Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pew Research Poll Finds Blacks and Conservatives Share Important Values to Teach Children

Recent Pew Research polling shows that blacks have conservative beliefs about the important values that children should be taught.

Consistently liberal people value tolerance (88%), empathy for others (86%), curiousity (82%) and creativity (85%).

Consistently conservative Americans value religious faith (81%) and obedience (67%). Both liberals and conservatives value being responsible, hard work, being well-mannered, helping others, independence, and persistence.

As can be seen in the side chart, blacks value teaching religious faith to children (69% compared to 26% for consistently liberal respondents) and teaching obedience (70% compared to 35% for those who are consistently liberal). This is a 2 to 1 or more margin over the consistently liberal.

This big divide in liberal and black values is why gay marriage failed in California at the ballot (though not in the courts). It also shows the possibility for conservative inroads into the black vote if the issues can be framed in terms of values rather than by political party.

(Strange that the Pew Poll only included white evangelicals and white mainline Protestants in their polling breakout on religious affiliation and child rearing values, but no black Protestants.)

Strange Late Afternoon Sun

I was out and about Monday afternoon, and about 4:30 pm caught this view of the sun in the Portland sky. It looked very dying sun sci-fi.

I wasn't sure what could be the cause, but Max gave a hint that it might be due to smoke from Oregon wildfires.

Sunday, September 07, 2014


It's the time of year to collect seeds for next year's planting. Two of the seeds we are collecting are for lavatera "silver cup" and canterbury bells.

canterbury bell seeds
lavatera seeds
The difference in the seeds is interesting. The canterbury bell seeds are extremely tiny and look round until you get them under a macro lens and see that they are oblong.

By contrast, the lavatera seeds have shell-like sculpting and are maybe a hundred times bigger than the canterbury bell seed. Why? Who knows why a plant that grows maybe half again as tall as the other would have a seed many times bigger. It's a wonder of God's creation. Figuring out the seed configuration was perhaps just one small detail of why He called it work--very good work.

canterbury bell pods
Canterbury bells usually reseed just fine. Hundreds of these little seeds come out of the dried, brown seed cups on the top. But, we put down a good layer of barkdust this year to cut back on the weeds. And barkdust is not great for either weeds or reseeding. So, we are gathering the seeds to hand start the plants next year.

lavatera seed pods--green (still maturing) and black (matured)
The lavatera is supposed to reseed and puts out a good quantity of seed as each flower leaves a seed pod (they are green and turn to black when dried--both can be seen in the photo) with 15 or so seeds in each one. But, they rarely seem to survive the winter, and now they too are surrounded by barkdust. So, for sure they won't reseed for next year.

We're having fun planning for next year's planting and the macro lens has given a little extra interest in the seeds themselves.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Somebody Is Raising Turkeys in the Suburbs

I got this photo about a minute too late. Five turkeys came walking single file across a medium-traveled Portland road (with a flashing red light at two intersections) stopping my car going eastbound and another car going westbound. By the time I had grabbed my camera from the glove box and pulled on to the shoulder, they were in a yard happily heading toward munchies, and one was already behind the tree. I figure they knew their way home.

It's the first time I've seen a live turkey in Portland ever. But what a fun sight--especially single file. I guess people usually look funny walking single file too. I think of Buster Keaton in Sherlock Jr. closely following his rival. (about the 14 minute point here)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Take Down/Remove Hampton Bay Ceiling Fan/4-Light Unit AC 552

There are a lot of different Hampton Bay Model AC 552 units with completely different configurations. Ours is a four light unit. The unit stopped working after about 20 years of use (not bad!). So, we needed to take it down.

First: Make sure all power is off to the unit/room.

Removing the glass light fixtures was easy. Just press in two metal fingers that hold each of them in place.

Removing the light fixture was also easy with three phillips screws to be removed and the plastic electrical assembly wire unit unhooked (via a push in tab).

Then the blades were taken down by turning each blade to a cut out section of the metal plate below them (held on with a nut that cannot be easily removed and is not supposed to be removed) and taking out the two phillips screws that hold each of the five fan blades in place.

That left the main unit with no clear way to get it down. The screws at the very top were hidden. You access them by turning the unit counter-clockwise. This may be hard to do if the unit has been in place for a long time. We took a butter knife and ran it around the top of the unit between the unit and the ceiling, and that loosened it enough to turn it the inch or so to reveal the screws.

Remove the screws and lower the unit to allow taking off the plastic caps and unhooking the wires. Again: Make sure all power is off to the unit/room and even then treat the wires as though they were live by only touching the wire casing.

The only tricky part is revealing the hidden screws at the top of the unit (which is why I am posting this). My brother knew about them. We were at a standstill in removing it without his help.

Monday, August 11, 2014

26 Heroes Who Died April 15 to August 5, 2014

April 15 - Spc. Kerry M. G. Danyluk, 27, of Cuero, Texas, died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of injuries sustained April 12 when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, Afghanistan.

April 28 - Pfc. Christian J. Chandler, 20, of Trenton, Texas, died in Baraki Barak District, Logar province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

Sgt. Shawn M. Farrell II, 24, of Accord, New York, died in Nejrab District, Kapisa province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

May 3 - Pfc. Daniela Rojas, 19, of Los Angeles, California, died in Homburg, Germany, due to a non-combat related illness.

May 11 - Chief Warrant Officer Deric M. Rasmussen, 33, of Oceanside, California, died in Mazar E Sharif, Afghanistan, as the result of a non-combat incident.

May 13 - Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R Barreras, 49, of Tucson, Arizona, died in San Antonio Military Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, from wounds suffered on May 6, in Harat Province, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire.

May 17 - Spec. Adrian M. Perkins, 19, of Pine Valley, California, died in Amman, Jordan, from a non-combat related injury.

May 28 - Pfc. Jacob H. Wykstra, 21, of Thornton, Colorado, died in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained as a result of an aircraft accident. The incident is under investigation.

June 2 - Capt. Jason B. Jones, 29, of Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, died in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, of wounds received from small-arms. The incident is under investigation.

June 5 - Pfc. Matthew H. Walker, 20, of Hillsboro, Missouri, died in Paktika province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by enemy fire.

June 9 - Spc. Terry J. Hurne, 34, of Merced, California, died in Logar province, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident.

- They died in Gaza Village, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered while engaged in a combat operation. The incident is under investigation. Killed were:
Staff Sgt. Scott R. Studenmund, 24, of Pasadena, California;
Staff Sgt. Jason A. McDonald, 28, of Butler, Georgia;
Spc. Justin R. Helton, 25, of Beaver, Ohio;
Cpl. Justin R. Clouse, 22, of Sprague, Washington; and
Pvt. Aaron S. Toppen, 19, of Mokena, Illinois.
Statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby:
"Five American troops were killed yesterday during a security operation in southern Afghanistan. Investigators are looking into the likelihood that friendly fire was the cause. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these fallen."

June 20 - Killed were:
Staff Sgt. David H. Stewart, 34, of Stafford, Virginia, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
Lance Cpl. Brandon J. Garabrant, 19, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. 
Lance Cpl. Adam F. Wolff, 25, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. 

June 25 - Sgt. Thomas Z. Spitzer, 23, of New Braunfels, Texas, died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

July 24 - Pfc. Donnell A. Hamilton, Jr., 20, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, died at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, from an illness sustained in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan.

- They died in Mirugol Kalay, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when the enemy attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Killed were:
Staff Sgt. Benjamin G. Prange, 30, of Hickman, Neb.; and
Pfc. Keith M. Williams, 19, of Visalia, Calif.

July 28 - Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Yeshabel Villotcarrasco, 23, of Parma, Ohio, died as a result of a non-hostile incident June 19 aboard USS James E. Williams (DDG-95) while the ship was underway in the Red Sea.

August 3 - Staff Sgt. Girard D. Gass Jr., of Lumber Bridge, North Carolina, died in Jalalabad Air Field Hospital, Afghanistan, from a non-combat related incident while on patrol that occurred in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan.

August 5 - Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, 55, of Schenectady, N.Y., died in Kabul, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by small arms fire. The incident is under investigation.
"The two-star U.S. Army general who was killed in Afghanistan in an insider attack Tuesday was a native of upstate New York who held three advanced degrees from USC and whom colleagues described as a family man and a brilliant logistician with a quick sense of humor.
"Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, 55, known to friends as Harry, was believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military official killed in action since the war began in Afghanistan in 2001. The shooter, who was wearing an Afghan army uniform, was also killed in the attack near Kabul, but not before he wounded 14 others."

Roku 3 Headphone Jack Not Working

My Roku 3 remote headphone jack suddenly stopped working between one session and another after I had unplugged the roku set. I tried unplugging and replugging the headphones. I tried another set of headphones. I tried the volume button on the side. No luck.

Searching online revealed nothing about roku headphone jack problems and neither did a search on the roku site.

So, I did the most basic thing. I removed the batteries and put them back in the remote. It worked. Somehow the remote just needed to be reset.

UPDATE: The batteries were wearing out, so I replaced them too.