Sunday, February 26, 2012

6pm Sunday

6pm Sunday and the outlook is that the price of gasoline likely won't be cheaper tomorrow at the only gas station in Waikiki when a new day dawns unless. Unless, what? The oil companies are stricken with pangs of conscience. Heightly unlikely. What's more likely there'll be peaks of $5 per gallon come Summer at the platium gas pumps. A part of the recent spike in gas prices are due to the low value of the dollar or the exchange rate. A dollar doesn't buy the same amount it did last year. However, most of the price spike is due to market conditions, such as, China and India emerging into the modern age, but the driving force behind $4-plus prices remains the unwavering principles of supply and demand. We supply you the gas, and we demand that you pay high prices. If that offends you, you can go elsewhere to buy your gasoline. We know you'll be back. Mahalo.

Sunday Video

Better viewed, Here. I've advance the video there. Mute background music on your own.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pumping Iron on the Ala Wai

I'm not sure this is the same guy who walks around for miles lugging weights on his shoulders. Back and forth. Puts the weight down for intermittent breaks than heaves the weights back on his shoulders and on to who knows where. It's hidden in the pic, but the bar part of the barbells is wrapped with carpet. Presumably to rest on the shoulders. That's why I thought it might be the same person. However, he looks different.

I Haz New Newer Mouse

Ordered it on Tuesday and it's here by Friday. New mouse on the left. Old mouse on the. Anyways, the pic don't do the pristine condition of the newer mouse justice. It's 'used' but not much compared to my 6-year-old mouse which the pic doesn't show all the wear spots burnished from surfing the Internet. I can navigate by using the keyboards alone to some extent. Mainly switching between tabs or browsers & apps but the bulk of the navigating is with mouse.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Of Mice and Mend

I ordered this from a seller who maintains a storefront on Amazon. It's a Logitech MX 1000 laser mouse which at least to me is the best mouse ever produced. I'm not alone in this opinion either. To more than the chagrin of many, Logitech discontinued the MX 1000 mouse about 5 years ago, however since than it has garnered something akin to a cult following with "still in the package" versions selling for $300-$400. Refurbished ones over $200. (See price list below)

One of the programable buttons stopped working on my 6 years-old MX 1000 mouse. But even after 6 years, the internal battery rarely needs recharging even after I've forgotten to place the mouse back into the recharging cradle throughout an entire day. I do take hours off from the Internet if you were wondering, lol. You may indeed spend more time with your mouse than you do with your significant other or with your kids. I understand and leave it at that. The point is that I paid $60 for the mouse plus a reasonable $5 for shipping and handling and it's well a necessary item around here. It was advertised as a 'used item' in 'very good' condition. The seller Emailed me these photos.

What makes this particular mouse better than the rest is the thumb rest on the side of the mouse. Actually, though, you end up not resting your thumb on the thumb rest but instead on the very edge of the thumb rest ledge. This led me to believe the average mouse is designed too narrow. Think about it .... the wider the mouse is, the more comfortable it is moving it around with your palm with your thumb in a more natural position, that is, a thumb not curled into your palm. When you reach out to shake someone's hand, your thumb's not next to your palm. Ditto when you rest your hand on the desktop .... look where your thumb is in respect to the rest of your hand.

You already know this, but what separates humans from apes and monkeys is that humans have an agile thumb that can be manipulated to face the palm of the hand. But that function is primarily reserved for gripping and if you keep gripping any object for too long your hand would grow numb. Thusly, narrow mouses may look sleek and all that, but they're mindlessly designed for monkeys and apes who don't know a thing about surfing the web or navigating through a webpage. The thumb in it's relaxed position rests apart from the rest of the hand. You rarely keep your thumb in contact with the rest of your hand unless you hold your hand sideways. For normal people. Unless you're under stress. Like digging for your last coins in your pocket to pay for a 99¢ burger. Never ever done that?

On a technical forum that I'm a member of, another member mentioned something about knockoffs. When a company discontinues producing a kitchen appliance, etc. overseas in a foreign country, the contracted company is suppose to immediately cease and desist manufacturing the items under the terms of the original contract at the termination of the arrangement between the two parties. However, we know that's not how things work. Instead the overseas company continues to manufacture the same items rebranding the contraband to hide their tracks and marketing the knockoff through their own devices.

This amounts to a niffy savings for the consumer .... until the overseas manufacturer exhausts their supply of surplus material that met the specs set by the contracting party. After that, the knockoffs that are produced with substandard materials generally don't last. For example, the switch in a rebanded blender fails because the switch in this instance was shoddy to begin with. With the MX 1000 mouse there's a few Internet sellers mainly in Hong Kong advertising 'new' MX 1000 mice for under a $100. This could go either way though since a mouse doesn't require difficult to find parts and materials not readily available from electronic equipment suppliers.

This I simply don't get .... why would anybody want tweeter that they bought a particular item. Even a MX 1000 mouse. Perhaps, I'm missing sumpthing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

$5.60 plus tax at Sears

That is a brand new metal punch for the moment still in its wrapper. I already have one the same size but it's somewhere not to be found inside my walk-in locker room downstairs in the apartment building packed to the gills. 'Not to be found.' As in, this time I didn't even bother to look for it, just so happens it's a metal punch on this particular occasion. Is $5.60 worth the anguish of searching for hours and not finding the older metal punch only because it got dark and there's no light bulb in the walk-in locker room? People living in houses with lots of storage space just don't know what they're missing. As far as storage, apartment living is akin to living aboard a boat (ship) in a harbor. The locker room is not adjoined on the floor plan. With a boat in a harbor, at least those moored to a slip, you don't have to paddle the dory to shore .... but in an apartment building you have to take the elevator downstairs. It's a back and forth routine, on a weekly if not daily basis. The question is, is a missing item du jour not upstairs because I left it in the locker room. Then later, it evolves into, "Is the paritcular item not in the locker room because I left it upstairs?" because it's nowhere to be found in the locker room. Where is it not?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sand Reclaimation

Oh, there's the beach. Wish I knew how to set the camera for bright sunlight shots, but I'll get there.

A barge moored offshore collects the sand on the bottom of the ocean that has migrated from the beach.

Closeup shot.

A giant pump siphons the sand to shore and piles into a hugh dune.

Then when the dune of sand gets too huge, a bulldozer pushes it to the left. ♪♪....down by the seashore shifting sand....♪♪

Microwaving Water!

The following from an Email I received ....

Donna Kleine
Nutrition Specialist
South Central Human Resource Agency
Head Start/Early Head Start

A 26-year old man decided to have a cup of coffee. He took a cup of water and put it in the microwave to heat it up (something that he had done numerous times before). I am not sure how long he set the timer for, but he wanted to bring the water to a boil. When the timer shut the oven off, he removed the cup from the oven.

As he looked into the cup, he noted that the water was not boiling, but suddenly the water in the cup 'blew up' into his face. The cup remained intact until he threw it out of his hand, but all the water had flown out into his face due to the build-up of energy. His whole face is blistered and he has 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face which may leave scarring and also may lead to partial lost of sight in his left eye.

While at the hospital, the doctor who was attending to him stated that this is a fairly common occurrence and water (alone) should never be heated in a microwave oven.

If water is heated in this manner, something should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy such as a wooden stir stick, tea bag, etc, (nothing metal).

General Electric's Response:

Microwaved water and other liquids do not always bubble when they reach boiling point. They can actually get superheated and not bubble at all. The superheated liquid will bubble up out of the cup when it is moved or when something like a spoon or tea bag is put into it.

Here is what a local high school science teacher had to say on the matter:

I have seen this happen before. It is caused by a phenomenon known as super heating. It can occur any time water is heated and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new, or when heating a small amount of water (less than half a cup).

What happens is that the water heats faster than the vapour bubbles can form. If the cup is very new, then it is unlikely to have small surface scratches inside it that provide a place for the bubbles to form. As the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat that has built up, the liquid does not boil, and the liquid continues to heat up well past its boiling point.

What then usually happens is that the liquid is bumped or jarred, which is just enough of a shock to cause the bubbles to rapidly form and expel the hot liquid. The rapid formation of bubbles is also why a carbonated beverage spews when opened after having been shaken.

To prevent this from happening and causing injury, do not heat any liquid for more than two minutes per cup. After heating, let the cup stand in the microwave for thirty seconds before moving it or adding anything into it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

and Aye .... Ah Aye-Aye, will always ....

Withney Houston had a tremendous voice RIP. There the obituary should have ended. However, true to form after leaks surfaced that drugs may have led to her death, the media is pouncing all over the windfall. Naturally, it was already in the contingency plans since Withney Houston's long affair with drugs was public knowledge and hard core drug addicts habitually end up as stiffs after taking their last two pills with a glass of water. On the other hand, had the pop queen passed away naturally on Saturday in her pajamas, by now, the media's eulogy on the pop queen would have waned having reached its peak at last night's Grammy's tribute, and the media would resume their momentarily pre-empted more macarbe duty of digging up Steve Jobs' grave instead of prolonging their autopsy on Withney Huston life battling drug abuse. That particular suite at the Beverly Hills Hilton will be available at a premium rate. Well, maybe. Then the star search is on for whom provided Withney Houston the poisoned vial of drugs. A sorta Conrad Murray thing. I don't have a gripe with the national media for this posthumous behavior largely because if one network refrains while the other networks resuscitate the same story that in itself puts the refrainer at a disadvantage. It's just that when Houston's story is rehashed so robustly as it is again and again on the local tv stations, then it's a what does that have to do with the local news. True, Withney Houston was busted for marijuana at the Hilo airport way back when. But she somehow managed a get on the next plane out and local charges were eventually dropped. However, other than dat?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

$25 Billion National Mortgage Settlement

Out of the $25 billion settlement, Hawaii's share is a whopping $71 million. Even more whopping is the distribution to each Hawaii claimant .... $2000 per (actually up to $2000). That's like the bank wavering a month's mortage payment. Why who wouldn't be happy about that. Especially since you'd never ever finish paying the full mortgage even if you mailed in payments monthly for the next 50 years. There are band aids fixes and then there are band aids fixes so to speak. Also, $2000 pales in comparison to the $100,000 bonus that the bank's upper echelon gave themselves after the bailout money was in the vault. Why am I bringing up this topic? Well, the settlement should have provided for construction workers still outta work because of the fraud. True, construction workers were paid for building the new houses and new apartments units to meet the demand. However, they weren't paid anymore than their union wages. Then there's the issue of 'not working' where construction workers aren't earning any wages at all or very much of it. And since there's a backlog of unsold houses and foreclosed houses on the market, the construction industry will lag behind the rest of the economy even if this recession recedes. That might take years more.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What’s the best way to grab a prize with the claw?

via Slate. "Claw-game experts recommend spending a few minutes on the sideline while others play to get a sense of the machine's idiosyncrasies. Claw games can be adjusted to make the prizes either easier or harder to grab. The difficulty is controlled by setting the length of time allotted for each attempt and the number of attempts given for each quarter spent. Operators can also change the strength of the claw's grip. If the prize is a plush toy or stuffed animal, aim for the chest, which allows for the firmest grip. If the claw has a weak grip, try knocking objects sideways into the prize chute. Experts differ as to whether it's easier to win with a three-pronged or a four-pronged claw."

As Scene on the TV

It slipped my mind again that Hawaii Five-O airs on Monday nights. They do show nice local scenery.

Last week, I actually remembered that Five-O was on, but when I tuned in to watch it live, it turned out to be a repeat broadcast. The previous two weeks before that, I forgot period. So I watched those episodes on the internet on replay. Oh, this week's episode, after the earlier scenes shown in the pics, the script relapsed back again into heavy on the soap opera M.O.

If you like trekking up hills then the Koko Head crater trail is thing for you shown in the same earlier scene. I've heard it's a splendid view from the summit. I 'heard.' Never have or would contemplated doing it myself.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Jellyfish Armada

If you take a look at the picture below, those white spots in the canal are jellyfishes. Usually, they don't make it this far up the Ala Wai canal.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Er, Truth in Advertising?

Stumbled upon these excerpts on the Web off an Costa Concordia ad ....

"When you choose Costa, you don’t just see Europe - you live it. You can meet dedicated staff with distinctly Continental perspectives. Barriers can dissolve in the high jinks of theme nights on board. You’ll visit picturesque harbors and ancient ruins."