April 19, 2008
April 18, 2008
Work is sort of slow today, just preparing for the big Wii Olympics night over at K&A Wags, so I was just wasting time on the Internet. Headed over to GreenDaily and found an article that brought me flying back to my childhood...CRAYONS! I was never much on the whole coloring book thing, I preferred to use my crayons for other purposes, namely candles.
Making candles was number five on the list which included:
1.) Make a bigger crayon
2.) Sealing Envelops
3.) Paint using Mineral spirits
4.) Furniture repair
5.) Create new candles from scratch
Head over to the link and check out all the details, but I will say this, their candle making process was a little bit more "hi-end" than what I used to do. I would fire up the old gas grill to melt the old crayons that I had thrown into a pop can I had cut in half, or in technical terms, my 'crucible.' I would then melt the crayons on the grill then used spent shotgun casings as my candle molds. Poured the hot liquid in, placed a cotton string as the wick, and bam, redneck candles. Ah the days. Just a word of caution, if you ever drop a can full of liquid wax, it WILL NOT come out of ANYTHING, including cement. Don't say I never warned you!
April 17, 2008
Recently, history was made in the area as the Bonnet Carre Spillway was opened for the first time since 1997. This somewhat radical step was taken due to the swelling Mississippi River. The spillway was designed to alleviate pressure on the areas levee system and to prevent flooding in New Orleans. The first of the 20 ft wide bays (380 in all) were opened on the 11th of April and more will likely be opened in the following days as the river is expected to crest sometime next week. The water that is diverted through the spillway flows into Lake Pontchartrain which is located to the north of New Orleans.
The first picture is taken from the levee system here in "The Rouge" and the tree in the middle right of the photograph is normally exposed. Often times there are picnic's its shade, now its a good tie off for a boat. The barges in the photograph are located (though elevated) where the river normally flows, pretty impressive.
The second picture was taken at sunset in the downtown area of "The Rouge" and made for a nice shot. The levee along the waterfront downtown has steps for viewing activities that take place on the river. All but the top couple are now completely submerged, including these hand rails. Its hard to fathom all this water flowing south towards the Gulf of Mexico, but it is easy to see how the Mississippi got its reputation of being 'Mighty.'
April 16, 2008
It has been awhile since I have posted on my beloved island of Dominica so I felt it was time to get something up. I am happy to announce that the Sustainable Living Initiative Center (SLIC) has just recently completed Phase 2 of its computer mission Dominica. This initiative provides the children of Dominica access to reliable computers and is possible through SLIC, the Rosalie Forest Retreat, Geest Shipping, and NS Optimum.
One particular problem of using computers on Dominica is the lack of skilled technicians to repair and upkeep the computers, particularly in the Ministry of Education. NS Optimum, a UK company, has helped with the refurbishing the computers and the training of locals on upkeep and maintenance of the computers. Through this initiative nearly 400 computers will hopefully be delivered to Dominican Schools and NGO's, helping spread communication and education throughout the island. I am excited to see that the SLIC is still going strong.
I have and continue to participate in one of SLIC's other initiatives through Miami University (OH). This project provides funding for scholarships for local children to attend the Grand Fond pre-school. The money raised in 2006 help provide two 2 year scholarships thus far. The project will hopefully mature into a permanent fixture within the community. If you happen to be traveling to Dominica soon, please visit the entire island, but be sure to stop by the wonderful village of Grand Fond!
Melville Hall, Dominica's main airport, is making huge strides in allowing it to support the growing tourism market on the island. Currently, Dominica has two airports, Canefield and Melville Hall. Canefield was damaged in an earth quake a few years back and only small prop planes are allowed to leave (as far as I know) which leaves Melville Hall as the only suitable airport.
In the event of inclement weather, which on Dominica is very likely, a majority of flights will be diverted to another island till the next morning. This is because of the adiabatic heating of the day and the storms that are generated from this on the prevailing winds. The airport sits in a river valley on the northeast side of the island, and the trip in is harrowing enough in broad daylight, let alone bad weather, if you have been there, you know what I'm talking about. Night landings, common almost everywhere throughout the Caribbean and abroad, are not allowed on Dominica because Melville Hall lacks a proper lighting system, but this is about to change.
The government of Venezuela have been helping Dominica to upgrade Melville Hall through the Melville Hall Airport Air Access Improvement Program initiated in 2005. The program aims to upgrade Melville Hall, which also includes night time landing capabilities. Phase Three, which included the creation of a RESA (Reserve End Safety Area) through excavation and river diversion to the West.
Phase Four comprised land reclamation, road realignment and coastal defence works to create RESA to the east. With this completion Phase Two will commence in June and includes actions that will include runway and apron resurfacing and marking, navigation and lighting equipment installation, drainage, and fencing. I'm excited for these developments and hopefully the operations will go smooth. At the same time I'm slightly disappointed, as in my opinion, half the fun of Dominica is the unusual and wacky paths one can take getting there. If you've been, you know what I'm talking about:-)
April 15, 2008
Ok I will stop with the play on words, but I just had to, it got you to read this right? Now, onto the good stuff. On April 14, 1912, 96 years ago yesterday, one of the most fabled ocean liners ever sank after striking an iceberg. The ship sank in less than three hours leaving nearly 1500 people to perish in the icy water. White Star Lines, the ships owner, labeled her unsinkable, and debate has raged since her sinking on why, an 'unsinkable' ship sank so fast. Mystery and intrigue surrounded the the Titanic until 1985 when Robert Ballard and his team discovered the wreck.
Many assumed the the iceberg sliced a huge gash in Titanic's bow section, allowing huge volumes of water to overwhelm Titanic's water containing compartments. In 1996 however, it was found that six small gashes doomed the liner, not one big gash. The gashes appeared to be where bow plates had separated, allowing a deluge of sea water to rush in. Since this discovery, several scientists have contended that low quality iron rivets exacerbated the problem.
New information shows that the builder of the Titanic faced huge shortages of high quality rivets and skilled riveters while building the ship. The shortages of rivets came at the height of the construction of the Titanic, and her two sister ships, the Olympic and the Britannic. Using poor quality rivets, which likely sheared when pressured was applied may have been a fatal flaw in the Titanic's design leading to her demise. Be sure to read the full article, I do not want to give away all of the juicy details. I promise you it will not bore you nearly as much as Leo and Kate's performance did in James Cameron's theatrical version!
April 14, 2008
Monday April 7th, 2008: Kansas National Championship
A brief recap of Kansas winning the NCAA Mens basketball title
Tuesday April 8th, 2008: Calie, the New Car
A little insight into my new car, Calie the MINI Cooper
Wednesday April 9th, 2008: Olympic Torch Protest
My take on the protest surrounding this years Olympic torch relay
Thursday April 10th, 2008: Olympic Torch's Carbon Footprint
A look at the development and carbon footprint of this years Olympic Torch!
Friday April 11th, 2008: Chuggles Sleep Over
Kmewalt's dogs are back, and this time, they stay for the weekend!
Saturday April 12th 2008: Air and Noise Pollution
Interesting connections between 'pollution' and its unusual impacts on nature.
Sunday April 13th 2008: Ryan Hall and the London Marathon
A brief rant and recap of this years 2008 London Marathon
Have a great day and thanks again for coming by
April 13, 2008
That is the headline I anticipated to be had in every American news website this evening, but to no avail. There is nothing, zip, zilch, nada. Instead it was coverage of the Masters, NBA, and baseball. The only coverage this years London Marathon was, as you guessed it, foreign media outlets. So, as has happened more times than not over the past couple of decades, a up and coming American distance runner is unknown in his home country...
Ryan Hall is a young runner from Big Bear (California) that already has his ticket punched for this years Beijing Olympics. Hall won the mens Olympics trials late last year in New Yorks Central Park. You may have heard about this particular race because Halls friend, Ryan Shay died due to complications of an enlarged heart at around mile 5. Hall is making his name known in the sport, and he is truly a newbie to the sport, as the London Marathon was only his third marathon ever.
Hall placed 5th in todays London Marathon, a feat that is truly remarkable given the talent in the field. What makes it more remarkable is he ran 2:06:17, the fastest time ever by an American born runner, the third fastest marathon ever by an American, and the 18th fastest marathon EVER. He also holds the American record for the half marathon, set last year, at 59:43. The American record in the marathon is held by Moroccan born Khalid Khannouchi, who set a then world record time of 2:05:38 in London a few years back. The world record has since been broken and Khannouchi's London Marathon course record was broken today by Kenyan Martin Zel, at 2:05:15, who won the race for the third time in four years.
I expected more response from Halls host country, but then again we (American's) only really ever pay attention to running/track and field when the big spotlights are one...the Olympics. Lucky for Hall, his time to shine will soon be here and hopefully more than just the international media will pick up on how great of a runner this guy really is. I guess this post qualifies as my Sunday rant. :-) Hope everyone had a great weekend.