Monday, 28 May 2012

By on May 28th, 2012 in science kits

08:02 – It’s Memorial Day here in the U.S., the day set aside to remember those who sacrificed themselves to protect our freedom. Although the official purpose of Memorial Day is to remember those who gave their lives in the service of our country, let’s also remember all of those brave men and women, living and dead, who through the years have put their lives on the line to protect all of us. As we have our cookouts and family get-togethers today, let’s all take a moment to think about our troops in the Middle East and elsewhere, who can’t be with their families. And let’s have a thought, not just today but every day of the year, for them and the sacrifices they are making and have made.

Barbara is heading over to have lunch with her parents today. This afternoon, we’ll build more kits and work more on getting the basement organized. We’re going to a numbered bin system for organization. For the biology, chemistry, and forensics kits, we’ll need something more than 200 numbered bins. Some of those can be pretty small. For example, it doesn’t take a very large bin to store, say, 250 stirring rods or spatulas. Conversely, some will be much larger. For example, 100 splash goggles fill a good-sized box. And there will be many bins with the same number. For example, we get 250 mL beakers in boxes of a dozen. Those happen to be bin number 140, so when I order in 15 boxes of those beakers, we’ll have 15 boxes stacked up together, all labeled 140. Once we get this all set up, it should making picking and assembling kits much faster.

31 Comments and discussion on "Monday, 28 May 2012"

  1. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Involuntary reflexes from my stupid brain struck again. I am one of the prime proponents of never updating anything unless it is actually not working. What did I do? Yesterday, a dialog on Virtual Box said there was a new version, so in my holiday happy state, I clicked on it. Now, neither USB nor LAN work in virtual box, making it 100% useless.

    Going to have to treat myself as a dangerous user and start setting up my computers so it is impossible to update without going through some administrative log ons. Guess I will try installing the old version to see what happens.

    Meanwhile, the Tiny Town Memorial Day parade just finished. It terminates in the cemetery about a half-block from Tiny House so the mayor can bore everyone with a 20 minute speech. I heard all the sirens, horns, bands, and cheering, but I’ll be danged if I am going out in 90°F/75% humidity weather to stand in strong sunshine for 90 minutes. So I didn’t. Air-conditioning started in about 08:00 this morning. It is going to be another scorcher of a day. End of the week looks better: highs of just above 70 and lows in the low 50’s. My kind of weather.

  2. Chuck Waggoner says:

    In just a few minutes, the crock pot will produce a semi-German meal. My anticipation in moving to Germany was that I would finally be able to get lamb all over the place, because all Europeans eat lots of lamb, no? Unfortunately, I found that not only do the Germans eat more beef and pork than Americans, the practically nil lamb they have over there, is the worst I have ever had.

    On this holiday, I will celebrate with a crock pot leg of lamb, marinated in rosemary and smeared generously with mint jelly and mint leaves in the bottom of the pot; real rotkohl (red cabbage) with apple bits and some lamb juice stewed in; and fresh white asparagus with a sauce I whipped up. Dessert will be strawberry shortcake.

    Once or twice a year, I go all out for myself.

  3. Miles_Teg says:

    Yum. My parents made the best roasted leg of lam, potatoes and veg in the world. Haven’t had it for about 15 years and I *really* miss it.

    I’d never thought of doing it in a crock pot though, I guess I should try it out. Beef and lamb are much more expensive here than chicken, and I prefer chicken anyway.

    I thought the only thing Europeans in general and Germans in particular ate was pork. I was always surprised that they had so little chicken. My favourite chicken disk is fried chicken pieces in lemon sauce. Double yum.

  4. Miles_Teg says:

    *lam. lamb

    *disk. dish

    I really wish there was an edit function on this board.

  5. OFD says:

    That deal with no USB in virtual machines has been an issue for me repeatedly, with both Virtual Box and VMware iterations. And with the latter, posting on the community board got me the suggestion to revert to an earlier version. Now I don’t even bother with either one, and am working with Red Hat’s KVM on my home server and soon on the work machines.

    I know some Memorial Day stuff went on in various towns over the past few days but have zero interest. I won’t bother hammering on it today, though, and bore the crap out of everybody. Suffice to say that I’m the last living vet in my own family, but wife’s nephew is a five-tour Ranger vet of Afghanistan and son’s SIL is a two-tour Marine vet of there and Iraq.

    Not a fan of lamb dishes; they all taste kind of gamy to me and besides, I like the little buggers too much. Ditto goats. And I prefer turkey to chicken and fish to everything. Grilling tuna steak later here, with sides of parmesan rice pilaf and black beans, and a salad, into which I throw everything but the kitchen sink; none of these piles of iceberg lettuce and one lonely cherry tomato for me.

    77 right now and might hit 80, with potential for t-storms later, and then the weather liars predict possibel severe boomers for tomorrow in the area. Whatever. I saw some posts on FB last night from some folks in the DC and northern VA area having meltdowns with their kids over approaching t-storms. Hey, t’is the season, folks.

  6. OFD says:

    “possibel.” The English major spots another one of his own typos instantly but can do NOTHING about it. I second Greg.

  7. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Okay, I just enabled the “Membership: Anyone can register” check box. I hope I don’t get flooded with spam registrations. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure that this will let people edit their own comments. I really hate WordPress.

  8. SteveF says:

    OFD: I’m not paying any attention to Memorial Day goings-on, either. For one thing, it’s just another Monday off for most Americans, and celebrating yet another sale at the mall is of no interest to me. For public celebrations of the holiday’s nominal purpose, I am likewise uninterested in listening to potentates pontificate. And I can give a thought to the handful of deceased vets that I knew more easily in the quiet of my office than in a crowd watching the shriners go by.

    Not many people in my family were ever in uniform. My late father, myself a couple decades ago, and one nephew now. I can’t in good conscience recommend that any of my other kin take the oath and then be shit upon by Congress and have their lives wasted by the pResident. If we had a land army whose sole purpose was to defend the territorial United States my advice might be different. On the other hand, garrison and war games don’t build a competent military. You can argue that our little Middle East excursions are actually beneficial to the US. (I read recently that the US has cycled about a million troops through Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. That’s probably more troops with recent combat experience than the rest of the world combined. You want to make a bunch of world leaders shit themselves? Put a pugnacious, aggressive man in the White House.)

    And, on another note, OFD says,

    Not a fan of lamb dishes … I like the little buggers too much.

    I must resist the temptation to make a joke about the best way to eat a lamb is one leg over this shoulder and one leg over the other shoulder. Oops… too late.

  9. OFD says:

    I am pretty much with SteveF on paying attention to this day today. On the subject of a million troops being cycled through the Sandbox, figure that maybe ten percent, at most, have actual combat experience, as the vast majority, as in any war, are support troops of one sort or another, or REMFs as we used to call them, no disrespect intended, and the upper echelons were known as ‘staff wallahs’ in the Great War by British troops in the trenches. But add another hundred-thousand or so of veterans from previous Sandbox and other world adventure capers, plus maybe a few thousand of us old farts from the southeast Asia games, and maybe there are a quarter-million actual combat vets with substantial experience and training abroad in the land today. About the size of a field army led by a four-star. A pretty fearsome entity if it was organized and properly equipped, and I would happily put it against all comers, worldwide. Except we don’t really have any comers anymore, other than a few handfuls of beserker hadjis here and there.

    But don’t get me started.

  10. OFD says:

    The roots of Memorial Day as it is currently constituted:

  11. OFD says:

    And the reality, unpopular today as it was in Twain’s day:

  12. Dave B. says:

    Meanwhile, the Tiny Town Memorial Day parade just finished. It terminates in the cemetery about a half-block from Tiny House so the mayor can bore everyone with a 20 minute speech.

    At least it’s ending at the cemetery so that anyone who listens to the entire 20 minute speech can be buried afterwards.

  13. OFD says:

    Better to bury the mayor.

  14. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Tiny Town is hopelessly out of it. Very strong union town—so strong they had to call in the National Guard several times over my lifetime. City is run the same way. Do it our way or FU, we’ll shut you down. Nobody wants to do business that way anymore, so ALL industry but a couple car parts warehouses are GONE! ALL of it! Chrysler built a whole new manufacturing plant here, then left a couple years later. A technical school wanted to locate here, but the city insisted that it be downtown. Now the downtown is a ghost town. Literally. Empty and boarded up buildings all along the primary business street. Tech school said ‘we want to be on the main road into town.’ City said, ‘No. Must be downtown.’ So tech school will be in the next town over. Several surrounding towns have suffered from car manufacturing leaving, but have managed to do a lot better than Tiny Town in avoiding being a ghost town.

    I do wish the US would shut down retail on a few holidays, including Memorial Day and Labor Day. Thanksgiving is no longer observed, so Xmas is about the only one remaining. Continuing education daughter is working today. I remember when they said working on holidays was “voluntary”; the fact turned out to be “mandatory voluntary” if you want to keep your job. Take a holiday off, and you don’t work there anymore. Who knew? America needs a few days during the year when families can get together.

    No work holidays were beginning to break down in Germany when I left. Holidays were definitely family days there. Since there is close family in the US, Berlin, and Kanada, I have a calendar tracking all of them, and today coincides with Berlin, but oddly, not Canada. or did I make a mistake in my calendar? Nope. Last Monday was your holiday.

  15. OFD says:

    “America needs a few days during the year when families can get together.”

    The neo-Marxist and mad-dog corporate capitalist war on the family continues apace. On the one hand, total brainwashing in the publik skool systems and “higher ed,” and OTOH, the total commercialization of every damn holiday we have left. Even the sainted MLK’s b-day has to be on a Monday. Meanwhile All Hallows Eve is bigger than Christmas now and more Red Chinese slave labor shit gets sold, and Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day are simply party days when already morbidly obese Boobus Americanus and Mrs. BA stuff their gobs with processed garbage and swill gallons of shitty beer.

    And we continue using our advertising and our wonderful armed forces to export this brilliant culture throughout the world now.

  16. OFD says:

    Oh, I almost forgot:

    What a country!

  17. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD wrote:

    “Not a fan of lamb dishes; they all taste kind of gamy to me and besides, I like the little buggers too much. ”

    Looks like you have a fair bit of New Zealand ancestry… 🙂

  18. BGrigg says:

    It is telling that he called them “buggers”, isn’t it? 😀

  19. brad says:

    Funny cycles we go through. Back during the Vietnam War, vets were despised because the war was regarded as wrong. After Vietnam, through the cold war, patriotism and supporting the troops became more acceptable. Today, people support the troops regardless – it’s not their fault they are sent to stupid wars.

    Which would be fair enough, but apropos Memorial Day I ran across various articles denouncing any criticism of the wars in the Middle East, on the basis that we had to support the troops.

    What comes next?

  20. Miles_Teg says:

    I’d like nothing better than if there was a law that the president, top Pentagon officials, Congresspersons, and so on had to serve in the front lines of any war they initiated.

    I also believed that, during the Cold War, top politicians and bureaucrats at the Pentagon and the Kremlin should have been chained to their desks on the surface. That way the war would never have turned hot.

  21. BGrigg says:

    Brad queried: “What comes next?”

    Well, now that you guys have a million+ troops with experience, and unqualified support of troops even during unpopular wars, then all you need is a POTUS you guys can anoint as emperor and see if you can knock the Brits off the largest empire position.

    Note, while the current POTUS is preening himself for just such an anointment, he’s not the ONE. Just saying!

  22. ech says:

    I’d like nothing better than if there was a law that the president, top Pentagon officials, Congresspersons, and so on had to serve in the front lines of any war they initiated.

    Civilians, maybe.

    In reading accounts of the runup to many wars, the most cautious people were the professional military. In the multi-day paper/computerized wargames (big strategic games to look at policies and options) run with generals, civilian DoD, State Dept., etc. it was usually the civilians that were pushing to escalate and pull out the nukes.

    Most of the upper echelons in the US military are not “kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” types – especially at flag rank. They are more Bradley than Patton, not like Kong and Ripper from Dr. Strangelove.

  23. brad says:

    @ech: that’s my experience as well: the upper-level civilians are the war-mongers, possibly because they have little concept of what war really is all about.

    I just wish the JCS had the collective balls to refuse orders that violate the plain meaning of the Constitution (as their officers’ oaths require). Unilateral attacks on sovereign nations (Libya, Iraq) surely require a Congressional declaration of war. The fact that Congress hasn’t got the balls ought to put a brake on such things. Unfortunately, the JCS seem to be more political animals than officers.

  24. Lynn McGuire says:

    I am really, really, really hoping that we (the USA) sit out WW III. From my seat, it is fairly likely that China would like to own more oil and gas assets. Lots more. Siberia looks very vulnerable nowadays.

    Can I hope that we sit out the forthcoming police action in Syria? And what will Israel do with militant Islamists on three fronts (Lebanon, Egypt and Syria)?

  25. BGrigg says:

    Brad, the Iraq invasion was duly approved by Congress with 297 ayes to 133 nays.

    Lynn, when China craves that much oil, I think they’ll be looking at the tar sands and the shale formations of both our countries, as well as Siberia. After all, they’ll have to think BIG.

    I don’t think sitting out WW III will be an option for anyone.

  26. OFD says:

    Currently, like it or not, it’s Nosferatu II and his generals and admirals who are advising max caution and restraint with regard to continued and potential military adventurism. And it is civvies, per usual, and the RINO and country-club Repubs and the usual suspect chickenhawk sons of bitches who are screaming and waving guns and swords around. I agree that any political hack or media asswipe who calls for wars should be frog-marched forthwith to the front lines to serve with a rifle in a grunt unit. Then watch how fast they put those peace sign bumperstickers on their taxpayer-funded vehicles.

  27. Lynn McGuire says:

    Who is Nosferatu II? Barry?

    I think China will pick on Siberia because the cost will be low. They will probably lose less than half of the three million man army (half of them with single shots). I’m really wondering if it will go nuclear early or late. If it goes nuclear early then Russia has a chance to retain Siberia.

    China’s energy needs are immense and growing daily. China actually bought 14 million new cars in 2011 versus the USA 11 million (can’t remember where I read that). Most, if not all, of their new manufacturing plants have diesel gensets running 24×7 that go through diesel like you would not believe. And the oil super giant field in China is just about gone.

  28. Chuck Waggoner says:

    It is actually pretty scary out there, IMO. Somebody recently sent me the following article,

    which purports to give anecdotal evidence that mass protests against government policies actually do work, but it also contains a pretty scary scenario at the end: that protesting or suing the government over constitutionality of the new indefinite detention laws, can actually subject the objector to indefinite detention itself! Is this gulag or Hitleresque stuff or what?

    Chris Hedges – the Pulitizer-prize winning reporter who challenged the indefinite detention law and amazingly succeeded in having a judge strike down that law – writes:

    …None of us thought we would win. But every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.

    U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, in a 68-page opinion, ruled Wednesday that Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional. It was a stunning and monumental victory. Maybe the ruling won’t last. Maybe it will be overturned. But we and other Americans are freer today than we were a week ago. And there is something in this.

    The government lawyers, despite being asked five times by the judge to guarantee that we plaintiffs would not be charged under the law for our activities, refused to give any assurances. They did not provide assurances because under the law there were none. We could, even they tacitly admitted, be subject to these coercive measures. We too could be swept away into a black hole. And this, I think, decided the case.

    How and why did such a law EVER become a part of this supposed “land of the free”?

    [NB: If you have trouble with that link, try displaying all of that blogger’s entries—George Washington—at, and then click on the “Is It Worth Fighting….” entry. The small Midwest Quaker school mentioned is Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana—one town east of me.]

  29. Chuck Waggoner says:

    “itself” should be “himself”

  30. OFD says:

    China has also been moving millions of Han ethnics into border areas that are continually a source of tension and actual exchanges of ordnance for the past few years. Lynn and BGrigg could be right. Meanwhile we have the flashpoints at Kashmir and Taiwan to keep an eye on.

    As for the State and indefinite detention; this State has repeatedly exhibited its ability and desire to undertake this as regular policy and rest assured that if some State bureaucrat somewhere decides that Chuck or OFD or the infamous elf-killer Thompson are threats, or not even that, just that they piss him or her off somehow, we can be disappeared forever in a nanosecond. Bill of Rights? Huh? You mean that birdcage liner that just got laid down to replace the old Constitution birdcage liner?

    Some days I wonder how long it will be and if anyone actually notices, when they begin loading up the boxcars.

    What a country!

  31. Lynn McGuire says:

    I do not worry about Kasmir. India can take out Pakistan any time that they want to.

    Taiwan will be over in less than 24 hours and will just be a smoking rock in the ocean after the Chinese rocket it a few ten thousand times. I’m sorry for those people but they are literally between a rock and a hard place.

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