Category Archives: technology

The Power Portal of Niagara Falls

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The Power Portal
* Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara, New York *

the Power Portal resides on Goat Island where a huge statue of Nikola Tesla rests. Nicola Tesla was the inventor whose patents for the AC induction motor and other devices for AC power transmission made harnessing the falls power possible. Along this portal and the Niagara River are walking paths with views of the rapids, the Niagara River, the gorge, and all of the falls. These are nestled within the Niagara Falls State Park just in front of the Cave of the Winds.

    “The construction of larger and more efficient electric generating stations at Niagara made the original Adams plant obsolete. It has been demolished … the main entrance to this first powerhouse with the legended Indian medallion by Frederick McMonnies in the Fan Arch above the doorway was taken down piece by piece and re-erected here. The cost of materials was met by subscription from interested corporations, individuals and associations. The site was made available by the Niagara Frontier state park commission. On a voluntary basis, the builder’s association of Niagara Falls furnished equipment and administration, perhaps the greatest contribution was from the individual members of the Niagara Falls building trades council who donated their time and skill on their days off to make the re-erection of this memorial possible. ” ~ placque on the power portal, Goat Island, Niagara Falls State Park, New York.

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The Venus Project: Sustainable Cities

A world of modern design, no hunger, no unemployment, no financial collapse, as visioned by Jacque Fresco in his “The Venus Project”. Very interesting ideas, concepts, and applications.

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James Cook University | Brisbane


James Cook University @ Brisbane
Queens Street, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

A private university established in 1970 in the heart of Brisbane near Eagle Street Pier, James Cook offers its students a committment in the study of Australia’s indigenous cultures, a dedication to research especially in marine sciences, biodiversity, tropical ecology, global warming, tourism, tropical medicine, and public health care. James Cook offers smaller classes with more direct access to teaching staff, and is a broad school throughout Australia with large campuses in Townsville and Cairns, regular campuses in Brisbane, Sydney, and Singapore, and smaller study centers in Mount Isa, Thursday Island, and Mackay. The school’s base is in Townsville, Queensland, Australia. It is the 2nd oldest university in Queensland, and the first tertiary education institution in North Queensland. Named after Captain James Cook whose ship the HM Bark Endeavour was grounded in North Queensland. It was proclaimed a university through Act of Queensland Parliament on April 20, 1970 first as the University College of Townsville changing names to James Cook University of North Queensland with Queen Elizabeth II officiating. In 1974 when Cyclone Tracy in Darwin hit, James Cook University decided to open a cyclone research facility which now operates as an independent unit of the School of Engineering and acts as an advising member to the Australian Standards committee in areas of structural design specializing in wind actions. The Brisbane campus however was not established until 2006. Student populations university-wide are around 16,338 with over 3,400 international students. Aside from its popular courses, James Cook also offers an online astronomy degree.

    Bibliography/References:
  • Ifsa Butler: James Cook University. Website referenced December 2011. http://www.ifsa-butler.org/james-cook-university.html

  • James Cook University. Website referenced December 2011. http://www.jcu.edu.au/.

  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. James Cook University. Website referenced December 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cook_University.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Chinese Domain Name Scams

Ah the wonders of the internet and email. This morning I awoke to some Asian domain registrar claiming another company is seeking trademark of my corporate name and website – “phishing” for validity that I was indeed the trademark holder. Of course in my sleep-deprived dreary morning eyes, clicked reply and told them indeed I was the owner. Of course as the morning chai started to settle in, and seeing three other such emails to other email addresses at my site I decided to “google” said company and found quite quickly it is a well know internet scam trying to get you to buy domains and register in Asian companies. Thankfully quite a few blog articles are up to warn people of these scams … as a friendly reminder to ALWAYS research an email before replying to it. Don’t know what curse I’ve laid upon myself with that particular email address … but better late than not at all.

This particular scam begins with an email to you at your various domain email addresses … so there is a culprit behind the action who doesn’t seem to have any worthwhile activities on their brain but trying to scam others. Seriously you’d think with the warnings already out on the web already they’d at least change their name, company, and wording. But no, same cut-n-paste letter as sent to others around the web with similar responses and reactions.

    RE: Notice of Intellectual Property – Trademark Name

    Dear Manager:

    We are a Network Service Company which is the domain name registration center in Anhui, China. On December,20th,2011, We received DATON Company’s application that they are registering the name “xxxyourcompanynamexxx” as their Internet Trademark and “xxxyourcompanynamexxx.cn”,”xxxyourcompanynamexxx.com.cn” ,”xxxyourcompanynamexxx.asia”domain names etc.,It is China and ASIA domain names.But after auditing we found the brand name been used by your company. As the domain name registrar in China, it is our duty to notice you, so I am sending you this Email to check.According to the principle in China,your company is the owner of the trademark,In our auditing time we can keep the domain names safe for you firstly, but our audit period is limited, if you object the third party application these domain names and need to protect the brand in china and Asia by yourself, please let the responsible officer contact us as soon as possible. Thank you!

    Kind regards

    Angela Zhang

    Anhui Office (Head Office)

    Registration Department Manager

    Room 1008 Shenhui Building
    Haitian Road, Huli Anhui, China


    ?
    Office: +86 0553 4994789

    Fax: +86 0553 4994789

    web: www.gytrademark.com

Of course the spelling, grammar, punctuation, and bad English should be a warning – one I should have noticed but didn’t in this world of fast typing, internet syntax, text’ing grammar we’re submerged in. Many articles discussing this internet scam letter states too, if a real Chinese company drafted this letter, it would have been done differently if it was a real letter. The website “gytrademark.com” relays back to http://www.rg-net.org/ – which a quick google will tell you is a scam company such as listed in this article: http://www.the-name-i-wanted-was-already-taken-so-i-used-a-lot-of-dashes.com/yg-networks-com-is-a-scam-rip-off-warning/. Apparently Chinese Domain name scams is quite common – and out of my 20 years of web weaving, domain hosting, internet designing … this is the first time they’ve targeted me. Apparently the above “Angela Zhang” works for many similar named companies that she operates from – if she indeed exists at all. So be forewarned … its out there.

Its quite advised if such a letter was indeed real, if you are registered in the United States as a legitimate company, own the domain name, can prove a history or trademark of the company name and purpose, you’re pretty protected. Holders of federal trademarks are afforded protection when the mark is used in connection with a particular service or goods. You can prove infringement if you can prove you’ve been using the trademark or name prior. We’ve been using ours for over 20 years and since we’ve coined the terms, not much worry behind that one.

Bibliography/Recommended reading:

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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RedRoom Video Kiosks


Red Room
* http://www.redroomdvd.com/ * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory, Australia

I definitely took another look when I saw the “Red Room” video box outside of the pharmacy in Canberra. My head said “Oh, A Red Box”, but the editor in me caught the spelling differentiatiion and took a double-look. “Red Room” …. hmmm …. as I was familiar with the Red Boxes in America I just figured this was the Australian version. These kiosks are pretty common throughout America and Australia, as I would guess around the world, where individuals can take their debit or credit cards and rent for the night a cheap dvd. Simply browse or choose online, swipe the card, and out pops a dvd. Returning them is even simpler. Redbox, owned and operated by Coinstar, was founded in 2003 and now has over 17,500 kiosks in the U.S., mainly at grocery and convenience stores and release new movies every tuesday. Redroom however is found in limited areas of Australia, especially in New South Wales and Victoria, in shopping malls or supermarkets. Redroom specializes in movies and games. Allows you to view pictures, watch trailers, read reviews, and also use a membership card instead of a debit/credit card. Often it is on average 2.95 AUD for six hours, but if you return it sooner, less it costs … instantDVD is 2.99 AUD until 7 pm the following night.


Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Restaurants, Businesses, Bands, Performances, Venues, and Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

These reviews are done by the writer at no payment unless it is a requested review and the costs for travel, service, and lodging was covered – in which case, expenditure reimbursement will not affect review rating or content. If you enjoy this review and want to see more, why not buy our reviewer a drink to motivate them to write more? or help cover the costs they went through to do this review?






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Australian Electrical Current


Australian Electric Current

Just as with any other region of the world, the electrical current differs from continent to continent. Oceania is no different within the country of Australia. This current runs on 220-240 Watts. As with any other current, the Australian Current is accessed by devices plugging into AC power plugs and sockets. Most of these have an on/off switch on the socket for safety, sustainability, and energy management. The socket is connected to by an electric plug which have a “male” type of connector that connect into a “female” type of connection called the socket. This socket, with two slots and a hole match a three prong plug. These are called the “Australasian switched 3-pin dual power point” or the AS 3112 or standard C112. This is commonly found and utilized in Australian, New Zealand, Fiji, Argentian, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. It has a grounding pin with two flat current-carrying pins forming an upside down “V” shape. While different, they are style after the British current and plug. World travellers will needa plug converter based from their country’s wattage and current system. Be careful with the wattage and amps for your specific device. Especially coming from the United States or Canada where the voltage is much much lower.


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Black Mountain Tower (Canberra)


Black Mountain Tower
* http://www.blackmountaintower.com.au/ * 100 Black Mountain Drive, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia * (02) 6248 1911 *

Atop one of the higher peaks overlooking Canberra, is a telecommunication tower situated above the summit of “Black Mountain”. Rising over 195 meters above the Mountain summit, is Canberra’s notable landmark that allows visitors to view panoramic views of the city and its surrounding countryside from an indoor observation deck with two oudoor viewing platforms and a revolving restaurant, business offices, sales, and radio communication facilities that was originally the “Telstra Tower” or “Telecom Tower” that replaced the microwave relay station of Red Hill. Developed by the Department of Housing and Construction under design by William H. Wilson of Sydney, much debate and protest proceeded its construction based on aesthetic and ecological concerns. It was beat in Federal High Court and the government was able to proceed. It was opened on May 15, 1980, was unveiled by the Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. It annually receives over 6 million visitors. It is responsible for major trunk line radio-telephony facilities, television transmitters for national and commercial services, FM radio transmission, radio paging facilities, mobile radio telephone base station services, and as a cellular phone base station. It cost over 16 million to build.

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The History of Leafworks, Inc. (1991-2000)

The History of Leafworks, Inc.
1991 – 2000

“… Just as trees sprout leaves producing beautiful inspirational works of art, Leafworks mimics this action in cyberspace by creating effective, inspiring, and entertaining web pages that provide informational resources for all.”

“Leafworks, Inc. was a web design, research, and informational service that sought to relay reliable, effective, and educational data in a cost effective manner. They were also in their era, one of the first “online research companies” of their time. Web Design, Web Hosting, Web Development, Graphic Arts, Research Services, Computer Upgrades, Logo Creation, Program Installation, Classes, Training, and Networking … pre-dating the “Geek Squad” popularity, they served their clients well and were popular with what they offered as they were amongst the first to provide these services at this time. They taught online instructional classes on Web Design, HTML programming, and Graphic Arts before many Colleges and Universities offered these expertises as well as having amongst some of the first online educational training program scripts. They provided an array of web pages including their own bookstore. They also had a movie times web site that pre-dated Yahoo! Movies, Fandango, and Movie Times called “www.todaysmovies.com”. Because many of their staff had full-time committments with primary clients, many of their highly sought after services was on a “first come, first served service” basis with priority going to those clients with whom they already developed relationship or had worked with longer. Leafworks began in 1991 as a Research Firm that on occasion offered Graphic Design services and/or Logos. Originally a sole proprietorship in the “research” days, it became a Corporation in 1996. Leafworks was founded by Tom Baurley, the webmaster of Florida Division of Historical Resources, Florida Governors Page, Florida Symbols, Florida Museum of Natural History, and Florida Folklife Pages. When he began receiving phone calls from patrons of the State of Florida web pages who asked if he did web work on the side, he at first started saying “no”. After discussion with his boss, he was granted permission that he could follow up on some of those complimenting leads for side work. Already having been doing Site File Research work on the side since 1991, he quickly put together a business plan. Within a year he had an office down the street from the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Business became so busy and in high demand, he eventually left his position as webmaster with the State of Florida. Teaming up with contractors from State Agencies who were also wanting to do web design, graphic arts, or programming jobs on the side, the business took off. Eventually opening an office in New York as well as the home base in Tallahassee, Florida. Much of the work towards the end of Leafworks, Inc. were done by Tom Baurley and his wife Hena. When they divorced, during the time of the .dotcom crash, Y2K scares, the company was deeply affected by all the turmoil in 2000, which led to its demise. After the company closure, several members of the original company started up “Wandering Leaf Designs, LLC” who picked up where “Leafworks, Inc.” left off. Many of Leafworks clients went with the new company. Since the closure of Wandering Leaf, LLC in 2004, much of the inspired content that they created was adopted by Technogypsie Designs and Services.

Continue reading The History of Leafworks, Inc. (1991-2000)

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The History of Wandering Leaf Designs or “Wandering Leaf, LLC”

Wandering Leaf Designs, also known as “Wandering Leaf, LLC” was a web studio located in the region of North America’s Pacific Northwest – servicing its clients in the United States & Canadian provinces. A Limited Liability Company, Wandering Leaf Designs provided their clients with top-notch web designs, logos, art, graphics, wireless / nomadic technologies, and hot spots of interest from 2000 until 2004. “Wandering Leaf Designs” was founded after the closure of “Leafworks, Inc.. “Wandering Leaf Designs” was closed when its C.E.O., organizer, lead designer/developer, and mover/shaker left the .dotcom industry to return to his passion of “Archaeology & Anthropology”. Once on the trail to doing work at the Camano Beach Excavation, Miami Circle’s “Icon Brickell” project, and finally to be the GIS Specialist/Curator for the U.S. Army’s Cultural Resource Management Program at Fort Carson, he no longer had the time to continue operating “Wandering Leaf Designs”, much of which was the lasting demise of the “.dotcom” collapse that started in the late 1990’s into the early Y2K era. The Company closed shortly after his absence.

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Plastiki Arrives in Australia

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/23/plastiki-arrives-in-austr_n_656141.html

‘Plastiki’ Arrives In Australia After Plastic-Bottle Boat Makes 8,000-Mile Journey Across Pacific

Posted: 07-23-10 09:58 AM on Huffingtonpost

The 12,000 plastic water bottle catamaran that David de Rothschild in company with Jo Royle, the skipper made landing in Australia after a treacherous 3 month journey, 11,000 mile journey across the Pacific from California to Australia. They pass through the Great Pacific Trash Island. The above link leads to a video about the journey, and the Youtube video below talks about the expedition. The ABC news Youtube link below shows the beginning of the journey.

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-23/tech/plastiki.australia_1_plastiki-australian-national-maritime-museum-plastic-bottle-boat?_s=PM:TECH

Plastic bottle boat reaches Australia after stormy seas

July 23, 2010

After spending 125 days traveling over 8,000 nautical miles, the Plastiki is preparing to reach Sydney, its final destination, on Sunday.

The Plastiki’s arrival in Sydney will not, however, be the 60-foot catamaran’s first time to reach Australian soil. Winter storms producing near-hurricane strength winds forced the vessel and its crew to take refuge in Mooloolaba, Queensland on Monday.

Originally, the crew had hoped to land in Coffs Harbour, south from Mooloolaba, before heading to Sydney. After waiting out the bad weather, the Plastiki took off from its unexpected first port-of-call in Australia early Friday morning with hopes to reach Sydney in the next two days.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ug7CpVkBuU
ABC News: The Plastiki Sets Sail, Youtube Video

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Irish Peat Fuel



Irish Peat Fuel

Ireland and the United Kingdom are pretty unique in that they utilize “Peat” as a kind of fuel, while most of the world uses coal, wood, petroleum, or gas for their heating. Peat use can be found also in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Scotland, Poland, Northern Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, New Zealand, and North America. Burning peat in Ireland has been a tradition and a way of life for hundreds of years being used to warm homes, cottages, and castles. Peat heat has become so popular that some other countries import it in as a type of fuel because of the aroma and ambiance it creates when heating a home. Peat is harvested on peat bog islands like Ireland and England and turned into briquettes, just like firewood. Peat, or turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed histosol (decayed vegetation) that forms in wetland moors, bogs, mires, and swamp forests. Peat covers approximately 4 trillion meters of the Earth’s surface which is approximately 2% of the Earth’s land mass. Approximately 60% of the world’s wetlands are peat. Peat is formed when plant material in marshy areas isn’t condensed and trapped where it cannot fully decay from acidic and anaerobic conditions. It consists of grasses, fungi, rees, roots, insects, and animal remains within a bi of waterlogging. When dried out it can be used as a fuel, especially for cooking or heating. The use of peat fires are integral in the production of Scotch whisky. Because of how dry and combustible peat can become, it is a major fire hazard as peat fires can burn indefinitely, and can burn underground, even reigniting after the winter when exposed to oxygen. Peat gets in the way of construction as when structures, roads, and railways are built upon it, can be highly compressible under even small roads. Peat had lots of ritual significance in the Bronze and Iron age, as many believed the peat to be home to many Gods and spirits. Bodies of ritual sacrifices are often found in the Peat bogs in countries like England, Ireland, Northern Germany, and Denmark – the tannic acid properties within the peat has incredible preservation properties especially with bog bodies. The Vikings abstraced bog iron from peat bogs to create swords and armour.


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Electrical Outlets in the UK and Ireland …

The BS 1363
Used in the United Kingdom and Ireland

As an American travelling into Europe it never fails to overwhelm me that the entire world has different electrical systems, outlets, plugs, and methods in utilizing electrical current. Of course that’s common sense that everything should be different, but you would think in this day and age when the various cultures have merged, they would have found a meeting point so we’d all have one plug type. That day may never be seen, so we worldly travellers will have to stock up on the various adapters in order to effectively travel the world round. The ‘British Standard BS 1363’ is the most common domestic AC power plug and socket that you will find used in Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Malta, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Oman, Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar, Botswana, Ghana, Hong Kong, Jordan, Macau, Brunei, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Iraq, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Belize, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Grenada. and most of the British colonies (current or former). Ireland/Malaysia/Singapore have the equivalent standards IS 401 & 411, MS 589, and SS 145, respectively. These were introduced in 1947 after WWII as part of a new standard for electrical wiring in the United Kingdom. It is under Trading standards legislation in the United Kingdom and Ireland that requires that all domestic electrical goods sold there to be fitted with BS 1363 or IS 401 plugs. These areas also have other plug types in use such as the IEC 309 for industrial and some outdoor applications; and the BS 546 in older outlets. BS 1363 began to appear after WWII in 1946, converting from Britains old combination of 5 amp/15 amp round pin sockets where each had to be wired to the distribution board and provided with its own fuse. Due to the high wartime demands prior, Britain suffered a chronic shortage of copper and as a result, much of the housing stock was destroyed – and Britain was placed in the position to have to rapidly rebuild housing for its population wiring with as little copper as possible. This was the solution – a ring circuit system (aka ‘ring main’) where instead of each socket being individually wired – a cable was brought in from the circuit breaker in the board and wired in sequence to the number of sockets before returning to the board and wired to the same fuse or circuit breaker. This resulted in phenomenal savings from using copper to wire the circuits. Since the fuses had to be rated for the maximum current the ring could carry (30A/32A for breakers) – it was required the plugs used to connect to the ring containing their own fuse rated for the appliances that utilized it. The BS 1363 has two horizontal rectangular pins for live/neutral, above which is a larger vertical pin for the earth connection. The earth pin is necessary for use of the BS 1363 plug as it pushes open the shutter in the socket to allow the live and nuetral pins to be inserted, also polarises the plug, and making sure each live pin connects to the correct terminal in the socket. Low-power portable equipment like shavers are found in bathrooms and hotels with the 2-pin standard ‘shaver socket’ that accomodates both European and US 2-pin plugs. The BS 1363 is extremely child safe because of the shutters preventing foreign objects from accidental insertion. In addition, most of these sockets have on/off switches for power sustainability and conservation. There are adapter plugs available in order to plug in other appliances from mainland Europe and the US into this kind of socket. Inside of these are usually two metal clips where metal ends of the europlugs pins are clipped, shaped, and gripped to the Europlug.

Continue reading Electrical Outlets in the UK and Ireland …

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The Pee Deflectors of Amsterdam

Pee Deflectors
Amsterdam, Holland
An interesting aspect of grungy, dark cornered areas on Amsterdam, is the city’s methods to keep the city clean and odor-free by teaching those drunken fools who think every little corner is their personal urinal. Most of the buildings near the main squares in Amsterdam are equipped with “pee deflectors” that were installed by the Dutch government. This was instituted from a late 1980’s survey that was conducted asking Amsterdam-ians what disturbes you most about tourists … their answer “they pee on our buildings and stench up our alleys”. 80% of the residents stated this. So city hall devised the implementation of pee deflectors that would splash the pee back on the pisser to teach them a lesson. Most of these are triangular shaped metal sheets that protrude and are angled to splash pee back on the man conducting the act. Some have sharp barbs to conduct a lesson of pain on the perpetrator. In the 1980’s they had electrical charges running through some of the deflectors so that the law-breaker would be shocked, but some accidents happened and it was determined inhumane. In some of the main squares they installed open-air urinals for the men. Women were upset that they had no wear to pee in public so they staged a “piss off” on some of the bridges. In response, the city created sheltered toilettes for women, but they were taken over by heroine users and drug dealers so had to be boarded up. Now there is no place in public for women to pee, and they get a heftier fine if caught squatting than a man gets for peeing in the corner. Continue reading The Pee Deflectors of Amsterdam

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Lufthansa Airlines


Lufthansa


Lufthansa Airlines * Chicago, Illinois to Dusseldorf, Germany * March 27/28th, 2009 *

This was my first trip with Lufthansa, as I’m usually a British Airways customer. I’m quite pleased with my Lufthansa experience – not only was the staff professional and polite, helpful, and courteous – the flight was safe, hospitable, and comfortable. Sleeping in economy is a nightmare on any airline, but they made it as comfortable as they could. Unlike what the American domestic flights have taken into practice of charging for alcoholic beverages, food, and snacks … Lufthansa on their international flights give you quite a few free alcoholic beverages to take the edge out of the journey, free dinner and breakfast, and beverages. Free movies that you can select and manage from the inset film screens. In addition, they didn’t lose my luggage, unlike my experience with previous airlines like British Airways where my luggage was always lost when I set down in Germany. Thank you Lufthansa!

Deutsche Lufthansa AG is one of the largest airlines in Europe in terms of overall passengers carried, and the flag carrier of Germany. The name of the company is derived from Luft (the German word for “air”), and Hansa (after Hanseatic League, the powerful medieval trading group). The airline is the world’s fifth largest airline in terms of overall passengers carried, operating services to 209 destinations in 81 countries. Together with its partners Lufthansa services around 410 destinations. It has the third-largest passenger airline fleet in the world, when combined with Lufthansa CityLine, Air Dolomiti, Eurowings, Germanwings, Augsburg Airways, Contact Air, and SWISS, operating 531 aircraft. Lufthansa corporate headquarters is in Cologne, with its main base and primary traffic hub at Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt am Main with a second hub at Munich Airport. Lufthansa is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance. Star Alliance was formed in 1997 together with Thai Airways, United Airlines, Air Canada and Scandinavian Airlines System. The Lufthansa Group operates more than 500 aircraft and employs worldwide 105,261 people of 146 nationalities (31 December 2007). In 2008, 70.5 million passengers flew with Lufthansa (missing: Germanwings, BMI, AUA, Brussels Airlines). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lufthansa. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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2/19/09: ESRI Federal Users Conference, Day 2: Afternoon sessions

Thursday, 19 February 2009
Washington, D.C. – Part II

Washington D.C. Conference Center : ESRI Federal Users Conference: 2009, Day 2: Technical Workshops, Afternoon sessions.

After the ArcExplorer session, we broke for lunch. It was a boxed sandwich set – sandwich, chips, soda, cookie; self-serve. Sat at a table with some folks from USDA, they were social with each other and didn’t really chat with us other two from other agencies. After eating, since lunch was a 2 hour break, headed back to the hotel room for some R & R before the exciting next workshop on GeoPDF’s that I’ve been excited about for a very long time in learning more about to implement. After that, stepped into the Range and Training Area Management workshop which didn’t really capture my interest, so went to the Building Great Web Maps Using ArcGIS instead which was more than fascinating. Continue reading 2/19/09: ESRI Federal Users Conference, Day 2: Afternoon sessions

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02/19/09: ESRI Federal User’s Conference, Day 2: Morning Technical Workshops

Thursday, 19 February 2009
Washington, D.C.

Early to rise around 6 am, I prepared for the day. Headed off to the Washington D.C. Conference Center for the ESRI Federal Users Conference: 2009, Day 2: Technical Workshops. First class was at 8:30 am. All the classes were very interesting and informative.

8:30-10:00 am
Miscellaneous Environmental Studies
Presentations on:

  • Naval Installation Restoration Information Solution
  • GIS Standard Operating Procedure for US FDA Field Studies
  • The Tigris-Euphrates Basin Water Monitor: Tracking Water Supplies with MODIS

Mark Barnes of the NAVFAC Midlant presented on Naval Installation Restoration Information Solutions demonstrating how the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Environmental Business Line has deployed a web-based centralized GIS database for their multi-million dollar Environmental Restoration Program (ERP). NIRIS (Naval Installation Restoration Information Solution) is implemented at all NAVFAC offices to help Navy and their contractors manage, evaluate, and visual data, documents, and records for Navy and Marine Corps ERP sites at both BRAC and active installations. NIRIS manages all ERP analytical and spatial data, which includes the Munitions Response and Installation Restoration Program (Navy’s Superfund/CERCLA program) data, ensuring institutional memory is preserved, land use controls are maintained, and remedial actions are effective. His presentation provided an overview focusing on discussion and demonstrations of (1) ArcIMS custom tools, (2) ArcGIS via Citrix with custom tools, and (3) Land Use Control tool for managing institutional controls. Presentations then occured on GIS Standard Operating Procedure for the US FDA Field Studies, followed by Jennifer Veilleux of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s “The Tigris-Euphrates Basin Water Monitor: Tracking Water Supplies with MODIS” presentation. Demonstrating how Syria and Turkey lack a trilateral agreement for water sharing of the Tigris and Euphrates Basin. How Iraq depends on this water source for agriculture, hydropower, and industrial/municipal purposes. The lack of official policy has recently emerged as an issue of greater concern due to regional conflict. A series of droughts has further influenced available water resources and regional policy efforts. For several years NGA has been monitoring key reservoirs in this system using date from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Relative water levels are used to assess volume and available storage in the reservoirs, year-to-year water level comparisons, and the seasonal timing of peak water levels. The data are checked against rada altimetry and field water-level measurements. These results are used to assess the effects of drought on the health of Iraqi agricultre. This analytical method can be applied to other regions of the world. Interesting ideas and innovations were presented. Rating: 3 stars out of 5. 2/19/09.

Continue reading 02/19/09: ESRI Federal User’s Conference, Day 2: Morning Technical Workshops

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National Museum of Crime and Punishment (Washington, DC)


Museum of Crime and Punishment

National Museum of Crime and Punishment * www.crimemuseum.org * 202.393.1099 * 575 7th St, NW * Washington, D.C. 20004
A fun and exciting museum covering the technology and science behind fighting and solving crimes, with displays of the heroes of law enforcement, and the dark side of the criminal mind from the middle ages on witches and pirates, to the western outlaw, the 20’s mobster, and serial killers throughout time. Learn to understand crime and its consequences through the eyes of the criminal and the crime fighter to the point of solving the mysteries and mentality of cracking the puzzle. Some great artifacts are within the collection, including: Bonnie & Clyde’s Death Car, John Dillenger’s Car, Celebrity Mug Shots, Famous Firearms, Electric Chairs, Guillotine, Lethal Injection Machine, Cold Cases in America, Al Capone’s Jail Cell, 10 Most Wanted List, Interactive crime scene lab, complimentary fingerprinting for kids, Lie detector test, simulated FBI Shooting range, High Speed Police Chase Simulators, Safe Cracking, Computer Hacking, Harley Davidson Police Motorcycle, Police Lineup, Crime photography, Interactive Memory of a Crime, Personal Safety Challenge, Neighborhood Community Watch, and much more. There is a section on the Notorious History of American Crime (solved and unsolved by greed driven pirates, Wild West gunslingers, gangsters, serial killers, and today’s cyber criminal); interactive games and arcades on crime fighting training showcasing everyday heroes from law enforcement and the crime-fighting skills needed to capture the bad guy, with bomb squad technology, police chase simulators, and famous firearms); A walk through Jail and demonstrations on Punishment – the Consequence of Crime with full-scale model police station, booking and mug shot rooms, actual jail cells, and capitol punishment instruments; Patrons also get to wander into the world of Forensics with the CSI Experience – from the role of witness to a new crime investigator of a CSI unit investigating the scene of the crime while learning forensic science technology as fingerprinting, DNA testing, and facial reconstruction. The America’s Most Wanted Studio I didn’t have time to explore, but its an entire level of the museum dedicated to the year-round filming studios of the television program “America’s Most Wanted” where one can experience the personal history of host John Walsh and see how community involvement in fighting crime led to dramatic results of over 1,000 fugitives getting captured because the show. I really enjoyed this museum greatly and highly recommend it as a not-to-miss stop on your trip to D.C. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Visited 2/18/09.


Forensics Lab at the Crime and Punishment Museum

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02/18/09: ESRI Federal User’s Conference, Day 1: Demonstrations & Keynote Speaker, EXPO

Wednesday, 18 February 2009 – Part 2
Washington, D.C.
Washington D.C. Conference Center: ESRI Federal Users Conference: 2009


Lawrie Jordan and Dan Zimble presenting at the ESRI FEDUC 2009

2009 ESRI Federal Users Conference: Opening Address
As the 2nd part of the afternoon, the ESRI staff demonstrated how ArcGIS tools can be used to support our most critical tasks we face in Government. From natural resources to security to health emergencies, we were presented and updated on important changes that will help us make smarter decisions in today’s economy. Staff presented the new aspects of ArcGIS 9.3, 9.3.1, and the upcoming 9.4. Some of the great new features of which include animation generation abilities, ability to configure the license manager to perform and operate without the hardware key, bookmarks, a bookmark manager, improved indentify toos, quick access to tools and properties, web display, HTML functionality, URL linking, better labelling, layout improvements, ability to Export to PDF with geo-spatial PDF files, weatherization modeling, error system with links to desktop help, and ESRI Resource Center improvements. Also improvements include a new scatterplot matrix tool, geo-referenced PDF’s, embedded virtual earth basemaps, keyless license manager, error solutions, and much more. Pretty incredible stuff, I’m looking forward to the implementation at my workplace with these new versions. I’m very impressed. Continue reading 02/18/09: ESRI Federal User’s Conference, Day 1: Demonstrations & Keynote Speaker, EXPO

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FBI Building (Washington, D.C.)

FBI Building (Washington, D.C.)
935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C..
http://www.washington-landmarks.com/fbi.html.
The J. Edgar Hoover Building is the headquarters for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The building, named for former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. The FBI building is not open to the public, as guided tours of the building were discontinued in 1999 according to Wikipedia and the signs all around the building, hostel tourist sheet, etc. However according to its web site tours go every 15 minutes. (this information seems false and not updated).

Since 1908, when the Bureau was still the Justice Department Bureau of Investigation, the FBI had been headquartered in the Department of Justice building. In April 1962, Congress approved the construction of a separate building for the FBI. The General Services Administration allocated funding for the project, and design began. The GSA appointed Berswenger, Hoch, Arnold, and Associates for engineering, and Charles F. Murphy and Associates as architects. The design was finalized in 1964, and construction began on December 6, 1967. The naming was authorized by President Richard Nixon on May 4, 1972, two days after Hoover’s death. Employees began moving into the facility on June 28, 1974, and the last employees moved in by June 1977. President Gerald Ford officially dedicated the building on September 30, 1975. The tour of the J Edgar Hoover FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) Building is one of the most enthralling tourist attractions that Washington DC has to offer. Along the tour, visitors may learn about the FBI’s history and work against organised crime and terrorism, see FBI scientists at work in the forensic labs and watch a firearms demonstration given by a special agent. Tours depart every fifteen minutes and admission is free. As of visits 2007, 2008, and 02/2009 – The FBI Tours are not operating.


FBI Building

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Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.


Exhibits in the Museum of Natural History

Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (Washington, D.C.)
intersection of 10th Street and Constitution Ave., NW in Washington, D.C. 20560. http://www.mnh.si.edu/visit/
The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the worlds preeminent museum and research complex. The Museum is dedicated to inspiring curiosity, discovery, and learning about the natural world through its unparalleled research, collections, exhibitions, and education outreach programs. Opened in 1910, the green-domed museum on the National Mall was among the first Smithsonian building constructed exclusively to house the national collections and research facilities. From the history and cultures of Africa with the earliest Mammalian ancestors and primate diversity around the world, from dinosaurs to rare gemstone, The main building on the National Mall contains 1.5 million square feet of space overall and 325,000 square feet of exhibition and public space; altogether the Museum is the size of 18 football fields, and houses over 1000 employees. With a growing network of interactive websites, the Museum is transforming itself into a hub for national and international electronic education, accessible to anyone with access to the internet. In the center of the Museums exhibition and research programs are its expertly documented collections: more than 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. Over 3 million specimens are out on loan each year; over 15,000 visitor days are spent in the collections; and there are almost 600,000 additional visits to collection data bases available on the Web. The Museum includes a state-of-the-art collections storage facility in Suitland, Maryland; a marine science research facility in Ft. Pierce, Florida; and field stations as far away as Belize, Alaska, and Kenya. Research activities are organized into seven departments, and a number of affiliated U.S. government agencies on-site contribute to the Museums strength, including the Department of the Interior (U.S. Geological Survey Biological Resources Division), the Department of Agriculture (Systematic Entomology Laboratory), the Department of Commerce (National Marine Fisheries Service Systematics Laboratory), and the Department of Defense (Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit). Through its research, collections, education and exhibition programs, NMNH serves as one of the worlds great repositories of scientific and cultural heritage as well as a source of tremendous pride for all Americans. The Museum is free. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

This years visit to the Museum on 2/21/2009 provided me with a fascinating viewing of “Orchids Through Darwin’s Eyes”, “Soil Wisdom”, and “Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century” exhibits which consumed my fascination and time. Definitely a must visit while the exhibits are running. (Rating 5 stars out of 5).

Most of the photos from the 2009 visit will be posted in a new blog I’m writing on Natural Science, Archaeology, and Botany at www.technogypsie.com/science/. In the next few days look for some great artifacts, bones, and plants to be posted!


Museum of Natural History

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