As you all probably know, a terrible storm came through Omaha yesterday, Friday, June 28th, and did some pretty incredible damage to the city. Our neighborhood is filled with century old trees and was pretty hard hit. Fortunately, everyone we know as well as us are okay. Our fence has seen better days, but looking at the picture below, we are very lucky that branch did not hit our house.
When the storm came, my dad and I were in the house. After living here through numerous tornadoes, the 80’s blizzards, the 90’s ice storm, I have never seen a storm quite like this. Apparently, the average wind speed was over 70 miles an hour at the worst point with gusts much faster. Enormous trees have been uprooted all throughout Omaha.
As the wind whipped the rain horizontally, we could see all types of debris flying around. Entire windows were blown out of one of our neighbor’s houses and the screens were found a block down. We spent all yesterday evening cleaning up the neighborhood as well as all afternoon today. There were tons of heroes though, like Mark below, who went around the neighborhood with his chain saw and four-wheeler, chopping up and dragging away the worst offenders of fallen trees.
Our house is still without power with the power lines hanging in shreds behind it. Our, *cough*, not so wealthy neighborhood has not even seen a single OPPD (power company) truck all day so it might be a while before I can fully contact everyone. I would like to thank Caffeine Dreams, however, for being the one coffee shop in this part of the city that 1) is open, 2) has electricity, 3) and has internet.
As soon as I am back up and running next week, I will post all the photos I took after the storm. Time to go see how many of the artists at the annual art fair survived the weather.
We are beginning the process of moving to a new server tonight and propagation will probably take a day or two. Sorry for any inconvenience or hiccups this may cause.
Update: Yay! Moved and without a hitch! Welcome to the new/same old site.
Oh, Cheney. Now you canâ€™t even go to a baseball game without being booed.
Perhaps it has to do with your failed administration or how you misused intelligence to take us to war or how you destabilized the Middle East. But I think it is more about image. Really, what you need is a new look. I have compiled a short list to help you get started:
- Stop hunting doves. No one likes it when you fill a symbol of their God full of birdshot.
- Stop hunting lawyers. While people donâ€™t like lawyers, youâ€™re not allowed to shoot them.
- Smile. And not that facial contortion where you fold up one side of your top lip. Letâ€™s
shoot try for a little more Sean Connery and a little less Dr. Evil.
- Carry a puppy. This is all the rage in Hollywood. Simply carry a small cute puppy (alive) with you at all times. That way, if your new smile doesnâ€™t work, people will still find the animal adorable and assume youâ€™re a sensitive guy for having such a charming pet.
- Eat cheeriosâ€¦ At least when people are watching. That way, it will look like your failing heart is kept beating by good nutrition, not some dark unspeakable force.
- Wear bright colors. Black might work well for the whole Darth Vader thing, but it kind of puts people off. Perhaps a nice pink cardigan with some white trousers.
- Hang out with Bono. Hey, it worked for Bush.
Because nothing you see is real.
Maybe other news addicts will understand. Itâ€™s a wasted day because tomorrow you find out that half of the stories that you read are false and the other half are deathly true, but you did not care because you thought they were pranks. It must be a great day for the police question whether or not an alligator really did escape from the zoo and ate one of olâ€™ Miss Robinsonâ€™s 157 cats.
Anyway, if you missed out on all of the tomfoolery, Wikipedia is has a pagefor all of the events that occurred today in all of their glory. Enjoy.
In the continuing saga of military equipment issues, the army has reached an all new low. Army officials have banned the use of privately bought armor. You probably remember all the fund drives and protests for more body armor that have occurred over the past few years. I know many organizations here in Cincinnati, including churches, have held events to raise money to send proper equipment to their loved ones overseas.
The army, however, does not want its troops to wear armor that might be â€œsubstandardâ€ to the issued armor. Well, this would not be a problem if our government actually equipped our soldiers instead of building â€œbridges to nowhereâ€ that cost hundreds, yes hundreds, of millions of dollars. But I guess they think it is better for our soldiers to wear no armor rather than armor that still helps but is not as good as the equipment the government could buy them but is not willing to buy.
Last Tuesday, the Ohio Board of Education voted 11-4 to remove science standards and lesson plans that encourage students to seek evidence for and against evolution. The critics of the material believed it was an open door to teach intelligent design, a fancy word for Christian creationism. Marth Wise, a critic of the material, stated â€œIt is deeply unfair to the children of this state to mislead them about science.â€
It is good to see that our school administrators are willing to see intelligent design advocatesâ€™ true motives to push faith and Christianity. This seems to be greatly due to the U.S. District Judge Jonesâ€™ ruling against intelligent design/creationism in Dover, Pennsylvania, schools. He described Doverâ€™s policy as â€œbreathtaking inanityâ€ and stated that the six-week trial illustrated that intelligent design â€œis a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.â€
(The Dover policy) singles out the theory of evolution for special treatment, misrepresents its status in the scientific community, causes students to doubt its validity without scientific justification, presents students with a religious alternative masquerading as a scientific theory, directs them to consult a creationist text as though it were a science resource and instructs students to forgo scientific inquiry in the public school classroom and instead to seek out religious instruction elsewhere.
I am glad that our board is standing up for the educational standards of our science classes. Now, if only they would stand up to this.
So, it seems as Leaving Only Footprints continues to get more and more popular, so does its images. Last month, I noticed that my visitor stats were kind of funky and discovered dozens of sites linking to just my pictures. This is called direct linking or hotlinking. Instead of hosting an image themselves, other websites and blogs simply link to the images on this site. This equates to stealing because hotlinkers use bandwidth paid for by other people. For example, in the previous month of January, I received thousands of direct links from MySpace.com sites. If the average image size used was 50KB, over 100MB of my bandwidth was stolen.
After doing a little research, I found this website that explains how to prevent other sites from hotlinking your images. Well, the good thing was that these other sites could no longer use my images. The bad news is that no one removed the now broken links to me on their sites so my stats are still getting messed up. Also, I noticed new people continue to hotlink to me even though the images are not showing up on their site. Not too bright.
So, I decided to follow in the footsteps of Switcheroo and Cockeyed.
Not only can I prevent my images from showing up on a hotlinkerâ€™s site, I can make any image I want show up on their site. With inspiration from Matt Kelley, J-Luv, and a poster inherited by Alicia, this is what I came up with:
If theyâ€™re going to link to me, I might as well get some free advertisement with a little help from Burt Reynoldâ€™s and his famous Cosmo picture. Also, I hope that it encourages them to take down the links.
Check out what it looks like to this MySpace holtinker stealing my squirrel image before:
Check out these other sites. I took screen shots for a permanent memorial.
Spider-Man Official Forums: Before and After
MySpace Person 1: Before and After
MySpace Person 2: Before and After
MySpace Person 3: Before and After
When Matt brought me the first season of Firefly on DVD, I thought it was just going to be another crazy sci-fi series. After the first two episodes, to my surprise, I fell in love. I have not seen a sci-fi series this good since Star Trek: The Next Generation and Stargate: SG-1. I watched the whole first season in two and a half days. Again, to my surprise, I was heartbroken when I heard that Fox cancelled it. Originally, they said it was due to bad ratings. It turns out that they ran it in a horrible time slot and gave the show 1/10th of the marketing funding they promised. This is not the first time Fox has let go of a great show. Letâ€™s not forget Family Guy, which they were lucky to get back. Of course, they require all the showâ€™s producerâ€™s to sign contracts stating that no one else will air new episodes of their series for at least ten years. In other words, there seems to be no chance of the Sci-Fi channel picking it up.
Firefly still has an incredibly strong fan base and their new attempt to bring it back is the Firefly Season 2 Project: On Demand. From their site:
We are looking to push the envelope of episodic television by offering Season Two of Firefly in a groundbreaking new format. Each episode (or the entire season) would be made available for purchase in Standard or Hi-Definition.
It’s possible that subscribers may choose one of three playback options; monthly DVD deliveries, TV On-Demand using your cable or satellite provider, or computer viewing via Streaming Download.
If you loved Firefly and want to see new seasons, take 30 seconds to fill out their quick survey. You do not need to put down any personal info. It will help them determine the direction for the series.
I hate sounding like Iâ€™m advertising something, but this service seems pretty cool. I know I get tired of paying $1 every time I need to find a phone number. And itâ€™s nearly impossible to find a phone book in public anymore. Now, you can just call 1-800-FREE411.
By listening to a 12 second advertisement, you can use the directory assistance for free. If calling a business number, the system offers you an advertisement targeting that businessâ€™ market and then asks if you would to connect to the business in the advertisement or the one you requested.
I hate using 411 because of how expensive it has gotten. It used to be twenty-five cents when it started on our LAN line in Omaha. Now itâ€™s usually at least a buck, especially if calling from a cell phone. I hate commercials (sorry Dad), but Iâ€™d listen to the ad to save a dollar or two. Not too shabby for a free service.
(via Boing Boing)
Last Thursday at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, the U.S. delegation staged a dramatic walkout in order to â€˜scuttleâ€™ the negotiations. They stated it was in response to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martinâ€™s Wednesday remark, â€œTo the reticent nations, including the United States, I say there is such a thing as global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it.â€
Most other delegations said the American actions had less to do with Martinâ€™s comments and more to do with the fact that for two weeks they have only been trying to prevent other countries from making progress rather than adding anything helpful. Whatâ€™s worse, the U.S. delegation has not been regularly attending the meetings and so to show up at one just to leave it is even more embarrassing for us as a country.
Our delegation even resorted to bullying tactics. President Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak on Friday night and he did, but not without the U.S. threatening the United Nations. From NYMetro:
Bush-administration officials privately threatened organizers of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, telling them that any chance there mightâ€™ve been for the United States to sign on to the Kyoto global-warming protocol would be scuttled if they allowed Bill Clinton to speak at the gathering today in Montreal, according to a source involved with the negotiations who spoke to New York Magazine on condition of anonymity.
Clinton did end up speaking and called the Bush administration â€œflat wrongâ€.
This morning, more than 150 nations agreed to launch formal talks on mandatory greenhouse gas reductions after the Kyoto 2012 deadline passes. The United States was not among them.
On a lighter note, the National Environmental Trust distributed whoopee cushions with Bushâ€™s face printed on the front by the words â€œEmissions Accomplished.â€
Jennifer Morgan of the World Wildlife Fund: â€œThis shows just how willing the U.S. administration is to walk away from a healthy planet and its responsibilities to its own people.â€
President Clinton: â€œI think it’s crazy for us to play games with our children’s future. We know what’s happening to the climate, we have a highly predictable set of consequences if we continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and we know we have an alternative that will lead us to greater prosperity.â€