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2024 Solar Eclipse – Rough Images

11 April, 2024 (08:52) | Blog, Pictures | By: Doubletwist

These are the rough (unedited) images of the full set of eclipse photos. I had a tough time getting the focus right, and I feel like most of the non-totality images are overexposed, but it’s the best I could do for my first attempt at photographing a solar eclipse.

2024 Total Solar Eclipse – Totality Images

8 April, 2024 (16:06) | Blog | By: Doubletwist

These are just some of the quick-and-dirty series of images I took during totality, plus a animation of the combined images.

Hot much?

19 July, 2018 (15:41) | Blog, Personal, Pictures | By: Doubletwist

Yeah, it’s 106F officially. And this is what happens in a car sitting out in the sun:

First you can boil water on your dashboard…


And don’t even think about sitting down in shorts…

A word on US unemployment rates

4 November, 2016 (17:20) | Blog, Politics | By: ender

Over the last 8 years of Obama’s presidency each time the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] releases their unemployment numbers I hear a chorus of conservatives crying over the fact that the official unemployment rate does not include people who are “underemployed” (working part time or at a lower wage than they might normally be working) and it does not include “marginally attached workers” ( discouraged and no longer actively looking for work).

On one hand, they have a point. Those numbers are important in determining the efficacy of economic policy and even if not used as the ‘official’ numbers, they should be taken into consideration and should probably be mentioned and discussed more in the news. With that said, they only seem to use it to bash Obama and ‘liberal’ policies as if, were we to look at these numbers, it would show that Obama’s policies have not had a positive impact on unemployment or economic health at all. This is disingenuous at best.

The fact is that the BLS does keep track of and release those numbers. They call it ‘U-6: Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force”, and it’s exactly the number that the conservatives say should be used. So lets see what those numbers say over the terms of the last 3 presidents.


Note2 : I can only find data on this U-6 number back to Jan 1994 – after Bill Clinton’s first year in office.

In Jan 1994, a year into Bill Clinton’s term the U-6 rate was 11.8%. When he left office the rate was 7.3%. That’s a 38% drop.

In Jan 2001, when George W. Bush took office the U-6 rate was at 7.3%. When he left office the rate was 14.2%. That’s a 94.5% increase!

In Jan 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the U-6 rate was at 14.2% (and rising very fast). In Oct 2016, just a couple months before he leaves office, the rate is 9.5%. That’s a 33% drop.   [44% if you count from the peak (17.10%) from the massive inertia in play that Bush left]

So the “Full” unemployment rate almost doubled under Bush and Obama has brought it back down significantly.

Don’t get me wrong, 9.5% percent is not good enough, and this economic recovery has been slower than anyone would like. And yes, that is a national average, so there are pockets of America where the rate is much higher due to regional differences in economic and business realities. And yes, we need to continue working to ensure that people suffering in those pockets are not left behind as we continue to recover from this last recession.

The fact remains that the economy as a whole *is* massively improved under liberal presidential policies. So what exactly is their argument?




Oct 2016 unemployment numbers [including the U-6 numbers]: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm

Macrotrends 30-yr chart on U-6 unemployment rate: http://www.macrotrends.net/1377/u6-unemployment-rate

Android App recommendations

19 March, 2014 (16:55) | Blog | By: ender

So over the years I’ve had more and more friends make the switch from iOS devices to Android. Obviously I’m a big fan of Android, so I’ve decided to provide a list of Android apps and why I recommend or use them, so that these new Android users have a good place to start. This list will not include super common apps like Netflix, but some of the less common apps I’ve found useful.

  • aCar – Free/Paid – I actually paid for this one. I use it to keep track of my fuel usage and gas mileage and maintenance schedules as well as ongoing costs for services and so on for my car. It can import/export to formats for a bunch of other apps [including iOS apps] .
  • Android Device Manager – this is actually built into the OS, and your Google account – but I think it needs to be set-up/activated. It allows you to go to your google account and locate your device, and/or wipe it if it is lost or stolen.
  • Bandsintown – Free – If you like live shows, this app can tell you who’s playing near you. Put in bands to watch for, and it will let you know when they’re coming to town – and can let you know when similar acts are coming.
  • Dropbox – Free – super common, SUPER useful [see KeepassDroid entry]
  • Flashlight HD LED – Free – [from smallte.ch] – super-bright and requires ONLY the bare minimum of permissions -there is NO reason a flashlight needs access to your contact list! But that’s what some other flashlight apps request.    ### I can no longer recommend this Flashlight app – it now requires more permissions than it really needs, plus the most recent versions of Android have a built-in flashlight which is accessible from the login screen or the home screen by swiping down from the top of the screen.
  • FolderSync – Free/Paid – I prefer to keep my photos on my own systems instead of auto-uploading them to cloud providers [Dropbox, Google+, Facebook etc] – so I use this app instead. It can sync any files [not just pics] and it can use FTP, SFTP, SMB/CIFS, WebDAV or one of a BUNCH of different cloud providers. It can sync in one or both directions, and can be scheduled. It can also be set [per connection] to limit *when* it will attempt to sync. For instance, I have mine set to only sync to my home server when the phone connects to my specific WiFi SSID. This app is very cool, and very flexible. If you want to sync any of your phone’s data this is the best way to do it.
  • GroceryIQ – Free – Grocery list – very useful. If you create an account [not required] you can sync the list across multiple devices – great for couples!
  • gStrings – Free – guitar and other stringed instrument tuner
  • HD Widgets – Paid – I use this to put a great clock and weather widget on my home screen, as well as some quick-toggle buttons for things like Bluetooth, Wifi, brightness etc. Very customizable on size, color, font and what you want to be on the widget.
  • KeepassDroid – Free – This is the android port of Keepass – which I use to store all of my many, many passwords securely. I keep my password database on Dropbox [WARNING: Keep a REALLY strong password both on your Dropbox account, and the Keepass database!!!!]  – In this way, I’m able to access and update my passwords from my phone, tablet, home computer or work computer! This enables me to keep a lot of much stronger passwords for various accounts than I would if I had to remember all of them. Now I just have to remember my Keepass password.
  • Light Flow – Free/Paid – I paid for this one too. This lets you customize and set recurring notifications [ie, if you get a text – keep beeping every X minutes until you acknowledge it]. This is great for work texts in case I miss them. If your phone supports it, you can also adjust the color and blinking of the notification LED depending on which type of unread messages you have [ie. Green for email, red for texts]
  • Quick Dice Roller – Free – If you play any games that require dice rolling – this is a great app. Can customize the look of the dice and set up custom dice with specific formulas.
  • RedLaser – Free – I use this to scan barcodes in stores and compare prices and find reviews.
  • Scanner Radio – Free/Paid – Access to thousands of internet streams of scanner radios – listen to police/fire/emt/weather radio from around the country and around the world.
  • Wi-Fi Analytics – Free – This app by Amped Wireless allows you to see what wifi networks there are around you, and see all kinds of detailed information on them. You can determine which channel is least crowded so you know what channel to use for your own network, and you can get information on signal strength, and so on.

Best Birthday Card Ever!

23 May, 2013 (08:54) | Humor, Pictures | By: ender

Hallmark has outdone themselves, and printed the best birthday card ever!


Ouch – Herniated Disc

1 February, 2013 (10:32) | Blog, Personal, Pictures | By: ender

In case anyone ever wanted to know what a herniated disc looks like. This is an MRI image of my lower spine. The main section of cartilage, between L5 and S1 [with the arrow pointing to it] is seriously herniated and is pushing against the nerves which go down into my right leg, which is why my right leg has been hurting so much lately. The space between L4 and L5 is also a little bit herniated. The ones above those are what the cartilage is supposed to look like.

I’d like to add that I got this injury by trying to be a good samaritan. For my troubles I’ve gotten a month of excruciating pain and many hundreds of dollars of medical expenses. See if I ever do that again!


Natural Bridges State Beach 2012

19 September, 2012 (23:07) | Blog, Pictures | By: ender

Here are some shots from Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, CA. There are some really interesting erosion patterns in the rocks.

Business Trip and Rental Car Nightmare

23 May, 2012 (13:57) | Blog | By: ender

Note: I will expound on the story behind these pictures at a later date. For now I just want to get the pics up….

The Power of Innocence.

1 April, 2012 (23:12) | Blog, Personal | By: ender

It’s a fair bet that most parents have experienced seemingly innocuous statements which, when spoken by an innocent child, attain a cosmic truth and beauty that no other utterance can possibly match. Such a statement by a child brightens the entire universe.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. An otherwise innocuous statement by an innocent child can drive straight into your heart and tear out your soul; darkening all of existence.

There is unmatched power in innocence.