On the 2016 American Presidential Election, and the Whole Sorry Lot Running

A self-righteous megalomaniac. Several far-right wingnuts, from a party rapidly making itself irrelevant by trying to live in the past. A big-government advocate with a past history of questionable ethical practices. And, to round out the lot, an actual socialist.

Sigh. I wish we could vote for “none of the above,” and just leave the White House empty for four years.

Next-best option, in my opinion: if we must have a Clinton, bring back Socks the Cat.

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[Image source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socks_(cat)]

The American Historical Clock of War and Peace

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The yellow years are ones in which the USA was getting into or out of major wars — or both, in the case of the brief Spanish-American War. The red years are war years, and the blue years are years of (relative) peace.

The sectors are each bounded by two radii, and a 1.5° arc. The current year is omitted intentionally because 2016 isn’t over yet, and we don’t know what will happen during the rest of it. 

The Tragedy of Modern American History

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The tragedy of modern American history: we fought our bloodiest war to date, and ended slavery, in the 1860s. Race, a difficult issue in the USA, to say the least, could have started to become less of an issue — at that point.

But . . . this didn’t happen. Instead, the “Jim Crow” era began, and, as a nation, we foolishly let it run for roughly another century before fixing that, and even then, we’ve left large parts of this problem unfixed, to this day — such as the problems that underlie high-profile police-brutality cases, which usually involve Black men being clobbered, to, or near, the point of death — by alleged “public servants,” who do a great disservice to the actual men and women of honor (yes, they do exist) who wear police uniforms. It is the fault of these “criminal cops” that police officers are not widely trusted, nor liked, in many African American communities.

All this, and Americans actually wonder why such things as an academic achievement gap still exist? Hint: DNA has absolutely nothing to do with it. The cause of this “gap” is easy to see: entrenched, pervasive racism, and the perfectly-understandable reaction to it, from a population with every reason to be utterly sick of being treated as less than fully human.

It’s 2015: well into the 21st Century. This situation is both absurd, and shameful.

Silly U.S. Map Puzzle #5

What do the colors on this map mean?

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If you wish to check your answer, or just what to know what the solution is, just scroll down.

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And keep on scrollin’. . . .

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Solution:

Of the other 49 states in the USA, how many are adjacent to this one? The answer to this question determines the color of each state.

One point of clarification: if it takes a lengthy trip by boat or ship to get there, I didn’t count it as an adjacent state . . . so, for example, Minnesota and Michigan didn’t make each other’s lists. Simply going over a bridge isn’t enough for this sort of separation, though, which is why Arkansas and Tennessee did make each others’ lists of adjacent states. Had I interpreted water borders differently, this map would have some differences.

Another way this map could be altered would be to count states that meet others only at a single point, rather than a border with non-zero length. This would change the colors of the “four corners” states of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado, but would have no effect on the other 46 states.

Silly U.S. Map Puzzles #4a and 4b

First, for puzzle #4a, what are the meanings of the colors on this map?

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For puzzle #4b, what do the colors mean on this second, similar map?

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To find the answers, simply scroll down.

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Keep scrolling….

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Solution:

In the first map, consider the number of letters in the name of each state. Is this number prime or composite?

In the second map, consider the number of characters, rather than letters, in each state’s name. This number is different for states with two-word names, due to the single character, a blank space, needed to separate the two words. Again: prime, or composite?

Silly U.S. Map Puzzle #3

What is represented by the colors on this map?

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The answer may be found by scrolling down.

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Keep scrolling….

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Answer:

Do any of the borders of this state contain squiggles? (Note: if you think New Mexico is the wrong color, check the part of that state which borders El Paso, Texas.)

Silly U.S. Map Puzzle #1

What is represented by the colors on this map?

mapquiz1

If you decide to give up, you can scroll down for the answer . . . but, I promise, the solution to this puzzle is extremely simple.

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Keep scrolling, if you’re looking for the answer….

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Answer:

The map shows how many words are in the name of each state.

Silver Conversion Chart: Troy, Metric, and U.S. Coin Information

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I’m most likely to need the information in the top third of this chart, myself, but I continued it all the way through 100 kg, for the benefit of those with much more money to invest in silver than I have.

How much does silver cost, per troy ounce? Right now, it’s in the $15 neighborhood, but that changes all the time. This is the website I use to keep an eye on the “spot” price of silver, but there are many other such sources, as well.

Places I Have Been, #2: When Was I Last There?

This is a more detailed version of one of the earliest posts on this blog, “Places I Have Been.” In this version, I color-coded the states and provinces to show when I was last in each of these places (the color-coding is explained below the picture). Also, no, I haven’t left North America — yet — but visits to all the other continents on Earth, plus the Moon, are definitely on my lifetime “to do” list.

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Here’s the color-key. It starts in the present, and then proceeds in reverse chronological order.

Red — I’m here right now. Arkansas is also the state where I have spent well over 90% of my life, and I was born here, as well, 47½ years ago (January, 1968).

Pink — These are states I’ve been to since turning 45, not counting where I am at the moment. It’s also the set of states my wife and I have visited together — so far.

Purple — I was last in each of these states during the first half of my forties.

Dark blue — I was last in Kansas in my thirties, flying there, with two other math teachers, for an educational conference.

Yellow — Louisiana is the only state which I last visited in my twenties.

Green — These are states I last visited at age nineteen. So far, that’s the furthest I have traveled in a single year. The green Mexican state on the map is Chihuahua, where I visited Cuidad Juárez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

Light blue — These are the states and provinces I last visited as a “tween” (ages 10-12). The Northern vacation trip was with my family, and, so far, that’s the only time I’ve been to Canada. Virginia made the map when I won a trip to Washington, DC (too small to be seen above), as one of a busload of young newspaper carriers, for selling twenty newspaper subscriptions to Arkansas Gazette — one of America’s many “lost newspapers,” and one which I very much miss. Alabama and Florida are included because of a field trip, all the way to Key West, with a college class — one of the benefits of growing up as a “professor’s kid” who spent a lot of time on campus.

Brown — I have been to South Carolina once, but I wasn’t even close to ten years old at the time, and now I barely remember this family trip to the Atlantic coast.

Gray — I was so young, when my parents took me to Colorado, that I have no memories from that trip at all. I don’t think my younger sister had even been born yet, in fact. All I remember is being told, much later, that, yes, I have been to Colorado.

On Demagogues, and the 2014 American Midterm Elections

This Wikipedia article needs to be updated to include many winners from yesterday’s election in the USA: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demagogue.

From the article: “They exploit a fundamental weakness in democracy: because ultimate power is held by the people, nothing stops the people from giving that power to someone who appeals to the lowest common denominator of a large segment of the population.”

That’s exactly what happened in yesterday’s election.