed closely, with 76 percent and 72 percent respectively saying those attributes were imperative among media sources.

“Over the last two decades, research shows the public has grown increasingly skeptical of the news industry,” the report reads. “The study reaffirms that consumers do value broad concepts of trust like fairness, balance, accuracy, and completeness. At least two-thirds of Americans cite each of these four general principles as very important to them.”

Ironically, despite news organizations’ ongoing battle to master social media platforms, that trust doesn’t extend to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. The report found just 12 percent of people trust media delivered via Mark Zuckerberg’s evolving juggernaut, even though 87 percent of people get news from Facebook.

LinkedIn, in fact, garnered the most faith over competitors like Instagram and Reddit, with 23 percent or people finding links from the site trustworthy.

The Associated Press notes the news media has been embattled by a series of high profile missteps, particularly Rolling Stone’s retracted report about a rape at a fraternity at the University of Virginia.

The media has also faced a barrage of criticism during the ongoing presidential campaign season, particularly from Republican leaders including Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Trump has launched repeated attacks against Fox News’ Megyn Kelly (culminating in a reported “clearing of the air“ last week), while Cruz haslambasted the press for being too hostile.

You can take a look at the full results here.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2016 in Faux News, General

 

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Oh Noooooo! Not the Scotch!

There supposedly is a Single Malt Scotch shortage in the world. Based on this premise, prices of Scotch have skyrocketed in the past few months – pushing even middling product to over $60/bottle.

As a guy who, once or twice a month likes to sit down with a tumbler of the fair Malted  – this has become depressing as my supply dwindles.

This is sort of like the artificial oil crisis of a decade ago, which pushed gasoline prices over $4.00 a gallon despite there being no shortage.

New manufacturers are coming online almost daily. Just in my home state, Virginia, there are several Scotch producers, as well as Bourbon, Rye, and a killer Vodka which is way better than Grey Goose. Japanese Scotch has finally caught up, and excelled as the best Single Malt in the world, with Yamazaki winning the award, Grabbed a bottle months ago, before the price shot up 400%.

Not the best from Yamazaki (which costs an astounding $4000 a bottle), but one of the best financially approachable Single Malts at around $60 a bottle.

So there isn’t really any shortage, much less one which should affect the prices of the 10-15 year old Single Malts.

The only result of this I can see, is a booming business for local distilleries, who are hand crafting some excellent product. I think the big Single Malt producers are about to kill their market.

Is There Really a Single Malt Scotch Shortage?

Media reports of an imminent global shortage in Scotch are overblown—indeed, in a few years, over-production may be the real problem.

What would the world be like without Scotch? It’s a whisky drinker’s worst nightmare, but recent press reports have trumpeted such a doomsday situation facing single malt scotch. (A particularly important concern, since it’s Tartan Week—a celebration of all things Scottish.) The truth: you’re not going to go thirsty any time soon.

Yes, the consumption of single malt has taken off over the last 20 years or so. From 2002 to 2015, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, sales of the spirit in America, alone, are up an astonishing 182 percent.

“The current global demand for Scotch is putting pressure on stocks of mature whisky,” says Charles MacLean, one of the world’s foremost Scotch experts and author of theWhiskypedia: A Compendium of Scotch Whisky.

The problem is that Scotch is an aged alcohol and what you’re drinking today was made at least a decade ago, if not longer.

Distillers, therefore, are always trying to predict what drinkers will want down the road. Such forecasting is, of course, not an exact science. I’m sure most of the brands wish they could go back in time 10 years or more and make additional barrels of whisky that they could sell now.

Instead they have done everything in their power to put more bottles on store shelves, including discontinuing or replacing older whiskies with younger ones that don’t list an age on the label. (A practice that has certainly helped spur the fear of an impending Scotch shortage and will become increasingly more commonplace.)

The brands are also making more whisky. In 2000, according to MacLean, Scotch distilleries were only working at 66 percent capacity and “the result is a shortage of whisky aged between 10 and 16 years,” he says.

But by increasing the number of hours and days they were open that figure rose to 75 percent in 2005 and it was more than 90 percent in both 2013 and 2014. So, in the next decade we’ll begin to see the result of those increases in capacity and there’ll be more mature whisky available.

Currently, there are 20 million casks in Scotland aging and that number will surely go up, since there are also many new distilleries opening. “The last ten years has seen an unprecedented number of new distilleries,” says MacLean.

He has counted 22 new ones that have set up shop since 2004 and, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), another 30 are planned.

And these aren’t all small boutique facilities. The Macallan is working on a new £100 million distillery that is supposed to open next spring and The Glenlivet announced several years ago a £10 expansion, which is set to expand its capacity by 75 percent.

That’s not to mention all the Scotch-like whiskies being made around the world, fromJapan and India to even here in America.

These spirits aren’t just copies of Scottish single malts but are interesting interpretations of the liquor and are building up a loyal following of their own.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in General

 

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Amtrak Derailment…Again

Another Amtrak crash. This one caused by a piece of rail equipment being on the wrong track, which would be the fault of the Rail Operations Center for that area, which is in charge of making sure no two pieces of rail equipment are running on the same track, other than maintenance equipment during a repair. Two people have been reported killed.

This is a pic purported to be of the “Rail Backhoe” reported to be on the wrong track. It is a locomotive sized unit performing multiple functions including clearing debris.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2016 in General

 

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Here Kitty!

Got to get me one of these. Some years ago I had a very large Persian Cat which at 20 lbs, thoroughly enjoyed terrorizing the neighborhood’s little yippie-yappie dogs. The woman who took the below video was just walking along a boardwalk through a Florida Park, when…

Heeeeello Kitty!

Had a similar experience some years ago hunting in West Virginia off a logging trail deep in the mountains near the Kentucky Border. Walked into a little clearing and looked up, and there was a Mountain Lion (Puma) or “Florida Panther” just sitting in the crook of a tree looking down at me about 25 feet away. Made a slow backwards retreat, having no desire whatsoever to shoot a beautiful and endangered animal, or to tempt him to charge. Got the old blood pressure going though. I have seen a number of Bobcats in the wild, which are far smaller, as well as the Western Cougar. There is evidence that Jaguars and Ocelots are moving back into the US along the border with Mexico.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2016 in General

 

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