2018 January 28

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Delmar, NY
Hannacroix Preserve

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

Good evening! Partly clear and 34 degrees in Delmar, NY. There is a northwest breeze at 5 mph. 🌖

Tonight is my final night at age 34, tomorrow is my 35th birthday.🎂 I figure I’ll probably live to around age 70 based on my family history and current health status, so I guess you might call tomorrow my second half of my life. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and I look at my final 35 years as potentially the best 35 years of my life. Maybe I’ll make it past 70, but it seems like calling tomorrow the start of the second half is a good milestone. So many more adventures and things to learn and experience over next 35 years. Saving for retirement becomes all the more important, as does doing the things that I really want to do before it becomes too late.   
Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low of 28 degrees at 6am. 🌝13 degrees above normal. North wind around 6 mph. In 2017, we had mostly cloudy skies. It got down to 25 degrees. The record low of -10 occurred back in 1925. Fairly mild beautiful moonlit evening heading home from my parents house tonight. 

Tonight will have a Waxing Gibbous Moon with 92% illuminated. The moon will set tonight at 5:19 am.🌖 The Blue Moon is on Tuesday night with a chance of snow showers. The sun will rise at 7:12 am with the first light at 6:42 am, which is 57 seconds earlier than yesterday. Tonight will have 14 hours and 7 minutes of darkness, a decrease of 2 minutes and 16 seconds over last night.

Tomorrow will have increasing clouds, with a high of 35 degrees at 12pm. ☁Four degrees above normal. North wind around 9 mph. A year ago, we had cloudy skies with some clearing in the afternoon. The high last year was 40 degrees. The record high of 54 was set in 2002. 8.3 inches of snow fell back in 1990.

Sunday dinner at the folks house was quite good, although I’m a bit concerned about mom’s cold. She’s so frail these days and I worry that her cold could get worse. She did put together a pretty good dinner. 

Hiking back to Hannacroix Falls and the Hudson River at Hannacroix Preserve was quite nice, although the trails were muddy and icy in spots. I wish I had put on my microspikes before hiking as I slipped once but fortunately did not fall. 

I’m happy that I figured out how to cut the plexiglass and glue it together. The new case for my Variable Message Sign looks really nice, especially now that I’ve added an LED for backlighting. I’ll probably add more LEDs for decoration when I permanently mount the Arduino Nano in the case along with other parts when they arrive. I ordered a box of five Arduino Nanos, another LED matrix module, a GPS module and a MicroSD card socket. I plan next to build a GPS logging system for my truck so I can track my speed and mileage, and routing more closely. I was going to get a motion detector to add to my LED lights to save power when I’m not in the room but I forgot to order that. Maybe my next electronics order I’ll get that. I’ll have to think about it. 

Right now, a split verdict on the weekend. Saturday, mostly sunny, with a high near 23.☀ Sunday, a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 31.☁ Chance of precipitation is 40%. Typical average high for the weekend is 32 degrees. Cold compared to this weekend but at least snow free based on the current modeling. Maybe I’ll go hiking or possibly camping next weekend although it looks a bit cold. They really don’t have much snow in the Catskills or lower elevations, but there is a lot of ice and currently mud around.  

In four weeks on February 25 the sun will be setting at 5:40 pm, which is 36 minutes and 19 seconds later then tonight. In 2017 on that day, we had thunderstorm, thunderstorm rain, rain, mist, mostly cloudy skies and temperatures between 70 and 37 degrees. Typically, you have temperatures between 37 and 20 degrees. The record high of 70 degrees was set last year.

Looking ahead, Winnie the Pooh Day is in 3 weeks,🍯 April Fools Day and Easter is in 9 weeks🐇 and Memorial Day is in 4 months.🎇

Only 116 days remain until the start of Memorial Day Weekend. 

14 things you don’t know about the opossum

The average opposum has a blood temperature of 95.4 degrees, the coldest of any mammal. This is why many common diseases in mammals like rabies can not survive in opposum. While they can transmit disease their body temperature is too low for many blood based pathogens unlike rats and mice. Opposum scat (poop) can be hazardous and downright deadly for horses if it gets their feed or other pathways.

Guide to NEO-6M GPS Module with Arduino

I ordered an inexpensive ($10) GPS tracking module and an SD card adapter to wire to one of the Arduino Nanos I have.

I am planning on building a GPS logger for my truck that will record with a time stamp my location, direction of travel, and speed every few seconds. I think it would be fun to be able to look back at my trips, especially road and camping trips.

Never again would I struggle to remember what road I was on.

WIDER BAN ON FORCED RETIREMENT BEGINS IN STATE OF NEW YEAR’S DAY

"December 30, 1985 - Mandatory retirement of most employees will be barred in New York State under a law that takes full effect on New Year's Day."

"The law, which will cover about 1.4 million public and private employees 70 years old and over, was passed last year after being recommended to the Legislature by Governor Cuomo. Public employees have been exempted from mandatory retirement under the law since last Jan. 1."

"New York will join 12 other states that prevent companies from forcing employees to retire at age 70, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 1978, California became the first state to pass legislation specifically ending mandatory retirement. Federal law protects most employees from forced retirement until age 70."

🐻Will the Ground Hog see his shadow?🤔

Friday in Punxsutawney: A chance of snow showers🌨 before noon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 25. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Observations in working with plexiglass / acrylic:

1) 0.08 inch aka 2 mm plexiglass is plenty thick for electronics cases. Relatively cheap, under $12 for a 18×24“ sheet at Lowes.

2) It’s better to spend your time carefully scoring the plexiglass and getting a deep straight groove in the plexiglass prior to snapping. Take your time, apply light but not too hard pressure on the scoring tool.

3) Use a metal square and clamp things down firmly. You don’t want the plexiglass to move while scoring or snapping.

4) Drag the point of the scoring tool over the glass with light pressure at a 45 angle. Use an inexpensive scoring tool, a knife won’t work as well.

5) Repeatly score the edges of the plexiglass on your break line. The score must be deepest here. If your score is insufficient on the edges, you will either end up cracking through plexiglass or getting an uneven break not following your score line.

6) Apply only modest pressure when breaking along the score line. If you can’t snap the plexiglass easily like breaking off a perforated sheet of paper, your score is too shallow along the edges.

7) Focus on getting the edges of your score as deep as possible. This can’t be stressed enough.

8) You can rework a bad break by scoring and breaking off excess material. You can also sand things down. But this is much harder that properly scoring the material in the first place. Plexiglass is hard material, it doesn’t sand down that easy.

9) Acrylic glue isn’t necessary for connecting pieces of plexiglass. You can use superglue with good results. Acrylic glue probably won’t even work that well with score and snap plexiglass due to rough surfaces and gaps and is toxic to use indoors. I might use the acrylic glue later on but for now I’m staying with the much cheaper super glue.

10) Even inexpensive thin plexiglass makes very nice looking cases for electronics. It’s quite easy to score and snap with practice. Once you get better with that you can order colored and tinted plexiglass for more options.