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kennethweene - Weene Side Reflections - Some lessons learned while running the maze

kennethweene - Weene Side Reflections - Some lessons learned while running the maze | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Every morning I tell myself, “Ken, you are not really a rat. You are not in a maze.&...

 

Along the journey from childhood to writer there were some lessons learned and now they're shared.

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Thoughts and comments about making life even better
Curated by Kenneth Weene
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Does 'Sustainability' Help The Environment Or Just Agriculture's Public Image?

Does 'Sustainability' Help The Environment Or Just Agriculture's Public Image? | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Big food companies like Walmart want farmers to reduce greenhouse emissions from nitrogen fertilizer. But the best-known program to accomplish this may not be having much effect.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
How wonderful that agribusiness and retailers of food want to be more environmentally aware. Now, maybe they can actually turn that awareness into action. 
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Billy Joel wears Star of David badges, mocks fired Trump advisors at Madison Square Garden

Billy Joel wears Star of David badges, mocks fired Trump advisors at Madison Square Garden | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Billy Joel, who only months ago said he chooses to keep his politics private, wore Star of David badges prominently on the front an
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Thank you Billy Joel. I know you prefer remaining private and not speaking out on political issues, but it is time in this country to speak out for humanity and equality. And, it is time to demand a properly run government, so thanks for the commentary with "Good-Bye to You."  Now, get back to doing what you do best, writing songs and hanging out at Christiano's Restaurant. 

By the way, do you still have the painting done by my wife that your bought years back? I hope it still gives you pleasure. 
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How Much You'll Pay in Taxes When You Win the $700 Million Powerball Jackpot, in Every State

How Much You'll Pay in Taxes When You Win the $700 Million Powerball Jackpot, in Every State | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The Powerball lottery has hit $700 million. Here's how much each state takes out in taxes.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Okay, let's say I've just won the $700 million jackpot. Right. Now I've got the most friends ever. LOL. But, I still have to decide a few things, like whether to take the lump sum payment or to go with the annuity. Luckily, I can figure out how much I'd get from each option. I know which way I'd go now—as opposed to a few years back—do you? Lump or annuity?

Next, the biggest question: Besides sending me my share, what would you do with all that cash? Time for fantasies. My biggest personal want: season tickets to symphony, theater, and opera. From there, I think some major contributions would be in order. And, yes, a few special people would be in line. But the rest? The rest? 

So folks, you suggestions. What would you be doing with your big win? 
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18 space suits from science fiction, from worst to best

18 space suits from science fiction, from worst to best | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Space suits are cool — and complicated. Earlier this week, my colleague Loren Grush launched her new series Space Craft by seeing what wearing one is like. The answer? Exhausting
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Okay, I admit it, I'm not that big a space fiction wonk, but I couldn't pass up this great story with its wonderful images. I went with this one as my lead because of the dog. I mean, how could I pass on the dog. However, the entire collection of pictures is really cool. So my science fiction friends, enjoy yourselves while this Broody New Englander thinks about the joys of picking blackberries along a rock wall. Yep, my kind of exploration. What's your favorite other than reading books by Kenneth Weene, which you can find at https://www.amazon.com/Kenneth-Weene/e/B002M3EMWU ;
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Trump Says His Prayers Are With Navy Sailors After Initial Bungled Response of "That's too bad."

Trump Says His Prayers Are With Navy Sailors After Initial Bungled Response of "That's too bad." | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
President Donald Trump on Sunday night published a tweet saying that his thoughts and prayers are with U.S. Nav
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I've seen a few references to Mr. Trump's original comment, "That's too bad." It isn't even clear that he heard the question to which he was responding. He may well have not known about the incident, which had happened shortly before. While I do think the POTUS suffers from foot-in-mouth disease, I also think it reprehensible that the press hound his—as they do others—as if by shouting endless questions they are actually investigating. Better a more pointed question.In this case, I wonder what is going on with our military. It seems to me that we've had a number of "accidents" in recent weeks. No, I don't think it is Donald Trump's fault. My guess is that our service personnel are weary and over-tasked. And, I am also guessing that some commanders are pushing to up their visibility by taking risks. Whatever the reason, it seems to me that somebody at the Pentagon should be asking that same question. 
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Avert Your Eyes: Eclipse Viewing Taboo in Navajo and Other Cultures - Indian Country Media Network

Avert Your Eyes: Eclipse Viewing Taboo in Navajo and Other Cultures - Indian Country Media Network | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Eclipses, be they solar or lunar, are taboo to the Navajo and disturbing to other indigenous cultures, including the Maya
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While this article is from May, 2012, it speaks to the archetypal thinking of our species, to our sense that the stars ave power in our lives, that the sun and moon are beings, gods who rule over us. Deep down inside each and every one of us, no matter how rational and scientific we may be, is there not still that sense of wonder and that notion that somehow astrology is worth understanding? Do we not all wonder what forces rule our lives? 
 
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A rare and elusive white moose has finally been captured on video

A rare and elusive white moose has finally been captured on video | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Hans Nilsson has spent three years trying to spot an elusive white moose in the town of Eda, in western Sweden. Last week he got lucky.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Oh, my heart, be still. Another white moose and this time with video. Just have to share. 
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American History Myths Debunked: The Indians Weren’t Defeated by White Settlers - Indian Country Media Network

American History Myths Debunked: The Indians Weren’t Defeated by White Settlers - Indian Country Media Network | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Breaking down Cracked.com's list of six lies many believe about the founding of America in our American History Myths Debunked.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Even before the Pilgrims landed, there was fear among the natives on the New England shores because previous ships had brought strange illnesses that had killed great numbers. One of the illness unknown to the Indians was smallpox, which is endemic where there are domesticated animals. Before the Europeans, Native Americans did not keep such animals except for a small number of dogs and pack animals in the mountains of South America. Meat was something to be hunted and as far as I know there was no dairy. Domesticated animals and hunting are two of the three approaches to obtaining meat; the third is the semi-domesticated cattle rearing of Africa where the herds are accompanied rather than fully controlled. Were I back at the grad school level, I would probably be trying to figure out how these three approaches affect the rest of a culture's structure and the religious values that underly it. For example, the hunter typically will value the soul and will of each animal while the herder would see the animals as a gift to his people. The domesticator on the other hand would see that the grass and grain on which the herd feeds is the central gift from the creator. However, given that animal domestication comes with many illnesses, that god would seem more punitive. While the god of the herder would be protecting them and their herds from the predications of other animals, so a god that has control over and against evil. Hmm; am I on to something? I love thinking about anthropology.
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Thousands of Mexicans march to scrap NAFTA, as government fights to save it

Thousands of Mexicans march to scrap NAFTA, as government fights to save it | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
While Mexican government negotiators fought tooth and nail to save the North American Free Trade Agreement during talks in Washington, thousands of Mexican farmers and workers took to the streets on Wednesday demanding the deal be scrapped.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While most Mexicans favor NAFTA, the small farmers, mostly indigenous, have been hurt by the importation of cheap food from the states. Now, the quality of that food, especially the corn, that's another question. But there is no doubt that more people appreciate the lower prices and greater abundance of food than are being hurt. And, for farmers in some southern states the opening a new market for their products is welcome, which pits two Trump support groups, Southern famers and blue collar factory workers of the North, against one another. I think the chimera of renegotiating NAFTA as a solution for unhappy, redundant workers is going to be yet another point of failure for 45. Instead, we should be upping the quality control and working standards for all involved in farming, manufacturing, mining, logging, etc. No, not with endless bureaucracy and minute rules but with the use of inducements for producers, transporters, and sellers to improve. 
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Preserving Traditional Crops: The Tohono O’odham I’itoi Onion - Indian Country Media Network

Preserving Traditional Crops: The Tohono O’odham I’itoi Onion - Indian Country Media Network | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Native American farmers keeping traditional crops alive with sustainable farming methods; the Tohono O’odham I’itoi onion is the precursor to the cultivated shallots grown today.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I love a good onion and more than that I love the thought of traditional crops and foods. Did these onions originate with European imports or are they truly indigenous (a gift from the gods)? That I leave to your imagination. Meanwhile, happy eating. 
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Inside Cancer’s Newest Miracle Cure

Inside Cancer’s Newest Miracle Cure | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
What makes immune-based therapies so promising— and so powerful—is that they are a living drug churned out by the patients themselves.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What a wonderful thing it would be if we could wipe out cancer, especially in children. However, two issues remain. 

The first is the slippery slope of allowing genetic modification of people. While I'm all for doing so with people who are alive and who will be healthier for the therapy, what about gene therapies on embryos? Are we making Frankenbablies? Should we be playing god?

The second is the cost or such made-to-order therapeutics? Doesn't this become an argument for reducing the possibility of making profit from therapy and increasing our reliance on a single payer so that everybody has equal access or should the wealthy get first dibs on treatment once it emerges from the research cocoon? For my part, while I want the developers of such wonderful new methods to receive just and large compensation, I don't want to see another epipen type of situation. Do you? 
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You Can Own a Lighthouse for $10,000

You Can Own a Lighthouse for $10,000 | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
And some bids start as low as $10,000.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There is something incredibly tempting about this. What a great place to write. Of course, there may be some problems about living conditions, but once it was renovated. Imagine sitting up in the optic section staring out through the storm panes and listening to you muse. Oh, I want it. Of course, my wife would have a very different idea, maybe like divorce over incompatible life styles.  
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The real dirt on seven filthy food habits

The real dirt on seven filthy food habits | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Consuming bacteria is the risk you take if you eat cake after the candles have been blown out, dip a chip in salsa after someone else double-dips or eat toast that has fallen on the floor, even for five seconds.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Double dipping, five second rule, playing beer pong, having a slice of lemon in our glass of water: just how much bacteria gets shared on our food and in our drink? Some fascinating little studies. But, one thing that rules them all is, "If you're sick, don't share your germs with your friends and family. Save them for your enemies and random politicians." Meanwhile, anybody want to share a bowl of guacamole? 
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People Are Going Bananas For This Healthy 'Ice Cream' Machine

People Are Going Bananas For This Healthy 'Ice Cream' Machine | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Get yo'self some 'nanas.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Probably too many carbs for me and I can only imagine the mess, but I certainly hope one of our friends tries this and invites us over. Good enough and I may just give in. I do love fruit flavors. Of course, I wonder if chocolate and coffee would classify as fruits for this.
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This Gorgeous Island Is the Least-visited Country in the World and We Don’t Understand Why

This Gorgeous Island Is the Least-visited Country in the World and We Don’t Understand Why | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
The waters are rising though, so act fast.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
With only 26 sq miles of land, most of which on the main island, and 10,000 people, this is one of the tiniest countries in the world, and with the oceans rising it is losing ground and people steadily. (The people moving to New Zealand.) But, the beaches are clean, the people who remain friendly and speak English along with their Polynesian island language. Not a good place to visit if you don't eat fish.
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The Confederate General Who Was Erased

The Confederate General Who Was Erased | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
There's a reason you won't find many monuments in the South to one of Robert E. Lee's most able deputies.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
After the Civil War one southern general worked to make an interracial society possible. It was he who tried to make the governments of the southern states inclusive. Not surprisingly, when the Daughters of the Confederacy decided to defy history and make the South great again by erecting statues and creating new memories, they found few pedestals for him except at an actual battlefield, the kind of placement that I think makes sense for all those generals as opposed to in front of colleges and state houses. So if you've never seen a statue of General William Mahone, it's because his life, which was so exemplary of the true Southern values, didn't fall in with the narrative of the haters, bigots, and segregationist of the post-reconstruction world. Just one more reason why our nation has to get rid of those statues and reach an end to the War Between the States. 
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India-China border brawl: Superpowers throw stones at each other as tensions heighten 

India-China border brawl: Superpowers throw stones at each other as tensions heighten  | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A video of soldiers from Asia’s two superpowers apparently kicking, punching and throwing stones at each other on the flashpoint Indo-Tibetan border has raised fears about escalating military tensions between China and India.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
At some level I'm amused by this brief video clip showing troops from two nuclear powers—and countries with huge populations at that—throwing stones, punching, and kicking. It seems to me we could go back to the stone age this way and save bombing one another until we are all back at that level. Could we ask for a brawl between US troops and Taliban? How about it ISIS, ready to wrestle with the army of Syria? Just a lovely thought, but it would save a lot of pain in this world. 
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Questionable Craigslist ad offers to pay actors to be Trump supporters in Phoenix

Questionable Craigslist ad offers to pay actors to be Trump supporters in Phoenix | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
A possibly fake Craigslist ad offered to pay actors, "minorities especially," to appear as supporters for President Donald Trump at his Phoenix rally.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This story is from the Arizona Republic, which does say that the ad on Craigslist is questionable. I wonder if George Soros is bankrolling it. Meanwhile, I for one, will be staying away from the Convention Center on Tuesday. 
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An American Dialect Dictionary Is Dying Out. Here Are Some Of Its Best Words.

An American Dialect Dictionary Is Dying Out. Here Are Some Of Its Best Words. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
From twistification to storm caves to slashburgers, the U.S. has quite the history of local language quirks.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As an author I have a responsibility to share this even though I think some of these words and phrases really only exist in the minds of the word collectors and others, particularly geoduck, are actually well established words found in many places. At any rate, when writing it's both good and bad to use local language and slang. Do you use words that might have only local usage? What are they and from what area?
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Regime Change in Charlottesville

Regime Change in Charlottesville | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
If you understand why that Civil War statue really went up, the debate over removing it looks a lot different.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is one of the best articles I've read about the monuments issue and Charlottesville. I would only add that I do not want to silence the voices of the far right who want to be heard. However, I do want to take away their sense of privilege and the structural racism that has allowed them to continue dominating the process as America, my country, comes to terms with the issues of race, segregation, the Civil War, and demographic change. 

Here is a link to one of my essays on the topic of the war. 
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Okay, you know it, they got me with the white moose, but the rest of these 8 animals are cool. too.

Okay, you know it, they got me with the white moose, but the rest of these 8 animals are cool. too. | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Check out eight members of the animal kingdom who look just a little different that you'd expect.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Just had to share these great photos of strangely colored animals. No dye used.
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Donald Trump 'Sad To See' Confederate Monuments Being Taken Down

Donald Trump 'Sad To See' Confederate Monuments Being Taken Down | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it

This monument in New Orleans was erected in the 1880 and was recently removed. Lee never served there and the city was surrendered early in the war.Historical connection? Really zero. 

Kenneth Weene's insight:
I love to walk through parks and look at statues. Yeah, I even stop to read the plaques and learn some local history. Sometimes, the history is more than local, celebrating the state, the nation, or even humanity and arts. All good. However, during the late nineteenth century an independent group spent fortunes erecting monuments to their heroes, the generals of the confederacy and sometimes to the soldiers. These statues were not erected by communities to celebrate their histories but were rather an attempt to re-write the history of our country. The arguments for these statues were simple. Those soldiers were fighting for what they believed in, fought well and nobly, and those generals were the best of warriors and deserved commemoration. As I have said before, if a community wants to spend to commemorate a cause that lost or a general who was defeated because it was relevant to local history, I have little objection. However, most of the statues in question are from places where they have no relevance. For example, Lee didn't serve in New Orleans and the battle there never actually took place. Beyond that, do communities not have the right to change what they choose to celebrate? To honor? 

However, the move to remove statues of Confederate generals saddens our POTUS. Why? He can't see a difference between the Founding Fathers of this country who risked all in rebellion against the crown to found a new nation and those who risked all to destroy that nation. Would he have us erect statues of Cornwallis and Benedict Arnold since they too fought for what they believed and risked everything? 

My mind reeled at this President's lack of knowledge of history. Then I thought about my own knowledge. While my father was a history teacher and while I have read and studied history for years, my first real introduction to understanding the past was in high school. As most of my friends already know, I went to a boarding school, a New England boarding school, a very Yankee New England boarding school. We spent a lot of time studying and talking about the Civil War. 

Yes, that included the great tactical strengths of those Confederate generals.However, we did not glorify war but rather the political history behind wars. I reached manhood believing that the making of war was evil even if it was sometimes necessary. You see, I had not gotten to a military school. BUT, Mr. Trump did go to one, one on the Hudson River a bit north of New York City, a school that has subsequently gone out of business. It happens that I once had occasion to visit that school. Of course, that was long after both Mr. T. and I had graduated from our respective academies. I found it a strangely off-putting place. I could feel a resentment emanating from the students towards the faculty and one another, nothing like what I had experienced in my boarding school. Perhaps it had nothing to do with Mr. Trump's personal experiences, but I wonder if that kind of hierarchically driven situation doesn't produce a meanness of spirit. Far away, back in New England, I remember faculty taking us off campus to buy cider and sharing poetry around cozy fires. Anyway, I digress.

It seems to me that history must be taught very differently in a military school. I can imagine being taught much more about campaigns and about the brilliance of the generals, the people who in theory I as a student would be emulating. So, yes, while I learned about the great political leaders of the North and parsed the language of Lincoln's speeches, I imagine that the students at that military school on the Hudson would have been taught the great generalship of Lee and his fellows. Honestly, we, too, learned that they were the better generals. Heck, we knew that had Lee accepted he would have been the Union general. He was Lincoln's choice. It was a sad fact of history that Lee decided that his loyalty was more to Virginia than to the federal government even though he had learned his trade at West Point and his father had fought for American independence. 

So, I guess that Mr. Trump, unlike myself, went through an adolescent education that revered Lee and other great generals while I was revering thinkers and politicians. That may well explain his feeling that we are tearing down American history rather than my feeling that those monuments do not celebrate the reality of history at all. (Again, remember, I would have no problem with statues of Lee in Northern Virginia where he grew up and fought as long as they told an accurate story.) 

This brings us to yet another reality of Mr. Trump's education. He never understood the greatness of non-White generals. The greatest of all the generals to fight in America were not on the North or the South nor did they fight in the Revolution. Sorry, Euro-Americans but the really great generals, the once who accomplished the most with the fewest resources, were Native Americans. My personal top choice is Chief Joseph, who would have eluded a much larger American army had he not at the last moment decided that he could not leave the least of his followers behind. Consider, too, the Apache warriors who accomplished so many incredible feats without the resources of their enemies. And, let's not leave out Sitting Bull. Sadly for American soldiers over the years, the accomplishments of armies that were not White have never been appreciated. Why not? Partly because they lost to greater resources or because time changes the course of history. But, whatever the reason, I know that Mr. Trump's military history and strategy classes would have deified Lee and his partners and helped create a sense of White entitlement and superiority. I imagine that in his English class they studies Kipling's "The White Man's Burden." In ours we studied Binet's "John Brown's Body." 

One side note here. Did you know that the troops who captured Brown were led by Col. Robert E. Lee? 

So, here's two real questions: Should Brown have been hanged? If you believe he should have been for insurrection then should we honor those who a few years later were fighting for a larger insurrection? My answers: Yes, he should have been hanged—although now my guess would be he'd be incarcerated because times have changed. No, we should not be honoring the Confederacy.

One last note: If we do wish to honor our history, if we do want to remember the Civil War and those who gave their lives on both sides, why the hell are we not honoring the slaves? Why are we not erecting statues to those who suffered the most and still survived? As we tear down those monuments to Confederate generals, I would like to see new ones erected—including simple monuments to the soldier. Yes, I would honor those men who fought and died for a cause in which they believed even as I would not ask the German people to forget those who died for the Nazi cause, which means remembering them for what they were but not necessarily as those to emulate.  But most of all I would honor those who were dragged into the horror of slavery just as I would honor the Jews, Romany, GAYS, and others who suffered under the hate of the Nazis. In the end, it is only as we celebrate not the evil of war but the wonder of humanity that we can hope to save the souls of our history.
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Repairs, renovations and replacements: Inside the White House facelift

Repairs, renovations and replacements: Inside the White House facelift | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Repairs, renovations and replacements: Inside the White House facelift
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Of course he now says he didn't say it, but it was pretty widely reported that Mr. Trump called the White House a dump. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama had arranged for major renovations to be done. Why they weren't done before Mr. Trump arrived I'm not sure, but I would guess at least part of the reason was to allow the Trumps to pick colors, etc. How do I know the Obamas arranged this? Well, such monies aren't that readily available to the president, not since Mary Lincoln overspent. Now it has to be appropriated. So, somebody had to ask, the expenditure approved, and then the contracts put out to bid. Can't do that in a few months. 

At any rate, it is reasonable that the White House get an update every 20-30 years. This one is after 27. Nothing big to report here other than that the dump ain't so bad. 

Now, you want to read about living in a dump? Get your copy of Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. Where Cal and Ephram lived; well, let's say I wouldn't have kept my dog. Here's the trailer. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDm0ugyphoI&t=3s ;
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Nobody Knows What Lies Beneath New York City

Nobody Knows What Lies Beneath New York City | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Subterranean cartographers are bringing to light the dark, tangled truths buried under the streets.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The Shadow may know what secrets lie in the hearts of men, but what lies beneath the streets is another matter.

It used to be that only a handful of people knew how to rescue New York from disaster if the sewer or water systems failed; a few more if it was the power grid or the gas lines. This new map will give the city much greater control over its underground world. On the other hand, access to such depth maps for any city will increase the opportunities for terrorists to find ways to sabotage and criminals to find points of entry. Worse, yet, how easy will it become for the members of one agency of government to make its points by sabotaging another. Yeah, I worry about the bureaucrats not just the jihadists. 


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Will the Great American Eclipse make animals act strangely? Science says yes

Will the Great American Eclipse make animals act strangely? Science says yes | enjoy yourself | Scoop.it
Will animals be affected by the Great American Eclipse? Scientists will run experiments to find out.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I'm not in the path of the full eclipse so I don't expect to see much change in the animals around me, but I found this article fascinating. I wonder which animals experience the eclipse and are aware that something strange is going on, animals that actually watch for the unexpected the way we humans do. As I read the article, which is really cool, I was struck by the whales gathering. 

Meanwhile, if my dog Uncle were still alive, I know exactly how she'd react. "Time for another drink." Yep, that was Uncle, any excuse for another glass of sherry. I should have dedicated Tales From the Dew Drop Inne to her, but she wouldn't have hung out there, the booze wasn't good enough for Uncle. Hey, top shelf for the queen. You can read more about the folks who did hang out with Sal, Cal, and Ephram while you're waiting for the big event on the 21st. 
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