Friday, January 31, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Doom and Gloom for Echinoderms on the West Coast of North America

Echinoderms are gone from San Francisco Bay

Word on the street is there are no longer any Echinoderms in San Francisco Bay due to pollution.  Books could be written, and have been. 

Maps: Sea Star Wasting in W. North America

(from )

Sea Star Wasting (Links)

  • (you will experience unsolicited multimedia output)


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Flooding in Butuan City due to Tropical Storm Lingling (Agaton)

[UPDATE: On monday evening, Fe received word from a relative in Butuan City, saying that the family are all well, and the floodwaters have subsided.]

As of Monday morning, 20 January (Pacific Standard Time), Fe's home town of Butuan City is experiencing serious flooding due largely, as far as I can tell, to the swelling of the Agusan River upstream closer to Davao.   Moderate to heavy rainfall continues to be predicted for Butuan, at least for now.  We have not been able to contact Fe's relatives in Butuan City, although two of her young relatives have posted on Facebook, somehow. 

I am trying to collect some background information here, since we cannot correspond directly to Butuan City.   I have used the Google search tools to limit my search to the last hour.  A number of photographs are to be found online by searching "Butuan Agaton" and at least one indistinct YouTube video.  The general impression is that a large number of Barangays (villages) are flooded, and a large number of people have been evacuated from their homes. 

It is extremely interesting that the only direct information we have received has been through FaceBook postings by very young relatives of Fe.  Doc Searles has discussed in the past the user of twitter during disasters. 

Butuan City is located ON the Agusan River delta, and it has been subject to flooding in the past.  When we were in Butuan City in 1997, I met with a programmer/specialist from the municipal government, and received a CD of electronic maps showing the regions that had been flooded in the past.  Drainage had been installed, and the sense was that what could be done was being done to protect Butuan City from the same kind of catastrophic flooding that had been experienced in the past. 

Climate (note from

Agusan del Norte is outside the typhoon belt. There is no definite dry season. Rainfall is pronounced throughout the year with maximum rainfall occuring from November to January.
Annual average rainfall is 91.5 inches, an annual total of 217 rainy days or a monthly average of 18,01 rainy days per month. The average annual temperature is 27.5 °C and annual humidity average 85%.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Paradox: Article about Open Source Hardware published in a presitgious paywall journal

In the journal Science was published this article:

Joshua M. Pearce.  2012.  Building Research Equipment with Free, Open-Source Hardware. Science 14 September 2012: 337 (6100), 1303-1304.
I was unable to read this online through the publisher's website, as it is behind a Paywall.   How absurd is this?

Note that it would cost $20.00 to access this article for 24 hours.  That is ONE ARTICLE.  (In reality, this is somewhat cheapter than some other journals.)

Here is a link to an informative podcast (why is the idea of a "podcast" linked to the name of a proprietary device developed by an aggressively competitive and exclusionary company---why is this even acceptable in any manner, to anyone, in the land of the free?)

I am interested the open source microcontroller---Arduino.

The idea is a fantastic one.  The parallel with Open Source Software is pertinent.  3D printing custom reaction flasks with a catalyst printed in?

Dremelfuge: print out a chuck to make a high speed centrifuge.

I learned about Thingiverse.  This is getting interesting.

Within an hour of posting a plan for a lab jack, someone from Finland posted an improvement.  This is the power of free software, in meatspace.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

California King Tides, 2013-2014

A previous post featured a graph of the tidelevel predictions for 2013, as a single graph. Right on the cusp between that graph and this new one, for 2014, is the King Tide of 2013--2014. The low tide is impressive as well.
Some links about King Tides this year. I saw photos of water on the road at at least one site in Sausalito. Also in Micronesia, I recall that the higest tides of the year are in late December, a named tide.