Saturday, March 27, 2010

Making Census of It All OR Take the Long Way Home


Undated photo of a vibrant coral reef in the waters off St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands.

Here is a news story from two days ago about the dramatic global die off in tropical coral reefs in the past few decades and the implications for oceanic eco-systems (not to mention human food supply). The die off, of course, is a signature of pollution, overfishing and exploitation, and anthropogenic climate change -- that is, all due to humans.

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This was an exceptionally busy past two weeks as I wrote / put together about 110 pages worth of reports for that "independent consulting" job I have even as I had my Census training this past week. I have to produce another report up to 15 page by Monday morning -- my biweekly climate change news compendium.

Ideally, I'd be able to finish by Monday morning two parts of the energy efficiency report on electric heat pumps and heat pumps for hot water that I could submit as another writing sample for the full-time regular Federal contracting job I am trying to get.

A lady under her umbrella, 1700 block, New Hampshire Avenue, Washington, D.C., 9:35AM (yes, I was up and out at that hour), March 26, 2010.

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Last night, Joe and I went to Stetson's and then Nellies for drinks before he went to the 930 Club. We had a very good time. Gary is away in South Florida this weekend. As for my mom's visit tomorrow, it may not happen because she couldn't get tickets to the National Geograpahic Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit.

Tonight, I will go over to CT's place for a bit. He is giving me some dress shirts he no longer wants. I suppose I'll go to Cobalt and/or Windows later.

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Plush hippos at play.

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My temporary Census job starts in earnest on Monday following three days of training this past week over at the West End Library in West End / Faggy Foggy Bottom.

Upstairs storage room, West End Library, Washington, D.C., 2:41PM, March 25, 2010

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One of the more interesting / challenging parts of the job is that in the wee hours of this upcoming Wednesday morning, some of us are to go out in groups and actually count homeless people.

If I end up doing this, I am not sure about waking up any homeless person -- and I am certainly NOT touching anyone to rouse them from sleep. There are rules governing the number of answers needed for a complete ICR and what to do if the person refuses to answer.

Overall, I am part of the "group quarters" enumeration -- counting people who stay in homeless shelters or live in nursing homes, hospices, and college dorms (that would include all the main universities in D.C.). Apparently, the D.C. response rate in the 2000 Census was abysmal and triggered lawsuits and there is a big push to increase the response rate for this count.

I don't think we will have here in D.C. the political problems confronting the decennial Census in other parts of the country ...


...but there are still challenges for D.C. including its large homeless population and the worry that is nationwide that the information gathered is given to the IRS or law enforcement agencies, which it is not. The answer to that is: TITLE 13, UNITED STATES CODE.

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Musical Interlude ...

The British progressive rock band Supertramp were quite popular in the 1970s and 1980s although I believe they are still together in some form.


A big hit from their Breakfast in America album was Take the Long Way Home.

This was the somewhat creepy looking cover picture to that album.

Below is the YouTube link. It is a such a mournful song -- sort of like the Pat Metheny Group's haunting instrumental Last Train Home, except with actual vocals and less plaintive.



My favorite lines:

"Does it feel that your life’s become a catastrophe? / Oh, it has to be for your to grow, boy /
When you look through the years and see what could have been, oh, what might have been if /
You’d had more time /
So when the day comes to settle down, who’s to blame if you’re not around? /
You took the long way home, you took the long way home, you took the long way home ..."

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News Tidbits ...

TIME WARP: RUSSIA TO CUT NUMBER OF TIME ZONES FROM 11 TO 9!
Story here.

Technically at the geographic North and South Poles one is in all 24 time zones at once, although that's not how it is actually divided.

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Sent to me by Joe:

NASA spends (hundreds of) millions; hobbyist spends $750

March 26: Pictures of Earth, taken aboard space shuttle missions, can cost NASA about $400 million. For a fraction of the cost, one amateur photographer in Britain has proved all you need is a weather balloon. Mike Taibbi explains. (Is this reporter related to Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi?)

Here is one of Robert Harrison's pictures taken with a digital camera lofted into the stratosphere on a weather balloon. I'm not sure where it is flying over. (This is a screen capture of the MSNBC report. I finally figured out how to do screen captures on this computer.)

Story here. (There is a commercial before the story.)

Oh, yes, the worry that sending these up will interfere with passenger jets is way probably unfounded -- hundreds of weather balloons are lofted each week by the NWS across the United States.

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Bush's Helping Hand: Ex-President wipes hand on Clinton's shirt after greeting Haitian earthquake victims




This is a 39 second clip with limited audio. The hand wiping occurs at 14 seconds. Story here.

Bush looks as clueless as ever.

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While spending those three days at the West End Library, I renewed my library card ... the one with the picture of a little frog on it that says "Hop into your library." And I took out Jules Vernes' A Journey to the Center of the Earth.

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I think that's all for now. My next planned update may not be until around Wednesday.

Oh, yes, a belated happy birthday to you, Kristof!

--Regulus

1 comment:

krzysztof said...

thank you very much, sweetie