2018 January 23

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January 2018
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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

You often hear from politicians that expanding manufacturing jobs is key to growing the economy. It sounds good, making physical stuff.👷 You can see and touch things that are manufactured. But few Americans actually manufacture things, even though we are outputing  more American-made products then ever before.🏭 American manufacturing is highly automated, it relies less and less on humans.

Americans typically make the most advanced devices and technologies in our country. We outsource lower-skilled manufacturing to other countries.🌏 Low-skilled manufacturing produces lower wages, and those low wages are not enough to pay for a decent living in the United States. Americans expect a good job, one with healthcare and a pension or retirement plan, something that can not be produced with a low-value product.🏥

The future of jobs in America is not in manufacturing. It’s in healthcare, education and creative professions like design, engineering and arts.🎭 The jobs of the future about designing products and providing services that Americans want. Traditionally, many of these jobs have offered less stability and benefits compared to old-line manufacturing.🕴

The solution is not to try to bring back obsolete industries, but instead ensure modern industries in America provide adequate benefits to workers. 🖥This can be done by government mandates or the government providing the service — e.g. opt-in to government retirement or healthcare plans.🙊 The economy is changing, and government shouldn’t stop low-wage jobs from off-shoring, but instead ensure workers are taken care of in the industries of tomorrow.

Good evening! Heavy fog, mist and 49 degrees in Delmar, NY. There is a southwest breeze at 7 mph. The skies will clear around 8 pm. Not a very nice evening, but at least it’s mild.☁

With the fog, traffic is moving a bit slower than normal,🚌🚗🚙🚕🚛 but at least it wasn’t bad catching the bus, although I almost missed it because the elevators in my building 🏢are continuing to run slow because so many cars are out of service. ⛔

Tonight will be scattered rain showers before 10pm, then a slight chance of rain and snow showers between 10pm and 3am, then scattered snow showers after 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low of 30 degrees at 6am.🌨 14 degrees above normal. West wind 11 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. In 2017, we had light rain sleet in the evening, which became sleet and mist by the early hours of the morning. It got down to 32 degrees. The record low of -17 occurred back in 1948.

Tonight will have a First Quarter Moon 🌒with 42% illuminated with the moon setting at 11:39 pm. The Blue Moon is next Tuesday.🌝 The sun will rise at 7:16 am with the first light at 6:46 am, which is 46 seconds earlier than yesterday. Tonight will have 14 hours and 18 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 2 minutes and 5 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will be scattered snow showers, mainly before 10am. Mostly sunny, with a high of 32 degrees at 10am.☀ One degree above normal. Breezy, with a northwest wind 15 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. With that wind, it will feel fairly cool especially if we have some snow squalls blow through tomorrow. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible. A year ago, we had cloudy skies. The high last year was 35 degrees. The record high of 54 was set in 1999. 7.6 inches of snow fell back in 1948.

Right now, a split verdict on the weekend. Saturday, partly sunny, with a high near 46.🌞 Sunday, rain likely, possibly mixed with snow. Cloudy, with a high near 46. Chance of precipitation is 60%.☔ Typical average high for the weekend is 31 degrees. Going to be a nice weekend. Great weather for the Pine Bush hike on Saturday and maybe even good enough for an overnight somewhere. Snow is mostly gone from the lower elevations with today’s rain and mild temperatures, although the Adirondacks still have a good snow pack. 😎

I keep researching and trying to figure out what next to add to my electronics tool box. Last night, I got four USB breakout boards that allow access to all the pins of a micro USB cable without splicing. This is necessary to power the Max7219 which need more power than an Arduino can source They were overpriced at $6 for four including shipping from an American supplier but not many sold them that I could find. From China I could get 10 for a buck including shipping if I waited 2-6 weeks to import them from China.

 I thought about buying a crimping tool for making my own Dupont Cables but pre-made are so cheap – 200 10 cm female to female lines for $6. 🔌Not worth getting a tool and honestly, 10 cm or 3 inches is long enough for most internal wiring. They aren’t too hard to splice. Using Dupont wire is much better than soldering pins directly. 

I do love all the things I can build or at least envision building with the Arduino and other inexpensive electronic components. But all of them are low wattage, small things. By no means do I have a smart home or fancy internet connected appliances. My laptop is pretty basic, I take it to the library when I need to get on the internet. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not into that whole suburbanite way of living. 

This evening, I’m heading down to the library📘 to return some books and upload some new maps. I also have some internal fixes for the blog that I want to make live. 💻 Of course my plans may change if it starts to rain out again but right now it’s a pretty nice mild evening. Maybe a bit damp though. 💧

In four weeks on February 20 the sun will be setting at 5:34 pm, which is 36 minutes and 29 seconds later then tonight.🌅 In 2017 on that day, we had mostly sunny skies and temperatures between 43 and 26 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 36 and 18 degrees. The record high of 66 degrees was set back in 1930. At some point spring will return, although lately winter has been pretty mild but it will definitely feel colder during the second half of the week. 

Looking ahead, Lame Duck Day is in 2 weeks, First Day of Spring is in 8 weeks, Election Day 2018 is in 41 weeks and Election Day 2020 is in 145 weeks.

🍔🍗Only 121 days remain until the start of Memorial Day Weekend!🌳🌼

⚡People ask why I’m proceeding so slowly on my various electronics projects.⚡

For one, I am learning.🏫 It takes time to figure out how to design something, to experiment and learn what works and what does not. No reason to order components or tools that I might never ended.

Second, it saves money by buying less.🤑 Sure a $5 or $10 box of random components may not break the bank, but my budget is pretty tight, and things add up in cost. It’s better to enjoy what I have already before moving on to a next step.

Third, I like dreaming of what I can build.🤖 Sometimes it’s more fun to dream about what can be built and draw things on paper, then see the final product. Some projects exceed expectations while other don’t. Once a project is done, there is nothing to envision going forward

Fourth, electronics are one of many interests.⛺ There are many things to take up my time, from hiking to camping to fishing and hunting. I also have the blog to work on updating, maps to make up, things to read about, events to go to.

Map: Sugarloaf Mountain

Map: Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain is a mountain located in Greene County, New York. The mountain is part of the Devil's Path range of the Catskill Mountains. To the northwest, Sugarloaf is separated from Plateau Mountain by Mink Hollow Notch; to the southeast, Sugarloaf is separated from Twin Mountain by Pecoy Notch.

Sugarloaf Mountain stands within the watershed of the Hudson River, which drains into New York Bay. The northeastern slopes of Sugarloaf Mtn. drain into Schoharie Creek, thence into the Mohawk River, and the Hudson River. The northwestern slopes of Sugarloaf drain into Roaring Kill, thence into Schoharie Creek. The southwestern and southeastern slopes of Sugarloaf drain into Beaver Kill, thence into Esopus Creek, and the Hudson River.

Sugarloaf Mountain is within New York's Catskill State Park. The Devil's Path hiking trail traverses the summit ridge of Sugarloaf. The Long Path, a 350-mile (560 km) long-distance hiking trail through southeastern New York, is contiguous with this stretch of the Devil's Path.

Mexico and Hungary tried junk food taxes — and they seem to be working

"Walk into any food-selling establishment in the US, and it becomes clear very quickly why America is one of the most obese nations on the planet. From morning muffins that pack as much sugar as an icing-topped cupcake, to chocolate bars that contain more than 600 calories, it’s extremely easy to overindulge in America. What’s less clear is exactly what to do about that. Some kind of government intervention in the food environment probably has to be part of the solution — taxes have of course been an effective, though still controversial, approach to curbing the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and soda."

The environmental cost of free two-day shipping

I am usually quite happy with buying things on eBay and waiting a week or two for it to arrive. Sometimes it would be nicer to get things with two-day shipping ala Amazon, but the slower progress gives me time to anticipate it's arrival and look forward to it coming to my door. Delaying consumption helps slow it down, and makes you more responsible with your money. I almost never order anything additional, when I'm already waiting for one product or another. Plus it's good for the environment too.

House Science Committee Wants to Investigate a Government Scientist for Doing Science

"Republicans on the House Science Committee are accusing Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, of lobbying. In letters sent to the Inspector General and acting secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Reps. Lamar Smith and Andy Biggs wrote that they were “conducting oversight” of Birnbaum’s activity in response to a editorial she wrote in a scientific journal."

"Birnbaum’s editorial, which the journal PLOS Biology published in December, addressed the gaps in the regulation of toxic chemicals. Though there are more than 85,000 chemicals approved for use in commerce, she noted in the piece, “U.S. policy has not accounted for evidence that chemicals in widespread use can cause cancer and other chronic diseases, damage reproductive systems, and harm developing brains at low levels of exposure once believed to be harmless.”

"Birnbaum called for more research on the risks posed by chemicals and, in the sentence that the representatives appear to consider lobbying, noted that “closing the gap between evidence and policy will require that engaged citizens — both scientists and non-scientists — work to ensure that our government officials pass health-protective policies based on the best available scientific evidence.”