Category Archive 'Blog Administration'
12 Sep 2014

Lightning Hitting Tree

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LightningHittingTree

Long exposure photo of a lightning bolt hitting a tree. Photo by Darren Pearson.

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A commenter linked Hoaxes.org, which explains:

[I]t is a long exposure shot, but not of lightning. It’s a photo created by “light painter” Darren Pearson (aka Darius Twin). Wikipedia defines light painting as “a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera.”

Pearson light painted the blue flames at the base of the tree. He then cut-and-pasted the lightning bolt itself into the photo from a NOAA image of a lightning strike (below).

Pearson posted the image on his Facebook page on Oct. 17, 2013, with the caption “The old Benjamin Franklin trick wink”

So in its original context this was clearly presented as an art photo.

15 Apr 2014

Blog Outage

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This unusual outage resulted from a disagreement between my personal version of WordPress and my web hosting server’s most recent security updates, intended to defeat the Heartbleed bug.

14 Dec 2013

Don’t Be Surprised When NYM Goes Off the Air For a Bit

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(image stolen from Maggie’s Farm)

It’s snowing here in the Bald Eagle Valley, and we’re predicted to get 6-to-10″. When the satellite dish is thoroughly covered, there’ll be no more Internet until somebody goes out and shovels it off, and our dish is down in a field along a run on the other side of the driveway, and I don’t plan to deal with it until it stops snowing.

30 May 2013

No Internet All Day Yesterday

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I have yet to find out why — did the Red Chinese destroy HughesNet’s key satellite?–, but satellite internet access was non-operational all day yesterday. One pays a price to live outside the megalopolis.

23 Apr 2013

Moving This Week


South view of log home built in 1812 by Christian Baughman.

My apologies. Blogging will be sparse for the next few days, as Karen and I will be packing and then moving our household north to our Pennsylvania vacation home. We travel tomorrow, and I’m not positive that working satellite Internet access will be up and ready when we arrive.

19 Dec 2012

Golden Eagle Almost Nabs Toddler in Montreal Park

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There have long been rumors that eagles are not only capable of preying on lambs, but may even go so far as to take human infants when given the opportunity. Wildlife experts have consistently pooh-poohed such stories, dismissing them as folklore.

Hat tip to Bird Dog.

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Update: It’s a fake.

Matt Mullenix expressed skepticism and referenced HuffPo which, by the time I looked there, had new imformation:

A Montreal animation school has fessed up that the “Golden Eagle Snatches Kid” on YouTube is a fake, created by three students in its three-year animation and digital design degree program.

“Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation and integrated in to the film afterwards,” the school, Centre NAD, said in a statement Wednesday.

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Could an eagle snatch a small child and carry him off?

Well, one almost got this roe deer. And look what happens to this Pyrenaeen chamois.

Eagles have been demonstrated to be capable of killing reindeer and even of carrying off Brown bear cubs.

This eagle is doing a decent job on an adult human being.

29 Oct 2012

Hurrican Sandy

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Dr. Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at WeatherBELL, put out this animated GIF of the storm’s approach yesterday.

Out here in the very rural Virginia Piedmont, we have satellite modem as our only possible kind of Internet access. Cloud cover can shut down our satellite connection, and we have a good chance of losing power. Don’t be totally surprised if NYM goes off-line for some period of time during the current hurricane.

23 May 2012

“Mutually Beneficial Arrangements”

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A liberal academic classmate has been giving me crap again on the class email list for letting Blogads run that “Mutually Beneficial Arrangements” ad in NYM’s right-hand column.

When the notice to review that proposed new ad came in a few months ago, I had conflicting attitudes. On libertarian grounds, I thought I ought to let it run. It did seem to constitute an amusing commentary on society’s morals today after all as well. But I really am also pretty stuffy and I was not entirely comfortable with resembling the Village Voice and lending aid and comfort to the Oldest Profession.

I actually shilly-shallied about making up my mind on that policy issue and then, lo and behold! I found that Blogads actually had it up and running without my explicitly granting permission. I looked into the whole thing, and I was amused to find that NYM readers were clicking through that ad in much, much larger numbers than usual. So I concluded that my readers were also finding amusement and food for thought in that ad.

Readership interest seemed to me to argue decisively for the libertarian side, and I refrained from eliminating the ad.

HuffPo actually did a long feature on what has become a booming business in the Age of Obama last year.

Many 20-somethings are beginning their adult lives shouldering substantial amounts of student loan debt. According to Mark Kantrowitz, who publishes the financial aid websites Fastweb.com and Finaid.org, while the average 2011 graduate finished school with about $27,200 in debt, many are straining to pay off significantly greater loans.

Enter the sugar daddy, sugar baby phenomenon. This particular dynamic preceded the economic meltdown, of course. Rich guys well past their prime have been plunking down money for thousands of years in search of a tryst or something more with women half their age — and women, willingly or not, have made themselves available. With the whole process going digital, women passing through a system of higher education that fosters indebtedness are using the anonymity of the web to sell their wares and pay down their college loans.

“Over the past few years, the number of college students using our site has exploded,” says Brandon Wade, the 41-year-old founder of Seeking Arrangement. Of the site’s approximately 800,000 members, Wade estimates that 35 percent are students. “College students are one of the biggest segments of our sugar babies and the numbers are growing all the time.” …
Wade, who started Seeking Arrangement back in 2006, can easily identify with the Jacks of the world. He created the site for fellow high-net-worth individuals who “possess high standards but don’t have a lot of time to date the traditional way.”

Wade, whose legal name is Brandon Wey, says he changed his name to better appeal to his clientele. “They’re more familiar with Hugh Hefner than with some Asian guy from Singapore,” he explains. Wade got the idea for Seeking Arrangement more than 20 years ago, while in college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Watching from the sidelines as his beautiful dorm mates pursued significantly older, moneyed men, Wade fantasized about someday becoming one such man. After business school at MIT and stints at General Electric and Microsoft, Wade dabbled in various start-ups before finally creating his own.

Awkward and shy, he started Seeking Arrangement in part because of his own inability to attract younger women. “To get the attention of the girl I really wanted to meet, I was kind of at the mercy of the statistics of traditional dating sites. I’d write hundreds of emails and only get one or two replies,” says Wade, who is now divorced. He says married men account for at least 40 percent of the site’s sugar daddies. Sugar babies outnumber sugar daddies by a ratio of nearly 10 to 1. Wade declined to disclose how much money he makes from the site. With more than 115,000 sugar daddies averaging $50 a month in membership fees, and some paying more to belong to the exclusive Diamond Club, it’s safe to assume Wade’s investment has more than paid off — and that’s not even including advertising revenue.

Debt-strapped college graduates weren’t included in his original business plan. But once the recession hit and more and more students were among the growing list of new site users, Wade began to target them. The company, which is headquartered in Las Vegas, now places strategic pop-up ads that appear whenever someone types “tuition help” or “financial aid” into a search engine. And over the past five years, Wade says he’s seen a 350 percent increase in college sugar baby membership — from 38,303 college sugar babies in 2007 to 179,906 college sugar babies by July of this year. The site identifies clients who might be students by the presence of a .edu email address, which the site verifies before it will allow a profile to become active. Although, it should be noted that individuals without .edu email addresses can identify as students as well.

At The Huffington Post’s request, Seeking Arrangement listed the top 20 universities attended by sugar babies on the site. They compiled the list according to the number of sugar babies who registered using their .edu email addresses or listed schools’ names on their profiles. New York University tops the list with 498 sugar babies, while UCLA comes in at No. 8 with 253, and Harvard University ranks at No. 9 with 231. The University of California at Berkeley ranks at No. 13 with 193, the University of Southern California ranks at No. 15 with 183, and Tulane University ranks at No. 20 with 163 college sugar babies. …

“I’m honestly surprised there aren’t more college students doing this,” says Jennifer, not blinking. She’s a 23-year-old recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

Fed up with young, unemployed men her own age, Jennifer recently began trawling for a sugar daddy to pay down about $20,000 in student loan debt. She also wouldn’t mind a clothing allowance or rent money for her studio apartment in New York’s East Village.

A week ago, she boarded a plane to Florida to spend the weekend with a 30-something banker she met on SugarDaddie.com. He told her his house was undergoing a renovation and instead drove her to a nearby hotel, where they spent the night together. …

“I realize I’m not going to have it forever,” Jennifer says, brushing her blond, wavy hair off to one side. “While I’ve still got it, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth. I mean, maybe I’ll get swept off my feet. Really, anything could happen.”

It’s clear that the kind of materialist utilitarianism preached by today’s universities combines very effectively with whopping piles of tuition debt and hard economic times to popularize the philosophy expressed by blues singer Ruth Brown in this old number:

30 Mar 2012

AFK All Day on Saturday

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I’ll be working as a judge at the Morven Park Spring Horse Trials all day.

09 Mar 2012

Blue Ridge Hunt Point-to-Point Races

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Linda Volrath painting

My apologies. There will not be much blogging for the next two days. I’ll be working as a judge at the Blue Ridge Point-to-Point Races on Saturday and at the Blue Ridge Hunt Hunter Pace on Sunday.

14 Dec 2011

Thursday A.M., Gone Hunting

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I’ll be gone hunting at Oxbow Farm (Raymond Guest’s old place) with the Blue Ridge Hunt in the morning, so blogging will be done late.

06 Sep 2011

Andrew Sullivan On Blogging

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I don’t agree much with Andrew Sullivan on politics these days (but, with Andrew’s record of instability, that may simply mean I only need to wait awhile until he becomes conservative again), yet I largely agree with him on blogging.

Of course, Andrew Sullivan blogs on a considerably more prolific and professional scale than I do. He is infuriatingly intellectually dishonest, shamelessly manipulative and propagandistic in his arguments, but he otherwise does a pretty commendable job. (The backing of a major magazine and a budget providing funding for a staff undoubtedly helps.)

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