Sunday, September 03, 2017



I just received my very first Bitcoin into my wallet.

Given the current price of bitcoin you most likely are now thinking, "THOSE SUCKERS COST AROUND $4,000.00 USD APIECE!"

And you would be 100% correct.

Back in early August I installed a full BitCoin Node on a test machine someone let me use: A desktop-tower 16-Gb Intel Multi-Core-i5 running at 3-Ghz with a 1-Tb Hard drive. 

So it is plenty big enough to host the entire block-chain and keep up with it.  The initial update took a couple of days though.  Now when I crank it up it only takes an hour or two to 'catch-up' with the block chain.  Which by the way uses around 145-Gb of disk space.

So, you may ask; "Just where do find $4,000.00 laying around to purchase a Bitcoin."

And the answer is: "I do NOT have that kind of money just to play around with!"

Here is the punch line:  When you install the full node from you ALSO get installed the same app but configured to work with a block-chain called "testnet" which is exactly like the normal bitcoin block-chain except it is for development and test use and the coins in the block-chain have zero value.  

And if anyone on the planet is ever seen trying to sell a bitcoin from that block chain the entire block chain is reset and all the bitcoins are GONE!.  Also the blocks look like random strings when you attempt to send/receive testnet Bitcoin to a wallet that is connected to the real block-chain.

So the next step is to send all/part of it to another wallet.

And the next question you may ask is: "And just where do you get free bitcoins?"

Well the answer is:  "You turn on 'The Faucet' and a bitcoin just comes right out!  Duh!"

Well sort of: You have to find a faucet first and if that faucet is connected to testnet then 1.8 Bitcoin comes out.  

And if that faucet is connected to the real block-chain then about 0.000001 Bitcoin comes out.  

(I may not have enough zeros there but you would need a gazillion of those to come up with one penny in USD.)


See the screenshot below:

This is what a BitCoin Looks Like

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Bike Ride - Small(er) Whoops

A Bike Ride

Thursday 27 July 2017
41 min
8.5 miles
13.7 mph avg

About 7:30AM I left Falls of the Neuse Dam on the Neuse River Trail and was doing great. I was not trying to crank it up or lollygag, just having a good ride.

I passed under the I-540 bridge and was just about to go under the Buffalo Road bridge when I was distracted by something and swerved on the grass.

I looked up and there was a sign right there, I swerved to miss it going further onto the verge and there was a concrete cylinder with a manhole on top about five feet high.

I thought, "GOT TO SWERVE!" And the next thing was "splat": I was on the ground one shoe on, out of the clips, and one shoe off, it was still in the clips. Front wheel and handlebars twisted, water bottles ejected, frame tire pump just hanging loose, and the chain off the front sprocket.  I rolled onto my left side, gasping for breath: I had the wind knocked right out of me, my right chest area was really hurting, my right index finger was gashed and bleeding and my upper right arm was really hurting.

Two cyclist came by, stopped, helped me call Evelyn and 911 and volunteered to take my bike in their pickup. The correct characterization of the Two Cyclists is actually Two Angels.

I told E that I would meet her at REX Hospital and she and our son, who is visiting right now, took his car and collected our car.

At REX I got X-Rayed and stitched up and am now back home, only four stitches in my finger and three broken ribs. The ribs were not displaced.

The Doc said "Six-Weeks" and stitches out in five days. I'm drinking lots of gatorade and taking a Hydrocodone/Tylenol mixture.

And thanking my lucky, lucky stars that neither my hip nor my knees were affected in the least! And thinking; "I have now set a new dumb-ass-cyclist record".

I believe I was not properly hydrated when I started the ride. This caused my BP to drop 41 min into the ride which in turn caused me to go off the trail onto the verge an not be as responsive as necessary to avoid what happened.

The good news is I will NEVER leave on a bike ride again without being properly hydrated. ☹️

Friday, July 07, 2017

117 Years - 3 Total Eclipses Of The Sun SE USA

117 Years
3 Total Eclipses of the Sun
Southeastern United States

Over the past one hundred and seventeen years there have been three total solar eclipses of the sun that were visible in the Southeastern United States.  

The first occurred on 28 May 1900.
The second occurred on 07 May 1970.
The third will occur on 21 August 2017.

I was standing the backyard of the home I grew up in, with my parents, my older sister, our neighbors and my grandfather on the 7th of May 1970.  I was engaged to be married and my then fiancée was teaching school in Wilmington NC.  She had a group of her kids singing for a teacher's meeting on Wrightsville Beach that day and asked everyone to let them be excused for a bit to out in the parking lot to see the eclipse.

As the eclipse became total I recall it was as if the sun had set or was about to rise but the direction of sunrise/sunset was around the entire horizon rather than just to the west or east.  That was until you looked up and there in the sky high over head was this perfect deep red ring in the sky with streamers surrounding it.

My grandfather who grew up along the NC/SC border near Tabor City NC said, "Yes, that is exactly how it looked with I was just a boy!".  My grandfather was born in 1888 and would have been 12 years old in 1900.

So now this year on the 21st of August if all goes well I will see the second total solar eclipse of my life and can say, "Yes, that is exactly how it looked when I was 23 years old!"

I expect there is no one alive today who can recall seeing the eclipse of 1900.  My grandfather saw two, and I will likely see two, and my father saw one (1970).  There is nice symmetry there.

Below are graphics depicting of these three eclipses. 

28 May 1900

07 May 1970

21 August 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Neuse River Trail

22 June 2017 - Neuse River Trail Bike Ride

Today was a good day for a ride, not raining and not too warm in the morning.  And the Neuse River Trail had been cleaned up by removing the fallen trees and brushing off where the mud covered the trail.  Recent heavy rains did scattered gravel over the trail in two or three places, but for the most part it was clear.

I rode down to Glenburnie Dam ate my P.B.J. and returned to Falls of The Neuse Dam.

47.92 ... km (total distance, 30 miles)
21.10 ... kph (average speed)
02:16 ... hh:mm (time rolling)
115 ..... bpm (average heart rate)
127 ..... bpm (maximum heart rate)
53 ...... rpm (average cadence)

Milage At Turn Around Point

Elapsed Time

Glenburnie Dam
Falls of Neuse Lake is really releasing water
The waterfall is about one half its normal height. 

Zoom Out

Me, in my 2016 MS150 jersey and MS150 hat.

Above are some pictures from the bridge over the river just down from Glenburnie Dam.

Cadence History
You can see the turnaround point (lower graph) and later when
I stopped at a picnic table to finish my PBJ.
The upper graph is some metric the app puts together.

Heart Rate
Not sure what the Lap1 Lap2 stuff is all about.
Perhaps when I stopped at the dam it automatically
did a lap increment.
Above are the two screen shots from the app that monitors my cadence and heart rate.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

27 May 2017 - American Tobacco Trail (ATT) - Bike Ride

Yesterday looked like a good day for a ride.  The Neuse River Trail look like it was still messy.  I decided to give the ATT a spin.

The ATT has good points in that the trail surface is very nice.  This is the first time I've been on the ATT since the Durham County section has opened.

I traveled to the southern end and rode all the way to Durham to mile number 5 (of 22) giving around 34 miles total.  This allowed me to cross over I40 on the beautiful bike/pedestrian bridge.

The ride was the longest ride I've done since 'The Big Whoops' of 21 August 2016.  The distance I traveled was just a bit short of one half of a day's ride on the MS150.  So I have my work cut out for me to be in shape enough to do 4 such rides as I did yesterday in at two day period by September.

Here are the details of the ride:

53.73 km ...... Total Distance (33 miles)
17.50 kph ..... Average Speed  (10 miles per hour - very slow)
03:04 hh:mm ... Total Time (rolling)
03:24 hh:mm ... Total Bike Ride (20 minutes rest)
115   bpm ..... Average Heart Rate
135   bpm ..... Max Heart Rate
 68   rpm ..... Average Cadence 

Here are some pictures from the ride:

This Park Is At The Border Of Wake And Chatham Counties
And Is The Start Of The Paved Section

Park At Start Of The Paved Section

The Paved Section

A Convenience Store Near The 5 Mile Marker
I Purchase A Small Bottle Of Gatorade
And A "Confused - Snickers Bar"

Looking West From The I40 Bike/Pedestrian Bridge

Looking South 

Looking North

Heart Rate Graph
The Peak Is Coming Up The Hill
Just Before The I40 Bridge
And The Dip In The Middle Is
At The Convenience Store

Cadence Graph
(That 163 is bogus)
And The Dip In The Middle Is At
The Convience Store

Monday, May 22, 2017

18 May 2017 - Neuse River Trail - Bike Ride

Last Thursday the 18th looked like a good day for a bike ride.  The big rains were over and the release of excess water from the Falls of the Neuse dam was ended, so I thought it would be ok to ride.

My first clue that the Neuse River Trail was not back to normal was when I turned down the road that leads to the car park for the trail and found that the gate was closed and locked.

I went ahead and parked in the small lot right at the dam and noted that there were other cars with bike racks so I got ready to go.

A fellow had just arrived at the parking lot and was discussing the trail and noted there were two trees down and some water and mud and that he had just started from Anderson Point Park and was about to ride back.  Anderson Point Park is about 28 km from the dam.

I decided to head out.  Sure enough even before arriving at the seven mile mark at the WRAL Soccer Center I came up on a log across the road.  I think it must have been lying alongside the path and when the river overflowed due to the release of excess water from the lake it floated in such a manner to position itself right across the path.  I figured this was the first tree down that the fellow talked about.

Also a few hundred yards down the trail there was a muddy patch and following that a puddle that was a maximum of 2-3" deep but served to nicely wash off my tires.  Then less than a mile later was a tree that was actually down across the trail.  here are pictures of this tree:

This is looking down river and there is a beaten path to the left where hikers and riders made a detour.

This is looking up river after going around the tree.  As you can see the trail is totally blocked and a detour must be done, which was on the high ground and dry.

After passing the seven mile mark there were a few puddles and some dried mud but no other obstructions.  I had to decide where to turn around or to go on to Anderson Point Park and turn around there.

I decided to turn around at the one hour mark which would make for a nice two hour ride.  So the first bridge across the neuse, as part of the trail, and not a side trail was at about the 19 km mark and I found that to be a good spot to turn around.  Here is a picture:
This is after crossing the bridge and looking back from the north side of the river.
The ride back was uneventful, except for the mud, the puddle, the big tree, and the log.  When I got back to the parking lot I did note some mud on the bike and washed it off when I returned to Swan Neck Ln.  Here is the picture of the bike:
Mud On The Bike.  Hard to see in this picture but there were some nooks and crannies that really needed a good wash to clean them out.
Here are the stats of the ride:

37.37 ... kilometers (total distance)
19.00 ... kilometers per hour (average speed)
01:58 ... hh:mm (time rolling) 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Guaranteed Minimum Income

In a recent FaceBook post my nephew opined that he was in favor of such a policy and invited his friends to 'Talk Him Out Of It".

Well, needless to say, nothing but 'crickets' responded to that challenge.

I did respond, not to talk him out of his view but instead to give it a logical foundation:

  • There is a tension between folks who think that 'the-system' is there to be 'gamed' and those who think 'the-system' is there to help civilization and society to operate properly.

    The folks who do not look upon 'the-system' as an opportunity to engage in 'gaming-it' are typically a bit more tuned into how we as a species work. We are a 'social-species' and can NOT 'go-it-alone' we must have others to persist and even survive. It really is the case that: 'No Man Is An Island.'

    The folks who look upon 'the-system' as a opportunity to engage in 'gaming-the-system' are certainly aware that we are a social species but they also adhere the game-theoretic model of a strategy that is characterized by the idea of an 'opportunistic-bloom'.

    Iterated games where the strategy is aware of what other players 'did-last-time-they-interacted' will evolve toward an optimal strategy called 'Tit-For-Tat' where the player cooperates with another player on first contact and if not first contact then it reacts to that player in the same way that player last treated it. So --- start out cooperating and then do to players whatever they did to you last time you interacted.

    Tit-For-Tat naturally leads to something called a 'mono-culture' where all other strategies are extinguished. But --- the problem with a mono-culture is that it has a vulnerability to a strategy called always-default such a strategy will 'bloom' in a 'mono-culture'. The ultimate result will be either the bloom wipes out the mono-culture or the mono-culture adapts and wipes out the 'bloom'. In the second case the mono-culture is said to become more 'robust'.

    People interact with each other in just this way. Some folks are quite happy to be in the 'Tit-For-Tat' group, some folks go even further and . 'Always-Cooperate', some folks naturally go for the 'Opportunistic' side of things.

    So what does this have to do with 'Guaranteed-Minimum-Income'. There are among us very high achievers who become wealthy and cling to 'Opportunist' type behaviors and rebel against the idea of a minimum income policy. And there are folks who are not wealthy who also cling to 'Opportunistic' type behaviors and would try to 'game-the-system' if it included a minimum income provision.

    The take-away here is that a careful consideration of 'the-system' implies that it is not a 'zero-sum' situation but instead if correctly crafted could be very 'robust' and include a minimum-income policy.

    And it goes without question that such a system would result in a net increase in the standard of living for everyone (including opportunistic wealthy folks).

Earth Day 2017

Earth Day 2017 - This is a good day to reflect on just how our species works. We know that we are an integral part of the ecosphere and not separate from it. Unfortunately we evolved in such a fashion that we tend to take opportunistic advantage of our ecosphere without any forethought that would do a proper analysis of whether or not our actions will harm, leave alone, or help the ecosphere persist in such a manner as to be friendly to our species. This lack of forethought has brought us to where we find ourselves today. Our 'mucking-around' with the Carbon-Budget of the planet by the intense conversion of fossil hydrocarbons into energy has changed the composition of the atmosphere of our planet so that the its ability to back radiate solar radiation is compromised. The result is that the planet's oceans and its atmosphere are heating up and our climate is changing as a consequence.
This change if allowed to proceed, fueled by our ever increasing use of fossil hydrocarbons to produce energy will render the ecosystem of our planet hostile to our species. Put in blunt terms we are on the verge of self-extinction. There is way, way more energy falling on our planet from the sun that is needed to power every single item that we care to power and many, many more. Our current level of technology if brought to bear on this could result in the total elimination of the our hydrocarbon economy and replace it with a sustainable non hydrocarbon economy. As time proceeds technologies could be developed to roll back the imbalance in the carbon budget so the ecosystem would again be more friendly to our species.
It is beyond unfortunate that some countries (our own included) engage in willful ignorance on this matter. If this willful ignorance persists we could easily see the extinction of our species.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Best Case / Worst Case For POTUS#45

Two cases, similar outcomes.

If And Only If

  • The following cases are if and only if the Investigations of the FBI/NSA/CIA bear out one of the scenarios below that emerged from the four hour public House Intelligence Committee meeting yesterday.  I listened carefully to everything that was said by the members of the committee who were GOP and DEM.  I do not know how the investigation will actually turn out.  We will necessarily have wait and see.  It really hinges on the Federal Bureau of Investigation now.  I think that the probability of one of the two cases below emerging is all but certain (but I've been wrong in the past).

Best Case - Best Outcome

  • BEST-CASE:  POTUS#45 was just an unwitting tool of the Russians going back to his passing of information to the Kremlin about Russian Mob Activity in New York City and got help from them on his various business misadventures.  

  • BEST-OUTCOME: POTUS#45 resigns, goes home and perhaps even avoids jail time. The United States of America starts to recover from the 2016 rigged-election.  The GOP is happy because they still control all three branches of government and the DEMS start trying to get their act together to take back the Legislative Branch in 2018.


    The Russians knew that they had a dim light bulb on their hands and really did not expect things to wind up where they are now.  Given they disrupted the 2016 election and managed to foil Secretary Clinton's bid for president and throw things after the election into an uproar they still declare a Win-Win for them.

Worst Case - Not So Good Outcome

  • WORST-CASE:  POTUS#45 knew what was happening the entire time from when he first started sending data to the Kremlin about Russian Mob Activity in New York City and was happy to get into a quid-pro-quo with them as he launched into running for president perhaps even at their suggestion.  

  • WORST-OUTCOME:  POTUS#45 resist the findings of the investigation and is impeached and perhaps even enjoys some jail time.  The GOP is in disgrace the DEMS quietly take over the house and senate in 2018 and we bump-along-the-bottom with POTUS#46 (Pence). 

    The Russians knew that they had a dim bulb on their hands and did not expect things to wind up where they are now. Given they disrupted the 2016 election and managed to foil Secretary Clinton's bid for president and further threw things after the election into an uproar, they still declare a Win-Win for them.

Things To Look For - Anyone who listened closely to the committee meeting yesterday probably has come to the same/similar conclusions. If you hear POTUS#45 and/or GOP zeroing in on either of the two cases above and really ramping-up their own super-spin that ignores these then you know that one of the cases is probably spot on.