sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Big Move 2 Big Little City

This is representative coverage of the press conference that was held at Reno-Stead Airport yesterday with Governor Sandoval and a number of Nevada luminaries. Some of you asked for links. Now it's official, is moving its headquarters and manufacturing presence to Reno, NV. Most of the research and development will remain in Pasadena, CA (near Cal Tech and JPL) for the next few years.


Reno Gazette Journal:

Police Work - Who says it can't be Fun?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Missing People in Mexico

They never roll the fire department for a wash-down in Mexico
I have always wondered why. It's S.O.P. in the USA.
I don't go down to Mexico much anymore. No reason to. I did it for work back when--and I don't do that work anymore. Three months after Mexican authorities triumphantly announced a dramatic reduction in the officially-recognized number of "disappeared", they have walked this back significantly. Read on below the TV Series part for more on that.

There is a TV Series on Fox called, "The Bridge". It's a very good television series and the drug lord that they feature, "Fausto Galvan" is based loosely on a bad guy that I know personally. I recommend watching it. It's in the second season so you should try and watch the first season to get the show in context. It takes just a bit of getting used to. Watch two or three episodes before you make up your mind.

Now onto reality from art, which is roughly the same thing. Yesterday, Assistant Attorney General Mariana Benitez announced to reporters that the number of Mexicans who disappeared since the country’s drug war began in 2006, according to official calculations, is 22,322. In May, Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong put the figure at 8,000. So which is it, and why the seemingly massive difference? 
Assistant Attorney General Mariana Benitez said 12,532 people went missing during the 2006-12 administration of President Felipe Calderon, who declared war on drug traffickers. An additional 9,790 have disappeared since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office on Dec. 1, 2012.

Benitez said that the list of people reported missing during Calderon's government had gone up to 29,707, but that authorities arrived at the figure of 12,532 still missing after finding the rest alive or confirming their deaths.

She said a second list started with the Pena Nieto government showed 23,234 people reported missing between Dec. 1, 2012, and July 31, 2014. She said 13,444 of those had been located, leaving 9,790 still missing.
Of course, the news suggests that Osorio Chong provided a completely misleading account of the number of new disappearances since Enrique Peña Nieto took office (in May, he said roughly 3,000 had gone missing in 2013 and early 2014 ). Under normal circumstances this would be scandalous, but the plain truth is that that the Peña Nieto administration, like the Calderon administration before it, has consistently relied on using misleading statistics to cast its security strategy as a success.

But even setting this aside, the new numbers are unsettling on their own terms. Assuming Benitez’s account is accurate, 23,234 people have been reported missing in less than two years under Peña Nieto, compared with 29,707 over the course of six years under Calderon. That means that disappearance reports, if they remain stable, are on track to more than double those under the previous government. 


Now factor into this the arguments pro and con over whether to secure America's southern border. Then again, maybe I'm being far to subtle in making my argument.

NOTE: President Obama claims 2 million deportations because the Obama Administration changed the way deportees are counted. Obama said anyone turned back at the border and denied entry into the US is counted as a person being deported. Does this sound right to you? They never set foot in the US and are counted as being deported.

There may be moments when I'm a huckleberry, but not this time.

Monday, August 25, 2014


Lake Tahoe run, an after-action report.

But before Tahoe, I will bring you up to date, dear readers.

Today (Monday), I'm filming Nevada Newsmakers on Fox News (NV) with Sam Shad. He'll interview me and I'll end up on the air in this coming Wednesday, 8/27. I'll be talking about unmanned aerial vehicles and Ashima Devices setting up a factory in Reno, NV. Yes, it sounds boring to me too. I hope that Sam doesn't crucify me. I met with him last Friday for a few minutes to give him some background information. He seemed nice then. Hopefully he's "fair and balanced".

Tomorrow (8/26) there will be a press conference in Reno with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval where the new factory will be discussed. It will be carried by ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox Reno. I have no idea whether or not the news will get beyond that market. It's a big deal for me personally but as the world turns, it's a lot like a pebble dropping into a puddle.

Saturday, before I went to the off-road races, I took the Raptor for a run around Lake Tahoe. It's not much of a challenge on hardball roads, but the Raptor rides like it's on rails no matter where you take it. So this is my Tahoe travelogue (on the heels of cruising Oslo Fjord). Woodsterman (famous blogger) lives here at Tahoe. Poor Woodsterman. I guess somebody has to live here...
Context: Tahoe is a large lake, located along the border between California and Nevada. It's the largest alpine lake in North America, the second deepest lake in North America (1,600 ft) and the largest lake by volume in the US behind the five great lakes. There are gambling casinos and resorts on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe, and mansions on the California side. 

Sunday - a return to the scene of the crime with meetings in Tahoe with some people who will be marketing my aircraft in the Far East and just hanging out - yes, still a road trip but a business related one. All work and no play keeps LL boring.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Glory is Fleeting (but obscurity is forever)

From the feature film: Patton
"For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph - a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: That all glory is fleeting." Sic transit gloria mundi.
That's a long introduction to Saturday evening. Being a generally boring guy, I was out at the Great Western Motor Sports off road track near Reno, NV for the Lucas Oil races at night (race schedule) watching other people race. I have an offer standing to take my Raptor on the track and run it when there is not an active race event here, which I will do. I'll hand somebody my cell phone and hope that they manage to get something worth posting.

Daytime track shot when the races are not being run
Race day shot from the VIP tent looking down on the track,
 bleachers and general admission area. The sun is going down
almost time for the race to begin.
I went last night primarily because of the Pro 4 and buggy races (photos of buggies below). If I can sell enough flying saucers, I will build and race one of these bad boys myself. Will I win? Are you kidding? I don't have Spiderman-like reflexes (unless a radioactive spider bites me between now and then). But I'd just enjoy the ride. After all - Sic Tranist Gloria Mundi (all glory is fleeting).


I also went because I know the owners, got in free, hung out in the VIP tent and acted like I was somebody.  And I'm in Reno for business. And it's a weekend. And I'm bored and don't want to spend the night in the hotel looking at the walls. I had planned to go motorcycle riding on a friend's custom scooter, but the person I planned to ride with was arrested for drunk driving and now has a suspended license (sic transit gloria mundi, right?). The Races were my second pick but it's great to have those sorts of options.

All that aside:  I would still like to build and race a buggy.

Cellphone photos from the night race:

Pro 4 race taken from the upper curve as it descends to the straight-away
and the checkered flag.
Pro 4 cars stacked after a yellow flag.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Islamic Vouyerism

Remarks by a Salafist preacher have made headlines this week in Egypt after the preacher issued a fatwa (religious edict) that a man is allowed to see the women he is thinking about marrying “while she is showering.”

Usama al-Qawsi put it this way, “If you were really honest and wanted to marry that woman, and you were able to hide and watch her in secret, see the things that she wouldn’t usually let you see before marrying her, then it is acceptable as long as your intentions are pure.”

As those of you who know me personally can attest, my intentions are pure as the driven snow, so maybe Islam will work for me? 

Then again, since the women in Egypt have almost all been mutilated in their youth (as a matter of Islamic practice) so as to be unable to enjoy sexual pleasure, what's the point?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Balkanizing Britannia?

Scottish Independence

Following on an agreement between the Scottish Parliament and the United Kingdom Government, there will referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country. That will take place on Thursday, 18 September 2014

Scottish National Flag
The UK Government has stated that if a simple majority of the votes cast are in favour of independence, then "Scotland would become an independent country after a process of negotiations". If the majority is against independence, Scotland would continue within the United Kingdom. Further powers would be devolved to the Scottish Parliament as a result of the Scotland Act 2012

Even if Scotland becomes an independent nation, they would remain linked to the UK in matters of defense foreign affairs; financial regulation, monetary policy and the currency based on present agreements. That might not remain the case as there is an effort toward Scottish Parliament gaining the power to convert Scotland into a country that would "have the rights and responsibilities of a normal, sovereign state." If the latter happens, will the British flag (the Union Jack) change to remove the Scottish portion? I don't know. 

Flower of Scotland (Scottish National Anthem)

Cornwall Too?

Cornish National Flag
The well-trodden journey from Land's End to John o'Groats, the most south-westerly point of Cornwall to the north-eastern tip of mainland Scotland, has inspired many to travel the length of Britain by car, by bike and on foot.

But the famous challenge - often signposted with a distance of 874 miles (1,407km) by road - is not the only thing that Scotland and Cornwall have in common.

Cornwall's nationalist party, Mebyon Kernow, does not want Cornwall to be an independent country - which is what the Scottish National Party is campaigning for in Scotland - but it does want Cornwall to be seen as its own nation, with a legislative assembly similar to the current Scottish Parliament...for now

But not Wales

Welsh National Flag
Only 10% of Welsh voters support the nationalist party, Plaid Cymru, which favors independence from the UK. From an ethnological point of view, that's surprising, because the Welsh are culturally distinct from the other Brythonic groups and have been since the Early Middle Ages.

The Scotts have a tradition of independence that has been very active for hundreds of years. The Welsh seem to feel very differently about a break from the UK. I'm not sure why.