In the spring of 2004, my business partner of 20 + years Mike Pocobello and I attended the Grand Opening of the Chaparral Museum. It is housed at the Petroleum Museum in Midland, Texas. Mike had been the chief engineer for Jim Hall and Chaparral Cars during part of its legendary and revolutionary race cars of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Chaparral race cars were built and developed nearby at the equally famous “Rattlesnake Racetrack”.
Why the Petroleum Museum? Midland has several claims to fame one of them being the home of our legendary colleague Jim Hall. Another claim is that Midland sits atop the Permian Basin, the largest petroleum province of North America and the source of much of the Texas oil wealth. The Permian is a geologic period from approximately 300 to 250 million years ago.
A number of years ago, one of the major auto companies experienced a large scale problem with steering column shake in vehicles with a new 4-cylinder engine. It turned out that at idle; a stop light for example, the engine’s natural frequency was the same as the steering column assembly. The steering wheel would begin sympathetic oscillation and the driver would suffer with wheel shake.
The most common image of this resonance is the tuning fork. Bang one tuning fork and put it near another tuning fork of the same frequency and it will begin to vibrate too.
This is the same phenomenon that allows a powerful singing voice to break a delicate wine glass by producing sound waves at the natural, or resonant, frequency of the glass. Continue reading
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the “Ebola outbreak of 2014 was a global wake-up call regarding the ongoing threat of emerging infectious diseases. After a slow initial response by the global community, including the U.S. government, the U.S. mounted what has become the largest effort by a single donor government to respond to Ebola. This includes an emergency appropriation of $5.4 billion by Congress as part of its final FY 2015 spending package, a funding amount significantly larger than previous emergency response efforts to address emerging infectious disease outbreaks such as SARS and avian influenza. Since this funding was designated by Congress as an emergency funding measure, it did not count toward existing budget caps on discretionary spending”.
Examination of reports by the CDC and various information outlets indicate only two people during the crisis contracted Ebola in the United States. Both were nurses and both recovered.
Another nine people contracted the disease outside the US and traveled into the country; only two did not recover.
So we spent ~ $ 500,000,000 per US case. Continue reading
(See my previous Judging the Judiciary)
Judges recusing themselves from a case to prevent the appearance of bias, conflict of interest, or any other impropriety is quite common.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Rehnquist had a legal colleague who argued against his appointment to the court at Rehnquist’s congressional confirmation hearing. The
Chief Justice recused himself whenever a case before the court involved this same lawyer.
Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. recused himself in cases involving Exxon as his portfolio contained Exxon stock.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor has stated, “I have chosen to remove myself from cases, even when not technically required by ethical rules,”
Justice Kagan recused herself from several dozen cases shortly after joining the Supreme Court to avoid the appearance of conflict as she had worked on the Federal Government’s preparation of some those same cases in her previous role of Solicitor General. Continue reading
In ancient Roman times, prisoners were given the task of salt mining. One suspects 2000 years ago, prisoners working in salt mines did not enjoy a lengthy lifespan. More recently, the Russian authorities sent prisoners, political and otherwise, to work in the salt mines in Siberia as punishment.
When I was a kid years ago, I remember my Dad chasing us all to bed Sunday nights because “tomorrow morning its back to the salt mines for us all”. He worked in Detroit but I knew he didn’t work in a salt mine. And while I didn’t love many aspects of school and at times it seemed as a gulag, it was not Siberia
Detroit, however, has a salt mine. In fact, we have a salt city 1,200 feet below the streets of the Motor City. It is huge with over 100 miles of roads.
So how did all this salt get down there? Continue reading
In 1979 52 American diplomats and citizens were taken hostage at the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran and held for 444 days. An act President Jimmy Carter called “terrorism and anarchy” without precedent in modern times that many consider the beginning of Islamic terrorism.
Not true. In 661 the first Islamic fundamentalist rebel group which had declared jihad against peace loving moderate Muslims, assassinated Ali, the fourth Caliph and the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad. Islam named them “Kharijites”, meaning “those who left” [departed from the mainstream faith].
So began the 1,400-year period of numerous episodes of Muslim slavery, extremism & terrorism, the largest victim of which has been, by far, Islam.
Global Warming versus Climate Change
“The Earth’s main energy source is the sun. The sun causes convection within the atmosphere, which in turn affects weather and climate.” – NOAA
According to Space, (www.space.com), when sunlight hits the moon’s surface, the temperature can reach 253 degrees F (123 C). The “dark side of the moon” can have temperatures dipping to minus 243 F (minus 153 C).”
Live Science (www.livescience.com) advises us that “…the cosmic background temperature is minus 455 degrees Fahrenheit.”
The original proclamations of “Global Warming” were correct. Global warming, or the lack thereof, is the primary cause climate change. Continue reading
Black Entertainment Television presented the 2016 BET Awards on Sunday June 26, 2016. Jesse Williams, a performer from TV’s Gray’s Anatomy series, was presented the Humanitarian Award and during his speech claimed “this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture…demeaning our creations then stealing them…”
Music as a Cultural Treasure
One of the special abilities of the mythical Sphinx is as a guardian of treasures.
Every year for the past 20 years the Detroit sponsored Sphinx Competition opens for all non-white (specifically, African American and Latino) Junior High, High School, and College-age string players residing in the U.S.
The Sphinx Competition offers young non-white classical string players “a chance to compete under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and to perform with established professional musicians in a competition setting. Its primary goals are to encourage, develop and recognize classical music talent in the (non-white) Black and Latino communities.
A Cool Desert Trip
Journey Beyond Travel is one of Morocco’s premier tour operators. One of the things that makes this area of N. Africa compelling, per JBT, is the relatively common availability of excellent quality fossils. Morocco sits on the western edge of the world’s largest hot desert, the Sahara. Look at a map of northern Africa and most of what you see is the Sahara Desert. It covers 3,269 million square miles (9,400, square kilometers) and stretches from the Mediterranean in the north, to the Red Sea on the east, and the Atlantic Ocean on the west
The most recent fossil find in the Sahara by paleontologists is a form of pterodactyl named Phoenix pterosaur with a 20-foot wingspan, a Moroccan resident 90 million years ago. At that time, what is now a hot dry desert, was a lush green tropical forest. 100 million years before that, a large portion of the area was submerged under a salt water ocean. Continue reading
In 1984 the captain of the Stanford University Lacrosse team receives his undergraduate degree and his Phi Bata Kappa Key for honors level work. In 1985 Captain Lacrosse, (Judge Aaron Persky), achieves his master’s degree in international policy studies from Stanford.
Mr. Phi Bata Kappa continued to play lacrosse for the Berkley Club Lacrosse, again as captain of the team. In 1990 he was admitted to the California Bar after graduating from the UC Berkley School of Law. Persky received an appointment to the California Superior Court from Governor Gray Davis in 2003
During his legal career he received recognition for his work in the area of hate crimes, prosecuted violent sex crimes and promoted himself as a defender of battered women. Continue reading