“The Great War” on You Tube

If you are interested in the events leading to and during the war I  recommend the above. Indie Neidel and crew do a weekly news report type update about events of the week. He also does additional reports on other topics related to the war, leaders, kings, et. al. All is described by narration, photographs and maps.

Once one “gets past” the suffering, death, and dismemberment it is clear that WW1 was a time of tectonic shift in military strategy and tactics from the latter 19th century to modern warfare because of new technology, cultural upheaval and destruction, and political change and collapse. Populations were displaced and starvation and disease were common during the war and afterwards.


WW1 reference: the incredible last day of the war

The incredible orders issued and followed and huge casualties of the very last day of the war right up to 11:00 AM local time on what was to be called Armistice Day (November 11, 1918).

“The Last Day of the War,” Dr. Alan Brown, You Tube, 58 minutes.

This war is one 4 year lesson about the tragedy of leaders, followers, and strict obedience {And I am a conservative} in what is likely the most absurd event in human history.

WW1 is a “teaching moment” par excellance.

ACOUSTIC ABSORBERS, are they really useful?

This article is for those who listen to music through room speakers and musicians practicing with their instrument.

Physics: the sound waves from speakers spread in all directions, mainly out the front of the speaker, but at a wide angle. Some of these wave reach your ear directly, but much of the energy is reflected off hard surfaces (walls, floor, ceiling) and reaches your ears out of phase (later) than the direct output from speaker to your ear. This will smear the sound and and cause tinny echoes too. {I used to thing this is what music from a stereo sounded like}.

There is usually not much that can be done about the dimensions of the listening room, but the surfaces can be altered to absorb much of the random sound reflections.

Initial reflection points are estimated based on the location of the listener in relation to the speakers. There are first reflection points to each side, behind, below (floor) and above (ceiling) the listener. AND behind the speakers {exception includes some speakers that radiate backward as part of their design}.

The side points are estimated by having another person pass a mirror at the listener’s head level along both sidewalls. When the listener can see the speaker on that side on the mirror: that is the point. An absorber goes there. The floor can be handled by a large rug or carpet, a large absorber on the wall behind the listener will take care of that area. I did not put anything on the ceiling, but put a couple smallish absorbers higher on the back wall.

The absorbers behind the speakers are the most effective for cleaning up the audio and should be the full size of the speaker and mounted on the wall. I like to have the speakers about 12-15 inches out from the wall.

My absorbers are two inches thick and were DIY, of course, but they can be purchased commercially. I think I used Owens Corning 703, but Roxul is said to be just as good and less expensive. I have six of various sizes.

This is the way I did it. One can be much more the engineer if desired, but don’t put up too many of these or it will deaden the room.

Oh, do they improve sound quality? You bet they do!!IMG_2731IMG_2733


references: Audio Karma–>listening spaces

ATS Acoustics (where I bought my supplies and sell completed absorbers too), other commercial operations


Many You Tubes about room acoustics, making your own panels, etc.


Rx for vigorous “golden years”

Here is my prescription for maintaining vigor in old age: Start by acknowledging this is you at this age right here, right now.

1) Maintain mental alertness and function: read history or whatever you like, learn a language (to speak a language you will need a partner in the work), learn a new skill such as electronics, RaspberryPi computing (use You Tube), astronomy, quilting, et.al.

2) Maintain physical strength, in fact, optimize it: e.g.,walking, lifting (light) weights. I enjoy Planet Fitness and fortunately is is only about 1.25 miles from home. Use exercise to lose weight if needed and this will make you feel better too. We do a non rigid paleo diet and I think I feel better and don’t so easily put on weight on this diet.

3) Develop flexibility: Inflexibility is one of the most often heard complaints about old age. You can fix that with Hatha Yoga. I recommend AM yoga on DVD (do it anytime) by Rodney Yee or find a course at your local hospital or YMCA, etc.

4) Maintain social interaction: being married (happily) is good for your health, but expand into other areas. Where? Start with what is of interest to you and find a club. If nothing is of interest then join a volunteer or service organization and help others (or, do this anyway as it is an excellent way to improve mood and sense of belonging).

5) Review your medications with your doctor: some you may no longer need; some may have adverse side effects that could be moderated or removed by a change of therapy.


A practical example of “astronomics”

Last night I observed Saturn for the first time in several years. There was moderate air turbulence and a little light pollution and the sky was not completely dark. Saturn was clear and well resolved at a maximum magnification of ~62x as a white disk with an encircling ring facing toward and to the right of me.

My scope is a Celestron C-6  reflector on a Super Polaris equatorial mount purchased in 1985. The focal length is 7.5 and the scope is intended for deep sky observing with some planetary observing too.

Here is the lesson:

The prime factors to successful observing of Saturn with a quality scope are 1. an equatorial mount for stability, 2. limited or no air turbulence, and 3. limited light pollution. These latter two will come together sometimes and the viewing is dramatic!

One can get better resolution of a planet, and  higher usable magnification, by using a longer focal length instrument. But the field of view will be narrower. This is OK for planets, but not so good for deep sky observing. Higher focal length instruments are usually long refractive scopes except for the catadioptric scopes which are short  and gain focal length through the use of several interior mirror surfaces. Because of the multiple reflective surfaces they are not quite as bright as an equivalent refractor, but are easily portable (so to speak).

That is all.



I am making a slight shift in activities and learning how to play the cigar box guitar. You can buy one, but YOU CAN DIY .

My CBG and a cardboard box didley bow:

IMG_2254I purchased an e-book from Mordacai Bondurant (GittyMan.com) which provides detailed instructions on the build. As he says, if you do exactly as I say you will have a good CBG. It can be used acoustically or electrified. I did electrify mine and build and amp and speaker box. I will detail this in the future

.00c3fe91d4eaf66cffbe7c5d84542cec_e31j Mordacai


Then, how to play it?

Direct your internet to Hobart, Tasmania and Patrick Curley. His site is LearnCigarBoxGuitar.com. I took the three string slide course and I believe it was $46.00 USD. He is excellent and provides many extras. His accent is strong, but his instructions and playing is clear.


CONFESSION–> I started this about 2 years ago and fell off the wagon into electronics, but now I am back.


P.S.: Just do it!