Friday, July 31, 2015

Limbo Kitty returns as oil and gas fall more to close July

I opened and closed Oil falls to lowest prices since March with the state of the local retail gas market and the prospects for lower prices.
When I checked Gas Buddy two weeks ago, the stations in my old neighborhood were selling regular for $2.76.  Tonight, it shows them at $2.65.  Furthermore, the Detroit average has fallen to $2.72, 21 cents below the $2.93 it was at two weeks ago.  It appears likely to fall even for continuing falling prices at the pump and the return of Limbo Kitty.  Happy motoring!
Yesterday, I had an errand that took me near my old neighborhood and its cheap gas stations, so I drove the Prius to fill up.  The corner station and one of the two down the street were selling regular for $2.56 and a third was selling it for $2.55.  I filled up the Prius at the lowest price station, which should last me another 400+ miles.  By the time my new car needs another fill-up, I'll be teaching in the area and prices should be even lower.

Prices have continued to drop, as Gas Buddy shows that all of those stations lowered their prices last night by another penny and the station where I fueled up dropped its price even lower this afternoon to $2.51.  They are all pursuing the Detroit average, which was $2.62 yesterday and sank to $2.61 today.  Crude oil and seasonal price patterns will pull prices down even more.  Last Friday, WTI was selling for 48.14 and Brent for $54.62.  The same day, RBOB gasoline futures settled below the 200-day moving average of $1.8514, and they were even lower yesterday at $1.83.  While the downward trend reversed itself with a dead cat bounce of $48.52 for WTI as listed on Oil-Price.Net, Brent's fall continued unabated to $53.31 yesterday.  The slide became even more precipitous today, as the Reuters headline read Oil drops for fifth week; U.S. crude in biggest monthly fall since 2008.
U.S. crude posted its biggest monthly drop since the 2008 financial crisis on Friday after a string of losses in July triggered by China's stock market slump and signs that top Middle East producers were pumping crude at record levels.

A higher U.S. oil rig count for a second straight week added to the market's downside Friday despite a weaker dollar, which would normally support commodities.
U.S. crude settled down $1.40, or almost 3 percent, at $47.32 a barrel. It slid more than 2 percent on the week.

Through July, U.S. crude was down 21 percent, its largest monthly decline since October 2008, when oil had an epic collapse at the outbreak of the financial crisis.

Brent settled down $1.10, or 2 percent, at $52.21 a barrel. It lost 5 percent on the week and 18 percent on the month.
Oil has continued to fall after the U.S. market closed.  It's time for Limbo Kitty to return.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

WXYZ on redistricting reform

I concluded WXYZ previews marijuana legalization for the 2016 ballot by writing "WXYZ also looked at redistricting reform in the same newscast.  Stay tuned for an entry about that tomorrow."  Here it is, Push to have nonpartisan committees draw district lines in Michigan.

There's a movement in Michigan right now to change the way our state is redistricted.
Jeremy Moss is my district's Representative in Lansing and efforts like this make my glad he is.  As to whether his bill will get anywhere in the legislature, I have my strong doubts.  In that case, his plan B of taking to the people for a vote is much more likely to happen.  I hope it succeeds.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WXYZ previews marijuana legalization for the 2016 ballot

I repeated the following story in Good news from the Supreme Court this week.
It made one of the two predictions I made in Meanwhile, at the bottom of the ballot come true.
Two years ago, I told one of my students that there would be two changes in his lifetime propelled by his generation--marijuana legalization and marriage equality.
One down, one to go.
We may not have to wait that long, as I posted Marijuana legalization may be on the Michigan ballot next year just this past April--no fooling!  WXYZ reports in Debating the push to legalize marijuana in Michigan that 40,000 signatures have already been collected to put one of the measures on the ballot.

The push is on to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Michigan.
Rocky Raczkowski is on the losing side of this debate.  I'm not surprised.  As I wrote in Report on the 2014 Clawson 4th of July parade, "I volunteered for Gary Peters when he ran against him in 2010 and Peters beat him, so I'm not scared of Rocky."  I'm not impressed by him, either.

WXYZ also looked at redistricting reform in the same newscast.  Stay tuned for an entry about that tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 article on Ann Arbor News endorsements

Chip Smith was the only challenger for City Council endorsed by the Ann Arbor News.
Credit: Chip Smith for Council.
Ann Arbor News endorses four city council candidates in primary
The Ann Arbor News weighed in on next month's Democratic primary by issuing its endorsements for City Council on Sunday afternoon.  The newspaper endorsed three incumbents and one challenger.

The paper's endorsements follow those of the mayor, labor unions, and environmental organizations.  The mayor supports three of the challengers in the primaries, while the unions and environmentalists generally endorsed the incumbents, as reported by The Michigan Daily.
The winners of the primary next Tuesday will likely go on to the general election unopposed, as there are no Republican candidates.  That could change, as independent candidates can still file after the primary.
Names of the eight candidates running for four nominations along with the details of their endorsements at the link in the headline.

Sorry for the late posting, but I barely had time to write and post the article itself.  Posting it here as part of its social media promotion had to wait until after work.  That hasn't hurt the article, as it's currently the most viewed story on Elections.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Oil falls to lowest prices since March

I updated the first half of Gas and oil fall for Ruby's July driving update with Farewell Ruby, hello Prius!  Now it's time to update the other half.

When I checked Gas Buddy two weeks ago, the stations in my old neighborhood were selling regular for $2.76.  Tonight, it shows them at $2.65.  Furthermore, the Detroit average has fallen to $2.72, 21 cents below the $2.93 it was at two weeks ago.  It appears likely to fall even more, as Reuters reported last Friday in Oil falls to lowest close since March, down a fourth week.
Brent and U.S. crude futures settled on Friday at their lowest since March and posted their fourth straight weekly decline as weak economic data from China and a rise in U.S. oil drilling rigs applied pressure.
Brent September crude fell 65 cents to settle at $54.62 a barrel, the lowest close since March 19 and off 4.3 percent for the week. The $54.30 session low was the lowest front-month price since April 2.

U.S. September crude fell 31 cents to end at $48.14, its lowest settlement since March 31 and down 5.5 percent for the week. The session low of $47.72 was the lowest intraday price since April 1.
Brent and U.S. crude have so far clocked double-digit losses in July. With U.S. crude off 19 percent, it could challenge December's 19.4 percent drop, which was the biggest monthly slump since the financial crisis in 2008.
Demand for gasoline has been strong, keeping refineries churning at high utilization rates, but August U.S. RBOB gasoline futures settled below its 200-day moving average of $1.8514 a gallon on Friday.

"This looks like profit-taking as the end of the U.S. driving season gets closer," said Gene McGillian, analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
Follow over the jump for more from Reuters.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

'Spectre' trailer pays homage to classic Bond

I haven't blogged about James Bond since last December, when I posted Tales of two trailers: James Bond and Star Wars.  A new trailer came out last week, which gives me the perfect opportunity to write about my favorite honorary Crazy Eddie in cinema.

Without any further ado, I present the New SPECTRE Trailer.

Watch the new trailer for SPECTRE. A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.

Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

Released in the UK on October 26, and in the US on November 6, 2015.
I caught a lot of references to Bond films from the 1960s through 1990s in the trailer.  I could list them myself, but I'm outsourcing them to Alltime Movies' SPECTRE Trailer | Top 5 Things We Learned.

It's here! The first full trailer for SPECTRE, and boy it's a doozy! Join Jamie as he analyzes the fine details and gleans everything we can learn about James Bond's new adventure.
I caught the "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" references in the score, too.  If so, then audiences might get a "save the world" plot the likes of which we haven't seen since "Die Another Day" in 2002.  The Daniel Craig Bond movies have been much more modest in scope.  Even if SPECTRE doesn't deliver on those implied stakes, I'm still looking forward to watching the movie and writing an an analysis like Crazy Eddie at the Movies 4--the science fiction in Skyfall becomes science fact.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Farewell Ruby, hello Prius!

Its' been only two weeks since I posted Gas and oil fall for Ruby's July driving update, but I have news the car just the same.  I traded her in for a Prius, keeping the promise I made in last October's Michigan universities on buying cars to make my next car a hybrid or all-electric vehicle.  That means it's time to say good-bye as I did for Yuki.

Ruby's final odometer reading was 92,223 miles.  Coming exactly two weeks after she rolled over 92,000 miles on July 10th, that translates into 15.93 miles per day or the equivalent of 485.8 miles per standard month.  That's less than the 16.95 miles per day and 516.95 miles per standard month I reported two weeks ago, but it's a lot more than either the 9.62 miles/day and 293.27 miles/month my wife and I drove her this time last year or the 11.36 miles/day and 346.59 miles per month I drove Yuki during July last year.  This result further confirms the increased miles driven since we moved in January from 4,000 miles per year to approximately 6,000 miles per year.  We're contributing to Americans driving more and setting records--all the more reason to buy a hybrid.

Thank you, Ruby, for four years and 20,000 miles of reliable driving as well as allowing me to keep a promise to my students that I'd buy an American nameplate car.  Also, thank you for being a good trade-in to allow me to keep my resolution to buy a hybrid.  Added to my promise to my wife that the car we bought in between would be whatever she wanted, which was a German car, I've been able to keep three promises in a row about the cars I'd buy.  Farewell, and may you be as good a car for your next owner!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fandoms collide as a drum corps plays anime music

Otakon, possibly still the largest anime convention in the U.S., begins today.  Drum corps season is also in full swing.  Between the convergence of those events* and my current "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood, I'm going to connect the two by posting an example of two of my fandoms colliding, Madison Scouts playing the theme to "Lupin III" from "The Castle of Cagliostro," one of my favorite anime movies.

The 1998 Madison Scouts play the theme from Lupin III at DCI World Championships in Orlando.
Not a bad connection.

I'll see if I can post something more serious tomorrow.  In the meantime, enjoy the show!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' at Comic-Con and the Saturn Awards

It's been a while since I've written about Hunger Games, so in the spirit of 'The Walking Dead' at Comic-Con, the Emmys, and the Saturn Awards and San Diego Comic Con trailer for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', I present The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 United Comic-Con TEASER.

After being symbolized as the "Mockingjay", Katniss Everdeen and District 13 engage in an all-out revolution against the autocratic Capitol.
The former drum corps member and marching band judge in me loves the marching and weapon work in this video.

Follow over the jump to read how "Mockingjay, Part 1" fared at last month's Saturn Awards.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Big Blue Marble, then and now

While everyone is looking at Pluto, another spacecraft is looking back at Earth.  The White House explains in Our Blue Marble.

NASA releases the first Blue Marble photo from the new DSCOVR satellite — the first of many such images to come. Starting soon, we'll have the ability to take full snapshots of the Earth every few hours.
Looking forward to all the Big Blue Marble images yet to be taken and published.  May DSCOVR be every bit as valuable as the Orbiting Carbon Observatory.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"We eat a lot of oil"

I'm showing "The End of Suburbia" to my students this week, which means it's time to update the Guide to entries that contain answers to "The End of Suburbia."  For this semester, I'm following through on a promise I made in a comment on the latter entry last semester.
I need to write about fossil fuel use in agriculture, a topic covered by Questions 14-16 for "The End of Suburbia" and Question 28 for "Food, Inc." Stay tuned.
Follow over the jump for the four questions and the answers in the same style as Corn questions from 'Food, Inc.' worksheet.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Asteroid fly-by seen as opportunity not danger

I've mentioned asteroid mining before, but this is the first time it's been the main topic instead of the risk of asteroid collision.  GeoBeats News reports in Asteroid Estimated To Be Worth $5.4 Trillion Will Pass Earth Tonight.

An asteroid believed to contain up to $5.4 trillion worth of platinum will pass relatively close to Earth today. A small asteroid worth up to $5.4 trillion will pass relatively close to Earth tonight.

The asteroid, 2011 UW158, is thought to have a core that contains up to 90 million tons of platinum and other precious materials. The size, makeup and orbit of 2011 UW158 put it on the “short list” of asteroids targeted for robotic mining in the near future, according to the Slooh Community Observatory.

Planetary Resources is an asteroid-mining firm with financial backing from Google executives Eric Schmidt and Larry Page. The company has labeled 2011 UW158 as an ‘X-type’ asteroid suitable for mining and is interested in exploiting the asteroid both for the platinum it contains and possibly water—which may be even more valuable. They’ve catalogued dozens of similar prospects throughout the solar system.

2011 UW158 is about half a mile across and will pass Earth 30 times closer than Mars—or six times further away than the moon—so it won’t be visible to the naked eye.
When I was younger, I wanted to mine the Moon.  I won't be doing that, but I will cheer on the efforts to mine asteroids.  It's exactly the kind of scheme worthy of Crazy Eddie.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

'The Walking Dead' at Comic-Con, the Emmys, and the Saturn Awards

For this week's Sunday entertainment entry, I'm going to follow up on some threads I left hanging and weave them together.  First, I told my readers at the end of San Diego Comic Con trailer for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' to "stay tuned for more trailers, including one each for 'The Walking Dead' and 'Fear the Walking Dead.'  Zombies!"  Next, the footnote to Penny Dreadful's Emmy nominations for music mentioned that "the third [nomination for 'Penny Dreadful' was for Prosthetic Make-up for a series.  They're up against 'The Walking Dead.'  Sorry, vampires and other creatures, but I'm rooting for the zombies in this category."  Who knows, maybe I'll get to write about "The Walking Dead" winning an award again.  Finally, I have an update on "The Walking Dead" spinoff, "Fear the Walking Dead."

The first thread to enter the loom is Comic Con Trailer: The Walking Dead: Season 6.

Get an early look at the all-new Season 6 before it premieres on Sunday, Oct. 11 at 9/8c.
It looks like infighting in Alexandria and the Wolves have Daryl!  Other than that, I've got nothing on the trailer right now other than I am looking forward to three months from now when the new season begins and I resume examining how the show develops the most important theme post-apocalyptic shows explore--"the post-apocalyptic story isn’t so much about the collapse of society’s institutions, but about what replaces them."*  I can hardly wait.

Follow over the jump for 'The Walking Dead' at the Emmy and Saturn Awards and the trailer for "Fear the Walking Dead."

Saturday, July 18, 2015 article on heat advisory

Southeast Michigan under heat advisory Saturday
Prepare for a hot weekend, perhaps the hottest in two years.  This Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for most of southeast Michigan, including the counties of Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, Washtenaw, and Monroe.  The advisory warns of high temperatures from noon to midnight on Saturday.

Temperatures will surpass ninety degrees throughout southeast Michigan.  Accompanying high humidity will result in heat index readings between 100 and 105 during Saturday afternoon.

The heat advisory warns that the combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will create oppressive conditions.  Heat-related illnesses could result, particularly in the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions.
More at the link.  Follow the advice there to stay cool.

Friday, July 17, 2015

'Penny Dreadful's Emmy nominations for music

The nominations for the 67th Emmy Awards were announced yesterday and I'll have a lot more to say about them later, especially on Sunday.  Tonight, I'm celebrating two of the three nominations that "Penny Dreadful," the show I'm jokingly calling "James Bond, Vampire Hunter," received.*  While I held slim hope that Eva Green would earn a nod for her role as Vanessa Ives (she didn't), I had high hopes that the music for the series would be nominated.  I was not disappointed.  Abel Korzeniowski's compositions earned two nominations, one for Best Original Opening Theme and another for Best Original Composition for a Dramatic Score.  I thought both were well deserved.

First, Penny Dreadful Main Title Sequence, set to "Demimonde," the nominee for Best Original Opening Theme.

Next, the nominee for Best Original Composition for a Dramatic Score, Closer Than Sisters.

I quite agree with the choice; it was the best piece on the soundtrack for the first season.  It's beautiful and heartbreaking, especially if one has seen not only the episode it's from but the entire first season.  The story of the "sisters" in question is downright tragic and the music reflects it.

The only other series competing against "Penny Dreadful" in both categories is "Tyrant."  I'll have to check out its music--later, as there is lots of time until the Emmy Awards are announced on September 20th.  Until then, congratulations to Showtime and Abel Korzeniowski for the nominations and best of luck to them in the voting for the awards.

*The third was for Prosthetic Make-up for a series.  They're up against "The Walking Dead."  Sorry, vampires and other creatures, but I'm rooting for the zombies in this category.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cthulhu and Pluto plus Mordor and Charon

Greer updated his readers on his latest writing project in last night's The Cimmerian Hypothesis, Part One: Civilization and Barbarism.
I’ve just completed the first draft of a 70,000-word novel in eight weeks. Those of my readers and correspondents who’ve been wondering why I’ve been slower than usual to respond to them now know the reason. The working title is Moon Path to Innsmouth; it deals, in the sidelong way for which fiction is so well suited, with quite a number of the issues discussed on this blog; I’m pleased to say that I’ve lined up a publisher, and so in due time the novel will be available to delight the rugose hearts of the Great Old Ones and their eldritch minions everywhere.
I couldn't resist passing along some information along with a link to yesterday's entry.
Since you appear to be dabbling in the Cthulhu Mythos, you might find it amusing to learn that the features on Pluto are being informally named after underworld beings, including Cthulhu.   Let's see if they survive the vetting of the International Astronomical Union, which demoted Pluto to the status of dwarf planet a decade ago .  I hope they are better remembered than the movement added to Holst's "The Planets" earlier this century for Pluto.  Holst himself couldn't be bothered during the last years of his life, as Pluto had no astrological significance then.
The coincidence had the appropriate effect on Greer.
Pinku-sensei, you know, that's almost eerie. It only occurred to me after I finished the draft of Moon Path to Innsmouth that I wrote it just as the New Horizons space probe approached the planet Lovecraft called Yuggoth, which has a significant role in his mythos. I wonder what the Mi-Go think of the bright little decoration we've just put in their sky... ;-)
Good thing the Mi-Go are purely fictional.

Follow over the jump for more from io9 on the informal names of Pluto and Charon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Music for a dwarf planet

First Ceres, now Pluto, as GeoBeats News reports New Horizons Contacts Earth After Pluto Flyby.

The historic Pluto mission has officially been declared a success.

After going dark when its intense observational period of Pluto began, the New Horizons spacecraft transmitted its first signal back to the NASA crew indicating safe passage Tuesday night.
The first images from the flyby are expected to be shared with the public shortly, and New Horizons will continue to stream back information over the next 16 months.
That news deserves a musical celebration.  I present Pluto, the Renewer by Colin Matthews, accompanied by images of the outermost of Outer Senshi, Sailor Pluto.

National Geographic News has more on this composition in Why Classical Music Snubbed Pluto, Too.
[I]t turns out that Pluto was creating kerfuffles almost from the moment it was discovered—even among world-reknowned composers.
Holst was alive for Pluto’s discovery in 1930, but while astronomers hailed Pluto as a new planet, the composer “showed no interest” in making a new movement, Salgado said.

For one thing, Pluto had no astrological meaning. For another, Holst “kind of resented the popularity of The Planets, because it overshadowed the rest of his catalog.”

By popular demand—and a commission from the Hallé Orchestra in the U.K.—there is a movement for Pluto, written by Holst scholar and composer Colin Matthews in 2000.
I'm looking forward to all the images and discoveries from this mission.  In the meantime, enjoy the music!

Monday, July 13, 2015

San Diego Comic Con trailer for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Happy Monday the 13th!  This weekend was San Diego Comic Con, which has become a massive Hollywood hype event in the middle of the greatest nerdstravaganza of the year.  There are panels for TV shows and movies at which the studios unveil their latest long-form trailers.  It astonishes me that I've only mentioned it once before in The Hunger Games: Dystopia as entertainment.

Since dystopia has become even bigger entertainment since then, it should come as no surprise that a number of  trailers for post-apocalyptic and other science-fiction films and TV shows were premiered at this year's event.  I'll begin with the one that is probably the most anticipated, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Fans at San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H were treated to a special look behind the scenes of Star Wars:The Force Awakens by director J.J. Abrams, producer and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and writer Lawrence Kasdan. The filmmakers were joined on stage by cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford to the surprise and delight of fans.

At the end of the Hall H presentation, the entire Hall H audience of more than 6,000 fans were all invited to continue the celebration and join cast and filmmakers at a surprise Star Wars Fan Concert. The San Diego Symphony performed the classic Star Wars music from John Williams at the Embarcadero Marina Park South.
Vox had the following to say about the behind-the-scenes clip.
The video captures the joy of the people in front of and behind the camera and the appreciation they have for the opportunity to work on such an iconic franchise. It treats Star Wars more like an experience than a movie, and for the fans in SDCC's Hall H, that's exactly what it was.
That's what the news has been like from the set all year.  For a much longer version, I recommend The Daring Genesis of J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens from the June issue of Vanity Fair.
I think it’s fair to say that Abrams and his team were having fun, and fun, if you are a fan of Star Wars, if Lucas’s original films fired your childhood imagination and fueled your childhood play, is exactly what you’d hope anyone working on a Star Wars movie would be having. The Force Awakens may yet turn out to be lousy, but moviegoers—and Disney shareholders—should be heartened that it is being made in an appropriately imaginative and playful spirit.
Here's to all that fun that the cast and crew are having coming through on the big screen.

Stay tuned for more trailers, including one each for "The Walking Dead" and "Fear the Walking Dead."  Zombies!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Gas and oil fall for Ruby's July driving update

Two events occurred within minutes of each other on Friday: I fueled up in my old neighborhood and Ruby rolled over 92,000 miles. Therefore, it's time for a combined update on both gas prices and my miles driven, just as I did for Dez in June. While oil and gas have more general interest, it's my blog, so I'll start with the driving update.|

|Ruby passed 91,000 miles on May 12th, 59 days before last Friday. That's one day less than it took to drive the previous 1000 miles. Consequently, my miles per day increased from 16.67 to 16.95 and miles per standard month increased from 508.3 to 516.95. I drove more despite my teaching only at the closer of the two campuses during May through August and going to fewer meetings at other worksites. This confirms what I expected would happen when I moved; my wife and I are driving more in our more car-dependent neighborhood. It also shows that my wife and I are contributing to all Americans driving more.

Follow over the jump for the gas and oil price update.

Saturday, July 11, 2015 article on Lake Erie algae bloom prediction

NOAA, U-M predict even larger Lake Erie algae bloom in 2015
Last year, 400,000 residents in and around Toledo had their water supply shut down for three days during August because of a bloom of toxic blue-green algae in Lake Erie.  This year's algal bloom is predicted to be even more severe, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Michigan, and could become the second largest in recorded history by the time the bloom peaks in September.

In statements released on Thursday, July 9, researchers predicted that this year's algal bloom would very likely be more severe than last year's.  This year's bloom could range in severity from 8.1 to 9.5 on a ten-point scale with the record 2011 bloom given a rating of 10.  In contrast, the 2014 bloom had a rating of 6.5.

"Last summer's Toledo water crisis was a wake-up call to the serious nature of harmful algal blooms in America's waters," said Jeff Reutter, retired director of Ohio State University's Sea Grant program and Stone Laboratory, in a press release. "This forecast once again focuses attention on this issue, and the urgent need to take action to address the problems caused by excessive amounts of nutrients from fertilizer, manure and sewage flowing into our lakes and streams."
More at the link, including this video from WXYZ.

Scientists are predicting a large algae bloom for Lake Erie this year.
I searched the blog and was surprised that I didn't mention last year's algal bloom at all!  Here's to making up for lost time.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Green shoes in more ways than one

My wife and I went shoe shopping for me yesterday.  Unfortunately, we didn't see the footwear that WXYZ reported on in Adidas, Parley for the Oceans creates concept shoe with recycled ocean waste.

Adidas and Parley for the Oceans partnered to create a concept shoe made out of yarns and filaments reclaimed and recycled from ocean waste. They also used parts of illegal deep-sea gillnets that were recovered.
From the comments.
Would you wear this shoe? #Adidas partnered up with Parley for the Ocean to produce a shoe that is made from recycled illegal ocean waste. So not only do they look great, but they help the environment too!
Too bad they weren't yet available, I'd have been tempted to buy them.  Still, I wouldn't have fit in them.  My feet are too wide.  Even so, I applaud this small effort to reduce the Pacific Garbage Patch.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Monthly Meta for June 2015

June 2015 was the fourth consecutive month with more than 13,000 page views.  Before this streak began, the blog had reached 13,000+ page views in a month only three times.  It was also the most page views during June in the history of the blog.  I'm impressed with those statistics, but they weren't my readership goals for last month; these were.
June 2014 saw 11,998 page views, so the minimum goal is for 400 page views per day for a total of 12,000.  The medium goal is 12,400 to finish a day ahead and 12,600 for a five percent increase, each of which will require 413.33 and 420 page views per day respectively.  I'm trying to do that while posting no more than 43 entries during the month.  So far, I'm meeting all these goals.  Wish me luck on doing so for the rest of the month.
I succeeded in meeting all these goals.  The blog earned 13,114 page views, an increase of 9.3% over June 2014, well over my high goal for the month.  It did so from only 38 entries, five below the maximum I set for last month.  These numbers translate into rates of 437.1 page views per day and 345.1 page views per post.  The first is slightly higher than May's 443.61 page views per day, while the second is slightly lower than the same month's 352.62 page views per entry.  I'll take that, as I'm more interested in page views per day, which tell me that readership is still higher than last year.

While I don't make goals for comments, as any efforts I make to prompt more are less effective and predictable than what I can do to increase page views, last month was another good one for people responding to my posts at my blog.  Readers left 36 comments last month, the highest since February 2014 with 42 comments.  This is also the most per month so far this year.  I'd be pleasantly surprised if I could do that again this month, but I have no expectations.  Just the same, I'll celebrate this occasion  by awarding an honorable mention for most commented on entry to "Monthly meta for May 2015," which had 4 comments, enough to tie for second place.  However, it only got 85 page views.  In terms of comments per page view, it would have come in first!

The rest of the most commented on posts also made it into one or both of the ten most read lists for June, so I'll pass out those awards later.  Right now, I'm recognizing the most liked entry of the past month.  "'The Last Ship' returns and other summer TV fare" earned 22 pluses on Google Plus--all this with only 82 page views.  The post earned its "likes" though my sharing it in "The Last Ship" community on Google Plus, where the community members voted it up again and again.  That's one enthusiastic group of fans!  It's possible this may be the most "liked" entry on Google Plus in the history of the blog.

Follow over the jump for the top fourteen, which consists of the top ten for the month as of 11:59 PM EDT on June 30th plus three that had been on the list and the tenth most read entry actually posted during June, as well as my goals for July.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Shark Week drink and drinking games

There are lots of serious events going on--the No vote on the Greek referendum, the Shanghai stock market crashing, and the negociations over Iran's nuclear program all come to mind--but I'm still in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood, so I'm not blogging about any of them tonight.  Instead, I'll post about something that I should have mentioned in the Sunday entertainment entry, Shark Week.  In the spirit of Game of Thrones drinking game, drink, and music, I present two drinking games for Shark Week and a drink recipe to go along with them.

Of course, the drink recipe is from Tipsy Bartender: The Great White Shark Week Cocktail.

In this video, not only do we give you a crazy drink, but we also give you the Tipsy Bartender explanation as to why there are so many shark attacks! It's scientific...kinda!

Shark Shaped Gummies
1/2 oz. (15ml) UV Raspberry
1/2 oz. (15ml) Hypnotic
Smirnoff Ice Green Apple
Splash of Blue Curacao
Splash of Lemon Lime Soda
Orange Slices
Skyy, you're so full of it.  Inna makes more sense than you.  That's OK, as you both know it.

Finally, here's the second drinking game (the first is at the top of the entry).

Happy Shark Week, and drink responsibly!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July is Juror Apprecation Month in Michigan

Yesterday, I answered the call for jury duty.  Like most of the people summoned, I ended up not serving.  Instead, I was dismissed at the end of the day.  Still, it was an interesting and educational experience, as I got to see an important part of the U.S. legal system first-hand.  One bit of trivia I picked up on my way out the door was that July is Juror Appreciation Month. Justice Brian Zahra and Justice David Viviano explain.

July is Juror Appreciation Month in Michigan. For everyone who has served on a jury, thank you for your hard work and dedication.
There's more from Detroit Legal News.
July has been designated "Juror Appreciation Month" by the Michigan Supreme Court to recognize the many Michigan citizens who serve as jurors each year - and to encourage others to answer the call to jury service.

Chief Justice Robert P. Young Jr. said that the court chose July, the month in which the United States celebrates its independence, "to underscore the importance of jury service in our constitutional republic."

In a resolution signed by all the justices, the court proclaimed that "The right to jury trial is one of the fundamental values of American citizenship; jury service, like voting, is a direct participation in democracy."

Young observed, "For many people, their first thought on getting a summons for jury duty is 'How can I get out of it?' But that's profoundly unfortunate. Most people find jury service to be a very rewarding, interesting experience. More importantly, the people whose cases come before juries are depending on their fellow citizens' participation."

Young added, "Juries decide factual issues that affect the liberty and property of others. This is a critically important role, but we would not have juries without the many people who generously give of their time to serve."
The article has more facts about jury service at the link.

I may be glad for the experience, but I'm also happy that I don't have to serve.  I could have been on that jury for two weeks.  I'd rather be home and at my regular job. If I remember, I'll post about the results of the trial when it's over.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Entertainment leftovers from Tipsy Bartender

I hinted about my planned topic for tonight by writing "I'll be back" in two entries--"Terminator: Genisys."  After looking at the weekend box office report from Variety, I realized that I'm not feeling it.  True, two movies warning us of the limits of our technologies, the fifth "Terminator" film and "Jurassic World" placed third and second at the domestic box office, but I'm not up to saying more about that juxtaposition today.

Tonight was also the season finale of "Penny Dreadful."  Even though I promised an entry for the show I jokingly call "James Bond, Vampire Hunter," tonight isn't it, as I haven't watched any of this season's episodes yet.  When I do, I will post the entry it deserves.  I will report the good news about the series: it's been renewed for a third season.  Yay!  I now have two seasons to look forward to!

Instead, I'm going to follow up on a comment in Drink recipes for July 4th from Tipsy Bartender.
Both guns, the shotgun and the .50 caliber rifle, play central roles in two other videos.  Each clip also ties into TV shows, so I might feature them in a future Sunday entertainment entry.
Follow over the jump for one of those along with the drink recipe for "Insidious, Chapter 3" I promised in the Jurassic World entries as well as a drink for Fifty Shades of Grey.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Solar Impulse 2 sets record as it lands in Hawaii

I told my readers to "stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment entry and an update on Solar Impulse 2" at the end of Drink recipes for July 4th from Tipsy Bartender.  It's time to make good on the first with Solar Impulse 2 makes history from CNN.

Watch the Solar Impulse 2 plane make history as it lands in Hawaii. CNN's David Molko has more.
Wotchit's Solar-Powered Plane Lands In Hawaii, Smashes Nonstop Record has a better explanation.
A Swiss man attempting to circumnavigate the globe with an aircraft powered only by the sun's energy landed in Hawaii on Friday. Pilot Andre Borschberg made a record-breaking five-day nonstop solo flight across the Pacific Ocean from Japan. The Solar Impulse 2 is the first aircraft to fly day and night without any fuel. Borschberg's 120-hour voyage shattered the 76-hour record for nonstop flight by late American adventurer Steve Fossett in 2006 on the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer.
As for what's happening next, Euronews reports in Solar Impulse completes record flight across Pacific.

Welcome to America, Solar Impulse 2.  Next stop, Phoenix!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Drink recipes for July 4th from Tipsy Bartender

I'm not done with the holiday.  First, I gave my readers Bald Eagle facts for 4th of July weekend from DNews. Then I shared a drum corps Stars and Stripes for the 4th of July.  Now, it's time for drink recipes for the holiday from Tipsy Bartender.

Skyy began posting recipes two weeks ago with 4th of July All American Jello Shots.  I'll follow his lead and start there.

It's about to get all patriotic up in here... EZ SQUEEZE 4TH OF JULY ALL AMERICAN JELLO SHOTS! This treat is the perfect treat for your picnics, parties, and 4th of July themed birthdays and weddings!
Red Layer:
1 Pack EZ-Jello Strawberry Daiquiri Mix
2 1/2 cups (590 ml) Hot Water
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) UV Cherry Vodka

White Layer:
1 Pack EZ-Jello Pina Colada Mix
2 1/2 cups (590 ml) Hot Water
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) Coconut Rum

Blue Layer:
1 Pack EZ-Jello Blue Mai Tai
2 1/2 cups (590 ml) Hot Water
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) Blue Curacao

Refrigerate each layer before adding the next layer!
Both guns, the shotgun and the .50 caliber rifle, play central roles in two other videos.  Each clip also ties into TV shows, so I might feature them in a future Sunday entertainment entry.  Meanwhile, the guns make good props for this video.

Just like I needed three entries to fully celebrate Independence Day, Skyy needed three drink recipes to celebrate the day as well.  Follow over the jump for the other two.

A drum corps Stars and Stripes for the 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!  As I promised at the end of NABLOPOMO for July: CONNECT, here is the first of two entries for the holiday.  Without any further ado, I present A Drum Corps Stars and Stripes Mashup.

Sousa marches have long been a staple in the repertoires of concert and marching bands of all types. In a salute to America’s "March King," we’ve put together this mashup of several different drum corps performing their renditions of one of Sousa’s most famous works, "The Stars and Stripes Forever."
Here's to wishing you all A drum corps 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2015


I told my readers what to expect at the end of article on Trump combing in second in Michigan.
Stay tuned for a celebration of Canada Day and this month's Nablopomo theme.  Hint, it's recycled.
I took care of the first promise with 50 years of the Maple Leaf Flag for Canada Day.  Now it's time to follow through on the second.

First, the email.
July's NaBloPoMo Theme: CONNECT!

Three Dog Night said that one is the loneliest number, and I think they were onto something. Luckily, our theme this month is connect.

Unless you're writing solely for yourself, you use your blog to connect with readers. You connect them with information you think they want to read. You connect them to aspects of your life. Our blogs serve as the connecting thread between the reader and our minds.

So what connections will you make this month? Which bloggers will you meet? Which family events will you attend? Which people will you reconnect with via Facebook?
You can read more about the new NaBloPoMo theme on our opening post.
Follow over the jump for the relevant part of the description on the website.

Bald Eagle facts for 4th of July weekend from DNews

I'm still in an "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood, so I'm going with it to present something informative--Discovery News' 9 Facts You Didn’t Know About Bald Eagles.

The bald eagle is the United States’ national bird, so here are some facts you might not know about them!
There are two more videos about the holiday in 4th of July science from and Discovery News, including the one about fireworks that DNews recommends at the end of this video.

I'll be back with at least two more entries about the holiday.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Michigan Senate passes road funding bill

Keeping my promise to "expect updates on this story as they develop" that I first made in Road funding bill passes Michigan House committee and repeated in Road funding bill passes Michigan House, I'm sharing the latest on the saga of funding Michigan's roads.  First, the short version from Fox 47: Senate Passes Complicated Roads Plan.

We're going to need a road map to follow the road funding plan the state senate passed Wednesday
WOOD-TV attempts to provide that road map in its more detailed report MI Senate passes roads plan with gas tax hike.

The Republican-led Senate on Wednesday approved a $1.5 billion plan to improve deteriorating Michigan roads by raising fuel taxes and redirecting money from elsewhere in the budget.
Next, back to the Michigan House in two weeks.  Looks like it will be a long summer before this issue is resolved.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

50 years of the Maple Leaf Flag for Canada Day

Happy Canada Day!  For this year's celebration, I present The real story behind the Canadian Flag from CBC's The National.

Our maple leaf was raised over Parliament Hill in 1965, but not without controversy. Reg Sherren tells us the little known story of how the flag came to be.
In addition to the history, CBC provided a little flag humor in Canadian Flag turns 50.

The Canadian Flag turns 50 on Sunday. Reg Sherren meets one of its biggest fans.
Cool shades, dude.

As I wrote in the very first Canada Day post on this blog, "Welcome to the first of three patriotic holidays I observe as part of my blogging. Hey, I can't be all doom all the time!" article on Trump combing in second in Michigan

Walker leads Trump by a hair in Michigan
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a mere one percent lead with fifteen percent over real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican field in Michigan according to a poll released Tuesday, June 30, by Public Policy Polling.  Trump is in a three-way tie at fourteen percent with physician and Detroit native Ben Carson and former Florida Governor John Ellis "Jeb" Bush.  The rest of the Republican field has support in the single digits with Florida Senator Marco Rubio coming in closest at nine percent.

Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling, said in a statement "Donald Trump's in the top tier of the Republican field for a second consecutive week in our polling.  Time will tell how long the Trump Bump lasts, but it's at least two weeks at this point."

The same survey found former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a commanding lead over the Democratic field at fifty-seven percent.  Bernie Sanders came in second, far behind Clinton at twenty-five percent.  The remaining Democratic contenders fell even farther behind with support in the single digits.

The poll also found that Clinton would defeat any of the Republican candidates in Michigan by margins of three to ten percent.  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul came in closest at three percent, while Trump and Texas Senator Raphael "Ted" Cruz would both lose to Clinton by ten percent.
Not only has Trump combed in second in New Hampshire poll once, he did it three more times, once again in New Hampshire, once nationally, and now here in Michigan.  Trump as Penguin for President is kicking butt, even if Univision has fired him.  Not only am I getting mileage out of him here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News (the second and third most read entries last month were about The Donald), I'm making some money covering him at  I'll make even more if my readers support my reporting by clicking on the link in the headline.

Stay tuned for a celebration of Canada Day and this month's Nablopomo theme.  Hint, it's recycled.