WordPress Critical Notice

I had my WordPress Dashboard popup and warn me I wasn’t using the latest version of Firefox!

OMG!!! That is absolutely correct! I am NOT running the latest version of Firefox. But I’m not running an outdated version, either.

In fact, I don’t even have Firefox installed! LOL! And my Waterfox (!!) reports it is up to date.

I guess it really doesn’t matter as my browser of choice is Chromium on Ubuntu…


Tax Freedom Day

This being April 15th, and being in the United States, I got to thinking about taxes. And then I started thinking about Tax Freedom Day, the day which, on average, a person has earned enough in the current year to pay all of his/her federal, state, and local taxes for the year (and starts working to provide for his own needs).

First of all, April 15th isn’t the day taxes are due in 2017. April 15th being a Saturday, and Monday, April 17th being Emancipation Day (I never even knew there was such a holiday), taxes aren’t due (in the USA) until Tuesday, April 18th, 2017.

Anyway, back to Tax Freedom Day… it turns out that this year Tax Freedom Day in the USA falls on April 24th. I was thinking “Gee, that kinda s**ks!” Then I found out what it is like elsewhere. In the United Kingdom, Tax Freedom Day doesn’t arrive until 13 May. But it could STILL be worse. In Finland, it isn’t until 15 June, and in Sweden it is 30 June. The end of June, which means you work half the year just to pay your taxes. Turns out, in Germany the day doesn’t arrive until 19 July, and in France it is 26 July. And worst of all is Belgium with a date of 3 August! I didn’t check to see if there were any countries even worse off. It would have been too depressing.

I guess 24 April isn’t that bad after all.

Point to ponder

When told the reason for daylight saving time the old Indian said…
‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.’

Daylight Saving Time is NOT followed in Arizona, with the exception of the Navajo Nation in the northeast corner of the state, which does. Meanwhile, the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, which is COMPLETELY surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not. Does this make sense?

The reason given for this is that the Navajo Nation covers 27,245 square miles in parts of three states, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico, and that Utah and New Mexico DO follow DST. Rather than having two different times in just one nation, the Indian leaders have opted to follow DST on the Arizona part of the Nation.

You can see from the map that the vast majority of the Navajo Nation is in Arizona. While it does make sense for the entire Navajo Nation to be observing a single time, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Navajo leaders to follow Arizona’s lead and declare that the parts of the Nation in Utah and New Mexico NOT follow DST?

Just wondering…

One NASA year – Not your Father’s year!

Scott Kelly just returned to Earth after his highly touted “year in space”. By NASA standards, a “year” is apparently only 340 days, a little less than 94% of a “standard” year.

I am wondering if the the NASA devaluation is restricted to time, or does it apply to distance as well. If so, does that mean a mission to Mars wouldn’t ACTUALLY reach Mars, but would turn around a couple million miles short?

If Kelly had been up for 364 days, or even 360, I’d give NASA the extra couple days and call it a year, but when you come up 6+% short, I’m not so forgiving. NASA is just patting itself on the back for its BIG ACHIEVEMENT, the “big achievement” that Russia (and predecessor USSR) had already done four times.  Valari Polyakov bested the “NASA year” by 97 days (437 total) and that was 22 years ago.

Why I just opted out of Amber Alerts on my cell phone

No one wants to see a child go missing. I certainly don’t. And if one does, I would like to be able to help. And I can’t help if I don’t know about it.

The system of sending out alerts via cell phone is sure going to let a lot of people know, so they are a good thing, right?

NO! They are NOT a good thing. At least not the way things work at this time. I have put up with this annoyance for as long as I can.

Annoyance? Knowing about an Amber Alert, something that can save a child’s life is an… annoyance?

Yes, it is. At least when the alert is for a child that goes missing at a location 3 to 9 HOURS drive away from my location! If I got alerts more local, say even up to two hours drive away, and particularly within a hour’s drive, I would continue to receive them. Unfortunately, of the last FIFTEEN alerts, ALL have been a MINIMUM of three hours away from me. TWO were NINE hours away in a DIFFERENT STATE!

My patience has been exhausted. Amber Alerts are the modern day equivalent of car alarms. Great idea, but so abused they are just ignored.

Either quit the notifications or do a better job of localizing their broadcast.

A matter of degrees

The first temperature scales were devised in 1701, one by English physicist Sir Issac Newton and the other by the Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer. Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, a German physicist, devised the Fahrenheit system in 1724. French scientist René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur came up with his temperature scale about 1730, followed two years later in 1732 by French astronomer Joseph-Nicolas Delisle with the Delisle scale.

Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius came up with a temperature scale in 1742. More about that in a moment. Working independently, French physicist Jean-Pierre Christin developed a similar scale in 1743. In 1744, shortly after the death of Anders Celsius, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus made a modification to the scale developed by Celsius.

To round out the development of temperature scales, we need to mention Irish born mathematical physicist and engineer William Lord Kelvin (William Thompson, 1st Baron Kelvin) proposed the first scale with 0 as the absolute lowest temperature. This was based on the then Centigrade scale, and 0 K was the same as -273.15 ℃. Scottish physicist William John Macquorn Rankine devised the Rankine scale in 1859, based on the Fahrenheit scale and, as in the case of Kelvin, 0 being the absolute low, equal to -459.67 ℉.

Each scale had some measure of popularity, but eventually only three scales came into popular use. These were the Fahrenheit, Kelvin, and Centigrade scales. The Rankine scale was a close runner up, with the others fading into obscurity.

Eventually, the Centigrade scale became more popularly know as “Celsius”. Kelvin is used primarily in the scientific world, Fahrenheit in the United States, and Celsius everywhere else.

This brings me to the point. Why is the centigrade scale called Celsius? It seems the word centigrade has meaning in the French in Spanish languages involving angular measurement, precisely, that of being 1/100th of a right angle. Since ALL the other scales were named after their creators, it seemly logical to call it Celsius and eliminate confusion.

Well, first off, calling the scale Celsius is NOT logical! The scale created by Anders Celsius had the freezing point of water set at 100 °, and the boiling point set at 0 °! It was a reverse scale! The next year, working independently, Jean-Pierre Christin devised the centigrade scale. A year later, Linnaeus revised (reversed) the scale devised by Celsius, making it essentially the same as that done by Christin.

Now supposing the term “centigrade” is too confusing for some people, although the ℃ symbol should be a dead give away that we aren’t talking about angular measurement, I will concede the centigrade scale may have needed renaming.

But why Celsius? Why not name it after its true creator, Jean-Pierre Christin? It would even fit from the occupational point of view. Fahrenheit was a physicist. So was Kelvin and Rankine. Christin, too was a physicist. Celsius was an astronomer.

Obviously, those who make the decisions about what stuff should be called don’t really think things through. I suspect that since Celsius was Swedish, and Sweden is home to the Nobel Prize, and the people most responsible for naming this kind of thing are the very ones in the running for many of these prizes, there may have been an undue economic influence at play here!

Captain Quirk here is going to continue to use the term he learned growing up, namely, Centigrade. If I HAVE to use a different name for ℃, I will call it degrees Christin.

Football Bowls

Are you a college football fan? I used to be. That’s right, used to be! For one thing, college football has gotten completely out of hand. It is now driven by bucks, BIG bucks. Then there is the media hype. All in all, the hype, the show-boating, the scandals, the money… these things have driven me away in large part.

And now the time of year is coming when the plethora of bowls begin. I just read that this year there will be 40 different bowl games! Can you believe that? Forty bowl games, requiring 80 competing teams. It seems bowl officials are having difficulty finding enough teams with winning records to fill all the slots. This means that teams with losing seasons still have a shot at being in a bowl.

In 1970, there were a total of eleven bowls, four major, seven minor. In 1970, only the best of the best got to go to a bowl. This made the bowls meaningful, worth going to, or watching, or even listening on the radio.

Today, the thrill is gone. The major bowls, heck, all the bowls are more hype than substance. It’s all being driven by profit. Advertising.

For the sake of the game, I for one think it’s time to cut back on the number of bowl games. W-A-Y back! I’m thinking maybe 15 bowls, tops!

But then again, I do have my quirks.