March 1, 2012 archive

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Carbon Exempt Airport Scanners


I Lasthorseman worked in an industrial research organization.  My duties included taking X-rays which meant mandatory ionizing radiation training every year.  Radiation monitoring badges collected monthly plus signing off annually an acknowledgement of receipt of the radiation report.  My badge was from this company.  I am now working at another company which has X-ray equipment.  This company mandates users signed up for radiation badges must wear the badges all day even if not in radiation hazard areas.…

OSHA regulated ionizing radiation.…

My home state regulates ionizing radiation.…

Title 21 defines what radiation means.…

So if you go to the airport does/is your “Friendly” TSA “Officer” wearing his/her radiation safety dosimeter badge.  If not he/she is “illegal”.

Which brings me to my infamous study on the effectiveness of tin foil hats.…

Hi-Yo Silver

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.

His father Giuseppe was an inspector of slaughter houses until he was arrested in 1796 for French Revolutionary sympathies by the Austrians.  While he was imprisoned his wife and son moved to Bologna were she made a living singing in theaters and upon Giuseppe’s release he joined her as a horn player in the bands where she sang.

Because his grandmother couldn’t handle him while his mom and dad were on the road, Rossini was apprenticed to a pork butcher and received his first musical instruction, which was not of very high quality.  After about 3 years he switched to a blacksmith and found some better teachers.  He had composed 6 String Sonatas by the age of twelve.

By the time he was 14 he had already composed his first Opera (though it would not be staged until he was 20) and he also gained admission to the Bologna Conservatory where he studied for 4 years before the debut of his first commercial production.

Italian music is all about the Opera and it’s hard to find a composer of note who hasn’t written a dozen or two.  Rossini’s rise to fame was meteoric and by 21 he had already retired and had to be coaxed out of it at 23 when he received an offer from a Naples theater impresario he couldn’t refuse.  In return for one Opera a year, 200 ducats a month and a cut from the tables in the theater Casino.

The Barber of Seville, while one of Rossini’s most famous, premiered to some controversy.  Giovanni Paisiello had already written a fairly popular Opera with the same name and subject 25 years earlier and his supporters protested the opening with boos and cat-calls.

After his return to the stage Rossini produced about 20 Operas by 1823, some of the librettos of which were highly bowdlerized to appeal to the tastes of his audience.  In 1822 he married one of his leading ladies and made a trip to Vienna where he was highly celebrated.  After that he went to London where George IV gave him 7000 pounds for 5 months work, and then to Paris where he made 800 pounds a year as the Director of the Theatre des Italiens plus a contract from Charles X for 5 Operas a year.

He stayed there for 5 years before returning to Bologna in 1829.  After that he composed but sporadically.  His first wife died in 1845, he remarried in 1846.  After leaving Bologna in 1848 due to the political unrest he eventually took up permanent residence in Paris where he devoted himself to the life of a foodie.  At the time of his death in 1868 he was acclaimed as the greatest composer of Opera ever known.

The piece I have selected tonight is one of his Sins of Old Age, Salon Music he composed at his home in Paris after his retirement.  This particular one, La Regata Veneziana, is a three song cycle posted by GermanOperaSinger and featuring Renata Tebaldi.  She was born in Pesaro, the very same town as Rossini.


Birth of a Notion

Elementary School Economics

All I need to know about economics I learned by the sixth grade.

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

On This Day In History March 1

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 1 is the 60th day of the year (61st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 305 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State. The same day, he sent a message to Congress asking for permanent funding for the agency, which would send trained American men and women to foreign nations to assist in development efforts. The Peace Corps captured the imagination of the U.S. public, and during the week after its creation thousands of letters poured into Washington from young Americans hoping to volunteer.

The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand U.S. culture, and helping Americans understand the cultures of other countries. Generally, the work is related to social and economic development. Each program participant, (aka Peace Corps Volunteer), is an American citizen, typically with a college degree, who works abroad for a period of 24 months after three months of training. Volunteers work with governments, schools, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and entrepreneurs in education, hunger, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment. After 24 months of service, volunteers can request an extension of service.

Kennedy appointed his brother-in-law Sargent Shriver to be the program’s first director. Shriver fleshed out the organization with the help of Warren Wiggins and others. Shriver and his think tank outlined the organization’s goals and set the initial number of volunteers. The program began recruiting in July, 1962.

Until about 1967, applicants had to pass a placement test that tested “general aptitude” (knowledge of various skills needed for Peace Corps assignments) and language aptitude. After an address from Kennedy, who was introduced by Rev. Russell Fuller of Memorial Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, on August 28, 1961, the first group of volunteers left for Ghana and Tanzania. The program was formally authorized by Congress on September 22, 1961, and within two years over 7,300 volunteers were serving in 44 countries. This number increased to 15,000 in June 1966, the largest number in the organization’s history.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Late Night Karaoke

My Little Town 20120229: Old Buildings and New Realazations

Those of you that read this regular series know that I am from Hackett, Arkansas, just a mile or so from the Oklahoma border, and just about 10 miles south of the Arkansas River.  It was a rural sort of place that did not particularly appreciate education, and just zoom onto my previous posts to understand a bit about it.

This piece is mostly about two old rock buildings near Hackett.  One of them was the “old schoolhouse” to which my mum and dad met each other as first graders.  Their story was actually a love at first sight one, and that is actually, literally true.  My dad fell in love with my mum immediately, and their love affair continued to produce two sons, me being one of them, several grandchildren, and a circle of friends that still continue, although most of them are now gone.

The secondary story is about the consequences of posting about people.  I got a very irate email from the granddaughter of one of the men that I described months ago, just day before yesterday.  She was upset about the way I described him, and rightly so.  We communicated further, and became friends.  I shall show everyone what she said, my responses, and the consensus that we finally came to that resolved the issue.  I plan to continue this series, but will be a bit more considerate in future.

Inflation in what we need; deflation in what we want

 You’ve all seen the headlines: Gas prices are headed for record highs and inflation is tame.

How do you reconcile the two?

 Most people fall back to blaming “speculators”. But if that sounds like an over-simplified cop-out, its because it is.

 To blame rising prices on speculators is like blaming getting hurt on crashing your car.  While its true you got hurt in a car crash, you don’t respond by outlawing car crashes, or in this case, speculators. It would be useless to do either.

 Instead, you outlaw the reason why the car crashed. For instance, outlaw poorly-made brakes.

  When it comes to rising energy prices, you look at why there are so many darn speculators.