Global Skywatch

Ted’s essays

Cause of death statistics – Hint, guns not in top 10

The statistics below and to the right are occasionally compiled. I carried one such list on a card in my wallet for a decade. The numbers ebb and flow year-to-year, but their position on the causes of death list rarely move much. There are 32,000 gun related deaths per year by firearms. The U.S. population is 324,000,000. Thus: 0.00987% of the population dies from gun related actions each year. -80% are through criminal activity, gang and drug-trade related This is one cost of “our” war on non-prescription drugs. -60% of those deaths are by suicide A similar per-capita rate to non-gun-owning countries. -8% are by police. -3% are accidental discharge deaths. Look at how those deaths distribute across the nation: […]

Studio wired

I feel like it has been a long time coming. But when I really think about it, we moved into a trashed homestead 7 months ago. We have made tremendous progress on numerous fronts. Nevertheless, today’s big success is the proper lighting and wiring of my studio. I have had a solar-recharged 12-volt grid-independent electrical system for about 5 years. The primary motivation was for my short and long range 2-way radios; my HAM gear. All of these radios run on 12-volts. You either run them on automotive-compatible systems, or you buy separate power inverters to turn you electrical grid power into juice they can use. That decision was the tipping point to have some independence from power deliveries, […]

poking Big Brother in the eyes

THEY can access every part of your computer, your cell phone and your smart appliances. THEY can turn them on even when you have turned those appliances off. THEY monitor, collect and store every bit of electronic traffic coming to or from you. Amendment IV The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. Of course “the founding fathers” did not anticipate personal computers, e-mails and cell phones. Therefore invading our privacies on those was […]

Easter Egg Chicken Ranch improvements

The bad news: A predator took out our good rooster leaving us with two lonely hens putting out a fifth of our regular egg consumption (Missy loves to include lots of eggs in our diet … fresh are particularly welcome). Though I don’t remember ever enjoying the crowing of our rooster, we surprisingly missed it right away. I patched a hole in the fence that had a trail of now deceased rooster feathers, reviewed the heck out of our game camera, but still do not know who or what took him out. I was amazed to run across an advertisement listing 9-month-old chickens, at the very beginning of their egg productive phase for only six dollars each. The going rate […]

cultural advice

1. Never shake a man’s hand sitting down. 2. Don’t enter a pool by the stairs. 3. The man at the BBQ Grill is the closest thing to a king. 4. In a negotiation, never make the first offer. 5. Request the late check-out. 6. When entrusted with a secret, keep it. 7. Hold your heroes to a higher standard. 8. Return a borrowed car with a full tank of gas. 9. Play with passion or not at all… 10. When shaking hands, grip firmly and look them in the eye. 11. Don’t let a wishbone grow where a backbone should be. 12. If you need music on the beach, you’re missing the point. 13. Carry two handkerchiefs. The one […]

Stand aside, groundhog.

I just realized a much more reliable predictor that spring is here; winter is gone. Both the woodbox by the fireplace, the kindling supply, and firewood storage outside the utility door are stuffed with fireplace-ready logs. The woodpile is in healthy shape as well. Being this prepared for cold surely must preclude its arrival. Well, that, and it is really nice outside. Blue sky, lovely sunshine, upper 40-degree temperatures, mud replacing much of the snow covering, insects on the move, kingfishers and geese arriving. Nature is telling me the pruning season is ending real soon. Get to work!

my first Instructable

I have seen a few that captured my interest, but what really caught my eye was their contest for first-time Instructable authors. They didn’t mind at all that I had published most of it here in one way or another and at my own instructable website The Fixer .biz. So I re-crafted my coffee making posts into one targeted to their audience. I do think that exercise improved the product. https://www.instructables.com/id/Roast-Your-Own-Super-fresh-Gourmet-COFFEE/

growing garden with snow covered ground

It is a joy to putter in the garden, looking out its windows at snow covered ground. Thanks to significant time, effort and expenditure, year-round gardening is now possible in my corner of Montana. While our picnic table looks a bit shy of inviting, my spinach crop is stellar. In honor of the March 2nd full moon, and thanking those seeds that germinated in the last two plantings this year, I planted some carrots and cabbage seeds today. I also added a couple more lights to extend and brighten the days for my babies. You can, by the way, blow up these little thumbnail photos to see what I am sharing here. The aluminized thin insulation panel was an economical […]