Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Graphic of the Day - Nation-State Fragilty Index

The folks at the FundForPeace generated this graphic of the global stability sit-rep for each sovereign nation per a color-coded threatcon index. Being the irrepressible geek of random information that I am I could not resist looking at this when I encountered it on Twitter just minutes ago nor can I keep myself from sharing it here. Actually, self-deprication aside, this is fascinating stuff if one is a political science/geography/history aficionado. Left click image to enlarge.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

At Least I'm A Member of Phi Alpha Theta

With my Cal Poly undergrad career recently completed (two weeks ago), I have been taking some inner inventory and internalizing what I just experienced over the course of the past two years and accomplished when all is said and done. This is all rather complex and rife with conflicting emotions. I'm not yet able to be happy or excited about it as the joy of the experience got sucked right out by the events which transpired in my life both over the course of my two undergraduate years at Cal Poly as well as during yet another stretch run of yet another quarter. As a result of the shit sandwich which was the last couple of weeks of my undergrad career (got pertussis, was overwhelmed by senior project, two regular papers, and three finals, combined with Loved One doing their thing again as if on cue) I mostly just feel relieved it is over, grateful I survived it and grateful I was given the opportunity to go back to college in my 40's and grateful for the honor of being able to attend Cal Poly given the kind of school it is, grateful I graduated with a BA and grateful I was accepted into grad school there. I am also feeling a bit frustrated that I did not get better grades due to my own lack of adequate time-management at times and deadline anxiety issues combined with inexcusable distractions being thrown my way by people I love and trust. I need to figure out how to accept what is and focus on that gratitude, forgive people and myself and move on, and be content with a B+ average at Cal Poly despite being smart enough and capable enough of having gotten an A average. I am somewhat disappointed it did not work out for me to get involved with any on-campus activities like the Christian group or the Rose Parade Float-building club. Not living on campus but rather in Paso Robles made it effectively impossible to partake in these things nor did I acquire a girlfriend or wife there as I had hoped might happen. Perhaps I was expecting too many things to come out of my experience there or I am ungrateful for all that did come out of it. I need more time to sort things out both in regards to Cal Poly and in life generally. In any case, I did manage to accomplish one other thing at Cal Poly besides getting a diploma: I gained membership into Phi Alpha Theta, the history honorary society whose symbol is above.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

Molten Mount Looms Over Liquid Lake

Yesterday afternoon a wildfire started on the south margin of Lake Isabella in the southern Sierra Nevada Range of Kern County, CA. The Erskine Fire quickly evolved into a conflagration and firestorm which burned over a number of housing tracts charring 19,000 acres as of this posting and destroying betweeen 80-100 homes/structures and killing two local residents who were overrun during the initial or extended attack phase of this fire. This is yet the latest in a growing list of wildfires whose extreme behavior signal a change in the intensity of wildfire in California not only resulting from the ongoing drought but also more subtly but no less  significantly from climate change. A great many wonderful photographs and video sequences were captured of this event, but none come close to the magic contained in the images shot by photojournalist Michael Cuffe who combining his skills with being in the perfect location and setting what with the moon location and phase and all, created some surreally beautiful yet ominous images of this fire, the best in the photographic sequence being above. Photo courtesy of Michael Cuffe (all rights reserved).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Not Out of Reach For Me

I recently rediscovered this progressive house gem amongst my bookmarks and enjoyed it last night. I finally realize it always belonged on this blog and somehow I forgot about it after initially discovering it some time ago. In 2013, Alle Wagt a.k.a. Allen Watts hailing out of the Netherlands, created this wonderful track "Out of Reach" which is remixed here by Aussie deejay Thomas Hayes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Da Vinci Does Xenomorphs

This eye-catching and ominous Da Vinci-esque diagramming of the late H.R. Giger's xenomorph by Elkin Salamanca Alarcon is modern art quite to my liking. Illustrations and accompanying writings by Elkin Salamanca Alarcon (all rights reserved).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Graphic of the Day - Whose Got Nukes

There is a lot of contradictory information about how many nukes each of the nations in the nuclear family of nations possess, especially in regards to the United States and Russia. This seems to be the most reliable source or as good as any of the top sources. The U.S. and Russia have made major reductions since the Cold War and yet still have more than enough nukes to destroy each other and even move piles of rubble around.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fish Fire Day & Night

Two major wildfires broke out on the Angeles National Forest in eastern Los Angeles County this afternoon, about an hour apart. The more easterly now-1,500-acre Reservoir Fire began near Morris Reservoir in San Gabriel Canyon. An hour later, the now-3,000-acre Fish Fire began in the hills above Duarte, CA. The Mount Wilson Towercam is a wonderful way to watch wildfires when the operators are pointing it at a nearby wildfire. I learned this during the 2009 Station Fire. Below is an image from the Towercam captured during the peak of the fire's daytime activity and the latter image was captured tonight as the Strawberry Moon rose over the eastern LA Basin. Images courtesy of UCLA (all rights reserved).*Update: both fires were combined into the San Gabriel Complex overnight. Updated 6/21/16, 2:05 p.m.

Both images courtesy of UCLA (all rights reserved).