Less Than Three Years to Prepare

Path of Total Solar Eclipse August 21, 2017

For once, I live in just about the best spot to observe a total solar eclipse. The center line for the eclipse coming in August 2017 is just a few miles north of where I live.  That being said, the path of the eclipse cuts diagonally across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.

Update Monday 9/1/2014:  I forgot to include a link to the Astronomy magazine article that will take you to the interactive map shown above:  Make Plans for the 2017 Eclipse with This Great Map. Continue reading “Less Than Three Years to Prepare”

Book Review: The Guns of August by Tuchman (4 Stars)

The Guns of August

by Barbara W. Tuchman

Read by John Lee

Winner of the Pulitzer Price for General Nonfiction 1963

4 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Barbara, I now know more about the first month of World War I than all my previous half-century of accumulated, absorbed knowledge. Not only do I know more, but I understand the how. How Europe ended up in a terrible stalemate and war of attrition that lasted four more years. The why will have to wait until I can read her other history The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914.

On August 23rd, I attended a discussion of The Guns of August sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library, the Kansas City Star‘s FYI Book Club and hosted at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. There were many attendees from all over the Kansas City metro area and we attempted to stay focused on Tuchman’s novel, not straying to far before or after. A great hour of discussion on an excellently researched and composed history of the outbreak of the Great War. Continue reading “Book Review: The Guns of August by Tuchman (4 Stars)”

Why the federal court record system PACER is so broken, and how to fix it — Tech News and Analysis


So what happened? Why has the federal courts’ IT system stagnated despite more money? The answer, unsurprisingly, is that the money has gone elsewhere.

Bureaucracies and budgets … if there is money unspent in one at the end of the year …

The bottom line is that fixing PACER is not a technological challenge, but a political one, and technology has yet to solve the problem of getting the politically powerful to focus on the right things at the same time.

I admin a lot of weird one-off applications where I work.  Last week, PACER dropped into my lap as a direct result of the upgrade mentioned in the article above. I can attest to the very dated interface. In fact I probably hadn’t seen PACER in over a decade and it looked and acted just as it did back then. I have never understood how this system is allowed to charge anyone fees because all the information it contains is public information. Compare to NASA which makes an incredible amount of information available for everyone – researchers and citizens – easily accessible and free.

Article: Internet down for 12m Americans as Time Warner Cable suffers outage

Internet down for 12m Americans as Time Warner Cable suffers outage


Per my earlier Tweet, we (the Mosses) are victims of this outage.

What do you want to bet that my bill will not reflect a credit for the inconvenience?

Posted from WordPress for Android via my Samsung smartphone. Please excuse any misspellings. Ciao, Jon

Update from the Eastern Front

My grandmother, Doris, often wished she could reconnect with her mother’s relatives in Europe in her latter years.  But the ravages of two World Wars followed by the dropping of the Iron Curtain across most of eastern Europe made genealogical research nigh impossible.

I was reminded of this frustration this morning while I listened to The Guns of August on my commute to work. I’m reading this Pulitzer winning non-fiction book as part of the Kansas City Public Library and the National Word War I Museum‘s Great War | Great Read program to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.


I’d reached the fifteenth chapter, which began a shift of focus from the Western Front in August 1914 to the Eastern Front with the appropriate title ‘The Cossacks are Coming!’  About halfway through my commute, I recognized the name of my great-grandmother’s home town, formerly known as Stallupönen, but since reclaimed and renamed multiple times over the last century.
Continue reading “Update from the Eastern Front”

Article: Women In Tech: It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem

Women In Tech: It’s Not Just A Pipeline Problem


Maybe, just maybe, a perception of the tech industry as a toxic environment for women has had something to do with that decline. Maybe the pipeline problem is not independent of the trapdoor problem.

Just what I needed to read before I subject myself back into my own work environment after a four day weekend.

My trapdoor is just a trap.  The door part appears to be jammed.

And on that cheery note … Happy Monday morning!

Posted from WordPress for Android via my Samsung smartphone. Please excuse any misspellings. Ciao, Jon

Worldcon! – Ann Leckie

Worldcon! blog post by Ann Leckie

I did have one or two people tell me they were WoT fans but had put AJ in first place, and I would like to say how much that means to me. Because like I said, I know fans of WoT really, really love it.

–Ann Leckie

Yes, this is exactly how I voted.  Number one vote to Ancillary Justice and number two to WoT.

Ann, you’re very welcome and congratulations!

Posted from WordPress for Android via my Samsung smartphone. Please excuse any misspellings. Ciao, Jon

Did You Know There Are Tests For Sarcasm Detection?

io9: “Did You Know There Are Tests of Sarcasm Detection?”

“… the way of most sarcasm tests. They’re meant to not just discover an inability to detect sarcasm, but sound out exactly what is wrong with someone’s understanding of the non-literal.”

— Esther Inglis-Arkell

“Next sarcastic comment in 3 … 2 … 1 …”

— Text on t shirt I recently purchased for my husband.

I’ve never had a problem with sarcasm or irony.  According to my hubby, I have a problem with humor (as in lacking a sense of one). [Shrugs]

Posted from WordPress for Android via my Samsung smartphone. Please excuse any misspellings. Ciao, Jon

Hugo Awards Voting Adventure Wrap-Up

My weekend got away from me and I didn’t make my final post of how I voted for the remainder of the 2014 Hugo Award categories I hadn’t previously discussed.  I did carve out two hours on Sunday afternoon to watch the live streaming of the Hugo Awards ceremony (which streaming went off with hardly a hitch, especially as compared to the Retro Hugo Awards ceremony from last Thursday night).

Continue reading “Hugo Awards Voting Adventure Wrap-Up”