Wednesday, 29 January 2014

By on January 29th, 2014 in dogs, lab day, science kits, technology

09:09 – It’s currently 17F (-8C) with a stiff breeze. The forecast high today is a degree or two below freezing. We had maybe an inch (2.5 cm) of snow from about noon yesterday through late evening. I’m sure the main roads are plowed and salted, but secondary roads and residential streets are still in bad shape. Barbara drove the Trooper today. She didn’t even bother to take it out of 4WD when she got home yesterday afternoon. Today I’ll be making up solutions and filling bottles for more kits.

I just got back from walking Colin. We just went down to the corner and back, but I took him off-leash this morning, for the first time since he was a small puppy. He followed our usual route, and came on the run each time I called him. I’d trust him off-leash routinely except for one thing: there are a couple of dogs in the neighborhood that he really, really doesn’t like. One of them, Jack, a full-size poodle, lives down at the corner. Jack is extremely aggressive, and nearly attacked Colin once. Jack approached us on a dead run, snarling as he came. Colin’s hackles rose and his fangs bared as he prepared to do battle, and I had actually started my turn to snap-kick Jack and break his spine when he veered away and took off running. No one ever said that poodles aren’t smart.

10:46 – Oh, yeah. I installed the Roku 3 box yesterday and put the old Roku box on the shelf to serve as a spare. The new one works fine with Amazon Instant and Netflix streaming, which is all we care about. Amazon looks the same as it did on the old box, but now we have the new Netflix interface. I’m still not sure whether I like it or not. Supposedly the Roku 3 is much, much faster than our old Roku, but I don’t see any difference. The new Roku drives our TV at 1080P versus 720P for the old one, but again I see no difference. One nice feature of the new Roku is the USB port and the box’s support for playing back MP4, MKV, and a few other video formats. I haven’t tried that yet, but I’ll probably copy season 7 of Heartland to a 32 GB flash drive and see what it looks like.

I just ordered six bottles of 1,000 each 650 mg sodium bicarbonate tablets from Amazon Prime for about $17.50 per bottle. That’s sufficient for about 240 chemistry kits. Amazon showed another vendor that sold the tablets at $11.00 per bottle of 1,000, but their shipping charges were outrageous. I think it was something like $8.95 for the first bottle, which was fine, but additional bottles added something like $6 each to the shipping cost. That company is advertising an unrealistically low price for the product and making up the difference in shipping. I hate that.

14:37 – Geez. I just tried to order three kilos of bacteriology-grade agar from BioExpress, who’d sent me a catalog a couple months ago. I’m always on the lookout for new vendors, and these guys carry some interesting stuff.

So I added the agar to my cart and clicked on checkout. The site insisted I set up an account, which I did. But when I finished it wouldn’t let me complete the order. Instead, it said that my application for an account would be reviewed within 48 hours. So I called them and left voicemail for the guy who approves new accounts. He mailed me back to say that their agreements with their vendors do not allow them to ship “chemicals” to residential addresses. He suggested that he might be able to get an exception from the company that supplies their agar, but he thought that was a long shot. This is agar we’re talking about. The stuff is EDIBLE, and about as innocuous a chemical as I can imagine.

I emailed the guy back and told him it wasn’t worth either of our time and hassle and that I’d just order the agar from one of our regular vendors, which I did.

15 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 29 January 2014"

  1. Chuck W says:

    Contrary to some reports (journalism is awful today), the polar vortex is not a storm; it is a weather pattern present at both poles, year-round. Every now and then, it gets pushed out of shape and forces the jetstream south, bringing super-cold polar air with it. This influence was discovered in the 1950’s, so it is not a product of 80’s and 90’s global warming, as lots of media and so-called weather experts are claiming.

    The current low-riding jetstream (main boundary has been around Tennessee for the last week) is crossing the Atlantic, picking up moisture from the ocean, then dumping it in floods on the British Isles.

    Present jetstream forecast shows the main boundary of the jetstream retreating back up to Michigan early next week, but there is a loop west of us that extends way south to Texas and the southern-most boundary of the jetstream even dips into the Gulf. So even though we may get a little relief, states to the west of us will continue to get cold weather.

    The N. American continent is not the only one the polar vortex can encroach on; Northern Europe, Russia, and Northern Asia can, and do, get blasts from time-to-time.

  2. Lynn McGuire says:

    “IRA confiscation: it’s happening”

    “I have an old acquaintance named Sam who has a hell of a deal for you.”

    “Sam is actually a pretty famous guy with a big reputation. Unfortunately he has been a bit down and out on his luck lately… but he’s trying to make a comeback. And Sam is prepared to float you a really great investment opportunity.”

    “Here’s the deal he’s offering: you give Sam your hard-earned retirement savings. Sam will invest your funds, and pay you a rate of return.”

    Didn’t Greece try this a few years ago? I wonder how it worked out for them?

  3. Lynn McGuire says:

    37 F here in the Land of Sugar with a rapid warming trend over the next few days. We are suppose to be 79 F on Saturday. Amazing!

  4. Lynn McGuire says:

    Some dude is driving around The Great State of Texas with a dead Bigfoot supposedly in his trailer:

    So, if this is true, is he liable for murder charges if Bigfoot turns out to be a close relative of humans?

    This dude apparently did a Bigfoot rubber suit scam back in 2008 so he does not have a good track record on this.

  5. SteveF says:

    I always walked my dog with a short-handled spade in hand. When you’re walking a 120 pound Rottie, one o’ them little plastic poop scoopers just doesn’t cut it. One night a German Shepherd came charging out, all teeth and growls. I’m sure my dog could have handled him, but BAM! Right between the ears with the shovel. The dog curled in a ball and rolled backward and staggered to his feet as we kept walking. I always kind of wondered how he explained to his owner the big pile of shit on top of his head.

  6. Chuck W says:

    He mailed me back to say that their agreements with their vendors do not allow them to ship “chemicals” to residential addresses.

    Makes you wonder how these places stay in business. How is it that your other vendors have no problems sending you stuff that this company won’t?

  7. Ed says:

    “He mailed me back to say that their agreements with their vendors do not allow them to ship “chemicals” to residential addresses.”

    Amusing. A bit all encompassing….

    The other ROKU shoe has dropped, BTW. Just got an advert for a ROKU TV.

    People have been wondering how ROKU would deal with smart TV’s, sounds like they are making their play to stay relevant.

  8. jim` says:

    SteveF, a man after my own heart. Too funny.

  9. ech says:

    “IRA confiscation: it’s happening”

    Not really. It’s just an IRA invested in t-bills.

    The House would never pass an IRA confiscation bill. I know that Obama has proposed limits on total value of IRAs and 401(k)s to what would buy a 210k or so pension, which is the legal limit for a defined benefit plan. That’s about 3.5 million in a 401(k). Hard to do with a typical corporate plan, but not impossible for a self employed person – it takes about $1500/month for 40 years at typical market returns. He was reacting to the fact that some hedge fund employees have been able to have some of their shares put into 401(k)s and gotten enormous tax-deferred returns. (Mitt Romney did this, IIRC.)

    Of course, changing laws due to a handful of outliers that don’t adversely impact others is stupid. But then, I’ve decided Obama is glib, but not especially smart. (Bill Clinton was smart and glib. By all accounts “W” was smart, but not glib.)

  10. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Makes you wonder how these places stay in business. How is it that your other vendors have no problems sending you stuff that this company won’t?

    Other than DEC listed chemicals (such as iodine), explosives, and a few other chemicals, there aren’t any controls on any chemicals. It’s perfectly legal for any company to ship just about any chemical to anyone, whether the delivery address is commercial or residential. Many companies refuse to ship any chemical that is defined as “hazardous” for shipping purposes to individuals. Most of those will ship those same chemicals to any business. Some sell only to schools and universities. These restrictions are their own choice, and are mostly due to concerns about legal liability and drawing government attention.

  11. pcb_duffer says:

    Tell them that the government delivers edible chemicals to your house via an underground network, but that inhalation of that chemical can be fatal.

  12. Lynn McGuire says:

    The House would never pass an IRA confiscation bill.

    Today’s House would never pass an IRA confiscation bill. What about the House that passed the nightmare known as Obamacare? Do it for the children!

    And who says that the IRA confiscation will be approved by Congress? Future USA Presidents faced by enormous fiscal pressures may do very bold things. Very bold. At the current rate of deficit spending in the USA, the fiscal pressure in 10 to 20 years may be just about the single over-riding issue in the USA.

    I do foresee taxes on IRA and 401K plans in the near future. Remember, Bill Clinton proposed a 15% “onetime” tax on them along with a 1% tax per year for the privilege of saving your money. Tax free saving that is.

  13. OFD says:

    The House, by the way, “worked” 126 days last year and was paid $174,000 each but can’t find the means, despite throwing money all over the world, including the usual billions to Israel’s Likud Party and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to throw the 1.3 million “long-term unemployed” Murkan citizens a bone for a few more weeks. Yes, I know the arguments for and against unemployment bennies but they hold less wottuh when we see the money being blown like this overseas, not counting the zillions blown right here.

  14. Chuck W says:

    The House, by the way, “worked” 126 days last year and was paid $174,000 each….

    Wow, no wonder so many people want that gig.

  15. OFD says:

    Ever notice how people will almost literally kill to get elected to political jobs that pay not very much, spend however many years there, and then leave as multi-millionaires? Or Barry Soetero, who entered office with a couple of million, probably from his short time as a congressman and merged with his lovely and brilliant concubine’s dough from her assorted thievery, and is now worth well over $12-million. Gee, how do they make all that money while they’re in office?

    And most Murkans sit here like pole-axed livestock, dribbling on their chins, as they open another can of shitty Murkan lager and watch Miley twerk nude on a wrecking ball.

    All coming to a very painful and messy end in our lifetimes.

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