A couple of useful outdoor programs

While we travel and hike, we have come across some amazing and free programs that we use regularly. The first is called Seek, put out by iNaturalist. It is available for free at the Apple App Store.

Seek has many uses, but we primarily use it to identify plants. We merely hold the iPhone camera over the plant, whether leaf or flower. It quickly identifies it, giving us the common name, though on occasion it offers only the Latin name.

It does not matter whether you live in a large city or rural area, or as we have discovered if you are in a foreign country. Its database is so massive that if knows every plant and every subspecies. It is truly a wonder to behold. When stumped, it offers “dicot” or “monocot”.

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Our little journey

In the past, as my wife and I traveled, I made it a point not to make the blog a travelogue. I just let it rest, hoping other writers would chime in. I know I wrote now and then while in foreign places, most prominently in my mind in Buenos Aires, where I tripped on the crypt of Evita, or Eva Peron, said to have died young in 1952. Her crypt said she died at age 32, but actual birth records recorded her death at age 33  and voila!, I had uncovered another fake death.

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Amazing photos of Kazakh hunters

This article, Kazakh Hunters and their Golden Eagles, has within it maybe a couple dozen amazing photographs taken by photographer Batzaya Choijiljav. They are simply stunning in their conception and execution.

Choijiljav used a five-pixel Canon Powershot A95, for photo buffs. I think it very likely that they are all copyrighted, and I do not want to violate his property rights, so I urge you take a journey over there to see these amazing people, their horses and birds.

Zooey time in the Montana legislature

Rep Zooey Zephyr

Far be it from me to align with Democrats on any matter, as I regard their positions on many issues, such as Climate Change, outlandish and unstudied. But there is a matter going on the the Montana House of Representatives where that party is in the right and where the Republican majority needs to get a grip.

Rep Zooey Zephyr* (D-Missoula) is a transgender female. She ran and was elected as such. She needs to be seated. Right now she has been expelled and prevented from attending to her duties inside the chamber, and must cast votes from the hallway outside. There has been no official censure.**

Zephyr has brought much of this on herself by joining in protests and chanting from the gallery with other protests. That short of behavior is unbecoming. Any member who behaved in this matter, no matter philosophical alignment, would likely be censured, maybe even expelled. Elected officials are there to debate issues in a rational and sane manner, and not to hold placards and yell and shut down the legislative process. .

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Laser reflectors on the Moon?

I just ran across some interesting calculations regarding measurement of the distance from Earth to the Moon. NASA claims that on three of the six missions where astronauts landed on the Moon, retro-reflectors were left on the surface for Earthbound scientists to bounce laser signals off.

I’d never really thought much about it but did know that laser signals had been bounced off the Moon prior to the Apollo program. In fact, as I learn, scientists at MIT was doing this as early as 1962.

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A sad death for a little guy

This morning I left the house for the gym, putting on my downstairs shoes. I keep two pair in slip-on slip-off state, one by the back door, one by the front, so that I never forget and walk on carpet with dirty shoes. I drove to the Post Office, and then to the gym, about seven miles. Once there I walked across the parking lot, slipped off my back door shoes and put on my gym shoes, and then completed my workout.

After I finished I took my gym shoes off and grabbed my back door shoes, and freaked.

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The ban has ended

Several days ago I removed Petra Liverani from the moderation list, and told her she was free to come and go here as she pleased. I told her the real reason I banned her was that she was ignoring the host of the blog, not a good idea. I also told her that I knew of the pain, humiliation and anger that goes along with banning, and that it would not happen again.

I thought that I should also publicly apologize to her, as she did nothing to deserve such treatment. She was being herself. And I do apologize to her now, in front of everyone.

Let this be a warning to all of you! The host of this blog can behave badly, but usually comes around.

Agent before, honest man now

It was 2008 or so, not sure when. I could look it up, as I signed a contract, a “NDA”, or nondisclosure agreement. A large Lincoln Continental pulled in our driveway in Bozeman, and I sat inside with a man named Dell. I had been blogging for a few years, nothing really interesting, party politics and the like, and a very small following.

Dell said that blogging was seen as a tool for his people, a way to influence people. He thought my writing was crisp, but could serve a better purpose. Partisan politics was good, he thought, a nice way to keep people divided without affecting any outcomes, but blogging could serve a larger purpose.

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