KK2 Board


I received my KK 2.0 Flight Control Board in the mail today.  This will be used for my newest project; a Tricopter.  I just now have to let the rest of the components to get here; and I can start the build.

The last DSM

The National Institute of Mental Health released a statement last week about a change in the way it will be conducting research on mental health. In a statement, the institute said it will start doing research in a way that ignores the categories in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is commonly known as the DSM.

Instead of diagnosing patients based on symptoms such as depressed mood and fatigue, the institute wants to use more quantitative data, such as genetic or brain-imaging data, in diagnoses. Such a shift would bring mental health diagnoses to par with diagnoses in other health fields, according to the institute’s statement. Most other fields abandoned symptom-based diagnosis after the middle of the last century, but not psychiatry. After all, some of the proposed lab measures for mental health, such as genetics and brain images, weren’t even measurable until recently. It took technology a while to catch up to the kinds of data that may be associated with mental health disorders.

“We are committed to new and better treatments, but we feel this will only happen by developing a more precise diagnostic system,” institute director Thomas Insel said in the statement.

Electrical Usage

As I was doing my bills today I started to look at my electrical usage from each month. Here is a quick graph showing my uses over the last two years. It’s pretty amazing what the A/C dose each summer to my electrical usage.

New research on the demise of the Mayan

Chichen Itza
A new paper published in the journal Science on the demise of the Mayan, shows that the climate changed and they were unable to adapt.  The research shows Maya culture thrived in wet seasons and fell apart when the rains ceased.  By analyzed stalagmites from a Belizan cave, researchers were able to show the Mayan expanded during wet periods, and declined during dry periods.

Researchers wrote:

The role of climate change in the development and demise of Classic Maya civilization (300 to 1000 C.E.) remains controversial because of the absence of well-dated climate and archaeological sequences. We present a precisely dated subannual climate record for the past 2000 years from Yok Balum Cave, Belize. From comparison of this record with historical events compiled from well-dated stone monuments, we propose that anomalously high rainfall favored unprecedented population expansion and the proliferation of political centers between 440 and 660 C.E. This was followed by a drying trend between 660 and 1000 C.E. that triggered the balkanization of polities, increased warfare, and the asynchronous disintegration of polities, followed by population collapse in the context of an extended drought between 1020 and 1100 C.E.

The lack of moisture led to a lack of crops, which led to instability. Between C.E. 800-900, many cities fell. The team analyzed historical records inscribed on well-dated stone monuments to chronicle this collapse. You may read more on Popular Science‘s website.

So that’s what happens to a society that ignores Climate Change.

Avoid Walser Toyota


Got my car back from Walser Toyota after they “fixed” it. They did the worse job I have ever seen, they should be ashamed of them self’s. The hood has chips in it, the front grill is miss alined, there are different sized spaces around the hood and head lights and my steering requires me to lift my body to pull on the wheel before the car will turn. No honest dealer would call my car fixed, shame on you Walser!


I got my car back today after it had to go back to be corrected.  Walser Toyota is still not resolving the issue.  There are now chips on my hood and both front quarter panels that were not there before the accident.  Walser is refusing to fix them.

Avoid going to Walser, they are not honest and do not do a satisfactory job.

Martian Dust Devel

I just think this is so cool, below is a picture of a Martian Dust Devel, moving across the Amazonis Planitia region of northern Mars. Quoting NASA:

An afternoon whirlwind on Mars lofts a twisting column of dust more than half a mile (800 meters) high in an image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Front Ended

So today on my way home, I was driving north on Interstate 35w and got off at the 46th Street exit (as I normally do).  Today there was a car stopped on the side of the road, just after the exit.  As I came up to the exit, the car moved on to the exit, I slowed down to let him in since he was moving slower then I was at the time.  Then, the car in front of me slammed on his breaks and came to a complete stop (still on the exit ramp) and threw his car into reverse.  I was able to stop in time (but just barely, as I was going about 65mph at the time), but by the time I had stopped, he was reversing into my car at about ~25 mph (I don’t know, how fast can your car go in reverse).  I had just enough  time to hit the horn before he hit me.  The car backed into me, and took a hard left turn to get back on to Interstate 35w.

Sitting there bewildered of what just happened, I called 911.  After I told the dispatcher that I was on the 46th St exit, she told me they had it on video and she was going to transfer me to the person who was working on the case.

So the Minneapolis police had just pulled this drive over when he ran.  They were watching him on the camera and waiting for him to make his next move, with cops on the ready.   When he stared driving up the exit ramp, he saw the cop at the top waiting for him, so he thought it would be smart to back down the ramp instead.To bad they already have your licensee and know where you live.

The officer said he will arrest the driver late tonight, and they are adding evading the police and hit and run to his charges.

The Proposal

Tonight while we were at the bar, after the show, a guy came up to us and told us that he was proposing to his girlfriend and would like to have a room full of people to watch him, we said sure. So we went into the other room to watch the proposal.

When we went into the other room, he was setting up the stage for something.  He then grabbed his girl, went up to the stage and started reading from the bible.  After reading First Corinthians, he proposed to her, then started talking about being reborn as a black man.  It was interesting to say the least.

The House must Know


To a cat/dog’s mind, when the people leave, the house gets colder and colder as time goes on, and bottoms out as they lay in the cold house. Then it starts warming back up as it gets closer to when the people get home until, the house is nice and warm and the people are home once again.

Lytro: The Next Revolution In Photography


Most camera’s focus on a single point in your shot and the rest is only sort of in focus or not at all.  But those days may come to an end.  The new Lytro technology allows the picture to be refocused after the picture is taken, forever, like a living photograph.

Light field technology captures all the light rays in a scene, which allows photographers to focus a photo after it has been taken. In traditional photography, photographers have had to focus the camera first and then snap. Lytro cameras, the company claims, will be able to be perfectly focus photos after the fact, forever into the future.

Below are a few samples of how it works, try clicking around on the pictures to refocus the shot.

And you can’t release or even talk about a new product without a video for it:

Brooklyn Space Program

Here a Son & Father launched a balloon from Newburgh, New York, and it climbed at a rate of 25 feet per second to 19 miles above the surface of the earth, high enough to see the curvature of the earth.  Once at altitude the balloon burst and the craft containing the iPhone and the camera fell back to the ground on a parachute.

They were then able to track the craft via the iPhones on board GPS.

You can see more images of their flight or support their effort on their website brooklynspaceprogram.org.

Stephen Hawking on God and the Universe

Excerpts from a column on the Wall Street Journal, which is in turn an excerpt from “The Grand Design,” by Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, to be published by Bantam Books today.

“…the latest advances in cosmology explain why the laws of the universe seem tailor-made for humans, without the need for a benevolent creator.

Many improbable occurrences conspired to create Earth’s human-friendly design, and they would indeed be puzzling if ours were the only solar system in the universe. But today we know of hundreds of other solar systems, and few doubt that there exist countless more among the billions of stars in our galaxy. Planets of all sorts exist, and obviously, when the beings on a planet that supports life examine the world around them, they are bound to find that their environment satisfies the conditions they require to exist…

Many people would like us to use these coincidences as evidence of the work of God. The idea that the universe was designed to accommodate mankind appears in theologies and mythologies dating from thousands of years ago. In Western culture the Old Testament contains the idea of providential design, but the traditional Christian viewpoint was also greatly influenced by Aristotle, who believed “in an intelligent natural world that functions according to some deliberate design.”

That is not the answer of modern science. As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

Our universe seems to be one of many, each with different laws. That multiverse idea is not a notion invented to account for the miracle of fine tuning. It is a consequence predicted by many theories in modern cosmology. If it is true it reduces the strong anthropic principle to the weak one, putting the fine tunings of physical law on the same footing as the environmental factors, for it means that our cosmic habitat—now the entire observable universe—is just one of many…”

My mind has difficulty wrapping itself around the concept that a “universe” can be one of many.  I don’t disagree with him, but I think I need to defer any ponderings about astrophysics and concentrate on the more prosaic aspects of life.