August 30, 2005

'Posts like this give blogs a bad name' or 'Fire the DJ!'

This morning wasn't so fun because I had a Steely Dan song stuck in my head. The afternoon was a little better though because the soundtrack, over which I have no control, switched to Hall and Oates. Just think, it could have been Cat Stevens!

On edge

I don't think it is so well known in the US that Denmark is part of the coalition of the willing and has troops at 'Camp Eden' in southern Iraq. The Danish authorities are in a state of high alert since the recent attacks in London. Last week I saw a lot of photographers with telescopic lenses pointed through the wrought iron fence towards the middle of a park in Copenhagen, the park outside Rosenborg Castle where they have the crown jewels. Perhaps the royals were making an appearance? Then I saw a smallish white tank with a long arm for a turret back out of a police trailer and thought they must be practicing. The next day at lunch I heard what had really happened-- apparently a man was collecting bottles in the park and one of the bottles in his shopping cart burst (exploded?), so they called the bomb squad. 'Too much yeast!' someone said at lunch.

Today I got down to the platform in time to see my train dissappear from the monitors. Then they announced that all trains along my line had been cancelled because a bag had been left at one of the other stations. Back above ground I saw a lot of police. I rode my bike to the central station and after a slight delay was able to catch a train bound for Sweden. Will have to check the news tonight to find out what was going on. I sure am glad these guys take their jobs seriously.

August 27, 2005

It's the end of the world as we know it!

Today I broke three eggs to make an omelet for lunch. Every single egg had a double yolk. One of the other eggs in the carton was cracked, so I broke it open too to take a look. A double yolk!

That's just the beginning. This afternoon I washed a lot of socks, like the first load of socks since school let out for summer. I just took them in off the line and every single pair matched up. No singletons!!

What can it mean?!?

August 26, 2005

On Sweden

Tim has asked me what everyone over here thinks of Americans. There is no simple answer. As an American who has lived in Sweden for the last 10 years, I have heard a lot of criticism of my homeland. (One annoying habit of the Swedes is that they are specialists at a kind of hypocritical criticism of other country's faults). One time about a year ago I got mad after reading a newspaper article that contained stereotypical anti-American-prejudiced hogwash, and wrote the following draft of a letter to the editor which I never sent.

Swedes in glass torsos shouldn't throw rocks at Americans for being greedy, uncaring capitalists, since Swedes have done a pretty good job competing in the global marketplace. According to the people who watch such things, the richest person in the world today is a Swede.

Just as all Swedes are not sitting in red cabins in Smaaland carving horses, far from all Americans live up to Swedes' preconceptions of us. America is a large country (if it were a State, Sweden would only be allowed 23 congressional representatives, out of a total of 432), and no matter what you set out to prove, you can find a good example of it in the land of the free and the home of the brave. In that way, the US is a kind of psychological Rorschach test, and a person's opinion about it often says more about them than about the US.

Many Swedes are ignorant about the land of opportunity, and many believe the craziest things about my homeland. A good example is provided by the youths in your article-- although its an OK start, America is about so much more than drinking cola and listening to Bruce Springsteen. Some examples that may surprise you: the 19th Amendment to the US constitution guaranteed women's right to vote a year before they were awarded that right in Sweden. The United States contains many regions, and my own state (Minnesota) banned the death penalty in 1906, 15 years before Sweden. Per capita, more Americans volunteer for good causes and more give money to charity than do Swedes. I would argue that's because Americans believe you need to take a personal role in making the world a better place. As opposed to Sweden, America has antitrust legislation with teeth, a beautiful national park system more than a hundred years old, and 17 of the world's top 20 universities.

South Atlantic Hurricane

Hurricane Catarina struck the south coast of Brazil on 28 March, 2004. For a time it was thought only to have been a very intense tropical cyclone, but a paper published recently in Geophysical Research Letters shows clearly that it was a hurricane, and significantly, the first known hurricane in the South Atlantic. Catarina developed because of a combination of high sea surface temperature, low vertical wind shear and blocking of the normal east-west atmospheric flow. These in turn are features of large-scale circulation of the regional atmosphere, and could be related to climate change, leading to more hurricaines in the South Atlantic in the future.

August 24, 2005


Twenty five years ago today my sister Andrea and Brian Johnson got married at the Associated Church in Owatonna. My father performed the ceremony and I guess he also gave away the bride, who took her husbands name. Congratulations to the happy couple! I remember it was a wonderful sunny day. There was a vollyball game on the front lawn of the church after the rehearsal; the groom's side won.

It took me a few years to realize what a great guy my sister had brought into the family. I have Brian to thank for my acoustic guitar and for the chessboard Fredrik and I played on just last night after dinner. He made it himself and the wood has hypnotizing wavy patterns. We have a couple of Brian's paintings in our living room and I used to have a rather large oil painting of his, of Karpov and Kasparov, at Macalester. One time when I was in Jr. High Brian made some amazing drawings of knights and dragons and hobbits. Art is timeless!

What else can I tell you about these happy people? They have two wonderful kids, a house and a dog and a cat. While the kids' names (Amy and Brett) are just fine, they are not nearly as interesting as some of the cats': Pumpkin sugarface and Alabaster. Brian and Andrea lived in St. Paul for a few years when they were newlyweds while my sister went to Macalester. When I visited (I was ca. 14) they would take me to their favorite places along the Mississippi bluffs, and to Nationalbaums to buy food.

August 23, 2005

The mysterious

I have been looking for the right way to express how I feel about the intelligent design theory. The short answer is that I think it is both lazy science and lazy Christianity. But Kate has posted the perfect quote:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.

-Albert Einstein

What I mean by this is that I think what the ID people are attempting is perverse because it is an attempt to take the mystery (and the meaning!) out of religion. For example, what if they turn out to be right and the mechanism resulting in the formation of blood clots could not have evolved by natural processes and is irrefutable evidence of intelligent design. What has been achieved? There would no longer be any role for faith. What if it is subsequently discovered that there is an evolutionary explaination for clotting involving stepwise adaptation of e.g. digestive enzymes. Would that mean we should doubt God's existence?

August 22, 2005

Chance meeting

In a dream last night I was at a supermarket in a strange place, industrial England maybe, judging by the brick walls outside. I went through the checkout and walked through a hallway to a side room where there was a TV showing a music video. I sat down on a couch in the dark room. David Bowie was there too, and we started talking, and then my Mom came in and sat down. I couldn't believe I was talking to David Bowie but stayed cool. I told my mom how this was the guy who had made all the albums my brother Lowell used to listen to, like Ziggy Stardust. He said that he didn't think much about that period anymore. I told David that my mom is a musician too, and then I asked him about Lou Reed's album Metal Machine Music. David told me that he was studying chemistry, and that if an aliphatic sidegroup on a benzene ring were ever to be oriented so it looked straight down the length of the bond, the universe would come to an end. Later we went outside and watched a boy kicking a soccer ball against a brick wall. I sat in the mud and used my finger to scrape a thick layer of clay from my feet.

I slept through my alarm this morning, but it was worth it to have the chance to meet David Bowie.

August 21, 2005

Swimming gophers

Our younger son (soon two) was wearing a Minnesota gophers T-shirt today that my sister sent. My wife asked me if the gophers were a football team. 'The Golden Gophers do everything,' I replied, 'they have Gopher hockey, Gopher basketball, Gopher track, Gopher baseball, Gopher swimming...' 'Gophers swimming' she said, 'shouldn't they be using muskrats?' No its not always easy being married to a foreigner although nowadays I am the foreigner.

Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory

Dave Ploeg has been telling me for a few years that I should read Julian Simon's stuff, so I have started. I can really see how he inspired Bjoern Lomborg (see also this link), the Danish author whose book The Skeptical Environmentalist caused an international storm a few years ago, and caused a sea change in Danish politics. Simon makes some good points, for example that by and large people are living longer and better in first and third world countries. Simon is a man who paints with a broad brush and in my opinion he misses the point of why some people (like me) choose to work with environmental issues. Far from being 'doomsters' I prefer to think we are simply trying to be constructive.

Some quotes from the introduction to Simon's book:

You may wonder why the tone of this book is so overwhelmingly positive whereas that of most popular writings is so negative. The most important explanation, I think, is the nature of the comparisons that are made. The comparisons in this book mostly compare now with earlier times. The comparisons others make often show one group versus another, or contrast how we are versus how we think we should be or would like to be - situations that guarantee a steady flow of depressing bad news.

If you want to make things better then the natural comparison is between a world with the improvement versus the world without it-- for example, should we put particle filters on diesel engines, should we build wind farms or ethanol plants, should we regulate emissions of mercury? These proposals can be judged using hard-nosed analysis and in my view there is nothing wrong with that. 'Progress' implies that we are constantly inventing new manufacturing methods and chemical compounds, and virtually all of these will be released into the environment. Therefore in order to have sustainable development we need scientists who can evaluate and hopefully minimize negative effects of pollution.

On the one hand, the doomsters say that there are too many of us; on the other hand, they warn that we are in danger of most of us being wiped out. Usually, a larger number of members of a species is greater protection against being wiped out. Hence there is an apparent contradiction.

It is natural and moral to be concerned with the safety and welfare of society, and there are dangers out there. True some of them, perhaps most of them, are only imagined, but equally true, some of them are legitimate. The progress we have made in battles to establish a safe working environment in industry and in the fight against disease and to prevent environmental catastrophes like the Exxon Valdez spill and the breach of dams holding Spanish mining waste has only been possible because we knew what we were doing. That is, research, concern, engagement and hard nosed science, far from being a brake on the economy, make the world a better place.

The doomsters reply that because there are more of us, we are eroding the basis of existence, and rendering more likely a "crash" due to population "overshoot"; that is, they say that our present or greater numbers are not sustainable. But the signs of incipient catastrophe are absent. Length of life and health are increasing, supplies of food and other natural resources are becoming ever more abundant, and pollutants in our environment are lessening.

If after you read the book and still doubt the general theme that conditions have been getting better, I pray that you answer this question: What data would you cite to contradict the proposition that the material conditions of life have been improving?

I see no need to contradict this proposition. Far from it. The only reason people can make an issue of the environment is because their immediate needs have been met-- food, safety, and so on. A correlary is that one of the best ways to improve the world environment is to improve the standard of living of people around the world. Once people have the luxury of reflection, they may start thinking things like, why aren't there any fish in the ocean anymore? My grandfather used to catch lots of fish. Or, they may try to do something about the pollution being emitted by the regional power plant, or ask why the air in Mexico City or Beijing or Athens or Los Angeles or Boston makes your eyes hurt. In this and other sections Simon is fighting a paper tiger of his own construction.

I invite you to research for yourself the assertion that the conditions of humanity have gotten worse. Stop at the nearest library and inspect the two basic reference books - the Bureau of the Census's Statistical Abstract of the United States and Historical Statistics of the United States. Look in the index under "Pollution: Air," and "Pollution: Water," and examine the data for various years.

Simon sidesteps the issue of WHY the water and air have gotten cleaner (marginally): because people took the time to care about the environment. The improvements are a success story for the environmental movement.

I chose the following quote because it makes sense: Skilled persons require a framework that provides incentives for working hard and taking risks, enabling their talents to flower and come to fruition. The key elements of such a framework are economic liberty, respect for property, and fair and sensible rules of the market that are enforced equally for all. The world's problem is not too many people, but lack of political and economic freedom. Powerful evidence comes from pairs of countries that had the same culture and history and much the same standard of living when they split apart after World War II -- East and West Germany, North and South Korea, Taiwan and China. In each case the centrally planned communist country began with less population "pressure", as measured by density per square kilometer, than did the market-directed economy. And the communist and non-communist countries also started with much the same birth rates. But the market-directed economies performed much better economically than the centrally-planned economies. This powerful demonstration cuts the ground from under population growth as a likely explanation of poor economic performance.

To sum up the argument of the book: In the short run, all resources are limited. An example of such a finite resource is the amount of attention that you will devote to what I write. The longer run, however, is a different story. The standard of living has risen along with the size of the world's population since the beginning of recorded time. There is no convincing economic reason why these trends toward a better life should not continue indefinitely.

This is quite different than the picture presented by the authors of The Coming Generational Storm, themselves well-reputed economists.

The essence of wealth is the capacity to control the forces of nature, and the extent of wealth depends upon the level of technology and the ability to create new knowledge.

Every resource economist knows that all natural resources have been getting more available rather than more scarce, as shown by their falling prices over the decades and centuries.

But what about peak oil?? There is a difference between the CFC replacements which got to be chaper than the compounds they replaced once production was scaled up, and crude oil, which is limited. The end of cheap crude will lead to higher energy prices.

To repeat, every forecast of the doomsayers has turned out flat wrong. Metals, foods, and other natural resources have become more available rather than more scarce throughout the centuries. The Famine 1975 forecast by the Paddock brothers that we would see famine deaths in the U.S. on television was followed by gluts in agricultural markets. After Paul Ehrlich's primal scream - "What will we do when the [gasoline] pumps run dry?" - there came gasoline cheaper than since the 1930s. The Great Lakes are not dead; instead they offer better sport fishing than ever. The main pollutants, especially the particulates which have killed people for years, have lessened in our cities.

When the doomsayers hear that oil can be obtained from various kinds of crops, they say: Yes, but it costs much more than fossil fuels. They do not imagine the cost reductions from increased efficiency that will inevitably take place in the future, and they do not foresee that the total cost of energy, already a very small part of our economy, will become even smaller in the future. And when they hear that the rich countries are becoming cleaner and less polluted with each decade, the doomsayers say: But what about the poor countries? They do not imagine that the poor countries, when they become richer, will also eventually turn to becoming cleaner rather than dirtier, as the now-rich countries have done. Again and again they do not imagine the adjustments that individuals and communities make that create more resources, invent better technologies, and overcome environmental problems.

I think that Simon also has a lack of imagination and it lies in the gap between where we will be in the future if we are guided by technocratic management and what we can achieve if we let loose our imagination to solve all kinds of problems-- real and potential. And, who is calling who a 'doomsayer'? That shoe doesn't fit. If you would like to make the world a better place a rational way to go about it is to think of the things that make it not so nice. In my field of specialty this would be things like mid latitude ozone depletion (causes increased rate of skin cancer), transport and transformation of pollution in the troposphere (e.g. mercury, old-style Scotchguard) and climate change. It makes more sense to work on a prioritized list-- the bigger the threat (e.g. climate change) the more resources we should use to at least understand the causes and the effects. Of course everyone wants the best outcome and not the worst case scenario, but that doesn't mean that the worst case scenario isn't useful in strategic planning.

I think that worrying about what may come is as natural as the hickups. Simon seems to sense this as well-- towards the end of the introduction he quotes George Washington: "the restless mind of man cannot be at peace." Perhaps this is the reason we seek to know how the world will end? Primate Brow Flash discusses preparations for the Coming Global Shitstorm. You too should make a contingency plan! Stock up on candles and water, blankets and can openers, chocolate and squirrel traps, and don't forget a rubber raft.

August 19, 2005


Recent research has investigated gossip, talking about somebody when they aren't present. Gossip can account for about a third of conversatons at most workplaces, and turns out to play a vital role in the behaviour of groups. In one study people were asked to consider a rancher whose neighbor had not maintained his fence, allowing the cattle to wander and freeload. Men in particular said that the rancher had a duty to let everyone know about the troublesome neighbor. Another study examined rowing crews at the University of Wisconsin. When one of the teammates showed up late for practice and didn't pull his load, the rest of the crew first gossiped, and then started picking on the deadbeat oarsman. After this person left, conversations returned to normal.

According to the Encyclop?dia Brittanica, gossip is a recognized purpose of the Tibetan lamasery:

Apart from the ubiquitous redemptory, spiritual, and social goals of monastic systems, most of them condone peripheral goals of more or less mundane types. Thus, a Tibetan lamasery is not only a centre of spiritual counsel but also a bank, a judicial court, a school, and a gossip centre for the laity.

The barbershops of ancient Greece and Rome were centers for the exchange of gossip and opinion.

August 13, 2005

Two rivers

My first memory of being in a boat

The first time I remember being in a boat was in Alaska when I was 4 years old. I've been in a lot of fishing boats-- anchor at one end, outboard at the other, stringer off one side, net and bailing can rattling around-- so none of them stands out in my memory as the first boat even though I'm sure it was. But the boat in Alaska was not like any of them.

We drove from Minnesota to Alaska for vacation that summer, Mom, Dad and five kids in a Ford station wagon pulling a camper trailer. The smell of that camper is the smell of summer-- canvas, musty rug, foam rubber cushions with covers showing old-fashioned money, a waft of Coleman stove. As I said I was four, and my two brothers and two sisters ranged in age from 11 to 17.

It was a long drive, hot, dusty since most of the trans Canadian highway wasn't paved then. Alaska had strange things I had never seen before like mountains and pink salmon in a can. Each of my sisters bought a small seal sewn from seal fur and I didn't get one, even though I wanted one very much, because I didn't have something called an allowance. My father bought a wooden model of an Indian salmon-fishing wheel as a souvenir. In one town everyone was in the car and it started to drive away without me, I remember my hand stuck in the chrome door handle and me running alongside. My brothers and sisters told Dad to stop the car, and they opened the door and I got in-- Dad said he thought everyone was along. It gave me the idea that I had better keep an eye on myself.

One day we went on a tourist boat on a river and went upstream to a place where two rivers met. One river was the color of coffee with milk and the other was crystal clear, glacier water. For a long ways downstream from where they met you could still see the two rivers, sometimes mixing, mostly not.

August 11, 2005

Crisp hot pickles

Homemade hot pickles:

Bring 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar (ca. 12 %) and 3/8 cup sugar to a boil.
Remove from heat.
Cut up a red onion and throw it in.
Let the mixture cool while you prepare the following:
Two sliced fresh jalapenos
Three sliced cucumbers
Put in the fridge for at least two hours before eating-- for full flavor, steep for a day.
These crisp cold hot sweet pickes make a great garnish.
Remember to wash your hands after you cut up those peppers, and don't rub your eyes or any other sensitive areas.
Recipe inspired by Tom Partidge's stories about the pickes his grandpa (Louie Kovar???) used to make.
Tim I'm working on that essay.

August 09, 2005


Haven't posted for a few days due to a weak writer's block. One way around it is to think, OK, if I was going to write about something, what would it be? Some things to blog about if I were going to:

1. The first time I remember hearing long burn was from our Scoutmaster Tom Partridge in the boundary waters canoe area wilderness a quarter century ago. We were paddling in cedar strip canoes built by members of our own troop! He cut a thick slice off a dry salami and with characteristic enthusiasm explained how a key property of food was how long it took to digest. Sugars burned quickly, carbohydrates a little longer, then protein, with fat giving the coveted long burn. This was several epochs before Atkins or South Beach.

2. I have a pet peeve: I do a slow burn every time Boy Scouts appear in a movie or TV show. Hollywood writers never get it right, or at least, what I did in scouts has nothing to do with what I see portrayed. I remember one time in graduate school when my advisor fixed me with his beady eyes and asked, 'Were you an Eagle Scout?' as if this one fact could explain all the observations he had been making about me over the previous five years.

3. Good things to do instead of investing in ethanol plants. But instead of writing it here, take a look at this.

4. My recipe for hot pepper sweet and sour pickles.

August 04, 2005

On this day

On the 4th of August 1987, the Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine, which required radio and television stations to present balanced coverage of controversial issues. Acording to State Rep. Mark B. Cohen of Philadelphia, "The fairness doctrine helped reinforce a politics of moderation and inclusiveness. The collapse of the fairness doctrine and its corollary rules blurred the distinctions between news, political advocacy, and political advertising, and helped lead to the polarizing cacophony of strident talking heads that we have today."

August 03, 2005

The last laugh

I remember sitting in Dave Bickford's dorm room in Wallace hall and we started giving his roommate J. J. Allaire a hard time because he was studying useful subjects like economy and political science. The year was 1988. He was doing a special project with political science professor Chuck Green about something called hyper text. 'Hyper text markup language,' he explained. It was the funniest thing we had ever heard. Hyper text! It had to be a fad, a conspiracy cooked up by the soft sciences. We knew the real way to put computers to work was by studying things like Fortran 77, or maybe even C. 'Markup'??? That at least sounded like economics. Linking to documents? How could this possibly be related to politics?

August 02, 2005

Government report finds that some unidentified aerial objects are red, tear-drop shaped and move at meteor-like speeds

Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified aerial objects conducted by the U. S. Air Force. The project started in 1952 and was active until 1970. The goal of the project was to determine if these objects were a threat to national security. Thousands of reports were collected, analysed and filed. Its reports are available on the internet at The Blue Book Archive.

Here are some quotes I have gleaned from Special Report 14:

Study No. 102-EL-55/2-79
Analysis of reports of unidentified aerial objects
Project no. 100735 May 1955
No copyright material is contained in this publication.

Summary: Reports of unidentified aerial objects (popularly termed flying saucers or flying discs) have been received by the U. S. Air Force since mid-1947 from many and diverse sources. Although there was no evidence that the unexplained reports of unidentfied objects constituted a threat to the security of the U.S., the Air Force determined that all reports of unidentified aerial objects should be investigated and evaluated to determine if 'flying saucers' represented technological developments not known to this country.

The reports received by the U. S. Air Force on unidentified aerial objects were reduced to IBM punched-card abstracts of the data by means of logically-developed forms and standardized evaluation procedures.

The unfortunate term 'flying saucer' or 'flying disc', because of its widespread and indiscriminate use, requires definition. Many definitions have been offered, one of the best being that originated by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Director of the Emerson McMillin Observatory of The Ohio State University, who has taken a scientific interest in the problem of unidentified aerial objects since 1949. Dr. Hynek's definition of the term is 'any aerial phenomenon or sighting that remains unexplained to the viewer at least long enough for him to write a report about it.'

Categories of identification, established upon the basis of previous experience, were as follows: balloon, astronomical, aircraft, light phenomenon, birds, clouds, dust, insufficient information, psychological manifestations, unknown, other.

Psychological manifestations-- Religious fanaticism, a desire for publicity, or an over-active imagination were the most common mental aberrations causing this type of report.

The statistically usable variables presented in this study include the date, time, location, duration, reliability, and method of observation of the sighting, and the physical attributes of number, color, speed, shape, light brightness, and identification of the objects sighted.

According to Figure 2, 20 % of the sightings were categorized as unkown, and another 10 % as insufficient information. Of the 3200 sightings analyzed in this report, this gives roughly a thousand unidentified aerial objects in the period 1947 to 1952. According to Figure 18, of the unknown object sightings, 29 % were white, 17 % metallic, 10 % orange and 8 % red. By comparison, only 23 % of the known object sightings were white. 69 % of the unknown observations involved single objects, while 6 % involved eleven or more objects. With regards to velocity, 12 % of the unkown objects were stationary, 6 % moving at less than 100 mph, 34 % at more than 400 mph, and 4 % at a speed described as 'meteor-like.' In 31 % of the observations the speed was not stated. 45 % of the unknown objects were elliptical, 5 % were 'lenticular, conical or tear drop' shaped and 2 % were comet-shaped. Most of the unidentified flying objects were sighted in July, and fewest in March.

Case I (Serial 0573.00)
Two men employed by a rug-cleaning firm were driving across a bridge at 0955 hours on July 29, 1948, when they saw an object glide across the road a few hundred feew in front of them. It was shiny and metallic in construction, about 6 to 8 feet long and 2 feet wide. It was in a flat glide path at an altitude of about 30 feet and in a moderate turn to the left.

Case IV (Serial 4599.00)
A part-time farmer and a hired hand were curing tobacco at midnight on July 19, 1952, when they looked up and saw two cigar-shaped objects. One hovered while the other moved to the east and came back, at which time both ascended until out of sight.

Case VI (Serial 4822.00)
An instrument technician, while driving from a large city toward an Air Force base on December 22, 1952, saw an object from his car at 1930 hours. He stopped his car to watch it. It suddenly moved up toward the zenith in spurts from right to left at an angle of about 45 degrees....It finally assumed a position to the south of planet Jupiter at a high altitude, at which position it darted back and forth, left and right alternately.

Case IX (Serial 0066.00)
A farmer and his two sons, aged 8 and 10, were at his fishing camp on August 13, 1947. At about 1300 hours, he went to look for the boys, having sent them to the river for some tape from his boat. He noticed an object some 300 feet away, 75 feet above the ground....It was 'hedge hopping', following the contour of the ground, was sky blue, about 20 feet in diameter and 10 feet thick, and had pods on the side from which flames were shooting out. It made a swishing sound. The observer stated that the trees were highly agitated by the craft as it passed over. His two sons also observed the object.

Case XII (Serial 3601.00)
At 0535 on the morning of August 25, 1952, a musician for a radio station was driving to work from his home when he noticed an object hovering about 10 feet above a field near the road along which he was driving. As he came abreast of the object, he stopped his car and got out to watch. Having an artificial leg, he could not leave the road, since the surrounding terrain was rough. However, he was within about 100 yards of it at the point he was standing on the road. The object was not absolutely still, but seemed to rock slightly as it hovered. When he turned off the motor of his car, he could hear a deep throbbing sound coming from the object. As he got out of the car, the object began a vertical ascent with a sound similar to 'a large covey of quail starting to fly at one time.' The object ascended vertically through broken clouds until out of sight. ...shaped like two oval meat platters placed together.

Therefore, on the basis of this evaluation of the information, it is considered to be highly improbable that any of the reports of unidentified aerial objects examined in this study represent observations of technological developments outside the range of present-day scientific knowledge. It is emphasized that there was a complete lack of any valid evidence consisting of physical matter in any case of a reported unidentified aerial object.

August 01, 2005

This little guy

Who is this little guy?

He shows me proudly how he has put a horse and foal each in their own plastic cup.

I carry him under the pear tree. There are so many pears they weigh the branches down. The pears are small, hard but light. I walk forward, carefully, and they bang one by one on the back of his head. He laughs uncontrollably, like the first time he saw his big brother kick a ball.

We go to the beach and he proudly carries his pail and shovel across the sand.

He carries his cow wherever he goes, for better or worse, in sickness and in health.

We joke that he is one big muscle, especially when he doesn't want to be held.

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