PS 163Q Lied To Me


Your calendar might indicate fall begins Tuesday. It actually happens Monday here in the US. Tuesday’s correct for everyone outside the Americas.

Every first day of fall and spring I think of a little esoteric tidbit all meteorologists understand.

Somewhere in grade school one my teachers lied to me! Yours did too. They taught us things about the first day of spring and fall that weren’t true.

Your teacher explained how at the equinox day and night are equal. And it makes total sense.

It’s just not so.

Begin civil twilight 6:14 a.m.
Sunrise 6:39 a.m.
Sun transit 12:44 p.m.
Sunset 6:48 p.m.
End civil twilight 7:12 p.m.

Those numbers are for Irvine. About nine minutes more day than night. That’s not a little, teach.

Here’s New Haven,

Begin civil twilight 6:12 a.m.
Sunrise 6:39 a.m.
Sun transit 12:44 p.m.
Sunset 6:49 p.m.
End civil twilight 7:16 p.m.

Ten minute difference there!

So, what’s going on? Where did the staff of PS 163Q go wrong?

Sunrise to sunset is the time from the first light of day to the last tiny solar dot.

The next two sentences are complex, so take your time and re-read if you need to. Be brave. I promise you’ll get it.

Day doesn’t end when the portion of the Sun that rose first, sets. You have to add the time it takes for the diameter of the Sun to go by.

Think of it as the front end rising and back end setting.

If we had no atmosphere that would be it. At the equinox, day would be a few minutes longer than night.

We do have an atmosphere!

Near the horizon sunlight makes its longest possible trip through the atmosphere. The Sun’s light is refracted, meaning it gets bent a little.

At sunset the Sun is actually a few degrees below the horizon. Refraction is bending the light up. Seeing it on the horizon is really an optical illusion!

Add the extra time for the diameter of the Sun plus refraction and there’s more daylight every day! It’s just easier today when things ‘should’ be equal.

And whatever you do, don’t get me started on balancing eggs. Ugh.

The Guest

Short blog entry. Stef’s friend Christina is visiting from New Jersey. She’s as close to family as you can get.

We spent much of the evening on the patio trading stories. This is the best part of visits.

The girls hit Disneyland tomorrow. I will happily be on dog patrol.

The goal is to make Christina feel this is a slice of paradise. Never a tough sell.

To The Company That Infected My Computer

A quick GTH and FU to the company that somehow infected my computer with a nearly uninstallable extension. Thanks for adding ads and pop-ups to my browser.

I hate you.

Your software package has been removed permanently. It didn’t go without a fight.

I am extremely diligent. I read EULAs… or at least scan them. I don’t click blindly. This must have snuck in with something else.

It made it past Microsoft’s normally respectable Windows Defender. It wasn’t found on a second more thorough Defender scan either.

Malwarebytes got it. Hats off to you.

The people who design these browser hijacks are hardcore. If this stuff is on your PC the number of ads you see has multiplied! Mine also picked keywords and highlighted them. Using javascript, popover boxes were spawned when you moused over the words. Annoying.

The culprit is a browser extension. It seems to be randomly named, because when I entered it in Google I got no returns!

If you remove it or disable the extension, it respawns! Remove what seem to be the executables, it finds another way to execute. You might kill it for a session, but it’s back after every reboot.

It took around an hour to truly kill it. Malwarebytes found 14 instances of suspicious code on my machine. Gone-zo… but not without some serious sweat.

I’m a techie. I know how this stuff works. It wasn’t particularly fun nor easy. You’re mucking around near critical files. Think surgeon.

Anyway, it’s gone. I’ve rebooted a few times All is well.

I asked Helaine how non-techies deal with this? She didn’t have to stop and think.

“They buy a new computer.”

21st Century problems.

The Mystery Noise — Solved!


A month or two ago I started hearing an intermittent loud noise in our otherwise tranquil neighborhood. My first guess was the sound of one animal having another for lunch. With a farm down the street we hear things like that all the time.

After a few days I ruled out mealtime. It must be something mechanical.

Stef heard it and came to her own conclusion–pterodactyl.

As it turns out the noise comes from Mao Mao. I met her this afternoon. She was on her perch in the bed of a pickup truck behind my neighbor’s house.

I ran out with my camera and started snapping. The bird is a living test pattern!

My neighbor asked if I’d like a photo? Uh, yeah! After a few brief attempts to swallow my fist whole, Mao Mao jumped on my arm then inched her way up.

She’s about to molt. Her feathers will all be replaced. She will remain beautiful.

And now I know what that noise is!






You’re Getting More Secure

IMAG1400In case you don’t read the geek press, everything you touch digitally will soon have new encryption schemes built in. That lessens the chance anyone but you will ever see your stuff.

It’s the new world where JLa’s pics stay private.

But everyone knows it’s really about keeping the government out.

Apple and Google’s next operating systems are toughened against spying. It’s my understanding Apple is removing a ‘feature’ iPhones now have which enabled much of this.

More and more websites are https not http. They’ve added layers of encryption. Your transactions are hidden from prying eyes.

Businesses have been hurt by government’s massive spying efforts. Cloud companies, meaning Google, Amazon and a bunch of others, need to reassure nervous clients in our global economy. This is a sector where US companies have had great success.

Businesses and people want to flesh out ideas without later answering for early notes. We should be allowed to think in private.

In the end, by spying too invasively, the NSA and others made their own jobs more difficult. Is this how checks and balances work in the 21st Century? Maybe. Probably.

No Shirt. No Flight.

The third guy, shirtless for easy identification, ran into Terminal 4.

Shirtless! Was he hoping to get on COPS?

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Milwaukee… Again… Briefly

We’re at the airport again  on our way to Milwaukee again .  We’re going to meet Charlotte,  our newest niece. Milwaukee has become the center of the family.  My sister and her clan are there as are my folks. This will be a really brief trip–less than forty hours in Wisconsin.   We’ve learned to deal […]

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My Letter To The Editor

The Heritage Foundation’s study makes that happen by immediately raising prices to cover the wage increase, then systematically re-raising prices again-and-again as traffic and profits drop. It’s the equivalent of using a shovel to get out of a hole!

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I Got A What?

If you carry your phone in your pocket are you dialing 10 digits to make a call? I didn’t think so.

That’s what makes what’s on this voicemail so special.

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The Eagles Fans Of Irvine

Helaine grew up in Philly. Her dad was a diehard Philadelphia sport fan who indoctrinated his only child. When Philadelphia sports teams are losing, Helaine watches with the sound off.

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