Saturday, September 20, 2014

Eyewitnesses

The Lost Coast Outpost has some statements from witnesses in the shooting by police of Tommy McClain. One says she didn't see McClain in possession of a handgun. Another won't say exactly what was seen but suggests the police were justified in the shooting. Perhaps another one of those cases where people can watch the same thing happen but come to opposite conclusions?

Some of you that have followed this blog might remember this Sacramento Bee story I linked to last year about a case in High Desert Prison in Susanville, CA. At least two correctional officers were fired after allegations they were involved in severely beating a mentally ill inmate. 

Three female visitors testified along the lines of it being along the likes of what happened to Rodney King of L.A. Riots fame. Problem was, nobody else present saw the same thing, including the supposed victim. A judge restored the officers' jobs.

Then there's the case I read about in the Santa Rosa Press- Democrat earlier this year. A guy was arrested and spent seven months in jail for sexual acts with a young (10 or 11 years?) girl who was staying at his home. The victim herself testified it was he that did it. His lawyer finally managed to get a DNA test done. The DNA didn't match.

Detectives went back to the case and interviewed the guy's roommate who finally fessed up and admitted to having done it. This after the girl positively identified someone else.

It's rather scary when you think of how unreliable eyewitness testimony can be, and how much we often rely on it.

The New Slim Fast?

Reason magazine takes a look at a new food item. Soylent isn't made from humans but supposedly provides all the nutrition you need for one meal. This might make a good earthquake food if it didn't require extra water.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Eureka Shopping Cart Ordinance Passes

John Chiv reports the proposal making it a misdemeanor to take shopping carts without the store owners' approval was passed unanimously (Mayor Frank Jager absent) by the Eureka City Council. This subjects those who take the carts to possible jail time among other things. I agree with the one comment to Chiv's post:

"Most of the people who push shopping carts around are homeless. In what world does the Council think the homeless can pay a fine? They will end up getting arrested for failure to pay and released due overcrowding in the jail due to AB 109". - Michael Adams

We have enough trouble keeping more serious criminals in jail, and we want to clutter the jails up with the homeless? Never mind there were already legal sanctions available for shopping cart thieves. I don't know if there is a real solution to the problem but this isn't it. 

I do think the stores need to take more responsibility. There is technology available that can disable shopping carts if they go beyond a certain distance from the store. Maybe they could give that a try?

I'd meant to mention this to Councildude, Mike Newman, when he'd stopped by my house on campaign business but it slipped my mind. I believe it was his proposal. It's not one he should be proud of.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mary Does Insurance Now

Some of you that are, or were, members of Provident Central Credit Union might recognize the gal in the picture. That's Mary Huber, formerly the manager. She recently retired from the credit union and started a second career with State Farm Insurance. Her brand new digs are on Harris Street right next to the gas station in Henderson Center. Nice place.

I went in there yesterday to see if I could have her take over my State Farm policies as we were getting tossed back and forth to different agents since our old agent, Janet Holmes, retired. I'm now one of her first customers, but she could use more. You might consider signing on with her. She told me they can beat the widely advertised Progressive Insurance rates.

She goes by Mary Huber- Wallaker now. Her contact info is here. Give her a call today!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Times- Standard Gives Election Letter Guidelines

The publisher of the Times- Standard gives the guidelines as to what will and won't be accepted with letters focusing on the upcoming election. Not sure I get this part:

"First and foremost, if you're writing a letter to the editor endorsing a candidate and encouraging readers to vote for that person, you must focus on the issues. Letters for the sole purpose of expressing gratitude to a candidate or announcing a political event are not appropriate to be published as letters to the editor and would be considered paid advertising."

I've seen some letters like that in the last year or so. I know I've seen a few blog posts that fit the description. I would think there might be a fine line between "expressing gratitude" to a candidate and simply trying to point out what a great candidate someone is. We'll see how that works out.

They've changed the number of letters you can send in, too. I believe it used to be one per month. Now it's one every 21 days. Maybe it's been 21 days for longer than that? Seems to me I've seen at least a couple guy's letters recently that have shown up less than a month apart. Whatever. I'll consider that an improvement.

Lastly, the deadline for letters is October 28 but they say they'll allow letters up until Election Day to allow for rebuttals to earlier letters. Hmmm??? Wonder how that will work?

I've got one letter pretty much written and ready to send in. Now it's just a matter of deciding when to send it in.


The Most Hated Foods?

I was listening to the radio yesterday afternoon when the announcer brought up a supposed fact: The foods people hate most. He went on to quote a Men's Health article that claimed the number one most hated food was brussel sprouts, followed by broccoli and fish. WTF?

I was thinking he's either full of crap or the people that were polled are. Brussel sprouts are okay, although we probably have them in this house more than I care to. I love broccoli and fish. So what else was on the list? I did a quick search and found the article he was referring to. 

A big mistake from the beginning was he said foods "people hate". Not quite. The article specifies food children hate. There might be a substantial difference there, but I'll still take issue as even as a kid I like most of those foods. Here's the rest of the list:

#4- Turnips: Okay, I'm not a big fan of turnips but I've grown and eaten them from my own garden.

#5- Beets: I'll concede that one. I hate beets, although the wife likes them.

#6- Liver: Meh? I have enjoyed liver and onions from time to time, but not in some time.

#7- Spinach: Love spinach, but cooked, not raw as most people do in salads.

#8- Avocado: How could anyone not like avocados? I could live on avocados alone.

#9- Cottage Cheese: How could anyone not like cottage cheese? I've been buying quite a bit of it lately.

#10- Eggplant: It's ok in eggplant parmisan. I'm not particularly fond of it by itself.

Any of those your most hated foods?

I'm not sure what I'd name as my most hated foods. I'll keep beets on the list. Add okra and then maybe yams (sweet potatoes). Oh, and ham. I enjoy pork roasts and chops. I do not like canned ham. Oh, and corned beef. Yuck!

My favorites? Probably chicken thighs, preferably breaded, and fish, breaded as well but not a necessity. Too many other favorite foods to list but one thing I don't probably get enough of is pasta salad, so long as there's no okra included.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Threat of Artificial Intelligence

Reason magazine takes a look at the potential threat of artificial intelligence. It's meant more as a book review but still covers most aspects of the issue. Not sure I have the attention span to read the book:

"About 10 percent of AI researchers believe the first machine with human-level intelligence will arrive in the next 10 years. Fifty percent think it will be developed by the middle of this century, and nearly all think it will be accomplished by century's end. Since the new AI will likely have the ability to improve its own algorithms, the explosion to superintelligence could then happen in days, hours, or even seconds."

Too Many Elk In Del Norte Co.

Del Norte County's Triplicate reports on frustration over what some feel are poorly run elk management programs. They're getting to be a nuisance to many folks up there.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Connie Wins At Angelos!

Some of you might remember earlier this year where i wrote about winning a free buffet lunch at Angelo's Pizza in Eureka. I'd started doing the KIEM news quiz online (link is down on the right of the page) after seeing it mentioned on TV. 

I won the first time I entered it but never got around to taking advantage of the prize so the offer expired. I decided I'd enter the wife in it after that since she kept bugging me to take advantage of the prize. I've been entering it since January in her name and just received notice of yet another free buffet lunch. 

The question now is whether I continue entering it? I usually stop entering a drawing if I win.

Minimum Wage Stuff

I was trying to figure out what the minimum wage was back when I moved up here. I worked a few minimum wage jobs back then and before. This Department of Labor web site shows it being less than I remember working for, but the DOL is listing federal minimum wage, not state. I'm thinking it was somewhere around $2.50 an hour. I suppose it could have been less?

Wikipedia has a whole bunch of info on minimum wage including a map that shows what states have minimum wages that are higher, equal to, or lower than the federal minimum wage. Some don't have a minimum wage.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

An Earthquake Water Bonanza?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports some formerly dry creeks down south have water in them now. The Napa earthquake seems to have opened fissures in the ground that allow subterranean water to come to the surface. Most seem to think this is a good thing. I'm not so sure.

It depends on where the water is coming from. If it's coming from aquifers that are already being tapped for water, this probably isn't so good. All that does is reduce the amount of water being stored underground and accessible by wells. Once it's on the surface it's subject to evaporation or, as the article states, eventually ending up in the ocean where it's no longer immediately of use to us.

If it's coming from a previously unused aquifer, then that might be a good thing. I have no idea if there is a way to find out for sure, short of well levels dropping without explanation.

When Robots Attack

I've written here before of my concerns about automation and artificial intelligence eventually taking over most jobs done by people. The Huffington Post has an article showing I'm not alone in my concerns.

"Soon, all that will be left for human beings will be the non-routine, creative work."