Google Local

It seems I’m easy to impress, or Google is the most impressive thing around.

Latest: Google Local, which is a nice way to narrow your searches to your local area. Though it’s labeled ‘beta’, it worked well for me.

Try it, you’ll like it!

Fort Worth Airshow 2005

I was reminded this afternoon that there’s an Airshow in town this weekend, featuring the Blue Angels. My reminder was watching them practice this afternoon. They looked good from the road, I’ll be it’ll be better from the stands.

Admission is free, and “…reasonably priced food and beverages are available…”.

I hope to go, but I’m working nearly incompatible shifts.

Identity Theft Story

Identity theft is something I am concerned about, and have so far been lucky (googles for picture of wood, knocks on screen). Here’s a guy whose credit cards were being used to rip him off, and he caught the theives! publius_ovidius: Don’t [mess] with Ovid — the long version

This morning, I found out that thousands of dollars of charges had been made on two of my credit cards in the past two days. Now, the identity thieves are sitting in jail. This is how it happened. It involves identity theft, a careless thief, one pissed-off Ovid and lots of luck.

Ovid is the blogger, and it’s a very interesting story. More interesting than the last episode of 24 I watched, anyway.

Medblogger hosts Carnival of the Vanities

MedBlogs Grand Rounds (see link in yesterdays’ posts) is modeled after COTV, hosted this week by CodeBlueBlog: CodeBlueBlog: The 131st Carnival of the Vanities. It looks like a lot of work, and what a job he’s done!

There’s even an introduction to the medblogs for the COTV audience (yours truly is described as a stud of the ER!), and that’s great for all of us medbloggers.

So, after you’ve memorized the MedBlogs Grand Rounds, head over to the rest of the blogworld, at CBB.

Airbus A310 loses rudder in flight

Mail & Guardian Online: What made an Airbus rudder snap in mid-air?

At 35 000 feet above the Caribbean, Air Transat flight 961 was heading home to Quebec with 270 passengers and crew. At 3.45pm last Sunday, the pilot noticed something very unusual. His Airbus A310’s rudder — a structure over 8m high — had fallen off and tumbled into the sea. In the world of aviation, the shock waves have yet to subside.

Mercifully, the crew was able to turn the plane around, and by steering it with their wing and tail flaps managed to land at their point of departure in Varadero, Cuba, without loss of life. But as Canadian investigators try to discover what caused this near catastrophe, the specialist internet bulletin boards used by pilots, accident investigators and engineers are buzzing.

So, should you and I be concerned?

Despite these and earlier assurances, some pilots remain sceptical. The Observer has learnt that after the 587 disaster, more than 20 American Airlines A300 pilots asked to be transferred to Boeings, although this meant months of retraining and loss of earnings. Some of those who contributed to pilots’ bulletin boards last week expressed anger at the European manufacturer in vehement terms. One wrote that having attended an Airbus briefing about 587, he had refused to let any of his family take an A300 or A310 and had paid extra to take a circuitous route on holiday purely to avoid them: “That is how convinced I am that there are significant problems associated with these aircraft.”…

Sounds like it.

Two photos of the tail, minus the rudder, here.

via Instapundit

Midland Medal of Honor Winner Dies

Via MyWestTexas.com

George H. O’Brien Jr., a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, died Friday following a hospital stay. He was 78.

“He was one of the finest men I’ve ever had the honor of getting to know,” said Russell “Rusty” McInturff, director of development of the Commemorative Air Force, where a new addition will bear O’Brien’s name. “He was honest in all dealings, a gentleman. I don’t know of a person who has a better reputation in this town.”

The CAF is currently constructing a hall that will recognize the 82 Texans who received the Medal of Honor. The CAF announced the hall would be named after O’Brien in the fall of 2003.

O’Brien received the Medal of Honor from President Eisenhower following heroic actions during the Korean War.

O’Brien was a 2nd lieutenant and platoon leader who successfully fought off the enemy to maintain a strategic position. O’Brien was seriously injured, but he continued the fight and tended to other wounded Marines before he allowed himself to be treated.

This incident is indicative of O’Brien’s character, said long-time friend Frank Cahoon. He wasn’t just doing his job as a Marine; he was a real hero, Cahoon said.

Born in Fort Worth, enlisted in Big Spring, and died in Midland. I suppose he liked Highway 80.

There are now three living Texans who hold the Medal of Honor.

Well-done writeups of his actions, the official citation, and a photo of him with Eisenhower can be found here.

Bankruptcy

I haven’t been keeping up with this issue, but now it looks like the proposed bankruptcy reform legislation is going to go through. Here’s the part I found most interesting:

Forbes.com: Bankruptcy Bill Passes In The Senate…The most significant section of the legislation makes it more difficult for individuals to file for bankruptcy under the more lenient Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. Currently, about 70% of personal bankruptcies are filed under Chapter 7.

Under Chapter 7, individuals essentially wipe out most unsecured debt (save for alimony, child support, student loans and tax obligations), after making a fair distribution to creditors of whatever non-exempt property the debtor has. The most significant exemption is for protecting a debtor’s primary residence; the specific rules that apply to any debtor’s situation vary from state to state. Chapter 7 allows the individual debtor to make a fresh financial start through the discharge of his or her existing financial obligations in bankruptcy.

The legislation establishes a needs-based system for qualifying for Chapter 7 treatment. In particular, the bill requires any individual with an annual income higher than the median in his state of residence and with an ability to pay at least $6,000 over five years ($100 per month), to file for bankruptcy under the less forgiving provisions of Chapter 13. Such a filing would mandate a court-sanctioned repayment plan for existing debts (including medical costs and credit card payments). Critics contend that the revised system will make it more difficult for individuals to get the fresh financial start that bankruptcy protection is supposed to facilitate.

Those seeking bankruptcy protection would be required to participate in credit counselling (at their expense) for six months prior to making a bankruptcy filing.

Florida, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas have unlimited homestead exemptions that allow anyone, including the affluent, to file for bankruptcy and shelter a primary residence, regardless of its value, from creditors. The Senate bill now limits this homestead exemption to $125,000 if the person in bankruptcy bought the residence less than three years and four months before filing for bankruptcy. Homes purchased prior to that cut-off would still qualify for the full exemption allowed in that particular state.

I wonder how ‘medical costs’ got added to the list of things that have to be paid off? This should cause the false medical bills cause bankruptcy meme to regenerate quickly.

Also, the credit card companies will now decrease their interest rates, right?

Credit card companies? Anyone? Bueller?

Acronym Testing

I’m trying out a little MT plugin that should make my life easier, by automagically adding the explanations for medical acronyms. This is take 2 for those of you reloading every 3 minutes.

PID
GOMER

(PID)

MI, CHF, COPD
ACLS

I’m just testing various formats. Sorry to have to do this ‘live’ but I have no choice.

For those who try this plugin, I’m modifying the acronym database using Word. Seems like overkill, but it works.

OK, enough with the tryouts. It works! Now all I have to do is make an acronym entry for every medical acronym I know. Yikes.

ACLS, IDDM, EOA

Can’t leave it alone. Sorry.

Update: the acronym plugin was interfering with my future posting, so it’s outta here. That’s why the acronymys don’t work, sorry.

Microsoft Says No New Security Patches This Month

PCWorld.com – Microsoft Says No New Security Patches This Month


Microsoft customers are informed three business days ahead of time on the rollouts, and Friday were informed that the center “is planning to release no new security bulletins” Tuesday. This would be the second time Microsoft has chosen not to issue a security bulletin for a month. The last time was December 2003…

Analysis: This is either really good, or really bad. Really good: the unfixed flaws are insignificant. Really bad: they just gave up.

Time will tell.

Steve Fossett circled the globe!

CNN.com – Fossett makes history – Mar 3, 2005

Pilot Steve Fossett has become the first person to fly solo nonstop round-the-world. His plane, the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer, touched down Thursday afternoon in Salina, Kansas, more than 66 hours after he lifted off from the same spot.

This also in: Burt Rutan continues to be a genius of aerospace design, and his team can apparently do anything!

Global Flyer: Short on Fuel

8am tues update

Mission Control have released a statement this morning regarding a loss of fuel in the early hours of Steve Fossett’s flight, which could lead to the attempt being abandoned.
There was a discrepancy of 2,600 pounds in readings between the fuel burn and a series of probes in the main beams of the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer in the first three and a half hours of the flight.
During last night, Mission Control carried out various tests, but still know little as to why and how the problem occurred. Early flight fuel readings have been concluded to be “not accurate”, and the lower reading of the amount of fuel onboard is the one that has been taken into account by the team for safety reasons.
Jon Karkow from Scaled Composites was unable to say whether it was due to leakage or evaporation. “We really don’t know what it is… It’s more than likely a system issue, such as a fuel venting line. It’s been very puzzling for us, and we saw it quite early on.”

Umm, if it was seen THAT early-on, why not just do an abort back home and try again? As I write this he’s just left Japanese airspace and will make a decision halfway to Hawaii about continuation.

His plane has an enormous wingspan, and it’ll probably glide for quite a while, but it’s a long way home from where he is.

Blogrolling off (temporarily)

As of 5 AM blogrolling seems to be having “issues”, and it’s killing the page loading. So, for the mean time, I’ve taken it off to let the site load. It’ll be back, but not until it works well again.

Update: Fixed.

Around the World Solo Airplane Flight

Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer : Flight Tracker He’s airborne! I hope he makes it all the way around, as taking it apart and shipping it home is probably not an option.

Oh, their site is really slow now, so it’s not you.

What Happened to WriteWing?

Does anyone know what happened to Diana or The WriteWing? It used to be a frequently updated medblog of a nurse in Detroit. Now it’s something else, entirely. I’ve emailed her, no response. Anybody else know what’s up?

The Saddest Honeymoon Pics Ever

…come from the memory card of a camera belonging to deceased honeymooners John and Jackie Knill of Vancouver, British Columbia. Their camera was recovered and the pictures survived them. The ones shown feature the tsunami from ground level, as it approached. By the time the shutter clicked they probably knew they had no hope of suriviving.