Category Archives: Fun

Test

Testing

2-Years

books

I’ve bee at this for awhile now – started in January of 2009.

I often am wrong, surely have an over inflated sense of myself.  To be sure.

But I’ve learned a lot; about some important stuff.  And it’s been fun.

This represents a 2-year posting high for me.  Onward!

The Game of Football

Football

I found this in the Tar Heel Archives and running it today.

The game of football has been my favorite go to sport since I was a kid – and I wanted to play as long as I can remember.

But I sucked.

Part of it might have been that I wasn’t good but part of THAT is that I wasn’t willing to trade getting tackled for scoring touchdowns.  I like to think, in part, that I traded my mind for my body.

That said – I can’t let my son play the game; the trade off isn’t worth it.  And earlier this year a legend of the game agreed with me:

Football great Mike Ditka says that, if he had an 8-year-old son right now, he wouldn’t let him play football. He made the remarks in an episode of HBO’s Real Sports, which will air tonight.

The Chicago Tribune has the exchange:

Ditka: “If you had an 8-year-old kid now, would you tell him you want him to play football?”

Gumbel: “I wouldn’t. Would you?”

Ditka: “Nope. That’s sad. I wouldn’t. And my whole life was football. I think the risk is worse than the reward. I really do.”

The HBO piece will focus on drug use by the 1985 Chicago bears.

There have been numerous stories about the 1985 Chicago Bears, but none quite like this.

The upcoming edition of “Real Sports” (9 p.m. Tuesday, HBO) will feature a report by Bryant Gumbel that chronicles the players on that team using excessive painkillers and narcotics to overcome injuries and get back on the field. The report says that contributed to many of the former Bears players being severely debilitated nearly 30 years later.

Former Bears coach Mike Ditka even said if he had a young son today, he wouldn’t allow him to play football. Gumbel calls the ’85 Bears football’s “ultimate cautionary tale.”

Last May, former Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, defensive end Richard Dent and offensive tackle Keith Van Horne were among a group of retired players who accused the league in a lawsuit of supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that kept them in the game but led to serious complications later in life. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages on behalf of more than 500 former players.

Minnesota Wild

Wild

So Minnesota should be leading the series with the Colorado Avalanche 5-1.  We’ll need to win our 6th game Wednesday to move on and play the Black Hawks.

Cool New Honeybee Technology

mite protection

The varroa mite is really working a number on honey bees here in America – and we need help.

Nature might be starting to combat the scourge in her own way by producing queens that are able to bit the legs off the mites.  But working with Bayer – we may have another option:

…A four-year field study by the Bee Research Institute in Oberursel, Germany has found that the parasite is at the heart of the problem: “If we keep up our efforts at controlling the varroa mite, many more bee populations will survive,” explains Professor Nikolaus Koeniger, who was the institute’s director for many years; he and his wife have been devoted to studying the varroa mite for decades.

As this famous bee expert couple knows, it is horizontal infection that is most dangerous. “Particularly at the end of the flowering period, foraging bees from healthy colonies invade colonies weakened by varroa to steal honey.

They then become infected and take back large numbers of mites to their own population.” The researchers want to prevent this transfer of mites, since “it is vital for effective mite control to stop new pests constantly entering the hive.”

They have therefore concentrated on the strategically most important point, and the joint efforts of the Bee Institute and Bayer have led to the creation of the varroa gate, a structure at the entrance to the hive. Every bee must climb through this gate when leaving or returning to its own hive. At first sight it doesn’t look anything special: just a plastic strip with holes through which the bees fly in and out.

Only a closer look shows the immense benefits of this innovation. The plastic strip is coated in chemicals. Whenever a bee passes through the gate, it touches the edge. This transfers a mite poison (acaricide) to the bee and kills any mites it may be carrying. The substance needs to be permanently available on the surface of the strip so that protection can last for several weeks. This proved to be a particular technical challenge. It was solved when Bayer’s scientists thought back to an earlier project: the flea and tick collar Seresto™ for dogs and cats.

This innovative collar was the result of a joint venture by scientists from Bayer HealthCare’s Animal Health Division, Bayer MaterialScience and Bayer CropScience.

They used a little physical trick: “The active substance molecules move between the polymer chains of the plastic matrix. They are always trying to balance out the gap in concentrations between the collar and the animal’s coat, and so rise to the surface. When some of the active substance is removed, it is automatically replenished,” says Krieger, explaining the principle.

Scientists are now using the same system to protect bees: “The acaricide is embedded in the plastic. When some is transferred to the legs or hairs of a bee, fresh supplies are automatically released from the strip to balance out the gap in concentrations between the plastic matrix and the surface,” he explains. This means that the device remains fully effective for the several weeks needed for treatment. At the same time, the amount of chemical available is never more than necessary. Scientists are still fine-tuning the formulation and application rate, and are testing two Bayer substances on bee populations in the field at various concentrations.

Very cool

 

January Flight

Honey Bees in January:

They’ll leave the hive sometime around 52 degrees.

Nuclear Bomb Scare in North Carolina – 1961

Jeepers!

Goldsboro, N.C. — A U.S. hydrogen bomb nearly detonated on the nation’s east coast, with a single switch averting a blast which would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that flattened Hiroshima, a newly published book says.

In a recently declassified document, reported in a new book by Eric Schlosser, the supervisor of the nuclear weapons safety department at Sandia national laboratories said that one simple, vulnerable switch prevented nuclear catastrophe.

The Guardian newspaper published the document on Saturday.

Two hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro on Jan. 24, 1961, after a B-52 bomber broke up in flight. One of the bombs apparently acted as if it was being armed and fired — its parachute opened and trigger mechanisms engaged.

Parker F. Jones at the Sandia National Laboratories analyzed the accident in a document headed “How I learned to mistrust the H-Bomb.”

“The MK39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne-alert role in the B-52,” he wrote. When the B-52 disintegrates in the air it is likely to release the bombs in “a near normal fashion,” he wrote, calling the safety mechanisms to prevent accidental arming “not complex enough.”

The document said the bomb had four safety mechanisms, one of which is not effective in the air. When the aircraft broke up, two others were rendered ineffective.

“What prevented the detonation was one switch, one safety switch, and a fair amount of good luck, because that safety switch was later found, in some cases. to be defective,” Schlosser told CBS News.

Honeybee Update

Honeybee.pollen

I can’t remember the last update I’ve provided so I’ll just kinda give a summer recap.

What started as one hive has now morphed into 4.  And those 4 are soon going to dwindle down to 2.

As I mentioned in one of my first posts on these bees, I started off with 4 hives – 2 at my place and 2 at a friend’s house about 3-4 miles down the road.  It’s been a fun ride  full of ups and downs, but fun.

The 2nd hive here at the house failed to take and the bees eventually left.  I went to check on the hive and the whole thing was empty.  The beekeeper I was with at the time suggested that I take 3-4 frames from my very successful and established hive and split it.  In essence, place those 4 frames in the new hive and let them go to work.  Very quickly they would recognize that they were away from their queen and begin work on making a new one.  Within about 16 days, she would emerge, take a few days to stabilize herself, go on her mating flights and then begin to grow the hive.

However, before all of that could take place, the hive was infested with hive beetles and the whole thing had to be destroyed.

We had to start over.

This time, rather than wait for the colony to take the time to re-queen, I purchased a mated queen and inserted her into the new hive – freshly seeded with three more frames from the strong hive.

The beetles again overpowered the hive and I lost it for the third time.  Right now I think that I’ll take the hint and pause until spring when I’ll try again.

The news isn’t much better at the other two hives either.  While they both grew at a good pace the first few weeks, that growth has stalled.  Inspection of the first hive found that the colony had lost its queen and was in the process of creating a new one.   However, they don’t look to be having a good run of it and may not make it through September.

Frustrating to be sure.

The good news?  I have managed to keep one hive very strong and very vibrant.  One small little package has grown into 20 frames of bees and comb.  And that doesn’t include the 6-7 frames that I robbed to start the failed hive.  I’ve come to the point where I have installed honey frames in the hopes that I am able to harvest honey, even if it’s just a little bit.

The season has been, as I mentioned, fun.  I’ve learned a lot, made several new friends and managed to keep pace with the demands of keeping these things.

I think that timing plays a role.  We had a very very late spring this year pushing all things bees behind several weeks.  The hives that I’ve lost failed to thrive because, in my opinion, they were established far too late into the season.  The flow of pollen and nectar had largely stopped impacting the ability of the hive to physically grow the comb and feed the young bees.

A normal spring combined with a year of knowledge should enable me to have a more successful 2014.

 

The Single Most Depressing Chart I’ve Seen In At Least 10 Years

Playoff chart

For those who have poor eyesight and are not Vikings fans, the data shows that we have the 2nd most playoff appearances in football.

Zero Super Bowls.

Gawd.

NY Times Loses Nate Silver

Wow!

Nate Silver, the blogger whose unerring predictions made him perhaps the most important political byline at The New York Times during the last presidential election, is leaving the paper to join ESPN. An official announcement is expected later today.

Silver will relocate his blog, FiveThirtyEight, and will also be a contributor to Keith Olbermann’s new weeknight talk show, according to the Times. He’ll also be a regular presence on ABC, ESPN’s sister network under the Disney umbrella, and will appear on programming including Academy Awards coverage, according to Politico’s Mike Allen.

I’m not a fan of ESPN really, maybe the cable channels but the web presence of ESPN has turned me off for the last several years.

But this is big news.