Vandenberg rocket launch

Marty S. and I drove down to Vandenberg AFB this AM to see a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.  We had never seen a launch and it was on my bucket list.  It was around 4:30AM and I didn’t get any pictures, but here’s a video taken from the actual rocket.  We’ll do it again I’m sure and next time we’ll shoot for a daytime launch.

If you ever decide to do this, consider three places to view a Vandenberg launch on pads 3 or 4.  And consider bringing along binoculars.  Options include:

  1.  On Ocean avenue near or on Renwick Ave.  About as close as you can get to the pads, about 5 miles.  Could be foggy.  Park off Ocean or on Renwick.
  2. Providence Landing Park.  About 5 miles further, but at 330′ elevation, might get you out of the fog, if it’s foggy.  You don’t have to get there early.  Look south.
  3. Harris Grade Road up in the hills, at 1000′ if it’s really foggy, but it is further away.

There’s some old info on internet sites.  For instance, you probably can’t reach Surf Beach and Hawk’s Nest is sadly closed.  Having said that, here’s a pretty useful map, including info on seeing other launch pads.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?ll=34.67556999999999%2C-120.594177&spn=0.27105%2C0.439453&msa=0&z=11&source=embed&ie=UTF8&mid=1eJ71ff_mISR9o8ndMX7nwrvQlTw

Note that pads 6 and 8 are quite a bit further from the viewing spots I mention than 3 or 4.  If you have a better place to see 6 or 8, let me know.  There’s a coast road but others mention that it’s closed for launches.  I’ll keep this blog updated as I learn more.

Leg exercise is critical to brain health

Interesting article in ScienceDaily says that using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells.  The study gives doctors new clues as to why patients who are bed-ridden often rapidly decline in health.  They not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted.

legsThe study was done on mice, but it doesn’t take much of a leap to see the implications for you and me.  I’m sure it’ll spark more study but it seems like a good idea to avoid long periods of inactivity.

You are who you hate

Interesting comment in issue 872 of the Editor’s Letter in The Week magazine:  “For much of the electorate, politics is a ritualized display of tribal identity, not a mere choice of policies.  You are who you hate.”

IMO, it’s in the self-interest of our political parties (tribes) to drive ever harder wedges between one another, because the #1 function of a tribe is to out-compete other tribes.  It’s hard-wired into our genes from our primate ancestors.

George Washington warned against the formation of political parties and urged the nation to choose leaders for reasons that transcended partisan politics.  Hmmm.

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Median home prices near me – ouch

The median home price in San Jose, the nearest big city, is $1M.  That’s way more than LA, NY, and even SF.  It’s the highest in the US.  How can young families afford it?  They can’t of course.  And rents are likewise sky-high.

This article in Kiplinger lists the median home prices for the top 100 US metro areas.  Even the median price, $800K, in the little burg I’m near, Santa Cruz, is a lot higher than anywhere else in the US.  This 950 sq ft home in Santa Cruz recently sold for a little over $800K, the median price in Santa Cruz.  In my hometown of Garden City, MI, it would be around $80K, a tenth of Santa Cruz.  I’m speechless.136 Wendell St, SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060

 

 

 

What we COULD do to reduce the gun problem

Blaming AR15s for gun violence is like blaming the texting feature of phones for the carnage on our roads caused by distracted driving.  Should we outlaw texting?

People all too easily turn to guns to solve problems.  Where did they learn this?  Answer:  popular media.  The people in Hollywood who want to ban guns make billions on glorifying gun violence.  What can we do? We could censor popular media; who currently have no self-censorship.  What else could we do but won’t?

  • We could make it harder for people convicted of ANY violent crimes to get guns
  • We could aggressively punish violent transgressors instead of wrist slaps, even if it means building more jails.
  • We could jail therapists who don’t “out” the nut jobs they know are a danger to others
  • We could stop threatening the 2nd amendment so gun owners don’t have to take extreme positions and instead, work with everyone else on the problem
  • We could legalize drugs and kill the revenue source of gun-using gangs and BTW, save the lives of countless innocent people in Latin America
  • We could shift tax dollars from things like drug enforcement and incarceration to education.  This would help build a strong economy so people get good jobs and have hope.
  • We could identify at-risk individuals through schools and the military, and offer/ force counseling
  • We could admit that suicides are not a gun problem, it’s a people problem
  • We could punish every parent who’s found guilty of making guns available (unsupervised) to kids.  A few examples would solve most of this part of the problem.

I’m sure there are dozens of other things we could do, after careful and bi-partisan study.

California is the Poorest State

In a Feb 18 article by CALmatters on the “California Dream”, Matt Levin observes that if you factor in cost-of-living, California has the highest poverty rate in the U.S.  Stated another way, California is the poorest state in the country.  Poorer than states like Louisiana or Mississippi.  The article mostly blames the cost of housing.  In 1969, the average California home price was 3X the average annual income of younger Californians; today, it’s 7X.  At the same time, we have the wealthiest citizens, and some cities with the highest per capita income.

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Back in 2005, I was trying to be funny.  It’s not funny anymore.