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October 27, 2020

'Hold Fast' — Moxie Marlinspike and friends

I really, really liked this movie.

YouTube caption

"Hold Fast": Stories of maniac sailors, anarchist castaways, and the voyage of the S/V Pestilence....

Over the course of two winters, four members of the Anarchist Yacht Clubb [sic] rescued a derelict boat from the inhospitable waters of Ft. Lauderdale, named it the S/V Pestilence, and sailed south to Haiti.

"Hold Fast" describes what drew these friends to the ocean, and tells the story of what they discovered in the sea.

It paints a picture of the S/V Pestilence in the context of all the sailing maniacs who have come before them, and ultimately attempts to suggest that the secret is always to begin.

From Wikipedia: "In 2004, Marlinspike bought a derelict sailboat and, along with three friends, refurbished it and sailed around the Bahamas while making a documentary about their journey called 'Hold Fast.'"

More here.

October 27, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Radon: It's back


Back when I bought my first and only house in 1983, radon was a big deal.

Sometimes a sale was contingent on the radon level inside a house.

Like most things, it mattered until it didn't: by the end of the 80s nobody cared.

Now radon levels have returned as an issue.

Last week the Wall Street Journal featured the 2020 edition of the radon problem in an article, excerpts from which appear below.


Testing Your Home for Radon

It doesn't take a super sleuth to detect an invisible hazard possibly lurking in your home: radon.

A variety of tests exist but their effectiveness varies, depending on the type of test and how it is used.

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released from the ground.

About 1 in 15 homes test high for radon in interior air, and radon is, behind smoking, the second most common cause of lung cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Initially, you can buy a long-term radon testing kit, advises Tommy Bowles, a radon expert with the EPA.

A detector remains undisturbed in a lower-level living space for 90 days, then is mailed to a lab for analysis. 

If test results put radon levels at or above 4 picocuries per liter of air, you should have a certified professional perform a test to ensure accuracy.

Professional radon mitigators typically install soil-depressurization systems.

Techniques and costs vary based on the type of foundation the house sits on (basement, concrete slab, or crawl space).

A pipe is inserted into a layer of aggregate or porous material underneath the house.

Many systems have fans that exhaust the air out from under the house into the pipe, which then vents the gas above the home’s roofline.

"The most important message is that we want consumers to test," Mr. Bowles says. "We recommend every two years. Radon can fluctuate year to year."

Also test after major home-improvement projects that disrupt the earth around the house, especially one that converts a basement into living space, he adds.

Many state and local health departments offer residents free radon test kits.

They are also available for purchase online, at home-improvement stores, or through the National Radon Program Services at Kansas State University.

"The D-I-Y tests are great," says EPA's Bowles.

They offer a cost-effective approach for initial screening.

Long-term tests (defined as 90 days or longer) are the most accurate, he notes, because they detect fluctuations in radon levels over time.

When buying or selling a home, contact your state radon program to find a qualified professional to test for radon and/or fix any issues.

In states that don't regulate radon professionals, ask the contractor for proof of proficiency or certification.

October 27, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


You heard it here first.

The other day I was wondering how long till my right knee, underneath the patella, stops hurting so I can resume my running routine.

It started in early June so it's now coming up on five months.

I stay off my feet for a few days, the soreness is almost gone, and I go running for 2-3 miles: pain at first, then by the time I'm done no pain at all.

The next day it's more sore than before I ran, so I repeat the cycle.

I was walking out to the mailbox pondering this when I thought to myself, "How come there are no shoes with water soles?"

Nike's taken air in every possible direction, but I don't recall ever seeing a shoe with water as its shock absorbing element.

I declare priority: steal the idea if you like but it first appeared here.

I'm gonna noodle around in my attic and closets and cabinets and drawers and workshop and online and see if I can come up with some sort of jury-rigged water soles.

Stay tuned.

October 27, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Touchdown on Bennu was just the beginning

This last week marked a monumental achievement by NASA: a controlled touchdown on asteroid Bennu some 200 million miles away — with hoped-for sample retrieval to be returned to Earth, the first extraterrestrial material to do so (excepting meteorites) since the final Apollo mission in 1972.

Fast forward to the 2060s, when mining colonies abound in the asteroid belt and on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Can't make it?

No worries: for you (and me) there's "The Expanse," a superb series much of whose action takes place in the asteroid belt, whose residents style themselves "belters."  

Best news of the day?

After four seasons, Amazon renewed the show for a fifth season, which is set to premiere on December 16, 2020.

October 27, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Post-it Gold

Screen Shot 2020-10-24 at 3.25.20 PM

From the website:

A block of sticky notes with gold-plated edges.

3" x 4".

Made in France.


October 27, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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