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Pushing back the darkness by kindling the minds of my fellow man with science outreach.

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The Interstate Highway System is a miracle of modern technology and the power of a functional government. The amount of technology in our roads is astounding. Asphalt itself is a wonder material. And we recycle 98% of it. (fuck you solar freaking roadways)

Odd number highways go north-south. Odd Highways ending in "5" are considered major arteries. Even numbered highways go east-west, and those ending in "0" are considered major highways. A three digit highway is a spur (First digit is odd) that only connects once to a highway and it is a loop if the first digit is even. The 405 is a loop that touches I-5 twice. I-880 is a shit ass portal to hell loop that touches I-80 twice, while I-105, for example goes from I-5 to LAX.

All made possible by Eisenhower who was ashamed of the sorry state of the US surface transportation network and awestruck by the German Autobahns. The best thing about the Highway act of 1956 is that it standardized all roads signs, widths and construction so that a car going from California to Boston, for example, could expect the same quality of road and understand the signs all the way across the country.

$500 billion total cost, 48,000 miles and who knows how much benefit to the US economy over the years. That and the vaccination programs started under Eisenhower are the best parts of his legacy.

Amazon is full of evil masterminds. They are going to get billions in tax breaks and handouts from this. I have to say, brilliant plan. Let everyone out there did a hole to the bottom, find the people willing to dig deeper, and suck at the taxpayer and public teat for all its worth.

As much as I would love this thing to move out here, I'm kinda of the mind now that the emotion has worn off that we cannot afford it. Foxcom is getting $3 billion The deal won't make the state any money by some calculations for 10 years, that article mentions 25. That is for 3,000 jobs, most of those in construction, not actually at the plant.

$3 Billion for up to 12,500 jobs? how much are states willing to go into the red for 50,000 jobs?

Everybody who works fighting insurance companies, who stops and looks at what a single payer system is, wants to work in a single payer system. Insurance companies are death panels that try to suck every last drop of blood out of the corpse while the heart still beats.

    But the battlefield claims adjusters and benefits managers? They're fucking stupid. And mean. And stupid and mean. And their stupid meanness is expensive.

You forgot evil. Stupid, mean and evil. They may not start vile and terrible people, but after a few months they all end up in the same place.

Yea, it sucks. There are people talking about "disaster relief tourism" for Puerto Rico, an island that as of right now has only restored 9% of the power grid. It's a lovely idea, and on paper a great way to get the economy unfrozen, but the magnitude of what the destruction did to a modern society is simply too big to really comprehend.

For the record, my uncle did not fully move back into his house for almost five years. He had to fight the insurance to pay full replacement on his cars, he had to produce a ton of records on income and expenses (most of his paperwork was in the house after all) and It took 6 months to get the insurance appraisals and then another 4-6 months to get payouts and FEMA help. Then it took the city almost a year to repair the roads, water, electrical to the point where they could offer building permits. This was in the city of San Diego proper where the city put a committee together and expedited everything.

The issue is that the people living in these communities have zero. nothing. nada. zilch. This type of firestorm rolls through and vaporizes the water in the concrete in the foundations and sidewalks. Anything less than 4-5 feet underground is melted. Basic infrastructure is nonexistent. manhole covers melt. My Uncle was a lucky winner in one of these fires a decade or so back. He rebuilt, but one of the things you don't think about is that the heat from the fire sterilizes the ground and they have to roll in "live" dirt else nothing grows for a few years. They had to dig out the streets and replace the water and power lines. They had to redo the roadways as the asphalt changed chemically into a weird glassy substance that had sharp ripples in it. They had to fix sidewalks. Cars MELTED and rivers of molten metal had to be dealt with!

At least it looks like Calistoga is not going to be wiped out like they feared. Something like 10 wineries are simply gone.

The pictures of the Santa Rosa area are not showing the scale from what I've seen with my own eyes in events like this. The fire was most likely a mile wide and left NOTHING in its wake. Next year the rebuilding will be in full swing, and that is assuming they can get the skilled labour up there, what with Irma, Maria, Harvey and the earthquakes in Mexico. All those areas need skilled labour as well. Now is a great time to go into construction, plumbing, electrical, drywall if you know people who need jobs and are willing to learn.

Going there to help the economy sounds good on the surface. But think about all the work that needs to be done, the massive influx of people to rebuild and the cash going out for things like infrastructure repair, plywood etc. It is going to be winter in three months, which is wet in that part of the state. So next on the list is mudslide season. Expect articles in a few months about how mudslides are hindering the recovery. hell, it is going to take months to just get the insurance appraisals. (My Uncle did not have any relief from any insurance for something like two months. Only so many appraisers, places to stay while rebuilding etc.)

It is going to be a year, if they get a series of very luck breaks, before they can go full on tourist again. And that is if they can knock down the fires before the end of the month.

francopoli  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 11, 2017

You have a job I can only dream about. Rock on, man.

francopoli  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 11, 2017

    Until then I clench my teeth and otherwise make disgusted faces, I guess.

I hope you learn that lesson earlier than I did so you don't end up with a permanent scowl of "I WILL FUCKING KILL YOU" face like what happened to me. heh.

    One of these days I'm going to have matured enough

From your writing here? I have zero doubts.

francopoli  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: October 11, 2017

200 hours of outreach work this year, not counting setup and tear-down. About 300 hours total over 55 events since January. Write that shit down, document every-fucking-thing and submit paperwork. Wait two weeks or so. And in the end you get these pretty little pins showing that you have done something that only 800 some-odd people have done. I'm tired, I'm a bit stressed from work and life, and the health situation is not in a good place. But these two awards have hit me a bit harder than I thought they would. The awards are numbered, and I honestly believed that there had been thousands of the awards given out. I know other people are doing astronomy outreach, they must not be paying membership dues and doing paperwork. With these two small bits of metal and ceramic and enamel, I have tangible proof that 2017 did not entirely suck a bag of erect cocks.

If the motto of our small community is "pushing back against the darkness" then I can say, with no hesitations, that I am doing my part.

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