Dave Stancliff 2013-03-03 blogarama.com

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Monster mosquitoes poised to strike Florida!

Yikes! As if the regular size mosquitos aren’t bad enough…

One of the most ferocious insects you've ever heard of — it's the size of a quarter and its painful bite has been compared to being knifed — is set to invade Florida this summer.

The Sunshine State, already home to man-eating sinkholes, invading Burmese pythons, swarming sharks, tropical storms and other disasters, can expect to see an explosion of shaggy-haired gallinippers (Psorophora ciliata), a type of giant mosquito, according to entomologist Phil Kaufman of the University of Florida. (Story here)

Don’t forget to turn your clocks forward one hour tonight…or else!

      Good Day World!

Remember to spring forward tonight and set all your clocks an hour forward. Forget about whining about losing an hour of sleep. It won’t do any good.

We have this myth about saving electricity that gets passed on annually - with no real statistics to back the damn claim up - and we’re stuck with Daylight Savings Time!

Every 2nd Sunday in March becomes THE DAY when we add an hour of sunlight and mess up our biorhythms until we “Fall Back,” and turn the clock back later in the year. Makes no sense, but whatever. Here’s some links to Daylight Savings Time 2013:

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Hero Project: A Documentary on Single Father Households

         Good Day World!

Today’s topic is about single fathers who raise children. You seldom read about these men who take on the responsibility of raising a family alone. They are a small minority in the overall picture, but we’re still talking about over two million men across the country.

One of those single dad’s – Khaaliq Thomas - contacted me the other day. His story was compelling, and his project is an enlightening look at what men face when they raise children alone. Kaaliq’s hope is to inform the public about these dad’s – these salt-of-earths who take on the roll of Mom and Dad in todays society.

I support this great project and I hope you will to:

Arthur dressing Julian, who is his youngest son and also suffers from autism.

“After fighting for custody of my kids, experiencing my own difficulties with the courts and facing the challenges of a single parent, I was led to seek out others with similar stories.

I'm driven by the fact that single fathers need to be recognized for their unselfish commitment to their families.

The documentary is not focused on fathers of a specific ethnic background or economic status. The purpose is to examine the single father household in all of its many colors, variations and origins. From the tireless dad who fought for years to win custody of his kids to the widowed family that lost a mom. These stories will share with the world the dedicated ability, struggles and unconditional love of these fathers and the families they raise and nurture. GO HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE HERO PROJECT

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Go for the gusto! It’s never too late…

    Good Day World!

I’ve always felt it’s never too late to do something you really want to do; regardless of your age, physical shape, or mental challenges. It’s all about desire.

I enjoy reading about singular people who do things outside the norm. People who are not afraid of challenges. No matter how big, or how small.

HERE’S THREE STORIES ILLUSTRATING WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT:

106 year-old school drop-out gets high school diploma

“A 106-year-old Massachusetts man who had to drop out of school before the ninth grade to support his mother and five siblings has finally earned his high school diploma. Fred Butler (photo right) was awarded his honorary diploma Monday during an emotional ceremony attended by school officials and Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon.

Butler thanked "everybody who is responsible for this." The lack of diploma did not hold him back. He was married for 65 years, raised five children, served in the U.S. Army during World War II and worked for the city's water department.

But daughter-in-law Cathy Butler says he always regretted dropping out and always emphasized the importance of education to his children and grandchildren.Fred Butler was concerned he didn't earn the diploma, but Scanlon said it was well deserved.”(Source)

It can be frustrating when someone says you can’t do something because you’re physically challenging. Often times this “can’t” spurs people to defy the odds and find a way to make it happen regardless. That was the case with Phil Southerland. At just seven months old, Phil was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The doctor told his mom that he probably wouldn’t live to the age of 25. But Phil had other plans for his life. Read the whole story here.

And the last story: DEFY THE ODDS and PURSUE YOUR DREAMS

“Do not fear age, but fear a life half-lived because of fear. Do not look backwards to what might have been, but forward to what may be.”

Great examples of people pursuing theirs dreams here.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dow record high is a feel good moment, but don’t get too excited

    Good Day World!

Today’s topic is yesterdays record high for the Dow Jones industrial average. What does it mean to you and me?

I’m no stock market guru, so I’ve turned to informed sources to help answer that question. The following links will help you see the significance of this record.

But beware, it doesn’t mean we’re on easy street yet. There’s a long way to go yet.

The Dow Jones industrial average just set a record high. Feel rich yet?

The economy is struggling despite Dows all time high 

The Dow, created in 1896 with the shares of 12 companies, comprises 30 stocks. Most are household names: General Electric, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Procter & Gamble and IBM .

Isn’t all this just about the fortunes of Wall Street itself — the 1 percent?

Not if you have a 401(k) plan, an IRA or any other retirement account tied to the stock market.

Index funds, which track the major market indexes stock-for-stock, have soared in popularity over the past two decades because they carry extremely low fees and leave less to the success or failure of money managers.

The most popular of these funds track the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, which hasn’t quite beaten its record but has logged an even more impressive rally since 2009 than the Dow. It’s up 127 percent.

Something else to consider is what’s known as the wealth effect, the idea that people are more comfortable spending money when they feel wealthier. Headlines about the stock market’s record run only help.

“Consumer spending is not what it should be — a 2 percent growth rate, and it should be closer to 3 — but it’s getting better,” Johnson says. “It tends to feed on itself. It makes people feel better.” (Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Did you know the U.S. is in the middle of an oil and gas boom?

Good Day World!

The topic of discussion today is the amazing fact that U.S. oil and gas production is at a 20 year high! Here’s a real shocker; the International Energy Agency projects the U.S. could even leap frog Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's biggest oil producer by 2020!

Imagine that, America the biggest producer of oil in the world! Wow!

Really? Who knew? The last time I looked we were still dependent on middle eastern oil. Another surprising fact; our oil production is up 40 percent since 2008! Why haven’t I noticed the beneficial effects of buying domestic oil – like a drop in prices?

We’re importing less oil so what’s the deal? Imports totaled about 7.7 million barrels per day in the month of February, down 1.2 million barrels per day from he same time last year. The problem, according to energy analysts is we’re using less oil and gas.

U.S. oil demand for 2012 was 18.56 million barrels per day, down 2 percent from the year earlier and its lowest annual level since 1996, according to the EIA. Oil demand fell every month last year, except for May.

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," has helped lead to this revolution in gas and oil production. The U.S. EIA projects there is 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas resources in the U.S., enough for 100 years. In drilling for that gas, the industry uncovered a trove of natural gas liquids.

Which brings me back around to the fact that the American consumer is never going to get a break on gas prices. Current trends prove my point. Gas is at another all-time high nationally, and more than likely will go up again before the summer hits.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Magic: Shadow Illusions by Shigeo Fukuda

(images by Shigeo Fukuda)

Good Day World!

Todays topic is about creating art from chaos. All the junk around us in life has a purpose and sometimes a re-purpose. The wonderful shadow sculptures above were created by the late artist Shigeo Fukuda.  Shigeo Fukuda (福田 繁雄 Fukuda Shigeo?, February 4, 1932 - January 11, 2009) was a sculptor, graphic artist and poster designer who created optical illusions. His art pieces usually portray deception, such as Lunch With a Helmet On, a sculpture created entirely from forks, knives, and spoons, that casts a detailed shadow of a motorcycle. Wikipedia

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, March 3, 2013

AS IT STANDS: Cyber Wars: America’s infrastructure faces increased threats

By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
 In the not so distant future…
Residents in LA County face a world with no electricity. Major communication problems between police agencies have crippled their ability to fight crime for a week. With no vehicles available because pumps don’t work, so there’s no gas, crime is rampant.
Looting of stores and businesses is commonplace as residents flee the area and head north where it’s reputed that electricity and other services are still available.
Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are try to escape the blacked-out city that no longer can offer the most basic of services, such as sanitation and police protection. Roving gangs and thugs routinely attack anyone unable to fight back.

 Bodies are scattered like pieces of lumber in the frozen streets of Denver, Colorado, as record snowfall buries the city without electricity and the most basic services of a civilization.
People looking back at 9 11 will compare it to their new reality and lose hope. This dystopian future could be around the corner, caused by a cyber attack on America’s infrastructure - specifically against our electrical grids.
 Security experts have for years expressed concerns, if not outrage, that the nation’s critical infrastructure remains so vulnerable so long after Sept. 11, 2001. The U.S. has increasing concerns about escalating cyber attacks coming from China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea.
Make no mistake, we’ve been waging a silent war in cyber space for decades and the stakes keep going up. The targets of this generation’s cyber warriors are generally a country’s infrastructure, as opposed to an all-out assault by their military.
Oil, gas, and electrical companies once led the way in protecting their perimeters with water companies and mining companies lagging behind, according to State Department spokeswomen Victoria Nulund in a recent NBC interview.
But now security experts say those security perimeters can be breeched due to loopholes and hackers are free to do whatever they want. 
Dale Peterson, founder and CEO of Digital Bond, a security company that specializes in infrastructure, told NBC news that infrastructure attacks - also know as vendor attacks - are “particularly worrisome.”
A National Research Council report was declassified last fall that warned a coordinated strike on the grid could devastate the country. An enemy wouldn’t have to drop bombs to send us into chaos.

A scary thought is that vital systems - like electricity - don’t have to be down long before public fear and turmoil could hurt the economy for years to come. Look at what happened last year during Hurricane Sandy, when it barely took two days of reported gas shortages to cause hours-long lines at the pumps and violent fights between drivers.
Recent revelations about a special Chinese Army Group (Unit 61398) devoted to waging cyber war against the United States has Congress concerned. Congressman Michael Rogers recently warned that China is an ongoing threat to our national and economic security.
  Congressman Rogers said China’s cyber espionage campaign against America is growing exponentially as they brazenly steal our innovative ideas and sensitive information. Worse, there’s nothing in place to stop these attacks.

While chairing a Congressional hearing on “Advanced Cyber Threats Facing Our Nation” by the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Congressman Rogers reported that the Chinese have nothing to fear because we don’t have anything in place to stop them.
I put together an overview of the topic at http://learni.st/users/dave.stancliff.9/boards/14727-unit-61398-china-s-cyberwarriors-vs-usa, that will give you a complete picture of what we face in the future and what‘s being considered right now.  My biggest takeaway on the subject of cyber warfare is it’s much more deadly than conventional bombing or nukes. An enemy can disable our country from some computers in an apartment complex and walk in and pick up the pieces.
  As It Stands, I can see the need to turn out more computer experts willing to wage war against America’s enemies in cyber space. It is the 21st century after all, and this is our new reality.