2017 December 23

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Corning Tower Observation Deck
Dormansville, New York
Hunter Mountain
John Boyd Thacher State Park
Lark Street
Mount Greylock
Notes
Overlook Mountain
Politics
Schodack Island State Park
Wolf Lake State Forest

December 2017
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

2017 Population Growth

Eight out of the 50 states in America are projected to have lost population over the past year. New York has gained some population, but it's slower growing then many states. Texas continues to be the fastest growing state, gaining nearly 400,000 people over the past year. Florida and California also continue being fast growing states, at least in absolute number of people.

Data Source: 2017 National and State Population Estimates. US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-kits/2017/estimates-demographics.html

Gerrymandering Podcast – FiveThirtyEight

If you haven't been following FiveThirtyEight's Gerrymandering Podcast, your missing a lot.

You'll learn how Americans are increasingly putting themselves in non-competitive districts (by choosing to live in like-minded neighborhoods -- Republicans are increasingly choosing rural areas and outer suburbs, conservative red states while Democrats are increasingly choosing urban areas and inner suburbs, liberal blue states),

Also is very interesting how every goal when it comes to gerrymandering impacts another. Increasing minority representation in Congress means that Democrats get packed into districts which makes other districts favor Republicans, essentially disinfranchizing the views of minorities while increasing their representation.

Or how hard it's become to make actually competitive districts. If whole communities are of one political persuation, to make the district competitive, you have to get very creative with drawing district lines and grouping dissimilar communities together, often reducing the power of minority races in elections.

Then throw in the fact that whoever is in political power will try to maximize their advantage by drawing districts, within the constraints of many different court rulings, and you have much give and take.

Map: Wolf Lake State Forest

Map: Wolf Lake State Forest

Wolf Lake State Forest is a reforestation area of 4,316 acres. It was purchased by the state in the 1950's and 60's to return idle and abandoned farmlands to productive use as a source of timber and to provide land for public recreation.

The northeast part of this area, accessible by an extension of the Sam Day Road, was farmed by the Reed family. The Reed brothers had a sizable maple sugar operation on this tract in the early 1900's. Local people still refer to this section as the "Reed Ranch".

The southwest part of the Wolf Lake State Forest, accessible by the old Talcville-Emeryville Road is known locally as the "Clark Farm", referring to the family which last farmed it. Old roads which once serviced the two farms provide vehicular access to the Wolf Lake State Forest.

The interior portion of the area between the "Reed Ranch" and "Clark Farm" is accessible only by the network of hiking trails as described below. This remote section was probably logged in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Much of the interior was also altered by fire during the same period. Bare rock and stands of native red and white pine at higher elevations and stands of hardwood trees between the ridges are the result of these disturbances.

Some trails and lean-to's in the interior were constructed by the Youth Conservation Corps, which now maintains the trail system for the DEC.

Good morning! Happy Festivus, the Holiday for the Rest of Us. A cold and rather wet rain (what else?) and 34 degrees in Delmar. At least it’s melting the ice and snow from last night, in preparation for the winter snowstorm. There is a south-southeast breeze at 7 mph. The skies will clear around 9 pm.

Today will rain, mainly before 5pm. High of 38 degrees at 2pm. Five degrees above normal. South wind 5 to 7 mph becoming calm in the afternoon. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible. A year ago, we had partly cloudy skies. The high last year was 45 degrees. The record high of 64 was set in 1990. 8.8 inches of snow fell back in 1947.

The sun will set at 4:26 pm with dusk around 4:58 pm, which is 35 seconds later than yesterday. At sunset, look for light rain and conditions and 38 degrees. There will be a calm wind. Today will have 9 hours and 2 minutes of daytime, a decrease of 10 seconds over yesterday.

Tonight will have a chance of rain and snow showers before midnight, then a slight chance of snow showers between midnight and 1am. Cloudy, then gradually becoming partly cloudy, with a low of 29 degrees at 6am. 11 degrees above normal. West wind 7 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. In 2016, we had partly cloudy skies with more clouds in the early hours of the next day. It got down to 35 degrees. The record low of -15 occurred back in 1989.

At some point I should go out and brush off my windshield and flip up the wipers so I have a half decent chance of making it out to my parents house for Christmas Dinner tomorrow. Otherwise, it’s going to freeze up later. I haven’t started up Big Red since last Sunday, but I’m sure it will be fine. The protective relay on the accessory battery may be off from normal discharge, but it should be fine once I get going and it resets. I want to get that solar panel on but it’s difficult with the winter weather.
My primary plans for today is to go down to the library later on this afternoon, and work on some code and graphs. Later in the evening, I will continue working my LED module. I am doing better with the leaded solder, but I find still challenging to get the connections together. I also need to build more of a plan where I wire the components so it comes out neat. I think though I’m learning and getting better. But laying things out on perfboard is much more challenging then just plugging things into a breadboard. While they are less efficent and more expensive, I kind of wish I had gotten addressable LEDs for my first project. But maybe the second one — if I build an LED sign. 

I decided to go with wireless headphones, to address the problematic audio jack on my cellphone. I think they may last a lot longer then the regular earbuds I use, as usually the headphone jack on the headphones dies before the earbuds do. Plus, especially skiing I tend to get tied up in the chord. Remembering to charge them will be a pain, but I figure if I do each night, there is a better chance they will work all day. I can use the regular wired headphones with my laptop, especially because the bluethooth driver doesn’t seem to work well on my laptop with Linux. I found a pair of wireless Anker Soundbuds for $20 with an online sale, although I ended up buying two extra USB cables to get the free shipping. I needed more USB cables because I find after a year or two — even the good ones I’ve gotten at Staples — the flexing of the wires causes them to die. That said, I am now using the dead USB cables as a source of free wiring for other projects.

It does not look good for heading out this weekend camping. I just don’t trust that the roads will be sufficently plowed for heading up north and doing some Christmas camping. I guess I could do what I did last year and go to a local state forest but honestly I think it’s going to be pretty cold, so I should just put it off for New Years Weekend, assuming that it is decent enough to go camping. Eventually spring will come back around on the guitar, I mean calendar.

There are 1 months until National Pie Day when the sun will be setting at 4:57 pm with dusk at 5:28 pm. The average high temperature is 32 degrees, with a record high of 61 in 1895.