Tuesday, July 28, 2009

cesspools and Amsterdam

This is pretty amazing. Fox News compares Amsterdam to a cesspool. The statistics prove otherwise.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

This is NPR...

I used to listen to NPR constantly. This reminded me of those heady days...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

stop! thief!

On registering my boys for school In Arkansas, I had to retrieve their social security cards and their birth certificates. No problem as they are stored not too far away so I head over to the storage facility. I get to my bay and notice a different lock on the door. The facility requires a circular lock and this one was a standard Masterlock.

I get the attendant to cut the lock off and sure enough around $7000 worth of stuff is gone. A list follows...

I hadn't been to the unit in 2-3 weeks and fortunately the facility does tours every 7-10 days to check for nonstandard locks. They should be able to pinpoint the time to within a few days. The also have cameras that record the gate so if the culprit took the goods out of the front gate we should be able to see them. The detective was quick to point out that they might not have left the facility at all.

The detective has worked a few cases at this location and felt confident that he could catch the culprit. The police responded in a matter of minutes and shortly thereafter 2 detectives showed up and dusted for finger prints and DNA. DNA!? It was very cool as the boys got to watch a real life CSI.

Two things about this situation are awful:

First, I had no insurance. Duh! I made the assumption that storage facilities are safe. They are not. The frequency that crimes occur in storage facilities is pretty staggering.

Second, the storage facility is not (and I do not have a copy of my contract in my hand yet so this is from memory) IS NOT responsible.

Here is the list:
make and model numbers aren't listed because I don't have them. Make that 3 terrible things

Air compressor $300
circular saw $50
corded drill $50
Craftsman router/table $300
Kenmore Washer/dryer (front loading) $3000
Onkyo 717 receiver $700
go cart $300
pocket motorcycle* $300
Specialized Globe Bike $400
Mongoose kids bike $120
Frankenstein motorized bike with 50cc motor* $200
52" Rear projection TV $1000
4' Zap Skimboard* $180
Total so far $6800

* These items should be easy to track. The bike is one of a kind and a skimboard in AR? Please... Pictures/Videos of these items are below. Oh well. No pics of the skimboard.

Don't let this happen to you. Storage facilities are not safe. No matter what the owners tell you. I would venture a guess that none of them have any responsibility for your gear. Check your facility daily. This totally sucks almost negating the need for storage units altogether. And most importantly insure your stuff. Write down all your make/model numbers and serial numbers. Take pictures of everything you can.

Franken motorcycle

Pocket bike

Your comments are like Christmas presents! I love them!

capturing bees

I had gotten some questions on my bee box video on youtube and needed a little more room to answer than they offer. So here they are:

denizaks14 wrote about capturing bees and harvesting the honey. The following is an attempt to address both issues. Please keep in mind I no longer keep bees and NEVER was an expert to begin with so please take all my answers with a block of salt.

The bees aren't actually kept in the bee box, a point I should have made clear in the video. The box is only used to line (or track) the bees back to their original hive. A hive can generally be a kept hive or a feral hive. By kept hive I mean a hive that already has an owner. I'd recommend leaving those alone. ;-) A feral hive is a swarm of bees that have swarmed from a kept hive.

A feral hive can be described as an escaped colony and needs care. Wild bees oftentimes no longer exist because of a variety of ills. Varroroa mites, disease and Colony Collapse Disorder all take their toll on an escaped swarm. These can be controlled (well perhaps not CCD) by an attentive beekeeper.

Here in the southeastern US, bees will often find a hollow Sweetgum tree. To capture the hive the top of the tree would be cut off so that the cut is above the hollow. Then the bottom would be cut below the hollow leaving a log that contains the hollow. This hollow log can then be carried to a convenient location for keeping. An empty hive body can be placed near the tree hive and the bees might move into the new hive making them easier to keep.

Honey can be extracted using a tool called a honey extractor. A honey extractor is basically a steel bucket with a rack inside that is spun by either a motor or by hand slinging the honey out by centrifugal force. The honey then runs down the inside of the bucket to a waiting spigot. Plans for honey extractors can be found here and here or they can be bought outright.

Make a mark! Leave a comment!