Apr 27, 2011

Another Road Trip

Heading to Winnipeg for a Project Management Institute (PMI) regional meeting.

Will be home Saturday night, will try and post anything interesting.

Apr 25, 2011

Fukushima Daiichi - Update

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) estimates it will take up to nine months to stabilize the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. A plan released Sunday breaks the project into two steps, the first taking up to three months, the second up to six months more.

According to the company’s “Roadmap Towards Restoration,” TEPCO plans to:

•     Fill the containment vessels of reactors 1 and 3 with enough water to cover the fuel in the reactors while it decides the best course of action to repair the damaged containment vessel of reactor 2. The goal is to lower
the temperature of the water inside the reactors to below boiling.

•     Install heat exchangers to help cool the reactors. TEPCO continues to inject water into the reactors to prevent overheating. TEPCO also continues to spray water onto the used fuel storage pools as needed.

•     Use giant covers with filters to enclose the reactor buildings and control the release of radioactivity.

•     Install additional water storage tanks and purification facilities to process the highly radioactive water that has accumulated in the plant buildings and nearby concrete enclosures. The decontaminated water then
will be used to cool the reactors. Radioactive water that has accumulated in turbine room basements is  hampering work to restore cooling operations.

Apr 23, 2011

Saturday Night Leadership :o)

In 1997, the writer realized one of her childhood dreams. She flew to New York from Chicago, where she was working as a performer at Second City, to interview for a writing position at “Saturday Night Live.”  During her nine years at the show, her relationship with Lorne transitioned from Terrified Pupil and Reluctant Teacher, to Small-Town Girl and Streetwise Madam Showing Her the Ropes, to Annie and Daddy Warbucks, to a bond of mutual respect and friendship. 

Here are some Things She Learned from Lorne Michaels: (1) Producing is about discouraging creativity. Sometimes actors have what they call “ideas.” (2) Figure out if there is something you’re asking the actor to do that’s making him or her uncomfortable. (3) The show doesn’t go on because it’s ready; it goes on because it’s eleven-thirty.  (4) When hiring, mix Harvard nerds with Chicago improvisers and stir.  (5) Television is a visual medium. (6) Don’t make any big decisions right after the season ends. (7) Never cut to a closed door. (8) Don’t hire anyone you wouldn’t want to run into in the hallway at three in the morning. (9) Never tell a crazy person he’s crazy. 

New Yorker Abstract Source

Apr 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Earth Day is becoming one of the most important hallmarks in the world of conservation and recycling. It carries with it powerful connotations of ecological responsibility and taking ownership of our planet; after all, it is the only Earth that we have, and taking steps to lessen the impact that you and your fellow man have on it is nothing short of revolutionary.
Earth Day gives those people who have not taken part in recycling the opportunity to make changes to their lives and their community that they will cherish for a lifetime.  Many organized groups have adopted a pay as you throw program in their local communities.

Take the time today to clean your yard, search the paper for local events, look up recycling centers and what they accept.  Every day is earth day, but today is a reminder to take the time to make it real.


Apr 18, 2011

Tax File Retention

So, now that the official deadline is here, what do you do with those files going back ten three of more years?

The length of time you should keep your tax records depends on a number of factors, including the action, expense or event the document records. Here are a few brief guidelines:

Keep your tax returns and supporting documentation until the statute of limitations runs for filing returns or filing for a refund. In most cases, the statue of limitations (SOL) for assessment of taxes expires three years from the due date of the return, or the date that you file, whichever is later. An extension of the due date for filing the return does not change the date the statute of limitations starts to run.

Apr 16, 2011

Happy NSAD

National Stress Awareness Day was started by the Health Resource Network (HRN) in 1992 to raise awareness of stress. The day is celebrated each April 16. April is also stress awareness month and people are asked to take a look at their stressful lives and deal with them in a healthy manner. 

To identify personal triggers, write down situations in which you feel stressed.  Techniques that work for many people for combating stress include deep breathing, exercise, laughing, massage, eating dark chocolate, and helping others.

Click the link below for other suggestions.


Apr 13, 2011

New Day...

In this game of life, eventually you get to the point where you are defeated, it is Checkmate.
It has been a challenging couple of days, with several more to come.  But as I told with my Mother today as we talked, less than 24 hours after the passing of her husband and best friend....  "It is astounding how empty and hurt you felt yesterday, but today, the sun rose, the grass is green, the sky is blue, and it is another day that demands to be lived.  Life goes on."

My mother may not be a lot of things, but she is one tough lady.

Tomorrow, we start a journey of sorrow, memory, and most of all, per his request, a toast to life.  We are heading to Missouri to inter his remains, in a part of the Ozarks that holds many memories of their life together.

Rest in peace James.

Apr 12, 2011

What You Talking About Willis?

Chicago's Willis Tower, America's tallest building -- formerly known as the Sears Tower, is getting a major green makeover.  The south side of the 56th floor will soon be home to solar electric glass windows, turning the tower into a 2-MW vertical solar farm.

The windows called high power density photovoltaic glass units are being made by Pythagoras Solar.  They will retain views and daylighting for the floor, reduce heat and produce as much electricity as a traditional solar panel.  The windows consist of monocrystalline silicon solar cells sandwiched between two layers of glass with an internal prism that directs the sunlight onto the solar cells, while letting diffuse light through.  The result is a cooler, natural lighting environment inside the skyscraper and a more efficient solar panel.


Apr 7, 2011

New Take on Earthquake and Disaster Safety


I would think that the below advice would work for tornado's as well.  Interesting that the old things we learned growing up.  If the picture above intrigues you, and you want to increase your odds of surviving a disaster, then please take the time to read below.

Where to Go During an Earthquake

Remember that stuff about hiding under a table or standing in a doorway? Well, forget it! This is a real eye opener. It could save your life someday.


My name is Doug Copp. I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI ), the world's most experienced rescue team. The information in this article will save lives in an earthquake.

I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years, and have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters.

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene -- unnecessary.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them - NOT under them. This space is what I call the 'triangle of life'. The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings, on television, count the 'triangles' you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.


1) Most everyone who simply 'ducks and covers' when building collapse are crushed to death. People who get under objects, like desks or cars, are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels can achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes, simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa, or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the door jam falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed!

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different 'moment of frequency' (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads - horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get near the outer walls of buildings or outside of them if possible - It is much better to be near the outside of the building rather than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles; which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

In 1996 we made a film, which proved my survival methodology to be correct. The Turkish Federal Government, City of Istanbul , University of Istanbul Case Productions and ARTI cooperated to film this practical, scientific test. We collapsed a school and a home with 20 mannequins inside. Ten mannequins did 'duck and cover,' and ten mannequins I used in my 'triangle of life' survival method. After the simulated earthquake collapse we crawled through the rubble and entered the building to film and document the results. The film, in which I practiced my survival techniques under directly observable, scientific conditions , relevant to building collapse, showed there would have been zero percent survival for those doing duck and cover.

There would likely have been 100 percent survivability for people using my method of the 'triangle of life.' This film has been seen by millions of viewers on television in Turkey and the rest of Europe, and it was seen in the USA , Canada and Latin America on the TV program Real TV.


American Rescue Team International(ARTI)is said to be the World's most experienced rescue team and disaster management-mitigation organization.

Apr 5, 2011

Petite Giraffe for Sale :o)

I had intended to make an April Fools post, but time got away.

On Friday, someone came into my office and indicated that our internal "for sale" posting board had a recent sale of a petite giraffe, $5,700, and there was even a listing of six things for feeding.  This person indicated that they had to share this.  After about 15 minutes, I had to ask what day it was, and then the light bulb went off :o)

For more fun information, go here:


Petite Lap Giraffes are very funny animal that require special care. They need lots of love. Hugs and kisses every day. Otherwise they make tears.
If you have children, petite lap giraffes no problem. If child is loud, the giraffe will be shy, but does not bite. PLG’s are very clean. With training they will go in box like cats. Allergies never a problem.
Size: adult is 76 centimeters, baby is 15 centimeters tall. Weight is 4.5kg unless the giraffe is fat cow then 5.44kg
Diet: distilled water and bonsai tree leaves
Health problems: none. They are the best.
Gestation: 420 days
Living conditions: PLG’s love being indoors in filtered air conditioning. If they can listen to music of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov it is dream.
Grooming: a bubble bath once a week with purified water is all they need.

Apr 3, 2011

US Nuclear Power - How Safe Is It?

The following guest editorial will be featured in this coming Sunday’s local newspaper. The editorial provides answers to some common questions concerning on US Nuclear plant's ability to safeguard the health and safety of the public — or maybe even your friends and family — in the face of a natural disaster or terrorist threat.

As the world continues to watch the tragic circumstances in Japan, we at our Nuclear Plant understand that you may have new questions about living near a nuclear power plant. We have always tried to be open and available to the community, however, we understand the situation in Japan likely calls for increased dialogue.

All U.S. nuclear plants are designed to handle extreme environmental hazards including tornados, earthquakes or floods. Our plant is located more than 400 miles from the nearest fault line and is engineered to withstand an earthquake of up to 6.4 on the Richter scale. This translates into an even larger earthquake as measured at the epicenter.  

Since our plant is located on a lake, a tsunami is not possible.  However, we do have procedures for flooding or a seiche – which is a large wave on an enclosed body of water.  Seiches, however, are rare occurrences.  The largest seiche on record near our plant was 8 feet in 1954.  Our plant is designed to perform properly if there is an 11-foot seiche or flood.

A tornado is the most likely natural disaster here in the Midwest. The plant is designed to safely shut down despite the effects of an F5 tornado with 300 mph winds. Still, we acknowledge that not all natural disasters are predictable.  Please rest assured our personnel plan and prepare for severe conditions that may be greater than our design basis.

We all know that the lack of power following the tsunami was a problem in Japan. Our transmission switchyards are a hub of electrical distribution for our region and we have seven separate high-voltage connections to the grid. Each of our two reactors has two locomotive sized back-up diesel generators that
start automatically if offsite power is lost. Only one is required to safely shut down each reactor. These are located in seismically secure rooms 9 feet above lake level. There is also a supplemental diesel generator, something the Japanese plants didn’t have, that could safely shut down either unit.  This is located 23 feet above lake level.

We are participating in a U.S. nuclear industry initiative to verify our capability to protect the public under severe adverse conditions. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is also performing an independent review of our capabilities and has established a task force to develop safety improvement initiatives based on the Japanese events.

Our emergency response plans are very detailed and we regularly train and practice with the County and State emergency management groups. We recently participated with the NRC and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluation of our emergency preparedness exercise and determined we successfully demonstrated our ability to protect the public in the event of an emergency at the plant.

If you have additional questions, please call or email (details omitted). We also have speakers available to talk to your service club, school or church group.

We will use the lessons learned from Japan’s tragic event to ensure that we continue to operate to the highest standards. Your health, safety and security are, and always will be our number one focus. More than 1,100 men and women at our plant  – your neighbors – are standing with me on that promise.

Sunday Silliness - Blogging :o)